Magento Review: Should You Use This eCommerce Giant?


Dani Nolan


2019 March 6th


If you're looking for a review of the X-Men villain, that's Magneto and you got the wrong page.

And Magento is actually a major eCommerce platform and is used by just under 15% of all online stores. In terms of volume, that puts it second only to Woocommerce.

Magento Review Landing Page

So how has it achieved that status and is it deserved? In this Magento review, I'll explain that its two biggest selling points are its expandable design and flexibility. However, it's not a perfect solution for every business.

What is Magento?

Magento is a powerful eCommerce platform. The most important thing to know is that it comes in two very different forms:

  • Magento Open Source
  • Magento Commerce

Magento Open Source is a free software package. It can be downloaded and installed on a separate hosting service to create a fully-functional digital storefront.

Magento_Review Magento Open Source

Magento Commerce is an all-inclusive cloud-hosted platform. It doesn't require a separate hosting service and includes many extra features. However, as discussed below, it's offered at price-points only appropriate for large businesses. 

This Magento review will cover both an open-source and paid solutions.

Who is Magento For?

In short, not beginners! If you aren't a web developer or don't employ one, Magento isn't the right platform for you. Why? Well, for starters, Magento Open Source is normally added through an FTP interface and changing Magento versions requires a few lines of code. Both operations could cause problems for beginners.

The interface is also geared toward carrying out powerful functions instead of ease-of-use. An example is the Inventory Management window. It presents you with a lot of information, but clearly emphasizes function over form. 

Magento_Review Inventory Management

Magento Review: What's Included?

Magento is packed with features. Both the Open Source and Commerce editions include everything most online stores will need:

  • Integrated shipping payments
  • Worldwide sales
  • Complete catalog management
  • Instant purchases
  • Site searches
  • Mobile browser storefront
  • Gift cards

Excellent Marketing

Magento's customer conversion and marketing tools allow you to create coupons, product bundles, and newsletters. All of those are great promotional gizmos for increasing sales. With most other platforms, they aren't included as standard.

Solid SEO Support

I was impressed to see Magento eCommerce stores come pre-configured for SEO-friendliness. That will definitely help you drive up store visitor numbers. For the best results, make sure you follow Magento's SEO structure guide.

A Lively App Market

Magento's popularity means there's a thriving app-building community, allowing you to easily find apps that add features such as integration with particular point-of-sale payment methods to your store. Both free and paid apps are available.

Magento Review Addon Applications

Able to Scale with your Business

Magento doesn't restrict your store in the same way other eCommerce services do. The absence of product limits is a good example of this. You can sell as many items as your server can handle. With the latest Magento release, theoretically, that means 500,000+ unique products.

You're unlikely to have that many wares to sell, but the point is that Magento can be used by businesses of any size. If you start a small family operation and grow into a multinational company, Magento can support you throughout the journey.

Magento Pricing

In practice, Magento Open Source sites aren't totally free. Most importantly, you'll need to find a Magento-compatible web host and pay them for a Magento website server.

Plus, domain registration and SSL certificates are both eCommerce necessities and will probably cost extra on top of your base hosting rate. You also need to budget for paid add-on apps. In total, the real-world price could, therefore, range from $10/month to $100+/month.

Magento Review Magento Commerce

Because it's designed for enterprise use and is highly tailored to each customer, Magento Commerce prices are not readily available online. However, clients have reported fees ranging from $12,000 to $50,000/year. You don't have to commit to such an expensive plan without testing it though. Once you fill out a quote request form, you'll get access to a free demo.

Magento Pricing in More Detail

Let's take a look at the differences between the Open Source and the Commerce packages:

Magento Open Source Magento Commerce
Integrated Shipping Checkout Yes Yes
Mobile Storefront Yes Yes
App Marketplace Yes Yes
WYSIWYG Page Builder No Yes
Content Staging No Yes
B2B Functions No Yes
Customer Loyalty Tools No Yes
Faster Updates No Yes
Technical Support No 24/7 Phone and tickets

Other than access to a hosting platform, there are two key benefits to the Commerce package. Firstly, it provides you with support from Magento experts, so you don't have to employ your own. It also includes a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) page editor that lets you preview and edit store pages at the same time. 

Both additions simplify the development experience. However, for most users, they are unlikely to justify the Commerce edition prices.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Magento Open Source is a great option for eCommerce users with a background in development. However, only businesses with a generous budget will be able to afford the Magento Commerce variant. Those that do opt for it will benefit from expert customer support and a more user-friendly interface.

Few competitors can match the customizability of the Magento Open Source edition. However, if you don't have the development basics - a simpler eCommerce solution will fit you better.

Do you have any Magento reviews of your own to share? If so, please comment below!

Leave a Comment

* your email will not be displayed