If you want to start your own Ecommerce marketplace, at some point you will have to think about an Ecommerce platform.
But there are loads of Ecommerce platforms out there. So it can be very confusing! In fact, a few weeks ago we took a look at Shopify. We looked at the pros and cons of Shopify and why it might be a good platform for your needs.
This week we dive into Magento. We will look at the good things about Magento and why you might find it the best fit. But we will also delve into the dark side and look at why Magento might be a bad choice for your marketplace.
Just as an FYI, when referring to Magento in this article we are talking about Magento 2. You can still use Magento 1. But as Adobe has ended support for Magento 1, it makes sense to focus on Magento 2. So when we say Magento, we are talking about Magento 2.
Let’s dig in. But first, what is Magento anyway?
What Is Magento?
An open source platform written in the PHP language, Magento has been around since 2007. Magento has a rather interesting corporate history. There is some serious drama in the timeline. It features corporate raids by Carl Icahn and even the break up of eBay. Magento span out as an independent company after the eBay break and it is now owned by Adobe.
Magento has two main platforms. One is “Magento Open Source”. This functions as an open source Ecommerce platform. As Magento has since 2007. Plug-ins, created by a community of developers, help extend functionality on the platform.
The second platform is quite new. Magento Commerce launched in 2016 as a “platform as a service”. As of 2021 Magento Commerce rebranded to Adobe Commerce, as part of Adobe’s acquisition.
So is Magento right for your business?
Pros & Cons Of Magento – The Pros List
While it is fair to say that Magento is some distance behind Shopify in user numbers, it is still a popular platform. It is also used by some of the biggest brands in the world to maintain their online stores. The likes of Nike, Land Rover, Liverpool FC and Ford all use Magento for their Ecommerce sites.
So here is a list of some of the “pros” for the Magento platform.
Magento Can Be Very Flexible
As Magento is an open source platform, flexibility is in its very foundations. Magento’s flexibility and adaptability is its biggest advantage over other platforms. There are a lot of third-party integrations that allow you, for example, to import products into the system. You can even modify your storefront to specific customer requirements.
If your business has complex requirements like localized content for different regions or multiple currencies. Magento’s open source architecture can make this easy. It also makes it easier to add on new functionality over time.
Although the Ecommerce landscape is changing, SEO is still an essential aspect of building an Ecommerce business. Making sure your site is visible to the largest number of people possible is the difference between success and failure.
As Magento is open source you have full control over more areas of your site. On other platforms, like Wix for example, you have more limited control over the technical aspects of your site. This can limit your SEO capabilities, especially in the area of technical SEO. While all the platforms allow you to do the basics, Magento allows you to do pretty much anything you want. You can create unique category paths for your URLs. You also have controls over your URL redirects, which can have a big impact on how search friendly your site can be.
All the essential SEO functions are built-in to Magento. Plus third-party integrations can help you with more difficult tasks. The granular level of control it offers, compared to other platforms, can help you get more creative with your organic search campaigns.
Omnichannel Support & It’s Great For Mobile
Magento’s capacity for customization has big implications for omnichannel and mobile experiences.
Customers now interact with brands in lots of different ways and on different channels. They can find your website, find you on social media or your app or even in your physical store if you have one.
Offering omnichannel experiences is a must if you want your Ecommerce site or marketplace to succeed. You need to offer customers a consistent experience and journey, wherever they find you.
Magento helps you do that. It offers omnichannel support and you can even customize different channels. Helping you to serve different customer needs. Using customer data from these different channels can help you make better decisions for your business.
Magento Has A Community To Help You
Magento has an active community of around 300,000 developers worldwide. The Magento forums are very active. Almost any Magento problem you can think of has a solution on the forum somewhere.
The Magento community is an incredible resource if you are getting started on the platform.
Data Regulations & Compliance
Data regulations in different territories can present an unexpected challenge to Ecommerce marketplaces. But if you use Magento you are in luck, as they have you covered.
There is a Magento GDPR extension, which is very useful for businesses with European customers. Magento also offers other compliance features. Such as SOC 2 compliance, which is useful for American businesses. It also has some tax and accounting functionality.
Pros & Cons Of Magento – The Cons List
Are you all in on Magento? Hold on! You are reading a pros and cons list so, let’s go through the “cons” of the Magento platform.
Magento Can Get Expensive
Magento demands a lot of technical resources and time. But it can also cost a lot of money.
Unlike some platforms, Magento requires hosting. So that is a cost you have to take into account. But costs that are much larger include maintenance and plugins.
Maintenance costs for a Magento site are not insignificant. All that customizability and functionality has a price. This is because Magento is much more complex than some other big Ecommerce platforms. So you will have to hire specific, qualified developers that can help you. This can get very expensive over time. So you could be looking at large running costs for your Ecommerce website/marketplace.
Plugins on Magento can also cost a lot of money. Prices for third-party plugins go from free all the way up to over $10,000 (SAP Integration is an incredible $15,000). While the most expensive plugins will be for large brands and companies, as you scale up costs can become significant.
This is before the separate charges you can incur for third-party payment gateway integrations. This works in a similar way to the Shopify platform. Where different payment companies will charge different service fees per transaction. Selecting the right payment gateway is a subject in itself and it is no easier on Magento.
High Technical Barriers
Compared to other platforms, Magento has a high technical barrier of entry for beginners. The likes of Shopify and Squarespace allow even coding novices to set up a site. Magento is far more complicated. For someone without any coding experience, setting up a site in Magento would be very, very difficult. But, coding experience helps on all Ecommerce platforms. It helps you get the most out of the platform you choose.
Because the technical barriers are high in comparison to other platforms, it’s large companies that tend to use Magento. If you have high level technical expertise Magento can be a good choice for start ups. But for quick turn-around commerce experiments it is not a good fit.
Because it takes more technical knowledge to run a Magento site, this incurs extra cost. This can still be an issue even if you are a large brand. Finding experienced Magento developers can be tough. With marketplace development becoming more popular, it can be very difficult to find the right talent. Which in turn means extra costs.
Magento is different from other Ecommerce platforms in that it requires a dedicated server to host it. This again adds another potential barrier for those who are just starting a marketplace or who want to run quick experiments.
Optimization in this area requires a lot of knowledge. If you do not configure your servers correctly you can experience crashes. It is also more difficult to optimize for factors like site speed.
This con can actually be a plus for bigger brands with technical teams as they have more control over the technical aspects of a site. But for SMEs, this is very much on the con list.
We will be adding to our pros & cons of Magento list over time. So if you are considering an eCommerce platform. Or you need to update or change your existing setup, come back to see if Magento is the right fit for you.
Talk to MAQE
Do you need help choosing a platform for your marketplace? Do you need to update or optimize your existing Magento setup? Whatever the problem is, MAQE can help you. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you with your Ecommerce needs.
If you are just getting started with eCommerce, or you want to run rapid experiments, visit Paretonow.com.