Magento is the most popular e-commerce platform right now; according to the makers, it is the fastest-growing e-commerce platform. If you’re planning to start selling products online or if you are ready to move to a more robust and powerful platform, Magento may be an option for you. Besides being very flexible, using Magento often results in a better user experience for your customers, which translates into a higher rate conversion.
Magento started from a team of developers from OS Commerce; 5-7 years ago, it was the shopping platform. Now, it is owned by eBay. At press time, Magento comes in three different versions: Magento Go, Magento Community Edition and the Magento Enterprise Edition. With the Enterprise Edition, there they have two plans: one is $14,000 per year and the other is $50,000 per year, just for the license. That comes at a high cost and companies that have a Magento Enterprise license make millions per year, while most of small and medium businesses use either Magento Go or the Magento Community Edition. This last is more than enough to integrate Magento’s core functionalities, covering most businesses needs, as well as any kind of expansion and scalability with both from a logistic and functional standpoint.
The Benefits of Magento over other platforms
What are the benefits of Magento? One of the really valuable things that make many users choose Magento rather than other options is a multistore functionality. What that means is, if you let’s say for example on a fashion boutique, and you sell dresses, shirts, pants but at the same time, you also sell accessories like belts, bracelets, necklaces, you may want to different brands for that. With Magento, you can do that; you can have a different completely different looking store and brands. But, at the same time, everything from the back end – products, images, and inventory – is under the same roof, making easier for you to manage everything from one panel.
Magento is also great in terms of SEO; by default, it comes with search engine-friendly URLs and descriptive addresses for search engines to understand what that specific product is about. Magento is also a very robust framework for you to work with as it forces programmers to take a certain approach in doing and integrating stuff so that everything added is compliant with their structure. That results in a very organized structure, preventing hacks into the platform or placing codes that are messy and will break other code parts in the middle to long run.
Features and functionalities of Magento
Magento allows you to have full control over your categories and products as well as managing all the product details such as name, SKU number, price, product inventory, pictures and so on. In Magento, the products can also have attributes, such as technical or detailed specifications in addition to the product description. You can also utilize the wish-list functionality that is built into Magento, run any kind of promotions on the same platform and basically have full control of the rules dictating the rules of how the shopping cart should work. So, for instance, if you want every item on your shopping cart to be 25 percent off, you can do that, or you can set a 25 percent discount only on specific categories, or in particular conditions.
Magento is extremely programmable; it’s very flexible. Magento also allows you have full access to your orders, invoices, customer information, shipment information, and it comes with a very advanced reporting control. So basically every logistic and operational detail of your business that you want to see, you will be able to see it with Magento though their reports.
Magento Connect extensions
Magento also comes with a built-in CMS (content management system) for you to control your content pages. You can just log into the back end and you can edit on there through the CMS. Also with Magento, you can configure how you want to taxes to behave and how you want shipping to work. Also, this has such a strong community base that, logistically any kind of shipping company or fulfillment sent that you want to use as well as any kind of payment gateway you want to use they have it available. You can even configure how and when you want to utilize different shipping options, as well as what the payments are like. According to Yogesh Trivedi, Magento consultant at M-Connect Media, “If you have a business that sells numerous products that come in with different characteristics, extensions will help your customers find the product easily with the particular specifications in minimum time.”
For payments, you’re not just limited to a PayPal or Authorized.net – you can actually use this whole array of third-party payment gateways and merchant processors that Magento supports. So, basically, you can virtually do anything with Magento. Whether you need ERP or an enterprise resource planning system installed, whether you need to have your e-commerce store integrated with Google merchants, or whether you need to integrate your Magento store with Amazon and eBay, you can do it. So Magento allows you to shares the inventory controls and product controls in management. Or if you need a gift voucher system installed, Magento can do that. Basically, anything that you can think of can find its solution through a plug-in available through Magento’s extensive plug-in library.