In defense of Magento

by on April 24, 2013

This post is a response to this email, which was written by Igor Soshkin, co-founder of Shopping Cart Elite, a closed source eCommerce system.

What does a local mom & pop bakery and an international auto parts manufacturer have in common? Not much at all really, unless you subscribe to Igor Soshkin’s one-size-fits-all sales pitch in favor of his proprietary eCommerce software. If you skip past the author’s scathing attacks on his direct competition, you’ll find the real target here is Magento, and rightfully so. Magento does power 12% of the top eCommerce sites in the world, as the author admits. But if you have the right perspective as a business owner, the argument used against the open-source giant falls apart.

First, let’s look at Michael, the owner of a company who needs to upgrade his eCommerce system but only had the budget for a $6 a month shared web server. One thing every brick and mortar business understands is location, location, location. So let’s translate Michael’s hosting problem into reality, you could say he has the budget for the back corner of a consignment shop in a bad part of town. Not too many Fortune 500 companies made their start this way, to my knowledge. The sales pitch continues that Michael had to upgrade his hosting because the consignment shop was in a bad part of town and (DDOS) attacks were a regular occurrence. But since Michael was so invested in the consignment shop at $6 a month, he felt the need to hire a local “consultant” for $5,000 to help him decide whether or not to stay, at which point he found a nice cheap $300 per month office in a strip mall a few blocks away. He then hired a budget contractor for $10,000 to remodel the space to fit his needs which took 6 months to complete. Yikes! After the first week of being open for business, Michael decided to have the utility company come in and update their lines which caused a fire due to improperly installed fixtures, a fault of the original contractor, which destroyed the new store. He then spent another $4,000 to have the same contractors come in and redesign the store.  Well, another month goes by and Michael noticed some issues: scuffed paint, loose fixtures, chipped corners, dented panels, dirty windows. So naturally, Michael calls the same contractors and their solution was a complete renovation of the store. Sounds expensive! People like Michael do in fact exist, as do the budget contractors who lack quality and efficiency, but those businesses don’t last very long. I could continue to take you down Michael’s rabbit hole of despair and misfortune, but I think by now you get the point.

Most of Michael’s problems would have been solved before they were even problems if he had taken the time to do some research. Reading through this scenario in the email, one gets the idea that he hardly researched any of his decision before making them, only finding issues with them once they were already done. Additionally, the advice and customization he received from the people he hired was often incomplete and poorly executed, probably because it came from people with little experience or expertise.

Open source platforms like Magento are built to be flexible and scale to the demands of the application. A single group of profit-driven developers cannot compete against an entire community of volunteers lead by industry standards. Magento CE (community edition) offers out-of-the-box flexibility that lets developers tailor the store to the unique needs of the business, such as offsite integrations, loyalty and discount offerings, targeting marketing campaigns, and other customizations that give the customer their own curated shopping experience. Whether the business is a local retailer with in-store pick up or a manufacturer with over 100 years experience shipping their goods internationally, Magento is trusted by over 150,000 businesses world wide for its innovative eCommerce solutions. Before you make Michael’s mistake, ask yourself if a one-size-fits-all eCommerce store is what you need to grow your business.
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