At the present time, the web development industry is flooded with several software platforms, frameworks, & technologies. Businesses are free to pick the one which can fulfill their needs competently. If you are thinking to start an e-commerce business, then you can choose Magento as your platform for developing a high-quality of a website. However, Magento is a CMS but has extensions and templates to build a feature-rich and search engine friendly e-commerce website.
As per the analysis of the survey results of 56,000 websites among the top one million e-commerce sites, it has been revealed that Magento is the undisputed king with an approximate 26% using the same. It has also registered an amazing 20% growth in the last one year!
Worldwide, Magento dominates the market, though their biggest users are based in North America.
Magento is one such platform that is quite popular among various business organizations because of a lot of reasons. It is an open source e-commerce platform that will absolutely work magnificently in increasing its popularity among all e-retailers. In addition to this, the platform has addressed the severe issues of the online merchant community like unproductive availability of the customization features, scalability, flexibility and high development cost.
Why is Magento popular?
There are plenty of reasons for the massive popularity of the Magento e-commerce platform and among them, some are as follows:
- Easy to use with plentiful business tools
- Provide multi-language support
- Open sourced with a robust MVC architecture
- Ensures fast page loading
- Engage customer with reward points
- Can manage peak traffic
- Offers excellent SEO compatibility
- Is completely customizable
- Facilitates a delightful shopping experience
- Offer multiple options for deployment
There is still more to Magento like the ease in 3rd party integration, product filtering, responsive design, etc. which all catches the attention of entrepreneurs from all around the world.
Magento’s Suite of Omni-channel Solutions
At present, there are 2 Magento products available: the Community Edition and the Enterprise Edition. In addition, to the fact that one is free of cost and the other is not, you might not be sure what the difference is between them and which one is right for you.
Magento Community Edition
Magento Community Edition is the perfect solution if you are a tech-savvy merchant or developer that wants to explore the flexibility of Magento e-commerce platform. You can modify—and even contribute to the core code and engage with the passionate community for guidance and support.
It is an open e-commerce solution that provides developers complete code visibility and an affordable way to create unique and engaging sites for small businesses. It is supported by a vibrant community of partners and developers who repeatedly advance the platform by creating new extensions, contributing code, and participating in Magento forums and user groups.
- Feature-Rich E-commerce: Magento Community Edition comprises commerce features you need to create, promote, and manage an engaging, responsive site. This out-of-the-box solution is all set for global commerce, with support for nearly all currencies, local tax rates, and languages.
- Easy-To-Extend Platform: Configuring Magento Community Edition to meet your requirements is simple. Choose from a rich array of affordable off-the-self extensions accessible in the Magento Marketplace, and find developers trained and ready to make custom integrations and updates.
- Vibrant Community: Magento boasts an active community of merchants and developers who share new thoughts, help each other solve problems, and work together to advance the platform.
Magento Enterprise Edition
Magento Enterprise Edition is the scalable, high-performance e-commerce solution for large and fast-growing businesses. It has the flexibility and the enterprise-class features you need to create an e-commerce solution custom-made to your unique requirements. As well as, it assists you to drive more traffic to your store, convert browsers into buyers, and boost online revenue.
An unrivaled and powerful commerce platform, Magento Enterprise Edition is designed to empower merchants to rapidly revolutionize and deliver engaging experiences to customers across all devices and channels. The platform delivers out-of-the-box, rich functionality, enterprise scale and performance, and seamless integrations with third-party solutions to keep you up in front of increasingly complex commerce operations, and growing customer demands.
- Engaging Shopping Experiences: With a rich commerce platform, you can improve conversion with fast checkout, offer seamless shopper experiences across multiple devices anywhere, anytime and boost sales with personalized content.
- Customer Loyalty: Magento Enterprise Edition empowers you to improve shopper engagement on your site, incentivize repeat purchases, and reward your high-value customers for building customer loyalty.
- Fast Deployment: Rapidly and cost-effectively build a website that is unique to your brand. This customizable, open source platform flawlessly integrates with third-party solutions, can be deployed in any environment, and is backed by a vast network of commerce experts ready to help you.
Big Players Using Magento
Magento has become an enormously popular e-commerce platform amongst both developers and regular users. Among the 200,000+ Magento retailers, some of the world's best-known and biggest brands can be found. There are many reasons such trusted and established brands choose to trust their e-commerce operations to Magento. For one thing, Magento is fully customizable with respect to the look, feel, and functionality.
This is an essential feature for brands with an exceptional personality that is known and trusted by their customers. It facilitates them to customize the e-commerce platform to fit their brand identity and mesh effortlessly with the rest of their online presence. Magento is also well-equipped to aid and accommodate business growth. It has a complete revenue-boosting toolset and is fully scalable to handle increasing traffic and product catalogs. The enormous feature set of Magento is also complemented by a huge library of extensions. This means that any needed features that are not included as standard can probably be found and added.
Among the brands that depend on Magento for their e-commerce operations are:
Without a doubt, Nike is one of the most popular and best-known sportswear brands on Earth. Their famous tick logo is also one of the most famous and instantly recognizable emblems. Through their modern, sleek, Magento-powered webstore, they offer their full range of products. Clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men, women, and children are all available, and easy to find with options to search by a variety of criteria such as color, sport, and size.
“Nike’s first Facebook store was launched in Australia with the help of our digital agency, IE, and Magento Enterprise. The success of this effort has set the benchmark for other Nike markets to learn from and potentially leverage in the future”, says Dallas Boland, Retail Director of Nike Australia.
Amiclubwear – The king in the online marketplace for Women’s club wear and apparels. The company has earned more than $30 million in annual revenues in 2011. The website is created on the Magento platform and stands first class in performance, powerful marketing & reliability.
“Our business experienced incredible growth with Magento Community Edition. We upgraded to the Enterprise Premium Edition because we wanted to take full advantage of Magento—not just the platform, but their expertise and support as well”, comments Mr. Yang Yang, the CEO of Amiclubwear. The online store also ranks in Internet retailer’s Top 500 list.
Heath Ceramics is a California based company which protracts in the industry for more than 60 years. The company outshines in designing tableware and tile sets in an enormously amazing fashion. Their works can be seen in homes, museums and restaurants, worldwide. The online store is awe-inspiring looking built with the astonishing features of Magento platform.
“Thanks to AOE media and Magento, our customer experience online captures the beauty, richness, and depth of our products and in-person experience”, says Catherine Bailey, the Owner & Creative Director at Heath Ceramics.
IMA was initially founded in 1981 and has grown-up into a world leader in Military collectibles in 2004. With a bright opportunity to showcase their historic and unique products with millions of people via National Gehttp://www.ima-usa.com/vaographic channel, the company decided to upgrade their website in a cutting-edge look so that it could come up with an augmented traffic. The team finally fell for the Magento platform, where they had added options for remarketing and promotional campaigns.
“We were happy with Magento Community, but now I am thrilled with the performance and features of Enterprise. We are glad to have a platform that can support our growth for years to come”, says Mr. Alex Cranmer, Vice President of International Military Antiques.
Out-of-the-box Magento Features
Below are five features that you may not be acquainted with, or have adequate knowledge about, to use it proficiently. Spending some time learning how to make use of these features better, and even receiving training from a Magento Solutions provider, is often a lot more cost effective than getting your developers to integrate a module or a custom solution.
(1) Customer Segments
This is one of my favorite features of Magento EE. It is such a commanding tool which many merchants simply don’t know enough about to use efficiently – many invest in costly third party ‘automated personalized shopping’ solutions. Effective utilization of customer segmentation can assist you to boost conversion rate and the amount of returning customers, so let’s look at how you can improve your conversion with minimal development time below!
A customer segment can effortlessly be presented by setting a couple of simple conditions. For example- All customers that have purchased items totaling £200+ in the last 30 days.
This will provide with a list of matched customers, and once you have created a customer segment you can quickly create shopping cart rules that only apply to certain customer segments. For example, all customers that have purchased items totaling £200+ in the last 30 days will be shown a 10% loyalty discount.
You can also utilize the customer segments to personalize the user journey using Rule-Based Product Relations (more about that below) and creating banners which you can insert using widgets on CMS pages, categories or product pages.
So by spending a bit of time learning and setting up your segments and related promotions and content, you can quickly personalize the experience for your customers. I really recommend investing a small amount of your time into this and see the rewards you will get over the next 3–6 months before looking at potential 3rd parties which could be a potentially expensive investment if not done right.
(2) Rule-Based Product Relations
If you have a large product catalog, it can be a daunting task to set up related products, cross-sells and up-sells. The Magento EE feature called Rule-Based Product Relations can help you automate this as you can set which products to appear as related products, cross-sells and/or up-sells based on the conditions you choose.
Imagine an online women’s clothing store. If you want a product in the ‘Shoes’ category to automatically display products from the ‘Jeans’ category as up-sells, you can use the Rule-Based Product Relation feature to easily create an up-sell rule using conditions based on product attributes. No manual assignment is required.
This is a powerful tool in its own right and when combined with effective customer segments it will offer your customers a personalized experience that will be the envy of your competitors. If you have customer segments set up, you can simply set your rules to apply to specific customer segments and you will suddenly find yourself with a highly personalized user journey for your customers.
(3) Visual Merchandiser
Up until the Magento EE 1.14 release, Magento did not provide OOTB functionality to be able to see how your products would appear on the front end. As a merchant, you had to use ‘position’ numbering to change the appearance of products in a category and if you wanted a visual merchandiser you had to use one of many Magento modules available through the Magento community.
However, from Magento EE 1.14, Visual Merchandiser is now an OOTB feature. When you’re using the Visual Merchandiser feature in the Magento Admin, you can drag, drop and save your products with ease to and see the new positioning updated on your website.
The Visual Merchandiser feature also includes another two features called ‘Hero Products’ and ‘Smart Categories’. ‘Hero Products’ facilitates you to specify one or more products to be displayed constantly at the top of your category page – regardless of how these products have been positioned in the visual merchandiser. ‘Smart Categories’ facilitates you to automatically add products to categories based on certain conditions you set. For example, you could create a ‘New In’ category and automatically pull in products that have been created in the last 30 days.
Magento has a great tutorial on their Vimeo channel on how to use the Visual Merchandiser – Magento EE 1.14 Visual Merchandiser Tutorial
(4) Reward Points
The key to all merchants trading online at the present times is customer retention, and a great way to get customers to return to your shop is to set up a loyalty scheme which will reward customers for various interactions with your website.
A number of third party modules and services offer loyalty features for Magento merchants, but Magento EE provides an excellent feature set that will let you reward your customers OOTB. It is every easy to set up and gives you the flexibility to configure how rewards points can be earned, and how many points customers can earn with each interaction.
Although it may not be as comprehensive as other 3rd party modules, the OOTB Magento feature is a great place to start if you are looking to introduce a loyalty program on your website. I would encourage you to use the Magento EE Reward Points functionality to test reward strategies before considering investing in custom solutions or integrating 3rd parties.
(5) Gift Registry
If you are running an e-commerce store selling products that customers are likely to put on a gift list for (e.g. a wedding, birthday or new baby) then you should look at Magento’s OOTB Gift Registry feature.
As a merchant, this feature facilitates you to define multiple types of Gift Registers with attributed of your choice. For example, you can create a Baby Shower register with a gender attribute so that the buyers know whether the new arrival is a boy, girl or a surprise and then purchase the products to match.
Your customers will be able to create multiple registers based on your defined types, and can add items to their gift registers and share the list with friends and family attending their event. The buyers can then purchase items directly from the register which will update as and when an item is bought.
This is simply another feature which takes minimal effort to configure and depending on your line of business, can generate a high return.
Advantages of Magento E-commerce Platform
For e-commerce stores, Magento platform holds the determined share and stands as the top e-commerce development service provider. Let us talk over various advantages of making use of Magento e-commerce platform for the development of online stores.
(1) Provides freedom to manage multiple stores at a single platform
At this moment, store owners having multiple e-commerce stores based on Magento platform can manage their different stores that cater to different customers and regions through a single platform. It means that you can manage both the stores simultaneously and single-handedly without the need to misrepresent between multiple platforms which can save your money, time and efforts to a great extent. This e-commerce platform has streamlined the lives of store admins to a great extent by providing them a single interface to manage multiple Magento based e-commerce stores.
(2) Effective handling and management of the product categories
It doesn't matter whether your store is small or large as its product and category management features facilitate complete control over your e-commerce store. You can easily keep a track record of all products available in your store and can keep a regular tab on your stock control. With this development platform, you will always have up to date information about the available products and the various related product categories on your e-commerce store.
(3) Facilitates easy setup of the payment gateway services
With the aim of allowing easy integration of the payment services into your online store, Magento has teamed up with a number of payment service providers like PayPal, Google Checkout, Sage Pay and various other such options. Due to this, desired payment services can be easily added to the e-commerce store based on Magento platform. Further, it offers a huge list of payment options that are more effective, popular and secure in online transactions.
(4) Supports various Search engine optimization (SEO) features
Considering the huge importance of the SEO in the online business environment, this platform offers numerous SEO features like SEO friendly URLs, facility of customized meta descriptions for every product along with auto-generated sitemaps with the intention of improving the online ranking of your e-commerce site on major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and such others.
(5) Increased control and customization features for website management
With the help of this e-commerce platform, store owners are having better control and management over their site through the help of its various brilliant features. You can now perform crucial tasks like management of CRM and ERP systems through front and back end functionality, easy real-time management of the inventory control and other such functions. It has provided great power and website control to the store owners so that they can manage their website more effectively.
(6)Functionality for analytics and reporting tools
Now, business organizations can take quicker and statistics based decisions due to the integration of various analytics and reporting tools in this e-commerce development platform. These tools will provide you detailed information about your sales activity, customer behavior and performance of your various products on your e-commerce store so as to provide a better insight into the performance of your site.
(7) Targeting of the mobile based customers
As mobile commerce is increasing day by day and number of customers are shopping online through various mobile based devices. So, ignoring mobile customers can be the biggest mistake for any e-commerce site. But, this is not the case with the sites built on the Magento platform as they can be seamlessly accessed and used on other mobile based devices like smartphones or tablets. It offers the same level of user experience and functionalities to its mobile users so that they can engage with your Magento site effectively.
(8) Easy Integration with Extensions
Magento offers a huge collection of extensions that are easily integrated easily suffice business needs. These extensions are available for very specific requirements, otherwise, you can get help from community/ developers and get an extension designed for you. The pricing for extensions is surprisingly cheap unless you need it for a CRM integration. To quote an example here, one of the major accounting software is QuickBooks and it’s simple to integrate Magento with QuickBooks extension.
(9) Very Affordable Platform
This CMS is open source which reduces the cost of the license. Apart from this, it can fit in your budget as well. Several extensions and templates are available for the free while on the other side, you can also add customizable in the same. For a custom website, however, you will have to hire dedicated Magento developer who has enough skills and experience of working in this industry. The cost of the development is also very low because of the several available free templates and extensions to install for various functionalities. The maintenance cost is also very low which makes this platform affordable one for the e-commerce website solution.
(10) A Large Community to Support
Numbers of extensions and modules are available on its community group. You can almost find the solution of your every problem regarding a Magento website in this community. You can also ask your query about any issue which is making your website structure dumb on the same, and can get the solution also.
It can now be fully understood that there are numerous benefits of setting up your e-commerce business on Magento platform. This platform will take care of every business requirement of your online store and will provide your customers an unparalleled user experience and functionalities on your site.
Best Magento Extensions to Enhance Your E-commerce Store
Here, you will come across some valuable extensions for Magento — the e-commerce platform — that address common e-commerce-related tasks. Some of these work best with the free Magento Community Edition; others will also work well on the Enterprise version.
uDropship make communications more efficient between store and drop shippers.
Drop shipping is an excellent way to increase a store’s inventory or add items that might otherwise be too costly when shipped to a warehouse only to be shipped again to a customer. But keeping track of all of the essential relationships can be a challenge. uDropship from Unirgy is working a look at $950.00.
FishPig’s WordPress Integration
Fishpig’s WordPress Integration extension gets WordPress and Magento working together.