Exploring the Magento Web Store Platform

Friday September 3, 2021 | Posted at 12:53 pm | By Paul Dicken
September 3, 2021 @ 12:53 pm

In this post we explore one of the most established web store platforms in the market and consider the case for using it to complement your marketplace selling.

In ecommerce, rather like much in business life, control is a very important aspect. This is especially true if your strategy is to sell across multiple online channels. You have more control over your destiny, because you have a number of online routes to market. You have more flexibility too, because you can tweak your channel mix in response to trends in the market or when good or bad things happen to one or more of your channels.

When you sell on marketplaces you tap into many advantages like ready access to traffic, markets and regions. You also surrender control too – control over your buyers, control over the buying experience, control over the selling rules you need to adhere to, and control over who you’re competing with, none more so than when it turns out you’re competing against the marketplace itself.

Selling on your own web store gives you more control over your buyers, the buying experience and your own margins. In return you need to invest, usually heavily, in attracting buyers to your site and getting them to buy, enjoy the experience and come back. The number of web store platform providers is into 3 figures, but perhaps none is more established than Magento.

Named after the colour magenta, representing the colour of its first logo, Magento is a US-based company (although it has been almost totally developed in Ukraine) and came onto the market in 2008 under the ownership of a firm called Varien. Once owned by eBay, the company is now part of Adobe’s Experience Cloud, having been acquired for $1.6 billion in 2018. According to Krish Techno Labs, Magento is the top ecommerce software in use in the top 1 million websites, almost 13,000 of them, with a 26% market share by revenue, but 9% market share in terms of ecommerce sites, which tells you that Magento sites tend to be big. Here are some more fast facts:

  • Magento handles more than $150 billion of gross merchandise volume per year
  • It has over 250,000 customers
  • As a CMS (Content Management System) Magento powers 1.2% of the world’s websites, which makes it the ninth largest
  • Magento has over 150,000 lines of software code

Essentially, Magento has two different platforms and 2 versions: Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce, Magento 1 and Magento 2. Open Source is technically free but you’ll need to pay for web development, web hosting and integration costs to get up and running. Commerce is the paid, software-as-a-service version with full support, and there’s an on premise flavour as well. Magento 1 was retired with 1.9.4 and support for this ceased in 2020. Magento 2 launched in 2015 and is faster (both in page load speeds and order processing), better for SEO and easier to work with.

In short, Magento is industrial strength. It’s large, robust and a serious undertaking which requires developer skills. As such it’s well suited to companies that are also large, with global brand ambitions who want total control over their code base, choice of themes and look and feel, as well as the apps, plug-ins or extensions they want to bring in. There’s a large user community, the platform is very flexible, customisable and scalable. On the minus side, as with big, capable systems, there’s a steep developer-required learning curve, with investment and documentation to match.

So, is Magento the platform for you, or would you be more suited to easier, more plug and play options like Shopify? The answer is, it depends. It depends on your budget, your IT set-up, your requirements and your vision for your business. The bigger you are, or the bigger you want to be, the more you’ll tend to migrate towards Magento. And if you sell on marketplaces as well as web stores, the Volo ecommerce and reporting platform brings your channels together and allows you manage your operations in a single place.

To discuss your requirements for selling on web stores, as part of your multichannel strategy, please get in touch here.

(Research and stats for this post come from here, here and here.)

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