Ok, so you want an online shop – you have heard of both of these options but you dont know what to invest in. Spending time setting up a website is time lost if you choose a solution that doesn’t fit your own needs. It is also worth thinking about the future needs of your shop also. Anyone who has done any research around E-commerce platforms will have noticed Magento either the Community Edition which is free to use or the paid for service. I will just take a bit of time to highlight issues concerning the most common Magento CE edition for now.
Both Magento and Shopify are the most go to choices for many thousands of small to mid size businesses looking to sell products online. I will just take a few moments here to what makes both of these options great and what you might expect from each solution.
Magento Community Edition CE – The Free Solution
Magento- Right out of the box Magento CE is a eCommerce framework which gets downloaded to your local machine, and is setup/hosted on your own server. This solution out of the box is going to require a good bit of time and technical know-how in order to setup/configure/build and run. Magento is a download, and it will run locally on your computer, through your own development programs. You can configure all files and how the actual site will display content, adapt to customers, and deliver an overall user experience. This will require a full time developer/company to create and setup your site, the cost of setup would be depending on options customization and infrastructure options you choose.
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On the more expensive end is the Magento enterprise edition which will run you +£10,000 per year. Enterprise edition will give you complete control over store credit, advanced return management, custom admin controls, full support via phone, and in depth product management/customization capabilities depending on prior shopping habits. This solution will still require development expertise, but is superior in that it will deliver full scale customization and support to create a unique storefront. Consult with me for further questions. This solution needs large scale volume to make the extra features worth it to manage, I have to say that for most solutions the CE edition will suffice.
Even with Magento Enterprise you could benifit from a creative designer and artworker – contact me today if you need some help here
This option is certainly the most technical friendly for startoffs, as you really won’t have to do any development work if you don’t want. Shopify if a complete plug and play solution which will require you simply to choose the theme you like, fill in the sections of content with you own, and launch to the world. Shopify is a hosted platform, even when you connect your own domain, so there is no need to place files on the server, or connect your hosting Cpanel to sit your site on. It’s important to point out that Shopify uses their own .liquid framework, so when your site is up and going, you can begin to customize the look and feel of it, with developer know how. If you have a small bit of computer skill, and can easily navigate computer programs (not development) like word/excel/wordpress, you should be able to follow the online tutorials, and build yourself a site. This will potentially save you some money, using sweat instead, or could be a cost effective way to get something up and going quickly for around £400-£2,500 depending on complexity required.
One problem you will get with Shopify is transferring the website to another location – if you do not like the monthly payments. Once with Shopify you are locked in – they can transfer the database tables to you in CSV format (spreadsheet) but it will leave you with a lot of work to develop your own website.
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