Can even a small shop run on Magento?
When setting up an online store, you have to face an overwhelming number of decisions. For some of them, you will find out quickly if you have made the right choice. However, some decisions will only be reviewed months or even years later. One of the most important long-term decisions is choosing an e-commerce platform on which you will build your shop.
Choosing an e-commerce platform as a key long-term decision
Although some solutions seem to be perfect for the first period of a project's life, over time, they become a hindrance to the store's development, preventing it from exploiting its full business potential. Many platforms, which work well for selling several or several dozen products with an uncomplicated logistic chain, can be a barrier when trying to significantly increase the assortment and number of contractors.
What possibilities does Magento offer?
The Magento platform is considered to be dedicated to medium and large companies. Why? Primarily because of the great number of functionalities it offers, which benefit a small company only to a small extent, and the fact that small shops can be integrated with other solutions at lower costs.
If you are not expecting your offer to increase, it will actually be more profitable to use, for example, SaaS subscription models. However, if you are planning to gradually expand the number of offered products, you should consider an Open Source platform, which gives you much more possibilities for adjustments and modifications at the beginning.
Changing the platform only when the previous solution becomes insufficient may pose a risk related to the cost of moving the store, disrupted sales and potential errors accompanying the implementation.
Costs of implementing the store on an Open Source platform
Although Open Source is a solution that offers more opportunities as the store grows, the initial costs associated with implementation are significant. Usually, the initial work is conducted in cooperation with an external software house. It is a team of specialists, such as graphic designers, user experience designers, frontend developers and backend developers. The cost of the implementation depends on the complexity of the store: the diversity of its assortment, logistic chain, number of target markets, and other factors.
Even a relatively simple shop will cost tens of thousands. In the case of complex projects, this cost may reach several hundred thousand. That is why the key element is to accurately anticipate the expansion of the business in the first stage of planning the project.
If you have ambitious development plans and the budget allows you to implement them, then it is worth considering putting the store on a platform that supports its long-term development, such as the Open Source solution. On the Polish market, the most popular systems of this type are Magento and PrestaShop, with the former staying ahead of the latter in the global ranking.
Magento is available in free version and the extended, paid Commerce version
Magento is available in the extended, paid Commerce version, designed for the largest sales platforms, and in the free, Open Source Community version, which should fully meet the needs of small shops.
The benefits of building the store on Magento
The main advantage of Magento over other platforms is its wide functionality. Being familiar with the possibilities of the platform lets you integrate every store with it and smoothly check and implement new development ideas. Another advantage of the Open Source platform over closed models (e.g. SaaS) is the fact that you do not need to depend on a programmer or outsourcing to implement the platform.
In the case of closed models, only a limited group of programmers have access to the source code, so even with limited cooperation, we are condemned to a given agency. Magento, as one of the most popular Open Source platforms, is known to many programmers, and support for it is also offered by many outsourcing companies.
Once the shop is built, its management is no problem. Magento has a user-friendly interface, which allows you to take action quickly and efficiently. The shop management panel lets you make various changes for technical optimisation. The system offers a wide range of possibilities to optimise the website for SEO. It is one of the most convenient platforms for introducing positioning-friendly changes.
Magento is one of the most popular platforms in Poland, which makes it well-suited to many services on the market related to online sales. Thus, the integration of various forms of payment or logistics service providers is not challenging at all. You can also easily implement most solutions designed to build and increase sales.
If not Magento, then what else?
If your business has only minor requirements, a cheaper alternative is to choose a SaaS platform. In this case, you have no influence on system development or individual modifications, but the outlays are significantly lower. SaaS is a solution for small shops. When selling unusual products on a larger scale, it is worth considering the Pimcore platform, which is also a good solution when you wish to integrate your business with a PIM system. The most similar alternative to Magento is the increasingly popular Shopware. It is an intensively-developed platform often chosen by companies that decide to move from the older version of Magento to another system.
Magento for a small shop? Yes – for a project with a significant development perspective and a start-up budget.
To sum up, if you have set up a small shop and do not expect it to expand, a platform in a SaaS model is enough. However, if you think your business has the potential to develop in the coming years, then Magento coupled with an appropriate budget is a safe bet. This will allow for a smooth development without technological barriers.
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