Businesses interested in upgrading their current website’s capabilities and those considering moving their business to selling online, now face an increasingly sophisticated range of choices in the platform that powers their ecommerce offering.

Many ecommerce enabled retail websites might have started out life on light weight subscription based ecommerce solutions and find that they are no longer keeping up with their business needs and it’s time to upgrade. Magento is a good choice to consider as the next step.

Magento is a open source ecommerce platform which has many advantages. Open source is free to use software whereby the author(s) of the software has given the license to the general public for straightforward use. Take Linux the computer operating system, which the originator, tired of Microsoft domination offered his system to the world for free. You could say, open source developers and followers view the donation of these products for the common good. Open source platforms like Magento have grown enormously in sophistication over recent years, moulded specifically for client needs and customisable as much as is necessary for business purposes. With a large array of plug ins to extend its uses beyond simple ecommerce, Magento is a flexible, grow-as-you-grow, platform.

There is a growing movement towards Magento because of it’s powerful, flexible fully functional ecommerce system, with more features than the average ecommerce business will ever need. Capable of running small start-up businesses to high end, high volume branded websites like Tommy Hillfiger, North Face and Paul Smith along with 125,000 other merchants. Not to mention cost effective. Magento is a good value ecommerce platform for many.

Magento’s ability to scale provides an ecommerce platform which will grow with your business. Easily adapted with many free and paid extensions, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re consider opening a trade only store, managing stock from multiple warehouses, integrating with Ebay and Amazon or connecting Magento to your ERP / back office systems there is a plugin for it.

So are there disadvantages? Magento is certainly one of the fastest growing most capable ecommerce platforms available. Like all solutions there are some disadvantages which need some consideration:

Quality control and 3rd part modules. With many thousand plugins available the challenge is around quality control and interoperability. We have known issues where plugins can conflict, fail to work after upgrading the core Magento system or don’t work reliably with different browsers. Check the feedback, and look at what other merchants are saying about the plugin. Seek advice from your Magento developer as to what they have worked with before.

Speed. If not setup correctly Magento can perform slowly. This is simply due to the amount of functionality it is running. Some quick tuning techniques from an experienced Magento developer or in more extreme cases the right plugin can solve this issue.

Overly complex. On first view the admin panel of a Magento website has so much functionality it can be overwhelming. However once you start to find your way around it, it’s actually fairly straight forward. We would recommend some basic training before working with Magento content management systems.

The Growth of Magento

If we look at the comparison of Google searches involving four of the ecommerce platforms, there is a strong and obvious Magento movement. Two other ecommerce platforms, OpenCart and Shopify, although still lesser known, are also on the increase but Magento has already established a strong lead on all of its competitors.

Since its launch in 2008, 23% of all eCommerce sites in the Alexa 1 Million are using Magento, which calculated to a higher share than any other eCommerce platform. Additionally, they boast 800,000+ Magento community members and 400 solution partners worldwide, adding over 100 new enterprise retailers a month and 1000s a month on Magento Community Edition and Go. Furthermore, a recent study of 20 platforms found Magento to be the most popular platform with 31.4% market share.

References

Bondarenko, A. (2012). Magento Got a Third Slice of Pie. Available: http://blog.aheadworks.com/2012/09/magento-got-a-third-slice-of-pie/. Last accessed 4/12/12.

Magento Marketing. (2012). Magento For A Cause: Healing Hoboken.Available: http://www.magentocommerce.com/blog/category/about-magento/. Last accessed 4/12/12.

Magento Marketing. (2012). More Top Merchants Continue To Choose Magento. Available: http://www.magentocommerce.com/blog/comments/the-survey-says-more-top-merchants-continue-to-choose-magento/. Last accessed 4/12/12.

Magento. (2012). The Complete Toolset for eCommerce Success.Available: http://www.magentocommerce.com/product/enterprise-features. Last accessed 4/12/12.

Shaw, B. (2012). FEB 2012 ECOMMERCE SURVEY. Available: http://tomrobertshaw.net/2012/02/feb-2012-ecommerce-survey/. Last accessed 4/12/12.

Final words

At Williams Commerce we have worked on a vast range of Magento ecommerce websites from small quick start-up business ecommerce websites through to multi-site, multi-region ecommerce website including building our own modules such as the highly specialised Navision to Magento plugin. With a strong and experienced Magento team and a commitment to invest heavily in staying at the forefront of Magento progress, if you’re interested in exploring Magento for your ecommerce business, give the Williams Commerce team a call to discuss today. Contact us on 0116 326 1116.