Magento is now widely accepted as one of the best eCommerce platforms available today. It is not only simple and scalable but powerful and robust, too. It’s no wonder big brands like Levis, Macy’s Pepsi, and more are lining up to use it as the architect of their eCommerce stores.
But, Magento has a lot to offer smaller eCommerce stores, too. The software has unique feature sets that have made it the best choice for retailers, big and small. From the unrivaled store customizations to the countless extensions and themes, to the amazing data and order management system – these and other prolific features have made Magento the platform of choice for many businesses.
Over a quarter of a million online websites have registered under Magento, and more retailers are switching to the eCommerce platform every day. For anyone who is focused on growing their eCommerce business, this software is exactly what you need to sustain and improve your business in 2019 and beyond.
Thanks to Magento’s massive popularity, lots of development agencies started to adopt the Magento platform. More and more agencies began investing their time in gaining a better understanding of Magento development, which, in turn, led to a smoother and more efficient process for those eCommerce stores that commission Magento agencies for business.
In the past decade or so, we’ve seen a lot of eCommerce platforms on the market. Some of them were offered as a service while others were designed as dedicated proprietary installations. Platforms like:
As you may well know, the majority of these platforms focus more on smaller, simpler online stores which are extremely easy to build and manage. But, when it comes to scaling, not many of them present enough flexibilities when it comes to features and the feasibility of customization (other than the look and feel). Also, they just aren’t engineered in a way that supports business growth appropriately.
Although some might argue that Magento has been notoriously hard to work with, in the past, those days are long gone.
Since being launched as an open-source development, Magento’s popularity has skyrocketed – and the key to that explosion in popularity is the modular structure, solid architecture, and the underlying technologies, including the PHP language that it’s written in, and MySQL, both of which (while not being the best available technologies) are extremely popular with developers and very easy to learn.
As for the architecture, Magento has always been flexible, and appealed to various types of merchants:
- Those who have massive catalogs
- Ones with just a handful of items to sell
- Merchants targeting a local market slice
- Big brands going after global sales
Either way, Magento offered a strong framework and infrastructure base for most needs. The modular nature of the platform favored extensibility, and before long, the web was filled with third-party extensions for Magento to take care of any needs that the software didn’t cover straight out of the box.
And Then Came Magento 2
This version was vastly re-engineered, with support for newer and more advanced technologies being implemented. Programming patterns were reworked, usability improved, and overall, the platform was optimized. A lot of improvements were made while keeping Magento’s modular nature as well as its extensibility intact.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the things that changed in Magento:
1. Better Documentation
Magento 2 has a lot more extensive documentation for developers published on its website. This includes articles, guidelines, free online introductory courses to the Magento 2 Development Program, and other types of content targeted to Back-end Developers, Front-end Developers, Magento Admin Users, and Solution Specialists.
2. Improved Performance and Better Scalability
One of the biggest game-changers when it comes to performance has been Full-Page Caching. This feature is part of everything you get out of the box in Magento 2. Database support has also been reworked to reduce bottlenecks and boost performance and scalability. And a whole lot more.
3. Enhanced Support for Current Web technologies, Introduction of Programming Patterns, and New Development Tools
More support has been added for recent web technologies, as well as for media queries and application modes (default, developer, production). Automated testing support covers the majority of core functionalities, and also gives extension developers a useful tool for ensuring better code quality.
4. Better User Experience
Some parts of the application were completely reworked (for example, checkout), making the entire process simpler and more linear for the visitor. Overall, the checkout process is now focused on driving the user to complete their purchase.
Magento 2 continues to undergo development, and there are many more enhancements to look forward to.
As a Magento agency, we went through all these enhancements, (and it was a painfully long learning process, at times) but we made it through. We’re proud of our team that has overcome many difficult challenges and situations to successfully develop highly customized eCommerce designs websites. We’ve used our own solutions in integrating Magento 2 with other platforms like ERPs, reporting, logistics, and customer feedback solutions.
But, what makes a great Magento agency? And more importantly, how do you choose the right one for your needs?
What to Look for in a Magento Agency
You may already know that Magento’s rich functionality and open source nature are exactly what your business needs, but to choose the best developer to execute your Magento eCommerce project, you will need to carefully consider a variety of factors.
You want an agency that has invested proper planning, organization, and support that Magento (or any other eCommerce software) can require in this fast-evolving eCommerce world.
That’s why it’s important for merchants to consider the following when deciding which Magento agency to go with:
1. Be Very Clear About What Your Needs Are
Write down all the specific things you want. If you’re not sure what you want, you probably won’t know if you’ve got it. Use the features on your competitors’ websites as a reference to determine your requirements.
2. Set a Rough Estimate of Your Budget
Make sure that your budget is appropriate for your business’s anticipated activity and sales. If you’re not sure what commissioning a new website will cost, call a few different Magento agencies to find out what their average price is for each project.
3. Check out the Agencies on Your Shortlist
Pick the top three agencies on your list that have experience delivering projects similar to yours. Get them to make a presentation. Find out who their clients are, how long they’ve been working together, and so on.
4. Determine Who the Project Team is going to Be
It’s vital to take the time to understand the project team as well as the different roles involved (from Account and Project Managers to Creative/Design staff), as there are many different disciplines that work together to create an eCommerce site.
5. Find Out How You’ll Know That You’re Getting Everything You Paid For
Make sure you define the scope of work in a water-tight way. You obviously only want to fork out your cash for work that is done properly and completely. A great agency that knows exactly what they’re doing will generally set their price according to the time spent working on your project. That time directly reflects the functionality that is required and promised, which is why it’s always best to be very clear upfront.
6. Consider the Cost
A lot of people are seduced by attractive headline prices, but you shouldn’t consider the price or day rate, but rather the amount of time that is involved. With this kind of service, you get what you pay for so think about what kind of service you actually want, expect, and need. Make your choice based on value.
7. How big is the Magento Agency, and is it Well-Established?
Size doesn’t matter as long as the agency can handle all the demands of any new clients they take on and the ongoing support and/or update commitments of existing clients. Also, experience counts for a lot, particularly when it comes to Magento and its over 2 million (yes, 2 million) lines of code.
8. What Happens After They’ve Built Your Site?
Building websites is actually the easiest thing to do. What’s hard is supporting and extending them. After your eCommerce site is live, are you still going to get the same level of service and support for those issues that will undoubtedly come up as you start to manage your website products, promotions, prices, content, and data on a daily basis?
9. Take References
This is an obvious one, but it’s also often overlooked. It’s important to know who their eCommerce clients are, and who they have worked with in the past so you can make a fully informed choice.
Our Magento development agency checks all these boxes and more. If you have an eCommerce store to get off the ground, or if you would like to find out more about our services, contact us right now to talk to one of our experts.