MAGENTO: Excellent Free Open Source Online Catalog

05 OCT 2010

Startups Best Ecommerce Solution Maybe Magento

Startups Best Ecommerce Solution Maybe Magento

If your business sells just half a dozen or a dozen electronic products through your website, you may find that using WordPress, with a PayPal plugin, does a more than adequate job of fulfilling orders. If you sell just a dozen or so physical products, then you might find Etsy or Amazon Fulfillment work perfectly for you.

But if you have dozens, hundreds or thousands of products that need to be ordered, shipped, tracked, refunded and kept in inventory, then you need to invest in a solution that will automate all of this. Doing so will allow you to invest your time, effort and money into closing sales rather than mucking about with a cobbled together catalogue that does far less than you actually need it to.

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Magento is a free, open source, and customisable product catalogue that will:

  • List products with short and long descriptions
  • Track inventory based on sales, issuing out of stock warnings, etc
  • Handle coupon codes and company accounts as well as individual orders
  • Allow the upload of product information, including descriptions & prices via XML and CSV
  • Let customers pick shipping solutions
  • Accept payment via PayPal or credit cards
  • Give you access to hundreds of pre-built, custom themes that you can use to change the appearance of the site

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You can install Magento on any web server, and there are hundreds of companies worldwide that specialise in hosting Magento sites. Magento is compatible with both WordPress and Joomla, so you can have a blog that points to your catalogue if you want.

If you want Magento customised, just post a bid on Elance describing what you want done. There are lots of Magento programmers who can help you create the tools/user interface you need to do even the most complex tasks.

  1. I am very familiar with Magento and what sort of set-up is needed to run it. There is also a need to understand the difference between the free version and the step-up the the paid enterprise version with a substantial annual cost.

    But my thought is, who is magenta excellent for? What about the SAAS solutions like bigcommerce where it’s fully hosted and users can set-up themselves in an hour and not worry about hosting or updates for a very small monthly fee.

    Thinking about your readers, I think you need a fully objective view, a need to explain the differences between ecommerce systems, ongoing costs and where you may need help from an expert (for example when your free open source version stops working – who will fix it and at what cost?)

    This article simply promotes magento which may not be the best choice for many start-up small businesses.

    • Nancy Fulton Mazur

      I’ve used yahoo store, amazon store, paypal shopping carts and Magento among other solutions . . .

      I think it is a great open source solution, easy to customize with lots of commercial support. I do agree that some turnkey solutions do offer real advantages for users who need less flexibility and want to get online faster.

      Most ecommerce solutions make it pretty easy to “try before you buy” and I like to think most entrepreneurs know they should take advantage of those offers.

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