Is Magento the right eCommerce platform for your online buisness?
When Magento was released in early 2008, it was met with excitement and interest from e-commerce site developers around the world. It quickly became the preferred software option for mid-range ecommerce sites due to its powerful administrative features and functionality. As Armando Roggio states on www.practicalecommerce.com,
“Magento’s feature list is clearly the result of years of ecommerce experience. The platform includes features like a built-in product image zoom capability, advanced pricing rules to support special promotions, a landing page tool to help with marketing campaigns, inventory management, side-by-side product comparison tools, and more.”
If you are in the market for a new platform on which to run your ecommerce site, here are some reasons why Magento may be the right choice for you.
First off, Magento Community Edition is free! Not much can beat a well-built, highly functional product that you can download for no cost. However, dedicated support from Verian the company that developed Magento, is not free and can be quite expensive. Whether you need to purchase a support plan depends on the expertise of your in-house team. If you are have an experienced team, then the free open developers forum may meet your needs.
Magento is a highly functional piece of software. It has been developed with an eye on Google and includes Google analytic tools so that your statistics, traffic and search results are highly valuable and reliable. In addition, the site has strong search and sort tools that provide reliable and thorough results.
The software also includes SEO optimisation, including tags, descriptions, clean URLs, and Google site navigation. When getting a new or revamped site up and running, this is extremely important for building up your search engine results and driving in new traffic.
Another robust feature of this product is its ability to run multiple commerce sites from a single version of the software. Each site can have its own unique layout, storefront and templates all running simultaneously. Magento can combine databases to allow for a single report on all of your individual stores and sales. This allows for superior supply management and customer service to manage all your outlets from one single place.
With the Magento software, you can not only access great reporting, but also import large databases of customer and product information. This can be vital for any business and can help save countless hours in your migration process. The software does not restrict the number of sales or products on the site, unlike many competing products, which charge for any overages beyond certain limits.
A few additional features of Magento include the ability to upsell to your customers at checkout time, a single checkout page, and functionality with all major merchant accounts. Magento also offers a newsletter feature, customer review options and integration with all postal carriers for real-time rate quotes.
Some Words of Warning
There are also a few challenges associated with this software. Magneto is a robust product that provides a high level of functionality, but to take advantage of that functionality, you need a strong, dedicated IT professional who can design, build and maintain the site. In addition, Magento operates best with large drivers and a dedicated server. If you don’t have those resources at your disposal, you will likely be frustrated with Magento.
Some additional glitches have been reported when getting the product up and running, but work-throughs can be found on the solutions forum. During the initial installation, some of your directories’ permission levels may need to be adjusted to allow for all files to be downloaded. Also, when importing product databases, it is best to create product categories first, because it can be challenging to make adjustments to the database once the information has been uploaded. In addition, there are some concerns related to the creation of custom attributes.
In sum, Magento is a strong product with a good following and a very robust feature set. It merits consideration when you’re selecting the right IT solution for your business.