Are you ready for Magento?
Make way for the pros! When it comes to e-commerce content management systems, Magento is definitely the most powerful and complete. Highly scalable, it's used by many Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Samsung, Nespresso, Louboutin and a lot more. It's an excellent software with a crazy amount of features and functionality, and it caters for businesses of all kinds. But this also means it's definitely not an easy one to master.
So if you're unsure whether Magento would be the best solution for your online store, and can't get your head around all the options you have (Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop and so on), read on as we outline all you should know about Magento before making a decision.
- Do whatever you like. Magento is a very powerful e-commerce system, a complete online store solution with tons of tools and features. It can handle multiple languages, different currencies and loads of payment options. You can also run multiple online shops from one dashboard.
- Free and open source. The "Community edition" of Magento is completely free and perfect for small businesses. Being open source, a dedicated and passionate community of developers is always ready to give support. With that being said, it's also true that as your business grows you'll need plugins and add-ons to support it, and those come with a cost. There is also a paid "Enterprise edition" for large businesses.
- Expandability. The amount of extensions available for Magento is staggering, and impressive in terms of quality. There are heaps of choices for all price ranges, so it's easy to find the extensions that suit your needs and allow you to differentiate your store from your competitors.
- A "robust" system. As Tuts+ instructor Anwar Haq puts it, "Magento is a very robust and powerful CMS". There is a huge community of developers backing the system. This is great news for you, if you're a developer looking to use Magento for your next e-commerce project. Its code is sturdy, well-written, clear and free of bugs. Yay! (By the way, check out Anwar's article What is Magento? If you want to know more.)
- For the pros. You've guessed it by now, but let's make it clear: Magento is not for beginners. When we call it a powerful and complete system, we also mean that it's pretty complex. In his Introduction to the Tuts+ Magento Fundamentals course, Milan Stojanov points out how it's important to have a good knowledge of HTML, XML, PHP, MySQL and MVC to get started. So if all those acronyms mean nothing to you, consider getting help setting up Magento or using another e-commerce system.
- Give it some space. Being so powerful, complex and rich in features, Magento is definitely not a tiny little piece of software. As you make your decision, keep in mind it will need dedicated servers. Systems like WooCommerce are light and take up little space-obviously though, the difference in terms of functionality and features is quite substantial.
- Customization. This one is a feature that Magento shares with other e-commerce systems. It's highly customizable, and as you can see above-ThemeForest has plenty of Magento themes available that perfectly integrate with the system. The theme you pick will be customizable itself, meaning you can give your new online store a really unique layout but still save time in the process.