When you are just starting your ecommerce business, you want everything to be perfect. The domain name, the logo, the design: all of the aspects have to be great, and it feels like there’s no room for error. Trying to get everything just right, many business owners get stuck on choosing a platform for their store.
On one hand, it’s tempting to get the cheaper option or go with something that will allow you to get started quickly. The platforms like Shopify and Wix come to mind. Their design is intuitive, so you barely need to do any coding, and the price plans are very flexible. On the other hand, they come with a lot of limitations, so you see a lot of advice online to choose something more serious. Then you turn to platforms like Magento. The customizability is almost limitless, the performance is excellent, and there are many benefits to using it. But all this comes with a considerable price tag, especially if you need to outsource the development.
So, what should you go for, a good price and ease of use or functionality? In this article, we’ll go through both advantages and disadvantages of Magento, so you can decide if it is worth it for your small business.
Magento is an open-source platform originally developed by Varien Inc. in 2008 and acquired by Adobe in May 2018.
Since 2008, it has become one of the most widely-used ecommerce platforms, used by hundreds of thousands of businesses of varying sizes, including giants like Nike, Jaguar, and Ford. These companies went with Magento precisely because of its wide functionality. However, your store doesn’t need to be big, small business can also get a lot out of using Magento.
Let’s start with the good part. If you do get a paid version of Magento known as Adobe Commerce, you’ll get lots of additional perks that will come in handy for a small business owner. Some of them are:
Magento is truly amazing when it comes to evolving as your business grows. You can start with a simple shop and then add functionality as needed using custom modules. Magento allows you to do pretty much anything, from starting a loyalty program to adding a new language or two, to even starting a second shop altogether. It also performs well with big traffic, so you never have to worry about outgrowing your platform.
When you think of a way to improve your store, chances are someone already thought of this idea before. That’s where the extensions come to shine. If your problem is common, there’s probably already a solution for it on Adobe Marketplace. There are many extensions there, both free and paid, and they can immediately add new functionality to your website, so you don’t have to pay for pricey custom development.
Of all ecommerce platforms, Magento shows one of the best SEO performance scores. Everyone knows how important it is for an online store to be visible in search results, especially for a small business, so this is a significant advantage over other platforms.
The settings are very customizable and up-to-date with all current standards. We wrote an article recently about getting the most out of Magento 2 SEO settings, so check it out to see what you’ll be able to do.
Security is a critical aspect of an e-commerce platform. Both you and your customers want your store to have complete protection against different types of threats since you deal with people’s addresses and payment details.
Magento has a security scan tool, that allows you to monitor security threats and malware, and restricts unauthorized access to the platform. It also has a ReCaptcha capability as a form of bot protection. And to keep your website even more secure, you can get multiple extensions to add even more functionality, like a firewall or two-factor authentication.
You are probably aware of Google Analytics by now, but there are some thighs it won’t be able to do just because it wasn’t built with your specific store in mind. Here comes Advanced Reporting, available in both Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce. It allows you to see dynamic reports based specifically on your products, orders, and customer data, all tailored to your exact business needs. Paired with other analytics services it gives you a complete 360 overview of your business you wouldn’t be able to easily get otherwise.
Even if you don’t get Adobe Commerce and stick to the free version of Magento, you can still benefit tremendously from the community. The Magento community has a big forum, where many people, including certified Magento developers, get to share their experiences with the platform. So if you have any questions, be sure to check the forum, and you’ll likely find an answer. And if no one had your problem before, you can start your own topic and get help this way.
To get the most out of Magento, coding experience is a must. Compared to a lot of its competitors, Magento is open source. Open-source platforms are generally built by developers for developers, so it’s not as user-intuitive for someone not familiar with coding. So even though it offers more features than other competitors, you won’t be able to access and fully use them if you don’t know how to set everything up properly.
In addition, Magento needs to be run locally, so you will need your own server to use it, which can also be a problem for someone with no technical expertise.
Magento is based on PHP, so to customize the store to your unique needs you’ll need to be proficient in PHP or hire someone who is (and preferably with experience specifically in Magento). But even if you do know some PHP, it might be hard to set up, since Magento has its unique challenges to be aware of when coding.
This means, if you decide to go with Magento you’ll have to find an agency or a freelance developer to make your store for you.
Magento is an expensive option for several reasons. First of all, as we’ve mentioned earlier you need to pay for the development. The price for Magento development depending on different factors can range anywhere from $20 to $150/hour. And remember that apart from the original development, you’ll also need to pay for periodic maintenance.
Some extensions are also paid, and some of them can cost up to several hundred dollars.
Apart from the development, if you are using an Open Source version you will also need to pay for hosting regularly. Magento can be demanding when it comes to hostings, so you probably won’t be able to get away with a cheap shared plan.
If you do plan on using Adobe Commerce, the licensing fees start from $24,000 per year which can be an unrealistic amount for a small business that’s just starting out.
All of these things can add up very quickly, so before making any decisions calculate all costs and determine if Magento is in your budget at all.
Have you read this article and realized Magento isn’t for you for now? It’s okay, you have other alternatives as well. By now you’ve probably heard about many other, simpler platforms like Shopify, or even plugins like WooCommerce. We’d like to offer you another alternative. Shopware is another platform we’ve worked and had a good experience with, and it is a great option for those who aren’t ready to invest in Magento for now. In this article, we compared Shopware and Magento, so if you want to see the main differences, give it a read.
At BroSolutions we have a firm belief that Magento is one of the most powerful and versatile ecommerce platforms out there. There are many reasons for you to choose Magento, and many benefits it can provide for a small business, especially if you are using Adobe Commerce.
That said, it isn’t in everyone’s budget. If you have a good starting capital and believe the business will take off quickly, investing in Magento is a wise choice. But if you want to test out the waters first, it may be better to go with another platform. At the end of the day, if your business takes off, you can always migrate your store from another platform to Magento.
And don’t forget, whether you decide on Magento or Shopware development, we are here for you.
Contact us to tell us about your vision for the new store, and let’s see what we can do together!