Magento is by far the fastest growing ecommerce platform. But we will have to distinguish between the two versions Magento offers, Community and Enterprise. The community version is downloaded millions of times, which doesn't mean that it resulted in as many real stores of course. I even downloaded a version myself, which never became a store for sure. The two version are hard to compare. Today, at eCommerce Expo 2011 in London, Richard Jackson stated it very clearly: “The community version is not suitable for the enterprise”. Being curious of what to expect from Magento, I decided to attend today's presentation.
It's all about a happy retailer
Kristel Verhasselt, Magento Sales Manager North Europe, shared Magento’s vision today at eCommerce Expo 2011. Magento, recently acquired by eBay, focuses on making retailers having a successful online business. Magento does this together with their 270 implementation partners, who sell the Magento Ecosystem solutions, both mobile and enterprise.
Magento will be the core of eBay’s x.commerce platform
The recent eBay acquisition wasn't a surprise for Magento, because they were a shareholder already. Ebay guaranteed Magento remains on the right track. It also confirmed that Magento will be the core of eBay’s x.commerce solution, fully integrated with many other eBay services.
Why is everyone talking about Magento?
About 4 years ago Magento made the community version available. Since then many modules and features have been developed and feedback has been sent back to Magento. Richard Jackson, Director of Session Digital, shared with the audience that the open source based community version is not suitable for enterprises. This version is not PCI compliant, has less features and is not performing well.
About three years ago Magento launched the enterprise version for serious businesses. It is supposed to be the platform for growth. It's a framework for e-commerce. It enables the solution to be built around the client's individual needs.
But, you will have to take into account that Magento Enterprise is not a ready-made store. A lot of configuration and customization is needed to get a tailored solution. Besides, you will have to arrange dedicated hosting, a shared hosting plan won't be sufficient.
5 killer reasons why to consider Magento?
Richard shared with us why he believes Magento is a good solution for many online shops:
- Best use of budget: A regular licensed solution is way more expensive. Magento allows you to spent more money on deployment, customization, marketing. Magento is a per server model,meaning you pay a yearly license fee per server. As you need more servers you pay more, following your success.
- Speed to market: Getting a large-scale deployment up and running takes 4 up to 5 months instead of 9 up to 12 in many other cases where more customization is needed.
- Tailored solutions: Together with an implementation partner you will be able to tailor Magento to your needs. But without a partner you won't manage.
- Feature set: Magento comes by default with a rich feature set and continuously new features are being developed.
- Ownership: No vendor locking, the license and customization is yours. If you are not satisfied with the implementation partner you can move on.
The Magento future didn't become clear
Honestly, I was expecting to hear a bit more "vision" about Magento's future. I treat this as a missed opportunity to share what will happen with an eager audience. The motivations why to choose in favor of Magento, as expressed above are not that unique (apart from the license ownership). Besides, you have to arrange quite a lot yourself and you need to find (and pay) an implementation partner.
More and more e-commerce solutions are being offered as a service, a so called software as a service (SaaS) offering. Such solutions offer you similar flexibility in a managed environment, which means you don't have to bother with the hosting and its performance.
Nevertheless, Magento will for many companies probably be the right solution. But, don't think it's free. Even the community version isn't due to the essential implementation, hosting and maintenance cost!
What is your favorite e-commerce solution? What do you think about Magento? Feel free to share your opinion below!