If you're setting up an online store or want to take your current ecommerce website to the next level, then you should seriously consider Magento. We've been building ecommerce websites for over 15 years and actually built our own ecommerce platform. However, we switched over to using Magento simply because we could never compete with it's level of functionality.
Magento is not really suited to the very small ecommerce shop or low budget startup. It is for businesses who are either already selling well online or for those who have ambitions to scale up their online retail.
Due to it's complexity, Magento websites are not quick nor cheap to build. They do take 3-6 months typically and you need to use an agency with Magento expertise. However, once you have a Magento store the possibilities are literally endless. It can handle any volume of products and transactions allowing you to scale up your business in any direction.
The way I look at it is you might aswell have the best and most comprehensive ecommerce platform to start with. Even if you only use 20% of it's functionality, it gives you the freedom and peace of mind to know that you can grow your ecommerce business without having to redo your entire website when you reach a certain size. I would rather have all the tools at my disposal even if I don't use them all to begin with.
Just to give you a flavour of Magento's capabilities here are some of it's key features above and beyond the standard stuff you would expect of an ecommerce platform.
- You can manage multiple ecommerce websites from one single platform.
- Easy to setup different payment gateways
- Simple integration with all of the main courier companies
- Many search engine optimistion (SEO) features in-built
- Mobile and tablet responsive
- Multi-currency and multi-language
- Large community of developers
- Extensive marketplace for Magento plugins
- Integrates with CRM, ERP and POS systems
- Highly flexible and adaptive to bespoke web designs
- Comprehensive reporting on sales, search terms, abandoned carts, purchasing history, customer loyalty etc.
- Great handling of product variables
- It's incredibly powerful and can easily handle 10,000s products and more!
For very bespoke buying processes or web applications we would still consider our bespoke ecommerce solution as any off the shelf system has it's limitations. But for a conventional ecommerce shop selling standard products then Magento is what we would recommend.