Upgrading to Web Store 2.5

Many clients have contacted me regarding Web Store 2.5 and what is involved in upgrading their website. This is loaded question as it really depends on your situation but let’s start with some facts.

The first thing that you should know is that Web Store 2.5 is not reliant upon LightSpeed 3.7… and vice versa. Although, the two releases came on the same day, one is not a requirement for the other.

They are not co-dependant, Web Store 2.5 can run on LightSpeed 3.5 and later, however it requires LightSpeed 3.7 (and the new uploader) to take advantage of the increased upload speeds. You can run any version of Web Store, from 2.x and later with LightSpeed 3.7. — Jesse Scott, eCommerce Specialist, LightSpeed

This is good news as you may have been thinking that you couldn’t upgrade to LightSpeed 3.7 without also upgrading your Web Store. This is a good thing because, although I’m still not advising clients to perform the 3.7 upgrade at this time, they may do so without concern for their web sales which hasn’t been the case in past releases.

The second thing is that there are two ways to upgrade an existing Web Store to version 2.5.

  1. Upgrade your existing template design to include most of the new features in 2.5.
  2. Completely recreate your website design using the new 2.5 template in order to take advantage of all the new features of 2.5… most notably, the new mobile-browser-friendly design.

Obviously, there can be a significant difference in cost depending on the route that you choose.

While the steps are clearly laid out on how to upgrade an existing template, we’ve found a couple errors and omissions that have made this more of a challenge than we’d hoped but most sites should be upgradeable without too much fuss. The big issue is that you’ll be missing out on at least one of the best features of Web Store 2.5 and that is it’s ability to adapt to different screen sizes.

Mobile browsing is a hot topic and having an eCommerce website that supports viewing on an iPhone or other mobile browsers, is a big deal. Even LightSpeed’s own support documents seem to encourage users not to upgrade, but to replace their templates…

We highly recommend you consider switching to the new Brooklyn template and modifying it for your own use. The new Brooklyn template supports iPad and iPhone whereas the existing templates do not.

Recreating your website using LightSpeed’s new templates will succeed in making it mobile-friendly but  the cost may be prohibitive for some retailers if they weren’t already budgeting for a refresh of their web site design.

Furthermore, while LightSpeed is still offering to upgrade Web Stores for free if you host with them, they admit that some highly modified websites may be beyond the scope of there service… in which case, they recommend that you contact your developer.

If you need help upgrading your Web Store, please contact our office immediately as our waiting list is growing daily.