The View from England

Magento sold, again

With the acquisition by Adobe, the future of Magento is raising questions. Magento merchants naturally wonder whether Adobe will support the open source version and, indeed, if it will remain free. The same questions arose when eBay purchased Magento in 2010 and then sold it in 2015.

But asking about the open source version is the wrong question. The real question, to me, is why use Magento at all? If it keeps changing hands — with new owners and an uncertain future — why use the platform for a mission-critical application? If it fails, your business stops. Your income ceases.

Free open source?

Magento is used by many medium-sized businesses. They typically invest huge resources into it. The biggest fiction about the open-source Magento is that it is free. Whilst the core of the system is free, implementation and add-on costs are not cheap. A decent Magento setup could easily cost thousands of dollars to implement with a similar sum each year to keep it running.

Thus Magento merchants are hesitant to throw it away. But that expense is precisely why merchants should moving away from Magento.

Ecommerce companies should update their sites every few years. What is new and exciting can quickly become out of date. There is a constant race to attract and retain customers. The internet is always evolving. A good merchant keeps up with shopping habits and updates its site accordingly.

Constant change

I moved off Magento a few years ago and have never regretted it. (I described the process in a 5-part series and in a subsequent, 1-year follow-up.) Consumers’ use of the internet is changing. More of them use social media. Their buying behavior is changing. Advertising and promotion are changing. Merchants need a flexible solution to address changing trends. Magento is many things, but flexible and easy to adapt are not among them.

There is no easy answer to choosing an ecommerce platform. And there are many good options.

Since it is crucial to an ecommerce business, it is a good idea to pay for expert advice. Most businesses would pay for an accountant’s advice or a lawyer’s. So why balk at paying an ecommerce expert to properly advise on selecting and implementing a future-proof platform?

Certainly many platforms imply that the selection process is easy and that anyone can do it. This gives the false impression to merchants that they know enough to choose and plan their future. But this is incorrect. There is no substitute for experience and expertise. Done right, an ecommerce platform could move your business forward. Done wrong, it could force your business into obscurity.

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