Expanding Your Ecommerce Operation with the Magento Platform

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If you’re trying to establish and grow and ecommerce business in what is an incredibly competitive strata then you need all the help you can get. Once such tool which can really help you get the best of your idea and really put your hard work into action is the Magento ecommerce platform.

Magento will take some of the workload which is associated with ecommerce off your hands, and empower you to focus on engaging your customers and growing your business. Furthermore, Magento offers tools which make it possible for you to control the content, functionality, look and feel of your online store, and a range of other support options, advice, services training and support as well.

Magento is an eCommerce platform which is now used by approximately 5 million websites worldwide. The platform has grown particularly rapidly since it was announced that the well-known auction site Ebay was to take a massive stake in the company, and the future of the platform looks to be very rosy indeed.

Built on open-source technology, Magento provides online merchants with incredible flexibility, as well as control over the look, feel, content and functionality of their ecommerce site. It can be seen as an optimization platform for ecommerce sites, but offers much more than this basic feature.

In addition to the ability to spruce up your ecommerce site, Magento also features a powerful and intuitive administration interface, which offers great value to any ecommerce business. Magento comprises powerful marketing, search engine optimization and catalogue management tools which can be modified to suit the precise needs of your individual business’ requirements, as well as being completely scalable.

Magento also enables you to monitor every aspect of your business and deduce how successful your approach and strategies have been with a potent selection of analytics and reporting tools. The administration dashboard offers insightful reports on your business, while Magento also offers abandoned shopping cart reports, and a breakdown of all of your customers based on user-defined parameters.

Without a shadow of a doubt Magento offers a highly professional ecommerce platform capable of delivering all the functionality that even large-scale businesses will require. Aside from its accounting facility, it is also capable of dealing with the sort of features that any business will consider essential to attract custom. For example, Magento is well capable of handling complex discounting and voucher systems; a critical way to attract consumers to your business. In terms of functionality, it really covers all of the major bases that any serious online store requires.

Additionally, this is an extremely customisable platform for ecommerce, enabling users to set up their e-stores and websites in a way which truly meets their needs. Much of this can also be carried out via the administration interface which is generally considered to be pretty intuitive. Customisation can also be carried out on Magento by using XML modules. Although this is, to be honest, not particularly advisable for beginners, full documentation is provided which does make the process slightly more manageable. Magento also embraces plug in architecture, which resembles the popular blogging site WordPress to some extent.

Another one of the great aspects of Magento is its highly active and supportive community. There are a huge amount of contributors now participating in the Magento community, and pretty much any question that you ask will be answered informatively very quickly. At one time this community was somewhat criticised for the uneven responses that you could expect to receive if you asked a question, but nowadays given the elevated prominence of this platform, you can be certain of getting very accurate information extremely quickly.

There are two versions of Magento’s software available; the community (open source) version and their Enterprise offering. The latter will set you back a pretty hefty fee, but the functionality included with it is simply outstanding, you will receive better support from the developers, and indemnity insurance is even included in the package. That said, if you’re a small to medium enterprise, or unsure about the Magento package, then the community version is an extremely valid package which will suit many businesses more than shelling out an initial fee.

With Search Engine Optimization such an important issue for ecommerce, Magento offers a full Google Site Map, and its ability to rewrite URLs gives you full control of your site and ensures that it attracts the most traffic possible. If you run multiple websites then you can rest assured that Magento can assist your business(es) seamlessly; you can control multiple websites and stores from a single administration panel contained within the panel. The program really is easy to use and intuitive, and no great IT skills are required to take advantage of its most powerful features.

One thing to bear in mind about Magento is that it does present the user with a pretty steep learning curve. Most people that have become proficient with this platform do state that it takes a little while to get to grips with it. But it is also emphasised that once you do master the finer points of Magento that it offers an extremely powerful ecommerce solution that will impress you with its flexibility. It also isn’t too testing to be able to set up a basic, yet customised site with Magento; certainly this is within the scope of most users.

Magento also helps set up all of the important aspects of an ecommerce site, such as basket, checkout, shipping and payment, all with a variety of options to suit your business, and once you’ve set up your site with Magento, it can constantly grow and evolve with your needs as your ecommerce business develops.

Magento offers an extremely powerful ecommerce platform, and one that can be optimised to suit the needs of any business. One thing that you do need to bear in mind before signing up for it, though, is what you actually require from the software, rather than being dazzled by its extensive functionality. In this respect, it is well taking the free trial of Magento which is offered and checking out the platform today.

Stuart Gonsal is the co-founder and managing director of Lava Digital Agency, a boutique web design, development and Magento designers agency in Melbourne. Stuart believes in collaboration and that people and ideas are at the heart of every successful project. Follow Stuart on Linkedin, Google+

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