Magento Commerce: Things You Need To Know

Magento (and more specifically, Magento Commerce) has proven to be a popular choice for enterprise eCommerce brands. According to Salmon, Magento accounts for 31.4% of top 100,000 eCommerce sites.

But as medium and large brands continue to experience the pressure of selling in the IoT era, selecting an enterprise eCommerce platform needs to be more than a numbers game. I this article, we’re exploring some key issues to consider before investing (heavily!) into Magento Commerce.

Considering Magento Commerce? Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:

Ecommerce business guide

Choosing an eCommerce platform?

Download our definitive guide to choosing the right eCommerce platform. Plus bonus questions to ask your vendor.

 

Magento opensource vs. Magento commerce

First things first, an enterprise needs to know the difference between Magento Commerce and Magento Opensource.

  • Magento Opensource: Formerly known as Magento Community, Magento Opensource The free version of Magento that can be downloaded, customized, and self-hosted.
  • Magento Commerce: Formerly, Magento Commerce came in two versions, Magento Enterprise and Magento Enterprise Cloud. Those two versions have been unified, leaving us with Magento Commerce, a premium version of Magento Opensource that includes cloud-hosting as part of the subscription fee.

Magento Opensource is available for everyone to download free of charge. It’s an open source platform that is free to use and you’re able to extend and configure the platform as you please. Also, Opensource users have access to a vast range of extensions and themes and are supported by a growing community.

Magento Commerce on the other hand, is a premium version with prices starting from $22,000 per year if you’re using Magento 2. However, this fee rises If your company’s GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) is more than $1 million.

As you’d expect, Magento Commerce gives you more functionality, including advanced marketing features, customer reward programs and targeted promotions. Plus, you get 24/7 support from Magento’s technical team.

Magento Commerce customers can also decide between an on-premise deployment and a cloud-hosted solution. The latter carries an even heftier price tag but gives you a cloud-hosted environment, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a SaaS eCommerce solution.

But even then, using Magento Commerce has some drawbacks that an ambitious enterprise should consider.

 

The disadvantages of Magento as an eCommerce platform

In a hurry? Here are the 7 things you should consider before using Magento as an enterprise eCommerce platform

  1. The ongoing costs of updates, development, and integrations
  2. Do you have someone to manage the technology?
  3. Who's gonna answer your support tickets?
  4. How does it stack against other enterprise eCommerce platforms?
  5. You'll have to (eventually) migrate to the latest version of Magento
  6. It's an open source platform
  7. Magento isn’t built for the IoT era

 

1. Ongoing costs

Even though Magento Opensource does not require you to pay a minimum yearly fee of $22,000 a year, it does require you to undergo updates, development and integration from time to time. And those are just the upfront costs — you’ll also have to factor in the hidden costs of running an on-premise website.

Magento regularly rolls out patches and security updates which needs to be manually installed. And believe me, the manual installation process is not as straightforward as you like it to be. You’re better off getting support to help you manage and install the updates, but this would come at a cost. You would need to hire Magento specialists or refer to official Magento support, which does not come cheap.

 

2. Needy technology

Do you want to manage technology, or use it? If you’re using Magento Commerce edition, you’ll find that it’s based on an old approach of “download and customize”. Not only does that take time, but it also takes technical knowledge — which again, may cost you a pretty penny if you want your eCommerce experience to be bespoke and enterprise-grade.

This approach from Magento also saps your attention and energy away from the activities that will help you scale your business. Instead, you will be forced to worry about managing the technology and running updates as and when required.

 

3. The support sinkhole

Magento has 1,300 open and ongoing support tickets. So if you run into issues, you may be waiting in line for quite some time before you find a solution.

If you want to bypass official Magento support (which you’d be paying for handsomely) your ongoing support costs will rise even further, as independent Magento support specialists charge hefty fees.

4. Magento is just an eCommerce solution — but that’s not enough for an enterprise

Here’s a vital point that’s often overlooked (before it’s too late, that is).

Magento is a stellar eCommerce platform, but that’s pretty much all it is. But in today’s eCommerce climate, to even stand a slim chance against the eCommerce giants like Amazon, you need so much more than just an eCommerce platform.

The modern consumer isn’t satisfied with just a product page and some on-site reviews. They want content in abundance before they even consider a purchase. They want walkthroughs, unboxing videos, documentation, third-party reviews, and more. Bottomline, they want an omnichannel experience. In fact, according to data compiled by MineWhat.com, 81 percent of consumers conduct online research before buying anything.

Oh, and you’ll also need to monitor your website’s analytics, collect customer data within a CRM, build landing pages for your ad campaigns and execute email marketing campaigns on a regular basis. Magento was built to do none of the above.

Read this next: B2B eCommerce: Best Practices, Marketing Strategy & Myths

 

5. Updates, migrations and headaches

Running Magento means you must undergo an endless cycle of updates. And as mentioned before, running these maintenance procedures is not a straightforward task. Plus, you would eventually have to migrate to the newest version of Magento, whenever they decide to roll that out. For example, currently, Magento 1 users are experiencing the pain of having to migrate to Magento 2.

Magento 1 users have to either migrate to Magento 2 or replatform completely, as it was announced that Magento would not be providing support for Magento 1 after June 2022 (previously, it was November 2018, but this was extended).

As you can imagine, the migration process isn’t easy or cheap. Many developers who have migrated to Magento 2 have commented on the difficulty of the move, as many Magento 1 themes and extensions are incompatible with Magento 2.

 

Ecommerce business guide

Choosing an eCommerce platform?

Download our definitive guide to choosing the right eCommerce platform. Plus bonus questions to ask your vendor.

 

6. It’s open source

We’ve already had our say on the open source vs closed source debate, but let’s briefly revisit this issue.

As an open source platform, Magento gives users the ability to customize the code in any way they like. That may sound great at first, but when you consider issue #5 mentioned previously, having a highly-customized, bespoke back-end will make your life even more difficult when it comes to inevitably migration or replatforming.

Plus, if you stray too far away from commonly used theme and extensions that aren’t peer-reviewed or tested for usability, you’ll risk breaking your entire eCommerce environment.

If you opt for a closed source enterprise eCommerce solution, you can still build a custom site with the help of the software vendor or an agency, but it will be done within the limits of the software, avoiding breakage and future headaches. Plus, closed source platforms have a much healthier track record when it comes to security.

7. Magento isn’t built for the IoT era

As more IoT devices emerge, online merchants have to ask themselves a critical question: how are we going to sell products and publish content on all these new channels?

The answer is through a headless commerce platform — which can headlessly deliver products, content and other assets to Amazon Echos, smartwatches, digital signage and everywhere in between.

Sure, Magento Commerce has APIs to help deliver content to a broad range of channels, but as previously mentioned, Magento is just an eCommerce solution — it was never meant to manage a brand’s omnichannel strategy across all touchpoints. So, at best, you’ll get an inconsistent experience because you’ll have to draft in additional technology to plug the gaps left by Magento. Hardly ideal when brands like Amazon are providing seamlessly enjoyable shopping experiences.

 

Magento Commerce vs. Core dna









 

Magento Commerce

Core dna

Inventory managementFairly strong inventory management features out-of-the-box. But since Magento 2 is open source, there is no guarantee that these extensions will be kept up-to-date.Comes with an array of advanced inventory management features where you can manage your inventory in a single location. You can take advantage of Core dna’s API-centric architecture to integrate with any inventory management tool — or indeed, any third-party tool — on the market
Multi-brand and store managementAllows you to share your product catalog across different sites.Multisite feature that enables you to create an unlimited number of online stores and you can manage them all through a single interface with an option of sharing your product catalog across all your sites or run a separate catalog with store-specific customization.
Payment gatewaysExisting integration with PayPal and other well-known payment gateways. But, some payment gateways don’t have modules built into the system yet.Integrates with all the leading payment gateways. Leverage open API to integrate with any payment solution on the market. Also, Core dna doesn't charge transaction fees.
ReportingQuite clunky, and if you opt for a third-party integration, you’re going to pay a fairly hefty fee.Built-in reporting system with the ability to integrate with the best reporting tools on the market, from Google Analytics to KISSmetrics.
Omnichannel deliveryAPI that allows enables developers to build custom applications, storefronts, and commerce experiences, but aren't built to handle content at an enterprise scale.Headlessly manage and deliver both commerce experiences and content to any device or touchpoint.
Marketing and SEO featuresStandard SEO features such as nofollow links, redirect links and canonical tags.Besides the fundamental SEO features, Core dna allows you to take advantage of the whole platform; add a blog, news, FAQ, micro-site, landing pages, etc.
Branding & designHas a range of free and premium responsive themes. The downside though, is that your custom theme runs a risk of being incompatible with future versions of Magento (i.e. Magento 3)All Core dna solutions feature custom templates and the system places no restrictions whatsoever on UI design. This means a bit more effort upfront, but you end up with a website that stands out, instead of looking like thousands of other websites using the same theme.
Scalability & sustainabilityBuilt on a multi-store architecture so you can share your product catalog across different websites. However, if you’re using the open source edition, the onus is on you to update and maintain the entire system.Built on a microservice architecture which enables you to scale much faster. his gives developers a great deal of freedom to scale and make any adjustments quickly. 
SupportMagento 2 only provides developer support or purchase the services of a Magento Technical Account Manager.Support at both merchant and developmental level.
Total cost of ownershipTotal cost after 3 years — $438,000Total cost after 3 years — $150,000

 

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Consider your options before using Magento as an eCommerce platform

We won’t deny that Magento is a stellar eCommerce solution, but will argue that it’s not the best commerce solution when you factor in things like:

  1. Ongoing costs
  2. Ongoing maintenance
  3. The mountain on unsolved customer support tickets
  4. The issue of continual updates and migrations
  5. Magento’s lack of supporting technology
  6. Magento’s open source nature
  7. The lack of native headless content management features

From our perspective, we feel that brands should at least consider their options before coughing up at least $22,000 for a versioned product that doesn’t provide solutions for today’s omnichannel world.

But hey, what do we know — we’re just Core dna, a humble, all-in-one commerce and digital experience platform with all the tools an enterprise will ever need.


This is our perspective in 2021 on the importance of choosing your platform wisely

The Platform Dilemma 

Magento has changed a lot from its early days. However, Magento site owners still face several problems like website crashes, extension conflict, compatibility issues, and more. Platform issues hamper business and create unnecessary chaos.

Are Magento's glory days over? Here's a look at the issues with the platform and why new technology like Core dna is changing the way you previously thought about eCommerce platforms. 

Headless is Changing the Game - Big changes are happening in the world of eCommerce platforms. Headless commerce is agile, fast, and flexible. The CMS world is being turned upside down with the introduction of headless technology. The paradigm shift means content editors can construct content in new ways, store it, and distribute it whenever and wherever they choose. The eCommerce sphere is especially profiting from the shift. New technology like Core dna is changing the way customers build and manage eCommerce platforms. 

Magento Represents a Legacy Technology - A legacy system is an outdated computer system. The platform can't deploy quickly or change rapidly without utilizing extensive back-end developers. For brands or businesses with teams of back-end developers at their fingertips, Magento was a great fit. However, for customers who don't have the technical expertise and are not interested in maintaining technology, going headless will likely become how they deploy their next eCommerce platform.

Developers Can Do Anything - Pro-Magento users argue the ability to change anything is a major perk of the platform - which is excellent if you have an in-house development team. While developers are finding ways to customize and hack Magento to enable it to work in this headless future, at the end of the day, update costs, refactoring, patching, ongoing innovation, and security upgrades are always going to outweigh the fixed fees for a hosted cloud platform. On a hosted cloud platform, all these activities are done for you. 

The Need For Speed - Once again, all-mighty Google updates have made speed and performance all the more significant. Speed doesn't simply mean quick page load time or caching to deliver content quicker. Instead, speed should consider giving rapid results from a search, search filtering, faceted searches, and casual browsing.

Is Open Source a Real Advantage? - This has been a great debate for over two decades. So many people have the misconception that open-source is free, but that's not always the case. Does managing your own technology make sense? Does it deliver any competitive advantage? Does it allow your business to be agile and move quickly? These are the questions you should be considering. 

Is Re-platforming Dead? - Who needs plugins, bug fixes, feature requests, upgrades, security patches, hosting, performance tuning, and caching when a platform can provide it for you from the get-go? Platforms like Core dna have made re-platforming a thing of the past. The need is simply diminishing due to better, more advanced technology. 

So, do we gather here to say our goodbyes to re-platforming? We think so.

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Sam Saltis
Sam Saltis
Founder/CEO

An entrepreneur at heart with over 20+ years of experience in building internet software, growing online companies and managing product development.

Loves all things SaaS, technology, and startups.

You can find him feeding his beloved fish when he's back in Australia.

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