Ease of Use 9/10
Magento Enterprise is an ecommerce solution with powerful built-in features and a large marketplace for add-ons, partners, and integrations. Many consider it to be the most flexible and agile platform in the market.
Particularly if you’re running Magento on your own servers, you could have complete freedom over the look, feel, and functionality of your store and you don’t have to rely on your solution provider to make changes to the site. That said, it also means that you’re in charge of maintaining and updating your servers and store, which requires an in-house team or agency. If you’re not up for all that, you may want to consider the Cloud Edition that Magento launched earlier this year.
A big strength of Magento lies in its large community of experts, developers, and agencies. Support is widely available, and because of this, some merchants have found that they’re able to resolve issues themselves using resources that are readily available.
That said, merchants who need further assistance can turn to Magento experts, agencies, or developers. Magento’s ecosystem is quite large so whether you’re looking for someone to help with coding, design, or maintenance, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding what you need.
There’s also Magento Connect, the platform’s marketplace of add-ons, modules, and integrations. Magento’s marketplace is huge, so if you’re looking to extend the capabilities of the platform, you’ll likely find what you need in Magento Connect.
- Flexible and agile
- Strong community support
- Large ecosystem of developers, experts, designers, etc.
- Highly customisable and expandable through extensions and modules
- No built-in omnichannel features
- Requires optimisation out of the box
Reasons to use Magento Commerce
- Ability to display dynamic content, pricing, and promotions depending on attributes like demographic, purchase history, and more.
- Content staging and preview so merchants can create and see updates without seeking help from IT
- Flexibility to choose the environment in which to deploy the software (i.e. cloud, 3rd party hosting, on premises)
- Varnish page caching, which can decrease response time and reduce the load on servers
In Depth Review
This review of Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise) aims to inform the reader about all major aspects they’d need to know in considering the platform for their business. It breaks this all out in bite-sized chunks, so that even those new to ecommerce can understand the platform’s benefits and failures.
Magento Commerce is the successor of Magento Enterprise Edition, the ecommerce platform first published in 2007. The first company behind the Magento product, Varien, was renamed to Magento in 2010.
From November 2013 onwards, Magento was part of eBay Enterprise.
Magento Commerce was released in 2015, shortly after Magento becomes an independent company, backed by Permira Funds. In 2018, Magento Inc. was aquired by Adobe. Today, the Magento company is fully integrated into Adobe.
In 2017, Magento has been named a Leader by Gartner Inc. in the 2017 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce, and it’s kept its rating as a leader ever since, improving its position throughout the years.
According to Builtwith, there are currently 55,030 live sites of Magento 2. 2,163 of which are running “Magento 2 Commerce”, the enterprise version of Magento’s second coming.
There is no public information available about exact pricing structures for Magento Commerce.
In general, pricing depends on the selected products (e.g. Magento Commerce + B2B suite), and the yearly turnover generated by the site or sites within the license.
A typical license fee for most merchants is between 20k and 100k US-$ per year. Magento have a large sales operation, and pricing may vary depending on geography, time of year of signing, strategic elements such as whether you’d make a great case study for Adobe, length of contract period, number of shopfronts, and the negotiation process.
Speed to Launch
Speed of launching a Magento Commerce site depends on the project and the required individual development. You should plan to have enough time to discuss requirements, design, integrations and solutions with your solution integrator before starting the actual development phase of your store, and as part of that discussion it’s worth milestoning out the development timeline.
A typical project takes about 6 to 12 months from development kick-off to launch. Projects with fewer requirements can go faster of course. The more complex the build, the worse agencies tend to be in estimating the length of build. This is common in software development, where additional complexity adds ‘unknowns’.
Magento agencies tend to follow three basic development paths:
- Sticking with Magento’s way of doing things, not going outside the lines too much.
- Building on top of Magento to add large amounts of customisation & bespoke it for each client.
- Sticking with Magento’s way of doing things, with a range of pre-formulated methodologies for elements that layer on top of it.
In general, an agency following the first or last path above is in a better position to estimate the timelines of your build. Knowing which paradigm your agency tends to follow is incredibly important, and has ramifications that will last the length of your life on the platform.
Magento Commerce On-Premise can be run on a server of your choice. There are a several hosts who focus on Magento and have years of experience with running Magento. In general it’s advised to choose one of those partners, rather than hosting on a service where Magento will technically run, but who do not have experience of its quirks and uniquenesses. A good host will vastly speed up your site, and will be a step ahead of you in spotting any problems; a bad host is often no cheaper, and costs much more in issues in the long run.
Merchants can also choose the Magento Commerce Cloud offering – in other words where Adobe themselves host your web application. You’d choose this at the point of negotiation license, and the cost would be included in the license fee.
Magento runs on PHP and MySQL as a base. It uses its own PHP Framework with parts of Zend Framework and Symfony, utilizing Composer, Dependency Injection and other modern architecturing principles.
The default frontend runs RequireJS and Knockout, while the bleeding edge approach “PWA Studio” uses ReactJS and Redux on the frontend.
As accompanying technologies, Magento has built-in support for Redis, Elasticsearch, RabbitMQ Message Queues and Varnish.
Magento supports Paypal, Braintree, Payflow, Cardinal and Authorize.net payment out of the box.
Regarding shipping, Magento delivers DHL, UPS, USPS and FedEx integrations.
Third Party Integrations
Magento Commerce comes with a number of integrations in its basic installation. Oftentimes, these third party integrations need accounts with each service provider in order to function.
Thousands of third party integrations are available on the Magento Marketplace as well as individual service providers’ websites. As Magento is the most popular Ecommerce framework worldwide, almost every service provides a Magento integration. If you have bespoked your Magento installation too much, these often require development work to integrate rather than being plug and play (this is a much greater issue than it generally would be with a platform like Shopify), and for this reason often merchants prefer to stick to a path where their store is kept closer to Magento’s architecture, limiting bespoke elements.
Magento has traditionally been known to be well-prepared for international businesses. That is still the case. You can easily change catalog data and CMS pages to reflect the selected language of your customers.
Magento can be set up to include multiple currencies with automated exchange rates.
You could say that multiregional commerce is what Magento was built for: with its multistore architecture, you can create different stores for each region, display the appropriate payment and shipping methods for each region, show prices in the correct currency, etc.
This of course requires planning, and serious decision-making ahead of time, but it’s one of the core reasons merchants choose Magento over some competing platforms.
Magento’s architecture is designed to enable multisite e-commerce platforms that combine completely separate websites in one installation. You can choose whether to share or to seperate data and settings on three different levels of the website structure.
Those levels divide the websites by language, brand, country and/or other attributes.
Though it’s only a relatively recent addition to the platform, Magento includes a PageBuilder system, which provides drag & drop functionality to create CMS pages as well as other pages on the e-commerce site, such as category pages. This can also be used for managing elements within pages and navigational features (for example, you could choose to administer elements within sitewide navigation via PageBuilder).
It’s worth stating that Magento’s PageBuilder is fairly basic. PageBuilders on ecommerce platforms tend to be very rudimentary – way behind much less ‘enterprise’ CMS platforms such as WordPress – and this is certainly the case with Magento.
Having said that, it is perfectly fine to launch a blog on the platform, or build CMS templates for content assets, or to build in elements within pages (such as category pages) which may be fully content managed by a non-technical person.
Product Management Features
Magento allows for different product types, i.e. simple products, configurable products, virtual products, downloadable products, bundle products, group products, and gift cards.
You can add product attributes to Magento’s product catalog to add information that is important for your catalog. Different input types for product attributes and granular settings for displaying and using these product attributes in the frontend allow you to create a catalog that includes whatever details you have for your products.
Still, many merchants decide to manage product information in a separate system, often a PIM or ERP, that is then imported to Magento.
Personalisation features are limited to customer segments that are dynamically assigned to customers based on their previous orders, their location, date of birth and more.
More personalisation features can be integrated via Adobe Target within Magento’s native architecture, and – of course – many third party integrations available for Magento can significantly extend personalisation.
Analytics / BI
Magento Commerce On-Premise offers reports about sales, products, customers and more. For more advanced reports, Magento offers Magento Business Intelligence (available for a separate fee) which combines Magento data with other accounts, e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, Salesforce.
Magento Commerce offers some basic CRM features, e.g. customer segments, store credit, and an integration with dotdigital.
If you plan to make greater use of CRM features, you might want to look into Magento Commerce Cloud and the other solutions by Adobe that are part of the Adobe Experience Cloud, such as Adobe Sensei, an AI for product recommendations, Adobe Target for A/B tests and personalisation, Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Analytics. It’s Magento’s aim to give every store manager the opportunity to use the data available to create a great shopping experience for their clients.
Magento Commerce can be combined with Magento Order Management System (OMS) to provide a seamless customer experience across multiple sales channels. With OMS, endless aisle shopping is possible.
Magento’s core USPs are:
- Huge community of developers (and professionals with general business experience of Magento)
- Native Multisite solution
- High quality through the Community Engineeering Programme
- Less expensive than most competitors
The Magento team, which is part of Adobe, is mainly located in Austin/Texas. It consists of several hundred employees including developers, architects, support, marketing and sales.
This team is strengthened by several regional teams worldwide. Adobe seek to augment that by naming a group of ‘Magento Masters’ each year. Members of the community who evangelise for the platform, and act as tech-savvy ambassadors.
Whereas Magento Open Source leaves you to fend for yourself largely from a support point of view, the Magento Commerce license includes access to the official support which consists of seasoned engineers. The number of support requests is unlimited – excellent reassurance for some merchants, and a reason that some choose it over and above competitors.
Additionally, agencies building the majority of the Magento stores usually offer more direct support and are able to find and fix most issues themselves, so merchants need not rely on the official Magento support only.
The developer community is one of the biggest assets of Magento. A huge community of developers, agencies and service providers has grown since the first release of Magento in 2008.
The community meets and exchanges ideas online as well as in person on the several dozen yearly Magento-centered events worldwide. Contrary to other communities, it is known to be very friendly and inclusive which leads to a lot of cooperation. On top, community developers provide a big part of the Magento core code including tests and other improvements, which leads to a very stable codebase.
These contributions are channeled by the Magento Community Engineering team in order to keep the quality high – one of the most successful initiatives within Magento and a big reason for today’s standing of Magento.
Alongside the developer community, Magento and agencies offering Magento services have built up a consultant community.
Magento Certified Solution Specialists have a proven expertise in Magento, Magento commerce, e-commerce and project management. These are often individuals who are working with solution integrators.
Magento itself offers services through its Magento Expert Consulting Group (Magento ECG) that would both consult with and develop solutions for Magento clients.
After Adobe taking over Magento in 2018, the process of integrating Magento’s teams into the overall Adobe organization is now complete. Currently, several initiatives to integrate the Adobe Experience Cloud and Magento Commerce are underway.
Major Pros of the platform
– Huge community
– Native Multisite solution
– Stable, long-running product
– High quality through the Community Engineeering Programme
– Heavily customizable
– Less expensive than most competitors
Major Cons of the platform
Taken from Gartner reprint of 2018 (prior to acquisition by Adobe):
– Open source heritage vs. shift towards non open source offerings (BI, B2B, OM)
– Personalization is not a native feature (less of a problem with Adobe Experience Manager = Magento Commerce Cloud)
– Product information management: No robust PIM functionality as seen in direct competitors
Perfect Use Cases
Multinational company, B2B and B2C, complex catalog, configurable products, fast moving enterprise, with longterm goals in digital commerce.
Magento Commerce is a complex system, and it’s useful to speak to consultants or agencies who have worked with it to qualify your needs better, and understand whether your requirements match.
Our recommended consultants have years of experience with Magento from a business & consultancy perspective.
Magento themselves have a ‘Masters’ MVP program, highlighting key members of their agency and developer community. Among these, Integer_Net are included year after year, and are open to both informal chats, and more in depth conversations with businesses looking at Magento Commerce as a potential solution.