Design & Development

The PeC Review: Magento User Guide eBook

Magento Commerce is becoming one of the most popular and, perhaps, most exciting ecommerce platforms available. But with all of its online retailing prowess comes some level of complexity that at least a few merchants find daunting. A new ebook seeks to make using this powerful ecommerce platform easier to understand.

Four stars With advanced, built-in features like product reviews, product image zooming and panning, wish lists, price and inventory alerts, customer and sales management, sales tax rules, dynamic shipping options, and more, Magento Commerce has attracted in excess of 750,000 downloads, garnered an excellent reputation, and, one imagines, has heard at least some complaints that the platform can be hard to implement or understand.

To help these would-be-Magento users who find using the platform daunting, Varien, Magneto Commerce’s developer, has released a 222-page user guide ebook, explaining many of the platform’s set up and maintenance steps in some detail.

Our Purpose in Reviewing this eBook

Each week, “The PeC Review” looks at products (including ebooks) or services that could help an online merchant improve his or her business. Our goal is to both identify and then rate these products or services, providing you with some good decision-making information. This week, I purchased and downloaded Varien’s The Official Magento User Guide, flipped through the virtual pages, and found a great resource for novice users, earning this ebook four out of a possible five stars in this “The PeC Review.”

Step-By-Step Instructions

Aimed at a non-technical audience The Official Magento User Guide offers storeowners—even those completely new to Magento Commerce—an overview of the platform and provides somewhat detailed step-by-step instructions.

As an example, the guide invests 50 pages in a detailed explanation of how to set up a catalog, seeming to cover every possible detail with text, pointers, and graphics. In fact, having already worked with Magento, I found some of the detail tedious, but for a first time user the content provides a level and exactness that I have not seen in similar documents.

The guide also walks a Magento user through every step of installing the platform (a stumbling block for some) in enough detail that I am pretty sure my 88-year-old dad—who can barely check email—could manage to get an instance of Magento up and running on a server.

A Clear Purpose and Description

The guide also does a very good job—and this was no surprise—of selling Magento’s value proposition. The first 50 or so virtual pages are devoted to explaining what Magento is and what features its front and back ends offer. This overview was helpful, and even reminded me of a couple of features that I had overlooked.

Next Time Make Videos

As good as the guide is, I would like to see a companion video tutorial series. Magento could sell it for $99.00, and offer the guide free.

Bottom Line

The Official Magento User Guide is a terrific resource for anyone wanting to get familiar with this excellent ecommerce platform, earning it four out of five stars in my review.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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