Magento is a powerful open-source ecommerce platform based on the Zend framework. The first version of Magento was released in March 2008, and since then it has seen regular updates and has grown into a popular platform.Packages for Businesses.
There are three editions of Magento available. The community edition of the platform is open-source and is aimed at developers and business owners who are comfortable with the thought of hosting and maintaining their own website. Magento community edition users can modify the source code of the platform and extend it in any way that they wish. There is no tech support provided for the community edition, other than third-party support, and advice offered by members of the Magento community.
Magento Go is a hosted solution that is aimed at small-business owners who want an ecommerce solution that works out of the box, and feel that they need the safety net of being able to contact a support team to ask questions whenever they wish. Unlike the community edition, Magento Go does not offer the ability to modify the source code of the platform. Magento Go users can access the Web Services API and can change the theme of their website, but their "under the hood" access is somewhat limited. Magento Go requires a small monthly payment, but the basic packages are on a par with standard web hosting so they are within the reach of most small-business owners.
The third Magento offering is Magento Enterprise. This is the most powerful offering, and requires a one-off license payment. Enterprise Edition users can take advantage of a range of Enterprise-only features, including gift registries, reward schemes, advanced RMA features and customer-segmentation options.
The basic offering does have some powerful features and could, in theory, be extended to include the enterprise features if you hire a development team to implement them for you.The Learning Curve.
Magento is an ecommerce platform, not a simple content management system. This means that it may take a while to learn how to add products to the platform, configure offers and get the store organised the way you want it to look. If you do not have a dedicated development team and experience is limited to blogging platforms such as TypePad and WordPress, then you may need support to get your site running optimally.Magento vs. Others.
Magento is just one of several popular online shopping cart offerings, but it is perhaps the most powerful system out of the box. Rival platforms such as ZenCart, OpenCart and OSCommerce are more streamlined and less demanding of server resources. Depending on the specific requirements needed, modifying one of the other options may suit your needs and budget better.
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