Are you ready to get serious about developing or upgrading your online store or e-commerce site? While there are many shopping cart and e-store CMS platforms out there such as oscommerce, zen cart, creLoaded, etc., it has been my experience that none can hold a candle to the power and flexibility of Magento.As some of you may know, I develop ecommerce stores as my primary source of income. (See this section for more info about me) When I first started out, I used several of the popular open source shopping cart systems such as zencart and oscommerce. They were easy to install with most web hosts having 1-click install options and their usage was fairly easy to grasp. And like all cart platforms, they made use of templates for their design so changing the look of your site was fast as well.
But as my skills as an internet marketer began to progress, I was quickly made aware of the downfalls and lackings in most of these softwares. From a marketing stand point, all the previous platforms I had used lacked necessary features to really “test” your site. For instance, while changing the look of your site is easy with templates, it doesn’t do much to change the feel. By this I mean that moving around whole chunks of information, images, headers and more was not really possible without creating a whole new template. Creating new templates is essential creating a whole new site design, that takes time and money. And without being able to easily change components of your site, it makes a/b testing of your pages and conversion ratio tracking difficult as well.
Magento also has some amazing features on the back-end and inside its admin sections. Options like allowing user generated content in the form of reviews and product tags, user customizable site layout and analytics make this a powerhouse that rivals any of the “corporate store” websites. Honestly, Magento has manage to blend all the best aspects of the previously mentioned platforms into one great package that is still just as free as the others!
Another major factor in my adoption of Magento was the community. While the other open source platforms may still have a large user base and active community, they don’t all seem to be as knowledgeable as the Magento community. Since the software is open source, meaning you don’t really have a support number to call, an active and educated community is a must for helping get over any hiccups you may come across while developing your store.
Now, like everything else in the world there are pros and cons of using Magento but none of the cons have anything to do with the software’s features or flexibility. Actually, the cons are a direct result OF all the features available to you… Magento requires very solid web hosting with lots of power. For many this will mean a dedicated or vps hosting solution, depending on your stores traffic. While this will add extra expense to your bottom line, I feel it is easily made up for by the fact that your site can literally be the best looking and most functional store in your niche. Not to mention that the upgrade in hosting will allow you to sleep well at night knowing that your store will never be slow loading and losing customers.
The other draw back is that to really unleash some of Magento’s more corporate features, you need to buy the Enterprise edition which will cost a pretty penny… around k every year! Some of the features this upgrade would unlock would be extra cool marketing items like private sales, store credits, content staging and more. Obviously these features are nothing that would keep you from having an amazing store and are things that probably wouldn’t be considered by any store owner making less than 0,000 a year in profits.
If your company is interested in developing or upgrading an ecommerce store then Magento is by far the best solution out there. And don’t forget that at Moxie we can help you design your store for maximum search engine effectiveness and customer conversions! Give us a call today to see what we can do to give your website a little Moxie!