When entering the eCommerce space, sellers have to deal with tasks like choosing their area of business, finalizing products, creating and operating their eCommerce websites, and so on. Among all these, the toughest task is to select the right eCommerce platform.
The right eCommerce platform can enhance sellers' websites, giving them access to features that can improve their customers' experiences. It can add to their business and help them grow faster, reaching a larger audience in a short span of time.
But the quintessential question is, which platform should one choose? Should sellers go for Woocommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, or Volusion?
In our opinion, sellers should opt for Magento eCommerce- one of the most popular eCommerce solutions in the world.
2) What is Magento?
Developed by Varien Inc., a US-based private firm, Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform with built-in PHP. It was created with the help of volunteers and open-source software contributors while working with osCommerce. The company initially planned to fork osCommerce for building a user-friendly eCommerce platform but ended up rewriting it as Magento eCommerce.
Two years after its release, 49% of Magento's shares were purchased by eBay. However, due to internal issues, it was declared an independent company by its new owners, Permira private equity fund, in late 2015. Later, in 2018, it was acquired by Adobe for $1.68 billion and continues to excel under its leadership, creating more opportunities for upcoming online sellers.
3) What features does Magento eCommerce offer?
3.1) Analytics and reporting
Precise analytics and reporting are vital for the growth of every eCommerce business. Until online sellers are familiar with their website's data, they can't make any major changes in their business operations. Thankfully, Magento eCommerce comes in handy here.
With support from Google Analytics, Magento provides to-the-point data in areas like sales reporting, tax reporting, most viewed products, most purchased products, most searched items, abandoned carts, and so on.
3.2) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO has become an integral part of running an eCommerce business. It brings visibility to eCommerce websites, luring more customers towards it.
Magento eCommerce offers a variety of SEO solutions to online sellers. It gives them access to features like Google Sitemaps, customer sorting attributes, compatibility with other search engines, SEO-friendly URLs, and much more.
3.3) Product browsing
Customers can easily lose interest in eCommerce websites that aren't up to their standards. They can move to other alternatives without making any purchases on the website.
However, online sellers can resolve these issues by using Magento eCommerce's features, including numerous product images, accurate descriptions, unedited pictures, zoom-in & zoom-out product images, and a lot more.
3.4) Payment and shipping
Every eCommerce website is incomplete without proper payment and logistics channels.
At Magento eCommerce, sellers can enhance their payment and shipping process by adding functions like single-page checkout, SLL security, shipping integrations, payment gateway integration, and a lot more.
3.5) Mobile eCommerce
In this digital age, people rarely open their laptops or PCs anytime they feel like shopping. Instead, they pick up their mobile phones and connect with their brand's website or app directly.
Magento eCommerce offers online sellers HTML5 technology that enables the creation of mobile-friendly storefronts at any time, anywhere.
3.6) Order management
Magento provides high-quality order management tools. It gives online sellers access to the admin panel to create, edit, or view orders hassle-free. The platform even assists them in handling customer care support, invoice printing, shipping label printing, return label creation, and many more.
3.7) Catalog management
The way an eCommerce website lists its products says a lot about the brand and the values it represents.
At Magento eCommerce, online sellers can edit and delete product reviews, display multiple products, and conduct operations related to their products faster and better. They can provide a seamless shopping experience to their customers and increase the traffic on their website without any complications.
4) What are the benefits and limitations of Magento eCommerce?
With over a decade's experience in the eCommerce industry, Magento offers plenty of benefits to its users. Some include,
Being an open-source platform, Magento is quite flexible for its users. It allows online sellers to modify the code as per their requirements and achieve desired templates and functionality. It even permits them to integrate with third parties to enhance their Magento websites for better customer reach.
b) Pricing features
Magento eCommerce is packed with features that many renowned eCommerce platforms of this age lack. It manages multiple stores and supports various languages, pricing, locations, and currencies.
Sellers using Magento can allot specific prices for different customers. They can charge a nominal price from staff members and an increased price from VIP shoppers.
c) Trust factor
In recent years, a large group of people has migrated to Magento eCommerce for the smooth management of their eCommerce businesses. This hike in the number of users has pushed the company to improve its responsiveness and make room for more extensions and plug-ins. As a result, most online sellers on this platform today get constant support in handling all kinds of technical and non-technical matters.
Often sellers begin their eCommerce journey from a small business and eventually take it to great heights. During their growth phase, they require an eCommerce platform that supports and promotes their operations.
Magento eCommerce fits here perfectly. It has the ability to manage five hundred thousand products and approximately thousands of transactions per hour.
As mentioned earlier, most people nowadays seek a mobile application or mobile-friendly website to connect with their favorite brands.
And Magento eCommerce fulfills this dream. It allows sellers to create mobile-friendly websites, which gives customers the same experience that they would feel while opening the page on a big screen.
Magento eCommerce comes in a variety of versions with different pricing packages. Though its community version is free of cost, its enterprise version can cost people somewhere from $20,000 to $125,000 just for the licensing part. If you look at the total development fees, this amount can rise to $49,000 to $189,000/year.
b) Resource intensive
Despite being scalable and robust, Magento eCommerce requires multiple resources for its day-to-day operation. It needs heavy servers and intensive data input, especially if online sellers seek website enhancement and exceptional functionality.
c) Time consuming
With a slow loading time and lots of customizations, Magento eCommerce demands more time investment than its competitors. For online sellers migrating from any other eCommerce platform, it becomes very difficult to import all the data immediately. Hence, one should look at these aspects before moving to the platform.
d) Lesser developers
Despite having flexibility, not everyone can tweak Magento eCommerce's software to their benefit. Online sellers need skillful developers to achieve this goal.
However, finding an authentic developer who understands the complexities of Magento's software and can create a seamless eCommerce website around it is quite tough and expensive.
Magento eCommerce can't work on any server. It needs a dedicated platform and other system requirements to work smoothly.
But bearing that cost isn't possible for every small-scale eCommerce business. Hence, online sellers should check their platform's compatibility before trying out Magento.
Hoping that you are familiar with the benefits and limitations of Magento, let's move on to the most important aspect- creating an online store on Magento.
5) How to create an online store on Magento?
Creating an online store on Magento eCommerce requires the following steps.
Step 1: Select a web host and domain name
Having an effective web host is essential for operating any eCommerce website. Depending on the business's size and plans for the future, online sellers can make this decision for their platform.
Next, they need to finalize a domain name. A domain name represents the business and its values. It makes the eCommerce website visible to customers.
Hence, while choosing both hosting and domain name, online sellers should study Magento eCommerce's server requirements first and go further.
Step 2: Install Magento eCommerce
After finalizing hosting and the domain name, online sellers can prepare to install Magento eCommerce. For this, they must visit the Magento product page and download the required files for setup.
Once that is done, the platform will run a system check to see if the sellers' device is compatible or not. After receiving a green signal, the platform will make online sellers familiar with the installation steps, including database addition, web configuration, store customization, and finally, installing Magento eCommerce.
Step 3: Finalize a theme
Any eCommerce website is incomplete without eye-catching features. Unless the platform can attract users towards it, it won't be able to do business for long.
Magento eCommerce provides a wide range of paid and unpaid themes to users. It even gives them access to customize it as per their wish or purchase it from third parties.
To select a theme, users need to visit the Magento marketplace, pick the theme of their liking, retrieve the access key and paste it into the Extension Manager of their Magento store. All the themes purchased will be visible in the Magento Marketplace and can be installed with one click.
However, if users wish to add a new theme to the platform (not purchased from Magento Marketplace), they can visit the admin panel, click on Content, select Configuration, and press Edit. Later, from the drop-down menu, they can choose and save the theme.
Step 4: Configure your store functions
Even though sellers have configured the basic store requirements, they need extensions and plug-ins for a seamless customer experience. Magento eCommerce comes in handy here.
It offers online sellers a pool of extensions to choose from and makes their Magento websites more user-friendly. NOTE- extensions are not mandatory; they differ as per business requirements.
Step 5: Import products
To import products, users must visit Products and open Catalog. There they will find a section named- Add Products, clicking which will take them to a new window where they will be asked to provide details of their products like name, type, price, class of goods, descriptions, etc.
After filling those areas, users should add proper pictures of the product and save them to their catalog.
Step 6: Customize other settings
Importing products is almost the final task of creating the Magento website. However, online sellers need to check other settings and customize them before running their platform.
Things like payment configuration, SSL certification, content addition, MegaMenu panels addition, etc., must be in place before beginning with the operations.
Step 7: Test run
Before launching the Magento website, online sellers must do a test launch to see if there are any code vulnerabilities or lagging in the website.
Once all parameters are checked, sellers can begin operating their Magento stores.
6) Overview of Magento eCommerce returns
eCommerce returns are an inevitable part of every eCommerce business. No matter how hard online sellers try to eliminate returns from their platform, they're bound to occur due to reasons like wrong product selection by customers, change of customers' minds, delivery of defective or damaged goods by sellers, wardrobing, and many more.
Thankfully, Magento eCommerce offers an effective reverse logistics channel to handle returns. It helps eCommerce websites identify the reasons behind returns and target them immediately. The platform even assists unhappy customers by exchanging or refunding their products.
7) How does Magento work with eCommerce returns?
Being a user-friendly platform, Magento eCommerce doesn't ask its users to visit multiple pages to file a return request. Instead, it solves the customers' problems by generating a simple RMA number.
Given below is brief information on how this RMA number simplifies the return process for both sellers and customers.
a) Customer files a return request (RMA)
The process begins with customers filing a return request or RMA number. For this, customers need to log in to their Magento accounts. In case customers aren't registered on the platform, they can still use their order details to create a return request on Magento eCommerce. Even online sellers can initiate a return request on behalf of customers from their Magento Admin.
b) Return request (RMA) issued
Upon creation of a return request, the online seller will receive a message saying a customer has applied for a return. The merchant or e-tailer analyzes this request and issues a return accordingly. Acceptance from the seller means he/she is ready to bear the cost involved in the return process.
c) Customer returns product
Once the seller approves the return request, customers are sent detailed instructions about returning the goods to the shipment company.
d) Merchant receives the product
When the online sellers receive the product, they inspect it thoroughly before giving a final nod to the return request. They can even cancel or partially approve the request depending on the issues found in the products.
We hope this Magento Overview was insightful and touched all the points you were looking for. After reading this article, you must be able to decide whether or not the platform is suitable for your business and if there's any chance of you migrating to it.
In case you still find any difficulty, do refer to the FAQs section for more clarity.
9) FAQs about Magento eCommerce
9.1) What is Magento?
Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform written in PHP that assists business owners in creating eCommerce websites hassle-free.
9.2) What kind of services does Magento offer?
Magento eCommerce offers a variety of services from SEO to detailed analytics and reporting to order management and much more.
9.3) How many versions of Magento are available?
There are two versions of Magento eCommerce- Magento 1 and Magento 2. On November 17, 2015, Adobe ended support for the first version making Magento 2 the only option available to online sellers.
9.4) Is Magento cheap?
Magento's community version is free of cost, but owning the enterprise or premium version can cost users a hefty amount.