Despite a challenging year in 2020, ecommerce sales saw tremendous growth, just under 30% for the year. If we learned anything from 2020, we learned that all businesses must be digital businesses. With 2021 forecasts from eMarketer, businesses are looking for a rebound in brick-and-mortar sales, a Digital Commerce 360 B2B survey looking to 2021 indicates that over 80% of B2B respondents reported being very or somewhat likely to buy more online in the year ahead. As customers grow more dependent on digital commerce, it is more important than ever to keep current on your ecommerce platform. With the feature, security, and performance enhancements, you will want to upgrade to the latest version of Magento (2.4.2).
Today, Adobe is releasing Magento Commerce 2.4.2, along with security-only patches 2.3.6-p1 and 2.4.1-p1, focusing on increasing its security, enhancing performance, and providing enhanced tools for merchants to maintain and expand their business to keep pace with current eCommerce growth. Magento Commerce 2.4.2 assists merchants in maximizing their opportunities with enhancements to B2B purchase approvals, expanded PWA and GraphQL support, and improvements to the Page Builder and Media Gallery performance and developer experience.
Enhanced B2B capabilities for purchase approvals and headless commerce
Magento Commerce 2.4.2 adds support for online payments to improve the purchase approvals experience, which previously supported only offline payments. Now, merchants have the flexibility to accept purchasing policies regardless of payment method, and buyers can use the same, convenient approval process for all orders.
Online payment option at checkout, and email notifications and onscreen reminders to add payment details.
Magento Commerce 2.4.2 also includes new GraphQL APIs like Company Credit and Requisition Lists that support important B2B use cases for headless commerce implementations.
Improved storefront performance and content management
The new Media Gallery, first introduced in Magento 2.4, now features Image Optimization. This means that, when enabled, the storefront will use a web-optimized version of an image instead of the full, hi-res version stored in the Media gallery. This generates a smaller image file without changing the original, so that your storefront doesn’t lose performance when rendering for the shopper.
The Media Gallery also introduces support for an Access Control List in the Admin so that Merchants can define user permissions for access to Media Gallery and control actions. This improvement enables designers and digital agencies to get access to the Magento instance and manage assets directly in the system without merchants exposing their data.
Page Builder introduces the ability to preview content for mobile and desktop views while improvements to reduce effort of migrating content to Page Builder and customizing Page Builder CSS will greatly reduce developer effort to complete these tasks.
Faster time to market and lower cost of ownership with PWA Studio
PWA Studio continues to accelerate time to market and reduce the total cost of ownership for Progressive Web Application development. Merchants now have multi-language and multi-currency support with PWA Studio, making it faster and easier to launch international sites as high-performing PWAs.
Also included in the latest PWA Studio updates are new Venia components covering “My Account” to accelerate launches, along with extensibility and performance enhancements that significantly improve both the developer and shopper experience. See all of the updates in the PWA Studio release notes.
New Venia components and internationalization
Realize faster time-to-value with In-Product Guidance
Magento Commerce 2.4.2 introduces the concept of In-Product Guidance. In-product Guidance delivers proactive, personalized, and scalable in-product experiences to help users engage with critical product features and value paths. These experiences accelerate time to value and help customers become self-served power users more quickly. For example, in-product experiences can be used to drive awareness of new features, help new customers quickly get on-boarded, or teach existing users how to use high-value, under-used features.
In-product Guidance is available exclusively to Magento Commerce merchants operating on 2.4.2 or later and requires users to be opted-in to Admin Usage Tracking. Many customers may have this option enabled already. If it is not enabled, or if customers are unsure, they can change the setting in the Admin UI under Stores > Configuration > Advanced > Admin > Admin Usage.
Platform quality and performance
Magento Commerce 2.4.2 includes several enhancements to platform quality and performance that support both the developer and the merchant experience. Highlights include:
VBE improvements include the following: Braintree now offers Buy Now Pay Later functionality, dotdigital delivers transactional SMS messages, and Vertex supports commodity codes for shipping in and out of global regions.
Companies with large, complex catalogs and multi-store implementations benefit from increased scalability due to improved API performance and Admin response time that support stores with significantly larger catalogs.
Cloud introduced support for remote storage solutions, with AWS S3 support out of the box to provide opportunities for cost saving and infrastructure optimization.
Additional Q1 updates and announcements
Upgrade Compatibility Tool
The new Upgrade Compatibility Tool, currently in Alpha, makes the upgrade process more transparent and more reliable by comparing your current production version of Magento Commerce against a new release to analyze the compatibility of installed custom modules. The tool works between any two Magento Commerce 2.x versions and produces a report of issues and warnings related to the compatibility of custom code along with an estimated complexity score for the upgrade process.
As an Alpha release, the scope of what is being analyzed is limited for now with additional coverage to be added as we gain insights from customer feedback. For more information and to get started, see our blog Introducing the Upgrade Compatibility Tool.
Split Database deprecation
We also have announced that our Split Database scalability solution for Magento Commerce on-premises customers has been marked as deprecated. We will remove this functionality from the core code beginning with Magento Commerce 2.5. To learn more, see the Magento DevBlog.
Planning for PHP 7.3 end of support
For details of the full 2021 release calendar, visit this page.
For more information on Magento 2.4.2, see the release notes.