Understanding the Magento eCommerce Platform

Choosing an eCommerce platform ideally suited to the needs of your unique business can be a bit like trying to find the right foot for a particular fabled glass slipper. There are a lot of options out there, but many of them aren’t a good fit. Magento offers new solutions for virtually all types of businesses with the flexibility to customize your own solutions for increased success. 

Why Use Magento as your Business eCommerce Platform? 

Your business needs an eCommerce system you can rely on day in and day out even as your business grows. While many platforms offer vague promises of great features and improved design, Magento delivers with global implementation partners and customizable tools. You know exactly what your business needs from an eCommerce platform: seamless shopping that leads to customer satisfaction, scalability as your business grows, and customizability for customers and business operation, to name a few. At the end of the day, your eCommerce platform should provide you with the confidence you need to keep running your business successfully. Here are a few ways Magento makes an ideal B2B eCommerce platform for businesses big and small. 

  • Built-in features are designed for B2B Growth: Many eCommerce platforms require you to immediately purchase extensions before the software is even fit for use. Magento provides a wide variety of easy-to-use features like personalized price lists, SEO features, and custom catalogs capabilities right out of the box. 
  • One interface supports multiple storefronts: Whether you’re dealing with multiple brand names, languages, or currencies, there are many reasons a variety of storefronts are necessary. Magento allows you to use one system to manage all business tasks for all your stores. 
  • Powerful search function saves time for businesses: An estimated 70% of consumer time is spent searching for specific products. Magento eliminates this wasted time for companies with a powerful search function. 
  • Magento is open source: This means it’s highly adaptable for anyone with the knowledge to enhance or repair the code. 
  • Allows integration with tools and extensions: Magento is designed to integrate with existing ERP and CRM software for convenience and control. 
  • Active developer communities offer additional support: Since Magento is so widely used, forums and online communities provide a great source of extra help. 

Options from Magento 

Magento offers two key eCommerce options for businesses. While both options provide a host of base features, some businesses may prefer the advanced customizability of the Commerce Edition. The descriptions below highlight the differences between each to help you decide which one is best for your business. 

Magento Open Source Edition 

Open Source (formerly known as Community Edition) is Magento’s free open source platform available for all users to download, install, and enhance. With plenty of useful features, Open Source offers a high-quality eCommerce platform that will satisfy the needs of many different types of businesses. With features like mobile-optimized shopping, global selling, instant purchase, and site search; Open Source is a great place to start for most small to medium businesses (SMB). Additionally, there are practically unlimited ways to extend the usefulness of Magento with a continually growing marketplace of apps, tools, and extensions.   

Magento Commerce Edition 

Commerce (formerly known as Enterprise) is Magento’s licensed version of the platform which is generally used by larger companies with more customer traffic. Commerce has all the great features of Open Source plus a slew of additional features designed to keep up with the growth of larger businesses. One of the biggest attractions of Commerce is Magento’s Hosted Cloud features which include: 

  • Optimized cloud commerce 
  • Global availability 
  • Cloud availability service level agreement up to 99.9% 
  • Fast page loading 
  • Performance monitoring tools 
  • Streamlined updates and testing 
  • PCI compliant 
  • Enhanced security 
  • Easy deployment 

In addition to Magento Cloud, Commerce provides many tools to increase sales and customer satisfaction. Some of the most popular features include B2B functionality, customer loyalty tools, and content staging and preview. Additional support is available with Commerce Edition as well. For many larger companies with significant sales often decide the added benefits of Magento Commerce are worth the fees. 

Comparing Magento 1 to Magento 2 

It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention and that holds true for the launch of Magento. Developed in 2007 to fill the gaps left by leading eCommerce platforms for online merchants, Magento Community was released in 2008 and followed by Magento Commerce a year later with amazing results. Magento quickly became the world’s most popular eCommerce company. In 2015, Magento 2 was released with many advanced features. 

While both versions offer businesses many useful features, Magento 2 offers more advantages to increase speed, sales, security, and functionality.

Some of the differences you can find in Magento 2 include: 

  • Increased speed for better loading time 
  • New technology for better store performance 
  • Conflicting extensions are eliminated with plugins that overlap code instead of overriding it 
  • A user-friendly dashboard with more features 
  • Increased security 

In the past, the choice between Magento 1 and Magento 2 had much to do with the current comfort level of the business with the use of Magento 1. However, making the switch will soon become necessary as updates to Magento 1 are discontinued. Support for Magento 1 will last through June 2020.   

Upgrading from Magento 1 to Magento 2 

Businesses content with the use of Magento 1 may be dreading the switch to the new version. However, the company is striving to make the move as painless as possible. As the life-cycle of Magento 1 comes to a close, stepping up to Magento 2 is the obvious choice. Preparing for the change is the best way to ensure a seamless transfer.  

Challenges 

Much of the technology for Magento 2 is entirely different, which can lead to errors and headaches without a carefully planned migration. It’s vital to back up and clone all of the information in your Magento 1 store to make the switch smoothly. Some common issues after migrating to Magento 2 may include: 

  • Administration login problems 
  • Invalid indexers 
  • 404 errors 
  • Missing graphics 
  • Extension installation issues 
  • Possible data loss 

Upgrading to Magento 2 is a necessary change if you intend to stay with the platform, and there’s no doubt the advantages will outweigh the potential headaches during migration. However, a sound knowledge of Magento technology is needed to make the switch seamlessly. ATAK Interactive is a full-service digital marketing agency with extensive experience in the building and management of eCommerce websites. Contact us today for information regarding our Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration services. We’ll take care of the headaches of migration and let you get back to running your business. 

Magento vs. WooCommerce: Which Is Better for You?

The two leading e-commerce platforms, by the number of installations, are WooCommerce and Magento. Both are versatile and powerful, and the best choice depends on a business’s particular needs. Magento is software specialized for e-commerce web pages, while WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin which lets sites host online stores. To choose between them, you should understand their features, costs, and requirements.

Overview

WooCommerce runs as a plug-in under WordPress. It’s available for free, though paid enhancements are available. It works with all WordPress plugins and themes, and it has an API which lets it have its own plugins. Support is mostly community-based, through public forums. Paid support is available from third-party professionals.

Magento is a complete platform in itself, specializing in e-commerce. Its market consists mostly of medium and large online stores, and it includes a rich set of features. Magento has both free and paid versions, with more features in the paid one. Developers and partners can take courses and get certified, and customers can obtain paid support through them. Cloud hosting is available with paid packages.

Both products let the customers host their own sites, and there are hosting companies which specialize in one or both.

Cost comparison

Using either package for business will entail some costs. Hosting is necessary (it’s included in the cost of Magento’s paid versions) and will cost anywhere from $5 a month upward. The host should be PCI-compliant if the store accepts credit cards, which rules out many of the cheapest options. Magento’s rich set of features requires a fairly powerful server, so shared hosting may not work as well as it will for the leaner WooCommerce.

Companies without an IT staff may want to consider managed hosting, which costs money but offers better uptime and fewer unpleasant problems.

The appearance of a site and its appeal to the customer are all important. Free themes are available, but a serious site will find buying a good-looking theme is worth the one-time cost. Integration with a payment processing service is a necessity. The basic costs of running a site don’t have to be high, but they could run up a couple of hundred dollars a year or more.

WooCommerce is free, as is Magento Open Source. Magento Commerce is a suite of paid, hosted versions for different site sizes. The cost of the service starts at $2,000 a year and can go much higher for high-volume sites.

Additional costs with Magento may include extensions, themes, and integrations. Some are free while others have a price tag. Extending Magento tends to require assistance from a developer, which will add to the cost. A WooCommerce site will generally require more plugins than a Magento site, but a larger selection of free ones is available. Setting up WooCommerce is easier and adding plugins doesn’t require a specialist, so site owners can save money on technical assistance. 

A typical WooCommerce site costs considerably less to set up than a Magento site. It’s possible to set up Magento Open Source at a very low cost, but it requires a higher level of in-house development skills. 

Feature comparison 

Out of the box, Magento wins easily on features. It’s stronger, even in the free version, on store management, product management, and payment processing. WooCommerce can do impressive things, but site owners may have to buy additional plugins or pay for custom development to get all the features they want. 

The cost of a rich feature set is complexity, though. WooCommerce has the upper hand in ease of use. It’s possible to get a site going without a lot of experience. Getting started with Magento requires spending a good amount of time studying the documentation. 

Both platforms are scalable, but Magento has a better reputation for supporting enterprise-scale stores. WooCommerce is used for some impressively large sites, but it takes more work to get there. 

Magento isn’t intended for constructing a full website. WooCommerce sits on top of WordPress, so its sites can do anything a normal WordPress site can do. Magento needs to work together with some other way of constructing the rest of the site. 

Adding plugins to WordPress, including ones to extend WooCommerce, is very easy. Adding extensions to Magento is harder and may require professional assistance. On the other hand, Magento’s richer feature set means there’s less of a need to add them. 

One area where a WooCommerce site will need plugins is security. Magento has a strong built-in set of security features, but WordPress relies more on plugins. They provide benefits such as limiting login attempts and monitoring files. Security is very important to a site that handles sales, so a WooCommerce site should use some carefully selected plugins to reduce the chances of a breach. 

Which is better in the end? 

As these points show, each package has its advantages and disadvantages. WordPress is more economical for small businesses, requiring less specialized support and server power. Magento shows its advantages for sites that are large and need a rich set of features. 

WordPress is suitable for building a complete Web platform. Magento users will need a different solution for their home pages, feedback forms, blogs, and so on. Having everything on one platform offers simplicity, which is especially valuable for a business with limited staff. If the staff already knows WordPress, that’s an additional argument in favor of WooCommerce. 

A business which has high ambitions and wants to offer its customers a rich set of options could be better off with Magento. The startup costs will be higher, but they can justify themselves as the business grows. 

ATAK Interactive can help 

The choices may be complicated, but you don’t have to make them alone. ATAK Interactive has years of experience in e-commerce design. We’re highly familiar with both WooCommerce and Magento, and we can help businesses choose the platform which is most suitable to their needs. In addition, we can provide integration with other software and customization. Talk with us to see how we can help you develop the site that will promote your brand and give your customers the best possible experience. 

Your Guide to Setting Up Your Magento Store for Search Engines

One of the most critical steps in running a successful eCommerce website is ensuring your store is to set up for Search Engines like Google and Bing properly.

Luckily, if you have chosen Magento for your store’s eCommerce platform, setting it up for search engines is a relatively simple and straightforward process.

Configuring Page Titles and Product Descriptions

Configuring page titles and product descriptions should be your first spring into action as you begin the search engine optimization (SEO) process. Thanks to Magento’s built-in suite of SEO-friendly features, adding titles and descriptions only take a few easy steps.

You don’t need any development skills to optimize your Magento page title. To update your site’s title, just log in to the site backend and navigate through:

Magento > CMS > Manage Pages > Page > General Information > Page Title

Once you’ve gotten that far, it’s just a matter of implementing a handful of SEO basics to create the ideal page title. Keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure page titles contain keywords you want to target.
  • Write your page titles for users and not for search engines.
    • In all honesty, this is the secret to writing titles for search engines.
    • Search engines want to help web users find what they’re looking for, so think about them.
  • Keep titles short and concise.
    • Google looks at the first seventy or so characters of your page title– focus your efforts there.

Optimizing product descriptions is a little different. You should go into as much detail as possible to create a solid, meaningful chunk of content. This simultaneously benefits your site users and the web-crawlers searching for content to use to rank your page. Try to make sure your content is as close to being 100% unique as possible to help make your pages stand out.

Following these tips should give you a proper formula to ensure all of your product’s titles and descriptions are crafted to grab the attention of not just search engines, but potential customer’s as well.

Optimizing Product URLs

URLs: The Rundown

Before jumping into how to optimize product URLs, here’s a quick primer on what they are and why optimization is so important.

URLs (short for Uniform Resource Locators) are also known as web addresses. Sometimes, people think that they’re the same thing as a domain name — they’re not. URLs allow us to navigate the web quickly and efficiently. If it weren’t for them, we’d be stuck typing in the IP address of every page we wanted to visit.

That’s obviously unrealistic. The next best thing, then, is to use URLs as a way to identify where webpages are. Think of them as a home address for the pages they lead you to. URLs contain a significant amount of information in a small amount of space. Standard formatting looks a little something like this:

protocol://domain-name.com/path

Which is broken down easily through a few quick steps:

  • Protocol tells browsers how to retrieve information about the web address. The web standard is http:// or https:// (with “s” indicating a more secure option)
  • The domain name, which is also known as the hostname, is the readable name of the location where a website is located (usually the title of the website itself)
  • Path refers to the smaller pages or subfolders that web users navigate between within the site (product pages, category pages, contact pages, and so on)

If the concept of tinkering with URLs gets your heart racing, we understand! Many brands who rely on Magento for eCommerce capabilities don’t have a dedicated web specialist to help perform tasks like these. If you’re out of your element, there’s no need to worry. Changing the way URLs on your Magento site appear is considered a simple task.

The Optimization Process

All of this lead-in has likely thrown you off, but make no mistake: optimizing your Magento URLs is quick and easy. The key to optimization is getting as close to a clean, easy-to-read version of the domain format above as possible.

Ideally, you should use URLs names which make it obvious as to what content they lead to. This means avoiding “secondary” information like categories in your product details path is usually a good choice. For example, if we’re focusing on optimizing product pages themselves, there’s no need to worry about cluttering your URLs with category information.

Make a conscious effort not to add unnecessary “stop words” to URLs. Take measures to avoid characters (like ” < > # etc.) when possible. Stop words include common filler language like and, but, or, if, and so on.

When using Magento 2, you can also enable SEO-friendly URLs. Simply log into the admin area and navigate through Stores > Configuration > General > Web. From here, click on the SEO tab and select “Yes” from the dropdown menu. This will remove the unsightly “index.php” tag from your product page URLs.

Never forget to keep URLs:

  • Definitive
  • Concise
  • Relevant
  • Simple

One note: If you update the URL or an existing site page, you’ll want to make sure to also set up a redirect from the old URL to the new one to ensure you don’t miss out on any traffic to your store.

Setting Up and Generating a Search Engine Friendly Sitemap In Magento

Sitemaps offer numerous benefits to both you and your customers. SEO-aside, they’re a great resource for Google to return to for updated information about changes on your Magento site. This tool helps ensure your content is crawled and indexed properly. Like any other SEO effort, creating a sitemap will help ensure you have the highest likelihood of landing a coveted front-page spot in Google search results.

Setting up a sitemap on Magento is a breeze. You can even fiddle with a few settings in your account and have Magento auto-generate one for you. Magento’s default sitemaps link to each category and product page on your site.

Site owners should view this site map as a table of contents — a little boring, sure, but essential to navigating content quickly and efficiently. All you need to do to set up an auto-generated Magento sitemap is head to the Admin menu and navigate through System > Configuration > Catalog > click to expand > Sitemap > click to expand Search Engine Optimizations > set Autogenerated Site Map to “enable” > Save Config.

You’ll have a few preference-based options to select from during the process, but they’re minimal and easy to understand. You can decide a minimum number of lines per page, for example.

How Partnering with ATAK Can Help

ATAK has decades of experience with the Magento e-commerce platform and has experience building custom solutions for clients in a variety of industries. As a result, we not only know how to build these systems, but we also know how to make sure they show up at the top of search results pages. If you’re looking for a partner to help you navigate the web of Magento optimization, get in touch today!

Digital Online Marketing E-Commerce

Why You Should Consider Magento as Your B2B eCommerce Platform

There are more than a few popular eCommerce platforms that B2B businesses around the world rely on day in and day out. Most platform companies claim their software is outfitted with “great features” and “intuitive design” but then come saddled with shortcomings which become apparent much quicker than expected. Many just fail to scale appropriately when the time comes to grow your business.

Enter Magento: the Open Source eCommerce platform with the added benefit of a global ecosystem of implementation partners. With powerful tools and customization capabilities, this Adobe-owned platform allows users to build meaningful, user-centric B2B eCommerce experiences across all devices. Seamless shopping, customer satisfaction, scalability, intelligent operations, important customer and operation centric customizations, and operating with confidence should be your standard no matter what else you prioritize.

Magento can do all of it.

Outlined below are just a handful of reasons why Magento makes for the ideal B2B eCommerce platform.

Rich Native Features Focused on B2B Growth

One doesn’t need to delve into the world of extensions and customized code on Magento to be granted access to an expansive eCommerce toolkit. Out of the box, the platform is outfitted with a robust set of included, intuitive, easy to use features. With its ability to support up to 500,000 products and enterprise-level volumes of up to 80,000 orders per hour, Magento provides plenty of room for your B2B business to grow.

Here are some of the most important B2B features designed to drive growth:

  • Price negotiation and quote request workflows
  • Personalized price-lists
  • Custom catalogs capabilities
  • Buyer levels and custom permissions to simplify sales to corporate accounts
  • Streamlined ordering and reordering to help generate recurrent revenue
  • Marketing, promotions, and conversion tools
  • Site management capabilities
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) features
  • Analytics and reporting features
  • Mobile commerce capabilities

Multiple Storefronts, One Interface

Another strong feature within the Magento platform is the ability to support multiple storefronts and shopping experiences from one interface/administration, with relatively easy set-up.

Multiple storefronts can be incredibly useful in cases where your business operates across multiple or different:

  • Brand Names (i.e. Gap also owns Athleta, Banana Republic, and Old Navy)
  • Domain Names
  • Languages
  • Currencies

By creating a unique storefront for each unique justification, an organization provides an improved user-centric experience to site visitors. At the same time, administration remains efficient because your administrators have to login to only one system to manage orders, catalog and inventory, customers, and customer price groups for all stores.

Magento is Open Source, and Widely Adopted

One of the primary factors making Magento so attractive to brands, especially those with development capabilities as part of their team, is the fact that Magento is open source. Being open source means that anyone with the technical know-how can do some killer custom web development via direct access to the source code of the software, leveraging the platform to a company’s own competitive advantage. ECommerce development teams want control so they can set your online presence apart and customize whatever might be needed, and Magento allows for this.

Magento is so widely adopted, with over 300,000 active online stores and a roughly 8% market share, there are excellent places for teams to find help. These adoption rates result in excellent forums and other online outlets for development teams to learn, collaborate, and find solutions.

Integration with Popular Enterprise Tools + Vast Options for Extensions

The Magento platform was designed to drive profitability at scale and improve the outcomes of your sales and marketing efforts. The Magento open source framework allows for integrations with any major ERP or CRM Software (i.e. Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, HubSpot). Magento can be a real efficiency play for a B2B operation, and because Magento is open source, one has more control to customize the feature set to be optimal, whereas one might find themselves restricted with a platform that is not so open to customization.

For B2B companies who are thinking about, or have already expanded into, working with an ERP software such as NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics, one can connect their ERP to Magento, providing back office reps, customer service agents, warehouse managers, executive management, and your users with real-time inventory and data from across the supply chain (i.e. more accurate shipping costs and delivery times).

Magento has an Active Developer Community

Magento Community forums were created as part of Magento’s effort to bring developers and enthusiasts together in one place. They’re a great source of assistance when a developer is stuck. Whether the developer is greener to the web game or even more seasoned, one is sure to have plenty of helpful individuals and groups willing to help resolve issues. According to Magento’s community page, there are 360,000 forum members in their own Magento-run forums alone, covering topics around security, version control, plugins/extensions, and more.

The Magento Community is quite expansive and includes a global ecosystem of implementation partners who gather from around the globe to offer each other encouragement and insight when needed the most. Software partners, product managers, bloggers, partner agencies, and other critical players in the eCommerce game all come together in these forums and create a powerful compendium of information.

Hundreds of highly talented, independent developers have also come to the table with their own extensions/add-ons/modules (free and paid) one can purchase and install to increase productivity and customer satisfaction. Once installed into Magento and carefully configured to your business rules, these can quickly drive success in many different areas. Why reinvent the wheel when there are premade modules on the market that cost a fraction of the price?

Just a few notable extensions Magento development teams have to offer include:

  • Google Tag Managerby MagePlaza *one of our favorite module developers.
    • Link with Google AdWords and Analytics for improved usability and more metrics.
  • One Step Checkout (FireCheckout) by Templates Master
  • Refer a Friend Extension by Amasty *one of our favorite module developers.
    • One of the most powerful Magento extensions allows one to easily and quickly build an automated referral program with full functionality, turning customers into referral sources.
  • Seamless Payment Gateway Integration: Magento integrates with most of the biggest payment systems currently available, including, but not limited to:
    • net
    • Stripe
    • PayPal
    • Amazon Payments
    • Other
  • Live Chat Extensions from various creators

Long-Term Cost Savings

Magento is an investment that pays off over time. By connecting Magento to an ERP, Amazon, and/or other order fulfillment software/tools ATAK has seen a move to Magento result in a reduction of at least one full-time employee(s). Here is a quote from one of our B2B clients running on Magento:

There are several integrations that have had a substantial impact on our day-to-day operations.  First, linking our ERP, NetSuite, with our multi-channel solutions software, Seller Active, via API changed the way our company functioned from the get-go. When you’re processing hundreds of orders per day, the last thing you want to be doing with your time is facilitating the data to move from one endpoint to another. The manual shift of this data takes away from time that can be used to grow the business. Orders are coming into our system reliably, quickly, and without concern. The productivity savings on this integration alone is worth thousands of dollars every year. Automation is key to future success – ATAK made this happen for us. Further, we utilized ATAK’s expertise to create API links between our new website on Magento and NetSuite. This connection manually populates fields such as price, description, and other important product details. A critical win here is that we can focus on expanding our product line versus maintaining our website. Between all integrations, we comfortably save the time/cost of 2 FTEs.”

– ITMars.com

Conclusion

Both small and large businesses can rely on Magento’s strong eCommerce capabilities to do business day in and day out. Between its ease of use, high scalability, and countless integration options, Magento offers a safe place to land, especially for growing B2B businesses who anticipate some growing pains in the coming years and want ultimate flexibility.

At ATAK Interactive, we believe Magento is an incredible eCommerce platform. Through our work with various clients across several industries, we have the experience to tailor, integrate, support, and scale your Magento website as your business grows.

If you would like to learn more about how Magento can help your business, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to chat!

Shopify-vs-Magento-e-commerce-platforms-guide

Magento vs. Shopify: Our Complete Guide to E-Commerce Platforms in 2019 

Business owners have a lot of important decisions to make when starting an e-commerce business. Picking the correct e-commerce platform is at the top of that list. As such, businesses often find themselves pitting the two biggest platforms, Shopify and Magento, against each other.

Because it is such an important decision, choosing between the two can be frustrating and time-consuming. 

Below we delve into both, share pros and cons, and provide you with a complete guide to help you choose the best solution for your e-commerce needs. 

Shopify’s Best Features

There is no denying that Shopify has become a giant in the e-commerce world. What started as an online store selling snowboard equipment, Shopify saw a need for an easy-to-use platform for retail businesses. Today, Shopify has over 800,000 stores and has processed over $100 billion worth of sales. Let’s see what they have to offer to sellers:

  • Shopify sites look professional and are user-friendly.
  • Sellers can design a logo at no cost. 
  • You get a custom web address when you join Shopify. 
  • Free high-resolution stock photos from Burst are yours to download. 
  • Shopify store-owners get their own virtual assistant free of charge. “Kit” will help increase your sales and create your marketing strategies. 
  • You can create highly-targeted Instagram and Facebook ads. 
  • “Kit” will assist you in developing email marketing automation and can handle additional marketing tasks for your store.
  • Shopify has a card reader that allows you to make sales in person or while you are on-the-go. 
  • Sellers can take courses on Academy and get advice from Shopify podcasts. 
  • Shopify’s support resources are full of tips, teachings, and ideas. 
  • Shopify guides are available for support and how-to information.

Magento’s Best Features 

Magento, owned by Adobe, is considered the world’s most flexible e-commerce platform. Magento Commerce gives merchants the ability to rise to any e-commerce challenge. Here’s what Magento has to offer: 

  • The delivery of connected experience, online and in-store 
  • Insights that will increase your business by use of web analytics 
  • Expansion of your store’s reach via extensions and themes 
  • Integrated core commerce features like deployment, cloud hosting, business intelligence, support, and tools to fast-track sales 
  • Magento sellers pair with a certified partner who assists with the implementation of Express Packages to aid you in going live quickly 
  • Magento’s monthly subscription fee is affordable and keeps you from having to host and monitor commerce solutions on your own 
  • The company offers thousands of extensions from its Marketplace
  • The endless customization offered by Magento Commerce allows for the ongoing growth of your store and product addition
  • Magento is the world’s fastest growing e-commerce merchant base and drove $155 billion in gross merchandise volume in 2018

Pros and Cons of Shopify 

  • Shopify has more users than Magento, 500,000, at last count, but Magento has, currently, 250,000 developers and continues to grow steadily. 
  • The enterprise has generated $100 billion in revenue. 
  • The Advanced Shopify tier is $299 a month. Shopify Basic is $29 monthly. There is a charge for using external payment gateways. 
  • Shopify does not include a domain or email hosting. You can buy a domain name for $14 a year. 
  • If you have a website, or if you want to sell on Facebook, Shopify Lite will do the trick at $9 a month. WordPress users can use Shopify’s plugin. 

Pros and Cons of Magento 

  • The number of Magento sites has almost doubled between March 2017 and August 2018. 
  • With over 5,000 apps and add-ons, Magento offers sellers extensions and apps for just about any task they need to accomplish. 
  • Magento can handle multiple stores; transactions in numerous countries, languages, currencies, and worldwide shipping, as well. 
  • Magento supplies feature capabilities and integrations with other digital tools (e.g., CRM, ERP) 
  • Magento’s privacy and security capabilities are sound. 

Which Industries Do Best on These Platforms? 

Although there are large companies that use Shopify (e.g., Budweiser, Penguin Books, Tesla Motors), it is best suited for small business development. Shopify’s built-in marketing services, its cost, and the easy setup all make it an ideal solution for small businesses.

E-commerce-platforms-point-of-sale-ipad

Shopify hosts its sites and serves the needs of retailers who are usually not overly concerned about the technical side of the selling process. 

Magento, on the other hand, works well for medium to large e-commerce businesses. You can trust Magento to handle the more complex interactions needed for B2B commerce. Magento powers thousands of stores and includes some of the biggest brands in business (e.g., Ford, 20th Century Fox Entertainment, Nike). Magento is also open source and has a developer community in the hundreds of thousands. Finally, Magento offers both free and paid versions in the Community and Enterprise editions. 

As you can see, both e-commerce platforms have a lot to offer:  

For most small or beginning businesses, Shopify’s ease-of-use, marketing services. and partner integrations make it an ideal solution for those that are new to e-commerce. 

Magento, is an excellent choice, for medium to large-sized online businesses. Add its effortless scalability, and Magento must always be a consideration. 

At ATAK, we ‘re focused on offering our clients flexible e-commerce solutions. As you have seen, both platforms have many pros and cons and we’ve taken the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each. Each client has a unique set of challenges and requirements and we work with them to implement the best solution for their situationWe’ve built over 100 stores with a range of features – from B2B customization to ERP integrations, and much more. If you’re just starting your business, or you have a blueprint for your dream eCommerce operation, we have the agility and capability to build it for you. 

Schedule a consultation with us today. We would love to partner with you in fulfilling your business’ purpose! 

 

computer-code-on-laptop-screen

Magento Security Patches: Why They are Critical To Your Business

For many e-commerce businesses, the Magento platform is the backbone of their e-commerce business. Magento is one of the most progressive and innovative open platforms available to e-commerce businesses. Unfortunately, due to its popularity, this also means that it is a prime target for hackers. Although open platforms have their advantages, they also have their drawbacks. One of the most common drawbacks is the vulnerability for a breach in security. It is important for e-commerce business owners to be able to keep both their company’s and their clients’ information safe and secure. Failure to do so can result in disastrous consequences.

The Importance of Keeping Magento Updated With the Latest Security Patches

You’re likely familiar with security patches but may not understand their purpose. When a weakness, vulnerability, or breach is discovered in a software platform, it must be fixed. The fix is called a patch, which is simply new lines of code that correct a vulnerability in the program.

Developers and analysts work furiously to create “patches” for weaknesses once they are found in the platform. Patches are used to prevent hackers from accessing your administration system and stealing or altering information from both you and your clients. There will always be a need for patches because hackers are constantly innovating new ways to hack into open platforms and take advantage of the information found. Due to the ever-present threat of a security breach, it can be extremely harmful to your business and your customer’s data if you do not regularly ensure your business is keeping up with the latest Magento security patches.

The Potential Harm to Your Business

Failing to stay on top of Magento security patches can put your entire e-commerce business at risk. When customers complete transactions online, they expect their data to be protected and the process to be completely safe. Anything less than that will not be worth the risk to consumers. Operating a business on an unsecured platform will lead to a loss of customer trust and revenue. Even worse, if your business gains a reputation as unsafe for conducting online transactions, customers will not return to your business.

A breach in security can also result in a loss of important and sensitive company and client data. Hackers are constantly looking for weaknesses in platforms. As soon as a new security patch is announced, hackers race to exploit the vulnerability before owners install the needed security patch. The bottom line is a failure to stay up to date on security patches can eventually lead to a failed business.

How to Install Magento Security Patches

Magento security patches can be self-installed by users if done so correctly. The proper installation of a patch consists of four steps.

Before you make any changes, including a security patch, it is important to back up the Magento installation. By doing so, you ensure you have the ability to restore all of your data should something go wrong during the update.

Editors note: The first step is absolutely critical. Do not proceed without backing up first!

Secondly, download the recommended Magento security patches for your particular edition. Each security patch will give you a description of what issues and problems the patches are designed to fix.

Disabling the compiler is the third step of the installation. The compiler takes code input by a human programmer and turns it into machine code. This must be temporarily disabled or it will interfere with the security patch installation.

The fourth step is to install the patch. There are three different methods. The method you use is dependent on your hosting provider. The most common installation method is the SSH method, but you can also use either the Run a Script method or upload pre-patched files.

There are cases in which you may need to revert a patch, meaning uninstalling the security patch. The process is basically the same except for the addition of the -R flag. Make sure you have the proper permissions to access the Magento installation directory. If you do not have the necessary permissions, you will not be able to uninstall the patch.

Benefits of Working With a Qualified Development Agency

While it is possible to install Magento security patches on your own, it is not advised. Failure to correctly install the recommended patches can leave your business vulnerable and you unsuspecting. Incorrect installation means the patch will not work as intended. More than likely you will not discover this costly mistake until an actual breach occurs. By then the damage may already be done and it may be too late.

Going at it alone can lead to costly downtime for your business. It takes time to stay on top of security patches and install them in a timely manner. Every minute or day that you do not install a recommended patch is time that your business is a prime target for hackers. When you are running a business, this may not be something you have time to stay on top of. If you are not computer savvy, installing patches may prove frustrating and eat into time you didn’t have in the first place.

Working with a qualified development agency provides many benefits to the security and protection of your Magento platform. When working with a qualified agency, you can rest assured all security patches are installed in a timely manner. This greatly reduces the degree to which your business is vulnerable to hackers. Secondly, you can assure that the security patches are downloaded and operating correctly. The last thing you want is to believe you have downloaded the necessary patches, only to find that you have in fact downloaded them incorrectly and they are not providing your business any protection. At ATAK Interactive our development team makes sure your Magento platform stays up to date on security patches with as little downtime to your business as possible.

How to Pick a Magento Development Agency

Magento Logo

Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms available today. The flexibility the platform offers has made it a top pick among e-commerce professionals, but using the platform can be a challenge if you don’t have the right technical knowledge. If you don’t have the technical savvy, hiring a Magento development company is a great option.

Read on to learn more about how to choose the right Magento developers.

Why Magento?

Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform that gives online merchants a wide range of options for their shop. Users can control the look and feel of their site, customize the content and functionality, and make use of a flexible shopping cart system. Magento also offers its users a toolbox full of marketing, catalog management, and SEO tools, so that it’s easy to make your shop more visible to the right audience.

Magento is growing in popularity because the platform has very few limitations on how you design your store, meaning you can create a unique and memorable shopping experience for your customers. In addition, there are tons of add-ons to add functionality to your shop, and you can manage multiple stores from an easy-to-navigate backend. And best of all, using Magento’s Community Edition is free!

A great e-commerce customer experience isn’t only about the store, though. Making sure your customers’ data stays secure is just as important as having a great-looking shop. Magento is always releasing new security features, so as long as you keep your site updated, you can trust that your customers’ information will be secure

Because Magento is an open-source platform, anyone can view and build on the already existing site code. But knowledge of PHP and object-oriented programming are required in order to customize your shop, so choosing Magento for your e-commerce site means you either need to be confident in those skills, or you need to hire Magento developers.

What to Look for In an E-commerce Development Company

With so many developers out there, finding a reliable one can be an overwhelming task. However, if you know what to look for, you can be confident in your choice of developers. Below is a list of things to keep an eye out for when you’re shopping for e-commerce solutions.

Experience

Magento was originally launched more than a decade ago. When looking for a developer, experience should be a big factor in your decision. Find a developer that has worked with a wide variety of e-commerce businesses in the past, and can prove their expertise with real-life examples, statistics, and results. Ask for cases of successful sites they’ve run in the past, and check out any reviews or testimonials available online.

Ask how many clients they have worked with and how long clients tend to work with them. Have they worked primarily with B2B customers, or B2C? Both of those have a unique set of demands, so it’s important that you’re working with a developer who understands what you’ll be needing right from the beginning.

Support

Before choosing a developer, don’t be afraid to ask what kind of support you’ll receive throughout the build of your site and beyond. Does the company offer managed hosting? Do they simply develop your site, or do they offer design and marketing options as well? A great development company will handle everything from start to finish, follow a clear timeline, and keep you updated every step of the way. If you already have a shop set up online, look for a development company that will migrate your content to Magento.

Think about what your business needs to be successful and find a developer that meets those needs. Some companies offer much more beyond development, like SEO, graphic design, marketing, and additional security features. Be sure to ask if you’ll have a dedicated project manager. You want to know that you’ll be working with someone who is focused on getting to know your business inside and out so that you know your unique needs will be met.

Security

Security might be the most important aspect of all. Look for a developer that hasn’t had security problems in the past. And because your site will be dealing with sensitive data like the payment and contact information of customers, developers who secure their sites behind proper encryption are the best choice.

Because security patches are often released for Magento and its plugins, it’s important that the development company you work with strives to keep sites updated with the latest version. This ensures that your customers’ data stays safe and your site is always performing at its best. And make sure that they back up your site regularly to ensure limited downtime in case anything happens.

Trust ATAK Interactive with Your Magento Site

ATAK is proud to offer 15 years of e-commerce development experience to help make your online shop a success. With more than 150 happy clients (both B2B and B2C), ATAK aims to create an excellent shopping experience for your customers. We handle the building and management of your site from start to finish, so you don’t have to worry about having the tech knowledge to build a site yourself. Security and safety are always top-of-mind: our sites are hosted with a recommended host with managed services, backed-up daily to prevent data loss, and secured behind an SSL to ensure that your customers’ data stays safe.

Want to migrate your existing online store to Magento? No worries! ATAK Interactive offers extensive platform migration services and software integrations with popular third-party services. Beyond development, we can support your B2B store with marketing, design and SEO services, all under one roof. Your dedicated project manager will focus on your needs as a company, and make sure to deliver with quick turnaround time while keeping you updated through the whole process.

To see our Magento experience in action, take a look at how we’ve helped this B2B wholesaler with custom web design, Magento 2.0 Community Edition Content Management and E-Commerce system integration, and customized store features and applications.

Ready to take your Magento eCommerce store to the next level? Let’s talk!

[gravityform id=”1″ title=”false” description=”false”]

Magento Extensions

11 Best Magento Extensions To Use In 2019

Out of the box, Magento is already a powerful ecommerce platform. The biggest challenge ecommerce businesses encounter trying to manage their own Magento stores is its complexity.

Thanks to Magento’s dedication to staying open source, the portability of its code mean that independent developers can create tools that help users and businesses get the functionality they need from Magento, and smooth over complications that they’re not interested in.

We develop Magento ecommerce stores every day for clients big and small. Just like no two stores are the same, there are store owners who desire different levels of hands-on interaction with their ecommerce store.

Some of the tech savvy ones can’t wait to dig into the UI and learn everything, but most of our Magento ecommerce clients need their ecommerce store to fit their busy schedule. Magento needs to work for customers, and be easily edited and updated.

That’s why it’s important to choose extensions that will make your website work for customers: easy to navigate, quick to load, and as interactive as modern ecommerce customers expect.

Continue reading