Paul Rogers

eCommerce, Digital & Magento Consultant

March 19th

Understanding Magento Before Replatforming

If you’re reading this, I’m going to guess that you’re currently considering replatforming and wondering if Magento would be the right solution for you. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading my earlier comparison of Magento 2.0 and its competitors and my definitive guide for more in depth information on Magento. In this post, I’m focusing on the key things you need to know before you begin replatforming on Magento.

Background on Magento

The most widely used ecommerce software in the world, Magento was first released in beta in 2007 and to general availability in 2008. An open source product (open code, in the case of their Enterprise Edition), it was always meant to be something that merchants and developers could use to freely customize their websites with. That freedom remains its most distinctive quality, and it has driven the growth of an enormous and very-active global community around the software, but it does come with its own drawbacks and I’ll elaborate on those below.

Key Features of Magento

Both Magento’s Community and Enterprise editions are known for their open architecture that allows limitless extendability and customization, but they also include robust pricing and promotions functionality, and customer loyalty features. Magento Enterprise Edition is omnichannel-ready with responsive design built-in so merchants automatically have a mobile presence, creating a seamless shopping experience. This also enables merchants to do neat things like using tablets to run their in-store POS on the same instance, and B2B brands to empower their sales forces in the field. Along with a new, easier-to-use admin panel and order management tools, Magento 2.0 (the only enterprise version available going forward) includes an updated technology stack, automated testing, and extensive APIs to easily integrate to third-party systems and software.

Common Issues

Because of its open architecture, the quality of Magento’s performance is greatly affected by how it is implemented. Magento recommends that their free Community Edition should be only be deployed by experienced developers, and they created an entire partner program to help validate SIs and developers who can be trusted to deploy their products and build their extensions.

Another criticism is that Magento is complex to implement and use. However, complexity is also a natural byproduct of having complete control and unlimited options. Comparatively, Magento competitors like Sopify and Demandware don’t offer as many options for implementation. Further, merchants using them are not usually involved in all the pieces of those implementations, so they don’t see as much of the complexity inherent in deployment.

Scalability is also a common question around Magento platforms, but since there are businesses that successfully manage thousands of SKUs, variations and price rules, and concurrent users on Magento software, doubts are somewhat unfounded. Again, implementation and developer experience have a lot to do with how well any store runs.

Security is, rightfully, another important issue, and Magento has seen a lot of recent press around attacks like ransomware and Shoplift. While Magento’s competitors are just as vulnerable to attack, it is the responsibility of the end user to make sure patches are implemented on Magento. If you replatform to Magento, you’ll need to make sure you have the right teams or partners in place to manage patches and updates to protect yourself.

Reasons Why Businesses Choose Magento

As I covered above and in more depth my earlier article, businesses choose Magento when they want complete control over their websites and limitless configurability and extendability. The support and enthusiasm of the Magento community also gives them a wealth of options to help them grow and update as technology changes. Finally, Magento is the least expensive option among its competitors, without losing any features or functionality, even with cost of sourcing your own development in most cases.

Paul is an experienced eCommerce Consultant, specialising in working with the Magento platform. Paul works with online retailers, agencies and product companies from all over the world and is focused mainly on growing stores (customer acquisition, customer experience, strategy etc) and fixing issues with the Magento platform.

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