Magento has only been around since 2008, but in the relatively short time since its original beta release, Magento has become a real force in the world of eCommerce. Having used all of the major shopping cart platforms myself, I have seen just how awesome and how terrible a system can be, depending on the amount of time and effort invested by the company.
Magento easily holds its own against some of the older, more established platforms, and in some ways, it actually leads the pack. When choosing a content management system for your eCommerce store, you have a lot of important considerations to make, and the nice thing about Magento is that it offers so many different plans to meet different needs. But in writing this Magento review, I realize that Magento can be the greatest investment of your life, or the greatest waste of money. It all depends on how you use it. Let’s break it down.
Let’s face it. You care about the success of your business, but you can’t allow your overhead costs to destroy your profit margin, so price is a very important consideration. Magento is one of the only major shopping cart platforms that offers a free version, the Magento Community Edition, and that’s a price you certainly can’t beat. Bear in mind, though, that the Magento Community Edition has some stripped down features and very limited support, so consider it a tradeoff.
If you want full support and a wide array of available features, you have numerous options available. Magento Go is a great, affordable option for small businesses, and includes plans for as little as $15 per month. If you’re still undecided, you can check out the 30-day free trial. All in all, Magento Go is a terrific value for the majority of eCommerce businesses.
For large businesses, the Magento Enterprise Edition is the way to go. Magento Enterprise is easily one of the most powerful and versatile systems for large businesses, but it is not the most cost-effective solution. If you plan to use Magento Enterprise, or especially Magento Enterprise Premium, understand that the wide array of features will present a substantial financial investment. In the end, though, I believe that the payoff is well worth the sacrifice.
Ease of Use
The ease of use depends on the version of Magento that you’re using. The more advanced your platform, the more complex the commands. For instance, the Magento Community Edition—while not as feature rich—is extremely simple to use, and most people should have little trouble navigating the back-end in Magento Go. Magento Enterprise is substantially more complex, but it also includes round-the-clock support, so you can easily address any questions or uncertainties.
When it comes to features, Magento is a goldmine. From SEO and marketing tools to custom development freedom, there’s virtually nothing that you cannot do in Magento. If you can’t find a particular feature in the default settings, chances are it exists in Magento Connect: The Magento Extension Marketplace. Magento Connect is Magento’s own App Store, where you can download the kinds of add-ons that allow you to truly customize your Magento experience.
No Magento review would be complete without discussing the partner program. If you truly want to get the most from your eCommerce store, it can be hugely beneficial to hire a custom developer who understands the platform and can truly optimize your site for maximum customization, usability and branding potential. Realizing this need, many shopping cart platforms have introduced partner programs, and Magento’s is one of the best.
All partners must be approved by Magento and understand the platform inside and out, in addition to having the kinds of credentials necessary to take on professional custom developments. Coalition Technologies is your ideal choice in a Magento partner, because whereas many companies have one area of focus, my company specializes in web design, development, SEO and marketing. But we’re not talking about just one or two guys who dabble in different trades. We employ a full-time, Los-Angeles based team of experts, each of whom excels in a specific field.
Thinking About Magento?
Magento is an extremely versatile and powerful platform that can take your online business to new heights of success. If you’re thinking about using Magento for your own business, consider the benefits of hiring a Magento partner to help you to get the most from your efforts. Magento has the potential to maximize your traffic and revenue and establish you as a leading force in your industry, but only if you use the platform to its maximum potential.
Check out Coalition Technologies to learn more and see our impressive portfolio, or give us a call at 1-888-800-9101.