Magento is one of the best e-commerce platforms in the market. It’s a fact! The proof? How about the 200+ thousand live stores or the thousands of professional developers who are constantly working on improving and customizing the platform’s functionality?

For more than 10 years we have been developing, upgrading and scaling online stores built with Magento, studying every inch of the platform. We know about all of its advantages and disadvantages, and are ready to share our Magento 2 tutorial for beginners with you.

This is not a common Magento installation guide. This is something bigger. The following Magento 2 tutorial does not bore you with describing any technical aspects of developing, setting up or customizing a Magneto 2 website. Instead, you’ll find every piece of information needed to:

  • Find out everything about its out-of-the-box features and third-party functionality
  • Discover business development opportunities provided by Magento
  • Decide whether this platform is a good choice for your business or not, and much more

So first we would like to clarify for you what Magento actually is!

What is Magento 2

Magento 2 is an open-source e-commerce platform that provides a great set of tools and features made to fit the needs and requirements of every online store. Its open-source structure allows unlimited scaling and customizing.

Today, there are three editions of the Magento 2 platform for merchants to choose from:

  • 1. Open Source
  • 2. Commerce
  • 3. Commerce Cloud

Magento Open Source

This is the most popular version of Magento. Magento Open Source provides all the solutions you need to build a perfectly working e-commerce website. Although launching a new business can be costly, this version of CMS is free! At the same time, you take the responsibility for the platform hosting.

Magento Commerce

Magento Commerce is a paid version of the Open Source edition which additionally includes several advantageous features for B2B e-commerce and provides full support by phone and email. It also includes all security updates and exclusive enhancements.

Adobe Commerce Cloud

Adobe Commerce Cloud is the latest Magento premium SaaS product. With it, you get all the benefits of the Commerce edition: scalable platform, constant performance improvements, built-in functionality, and premium support. Its main advantages over Magento Commerce include AWS-based cloud hosting, CDN, and PCI compliance. It’s nice not to have to worry about them anymore!

Magento 1

Another version of Magento is Magento 1. Though extremely outdated, it is still used by thousands of merchants around the world and is still available out there on the web to download and install. However, since Adobe abandoned its support in June 2020, its usage is not safe anymore for your store’s data as well as for your customers’ personal data security.

Moreover, not just its security patches are outdated, but its look, feel and performance are the same.

Benefits of Magento 2 Platform

We cannot repeat often enough that Magento is the most powerful CMS that perfectly suits any business type and size. To support this statement, let’s reveal the major pros of using Magento as a base for your e-commerce store and look through the list of Magento’s out-of-the-box features.

The CMS gives you, the business owner, all the tools to launch the project of your dreams. So, let’s dive into Magento’s benefits to answer the question: why choose Magento for e-commerce?

Intended specifically for e-commerce

Built exactly with e-commerce needs in mind, the platform serves unique business requirements. This CMS has important tools and extensions that help your website perform at its highest level. Whether you sell goods (cars, furniture, or flowers) or services (medical treatment or cleaning services), Magento is a smart solution for all types of businesses.

Takes care of your website security

The Magento e-commerce platform allows business owners to keep customer payment and ID data secure, as well as your financial information, product catalog, and price lists. Additionally, thanks to its security protocols, constant updates, encrypted connections, and robust hosting provider, Magento successfully fends off security attacks and detects even the smallest vulnerabilities.

Suitable for all business sizes

No matter what size your business is, Magento is great for both small & medium-sized companies, as well as large companies (with Magento Open Source or Magento Enterprise).

Huge number of extensions

Magento Marketplace alone provides more than 3.5k third-party extensions that can make your store unique and adaptable for all situations. Apart from the marketplace, there are hundreds of third-party extension providers offering custom solutions for every taste and need.

More of that, if you want to add any custom functionality that is not currently available with the existing third-party extensions, it may be developed from scratch. The proof? Here is our Magento extension development tutorial:

Right below, you may switch to our case study showing how the Whidegroup team developed and implemented custom extensions.

Scalable

Flexible Magento allows developers to conveniently manipulate, delete, or rewrite code, and manage extensions. In addition, by managing Magento’s accessible code, your store can be customized in line with your business needs.

Various product types

Magento supports the following product types:

  • Simple products
  • Configurable products
  • Grouped products
  • Virtual products
  • Bundle products
  • Downloadable products
  • Gift cards (only with Magento Commerce)

No matter what types of products you’re going to sell, you’ll need to design a great product page optimized for better sales.

Perfect for marketplace creation

Development of marketplaces is highly popular these days. You can easily set up Magento and launch a fully functional e-commerce marketplace. To find out what the vital features of a successful multi-vendor marketplace are and learn the intricacies of its development just switch to our Magento 2 marketplace step-by-step tutorial attached below.

Main Features of Magento 2

There are a great number of reasons why users may have a bad experience with e-commerce stores. Regardless of the reason, bad experiences lead to high bounce rates, low conversion rates, and a decrease in sales. And that’s not the only challenge for online stores. Magento has the necessary components to solve almost all of your e-commerce woes. Below, we have highlighted the main winning features of a Magento website.

Device friendly

Mobile versions of Magento websites are fully optimized and regularly updated. You don’t have to worry about creating mobile responsiveness, page layout, or image & video adaptivity because it’s already done for you.

To improve a mobile customer journey even more, Magento Commerce provides merchants with next-generation technology called PWA (Progressive Web Application). It is an analogue of common mobile applications, which requires significantly less effort, time and money investment in the development.

Cross-browser compatibility

We all know that Google Chrome is the most popular search engine platform in the world. But it would still behoove you to cater to different customers who utilize different browsers for their various reasons. Powered by cross-border support, Magento helps your website work well on any browser, in any version.

Customizable design

Magento’s open-source structure provides limitless opportunities for custom design implementation. Depending on your requirements you may choose between the following options:

  • Default design of the store
  • Theme template installation
  • Custom design developed from scratch that helps in building a stronger brand awareness

Multi-store management

The platform allows you to add several stores under one admin panel and manage them all effortlessly.

Easy product import management

Magento offers a great solution: automatic import of your products with the snap of your fingers. It’s noteworthy that the import process takes little time and is completed in 4-5 steps. The result? Management of your import/export won’t drive you up the wall.

Numerous payment and shipping options

With a Magento-based website, merchants can provide customers with numerous payment and shipping options, allowing them to make a purchase without concern over security. By the way, Magento supports guest and authorized checkout, too.

Tracking, analyzing & reporting

The platform consists of universal tools to manage your progress. CMS tracks and analyzes your sales, percentage of abandoned shopping carts, best-selling products, and more. What is notable about this platform is that it reports the required data to help you easily manage your website.

Magento vs Other E-commerce Platforms

Of course, every merchant is free to choose any existing e-commerce platform. Selecting the best platform between the dozens of widely advertised ones isn’t easy. The main problem is that today none of the platforms provide an absolutely universal solution for different businesses. Magento is no exception.

Sure, we can say that Magento 2 fits all businesses. However, if you read this guide till the end, you’ll know that apart from its wonderful set of features and scalability, some of its characteristics could be observed as disadvantages, especially for small startups that are making their first steps in e-commerce. For example:

  • 1. No hosting included. Today, most e-commerce startups choose Shopify because it is an all-in-one solution that includes hosting and requires no manual installation on the server, CDN or other settings on the side of the merchant. Sometimes such a choice really makes sense.
  • 2. Requires programming skills. If you don’t have at least some knowledge of HTML and CSS, you won’t be able to install a Magento store, not to mention its optimization or customization. The only solution is hiring developers who will deal with all the technical issues. Though for startups, the work of a programmer may not be affordable due to budget constraints.

Migration Opportunities

Magento is an extremely flexible platform. No matter what your reasons are, you can migrate your current store:

  • To Magento from any other CMS
  • From Magento to another e-commerce platform
  • Between different versions of Magento

The Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration process consists of the number of steps that we’ve described in the article mentioned above. Migration of the custom functionality is one of the most important stages. However, not all third-party extensions require manual migration. Most of the Magento 1 extensions have already been updated to comply with Magento 2. If your Magento 1 extension is still not available for Magento 2, you can easily find a similar module offered by another provider. As for the custom functionality, it definitely should be migrated, however, this process looks more like the development of a new custom extension compatible with Magento 2.

Depending on the platform, the size and the number of customizations of your current store, the migration might require a different amount of time and effort. In our case study, you can learn how long it took us to migrate a customized store for a Norwegian office furniture provider from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

Magento 2 vs SEO

Magento 2 supports the best SEO practices. It provides both a great set of tools out of the box and with third-party extensions. Having created your site in Magento, you get all the tools for internal site optimization and its promotion in search engines, and full control over this process without needing deep technical knowledge.

The main SEO tools you get with Magento are:

  • Easy Meta Data setting
  • On-page content optimization
  • URL optimization (rewrite, redirect)
  • Sitemap and robots.txt creation and submission to search engines
  • Optimization for Snippets
  • Pagination optimization
  • Easy connection to Google Analytics, and more

Marketing Opportunities

Just as with SEO, Magento 2 gives all the necessary tools for efficient marketing of your business. For successful marketing campaigns on Magento you can use the following options and strategies:

  • Discounts
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Gift cards
  • Free gifts
  • Promo banners
  • Reward points
  • Special promotions, etc

Magento Conversion Optimization

Thanks to its flexible structure, Magento gives you the opportunity to continually optimize your store to increase its conversion rate. There are universal conversion optimization techniques which include homepage, checkout, product page optimization, and other.

The other conversion optimization techniques should be applied based on an analysis of your audience, and their behaviors and needs. Apart from triggers like price and product availability, the user experience is the strongest factor defining whether the customer will buy from you or choose another seller.

If you want to go after the first thing that helps to ensure every person landing on your website gets the best experience possible, we suggest you start with making your content accessible, by following the latest web content accessibility guidelines.

Magento Performance Optimization

We’re regularly contacted by merchants with a request for Magento website optimization. That’s why we know everything about all the platform’s capabilities, and we know all the possible performance optimization tricks.

Compared to the performance of other popular e-commerce platforms, Magento has both a number of advantages and disadvantages.

As for the Magento performance optimization, you can improve almost any backend and frontend part of the store. So to make your store fast and productive 24/7, try these:

  • Optimize/change hosting
  • Connect CDN
  • Change caching settings
  • Optimize images
  • Revise and optimize extensions
  • Reduce the number of server requests
  • Optimize code
  • Merge and minify JavaScript
  • Fix 404 errors
  • Compress GZIP, etc.

In our case study we describe the steps we made to speed up this Australian marketplace built with Magento.

How to Install Magento 2

The Magento installation process can’t be explained in short. That’s why we’ve composed a handy Magento 2 installation guide. Following our advice, you will know how to set up a Magento online store that will run smoothly and attract your target audience.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop And Maintain a Magento Website?

When you decide to build a Magento store, you definitely want to know its costs. Although the Magento Open Source does not cost anything to download, install, or use, you should be ready to spend money on:

  • Hosting
  • Third-party extensions
  • Custom development
  • Magento support and maintenance

How to Choose Magento Developers?

As you already know, you’ll need a team of developers to set up and maintain your store. The exception is if you have development experience and have enough time and knowledge to do it yourself. In all other cases – hire a Magento development team.

If you want to know how to hire experienced Magento developers – read this article!

If you need professional assistance right now – hire Whidegroup!

About the author
Olha Fedchenko Content Manager & SEO Analyst
Olha is a Content Manager and SEO Analyst at Whidegroup. Starting as a Content Writer for software and web development topics in 2011, Olha has always been guided by a desire to thoroughly inspect every field of study before writing a single word. She found her passion in e-commerce and delighted in expanding her expertise in web development, analytics and SEO for small to medium e-commerce businesses.
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