Looking for an e-commerce solution that can fit everyone from small businesses looking for a hosted solution to enterprises and major brands like Nike, Oneida, and Fiji Water? Or are you a developer who would like to dive into the source code and really get granular with your e-commerce platform? If so, then Magento Commerce may be the answer to your needs. In this article, we’re going to look at what beginners need to know about Magento Commerce, from setup to launch.
The Magento e-commerce platform allows you to sell anything in industries from agriculture to weddings, so long as it isn’t illegal to sell online or offline of course. Digital products, physical products, drop ship products, and services can be offered by your business to potential clients. If you are using the the hosted version of Magento (perfect for small businesses), you will have to adhere to the Terms of Service for Magento-owned websites. Enterprise users must agree to the Enterprise Edition Agreement.
Magento has three editions: Community, Magento Go, and Enterprise. The main differences between the three editions are as follows.
You can get a more detailed comparison of what each edition includes here. You can also go directly to download the Community Edition, see a tour of the features for Magento Go, or learn more about Enterprise Edition.
Since I am neither a developer or an enterprise, this section will specifically reference the Magento Go edition of the Magento e-commerce platform.
Magento Go offers a 30-day free trial of their service. To get started, sign up on their plans page by entering your name and email or choosing a specific pricing plan below the signup form.
Next, you will enter your basic details including your name, phone number, desired username and password, business location, industry, and experience level when it comes to e-commerce and web design. When you click Create My Store to complete your signup, you will be taken to a screen to review your information and get the link to the store admin. Once you login, you will see the main eight steps in creating your store.
First, you will choose the main language for your store. The default is set to English.
Next, you will set up your public store contact information, with your country, postal code, and city required.
Magento Go offers a growing selection of professionally designed themes to choose from. You can further customize your themes by using the Design Settings Editor or use your own CSS code as well as add your own store logo.
This step asks you to choose a paid plan. You can continue with your free plan that allows you to create a live store, but with only the same features as in the Get Going plan (up to 100 SKUs, 200MB storage, and 4GB bandwidth.
You can add new products to your Magento Go store by creating them manually or importing them from a CSV file.
If you are new to e-commerce, adding a new product can come off as a little daunting. For simple products without options, you will have 12 screens of information to configure including the following.
If your products have complex features (sizing, colors, levels, etc.), then you will want to refer to the guide on complex product setup, which explains how to use attributes and attribute sets for each of your products.
Here, you will set up how your customers will pay you for your products. Magento Go works with many different payment gateways including PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.Net, Google Checkout, and others.
If applicable, you will also set up tax calculations for your products.
If you are selling a physical product and shipping it yourself, you will want to configure the detailed shipping options.
You can choose flat rates, table rates, free shipping, or work with delivery services such as UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL.
Once you have configured all of your settings and added your products, you can launch your store. You can also get details about setting up a custom domain (such as yourstore.com instead of storename.gostorego.com) and using SSL certificates.
Before you launch your store, however, you might want to browse Magento Connect, the extension marketplace for Magento Go stores. Extensions will help you further enhance the functionality of your store for you and your customers.
Categories for extensions in the Magento Connect marketplace include the following.
One of our favourite extensions for Magento is called MageMail.co. It’s the best abandoned cart software for Magento and you only pay for it based on how much money it earns you back. How brilliant is that?
Magento has a great base of educational content to choose from. First, you have the Magento User Guide that covers getting started, managing your store, optimizing for search and social, marketing, and expansion. There are also video tutorials for those who want to see everything in action, from building your store and customizing your design to quick tips.
Paid users of the Magento platform can contact support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by opening a ticket or starting a live chat. Certain plans also come with phone support. You can even talk to other Magento users in the discussion forums.
You can also get professional help from certified Magento experts that will help you set up your store and offer you e-commerce consulting advice by visiting the pros section.
Have you used Magento as your e-commerce shopping solution? Please share your experience in the comments!