We have been using Magento Commerce for about 3 or 4 months now as a new online store platform for a few of our websites.

Magento is a new product, but already growing very quickly in users and features.

We are currently ChannelAdvisor customers and had been using the standard ChannelAdvisor store for some time. We took part in the beta test group for ChannelAdvisor premium stores (which look pretty good) but we have decided to use Magento Commerce instead.

Why did we do this? Well, there are a number of good reasons…

  1. Magento is open source, free to use
  2. Magento is developed by a professional group of people who provide paid support if you want it
  3. Magento has a very well designed structure, separating code and design
  4. Modules and functionality can be added or removed easily
  5. The Magento API is sophisticated and allows tight integration with other products
  6. Standard store features ‘out of the box’ are great

Now, I am not saying that ChannelAdvisor Premium stores (using the ASPDNSF software) aren’t good, they are very good with a strong feature set, customisability (to a degree) and reliability. They just aren’t a good fit for us.

Magento is a good strategic fit for our business. With features like customer accounts, sophisticated pricing and promotional code rules, great built in SEO and of course a good API we are starting to really like it.

With it’s API we can integrate it with our current accounting system, load thousands of products from our inventory management system and integrate with our shipping automation product ReadytoShip.

This gives us really great control and automation.

On top of this we can run multiple stores with the one Magento installation, even with multiple currencies. For example we now have a live Australian store and a New Zealand store running from the one installation. Each store shares common pages, but we have different Shipping pages, different carrier options and other regional customisation. All orders and customer accounts are held in the one Magento installation. Nice!

Magento is still young, any issues?

We know Magento is still a young product. The current versions are certainly fairly stable and all features for us seem to work pretty well.

The only real issue is speed. Magento has a large data structure and is quite query intensive when doing anything.

With a high spec machine speed of response is greatly improved but this means most customers will want to have at least a VPS or a dedicated machine to run a site. Larger sites may need to be load balanced or clustered. We are even looking at running separate database servers at the omment to boost performance.

The main problem we have had currently though is uploading/updating of products via the API and admi interface. With over 10,000 product in our database uploading is time consuming, sometimes 60 seconds per product update…

But we will keep working with Magento. We have a fraud detection module due out shortly and our ReadytoShip integration is working great. If they could only boost database performance a little bit!