Category: Ecommerce Platforms

03
Mar

Shopify vs. Magento: The Battle of the eCommerce Platforms

The choice of an eCommerce platform for an online shop can be one of the most critical factors in its success. Given the large variety of platforms to choose from, many online store owners tend to go for platforms that are both popular and affordable.

Magento is one of the oldest modern eCommerce platforms around, and many online store owners make use of it because of its reputation for being open-source and customizable. However, once they start using it, shop owners discover that Magento can end up being more of a curse than a blessing: it’s notoriously difficult to use and lacks decent technical support.

Shopify, on the other hand, is a SaaS eCommerce platform that until recently was known for being perfect for entry-level ecommerce and not much else. However, Shopify is now targeting the same user base as Magento. It offers several advantages that store owners are bound to love. Instead of struggling with a tired behemoth like Magento, here are some reasons why a swap over to Shopify might well be worthwhile:

Data security

Unless you’re using the uber-expensive Magento EE Cloud Edition, Magento relies on you, the store owner, to provide web hosting As a SaaS Shopify stores all customer data on its servers, so you never need to worry about whether your hosting is secure. Since Shopify hosts all the customer data, security is its responsibility. This fact can add to a shop owner’s peace of mind when running an online store; at least there’s one less thing to worry about!

Shopify is very restrictive around the checkout process since that’s where users will be sharing their confidential credit card details. Shopify has been criticized for not allowing much modification to checkout, but they do this on purpose — to ensure that there’s no way your customers’ data will be compromised, by sticking to a standard checkout flow that works well.

Ease of use

Magento offers customization options for every conceivable scenario, but integrating these options and getting them to work can be an incredible chore for an online shop that doesn’t have a dedicated IT team. Magento’s installation requires database configuration, hosting software configuration and a variety of other persistent niggles. Running Magento can be a nightmare because getting some part of the configuration wrong means your site becomes slow and dysfunctional. Shopify only requires a simple account to start running and uses minimal resources. The result? Increased efficiency and fewer headaches.

Shopify is also very customizable, with a variety of pre-designed themes to choose from. If you’d like to do a bit of coding, Shopify offers the ‘Liquid’ template engine that feels natural and very intuitive to use. The backend interface of Shopify itself is designed around ease of use and anyone can be taught the basics in a matter of hours. This is all quite unlike Magento, with its endless backend configuration options and challenging user interface. Shopify is streamlined and fun to use and experiment with.

Modules that work

Those with Magento experience will tell you that getting the various add-ons and modules to work together seamlessly can be a delicate balancing act. Unless you’re willing to design and write your own Magento extensions, you may be better off sticking with stock Magento functionality, which defeats the purpose of using a flexible platform in the first place. By contrast,Shopify takes an active role in curating their app marketplace to ensure that modules work together seamlessly.  Developers can’t access or change any core features of Shopify, which is great for most stores — fewer moving parts = fewer things that can break. With Shopify, you won’t have to worry as much about code conflicts or modules interfering with each other.

Lower costs

While it might appear that Magento is cheaper than Shopify due to the fact that Community Edition is free and open source, this is a misleading conclusion. It doesn’t factor in hosting or the IT expertise Magento requires, which can ultimately be much more of a financial drain. With Shopify, all you pay ist an easily-understood monthly fee for the platform, plus additional fees for apps you may choose to install (generally, apps cost less than $10 per month apiece!), and you don’t need to worry about unexpected infrastructure or development costs down the line.

Technical support

While Magento does offer technical support for their “Enterprise” solution, expect to pay a premium. If you’re using Community Edition, you’re really on your own! Better get a hosting company that knows Magento, plus an agency or freelancer to “keep the lights on” should the application take a bad hiccup. Nothing worse than having your storefront down when you’re in the middle of a promotion,, leading to lost sales and dissatisfied customers. The alternative? Shopify offers 24/7 technical support for all plan levels, and, as they host everything for you, you never have to worry about technical glitches.

In the final analysis, an eCommerce platform forms the backbone of an online store and most users want a platform that’s fast, easy to use and relatively customizable. While Magento offers customization at the cost of user-friendliness, security, and stability, Shopify is user-friendly, offers an intuitive interface, better technical support and a much more stable platform. It’s also sufficiently customizable to meet the needs of most online shop owners.

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29
Aug

Another Look at Magento…Version 2

Like anything else that’s powerful and takes a market by storm, Magento is quite polarizing; folks either love it or hate it. It’s easy to find a reason to do either. In this post I’ll give you my very brief take about Magento’s trajectory as a platform and why you might want to .

Why users have been leaving Magento

Agencies say this: “Magento is the most robust open source ecommerce platform”.

Criticism on the street: “Magento is overly complicated and slow”.

What to believe?

In my experience, both statements are true!

Magento is truly amazing in that you can modify it and create large, complex stores with best-in-class features users expect.

However, Magento generally takes longer to set up, configure and develop on than [insert your favorite non-Magento platform here]. What’s more, non-technical managers may find their heads spinning with the dizzying array of extensions, layout and configuration choices Magento offers. Finally, even after successful launch, performance is very often a HUGE problem for Magento.

Of course, the first issue can be overcome with a solid implementation, the second with training and guidance, and the third with a knowledgeable devops team, but these don’t tend to be cheap. As a result, a lot of merchants have moved from Magento to simpler solutions like WooCommerce and Shopify. (until recently Magento was the market leader, but now WooCommerce is ahead by a few percent).

Why this trend is about to reverse

Magento 1 has been out since 2008 — with no major update. Efforts were begun on a version 2 of the application five years ago but progress was p.ain..ful..ly slow for a long time. Then something seemed to spark within the Magento team…they “got on the ball” and now we have a Merchant Beta, with General Availability slated for Q4 2015. In other words, it’s almost prime time.

Wanna see how it looks? Here’s a demo put together by our friends at Nexcess.

What’s better, you ask, about Magento 2? Answer: Just about everything. The Magento team have given the platform a total reboot / refresh. Here are some of the things I’m most excited about from a business use case standpoint:

  • It’s able to handle WAY more throughput.
  • The application is finally fully responsive in the front and backend (applause please!).
  • Performance nerds are going to be happy — static browser content caching, image compression, use of jQuery, and RequireJS for better management of JavaScript and bundling to reduce file download counts.
  • The backend has been completely redesigned and has a large number of improvements.
  • The frontend is 25% faster in general and 52% faster on add to cart.
  • It’s more modular and as a result much better to develop custom functionality on.
  • It’s no longer monolithic…it’s possible to install only some of the components, making it more streamlined and more feasible to power ecommerce within an existing project.
  • My personal favorite: the checkout now exhibits best practices. To be honest it’s still not as slick as Bonobos or even a stock Shopify checkout, but it’s way better than it was.

This is a really short list on purpose. If you’ve been unimpressed or concerned about Magento, it might be time to think again! Please feel free to email me your response or questions about Magento 2 versus whatever you’re on now.

P.S. Quick note about timeline: while the Merchant Beta is already out, the optimal time for most merchants to upgrade will probably be around May/June 2016. If you’re already on Magento, make sure to take a good look at the Magento 1 to 2 Migration plan; it’s a pretty in-depth process.

P.P.S. Hoping this post was longer? If you’re that eager, check out some more technical benefits of Magento 2.

03
Jul

Nucleus Commerce Primer

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If the world of eCommerce was a kingdom, Magento would be its sovereign. Magento is recognized as the most flexible full-featured e-commerce software available to all types of e-commerce businesses. With an incredible number of customizations designed to boost your website’s effectiveness, Magento as a platform is dedicated to providing a flexible, affordable solution for small and large businesses alike. But what if there was a way to maximize Magento’s effectiveness far beyond its original functionality? Nucleus Commerce has set out to do just that, and in Sellry’s opinion has exceeded expectations. Here’s a quick product rundown, along with estimated savings based on normal development costs per year:

  • Nucleus features a variety of frontend UI improvements focused on customer experience. Includes special functionality for customer segmentation, automatic related products, product questions and more – estimated development cost savings: $15K.
  • A state-of-the-art template, built by top Magento theme developer Brendan Falkowski. Not only does it take advantage of Magento’s existing capabilities, Brendan’s theme was designed from day one to support the modifications and integrations included in Nucleus Commerce. For the eCommerce merchant looking for the perfect blend of flexibility, simplicity, and cost effectiveness, this theme has no equal. – estimated development cost savings: $30K.
  • Adding to its shiny exterior, Nucleus Commerce is also equipped with exciting changes to the stock Magento backend. We’re very excited about Nucleus Elements, a brilliant time-saving content management feature allowing site operators with nothing more than basic HTML skills to create professional looking pages – estimated content management savings: $20K per year.
  • A highly advanced search feature built by the experts at Klevu – estimated revenue increase: $10K per year.
  • Pre-integrated with many of the most popular third-party services that merchants need, including Brightpearl (Micro-ERP), ShipperHQ (shipping), Avalara (sales tax calculation and reporting), Kount (fraud prevention) and more  –estimated development cost savings: $15K.
  • Nucleus offers support for both their service AND Magento, via a ticket/email system built into their service! That’s right, you can get help on any of the Nucleus features right from the Magento backend! – estimated cost savings: $20K per year.
  • The point is this: It’s never been easier to get a truly professional Magento store going. With Nucleus, you can save tens of thousands of dollars in your build and deploy costs alone, not to mention the time savings! Nucleus is a “no-brainer” for most merchants.

Nucleus Commerce focuses on reducing time and cost by up to 50% while still offering the core capabilities of Magento as well as other essential features.


Why Are We So Into Nucleus Commerce?

Sellry was privileged to be able to Join Nucleus Commerce at their official product launch in Las Vegas, during the 2015 Magento Imagine conference. We were sincerely blown away by not only how well thought-out their product is, but also by the quality and passion of the team behind it. We really think that the value of the product, combined with the fact that Nucleus is offering in-house product support for all stages of development, makes this the best thing to happen to Magento in well, ever.

Sellry is excited about Nucleus because it provides us with a more streamlined way to bring the industry-standard ecommerce platform to our clients (Magento),  with the ease of a simpler, more elegant platform. Nucleus has provided the average store owner instant access to some of the best Magento technology partners, and created a support structure you won’t find anywhere else. Sellry strongly believes that Nucleus is the future of Magento, and will very soon be a leader in Magento product solutions.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can use our contact page, or visit www.nucleuscommerce.com. We’d love for you to join the discussion! Leave a comment below, or use #nucleuscommerce on Twitter, and let us know what you think! – @sellrycommerce