Everyone in the industry knows that Magento has become the most powerful e-commerce platform. It is Open Source based, has a lot of features and additions, is flexible and durable. However, the question remains, does the industry opinion grow up to the real requirements that are facing it? In this article, we will introduce you to the technical and practical aspects that will help you understand why Magento is the perfect solution for any e-commerce business.
History of Magento 1
Let's start exploring the platform with a short history of Magento. In 2007, the backbone of what is now one of the most powerful e-commerce solutions was developed. Founded by Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner, it was developed by Varien with the first beta released in August 2007.
Two important achievements were achieved the following year. In March, the platform was released as Bento. Three months later, Magento Community Edition was released. Something was born that we, along with thousands of other professionals and enthusiasts around the world, love and appreciate. The commercial version of Magento was released in 2009 and there is a contradiction between the free and the paid version of the platform. This was an important event as it split the project into two main branches that still interact with each other.
Over the next two years, Magento Mobile was launched and eBay purchased the e-commerce system. While everyone thought it was the end of the platform, the relatively quiet period lasted only three years: between 2012 and 2014.
In 2015, Magento 2.0 was officially released. From a technical point of view, it was easier to create a completely new platform similar to Magento 1.x than to upgrade an existing solution. This is how version 2.x was born with all its advantages and disadvantages. Plus, 2015 was the year Permira took ownership of Magento Commerce.
2016 was full of groundbreaking events. First, the famous order management system was released. Secondly, we received a renewed marketplace and a new version of the platform - Magento 2.1 was launched. And third, Magento Commerce Cloud is available. 2017 saw the release of many of the platform's features that shape its current look. B2B, Shipping, Business Intelligence, and more have extended the platform's existing feature set.
However, in 2019, an important event took place - Adobe bought the platform. The next year was relatively quiet. Magento 2.3 has been released, but the worldwide community has been waiting for 2020. Nobody knew about the corona pandemic and its impact on e-commerce. But the life of Magento 1.x has ended. This platform version is no longer supported. Although, Magento 2.4 has appeared.
Adobe acquires Magento
What happens when the corporation buys an interesting and niche (or partially niche and completely community supported) project? It begins to make the maximum profit from it, and the product of gentle underground ideas of freedom will turn towards something average and overly commercial. The Magento community was horrified by this (and still is). Among the most common concerns was the thought that Adobe would close Open Source to focus on trading only. Fortunately, that didn't happen.
While Adobe strives to uphold Magento standards, you can see a clear shift of the company towards corporate customers. Still, anyone can use the Open Source version for free, while investing a relatively low budget in a feature-rich digital storefront.
Technically, you have two separate platforms at your disposal. First, you can build a powerful and flexible ecommerce website with Magento Open Source, known as Magento Community Edition. Second, Magento Commerce is yours. It is divided into two products: local version - actually Magento Commerce (formerly Enterprise Edition) and platform as a service - Magento Commerce Cloud (originally called Enterprise Cloud Edition). Two other platforms that no longer exist are Magento Professional Edition and Magento Go.
Magento Open Source
Magento Open Source is an Open Source e-commerce platform that can be considered the basis of trading. You can take advantage of the rich functionality that this edition offers and extend its basic features with third-party modules and customizations. Since the first public beta in 2007, Magento Open Source has paved the way for excellence that we can now take advantage of. It provides various tools in different categories.
Regarding the marketing features and conversion rate, you can use the following features of Magento 2 Open Source. We have up-selling, cross-selling and related products available. In addition to this, many images, samples and other visual aspects of the product page. The stock availability, wish list, promotional prices and coupons with export and tracking are now displayed. You can use the multi-tier price index, numerous shipping options, customizable product categories. Recently viewed, similar and new products as well as a permanent basket are available (unpurchased items are saved until the customer's next visit). There are also customizable newsletters and product sharing options.
The platform's SEO enhancements include SEO-friendly URLs, customizable URL rewriting, and Google sitemaps. There is also metadata for the various pages of the store. An integral part of Magento 2 Open Source are also various website management options. Among other things, a single admin panel for multiple stores, administrative roles and access rights to pages and administration tools. There's also an integrated content management system, customizable website templates, and international business options: multiple currencies, languages, and tax rates. CAPTCHA functionality + two-factor authentication, import and export functions added. When it comes to catalog management functions, there are single, configurable, linked, grouped, downloadable and virtual products. In addition, product attributes and predefined attribute sets, inventory management with automatic notifications, out-of-products notifications and automatic image resizing. There are also product reviews and ratings, special prices, multi-tier pricing, pricing for customer groups and other similar options. It is also possible to personalize the product.
The checkout, payment and shipping tools in Magento 2 Open Source provide a wide variety of solutions. These include a one-page checkout for both visitors and registered users, multiple shipping addresses per order, multiple payment options, and multiple gateways. Money orders, checks and purchase orders are also possible, numerous deliveries provide real-time shipping rates from leading couriers. There is also flat rate shipping, shipping methods according to customer destination and on-site order tracking.
A valuable complement to the platform's experience are also numerous improvements in order management, such as the handling of multiple invoices and split execution, the ability to print waybills, invoices and shipping labels directly in the administration panel, e-mail notifications about changes in the order status. If necessary, create an order and update baskets on behalf of customers.
Customers can also take advantage of several benefits that Magento 2 Open Source provides. The dashboard contains all the necessary data about orders, wish lists and personal data. There is an address book with default billing and shipping addresses, order history, newsletter subscription control, wish list that can be shared. The new version also has uploaded product reviews and easy contact with the store.
Magento 2 Open Source analytical and reporting solutions include built-in Google Analytics support, a wide range of reports. And of course, the platform offers numerous improvements aimed at small screens. The responsive, mobile-friendly design of Magento allows you to create e-commerce sites optimized for all devices.
It is also worth mentioning that the development of the 2.X version of Magento Open Source is publicly coordinated on GitHub. Thus, the proposed changes become part of the platform and sometimes affect the Commerce release. The community plays an active role in the development of the project. For example, Magento 2.4.0 comes with a solution to 226 GitHub issues provided by community members. Proposed contributions range from minor code tweaks to major improvements to GraphQL and Inventory Management.
Unlike Open Source, Magento 2 Commerce has a relatively high price, which makes it targeted at corporate customers. The platform not only costs a lot, but also offers numerous improvements and unique features that are not available in its free version. For example, you have advanced tools for creating and managing content. These include the Website Builder, which gives you the ability to design your store page using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. There are also product recommendations that allow the platform to create personalized product recommendations for you. Customer segmentation is the creation of customer segments to reach customers more individually. Content creation and preview allows you to generate different designs for your website and apply them automatically on a flexible schedule. Instant Purchase simplifies the existing buying process for returning buyers by allowing them to skip steps at checkout. Merchandising is managing your products faster and more efficiently thanks to a simple drag-and-drop interface or sorting rules. B2B orientation means that your store will be oriented towards business partners.
If you need a tool that includes all the features after purchase, this edition may be more preferable. However, it is possible to obtain identical functionality in Open Source using third-party extensions and services, some of which provide even better functionality than that built into Commerce. The community impact is still strong as the same 226 patches became part of version 2.4.0.
Magento Commerce Cloud
If Magento Commerce is for an on-premises model, you can also use the corresponding cloud option. The appropriate edition includes all the features of the platform described above, as well as some tangible benefits. Magento Commerce Cloud is a solid PaaS solution running on Amazon Web Services. Provides a managed service infrastructure, provides better performance, increases security, and offers the highest scalability. Various additional platform technologies include Fastly, Blackfire, New Relic, etc.
Let's take a look at the core benefits of Commerce Cloud. AWS hosting, which is one of the most important aspects of editing. With Commerce Cloud, you get an environment for smooth running of your e-commerce business, operating with maximum efficiency. Even the most important traffic spikes are no longer a problem. Git-based workflow means Magento 2 provides the ability to manage Commerce Cloud environments directly from the GitHub repository. Besides, you can use the Bitbucket or GitLab repository to build and deploy the environment. The current conditions allow code changes to be pushed automatically.
Performance Tools is the ece-tools suite that can provide advanced deployment scalability. A set of scripts and accessories allow you to simplify cron management, docker deployment environment, project verification, etc. Besides, Magento Commerce Cloud streamlines many Fastly services to optimize and secure content delivery. Varnish-based CDN caches the site to make the page load faster. Built-in DDoS protection and a firewall create a cover around your website. Various image optimization techniques increase the performance of your e-commerce project.
Open Source Power and Social Engineering
Community input is at the heart of the Magento Open Source platform. They usually include source code fixes with bugs fixed or new features provided by individual developers and companies around the world. GitHub, with its pull request feature, is involved in this process as it's the most developer-friendly way to add tweaks to Magento source code. The fork and pull model is used to make changes to the Magento 2 codebase. As a contributor, you can maintain a forked copy of the codebase and synchronize it with the main branch when necessary. Your forked repository can be used to submit pull requests to the database. Consequently, it is possible to merge the set of changes from the fork into the central repository.
The heterogeneity of premiums is very diverse. It includes new components and functions, changes in existing functionalities, bug fixes, tests, documentation, optimizations, etc. Any good suggestion can become a breakthrough step towards a better Magento sphere.
All articles submitted by community creators are carefully checked. The Community Engineering Team is responsible for this. During the review, team members may require explanations from the contributors. Reply should be given within 14 days, otherwise the issue may be closed. Note that information such as the status of the problem or who is processing it is indicated.
Open access to the Magento 2 code plays a key role in the development of the platform. Each issue contains numerous articles. Developers around the world are working hard to keep the platform flexible, scalable, and productive, pushing beyond existing boundaries. No other e-commerce project that is so large can boast such close ties to its community.
Third-party modules for Magento 2 are another aspect that is worth paying attention to. You can find the best extensions that increase the default functionality of the platform and often add features that are not available in the base version of Magento Marketplace. Official Magento Extensions Store is a global source of applications and services developed to extend Magento solutions with new powerful features.
The primary advantage of the Magento Marketplace is that it is trustworthy. All the plugins represented there are carefully checked so that no malware or other unsecured products are replaced. Extensions are not only safe, but also very efficient and useful as they must follow the best coding standards and practices to appear on the platform. Besides, it is easy to find everything you need on the platform. Magento Marketplace provides a curated user experience with good old things and the latest innovators. Visitors to the platform can discover both new and personalized features in key business categories.
At the same time, there are many extension providers whose products may not be represented in the market. You can search for their offers on the respective company pages. Strong competition in the supplier environment results in top-class products and relatively low prices. Some people argue that the Shopify plugin is cheaper than a similar solution for Magento 2. However, the latter is usually more sophisticated and more efficient. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that Magento modules are often used to recreate Commerce functions on Open Source. Therefore, comparing prices in an ecosystem is a smarter way to find the real costs as different e-commerce platforms offer incomparable conditions.
Modules for Firebear partners. The article lists various large and small businesses. But many other active agencies offer different services and price levels. In this way, sellers of any size and complexity can find a reliable partner to build an online store website that suits their business needs. What's more, some companies are already focusing on PWA projects, i.e. websites created on the basis of Magento 2 with absolutely non-standard frontend functionality.
Social projects such as Magento Extension Developers Network are also important from the point of view of the entire ecosystem. ExtDN is a community of both professionals and enthusiasts who want to improve the world of Magento. Their goal is to bring new standards to the Marketplace team, extension developers, and sellers to get better products. Magento Extension Developers Network provides a unique view and ideas to improve the existing experience for both marketers and developers. In addition, numerous community led projects such as OpenMage LTS or Mage One provide the ability to maintain Magento 1 after EOL.
Magento 1 - End of Life
2018 was the year in which the company officially announced that the first version of the platform would not be supported after June 30, 2020. This day earned the loud nickname End of Life (EOL). Although no stores have disappeared by the announced date, the ecosystem has completely changed.
For Magento 1 Enterprise Edition, Adobe discontinued support for the software in June 2020, including both quality and security patches. This situation is analogous to Magento 1 Community Edition and the early versions of Magento 2. Although the latest editions of Magento 2 are the only official way to run an online store on the platform, several community initiatives provide an alternative approach.
Fast B2B growth
The built-in B2B functionality of Magento 2 Commerce makes the platform truly unique. No other e-commerce solution offers anything like it. When it comes to Magento, it provides a set of highly intuitive self-service tools that radically simplify various routine B2B processes. It is possible to add several buyers to one business account with a unique set of roles and permissions. Extended payment options include the ability to accept payments on account. Another B2B improvement comes with custom catalogs and prices for businesses. Inquiries, quick orders, quick replenishment of the assortment and reliable support are also at your disposal.
The core B2B features of Magento 2 are numerous and support the B2B layout. Custom pricing and shared catalogs give the possibility to assign custom pricing to specific companies. Create price lists and share them with different buyers. Define the default public price in the interface for guest users.
The credit limit gives companies the option to complete transactions with deferred payments and credit limits based on purchase and payment history. Provide customers with an additional payment method - "Payment on account". It is also possible to create a company structure by creating a company account and assigning multiple customers to each company account. Generate specific roles and role-based permissions for specific views and actions.
Magento 2 provides an offer engine as a part of its B2B package with which you can prepare quotes. It allows buyers to convert their shopping carts into offers. Therefore, price negotiations allow you to take advantage of the two-way communication built into the Magento 2 admin and customer accounts. In addition, you can let your customers combine frequently purchased items into lists and use them to place orders. Requirements lists are not cleared when a customer sends items to the cart, so they can be fully reused.
First of all, you are dealing with modern technology. No reliable solution can be based on outdated software solutions. The evolution of the tools depends on the technologies used in their foreground. The software package behind Magento 2 not only allows you to achieve the highest possible efficiency, but also simplifies the life of the developers and thus lowers the price of the e-commerce project. PHP, Zend, Composer, HTML5, CSS3, the latest coding standards and a few other modern instruments are some of the platform's most underrated advantages.
The use of the latest technologies, along with the open source code of the platform, opens up a wide range of customization, which increases flexibility. Implement your best ideas by creating the shop you need, not one built around technical constraints. No other platform is as scalable as Magento 2. This means it grows fast with your business, effortlessly solving all the needs of your digital storefront. Don't worry about large enterprise-level traffic. Magento 2 can handle it for sure.
The default installation of Magento 2 is fast. In addition, you can increase its performance by taking advantage of various third-party services and extensions. At the same time, it is possible to surpass the industry standard with PWA, which amplifies the impact of built-in full-page caching and Varnish solutions.
Admin-friendly Backend means there is no need to visit courses and spend hours on endless instructions. The Magento 2 backend is exceptionally easy to use and intuitive. Administrators without technical knowledge will appreciate it from the very first session. Creating categories and products is also no longer a problem. Magento 2 makes it faster and easier to set up a directory than ever before. In addition, you can use the import processes to transfer existing products. Thus, the directory configuration is limited to just a few clicks.
More people are using mobile devices for online shopping. Even B2B customers do this. Therefore, Magento 2 provides its users with a mobile oriented approach. Platform themes are optimized for all screen sizes. In addition, Magento 2 also offers a tablet and mobile friendly backend, allowing your administrators to perform urgent tasks outside the office.
Magento 2 has the largest range of third party modules in the entire e-commerce world. Magento Marketplace has thousands of them, and there are more tools available besides the official store. You can find any feature that is missing from the platform. Integration with all existing payment gateways, carriers, CRM, ERP, personalization engines and dozens of other solutions. In addition, Magento is about security. Despite the many reported vulnerabilities, Adobe offers one of the most reliable e-commerce solutions. As of version 2.4, two-factor authentication is mandatory for all administrators. At the same time, the platform regularly issues security patches that fix existing violations.
Magento 2 has a friendly search engine as it has been optimized for better SEO results. It includes numerous tools, index management and HTML and XML sitemap. If you're looking for more advanced SEO performance, the third-party extension ecosystem has a lot of modules to look out for. Finding yourself online has never been easier.
Nobody is going to assure you that Magento is a perfect solution in every respect. However, a well-chosen and implemented product will certainly be a great solution for any e-commerce business. The open code of this platform means that our development is only limited by our imagination. The community makes sure that all user needs are met. There are always new add-ons and features, either from Adobe or third-party developers. Find your Magento edition now!