Magento is the world’s largest open source e-commerce solution which was released in 2008. From its inception, it instantly became developers’ favorite solution due to being an open source platform. It has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the world’s most successful e-commerce platforms which have led to its parent company – Varien – being very successful.
What is Magento?
Magento provides online merchants with a flexible shopping cart system and control over the core functionality, look, feel and content of their online store. Additionally, Magento offers powerful marketing tools, search engine optimization, and other management tools.
Whether you’re creating a new store or migrating an existing one to Magento, starting out with the platform requires a lot of knowledge, and it is a great learning curve; an experienced developer working with you can go a long way.
It is a feature-rich, professional and open source e-commerce platform which offers you complete flexibility and control. However, this power and flexibility cannot be hosted on just any plan. Small shared hosting platforms would struggle to deliver quick and reliable performance. Depending on the size (or potential size) of your store, you should consider either a big shared plan with allocated resources or even a small or medium VPS in order to get the maximum out of Magento.
When it was released in 2008, it completely changed the e-commerce market. It was purchased by eBay in 2011, and it is now the fastest growing e-commerce platform in the world.
Over $25 billion in transactions are made each year with Magento.
Over 25% of online businesses use Magento.
There are over 300 industry partners worldwide.
Over 260,000 websites are now using Magento, and an additional 1,000 are added to that number each month!
How Does Magento Work?
If you’ve decided that Magento is right for you, then you will need to decide which version you want. There are two different versions: community and enterprise. Magento’s Enterprise Edition is a paid version which provides high performance and fantastic scalability for large businesses or fast-growing stores. You get what you pay for with Magento Enterprise Edition, and you have access to expert support, hundreds of additional extensions and features which provide you with more control and enables you to give your website different dimensions.
Magento’s Community Edition is a free download and is primarily aimed at developers or small businesses who have developers working with them. The Community Edition is an open source version where you have access to community support and basic functions such as user groups, product categories, and coupons.
Why Did Magento Change E-Commerce?
Simply put, it made creating your own online store simple. It’s intuitive and can be connected with PayPal and Google Shopping. It is an all-in-one package for starting your own store. Magento offers flexibility regardless of the size of your business. There are tons of templates and themes available online which can be used to create beautiful and responsive stores. It is very easy to build a store, and it saves you tons of time, meaning you can focus on more important things such as marketing. It offers integration with over 50 different payment gateways, and this gives customers great flexibility. Checkout is a simple, step-by-step process and it won’t confuse or frustrate customers when they are ordering from you.
Magento also helps store owners drive traffic to their sites through on-page SEO solutions. It doesn’t stop there, though. Magento offers tools such as a customizable sitemap, SEO filters, and optimized page headers to prepare stores for search engines. Customer experience is improved by dynamic search features which allow simple and easy product filtration. The Magento cloud maintains a library of unique search terms and product tag filters. Reviews can be displayed on site. All that boiled down demonstrates one thing: it’s an all-in-one solution which allows the easy creation of modern, optimized websites which are automatically resized for mobile.
The Magento is so popular and vast that there are dedicated Magento developers out there who only work on Magento projects. Magento developers develop Magento websites, that’s it. A Magento developer builds, supports and improves Magento websites. Designing and building a Magento website requires a team of experienced Magento developers to get the maximum utility out of the platform. A Magento developer, simply put, is a web developer with skills particular to the Magento platform. Magento developers commonly work as freelancers alone, but there are also Magento agencies out there employing these experts.
There are frontend and backend Magento developers. The front-end developers build Magento themes. They make sure your website looks great, is responsive and works effectively on smartphones and other smart devices.
The backend developers build features for the Magento website and wider platform. They make everything work and keep the Magento machine running.
Magento offers formal certification in form of the Magento Certified Developer status or Magento Certified Developer Plus status. To gain this certification, the developers must pass an examination which relates to that field.
Magento developers have a range of tasks, and these typically include stuff such as:
Installing Magento and setting it up
Creating Magento themes
Integrating payment gateways and other systems such as PayPal and SagePay
and lots more!
Magento Version History
Magento Community Edition is published as the first stable version. 1.1 came out shortly after which included API.
1.2 then came out which included downloadable products, layered navigation, and FTP.
Community Edition 1.3 was released which included catalogs.
Magento Enterprise Edition was released.
Community Edition 1.4 and Enterprise Edition 1.8 were released which introduced widgets, the WYSIWYG editor, and customizable appearances.
Community Edition 1.6 and Enterprise Edition 1.11 versions were released which were able to handle several simultaneous databases, allowing you to run several stores parallel to each other.
Community Edition 1.7 and Enterprise Edition 1.12 were released and introduced mobile themes, automatic coupon codes, and product groups. CAPTCHA was added.
Magento 2.0 was released. The long-anticipated update modernized the e-commerce platform, and several of its functions and architecture was renewed and given a new lease of life.
Although Magento 2.0 was announced in 2010, its development took much longer. It was originally expected to be released in 2011, but in the end, its beta version came out in July 2015!
Recent Magento Developments
March 2017: Frost & Sullivan – the business consulting firm – awarded Magento with the 2017 Global Ecommerce Platforms Product Line Strategy Leadership Award which recognizes Magento’s excellence in providing businesses with the ability to deliver a custom experience to shoppers.
January 2017: Hillhouse Capital made a $250 million investment to help Magento grow in the Asia Pacific region in sales, marketing, and client support.
August 2016: Magento acquired RJMetrics, a company which deals with cloud-based analytical services.
The company became independent again in 2015 as a consequence of the restructuring eBay underwent. It is now owned by Permira, a private equity firm.
Magento SEO Practices
Magento is well-built for SEO, and this is no accident! It offers lots of tools for drawing in traffic and increasing visibility. Lots of SEO features are built into Magento, but you can also add external extensions to further increase your site’s visibility through search engines.
You can also connect your Magento store to a WordPress blog where you can tell your customers about the products you sell, in a review-style format from the point of view of a customer. This is a fast-growing trend which many sites have adopted because of just how useful it is for increasing sales.
eBay’s Magento Integration
As we’ve already mentioned, eBay took over Magento quite early on in 2011 when eBay acquired the majority of its shares in February. Then, in June, eBay became the sole shareholder of Magento before spinning it off in 2015.
Most people did not understand the significance of eBay buying Magento, and they thought that it wouldn’t have a major effect on the platform. However, eBay also owned PayPal, and this acquisition meant that the PayPal payment gateway was already integrated into the Magento platform. Other extensions were made including Zendesk, MailChimp, and Salesforce. These, along with other extensions, provided much additional freedom to Magento users. It was capable of operating as a stand-alone service which had everything you needed integrated.
It also worked well with Google Analytics which is essential for all e-commerce stores. Google Analytics provides crucial data which allows store owners to optimize its pages and content to appease the desires of its visitors. As Magento began to grow rapidly following eBay’s takeover, a huge die-hard community has also formed behind it. Magento’s following is not just online, though.
In 2011, Magento launched its first official conference and more than 800 people attended. Over the years it has grown rapidly and in 2014 over 1700 people attended. This year, over 3,000 e-commerce professionals are expected to attend Magento Conference being held at Imagine 2018 at the Wynn Las Vegas between April 23rd and April 25th. There will be over 150 speakers from across 50 countries delivering over 100 sessions. Imagine 2018 attracts the biggest innovators and ground-breaking companies in e-commerce. It’s a brilliant networking event which gives you the opportunity to rub shoulders with key players in the industry, including merchants, partners, and developers.
The conference kicks off on Monday, April 23rd with special sessions, breakout tracks, and the Opening Night Networking Event. On Tuesday, April 24th there will be lots of keynote speakers, more breakout tracks, and an evening event. On the third and final day, Wednesday, April 25th, there’ll be a final general session, and a few more special sessions before the conference comes to a close.
Magento 2.0 was released in 2015. The 2.0 platform contains new APIs which make the integration of modern services even simpler for developers. Magento 2.0 also features a fine-tuned payment system which allows conversions to be maximized to their full potential. Unfortunately, if you want to switch to Magento 2.0 from the original Magento e-commerce system, you have to rewrite everything from scratch; migration is not possible (save for data). Lots of new technologies were integrated with Magento 2.0 which makes development and the operation of your online store more efficient. Some of the new technologies include:
Modern JS Stack
User experience was also massively improved. Checkout was optimized and made much quicker with only two steps and entering a billing address is no longer obligatory. Also, product photos were added to the checkout! New payment gateways were added, including WorldPay and Authorize.net. Magento 2.0’s popularity steadily increased and is widely used today. More and more e-commerce businesses have realized the importance of switching to Magento 2.0, and lots of them are doing so. At the moment, there are more than 10,000 websites using Magento 2.0, and this number is increasing by the day.
Magento Social was recently released which addresses the platforms social commerce demands. Magento social helps merchants and stores engage with their customers on social networking sites. It is a free extension which turns your store into a commerce channel.Consumers are relying on social media channels more than ever to engage with brands and buy their products. 57% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand which they follow on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Magento Social is allowing every business on its platform to gain a competitive edge by turning their social media pages into digital stores. Magento Social allows merchants to sync their Magento product categories with their social network pages. It is now possible to have a physical storefront on your Facebook page, for example, on which people can buy your products. It is a seamless integration which automatically keeps product listings on social media profiles consistent with your Magento product catalog. This has given the Magento platform even more dimensions and further establishes it as the modern leader in the e-commerce game.
Want to learn more about Magento? Check out our cool infographic below, where you can find out about its history, growth, current statistics, figures and see where it’s headed in the future.