Magento Community Edition
What is Magento Community Edition?
Magento Community Edition (Magento CE) is an open source ecommerce platform that is free to download, install and use. Magento update Community Edition in line with their Enterprise software, which ensures that it is kept secure and up-to-date, but they have no lasting obligation when it comes to fixing any problems that arise with the platform.
However due to Magento’s popularity, there is an active and vibrant community of store administrators – as well as developers – who are all involved with the improvement of the platform for the benefit of those who use it.
Key concept: Open source does not mean everything is free.
While the software itself is free, customising it to suit the needs of your business may not be, but paying for any necessary adaptations is certainly a worthwhile investment to make. An experienced developer can take a basic Magento CE store and completely customise every aspect of it. This is why Magento is such a great platform, it lends itself to customisation and as a result can be tailored to reflect your business.
Magento is not the only open source ecommerce solution, but while many share similarities with it, Magento stands out for the following reasons:
- It has been an established community for over 8 years
- It is fully owned and supported by eBay Inc.
- It is recognised by all large third party platforms
- It is respected as the leader in open source ecommerce solutions
Why shoud I consider Community Edition?
Magento is a great starting point for any new store, but newcomers to ecommerce often ask if they really need such a powerful platform. The fact is, many store owners who start out on smaller, less well-known platforms will usually end up moving to Magento at some point. This means that they will have to make another investment later down the line to set up their Magento store, using up valuable time and money developing a new site from scratch.
Even though a Magento CE store may seem more expensive at the onset, your ROI will be significantly larger through Magento. It’s a platform that will be able to support your business no matter what its size- it can take you effortlessly from selling one product to selling one million products. Using a platform as popular as Magento will also mean that you have the support of its vast community of users and third party providers.
I already have an ecommerce platform, should I invest more and move to Magento CE?
It may seem wasteful to spend more money on a Magento store when you’ve already invested in another perfectly functional ecommerce platform. But if you intend to grow your business further down the line, your existing store may not be able to support this. It’s important to consider all your business’s needs from the outset and choose a platform that will not only satisfy your initial requirements but can also adapt to any changes accordingly, without incurring large costs or taking up too much administration time.
You may already be running your store successfully on a smaller platform. It’s probably an ideal solution, providing the results you desire quickly and easily, but it will be limited in functionality. So when faced with the offer of a new platform to replace your existing store, that promises to scale with your business but may require an additional investment to build and develop, you might choose to stay with your original option, foregoing the extra investment to stick with a solution that already works pretty well anyway.
But, as you begin to expand your business, you might decide to branch out to 3rd party sellers like eBay and start to notice an increase in sales through these channels. With your original store you will have no integration options, so your only choice will be to run your eBay store separately to your website. If sales continue to rise, you may even need to hire extra members of staff solely to look after the administration of your eBay store.
However, with a Magento store you’d find yourself in a much better position. You’d have plenty of integration options and would be able to link your eBay store with your existing ecommerce platform, managing your website and all 3rd party orders from one, centralised location.
So, choosing Magento as your ecommerce platform will benefit you in the long run through its ease of use and the money you’d save from managing your orders in one place and avoiding the development work you’d need to make less able platforms function as you need them to.