Last week, I told you about how easy it is to create your very own online store with osCommerce and Evohosting; this week I’ll be talking about Magento, another ecommerce and online store management software application available FREE from Evohosting when you sign up for any of our hosting plans!
Magento, like osCommerce, makes setting up, running, and maintaining online stores quick and easy. However, if you thought osCommerce had a lot of features, then you’ll be blown away by everything Magento can do.
I would love to talk about everything Magento has to offer — it really is pretty impressive! However, this blog can only be so long, so I’ll just highlight what I believe to be the most important features.
Some of the many features offered by Magento include:
- Layered/faceted navigation, allowing your customers to filter products in search results and categories
- Allows customers to compare items and submit and read reviews
- Cross-sells and up-sells related items to help increase your sales
Marketing Promotions and Tools
- Flexible coupons which can be limited to certain stores, time periods, categories, customers, and products
- Landing page tool for marketing campaigns, so your customers don’t have to hunt for products you’re advertising
- RSS feeds for new specials, tags, and products to keep your customers informed about changes to your shop
- One-page checkout, making it fast and easy for your customers to purchase your products
- SSL security support for orders on the front and back-end
- Allows shipping to multiple addresses for a single order
- Shopping cart with shipping and tax estimates, so your customers don’t have to guess what their total will be
- Allows users to save their shopping carts (you can configure when they expire)
- Gives you the option of authorizing and charging, or only authorizing and then charging based upon an invoice
- Integrated with various PayPal gateways: Website Payments Standard, Website Payments Pro (Express and Direct), Website Payments Pro UK (Express and Direct), and PayPal PayFlow Pro
- Integrated with Authorize.net and Google Checkout (Level 2)
- Orders can be created, edited, viewed, and fulfilled from your admin panel
- Allows split fulfillment of orders by creating multiple invoices, shipments and credit memos for each order
- Printable packing slips and invoices
- Allows phone order creation (you can add new customer accounts or view the details of existing customers)
- Notifies you of orders via email notifications and RSS feeds
- Manage multiple stores and websites from a single admin panel with the ability to share as much or as little information as you like
- Built-in content management system (like Joomla!) for informational pages
- Completely customizable design using templates and one-click upgrades
- Inventory management with backordered items and maximum and minimum quantities
- Allows you to batch export or import catalog
- Supports virtual, downloadable, and shippable objects, so it’s perfect for any type of business
- Media Manager with automatic image watermarking and resizing
- Allows you to approve, edit, and delete product reviews and tags
- Low inventory alerts available via RSS feed
- Allows multiple images for each item
- Allows customers to zoom-in on product images
- Customers can add items to their wishlist or send products to their friends via email
- Provides you with a Contact Us form, so you don’t need to bother with creating or purchasing one for your site
- Allows customers to retrieve their password via email using the front-end admin panel
- Emails order and account updates to your customers
- Produces real-time shipping rates from UPS, UPS XML, FedEx, USPS and DHL
- Allows customers to track their orders using their on-site customer accounts
- Table rates for weight, destination, number of items, and product sub-totals
- Account Dashboard allows your customers to view their recent orders, personal details, newsletter subscription status, shopping cart, wishlist, recently ordered items, and recent reviews
- Support of various currencies, so your business isn’t limited to only certain countries
- Flexible tax management which supports multiple markets (and gives you one less issue to worry about!)
Search Engine Optimization
- Completely Search Engine Friendly
- Google Site Map
- Automatically generated popular search terms page to help you improve your website
Analytics and Reporting
- Provides a ton of different reports including:
- Abandoned shopping cart report
- Best viewed and best purchased products reports
- Reports of total sales invoiced and refunded
- Report of product reviews and an RSS feed for new reviews
- Report of best customers by total and number of orders
Not to mention that it’s integrated with Google Analytics AND has an admin dashboard to provide you with an overview of all the different reports!
So I know that was a lot of information to take in, but you wouldn’t believe how many features I ended up having to leave out!
Magento definitely has more features than osCommerce, but that means it takes longer to configure and it’s a little more complicated. For those of you have experience with online stores, Magento may be the perfect solution for you. It has so many awesome features, that it really can take your shop to the next level. For those of you who are new to ecommerce, you will definitely want to do your reading before diving right in. Seriously. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have so many different configurable options, so I strongly recommend that you check out the user guide available at http://www.magentocommerce.com/support/magento_user_guide.
Magento’s user guide is really well written — they use layman’s terms instead of technical lingo, and they are very detailed in their explanations of all of the different features. However, the guide contains a ton of information, so don’t expect to read it all in an hour or so.
Magento also has loads of tutorial screencasts available at http://www.magentocommerce.com/media/screencasts, a knowledge base available at http://www.magentocommerce.com/knowledge-base and even some webinars available at http://www.magentocommerce.com/media/webinar-archive to make the whole process easier. They also have a forum available at http://www.magentocommerce.com/boards where you can ask questions and even find some free templates!
There are lots of templates available for Magento — check out the links below for templates at a range of prices!
Just be warned that with most templates, you almost always have to do a little (or a lot!) of tweaking to get them to work the way you want, so a little knowledge of HTML and CSS (or a techie friend who owes you a favour!) goes a long way!
Magento is definitely a little bit more complicated than osCommerce, but it’s just as easy to install when you use Installatron, the premiere auto-installer plugin for cPanel offered FREE when you purchase any hosting plan from Evohosting. Just login to your control panel, type Installatron in the find box (or scroll down to the Software/Services section near the bottom of the page), and click Installatron Script Installer. On the next page, click Magento (found under e-Commerce and Business scripts), accept the license agreement, click continue to install Magento, select your desired settings, create an admin account, and login to the back-end. Now you can begin setting up your very own online shop!
Ready to start building your online store?
- Just choose your hosting plan — we recommend the medium package for small businesses and the large or XL for bigger companies
- Install Magento in just a few clicks
- Start configuring your shop today, so your customers can start shopping ASAP!
Be sure to check back next week when I’ll be highlighting WordPress, a blog publishing application available FREE when you sign up for a hosting plan with Evohosting!