How The Ecommerce Platform Magento Can Grow Your Business
Magento is an open-source PHP framework that enables businesses to create complex website designs-- notably e-commerce sites -- with ease. The platform can be tailored to a brand’s business growth objectives and visual aesthetic, ensuring every Magento-based site has a strong user experience.
The many customizations, integrations, features, and functions of Magento are what promote customer-centric website designs across the board. For example, brands can incorporate intuitive navigation, implement one of the many themes, and utilize the safe and secure shopping cart to build trust with consumers and encourage conversions.
Despite the many features Magento has, the admin backend is simple and straightforward, creating a great user experience for businesses, too! In particular, Magento allows brands to manage several different storefronts in one admin panel.
This streamlined backend improves the productivity of company employees. Storefronts can share customer data, catalogs, product inventory and more in a single location, enabling brands to sift through each specific store’s individual information quickly. This feature is particularly helpful for complex or expanding e-commerce businesses.
Every business has different digital needs, and Magento’s e-commerce software is prepared to fulfill them all through their endless extensions and customization tools. The platform has a comprehensive marketplace of themes, professional partners and extensions to personalize your website’s appearance and features to your needs.
This customization enables businesses to create a consistent brand identity that reflects a company’s core values, mission, and goals. Magento’s integrations also come with professional training that helps businesses learn about the e-commerce power of the framework and an affiliate marketing program that helps brands promote their products at low cost.
Magento’s framework comes SEO-ready, ensuring that any brands who utilize the platform are discoverable. Some of these key features include a Google-compatible sitemap, product tags, and full-page caching.
Search engine optimization is paramount to increasing traffic to your site and capturing new users. After all, when you rank higher on Google, you’re bound to be discovered by other customers who are searching for the products and services that your business offers. SEO strategies can increase conversions and revenue, further proving that this feature is no small feat.
It’s hard to argue with Magento’s prolific user base -- with a market share of 28 percent, it is the second most-used e-commerce website platform in the world. What’s better, Magento’s powering of Fortune 500 companies grows at the highest rate of all providers.
The software also features prominent brands and case studies on their website, detailing the features and integrations they use and the results born of their new Magento e-commerce website, to give potential users a better understanding of the platform. Overall, Magento’s popularity speaks for itself -- brands would not continue to use an open source framework if it didn’t grow their business and increase their revenue.
How To Choose A Top Magento eCommerce Firm
Determine the business problems you want to solve, possible brand expansions that could occur down the road, and non-negotiable features your website should have before you start searching for a great Magento website agency.
By outlining your needs first, you’ll create a simple set of criteria that potential partners need to meet. This will help you weed out agencies that aren’t a good fit faster and ultimately find a company that understands your brand and offers the services and support you need.
The best Magento e-commerce website companies have access to the top talent. This ensures that experienced designers and developers are finding the right solutions for your business issues while simultaneously protecting your brand image online.
Make sure you ask potential agencies exactly who will be working on your project, the role they will fill, and what their experience is. Plus, don’t be afraid to request specific experts that you believe are highly-qualified and reliable, or ask to swap out a team member that you lack confidence in professionally.
Great Magento agencies are well-versed in collaborating with clients, determining business needs and necessary functionalities, and creating a comprehensive project timeline. This workflow will include imperative deadlines, which agencies will work hard to meet.
Be sure to ask the top Magento website companies who your point of contact will be, how often you can expect meetings or reports, and what results they can guarantee.
An agency’s client list and previous projects are a strong indicator of their ability to create a quality product and deliver real results. Research an agency’s portfolio and prior experience to form a foundational understanding of their capabilities.
Then, ask these companies directly about their work, successful projects, failed implementations, and the lessons they learned. Plus, inquire if any clients are returning and ask if any of them would be willing to speak to you directly regarding their professional experience with a Magento e-commerce company.
Brands should take care to determine the level of commitment an agency has to their brand, as well as the amount of time they are exclusively committed to an agency in return. Determine cost per project, how long it should take, and if you will receive additional support after your new website goes live.
In addition, make sure you own any collateral they work on throughout the project. If you aren’t happy with their work and want to find a new partner, it may be helpful to legally own any mockups or drafts that you can give to a new Magento website design company. Then, outline everything in a contract to protect your business and the project at hand.
Questions To Ask The Best Magento Ecommerce Agencies
Many great Magento companies offer various services. Determine the assistance you need, then find a design and development team that can build your necessary features and support you before, during and after the website is implemented.
- What features and functionalities are you experienced in implementing in Magento?
- What types of Magento websites can you create?
- Will receive any administrative support following the project?
- How will you secure our data and information?
- How will we receive any system updates?
- How often will routine maintenance be performed and who will manage that?
The best Magento e-commerce companies work directly with their clients to ensure their platform has the customizations they need to find success online and reach their business goals. Ask any potential partner which functionalities they believe your brand should have and what personalizations they are able to perform.
- How will you determine the features our website needs?
- What is your experience in creating and implementing them?
- Can we add additional functionalities at a later date?
- What is the difference between adding features and customizing our website?
- What do both processes look like?
How a team of experts works on a project is almost as important as their qualifications. Make sure you understand exactly who will be working on your team, how the agency will create a strategy and project timeline, and how they plan to communicate with you and keep the design on schedule.
- How will you create a project timeline and keep it on schedule?
- Who will our point of contact be?
- Who will be working on our team?
- What will their role be?
- How often can we expect reports?
- What will be included in the reports?
Top Magento e-commerce companies will have extensive experience creating websites, customizing platforms, and helping brands grow online. Ask the questions below to determine the level of experience a potential professional partner has and their overall success rate.
- Who are some of your clients?
- Are any of them repeat clients?
- Would any of your previous clients be willing to give us a testimonial on your behalf?
- Tell us about some of your projects. What features did you implement?
- What is your success rate?
- Tell us about an unsuccessful project. What did you learn? How will you apply that knowledge to our project?
As with any outsourced project, the pricing structure is an important factor. Ask possible Magento e-commerce companies exactly what you’ll be charged and learn exactly what your money is going towards. This will ensure you get the best bang for your buck.
- How much do your services cost?
- How often will we be billed?
- How do you charge (hour, project, flat-fee, results, etc.)?
- What team members will we be paying for?
- Will any features or functionalities cost extra?
- Should we anticipate any additional fees?
Top Value Propositions and Differentiating Factors of the Best Magento Ecommerce Companies
One of the most important steps in starting an ecommerce business, or scaling up an existing one, is selecting the platform that will power your store. The options for ecommerce content management systems (CMS) and managed platforms are manifold -- from Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Drupal Commerce, to of course, Magento. For ease of management, hosted platforms are, generally speaking, the way to go. Larger and more sophisticated stores, however, will find more success with a fully customizable CMS.
Included here is an overview of Magento, which is a sophisticated and popular choice for ecommerce content management. Below we cover which sites can benefit most from using Magento, and how to select a reputable and trustworthy Magento development company.
What Kinds Of Sites Should Use Magento?
Magento is one of the most powerful ecommerce platforms in use today. The Magento platform is packed with ecommerce features and offers unbridled customization. As such, it’s a desirable option for medium to large online stores. Magento’s flexibility and powerful framework makes it a good choice for businesses that know scalability is a key concern.
That said, Magento is also a highly sophisticated and complex platform that is not friendly for beginners hoping to install and manage it themselves. Successful installation requires the help of an experienced Magento developer. As with any service or product, you can expect to get what you pay for when hiring a Magento development company. Trying to cut corners by hiring a cheap developer will cost you in the long run when things begin to break down because they were coded improperly to begin with. Businesses should expect to pay real money if they want to partner with a top Magento ecommerce company. Hosting a Magento site can also get expensive, and dedicated hosting is usually necessary.
The expense of developing in Magento means that the platform is not especially well-suited for small businesses and those that are just testing the waters when it comes to ecommerce. Small online stores will find more success (and better cost savings) with a platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, of even WordPress with WooCommerce integration.
Magento Open Source vs. Magento Commerce
Magento Open Source (previously “Magento Community Edition”):
Magento bills Magento Open Source as “A Flexible, Open Source Commerce Platform for Developers and Small Businesses”. Magento Open Source is free to download, but unless you’re already a Magento expert, it is definitely not free to develop. As discussed earlier, hiring a Magento expert is absolutely essential as non-technical people (and even developers without Magento experience) won’t be able to manage installation on their own.
You can find a handful of Magento themes in the Magento Marketplace. Working from a theme will save time and money on design, but your ability to customize the look and feel of your site will be restricted. There are also many useful Magento extensions available on the Marketplace.
Magento Commerce is Magento’s hosted enterprise ecommerce solution. Unlike Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce is not free. However, Magento Commerce customers are supported by Magento’s own developers. According to their website: “With Magento Commerce, you’re supported by a global ecosystem of merchants, partners, and developers, who will bring your commerce vision to life.”
Using Magento For B2B eCommerce
Historically, B2B ecommerce has languished behind B2C ecommerce. Ecommerce platforms simply haven’t been able to meet the specific needs of B2B merchants. That’s changing, however, with the 2017 release of Magento 2.2. This new release includes many B2B-specific features that make it easier for B2B merchants to serve their customers and customize their offerings.
From the customer’s perspective, the ordering process has been greatly improved with the new release. The ability to upload an order list via a CSV file or order via requisition list makes the ordering process faster and more manageable. Better backend tools like quote management and commenting allow merchants to handle the order process through the system from start to finish. Overall, the release of Magento 2.2 means the platform is now a very desirable option for B2B commerce.
Top Magento eCommerce Firms Are Experienced
As mentioned earlier, Magento website development requires a high level of expertise -- expertise which only developers experienced with the platform have. Partnering with an untested Magento developer is a recipe for disaster and may necessitate hiring someone else to come in later to fix the damage.
Expect any reputable Magento ecommerce company to have plenty of examples of past work on hand. Look for instances in which the company has designed and developed websites with specifications and scope similar to yours, as this will indicate their ability to execute your project.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, Magento does offer certification to developers who have met certain criteria set out by the company. You may choose to begin your developer search by limiting yourself to companies that have Magento-certified developers on staff.
Leading Magento eCommerce Agencies Are True Partners
Again, due to the complexity of Magento and in part because typical platform users are large and enterprise businesses, Magento builds take time to execute. With that in mind, you should be prepared to work with your Magento developer for the (relatively) long haul. In an ideal world you’ll be able to work closely with them to help them understand your business needs and goals. The better your Magento partner understands your brand, the higher their chance of meeting your expectations.
Top Magento ecommerce companies don’t just blindly execute on client demands, they act as digital partners. Look for a company that can offer strategic advice and guide you through the process of ecommerce development.
Service Offerings Of Top Magento eCommerce Companies
Many Magento ecommerce companies offer a variety of services beyond website design and development. They often specialize in ecommerce marketing and can provide ongoing technical support to their clients.
Some of the most common service offerings of Magento companies include:
Ecommerce strategy - Research into target audience and key competition, as well as recommendations for must-have content and messaging direction.
Magento website design and development - Start to finish custom Magento website design, including user experience design, responsive layout, visual design, development, and quality assurance.
Content migration - Many web design companies can assist with content migration from one platform to another, though this service usually comes at an additional cost to the client.
Magento hosting - Web development companies can usually help arrange web hosting services on behalf of their clients, including managed Magento hosting if desired. Dedicated hosting is usually required to fully support Magento sites.
Digital marketing - Many Magento development teams operate within larger digital agencies. In these cases the agency may also be able to handle digital marketing needs including SEO, PPC, social media marketing, and content marketing.
Magento is one of the most powerful ecommerce content management systems available. A high level of customization and the ability to scale to meet the needs of even the largest of ecommerce stores makes Magento a top choice for large ecommerce businesses. Due to the platform’s complexity, developing on Magento requires the help of a Magento ecommerce company.
Things to consider when deciding whether to build on Magento:
- When to use Magento - Magento is best-suited for medium, large, and enterprise ecommerce stores. The cost and complexity of developing on the platform make it prohibitive for most small businesses.
- Magento offerings - Magento Open Source is a free commerce platform which requires the help of expert developers to properly install and customize. Magento Commerce is a hosted solution that includes technical support, and an annual fee.
- Magento B2B ecommerce - The launch of Magento 2.2 brought new B2B commerce features to market, making Magento a powerful option for B2B merchants.
- Magento experience - The best Magento ecommerce companies have significant experience building on the platform. Untested or inexperienced developers may struggle with Magento.
- Partnership with a Magento development company - Magento projects take time to execute properly, so it’s important to determine whether your company and your Magento developer will be able to partner together effectively.
Top Qualities Of The Best Magento E-Commerce Companies
When selecting a Magento developer for your project, you want to make sure you’re partnering with one of the best in the business. The best way to suss out which developers have the talent and expertise to execute your project to specification, and which do not, is to thoroughly review their portfolios. The top Magento ecommerce companies will have large portfolios that demonstrate their experience working on a number of different projects with varying scopes. You should feel comfortable asking the company to provide reference contact information from one or two clients in their portfolio. Reviewing past work will help your company understand the skill level of each Magento partner you interview, allowing you to make an informed selection.
Magento gives developers the opportunity to take courses and achieve certification of their abilities with the platform. Certification isn’t an absolute necessity, but many top Magento ecommerce companies will have it. For companies who want to feel reassured that the developer they end up partnering with is up to the task, narrowing the search to only those with certification may be a good way to start. Magento’s certifications are meant to test the expertise of developers and at the very least they indicate a commitment on behalf of the developer or development company to improve and hone their skills.
Teamwork & Communication
A website build is no easy task and partnering with any developer requires a lot of trust, understanding, and communication, so it’s a good idea to look for Magento developers who you think will be transparent and forthcoming about keeping your team in the loop on the project. Top Magento ecommerce companies will be flexible and nimble in their approach to working with their clients, adapting their approach to suit the company’s needs. Teamwork is a critical aspect of any website build as many parties and stakeholders are involved in taking the project across the finish line. Look for a Magento partner that indicates their willingness and ability to work well with different groups to get the job done.
In order to keep the project on track, it’s essential that documented processes are in place to dictate every aspect of the build. Top Magento ecommerce companies, who have undertaken many implementations, will certainly have clear processes outlined to ensure the project is brought off without a hitch (or with as few as humanly possible). When you decide to work with a Magento developer you should expect them to outline the project timeline with payments tied to key milestones. This type of arrangement helps keep everyone accountable.
More than likely you will want a Magento partner who can see you through implementation and help with ongoing support if the need arises. Many top Magento ecommerce companies will include a short guarantee period of free bug fixes following site launch as part of the project scope. Beyond that however, you may decide you need additional support to help maintain the site. In that case it’s best to look for a partner who can provide maintenance services if you wish.