Ecommerce Guide

Magento Reviews

There is a paid tier available for enterprise users, but at a basic level the software is free for you to use. Magento is used by massive retailers like Samsung and Nespresso, as well as countless small e-commerce operators, so it’s a serious contender for any business looking to make the move into online retail.

  • Price - 6/10
    6/10
  • Ease of Use - 9/10
    9/10
  • Support - 7/10
    7/10
  • Features - 10/10
    10/10

Summary

Magento is the most heavily used free e-commerce software, used by over 30,000 merchants across the world.

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There is a paid tier available for enterprise users, but at a basic level the software is free for you to use. Magento is used by massive retailers like Samsung and Nespresso, as well as countless small e-commerce operators, so it’s a serious contender for any business looking to make the move into online retail.

magento

Magento review: in a nutshell

By almost all accounts, Magento is THE e-commerce platform, and currently the most popular such solution in existence. It’s estimated that Magento is used on 20 percent of all e-commerce sites online.

Under the hood, Magento works in either of two ways:

  • a) it’s available as a free download – this means that you can download it from the official website and install it on your own server,
  • b) it’s available as a hosted service – this means that you don’t have to install anything yourself, but there’s also a much higher price tag.

Magento is your all-in-one solution for e-commerce, offering a ton of features with basically nothing missing from the platform. That being said, it’s a fairly advanced piece of software engineering. It’s going to be nearly impossible to use it if you don’t have web development experience or don’t employ anyone who does.

Who’s Magento best suited for?

Magento is a great platform for a shop that you know will do well. If you’re an ultra-small business making your first move into e-commerce, there may well be less heavyweight solutions that can do the job. But if you have an established model, the funding to back it up, and the time to mould and sculpt Magento to fit your needs, it may well prove the perfect platform for your online store.

Magento is also optimized to work with thousands of products, tons of traffic, and a big number of sales. In other words, it’s for the bigger e-commerce stores out there.

Features in Magento

Here are the most important features of Magento:

  • Inventory management.
  • Handling shipping charges.
  • Coupon management.
  • Multiple payment gateway options.
  • API for web services.
  • 5,000+ extensions available.
  • Built-in multilingual support.
  • Optimized for mobiles and tablets.
  • SEO features built-in.
  • Customer groups.
  • Product bundles.
  • Newsletter management.
  • Marketing tools.
  • Site management features.
  • Order processing.
  • Customer service.
  • Gifts.

Magento review: pricing

I have good news and bad news for you.

  • Good: You can get the Community version of Magento for free. Just download it from the main website and install it on your web server.

magento community

  • Bad: The Enterprise version – the one that’s set up by the Magento guys for you – is a lot more expensive. In fact, the company doesn’t even list the prices openly on the website. To get a quote, you have to fill out a contact form and tell them about your business first. After that, it’s been reported that you can hear anything from $15,000 to even $50,000 / year.

The online store designs in Magento

Strictly speaking, Magento – the main company – doesn’t offer any custom designs for your store. To get something quality and good-looking what you have to do is go to a third party.

This means either browsing the catalogue under Magento Connect, or you can go straight to ThemeForest and get a premium theme.

Finally, if you know how, you can build a Magento theme yourself from the ground up.

Managing products in your Magento store

Setting aside all the technical difficulties during set-up, Magento is actually friendly to work with on a daily basis. The main dashboard is easy to grasp, with well-organized sections. The inventory is quite simple to get around, and you can add new products pretty easily.

magento-inventory

When it comes to online payments, Magento lets you integrate with PayPal and Authorize.net out the gate, and it also offers multiple other payment extensions through Magento Connect. On top of that, you can experiment with things like one-click payments, guest checkouts, and more.

Review conclusion – is Magento the right tool to launch your online store with?

Pros of Magento

User Friendly: As a starting point, Magento is a user-friendly solution for those without the technical expertise to code a unique solution off their own back. The admin area is designed to be accessible to those without extensive knowledge or experience, so you should find it easy to piece together the basics of your online store yourself.

Scalability: One of the biggest advantages of Magento is that it’s a perfectly scalable system, so you can switch up your game from 10 products to 100,000. Magento is built with scalability in mind, so you can expect to find it easy to ratchet things up when the time comes.

Feature-Intensive: Because Magento has the capacity to be such a huge product, it can get pretty feature intensive. This is good, in the respect that you can make Magento do pretty much whatever you need it to do. However, be aware that this can increase the complexity of the system, which can make it difficult should you need to draft in the help of a Magento developer.

Cons of Magento

Development, Support and Maintenance Costs: Magento is expensive on the tech support side for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s a complex system in the background, and this means it often takes even experienced Magento developers time to learn how to do what you need them to do. If you want to go for the enterprise option, which includes support directly from Magento, you are looking at around $15,000 / year (with the most expensive Premium Enterprise package clocking in at a staggering $50,000 / year.

Hosting: Due to the complexity and scalable design, you pretty much need to host a Magento store on its own dedicated server. This means additional expense to get things started, and an extra online monthly cost to boot.

Time-Intensive: Because the learning curve is so much longer for developing in Magento than in other applications, it can be a time consuming process trying to get modifications made, or otherwise relying on input from a Magento developer. This means it’s less nimble than certain other solutions, and less speedy to get it where you need it to be.

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