If an eCommerce expert suggests that you use Magento for your online store, your first question, rightly, might be “What is Magento?” Good question!
After learning more about this agile open-source platform, your next question will likely be “How do I get started?”
At least that’s the hope of this Adobe-owned company which offers a variety of flexible cloud solutions for every size of online business.
Introduction to Magento (aka What is Magento?)
Developed in 2007 by Varien, Inc and with the aid of volunteers, Magento came on the scene as an open-source PHP solution for eCommerce stores. Previously, Varien planned on forking their other project osCommerce, but instead rewrote it as Magento.
In 2011, eBay invested in Magento, maintaining a 49% share of the company before acquiring the remainder shortly after. 2015 found Magento independent again after the breakup of eBay. In 2018, in a $1.68bn purchase, Magento was acquired by Adobe, with plans to integrate the platform with its own suite.
The open-source quality of the Magento platform makes it ripe for customization. Either through the use of existing plugins or through custom plugins from developers, online stores can add very unique functionalities to serve their business needs.
Magento offers the opportunity for businesses to grow as big as they want. Users can develop all sorts of retail channels while focusing on being super customer-friendly and secure.
More than 260,000 companies worldwide are working with Magento (many of which are migrating up to Magento 2). Over the years, the company has brought home all sorts of industry honors for its various versions and products. It is widely considered one of the leading eCommerce platforms out there, designed to be powerful yet flexibly scalable.
Businesses can access a variety of service levels depending on a company’s size and traffic. They also can adapt Magento to integrate well with other tools, such as CMS platforms like WordPress and other software to provide even more efficiency to developers and end users.
Magento 2, its latest version, was released in 2015 and offers even more capabilities and customization options.
The Magento Community
Fellow users are a big part of the success of Magento. The global user community is eager to share insights, bugs, upgrades, and observations about various behaviors in different environments.
User-created Magento themes and Magento extensions also can present even more opportunities to utilize tools for different solutions and further customize a business’ platform.
Because so many big, small, and medium companies use Magento to power their eCommerce efforts, the global development community is eager to exchange insights. Companies vary from the smallest start-ups to powerhouse brands like Coca-Cola, Ford, Burger King, and Helly Hansen.
It also makes sure its partners are able to offer high levels of support to their clients.
There are also huge events all over the world centered around the Magento platform. The largest of these, Imagine eCommerce, brings together over 3,000 partners, developers, and merchants, and features big speakers like Serena Williams and Jamie Foxx.
There is a great deal of coursework available for developers interested in learning to use Magento more effectively.
Magento offers online training courses and learning paths to master the larger concepts, eventually resulting in various Magento certifications. Certifications are highly regarded in developers, indicating their extensive knowledge in the platform and their ability to troubleshoot any big problems that arise.
There are also how-to videos to tackle specific challenges and webinars from various sources. You can find great content all over the web, free and premium, to help you in your pursuit of greater Magento knowledge. They vary between focusing on admin functionality to deep developer how to. Choose your own adventure.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, part of the appeal of Magento is that there is a wide variety of solutions designed to offer great customer experiences while boosting sales.
Although the basic Magento Open Source itself is free, users can pay for different levels of services and tools. Magento Marketplace is just what it says, a marketplace wherein users can purchase and download extensions and themes for their online stores.
On top of those extensions, Magento offers products to make your store easier to manage. Order Management allows you to offer options for how to connect customers with their products. Magento Shipping helps manage inventory and integrates with various delivery companies and carriers.
- Magento Open Source – Previously called Magento Community Edition, this version is for smaller businesses and requires a bit of development knowledge. It is a base solution to get a store going from the ground up. Larger functionality is missing out of the box. Support and hosting are also not included. This version is free to download, though plugins and themes (not to mention hosting, domain name, development) will cost you.
- Magento Commerce – Previously Magento Enterprise & Magento Cloud Edition, this version is the Cadillac option, fully outfitted for business. For large, complex businesses, this fits the bill. With Magento cloud hosting and support included, as well as its out of the box functionalities, this is a no-brainer for big businesses. Further, Magento Commerce scales with ease to support online stores as they grow.
Pricing levels can vary widely based on the needs of each store and the services they require. For those choosing Magento Open Source, the initial cost is zero before hosting, development, plugins, etc. For those choosing Magento Commerce, there is an annual licensing cost of ~$30k. Development costs vary from agency to agency.
Small to medium-sized businesses can benefit from an Express Package, which delivers a quick launch of the base Magento Commerce platform from your choice of Magento Solution Partners.
Overall, part of the appeal of Magento is that there’s something for everyone. Whether for developers charged with creating something dynamic and flexible for their clients’ online store experience or store owners hoping to get the most out of their eCommerce platform.