Chances are if you are reading this, you are probably running your eCommerce Business on the Magento Platform. While this blog post isn’t meant to deter you from using Magento, my hopes are to at least make you think about the alternatives and the impacts it can have on your business.
For the last several years, I’ve been providing small and medium sized businesses with eCommerce consulting services. My engagements and tasks have ranged from Digital Marketing, Conversion rate optimization, platform migrations, and just about everything under the eCommerce sun. In the last few years I have noticed a trend with companies choosing to begin their eCommerce journey using Magento. While Magento is a fantastic choice for a self-hosted/ managed platform due to the unlimited amount of customizations, I’ve also seen way to many companies be bogged down and limit themselves due to those same complexities. I think most companies are drawn to use Magento because their competitors are using the platform or the go with a Web Development firm that only specializes in the Magento platform. This leads me to my question that I’ve asked myself over and over again…. WHY?..
Why are you using Magento? If you are generating significant revenues – well into the Seven Figures, I can understand. But, if you are just starting out or in growth mode why put yourself at a disadvantage from day one? I think the easiest way for me to explain why I feel so strongly about not Using Magento to start or at least not using it until you have at least are doing a few million a year in revenue is by highlighting these points below, which I’ve witnessed first hand the last few years.
When you have a small and growing eCommerce business the last thing you want to have to do is dedicated resources (time and money) to keep the “boat floating”. What do I mean by this? With Magento, I see all to often, valuable team members time and company money being spent plugging the holes in the boat to keep it afloat while idling– instead of putting the throttle the whole way down and cruising towards your destination. Specific Examples I’ve seen Magento hurt businesses:
- Security Patches – Every other week it seems, there is a new security patch released by Magento. While it is great that Magento keeps up with security issues and problems and provides patches to resolve these issues, often times installation of the patches will cause conflicts with your site. More times then not, issues arise with Third Party Extensions, custom coding from your developer, or head scratching mysterious page errors. Each time this happens you are spending more time and money to just keep your site running.
- Speed of Integrations – Let’s face it, each and every day new features and options come out that can help you grow your eCommerce business. Whether it’s the ability to sell your products on Pinterest, re-target on Instagram, or dynamic product ads on Facebook, trying and testing these new marketing avenues provides BIG opportunities for your business. Typically the lag with 3rd party Magento developers to come up with integration solutions for these new opportunities can take months, let alone significant costs that come up with integrating your site to make it all work. By utilizing a Hosted Platform such as Shopify, you can significantly reduce the amount of time and resources needed to test out a new marketing feature.
- Overall Infrastructure Cost – Magento is expensive. While the Community Edition of Magento (Enterprise Edition is 10k+) might be free certainly the costs of running the site and maintaining it are most certainly not. With Magento you basically have three main costs.
- Hosting – While shared hosting can be utilized often times for less then $100/Month if you have a higher traffic site and want a faster page load time, you will most likely need a more expensive Dedicated server for your Magento installation. Often times you are looking at $500+ / Month for a decent provider.
- Magento Developer – Unless you have some serious programming skills you will need a developer to perform most of the maintenance and customization work for your Magento Store. For a Certified Magento Developer you are typically looking at rates of $120.00+ an hour.
- I.T. Staff – You will also need someone from your company to serve as the leader or organizer of all your Magento site issues and manage your developer to get the tasks done. For companies I’ve consulted I’ve seen staff members spend as much as 10-20 hours a week just Managing and directing their Magento developers.
What are you getting at? My main point to this blog post is to open your mind about he options with Hosted platforms such as Shopify. While there is no “magic bullet” for eCommerce platforms, most of the companies that I’ve interacted with could benefit significantly from just using a hosted platform. Here’s my top reasons why they are superior for starting and growing your business:
- Platform Costs – You can get up and running using a hosted platform such as Shopify for $79/ Month or less depending on the options and size of your business.
- APP Store – A HUGE number of “one-click” installable features and customizations to add to your eCommerce website. From referral marketing programs, 3rd party marketplace feeds, accounting integrations, color swatches, custom product configurators, etc. The app stores provide an easy way to fully customize your site and not break the budget. Better yet, the majority of them you won’t even have to use a developer to integrate.
- Speed – Not only does Shopify have amazing server architecture but the use of a CDN allows you to have very fast page load times which will directly impact and improve your organic rankings and conversions.
- Documentation – Between the awesome knowledge base of articles and step by step procedures documented by Shopify to the expansive forum of questions and answers.
- Shopify Support – Can’t find something in the documentation or just have a question? Shopify support is available 24/7 and is INCLUDED in your monthly subscription fee. With Magento, who can you call for free?
I’m really not trying to sell you on Shopify, but rather to get you think of the world outside of Magento. While there are certainly limitations on Shopify, most custom features or designs can be successfully completed and integrated on the Shopify platform. If you have any questions or want to chat about the options available to migrate your Magento site, let us know!