Magento E-Commerce: An Overview for Online Businesses

By Dan Nichols on 21st February, 2017.

Magento E-commerce

With almost 30% of all e-commerce companies using it, Magento e-commerce is easily the most popular platform out there. The top 10 brands using Magento read like a who’s who in global enterprise, featuring big names like Coca-Cola, Ford, Fox and Nike.

The platform’s appeal centres around its flexibility, scalability and functionality. This foundation helps businesses stay ahead of the latest e-commerce trends, create a website that works on many different levels, and optimise sales – plus, (with a little thought and tweaking) it’s high-performing, robust and reliable.

Choosing Your Magento Product

There are two main flavours to consider when it comes to choosing the right version of Magento e-commerce for your business; the Enterprise and Community Editions.

Many users looking to try Magento for the first time opt for the Community Edition, because it’s free and has lots of great features, including community support and access to the basic functions required to get an e-commerce website off the ground.

The Enterprise Edition (which offers two variations) builds on the Community Edition, adding more advanced functionality and performance improvements. The full enterprise edition comes complete with expert support, managed upgrades and monitoring as well as features and extensions to help businesses customise and create a site that really works for their needs and industry.

What Makes Magento E-commerce Stand Out

There are several reasons why Magento has become such a popular choice for e-commerce businesses over alternative commerce platforms. Here are just some of the top things the Magento framework offers its users:

> It Can Be Completely Customised. Magento e-commerce allows you to fully customise your online store to look and feel exactly the way you want it to. Thousands of pre-built themes and extensions (some free, some paid-for) are available for users without the skills or inclination to code their own, and can rapidly change the style of a website or add new functionality.

> High Speed Performance. High Speed Performance. With the right setup, hosting and caching, Magento offers high speed performance, which is a vital success factor for anyone trading online in today’s low patience, high choice world. Fast sites keep your customers happy, boost sales and maximise your gross margins.

> It’s Flexible. This is one of the most important features for an e-commerce business. In such a dynamic environment, businesses need a solution that’s adaptable and versatile; being able to extend and adapt quickly to capture more sales is essential. The open source roots of Magento makes it easy to create and add functionality as you need it. The framework also seamlessly integrates with a whole range of major payment providers and software solutions such as Salesforce and MailChimp.

> You Can Scale Up and Down. The ability to grow with the demands of your business is another important consideration. The Magento platform is highly scalable and can grow in line with your business, so you can adapt it to suit your needs whatever the size of your business.

> You Get Great E-commerce Functionality. Every e-commerce business needs the power to implement sales promotions to boost sales. This is where Magento excels, with a huge array of extensions to help you target and segment your customers with marketing messages and promotions.

> Enterprise Support. Enterprise customers can rely on expert support from Magento as part of their package, while Community edition users have access to the knowledge of the large and active global community of fellow Magento users and developers. Magento also offers a network of certified developers and solution partners.

Magento and its Competitors at a Glance

Of course, Magento isn’t the only CMS in the market – big competitors include Shopify, PrestaShop and OpenCart (among many others).

Magento has made a name for itself for its customisability and scalability and a free entry point with their Community edition.

It has become the most popular e-commerce platform in the world, with over 250,000 merchants on board and Magento claims that companies grow three times faster with them, than with their competitors.

However, like any software solution, Magento comes with its own set of challenges that need to be overcome to get the best out of the platform.

Magento Challenges

The setup and deployment of the platform needs to be done properly to maximise the security and speed of the platform, in conjunction with a hosting provider who knows what they’re doing.

Specific, specialist Magento developers can cost a bit more, but will be well versed in how the platform works and what needs to be done to get the best out of it.

Magento can be resource hungry, particularly as your product inventory grows and can run into performance issues if the server infrastructure supporting it is insufficient.

It’s important to choose a hosting provider that understands the best way to support Magento, its resource needs and the caching that is often required to get the best performance for users.

Essential Take-Aways

Ultimately, Magento offers a reliable, functional, adaptable and relevant way of conducting business for online retailers and its complete customisability and community really makes it stand out.

If you’re a fledgling e-commerce business or an established player looking at your CMS options, Magento offers some compelling features to support your business and customers. But like any software, what you put in is what you get out; detailed planning, correct deployment and the right supporting infrastructure (people, processes and technology) needs to be in place to make it a success.

Secura are specialists in UK Magento hosting, supporting a wide range of e-commerce retailers on the platform and so if you’re considering Magento for your business, we will be happy to offer you expert advice on the best infrastructure to support your success.

Dan Nichols

Chief Technical Officer

As Secura's CTO, Dan is responsible for the team that design, build and maintain our cutting edge cloud hosting infrastructure. He is also the dishwasher police - stack it or else.

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