Pros and cons of Magento as a e-commerce platform
When comes to build an e-commerce site, one of the most significant decisions for every online business is made well before the website ever takes shape. Magento is one of the first responders to this challenge. It has emerged as one of the most popular e-commerce solutions.
Magento is an e-commerce platform written in PHP and built on open source technology which provides online merchants with a flexible shopping cart system, as well as control over the look, content, and functionality of their online store. Magento offers powerful marketing, search engine optimization, and catalog-management tools.
Since the first release in 2008, Magento has quickly grown into one of the most popular eCommerce platforms available, with more than 225,000 retailers worldwide. The platform has continued to grow and boasts globally recognized customers like Rosetta Stone, Harper’s Bazaar, Ghiradelli and more. It has a huge amount of functionality and the ability to add more as and when needed.
Just like any other software product, it has its strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.
Here, we are going to explore some advantages and disadvantages of the Magento eCommerce platform to assist you in deciding whether Magento is the right platform for your business.
So, let’s take a look -
Magento has everything you need to start running your business right away. Even its Open Source version is packed with various eCommerce features like Marketing/promotions suite, Catalog management features, SEO functionality, Site management (CMS functionality, etc.), Order management (invoicing, etc.).
When starting a business, do with a view to expanding later in the future. As the business grows, e-commerce platform must be able to handle the increased amount of products and sales. Some of the e-commerce platforms might not be able to handle this growth and may hinder the progress of company but Magento can handle with ease, from a handful of products to thousands of them. In fact, Magento can approximately support up to five hundred thousands of products and thousands of transactions in an hour. It is a notable advantage because you can customize Magento without any constraints.
Magento’s templating architecture allows you to pretty customize everything so you can create your site exactly how you want The software is open source so you have full control over the code so you can develop the functionality you need.
The Community (free) version boasts features not commonly available in other solutions such as an ability to manage multiple storefronts, multi-language and multi-currency support and is mobile and search engine friendly.
Advanced testing capabilities
Magento has a robust testing enablement suite that can halve your pre-release defects. That means fewer bugs and dissatisfied customers, which saves your time and money. Magento offers the Functional Testing Framework (FTF) that is based on PHPUnit – a developer-oriented testing framework with a proven track record and stable performance. It can also be used by your QA team if you have one.
The administration area is one of the more user-friendly ones have come across. A simple back-end with intuitive navigation and well-organized store management features.
It’s difficult to get yourself on the radar, as there are so many stores and businesses competing for the same keywords. That’s why search engine optimization is still a big part of a successful online business. This is where Magento stands out. It has an extensive suite of SEO customization features. Index management allows you to control the links that get passed on to the search engine. There are plenty of standard discoverability features, like the sitemap in HTML and XML variations. There are also prefixes and suffixes, canonical tags management and other features.
A mobile-friendly configuration is a must to ensure the success of e-commerce. According to one of the surveys, nearly one-fourth of online shoppers felt the need of the mobile-friendly e-commerce platform. Online retailers cannot overlook the fact that internet browsing trend has shifted to mobile devices. Magento is mobile friendly as it allows to create a mobile site without any difficulty and give the best mobile viewing experience to the customer as far as possible. This has helped in the increase of sales and a lower bounce rate.
If you have a small business, then you can effectively use the community version of Magento. It’s completely free to use. When your business grows you can opt premier packages that will give you better performance with additional features.
Don’t underestimate the power of product alerts like the ones offered with Magento. We can attest to seeing an increase in clients’ sales from these simple communications that tell interested customers when, for example, an out-of-stock product is back in stock or if a product is on sale. Simple but very powerful.
Easy to Use
Most important, Magento platform is easy to utilize. If you’re not a very computer savvy or don't have a strong base of technology, you can find a large range of Magento support packages to help you on your way. Once you’ve gone through the basics, it becomes quite easier to manage.
Multiple Pricing Options
The ability to price items differently based on your organization’s needs should never be excluded from an online business. Magento offers customer group pricing. As the name implies, this feature allows online businesses to offer different pricing to their various groups of customers. This is a must-have for online businesses. With this function, you can set up special prices for retail, VIPs, wholesale, and staff groups. Magento does not require template modifications, layout changes, or other alterations that could break your design. Customers in different groups simply see their respective group pricing. Magento allows you to hide product prices from visitors who are not logged in, while simultaneously urging customers to log in to view prices. This simple step can help you gather important information about existing and new customers’ product preferences.
One of the most important features of any eCommerce platform is how many products it can hold and how many transactions it can process. Even if you’re just starting out with only a handful of products, you want a platform that can grow with your business and handle unexpected surges in traffic. Magento can support up to 500,000 products and 80,000 transactions per hour, giving you a lot of room to grow.
Large community support
There is a large community of Magento users because it is one of the most used e-commerce platforms in the world. This has helped to ensure quick support. In addition, the large community has inspired to develop many extensions and plugins. As a result, if you have any problems, you are likely to get more support because there are countless resources to solve problems.
While Magento offers many features that provide advantages over other platforms, there are a few things to take into consideration before choosing this as your platform.
High costs for the upgrade
While the community version of Magento may be free, the upgrades certainly are not. The enterprise-level product includes a yearly fee that can be very expensive for small to medium businesses, especially considering that even with upgrades Magento is still an off-the-shelf solution that may not meet all your needs.
Require development skills
Unlike other platforms, nearly all additions to your website will require development resource to make the addition, (even if it is a plugin). They can very rarely be done by someone with no or little development knowledge.
Need a good hosting environment
Executing Magento on normal shared hosting will create a slow and annoying user experience for visitors. Hence it should only be hosted on dedicated servers that you can configure or else, go with hosting partners who specialize in Magento hosting. This means you will need to pay higher for good, reliable hosting.
Heavy on resources
Magento as a platform is robust and scalable, but that means it is bulky and resources hungry. You have to feed the monster for it to spit fire. It requires heavy server resources and hence the operational costs for a Magento store are a bit higher than the other e-commerce platforms. If you are looking to set up a small store, you may need to consider your running costs to find out your real margins.
Some people find it time-consuming. Magento has so many extensions and features that you can use, but it seems quite complex some time to find out the best extensions and plugins for your store. One reason behind this slow loading is due to its flexible architecture, which makes it complex and time-consuming to set it up. However, this is highly debated because only community version of Magento is slow at loading. In contrast, the enterprise and premium enterprise versions are quite fast.
Regular maintenance and optimizations
Magento uses a lot of in-built indexes, flat tables, caches, logs etc. to keep the system functioning properly. These need to be kept regularly updated and maintained. A lot of this can be automated, but it is important to keep an eye on these elements to make sure the store runs optimized and provides the best performance to visitors.
Lastly saying, Magento has everything that you can look for in an eCommerce package. It boasts a ton of extensive features, along with the ability to flexibly approach a variety of functional problems. Its incredible suite of business features will allow you to build a fully-functioning eCommerce store without cutting any corners. It’s perfect for scale and rapidly expanding businesses.
What's your opinion about Magento? Let us know your views in the comment section. You can also share your experiences with us. Thank you!