Building an e-shop: Free open-source solutions (part 2)

Magento: features, benefits & disadvantages
  online_shoppingMagento is one of the best known brands among all the e-commerce solutions. There are Magento solutions for virtually every business – from the hosted service Magento Go to the product for large enterprises. But the classic Magento is a free open-source solution, one of the most commonly used platforms. Its script is written in PHP and if you choose this solution for developing your online store, it’s definitely better if you know at least mid-level HTML and CSS. Learning the Magento back-end for a programmer won’t take more than a month, but for a newbie or someone without any PHP skills and knowledge it will be hard work and not likely worth it.   Benefits:

  • Free open-source solution. You can customize the code in whatever way you like and you don’t have to pay anything for using it. You can control every aspect of your e-shop – content, design, promotions, reporting, etc.
  • Regular updates and bug-fixes of the code. One of the biggest reasons why Magento is so popular is that it is an open-source solution – you’re not paying for using it, but you still get updates and fixes.
  • Security. The solution is surprisingly secure, so you don’t have to worry about it being an open-source platform with a lot of vulnerabilities.
  • Install it on as many websites as you wish. If you’re planning to have a couple of e-shops or to maintain your clients’ online stores, there’s no need to worry about choosing another platform.
  • Documentation, courses, community. Magento itself provides a lot of support for users and has a large user community which you can always ask for help. Magento organizes regular webinars – for helping users to develop their Magento e-shops, but also to help them develop their online e-commerce business as a whole.
  • Customer account management, mobile commerce and great SEO. Magento is really optimized for search engines and mobile platforms, so you don’t have to worry about those things.
  • Order management, payment configurations and gateways. There are so many options for currencies, gateways and shipping requirements that you will have no problem finding what you need.
  • Options for cross-sales, up-sells and related products. Magento helps you to lead your customers and generate more sales.
  • Multiple language support.
  • The most powerful e-commerce platform. Truly. Magento goes beyond just being a shopping cart. It offers practically everything that you’ll ever need, being a modular system and CMS with complete flexibility.

  Disadvantages: In reality, Magento has only one disadvantage – but a big one. If you’re a newcomer to e-commerce, HTML, PHP; you’re going to spend a lot of time and effort to develop your e-shop. And probably you’ll need to hire a programmer to do it for you, which kind of makes choosing an open-source solution like this a bit less appealing.   Magento is more than an open-source shopping cart, so if you are just making a small e-shop with a couple of products and you do not have the technical background to manage Magento yourself then you may want to consider an alternative. 

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