Magento is an open source eCommerce giant that is one of the first platforms that new entrepreneurs will hear about to start their online business. It’s no surprise—there are more than 250,000 active Magento sites and growing, this accounts for just over 12% of all eCommerce sites.
Magento has been around for a long time now, it’s beta version was first released in 2007, Magento 2 was released in 2017 providing even more flexibility and control over one’s store. Sounds great! And it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your business.
Magento can be pricey, accounting for hosting, lots of maintenance is needed, security costs, plus design and development. The platform is made for flexibility and customization, having a basic Magento store is like renting a Ferrari to go to the supermarket. A Ferrari is made for more than that and so is Magento!
I’ve touched on some of the potential reasons Magento might not fit for your business. Below I’ll go further in-depth into some common reasons why you should look past Magento:
Like all eCommerce platforms, the cost depends on the Magento subscription you’ve chosen. The Enterprise Edition and Enterprise Cloud Edition will cost a lot more and is obviously meant for Enterprise level businesses.
Enterprise Edition – $22,000-125,000
Enterprise Cloud Edition – $40,000-125,000
The open source version of Magento is technically free, but to get your site functioning you’re going to need to hire development and design services, which is a largely varying cost in itself. On top of that you have hosting, security and maintenance fees.
- Lots of Development Time is Required
Making the most of Magento’s flexibility takes time, even with the best developers. Any development needs to come with the assurance that all your integrations will keep functioning smoothly.
Getting your store up and running, generally quality development isn’t something that is done overnight. Worthwhile development can take a month just for site setup, and a more complex site may even take a year. Hiring development services isn’t a one-off either, it’s a constant price, you need developers for maintenance, patches and updates.
- Migrating to Magento 2 or Another ECommerce Platform is Your Only Option
Magento made it clear that it would no longer be supporting Magento 1 after June 2020. Meaning it will no longer be providing patches and updates for merchants using Magento 1, leaving them vulnerable to glitches or security issues.
Magento wants merchants to migrate to Magento 2. But, doing so requires a lot of work. Because you have to replatform anyway, here’s your opportunity to look at other options other than Magento 2, especially if you already have a few aspects of Magento you’re dissatisfied with.
5 Other ECommerce Platforms You Should Consider
What are the alternatives to Magento? And what are their advantages and limitations? Below we’ll discuss five other eCommerce platforms you should also consider. It’s good to know about your alternatives, not only for your business right now, but to consider migrating to later. Let’s get into it.
Shopify is the go-to for business owners who have little technical experience or simply those who want everything taken care of for them. Making a site with Shopify is super quick and easy, choosing your theme, structuring your site, installing plugins can be done simply by clicking. Because of that there is a large amount of Shopify entrepreneurs, many of which have similar sites.
- Quick and easy setup
- Large majority of themes are mobile responsive
- App store has many additional eCommerce features to make the most of
- Dependable server and store uptime record
- Shopify provides 24/7 tech support
- Transaction fees are charged when using payment gateways external to Shopify. This can add up for stores whose business plan is to sell in high volume or slim margins
- As your store grows you will end using a lot of different apps. Relying on a lot of apps will up your monthly/yearly costs
- A lot less flexible compared to Magento and has limited customization options
WooCommerce, the plugin that turns your WordPress blog or site into a fully functioning eCommerce store. WooCommerce sites take up about 25% of all eCommerce sites for a reason!
- It’s free and the underlying software is also free, you will have to pay for hosting, site theme and plugins, nothing unexpected
- Your original WordPress site is kept native and you can leverage it accordingly
- Like Shopify, you don’t need to be a technical wizard to make things work
- The WordPress/WooCommerce community is huge
- Scaling will likely cause your live site to slow
- There’s not much tech support beyond the community
- Eventually you will have to rely on developers to scale, customize maintain your store upon business growth
This platform bears a few similarities with Magento. It’s open source, developed using PHP and uses templates to upload products. It’s main difference, it doesn’t have as heavy of a reliance on developers. It has a much smaller eCommerce market share compared to Magento, but this has no reflection on its functionality.
- Simple migration, if you’re migrating from Magento
- Easy to build an international presence, can easily implement multiple languages and currencies to your site
- The platform itself provide reports and metrics on your store
- You can use your preferred payment gateway
- Most addons are free
- Installations do not always work with each other
- Default checkout experience is slow
BigCommerce is similar to Shopify in many aspects. It has a reliable uptime, is quick to set up, is feature rich and has monthly subscriptions.
- Quick store setup
- Plenty of mobile responsive themes
- 24/7 customer support
- Can sell on numerous sites such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook
- PCI compliant
- No transaction fees!
- Doesn’t support multi-store functionality
- If your revenue meets that of a higher monthly subscription plan, you will be automatically be switched to that plan
All the eCommerce platforms on this list (including Magento) provide a lot of value for many businesses. Some are simple and light, others are complex and heavy, some are inbetween. It’s about finding the platform that not only suits the needs of your business. Perhaps there won’t be a perfect fit, but with the right plugins, extensions and addons you will get close.
The underlying truth of all this, no matter which platform you choose, you will want to hire eCommerce development at some point.
If you choose lighter stores like Shopify and BigCommerce, you will want to hire developers to customize your store and free your business from the rigidity that comes with simplicity. You can still make these platforms work without external help, but your business growth will eventually cap.
If you choose Magento or WooCommerce, expert developers will ensure your business makes the most of the flexibility of these platforms while alleviating you from any technical overwhelm.
Whatever platform you choose, it’s important you hire developers you can trust! If you are currently considering or can see your business needing specialist developers in the near future I would recommend the CodeClouds’ eCommerce services. I’ve chosen this company as not only are they a reputable choice globally for both web development and design but they are a large company that have specialist developers for all of the eCommerce platforms discussed in this article. Hire eCommerce developers from CodeClouds for Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and OpenCart.