The different editions of Magento: Which one suits your needs?

Ecommerce has become a simply massive part of the global economy. In 2012, the total amount of revenue created by ecommerce sites topped $1 trillion for the first time. Clearly there is a lot of money to be made online, and it is not only the biggest corporations that are taking advantage of this. The Internet has offered massive opportunities for small and medium enterprises, and more and more people are setting up online businesses or at least selling products through a website.

image001When beginning an ecommerce store, the would-be developer is presented with a wealth of different options with regard to the ecommerce package to use. But one of the most popular on the market is unquestionably the Magento ecommerce platform, which has built up a massive following in the less than six years that it has been on the market. Today, Magento is owned solely by Ebay, ensuring that its scope continues to increase, and the software is now responsible for 1 percent of all the world’s websites. That might not sound a great deal, but it amounts to millions!© Glenn Mitsui/Illustration Works/Corbis

So any ecommerce store developer who plumps for Magento has picked a winner. But there is still a decision to make – should a Magento developer opt for the free Community edition of the software, or shell out on the Enterprise version? When considering this issue there are a few factors to take into consideration.

The logical first question for the Magento developer to ask him or herself before making this decision is…what are your ambitions for your ecommerce store? If you’re running a small ecommerce store then a free version of the program is more than likely to be sufficient. If you have big ambitions for your business, and intend to run a massively successful enterprise, then ultimately investing in the Magento Enterprise package may amount to no more than a day’s revenue when your business is fully developed.

image002However, for many businesses the decision is more nuanced. They don’t have serious hopes of becoming a mega corporation, but are being built with the intention of steadily growing into a decent-sized enterprise. So what factors should businesses such as these take into consideration when choosing a Magento platform?
Well, the Community version of the Magento software is very much built around, as the name would suggest, its community. Magento developers all over the world descend on the Magento forums in order to discuss ecommerce issues and post relevant information. There is a huge amount of information

© Glenn Mitsui/Illustration Works/Corbis

about setting up an ecommerce site with Magento here, and what can be asserted immediately is that if you’re unsure about which package to plump for then the Enterprise one is a good option which will enable you to be effectively handheld in your early days. Many successful ecommerce businesses run their operation through the Magento Community software.

The problem with the Community edition is making your ecommerce site stand out. Only the Enterprise edition of Magento offers the full palette of tools which enables developers to make a Magento-driven site stand out. With so many Magento sites already out there, this can mean that your website looks a bit bland and familiar if you use the Community version. So if you’re in a sector where there is a lot of competition and you need to get noticed, or you want to hit the ground running with your business, then you’d be well advised to bite the bullet, shell out the $15,000, and choose the Enterprise version of Magento.

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Source: Right Way Solution

The other major issue which you should particularly consider before selecting a Magento package is your personal level of IT literacy, and how much effort you want to put into building and developing your ecommerce site. Magento Community edition gives you everything you need to build a great ecommerce site, but you will be very reliant on your own development ability. Alternatively, if you want all of the bells and whistles to work right out of the box then Magento Enterprise will be the perfect package for you.

Ultimately, there is no right and wrong answer to this question. In a sense it is liking asking whether a Ferrari or a people carrier is a better car. A Ferrari may be very fast and flash, but it might not suit a family of five particularly well. To choose the appropriate version of Magento you need to consider your ambitions for your business, what you want out of the program, and the particular qualities of each edition of Magento. What can be said is that once you’ve considered these options and selected the right package, you will have a powerful and intuitive ecommerce development program.

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Source: Designs Tutorial

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Stuart Gonsal is the co-founder and managing director of Lava Digital Agency, a boutique web design and development agency in Melbourne. Stuart believes in collaboration and that people and ideas are at the heart of every successful project. Follow Stuart on Linkedin, Google+ or visit at http://www.lava.com.au

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