What is Magento and why should you use it
Magento, a world renowned e-commerce store solution, was originally created in 2008 by Roy Rubin. Unlike many other open source solutions, this e-commerce software has been built from the perspective of large businesses offering such features as multi-store functionality (allowing for multiple stores), theme support (hundreds of themes to choose from), and real time shipping calculations. It also offers an array of different payment gateways including Amazon Pay and Authorize.net; furthermore, it’s easy to integrate with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Among all the high-powered, feature-rich ecommerce platforms that exist today, one stands out with an exceptional amount of power and features. Magento is what is referred to as an open source platform which allows for complete customization in design and functionality. In addition, this platform has been made available to the public as a free download under what is known as a General Public License or GPL , as well as through what are called commercial modules.
The company behind the development of this world renowned software package also provides what are known as installation service packages at additional cost that would include customizing your software to meet your companies unique needs. It should be noted that these services do not come without a cost, however it may still be more affordable than what it may cost to have a website built from scratch, which is what many people do in the beginning. This approach also means less time for you to spend on learning how to use a new system and more time focusing on what is important for your company. The one downside that Magento Inc., has experienced since going commercial with their product is what some people believe to be an “over-saturated market,” caused by too many companies trying to sell the same basic platform under different names.
Magento offers what are called modules that can be added onto the software package for increased functionality at additional cost. These modules include what are known as template design packages, shopping cart design packages, shipping design packages, payment gateway plugins and others.
What type of products can Magento handle?
Magento is what is known as an Enterprise Level ecommerce platform and thus what it was designed to do what other platforms cannot, including what are now referred to as enterprise-level applications. This means that the software package offers what are called multi-store functionality which allows for a single database and shopping cart system to be maintained and used by many separate companies. For example, if you were to create a network of company stores, each company would have its own website but all would share the same backend data such as inventory levels and customer information across all their stores within the network. Additionally, this software tends to handle what are known as very large catalogs with ease, while still offering exceptional speed for what is known as high-transaction volume sites.
What are some of Magento’s features?
Although what are called modules can be added to the software package, what it comes with right out the box includes what are know as Easy Admin Interface (easily update your product catalog both in the frontend and backend), Unlimited Categories & Subcategories, Advanced Search Functionality including what is known as Contextual Search which matches products based on what a customer is searching for, Multiple Shipping Methods (With or Without shipping costs), Promotions Engine, Mobile Commerce Capability using what is known as HTML5 & CSS3 (Responsive Design) which automatically resizes pages to fit any sized screen (Desktops, Tablets and Smartphones), what is known as Multilingual Capability (Create Language-Specific Stores), what are called Advanced Pricing Rules & Promotions, what are called Gift Vouchers, what are know as Customer Loyalty Schemes including what is known as Points for Prizes/Free Shipping, what are call Up-sells/Cross-Sells Suggestions based on customer browsing habits , what are called Product Wishlists, Built in SEO Functionality to help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which makes your site easy to crawl by major search engines like Google etc., Built in Social Media Functionalities which allows you to implement social media sites into your website so that products can easily be shared via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other various social media sites, what are called Smart Product Recommendations (Based on what products your existing customers what using), what is known as CMS Pages & Blogs, what are call Advanced Shipping Rules (Define Shipping Zones around the world and then set rules for what countries/states/regions each shipping zone applies to), what is know as Full Suite of Payment Gateways which allows you to accept credit cards and PayPal payments with ease.
Magento is not only great for customers but great for developers as well: it’s easily extendable with the huge library of extensions to choose from, it’s well documented (including a ‘how to’ section on the website), and almost bug free. What other software can you find that is open source and has such huge community support? On the Magento forums there are over 500 threads talking about different extensions and how other people have used them successfully in their own e-commerce stores.
Additionally, while this software may seem complicated at first glance, Magento makes it easy for developers; they’ve separated out all of the functionality into modules making it possible to turn off certain features you don’t want (and do not require) like gift certificates or guest checkouts. What many users fail to realize is that even if your business doesn’t use these features right away, you can still save by using Magento. What do we mean? Well, unlike other e-commerce solutions such as OpenCart and Zen Cart which require developers to purchase a license for each extension they use, Magento only requires one license per installation (a ‘one time fee’). This means whether your website needs 1 or 100 modules, it’s always one price: $125.00. Many people also believe that the open source nature of the platform makes it impossible to receive support; this is not true – there are professional support options available from both merchants and community members alike through Magento Connect and StackExchange.