Magento is becoming a very popular open source store technology. It has been released for over a year now, and the current versions are very stable.
We have been developing in Magento commerce, and also using it for your own retail for a year now too. We often get asked about Magento Commerce and why we recommend it as a good online store technology.
So, Why use Magento as your online store?
In summary, I think there are 4 main benefits in developing a website in Magento:
Magento has some fantastic features 'out of the box'. Most store owners these days want technology that is comprehensive and easy to use. Magento fits the bill. Great features are included in the free community edition such as:
and much more.
We have used all of these technologies in our own installations, as well as client installations. Most features are really good, and the ability to run multiple stores (with same or different inventory) from one database, with completely different 'skins' if you want, is fantastic.
API & Integration
The API is how programmers interface other applications with Magento. Magento has a sophisticated and extendable API allowing it to be connected with many other applications (both web applications and standalone).
For example, you can connect Magento to a number of external accounting systems, email list management tools, ERP systems and more.
This gives Magento a geat deal of flexibility to grow with your business. It can be integrated tightly with other inventory / order / customer systems, and made to work seamlessly.
Magento code structure
Magento has been designed very well from the outside. There is a clear distinction between 'core' code and community / 3rd party code. This means you can install other extensions and modules without fear of impacting Magento upgrades in future or breaking how your site looks.
This structure has been integral in preventing MagentoCommerce to grow as fast as it has around the world and is a great reason to use Magento. Many people running older open source ecommerce software are upgrading to Magento.
Community & Professional Support
Magento has a very active community, both of users and developers, many of whom are magento experts. There is already a huge number of extensions that have been built for Magento, both free and commercial, allowing you to upgrade your store in any number of ways with a large variety of 3rd party services and systems.
If you have problems, chances are there is a bunch of users willing to help in forums or professional developers available with the skills to get the job done.
This is only a brief summary of why I think Magento is a great technology to develop online stores in. The community edition is free to download and use, there is heaps of code out there to extend it, and it has a strong API to allow you to integrate the store into your business processes as you grow.
For more information about Magento, or getting stores developed, talk to Magento experts about installation and development.