A merchant venturing into eCommerce may at first be stunned by the overwhelming choice. There are numerous options and solutions available, with tons of contradictory arguments in support of each.
There is, however, an eCommerce platform that clearly stands out – Magento. According to the most recent researches, Magento holds over a quarter (26,41% to be precise, http://www.datanyze.com/market-share/e-commerce-platforms/Alexa%20top%201M/magento-market-share ) of the market share in Alexa Top 1M rating.
It is still on you to choose the appropriate solution, but alongside the figures above, we have a couple of facts that can make the choice easier. Read on, and if the listed qualities are what you are looking for, Magento is the best choice for you.
1. Magento is a mature platform
Since the inception back in 2008, and up to that moment, the platform has been undergoing continuous improvements and fine-tuning. Why does that matter? It’s simple:
– The current version branches (1.9 for Community Edition and 1.14 for Enterprise Edition) are stable and reliable, with numerous features and little to no bugs.
– There are lots of tutorials and “how-to’s” widely available on web. Besides the official manual (counting over 120 pages and available from http://www.magentocommerce.com/resources/magento-user-guide ), you can easily find quick tips, advice and best practices by just doing Google search.
2. Magento is a live product
There is a living and breathing ecosystem around the platform, with new solutions and service providers emerging every day. If you ever need a professional developer or a ready-made extension for your store, you will not be doomed to weeks of search for a one-in-the-world unique specialist or the-one-and-the-only solution.
Thousands of development companies from across the world, small to huge, would be happy to offer their products and services. You will only need to pick the ones that meet your needs best, basing on any criteria: location, pricing, reviews, etc.
3. Magento is available for free
Out of the platform’s 2 branches, Enterprise Edition comes with a paid subscription plan, while the far more popular Community Edition is a free open-source product. Although the Enterprise Edition packs a couple of features not available in Magento CE, and has official support service, the Community Edition is not in any way inferior. In fact, it is quite easy to turn your Community Edition into Enterprise due to the fact that…
4. …Magento is extendable
If your online store is powered by Magento, you are not limited to the default set of features. Whatever functionality you may think of, you can get. If none of the hundreds of ready-made solutions matches your needs completely, custom development can get you exactly where you want. And what’s most important – due to the Magento’s modular structure, any extra modules or professionally performed customizations will not prohibit further updates of the platform itself.
5. Magento is scalable
Magento comes packed with a bunch of features and possibilities, and you can begin or cease using any of them at any time. You can start with a simple one-product store, and end up with a dozen websites powered by your single original Magento instance.
That’s right. Magento multistore capability is unrivaled among its competitors. Even the free Magento Community Edition can power unlimited websites, each with its own design, customers and products. No matter how quickly your business grows, your Magento will grow with you, at no extra cost.
6. Magento is aimed at and is tailored to the needs of eCommerce
Unlike some other widely used CMS solutions (like WordPress), Magento is built specifically to cover the needs of online stores. Out-of the-box, Magento offers a proper tool-set for arranging an online sale on its every stage, from improving a store’s search ranking (with Magento’s vast array of SEO optimization features) to accepting the online payment (via multiple supported payment processors).
7. You can operate Magento without being a developer
You are likely to need decent technical knowledge (or professional development service) for the initial setup of your Magento store; but to operate the store day-to-day, you can safely rely on your own.
If you know how to use a web browser and have some general understanding of how online stores work, you are mostly ready to administer a Magento-powered website. Setting up products and catalog tree, creating and placing content blocks, processing orders – all these crucial actions are performed through the intuitive admin interface, without the need for coding.
And certainly, if your technical expertise extends beyond that, a set of advanced features is at your disposal, allowing you to fine-tune every aspect of your store.
8. Magento is not a hosted solution
Unlike some popular eCommerce systems, Magento does not include hosting on closed servers.
It may seem inconvenient at first, but think of it this way: the security and the privacy of your store and data is something you can control directly. You don’t have to trust the well-being of your entire business to anyone but yourself. You can take any security or performance optimization measures you find appropriate, without depending on service providers. You can switch your hosting provider and developer at any time. Doesn’t it sound better?
9. Magento offers best-in-class customer experience
The fact that Magento stood the test of time with such obvious success is not just due to its smart architecture or ease of operations. First and foremost, Magento is convenient for your customers. Over time, Magento has incorporated (and sometimes, invented) every feature an online shopper expects from a modern web-store. Remember, it’s your customers who fuel your business, and the millions of customers worldwide have already voted Magento with their own wallets.
10. Magento 2 is coming!
Why is that important? The Magento 2 will offer a serious overhaul of the Merchant experience and code base. The developers are excited, as many new opportunities are opening for them. The most mature professionals are, however, cautious, and warn against jumping on that train quickly.
Along with the new opportunities, the new platform brings new challenges to overcome and new pitfalls to avoid. There is still a good 6-month wait before the official commercial release (currently planned for Q4 2015), so the options are all yours: if you have a long-term project with extensive time and financial resources to invest in the development, Magento 2 may be worth considering. If your goal is to actually start your online business, think Magento 1.x. These days, there are successful stores still running on Magento Community Edition 1.3 (released back in 2009).