Magento has been the go-to ecommerce platform for years now. The software is powerful and it’s easy to use, which makes sense; after all, they want you to be successful with your online store! It was developed by a company that specializes in web development tools. And if that wasn’t enough of an edge over other solutions like Shopify, then this following fact should seal the deal: it’s free. That last point is especially enticing given today’s competitive market where people are looking for ways to save money on their business expenses. With so much going for it, how could Magento not be the best choice? Let’s find out.
1. What is Magento and what are its key features?
Magento is an ecommerce solution that started off as a fork of osCommerce, which was bought and then rebranded by the eBay-owned company. It works on Linux and MySQL and supports PHP 5.2 or higher (PHP 7+ recommended). It also requires the mod_rewrite Apache module to be enabled. Users can make a local installation, which is the preferred method of many developers. Alternatively, Magento can be installed on a Mac or Windows-based server that has PHP and MySQL already running.
Here are some of the key features of Magento that makes it a class apart in the ecommerce world.
- Open source.
- Language support for English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
- Built with SEO in mind.
- Mobile device compatibility across all devices from smartphones to smart TVs. Advanced built-in search functionality that provides enhanced search results based on your customers’ queries in real time.
- An ecommerce solution that supports multiple stores per installation is a plus for agencies and hosting providers offering web design services.
- Unlimited support requests by developers, which could lead to huge costs for the agency owners.
2. How does Magento compare to Shopify ?
While Shopify adds a load of features at a fair price, Magento is still the better option because, in the long run, it’s not limited by an “All-in-One” mentality. As of this writing, Shopify is only available in English and French while Magento supports more than 50 languages. While Instant Auctions–a feature that automatically ends your listings when they receive a certain number of bids or exceed a price threshold–is a good idea, Magento has a built-in feature called Auction Sniper. With this you can set an automated bid on your listing and win it even when the auction has ended.
3. What are the benefits of using Magento over Shopify?
Shopify provides a “one-stop solution” approach that sounds good on paper but, in the long run, is not as efficient as Magento which is customizable and scalable. For instance, Shopify limits you to what fonts you can use and where links go even if your theme supports it. With Magento, you have total control of your design, global content, and more. It’s also the go-to platform for those who sell large volumes of products since it supports a high traffic load.
In addition to being free, one of the most important features of Magento is scalability. In other words, it’s able to handle an ever-increasing number of users and transactions. As you add more products and customers, your ecommerce platform should be able to handle the load easily. Magento’s architecture ensures this is possible even as your business grows at a rapid pace. Even if your store is mobile-friendly, you still need to make sure it can handle all of those mobile orders coming in. Magento is a great option here as well for its responsive designs and flexible shopping cart functionality.
4. Which platform is best for your business?
Hands down, Magento is the best option for your business. It provides a customizable experience that can be adapted to suit your growing needs. That being said, you need to have the expertise of an experienced Magento developer on hand, preferably one who has worked with large-scale ecommerce platforms before. Otherwise, you will end up spinning your wheels trying to figure out how to implement new features.
Care to read some more on Shopify & Magento? You might also find this helpful: What is the Difference Between Magento 2 and Shopify Plus?
5. How to choose the right ecommerce platform for your needs?
So before you begin, you need to figure out what your ecommerce needs are. There are some pretty standard features that most businesses are going to want – but the devil is in the details, so let’s take a look at them now.
1) A store with lots of products
If you have a large inventory of products you’re looking to sell, you’ll need a system that can handle managing all of these products. Magento is the clear winner here, as it supports catalogs with hundreds of thousands of items, making it virtually infinitely scalable for any business environment.
2) Payment processing
If you want to accept credit cards, then you’re going to need to find an ecommerce platform that works with the major payment gateways. Magento can handle PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net and 2Checkout, so long as you have a PCI-compliant server to use on your end. Shopify requires some integration work in this area, so it’s not the right choice for you if you’re looking to use Stripe or Authorize.net (or any other payment gateway.)
3) Mobile integration
A mobile-ready website is just another standard feature in the modern ecommerce platform. Magento handles this transparently, meaning that your store can appear natively on both iOS and Android devices without much work on your end. Shopify has some mobile integration features, but they require some work on the back end, making them more difficult to use for less tech-savvy business owners.
4) A large staff
If you have a large team of marketers or IT professionals at your disposal, it’s important that you pick an ecommerce platform that enables them to be efficient. Magento has some unique tools, like the ability to use Google Analytics data to make product recommendations for customers who are browsing on your storefront. This makes it easier for your staff to find products that your customers want, without having to spend hours doing all of this tedious research themselves. Shopify offers some of these features, but they’re not nearly as extensive.
5) Integrations with apps and services
One feature that every ecommerce platform should have is the ability to integrate with other applications – whether it’s a CRM or an accounting program you use, being able to send orders right into your system can save you serious time. Magento has hundreds of extensions to help you connect with other useful tools, while Shopify only offers a handful of integrations.
It’s clear that, for most businesses out there, Magento is the top choice when it comes to ecommerce software. Not only does it provide a variety of features not seen in other platforms like Shopify, it offers customization options that let you tailor the software to your specific needs. Even so, Magento is more difficult to use than Shopify – which is why many merchants have been flocking to this platform of late.
If you’re a beginner and don’t want to spend a lot of time looking at how-to guides and tutorials, you’ll be better off with Shopify. But if you’re a seasoned ecommerce business tycoon and you want to stay ahead of the curve, then Magento is the answer. Who says you have to do everything all on your own, just hire a professional web design agency to get it all done for you.