The company behind this project is Verian who are leaders within the open source industry. They have created a shopping cart that is feature rich out of the box and Magento Commerce has become a leading shopping cart for open source e-commerce platforms. I recently reviewed Zen Cart writing about the Pros and Cons, and if you haven’t read the review, I would suggest taking a look at it to use it as a comparison.
An Overview Of Magento Commerce
As of the date of writing this review, I have tested Magento Commerce version 1.3.1. It is one of the latest and most powerful open-source e-commerce solutions that I have come across. These are some of the features you will find within the box:
* Marketing Promotions and Tools
* Analytics and Reporting
* Search Engine Optimization
* Site Management
* Catalog Management
* Catalog Browsing
* Product Browsing
* Mobile Commerce
* International Support
* Customer Service
* Customer Accounts
* Order Management
Rather than give rewrite the benefits of Magento Commerce has about their software, you can read more and try out their demo on their website.
The Pros Of Magento Commerce
Clean And Modern Layout
The first thing that caught my eye was how professional and modern the default template looked. It was smooth and clean, which you will find across the board both on the front end and within the administration section.
Easy Integration Of Layouts, Themes And Add-ons
The beautiful thing I really like about Magento Commerce is how easy it is to install additional layouts and add-ons. In comparison to other open source e-commerce solutions such as OsCommerce and Zencart, it is less complicated and doesn’t require the shop owner to have prior programming experience. If you have used WordPress, which is a popular blogging tool you will find Magento’s shop structure is quite similar in that it is visually appealing and easy to use. I believe that Magento was aiming to create a simplistic yet powerful solution for e-commerce business owners.
More Than 50 Payment Gateways Are Available For Integration
I have heard that many store owners lose sales because they could not offer a certain payment solution for their customers, or they have to switch payment gateways because their e-commerce solution was not compatible with their existing provider. With Magento Commerce you can rest at ease whatever payment gateway you have, they most likely have it ready for you.
You Can Manage Multiple Stores From One Administration Panel And Product Catalog
This is a more advanced option available for businesses with multiple ecommerce stores. Say you had a camera shop and a book shop. In most cases you would have to setup two separate systems and log into them separately to manage the stores. With Magento Commerce you can set them up all within the one system and manage all your sales from one administration, still giving you the flexibility of two stores. It saves time and additional resources yet allowing you to monitor and track sales all within one place.
An Option To Up Sell At The Checkout
Having this option alone will increase your profits dramatically. Up selling, as I’ve discussed in a previous post is a powerful way to increase your profits from an existing customer by simply offering additional promotions or products. This can lead to more money for your e-commerce business and having it automated, you have a silent sales person making money for you.
Built-in Product Image Zoom Capability
Sometimes as a customer I am always wanting to see more finer details about a product. Unfortunately not all e-commerce sites have the ability to show more or allow you to zoom into the product. Magento Commerce now has that option built in and it allows you to upload a high resolution photo to let customers zoom into the product while they are browsing. Imagine how it will have an affect on your sales and increase your conversions!
These are just some of the pros I have found with Magento Commerce and I believe I could write a whole book on how good this software is.
The Cons Of Magento Commerce
Since Magento Commerce is still relatively new compared to other open source e-commerce platforms available in the market, it still has it’s initial bugs. Here are some issues it still faces:
Performance And Response Time Can Be Slow
Depending on the hosting server you use for Magento Commerce, you may experience slower page loads and response times with shared hosting providers. Magento Commerce, being content rich does require a lot of resources to run and the performance of your website will be dependent on the server you use. Therefore choosing a dedicated and powerful server is something you need to think through carefully, especially if you are doing hundreds of transactions a day. It does have numerous hosting providers they recommend and you can see Magento hosting partners.
Great For A New E-Commerce Business But Not So Good For Existing Businesses!
To date I have not found a solution or import utility that allows Magento Commerce to import data from other open source e-commerce systems such as OsCommerce, Zencart and Xcart. This poses a question for existing e-commerce businesses to consider whether or not to switch over to this system. If there was an add-on for importing, more businesses would switch over to Magento Commerce.
No Accounting Export Function For MYOB or Quicken
Another consideration is if you currently use MYOB or Quicken as your accounting package to track and monitor your financials, then you will want to make sure your e-commerce website can link to it. Otherwise you will need to hire someone to double entry your transactions to update your accounting software.
Overall, aside from a few downsides mentioned above, Magento Commerce has a great potential to be the leading open source e-commerce platform for all e-commerce businesses. I am a great supporter of software that is open source which allows the community to contribute, develop and evolve. Furthermore with strong support from Magento’s company – Verian they have a huge chance to succeed.
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