eCommerce websites like Amazon.com generate billions of dollars a year. Just think about that for a moment. Billions. Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in late 1994 and in the 21 years since his company has gone from a tiny struggling entity to one of the world’s most lucrative businesses. And eCommerce is still going strong – from sites like Farm to Fork, where users buy food online and have it shipped directly to them to sites like Overstock.com, eCommerce covers a massive range of markets. It’s safe to say that eCommerce is not only here to stay, but is doing fantastic. Just look at this reversal in traditional business practices: BirchBox, an online subscription-based makeup store has just begun to open up brick-and-mortar stores! If that isn’t the perfect demonstration of changing times, what is? Back in the yesteryears of the interwebs, building a website was laborious, expensive and exceptionally complex. Though Bezos and Amazon are doing just fine now, it was a rough start for them. An eCommerce business requires a lot of liquidity upfront, almost entirely because of the massively robust web architecture needed. You may have guessed that this is all building into a discussion of how this has now all changed – and you’d be right. New enterprise tools exist to help develop websites in 2 weeks – and inexpensively to boot. The best of these tools is an open-source content management system (CMS) called Magento. What is a CMS? As stated above, Magento is categorized as an enterprise CMS program. Of course, for most people that doesn’t really clear things up. Fortunately for those poor lost souls, the expert developers at Software Developers India have been working with Magento for years and we know all of its secrets. Let’s start with what a content management system does. The most basic CMS allows users to easily post, edit and maintain the content of a website. More complicated enterprise CMS offer document storage centers, website indexing and other useful features for a large business. Magento, like most CMS, is composed of two main parts: the Content Management Application (CMA) and the Content Display Application (CDA). The CMA allows a user with limited technical experience to alter basic content on their webpage. The CMA is what makes sites developed with Magento the perfect option for many non-technical business owners. It means that you won’t need to call over IT for every small change you want to make. The CDA, on the other hand, is a bit more technical – though still easily used. The CDA is what puts together all of the information and is where you update your website’s content and code. How Magento Works Magento, unlike many of its competitors, is open-sourced. This means that, for at least the basic package, the software is available for free. While Magento does charge for its more advanced packages the basic, or “Community,” edition is a great option. Magneto uses an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) known to developers as MySQL. MySQL stores all of the necessary information for a website to run in a conveniently accessed and managed database. At SDI, our developers use PHP coding language to work with the Zend Framework that Magento utilizes. A Zend Framework is an “object-oriented web application” – or programming that treats blocks of data as objects, and a website as these objects communicating with one another. Finally, Magento uses what is known as Model-View-Controller (MVC) to determine how users interface with a website. Essentially, an MVC approach divides a website into three parts: • The model, which determines how information is stored in the back-end of a website • The view, or how the data is displayed to users, and • the controller, which tells the model how the information should be perceived. Okay….So Why Should I Care? Magento lets developers create websites extremely rapidly and efficiently. Since Magento is built using “plug-ins” or chunks of customizable software code, developing a customized website is relatively easy. For an experienced development team, Magento can be used to build an eCommerce website in 2 weeks, as opposed to the year or more it takes without Magento. Two other fantastic features make Magento a must for any entrepreneur and business owner: 1. Did I mention that the “Community Edition” is entirely free? Not only is it free, but it comes with a ton of features for the eCommerce entrepreneur and lots of customization options. This version is perfect for SMB owners, as the next editions are much bulkier and meant for larger enterprises (note: this does not include Magento Go, their cloud-based solution for SMB, as it was discontinued in February). 2. Pretty much the only time you will need a development partner is during the actual website development itself. Once we have developed your website, you won’t need us to do basic maintenance and updating. Magento makes all of that incredibly easy and efficient. Even if there are problems, a good development partner offers at least a 3-month guarantee on any product they create (SDI offers twice that by the way). So, you should care because you can build a massively successful Amazon-style eCommerce site in a fraction of the time and money it took Jeff Bezos. Convinced yet? Why not call the Bay Area’s web experts SDI at 408.621.8481? We have been using Magento for years to develop eCommerce sites and, for a limited time, we are offering up an hour of free consultation on how Magento can realize your dreams. Please call or email us, anytime, anywhere.