There are been a little bit of buzz around the place about Magento Commerce.

The open source eCommerce arena has been a crowded one in the last 5 years. The big names are popular still (including stores like X-Cart, osCommerce, Zen Cart, CRE Loaded and there are more).

But Magento was mentioned to me by a potential customer a while ago. I only had a quick look at the time, but some weeks later another customer mentioned that they were looking at it.

Well, that got my attention, so what is Magento Commerce like as an eCommerce solution? It certainly looks great, and even installations ‘out of the box’ have a very slick feel to them. Certainly better than osCommerce for example.

A good example I saw recently was www.ozscopes.com.au. It is a fairly simple installation (it doesn’t need to be complex) and most of what you see is the default template. Product browsing is handled well, and there is a CMS component to add news. This site has also added a blog, and has done some configuration to improve SEO. I am impressed byt eh navigation, product display and other features this software gives without mods. And there is heaps more in the back end that you can play with.

(Check out the demo site here)

All in all, the ozscopes site was easy to install, fast to set up and has some great features. I have been pretty impressed, in fact I would consider using it as a next store front.

You don’t need a lot of IT knowledge to get it going, but is still helps. I am sure there will be more services out there that support hosting and automated installs of Magento for you though.

And a great feature is that it has what seems to be a pretty good API, so writing connectors for product/orders/inventory to other software shouldn’t be too hard either.

Importing product doesn’t work as smoothly as it could, but it is still relatively new software so this should improve. There aren’t too many contributions yet for it either but I am sure that will change. It is a nice product.

So if you are looking for a nice looking, well performing (and free) web store, then you should certainly look at Magento.