With Magento Go on its way out, thousands of Magento Go merchants will be scrambling for the next best ecommerce hosting platform. The official end of Magento Go is slated for February 1, 2015. Magento Go will provide all support for its customers until this date; however it’s time for merchants to consider their alternatives for the future.
Software as a service (SaaS) has been a way to go for small to medium size enterprises. With advantage in low up front cost and fairly cheaper running cost. But it does come with its own down sides. SaaS models go with the principle of one size fit all, which is not the case always. Each business is unique and the requirement is unique. Most SaaS modelled ecommerce providers do offer add-ons that can add in additional functionality, but there is always a limitation to this arsenal. This is by far the top reason for businesses to move away from SaaS model to a hosted application that can be fully customised and has a wider range of add-ons to choose from.
SaaS models provide complete information protection, but with growing concern on data security key information such as Business analytics, user confidentiality are all covered by the provider than by you as a business owner for your customers. The same that has happened to Magento Go is still a reality for other SaaS models where the service can be discontinued and the search will begin again. We have seen this happen with Yahoo stores already. Though SaaS will be a good starting point we see once you gain enough confidence online, it is wise venturing to build your own online store with robust eCommerce applications that you own at the end of the day.
As Magento Go is being faded out, the search for the next begins and here are few options for e-retailers to consider.
For smaller merchants, Bigcommerce will be the most obvious choice, as the transition will be free for current Magento Go merchants. Big Commerce is creating a subscription based SaaS model to offer to Magento Go users. Bigcommerce may be slightly more expensive than Magento Go, but will come with additional features that will justify the increased cost. Monthly plans start at $29 and top out at $179. Some of the benefits of Bigcommerce includes:
More Bandwidth. Unlike Magento Go, Bigcommerce offers retailers unlimited bandwidth and products, no matter which monthly plan you choose.
More Design Options. Bigcommerce offers more options on the front end design and theme front than Magento Go.
More Payment Gateways. Bigcommerce supports over 60 payment gateways, compared to Magento Go’s option of 15.
- Bigcommerce also offers an integrated blogging feature which was missing on Magento Go.
Social Integration. Bigcommerce’s SocialShop is a Facebook application which can be used to sell products directly on Facebook. This feature is easy to setup and free for all Bigcommerce customers.
Shopify is another very good option. Monthly plans start at $29 and top out at $179. Here are few points to consider before you start to Shopify.
Modern Design Options. While some themes are free and some are paid, almost all the Spotify themes are clean, modern, and user friendly. This is vital for any store, as user experience can make or break a merchant.
Stellar Support. Shopify offers customer support via phone email or chat 24/7, making them top in the industry.
Popularity. Shopify currently provides service to over 100,000 users. This is double that of Bigcommerce.
3rd Party Support. Shopify provides a great list of providers to help merchants setup, configure, and maintain their online stores. Their list of “shopify Experts” includes designer, developers, photographers, and marketers
Volusion is definitely a close contender considering similarities to Magento Go. With monthly plans starting at $19 and going up to $149 Volusion’s pricing is nearly identical to that of Magento Go. While it may fall short of Bigcommerce and Shopify in some areas, Volusion definitely has its own advantages.
Free themes. Volusion comes with 147 themes for free.
In House Services. Volusion offers in-house design and marketing services to grow your online business.
No Transaction Fees. Volusion does not charge transaction fees for using their ecommerce platform
Customer Profiles. Volusion has the best customer profile among all the options discussed. It offers review, order status, parcel tracking, return management, wish list and invoice printing options.
Easy Installation. The Volusion installation process is rather easy. This platform is written in ASP.NET, making it a Windows based ecommerce solution. Most developers are able to set up an ecommerce site on this platform within minutes.
With Magento Go closing the curtain, it is worth investing the time now to locate the next best option to Magento Go. As you can see, there are a number of options for merchants to consider. We encourage merchants to consider their priorities and due their own due diligence before selecting any new platform.
If you have grown out of the SaaS model (In terms of your storage usage, number of articles, or with bandwidth) or want to break out from a constricted ecommerce ecosystem and are open to venture in to the open sea of huge potentials, a hosted application is the best option. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss the different options that are available. We can set you sail safely.
Author: Hari Prasad