When searching for an ecommerce platform for your growing business, there are a dizzying number of options. Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, and Squarespace all can help you sell your products online.
However, you’ve probably already noticed that ecommerce sites are not one-size-fits-all solutions.
Magento (currently at 2.2.5) is an eCommerce software solution that allows users to create and manage successful online stores. In my experience as a developer, it is the one platform that I feel has the most flexibility and ease of use.
For someone considering setting up an eCommerce store, probably the most appealing factor is the ability to build an ecommerce store quickly and easily. This is one of the many features of Magento that draws people to the software.
First off, why use Magento at all?
With the launch of Magento 2, there are a ton of new benefits to consider.
First off, Magento is developer-friendly, SEO optimized and mobile compatible. It’s optimized for all devices and platforms, meaning that no sales get lost due to compatibility issues.
As a Magento user, you can add items to the stores yourself, meaning you don’t need a developer to get started.
It also has a magical feature of multiple store management which makes it unique. This means you can run many storefronts from a single backend system.
Magento also assists in organizing the site’s products and can make marketing specific items to a particular segment of the customer easier. Coupons and gift cards are another tool users can take advantage of on Magento platforms.
Magento also integrates into third-party applications, allowing users to utilize as many options as possible to make their store a success.
For Commerce users, Magento’s customer service is top-of-the-line, giving online retailers peace of mind that any issues that arise can be taken care of quickly to eliminate downtime.
One important point to note: Magento is not a plugin like WooCommerce. It is an open source platform written in PHP. A whole community changes and supports this platform and innovates on it by coming up with new plugins and functionality.
A look at Magento Open Source Edition
Magento Open Source Edition (previously known as Magento Community) is a free edition which is perfect for small sized e-commerce business with turnover below $1,000,000. It has excellent functionalities like:
- Catalogue Promotional Pricing
- Multi-Tier Pricing
- Flexible Coupons
- Product Videos
Apart from the existing functionalities, there is a vast Magento Extension marketplace where you can download all the free and paid extensions as per your requirement. If you are a newly established eCommerce business, then Open Source Edition is probably your best choice to get started.
Moving up to Magento Commerce Edition
Commerce Edition (formerly Enterprise Edition) is the paid edition of Magento which is designed for medium-to-large sized ecommerce businesses with turnover above $1,000,000 annually. Of course, it is steeply priced, starting at $15k for a license, so it’s a big jump up.
The functionalities are the same as the Open Source Edition, and additionally, it has advanced features like:
- Admin action logging
- Assisted shopping
- Customer segmentation
- Targeted offering
- Secure payment gateways
- Loyalty benefits
Commerce Edition also has access to Magento Extension marketplace to download all free as well as paid extensions from there.
Of course, the 30-day risk-free trial is an excellent way to get a feel for the benefits of the Magento Commerce Edition.
Before you decide, think five years ahead
When people ask me whether they should invest in the Commerce Edition of Magento, I suggest thinking about your long-term business plans. The upfront $15,000 investment (renewable every year) is a big leap.
One small way to reduce the upfront cost may be to look at the different options between Magento Commerce Starter and Pro. The cost for the Starter option is $2000 per month, whereas the Pro option is $3417. The full breakdown of services is here if you want to compare.
Spending the money is always a risk, but if the platform enables you to grow exponentially, it can become an investment. A good rule of thumb is to think at least five years ahead. That way you can spread the cost out over an extended period.
Depending on your budget and overall size of business, you have the flexibility of choosing the best match for you.
Whichever Edition works best for you, Magento is leading the way to develop custom eCommerce sites that can uniquely match your business needs.