In past two years, I have been exposed to Magento consistently through different projects and started to fond it. Having working through many e-commerce platforms before, Magento is certainly a much more complex software and I can honestly say it is not for every person/business.
Countless threads have been created asking the simple question: should I use Magento or [name other popular e-commerce application]? I can very confidently answer this now: if you never had any experience managing e-commerce site, limited budget or resources, then look elsewhere. Many other e-commerce applications will save you money and headaches, while you can build up your revenue before moving to the next level.
Do not get me wrong, as stated in the beginning, I really like Magento. It opens up new possibilities of actions and automations that I could not do with previous systems I worked with before. But until you can see the limitations of other applications in your list, then keep it with lower priority in your list.
Here are a few reasons why Magento could create more problems than solution to your business requirements:
Magento requires more time and budget to develop
Given its complex nature, you cannot turn finalized HTML pages into Magento templates overnight. It involves break them into tiny blocks and combining them again through its XML-based layout file. Tons of free and premium extensions can also be very tempting, but implementation may not be as easy as adding plugins to your WordPress blog. Conflicts will be expected and your developer needs to have full knowledge in how your e-commerce site is set up in order to be able to debug effectively.
It is much harder to find good and experienced Magento developer
Unless you have very huge budget of course, in which you can just go to the best digital agency specializing in e-commerce and/or Magento development. Many developers may offer affordable budget and can actually build the site as specified, but they might sacrifice Magento’s strict rules which lead to more problems in the future. Or you could also spend a lot of money but do not get the results you expected. Bad coding will only make your site slow and vulnerable.
Related to the next point, if your developer does not have server or networking skills at all, that is another reason to look for another one. At the very least, Magento developer should be able to recommend a good configuration and setup.
Magento needs to run on a very good server
If you are not willing to spend more than $50/month, then you should forget about it. Even VPS might not be enough, depending on the traffic and how good the server is optimized. My suggestion: go with Magento optimized hosting providers. Installing and properly configuring full page cache will also improve the performance significantly.
Magento admin has long learning curve
You want to use e-commerce platform that does not require a formal training? Then Shopify is what you are looking for. Magento settings have so many layers which you can easily get lost or forget. Google is always your best friend, but if you do not want to go through the trouble just because you want to change the contact email address, then Magento is not for you. I even feel that it is not designed to be self-managed, instead you need a dedicated person to help you manage it.
Taking The Risk
All the reasons above will be worth if you have identified the restrictions of other systems and could only find it on Magento. For me, here are some:
- You need advanced price and marketing rules. This one is very obvious. You can create extremely complex promo rules out-of-the-box, or even extend them further if needed. This is achievable because you can create multi-level conditions and actions within Magento’s Shopping Cart Price Rules.
- Integrations with other systems. Including accounting, warehouse, fulfillment.
- Multi store setup. This is always one of key decision factors against other systems. Magento multi store feature is very mature and deeply integrated with everything else. It is part of the framework and very solid.
Still confused of which e-commerce platform you should use? Please share it here.