Pros and cons of Magento eCommerce
If you’re looking for an eCommerce solution, you wouldn’t go too far before coming across Magento. Out of the box, It’s a flexible and feature-rich eCommerce solution. There is a license-free version called the Community version and a couple of supported versions with hefty price tags. However, the investment may be worthwhile if your on-line shop is the core of your business.
Magento is built to be flexible and scalable. eCommerce consultants tout it as one of the premier open source eCommerce solutions in the game. With over 125,000 sites and Fortune 500 companies under it’s name, it certainly is popular. However, is it right for you? Here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Feature-rich – the Community (free) version boasts features not commonly available in other solutions such as ability to manage multiple store fronts, multi-language and multi-currency support and is mobile and search engine friendly.
- User-friendly – the administration area is one of the more user-friendly ones we’ve come across. A simple back-end with intuitive navigation and well organised store management features.
- Cost – community version is free.
- Community – wide community of users who have developed many extensions and plugins and can help with support.
- Flexibility – Magento’s templating architecture allows you to pretty customise 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.
- Scalable – as previously mentioned, Magento is built to scale so whether you’re selling 10 products or 10,000, Magento can handle it.
- Developers – good Magento developers are hard to find. Magento is an extremely large system (over 20,000 files and 200 database tables) so it takes a fairly cluey developer with good understanding of object oriented development and experience with the core software to really know what they’re doing.
- Cost – community version is free but if you want support, the Enterprise version starts at US$14,420/year (at time of writing) and the Premium Enterprise version starts at US$49,990/year (for large businesses). Good Magento developers are often much pricier than the average ones.
- Hosting – due to its largesse, Magento should only be hosted on dedicated servers that you can configure or providers who specialise in Magento hosting. Running Magento on normal shared hosting will create a slow and frustrating user experience for visitors.
- Time – Magento’s flexible architecture also makes it complex. It usually requires more time to make the same customisations as in other solutions. It usually takes developers more time to get up the learning curve than other solutions.
Only consider using Magento if you’ve got a decent on-line business that you may need to scale quickly. You’ll need development resources available that can spend the time to set it up. This could be by way of internal developers who know PHP and MySQL, freelancers or agencies that have Magento development experience.
If you’re running a micro-business and are on an extreme budget, forget about Magento. The investment will blow your budget to bits. It may be better to consider hosted eCommerce solutions such as Shopify, BigCommerce or Volusion. These others are hosted solutions and don’t have the disadvantages that Magento have but they also don’t have the flexibility that you may want.
If you have any questions about your eCommerce website project, feel free to contact us.
Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.