Magento's content management system the best for ecommerce?

Magento CMS, which started in March 2008 has grown considerably over the years, clocking more than five million downloads by the end of 2014—a steep increase from a relatively modest 500,000+ downloads in October 2008. The company boasts of a CMS market share of 26%, which makes it the most patronized CMS. The closest competitors, Woo Commerce, Prestashop and Open Commerce have a market share of only 9%, 8% and 8% respectively, meaning that the next three biggies combined do not match up to Magento. Magento’s clients are spread across the world, and include top names, such as Lenovo, Nestle, Samsung, Ford, Nike and many others.Magento CMS

The reasons for such a huge popularity and market share are not hard to find. Magento CMS offers a host of benefits to ecommerce vendors.

Pros of Magento CMS

The biggest plus point of Magento is its robustness. The platform is capable of hosting up to 500,000 products per site and supporting 80,000 orders per hour, allowing e-commerce businesses to set up a robust store, and at the same time ensuring the best possible experience for the end-user, or customers who patronize Magento powered ecommerce websites.

Magento offers further value added offerings that enhance end-user experience. Dynamic search capabilities that filter products on a multitude of parameters, one page and one step check out process, easy account management including tweaking orders, and more are some features to this end. Site managers may also add prompts to browser related options and checkout page, increasing the sales potential while enhancing user experience at the same time.

For back end administrators, Magento is a versatile suite that offers a host of flexible marketing and promotional tools, such as an intuitive visual-based page editor that makes building product pages and customizing it very easy. It also offers unmatched flexibility by allowing users to co-opt third-party apps, especially for personalization. The CMS integrates easily with PayPal, Google, and eBay as well. The CMS also ranks very high in scalability.

Magento offers advanced search engine optimization capabilities. MagentoGo, the suite for small business owners, comes with in-built SEO capabilities. It auto generates site maps, assists the selection of Meta tags, and even assists in the creation of highly optimized landing pages. This is a big boon for small business owners, who can focus on their core business without being distracted by drags such as SEO.

For developers, Magento offers a one stop solution with an array of features to power the ecommerce store. It offers just about everything required to power a dynamic ecommerce website, including multiple payment gateways, multilingual websites with support for localization, multiple shipping options, advanced catalog browsing and management capabilities, and more. Intuitive dashboards that offer comprehensive views on customer orders, integrated Google Analytics, a slew of customer support options and other features make the job of administrators easy and allow them to extract more value from their website.

The best part is that Magento is open-source, with an extensive community, complete with its support system and tons of other resources available for free or next-to-nothing prices. The presence of a vibrant community also means easy availability of custom extensions. Magentooffers a host of extensions and reusable code, which means that for any functionality required, the odds are that it is already done by someone.

Last but not the least, Magento has also got its focus right – giving priority to the in-thing of mobile commerce, and offering responsive designs for shopping carts. It integrates seamlessly with both Android and iOS, the two mobile OS in vogue.

Cons of Magento CMS

However, for all the popularity and widespread acceptance, at the end of the day, three out of every four CMS users do not use Magento. In fact, many of them hold the opinion that Magento actually does not suit them. They base their opinion on the following factors:

Magento makes it possible to undertake complex and innumerable tasks neatly, but the downside is that the platform itself becomes complex. Realizing the host of intuitive options including advanced capabilities and mass customization options is a daunting and challenging task for a lay user. Even for professional developers, Magento demands a steep learning curve. Incorporating complicated customizations requires a complex and heavy layered coding and it usually requires the services of professional developers, preferably an official Magento Solution Partner or at least someone with experience of having delivered a few Magento projects to realize the full possibilities of Magento.

Many online vendors worry about the apparent lack of flexibility in the default Magento CMS functionality and its apparent lack of flexibility, and they often integrate Magento with other platforms such as WordPress to overcome this. This, however, is a non-issue and can be easily worked around within Magento itself, using CMS Pages, CMS Blocks and CMS Widgets that offers a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) box and supports everything from simple text-only pages to complex, media-heavy pages. There is also the option for Customized Modules, in the rare circumstances when the above options are inadequate.

The biggest genuine drawback of Magento seems to be the fact that it runs on PHP, uses the PHP Zend Framework, and an architecture like Enterprise Java code. This takes up a lot of memory. The merchant has to invest in strong hardware or purchase decent cloud space, or else risk the site becoming sluggish. It requires powerful multiple servers, large disk space, caching layers and memory, and even then the system may run slow because of the database. The process consumes gigabytes of RAM during heavy processes, and even throwing in hardware may not be enough for PHP to handle the load. The need to optimize usage in a way to reduce space and improve store’s performance makes the need for an experienced developer even more pressing.

All things considered, the advantages weigh over the drawbacks, and Magento remains a great fit for most companies. It delivers comprehensive ecommerce solution for ecommerce vendors of all hues, and surge in popularity over the years are for good reasons after all.

Author : Nayab Naseer Date : 21 May 2015