Magento for Beginners: What to Expect
Approximately 150,000 online retailers currently use Magento’s eCommerce platform. These users range in size from smaller companies and universities to multinational corporations. Some key features are mobile templates, multi-store and multi-site functionality, options for transactions, user accounts and promotion rules. A sophisticated and non-traditional model view controller enables elegant definitions of display design and layout.
What first time Magento users can expect
When you are planning on launching an estore for the first time, you are likely to choose Magento for implementation. Its widespread use as an open source product means widespread documentation and support, zero dollar base cost and a robust user community. Additional advantages are the wide availability of extensions and plugins, comprehensive theming capability and automatic upgrades that won’t destroy your customizations.
On the downside, Magento is resource intensive because it requires a large amount of memory, but this can be accommodated easily by assigning necessary resources. Using the latest version of PHP will reduce memory requirements significantly. Magento also has a steep learning curve. The Community version is free and is sufficient to support substantial applications, while the Enterprise version offers many more features at a price that is also substantial.
Magento’s Community Edition can be downloaded from their website and downloading the entire package is best. If you would like to learn with some sample data, you have the option to download it. On the other hand, if you want to start by creating an estore with your own data, skip the sample data and create your ecommerce information from scratch. You can create a MySQL database in phpmyadmin. Magento data is stored in a MySQL database. If you decide on writing your own DML, you may want to use PHP and MySQL.
Setting up your templates
Magento templates are readily available from multiple sources. You should pick a template that is the closest to what you have in mind. If you like, you can customize it. Here’s a list of template sources; templatemonster, magthemes, hellothemes, eCommerce-themes. While prices vary greatly, it’s possible to get just what you’re looking for in the $100 to $300 price range.
There may be a number of customizations that you would like to make. If no one in your firm has the skill to do the job, you can find just the right person and the right price on Elance. Make a list of the changes you want and post a job request. You should be able to find someone suitable for just $30 to $60. If you outsource the project, you may want to use CSS files to control your style.
Adding product listings
Adding product listings is a matter of determining product type and then adding products and categories. This may be time consuming and if you have a large number of products, you can import them from a spreadsheet.
Adding payment mechanisms
Two easy options for adding payment to your site are PayPal and manual bank transfer. When you use these methods, you will not need to worry about PCI compliance. Signing up for PayPal is free. You’ll need to add certain credentials to your Magento back end.
Magento is an elegant, sophisticated and inexpensive way of setting up your own ecommerce platform. Locating a Web host with Magento, PHP and MySQL is one of the first steps to take in starting your ecommerce site.
About the Author
Emily Miller is a marketing professional and small business blogger who recently graduated from Indiana University. She is an administrator and occasional contributor to Technected, and she is currently working to help startups and small businesses implement technology solutions for their companies.