Magento Review: Has Complexity Killed Its Appeal?

Shopping cart month continues and here in our second installment, we take a look at the one and only Magento.

Magento continues to be a cart used by store owners in our community, known for its robust tools and enterprise level capabilities.

This week, we’re talking with Alan Marek, a Magento expert and store owner in our community and Kalen Jordan from the podcast Mage Talk to find out what they’re loving, and what could be improved upon, with Magento.

We chat about:

  • The difficulties and complexities of Magento
  • What hosted cart services are still missing out on
  • Which type of businesses are best suited for Magento 2

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(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com, Alan Marek of PartCatalog.com and Kalen Jordan of CommerceHero.io and MageTalk.com)

Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host and fellow ecommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian.

Hey, guys, Andrew here. Welcome to The eCommerceFuel Podcast, and welcome back to shopping cart month. Our first ever shopping cart month here on the show, possibly, possibly anywhere. I don’t know. I’ll do a google search for shopping cart month. I’m guessing it’s not a highly searched term online. I could be wrong, but I’m excited to be here. It’s how you know you’re a true ecommerce geek because if this gets you excited.

We did Shopify to kick things off, given it’s probably the most, well, it is the most popular platform in our community based on usage. And this week we’re diving into Magento, the second most popular one, just by a tiny razor’s hair. WooCommerce is just right behind it, but Magento is in the number two spot right now.

To talk about Magento, I’ve got Alan Marek, who’s our in-house Magento expert in the private community, as well as Kalen Jordan, who is someone who has a lot of experience in the space and also is the host of the MageTalk Podcast. So both these guys really, really know their stuff. A little bit of context before, so I mentioned Magento is the number two store. And if you look at it, the number of store owners using it.

We have about a thousand-ish members in the community. And there’s 81 store owners as of the beginning of, you know, right around the beginning of 2018, using Magento, which is, you know, 8%-ish of all of our members compared to over 40%-ish of Shopify, which is just staggering, the dominance that Shopify has in terms of just the next best competitor being a fifth of their adoption, which is just wild.

So Magento is rated a 3.8 out of 5 stars. And, you know, there’s actually a cart that I’ll link up to post on this. I actually migrated away from Magento. This is a number of years ago. This must, oh, what, oh, maybe three plus years ago now. And the big reason I migrated away was complexity. And that’s something we start talking about and getting into in today’s show. So, anyway, excited to dig into it with a couple guys who really know their stuff on the Magento platform.

But before we jump in that discussion, we wanna thank our two sponsors, who help make this show possible, first, Klaviyo who makes email automation easy and powerful. And by now, you probably know their killer feature is just the ability to create insanely targeted segmented email flows that go out to your customers day in and day out. And you can really pick by, you can create flows just about anything you could think of from what products people have purchased to if they’re VIPs or not based on their purchase history, is pretty powerful.

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All right, let’s go ahead and get into today’s discussion.

Our Perspective of Magento in 2018

Andrew: Guys, I’d love to share my perspective on where I kinda see Magento in 2018. And get your thoughts on if you think it’s a fair perspective, if you think it’s accurate, or if you think I’m a little bit off base. This is something I’ve been doing kinda, to kick off all of these episodes on different shopping carts. And from my perspective, I feel like Magento is kind of in a little bit of a slow decline. It used to be, you know, maybe three, four, five years ago, the most popular self-hosted cart. I remember when I came to it from Zen cart. I’m really being myself here.

But it was the new, sexy, amazing girl at the dance. It had, you know, faceted navigation on the left-hand side blew me away. But as I was on it for a while, just the complexity really, we can get into this in more depth, but just to simplify the complexity and difficulty of customizing it, of maintaining it for a guy who didn’t have a full-time developer became just a beast. And I saw Shopify as a more compelling option because I didn’t need to, you know, for me, didn’t need to customize it to the ninth degree. I wanted the simplicity of the hosting, self-hosted.

And I kind of see, you know, kind of WooCommerce potentially sliding in as a more viable option for, you know, maybe those store owners in the high six, low to even mid seven figures range or even higher potentially, so it’s still definitely an option, especially if you need a really powerful cart, if you need something that you have to, you know, customization is hugely important, but not the no-brainer it was for people who wanted to self-host four or five years ago. Do you think it’s fair or do you think I’m off-base, sir?

Not In The Decline

Kalen: I would say that, I think that it, you know, when you look at Magento as a whole, like obviously, your perspective, your audience is that’s a six-figure, low seven-figure. And I’m sure there’s a segment for which it’s in decline, right. The question is just what is that segment. When I look at that statement, I think overall, definitely not in a decline, like definitely growing, like they did some studies recently on, you know, their gross merchandising volume.

They’re at 124 billion, gonna go to 220. I mean, those are studies they’ve commissioned themselves. But there’s, I think, there’s a lot of growth in different… I think it’s about what segment you’re looking at. So they’ve definitely made a strategic move kind of up to mid-market. There’s B2B. There’s everything. So I think it really depends on kind of what segment you’re looking at.

Getting the Mid-Market Audience

Andrew: And when you say mid-market, where would you say mid-market starts in terms of revenue?

Kalen: You know, it’s funny. We make fun of this all the time. When they say the word mid-market is, I don’t know how clearly defined it is. Maybe, is it 5 million and up, 10 million, somewhere 20, 25, somewhere in there. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t always come down neatly into revenue bands, like it’s more so about what’s the complexity of your business, what are your sort of ambitions for international expansion, you know, things for the Shopify.

You might start to run into pain points around multi-currency, multi-store, those types of things. So it’s somewhere in there, mid-market. It has some elusive position there. But I think, you know, that’s sort of what it comes down to.

Alan’s Take: Lacking Hosted Cart Perks

Andrew: So, Alan, you kind of come from a similar background as I do. You own a Magento store. You’re our community, you know, the ECF Magento expert, and kind of have a, you probably share more of a background than, you know, a similar background to myself. Do you think my perspective kind of at the top there was fair or not so fair?

Alan: Yeah, I think that perspective is fair. Over the past three or four years, there’s been just an explosion, and the hosted carts like Shopify, the. AmeriCommerce is coming back, and you have big commerce. Those hosted carts are taking…I feel like taking a lot of market from the small businesses, the ones that just need pretty simple solution. They just need to, you know, get 10, 20, 30, 40 products up. With those solutions, you can open an account with Shopify and be selling in one day. You just really can’t do that with Magento.

When you look at Enterprise customers and kind of special use cases, people who need some special functionality, I think that market, that segment is growing. I mean, I don’t know the exact numbers on that, but there’s still, from an Enterprise and B2B perspective, there’s still a lot that the hosted carts are missing out on. There’s still a lot of gaps in functionality that they just haven’t developed out yet.

The Growth Potential for Magento

Andrew: Yeah, Kalen, I’d love to dig into your answer a little bit more because I think you have between the three of us probably the more unique perspective because you’re not seeing…you know, you’re seeing more potential there. Who do you see Magento being a great cart for, you know, in 2018? Is it someone doing, you know, maybe 10 million and above with a very specific, that needs to customize completely or own their own data and need something a little more built out than maybe WooCommerce or what is it that you see? Where do you see that growth really happening primarily?

Kalen: Yeah. I mean so I think that, you know, it comes down to, like, you know, when you start to running, you’ve got different things. You’ve got people that are on Magento 1, thinking about going to Magento two, thinking about going to other platforms. They’re familiar with Magento and the ecosystem. So the question for them is a little different than somebody. If you’re just starting out, you wannna sell some t-shirts, like Shopify is the definite no brainer, whereas, seven, eight years ago, maybe Magento was the no brainer.

I think that you can look at, you know, types of…I mean, automotive is an interesting example because you get into really large catalogs with lots of attributes, and I think you run into attribute limits in Shopify, different types of limits on your catalog complexity. So I think that’s an interesting. You know, you could look industry by industry, because I don’t know that much about Shopify, I think that…and the other host is SaaS, I think really the question is when you start to run into limitations in those platforms, you probably then wanna consider whether it makes sense to look elsewhere.

Again, if you’re looking at multi, I think to my understanding, Shopify really hasn’t cracked multi-store as far as, I mean, I know they’ll stand up multiple stores for you, and there’s some things in place to sync up currencies and stuff, but that’s probably 1 of the big gaps. I think a lot of the stuff that, you know, Magento is really pushing B2B, I think is an interesting segment. There’s some interest in there for around content management and staging. You know, I think it just varies a lot by the complexity of the, of the merchant.

Did eBay Help or Hurt or Magento

Andrew: I wanna move on to ownership, guys. eBay purchased Magento back in like 2011, which, man, I can’t believe it’s been that long. They owned it for a while. And then eBay was, you know, kind of more or less broken up in some regard. People all got spun off. I think Magento along with that or at least close to the same time was sold to a private equity firm.

Has that been good or bad for Magento? Has things changed given the ownership? Is it a good place that they’re owned by a private equity firm versus eBay, which is maybe a bigger company, they have more resources, but they’re more split in their focus, any thoughts on their current ownership?

Kalen: Yeah, I mean, like my… And by the way, like I’m pretty…because I’ve never been an official partner of Magento or anything, and so I’ll criticize them like, you know, I’m super independent, like when my thing, I believe that it’s been good. I kind of see them going back to their roots with like valuing the community contribution. I think with eBay, they were sort of a little hamstrung, big corporation, like I knew people that were talking to them about getting hired, like smart people that would have been good hires.

And they had weird hiring freezes and stuff like that. They’ve been hiring, snatching up a bunch of great talent recently, actually to the point where a lot of partners are getting a little upset because they’re trying to get like…they’re trying to get a little bit more of the pie. I think also the premiere, the private equity firm is pushing them in the SaaS direction. So they have a cloud offer. Obviously, they try to do Magento Go back in the day that didn’t go so well.

They’re pushing cloud really heavily. You know, some people will say really the strength of Magento is to be self-hosted and things like that, like the cloud is a little bit of a interesting thing because they’re not doing the cloud themselves. They have a partner, which is Platform SH that they’re kind of integrating with. So some people say it’s a little funny what’s going on with the cloud situation.

I’m sure private equity is pushing for that because it’s gonna get their valuation up. Also you have to assume that if you’re owned by private equity, there’s gonna be another sale event happening, you know, three, four, five, six, seven year time frame. You know, that’s not necessarily something that we’ll be excited about. Those are some of my thoughts.

Partnering with Platform SH

Andrew: Yes. So are they, and maybe on a cloud-based front, is that just gonna be an option kind of like Magento Go? Gosh, I was kind of being cheeky there. Sorry, I didn’t mean to throw you off. But Magento Go was kind of a rough. They’re a SaaS trusted version. I just did not take off, this is years ago.

Kalen: It’s just interesting because, you know, they have certain strengths in terms of the… You know, there was some obvious innovation there with the core product and things like that. But then, you know, they’re not a SaaS Company, like they’re not a Shopify, and so there’s just different expertise, different… You know, getting response times on critical issues in the order of minutes from them directly is like they’re more in the order of weeks, like even if you’re Enterprise support, right? And so they’re partnered with Platform SH.

I think Platform SH has a pretty strong reputation and stuff like that. You know, I think it’ll be interesting to see how…but, yeah, it’s basically, there’s an Enterprise pricing option, which I don’t really know. It’s one of those you gotta call, talk to a sales person to get the price. I think you’re probably looking at like $5,000 a month and up. They also have a lower priced version. You can get started, I wanna say $1,500, 2 grand a month, so similar pricing to Shopify plus. So they have a few price tiers there.

Alan: Kind of interesting because it’s kind of the same thing that AmeriCommerce is going through right now. They were owned by Capital One, and they just broke away a couple weeks ago. So it’ll be interesting to see how Magento and AmeriCommerce and Shopify position themselves in the next couple years.

Andrew: Yeah, it’ll be really interesting. And actually, I just spoke with the founder of AmeriCommerce this morning and we’ll have, kind of in the last episode of Shopping Cart month we’ll be talking to him, but it’s cool because it’s interesting, because they’re an interesting, really interesting company that broke away, became independent just like Magento.

Magento 1.x Versus 2: A Store Owners Take

Andrew: Alan, I’d love to ask you about Magento, too, get a storeowners’ perspective. So Magento one, you know, was kind of 1.X, was kind of the legacy framework. And then Magento 2 kind of represented this entire refactoring, you know, the entire code base and moving to a new platform. And I wanna get to the, you know, maybe some of the aspects of it. Is it better? What problems does it solve? But maybe is it just a good lead-in question is, Alan, have you migrated, like did…are you making the jump to Magento 2 completely replatforming or are you sticking with 1.X?

Alan: I am actually sticking with 1.x right now. So all the information I have on Magento 2 is basically based off of the marketing notes of what’s supposed to be better, but essentially Magento 2 is a…

Kalen: All the marketing copy is true. It’s all 100% true.

Alan: Yeah, so basically Magento 2 as a revamp of the code base, a lot of user experience improvements in the administration panel. I think they fixed their checkout process, made it a little bit more user-friendly, a little bit more focused on B2B and whatnot. But as far as migrating to Magento 2, it’s more of a re-platform than an actual upgrade. So if you’re already established on Magento 1, it’s very expensive project to undertake.

So I plan on sticking it out on Magento 1 as long as I can. I believe Magento has even come out and said that they’ll give it 18 months heads up when they’ll discontinue support for Magento 1, and that hasn’t happened yet. So there’s at least about an 18-month runway going with that.

A Developer’s Take on Magento 2

Andrew: Kalen, have you, on Magento 2, from your perspective, do you see it as a… Your joke about the marketing being, you know, totally true. Do you see it as a pretty big improvement, like are they solving major big problems? Is it a significantly better platform or is it…maybe the marketing is over-hyped like you were alluding to?

Kalen: Okay, so a couple things. So on the open sour-, you know, Community Edition renamed to Open Source. On the open source side of things feature wise, probably not a lot of a big feature improvements from 1 to 2, like Alan was saying your admin is cleaned up, you know, check out. There’s some things that are cleaned up. From a developer facing, do you guys have much of a developer audience or is it really merchants? I get the sense it’s merchants.

Andrew: I’d say mostly merchants, but we definitely have, you know, maybe 10%. I’m guessing, but, yeah, we have some developers for sure.

Kalen: So like from a developer facing standpoint, there’s a lot of stuff architecturally they cleaned up. A lot of the guys I talked to and gals that are doing Magento 2 development, they say, “Man, I could never imagine doing Magento 1 again,” just in terms of tooling and all that kind of stuff. From a feature perspective, like not much, and by the way, like even when Magento started to push Magento 2, all the partners started to push it, everybody.

I even would say on record like I’m not sure the case is there to migrate just yet. At one point, they had November 2018 as their official end-of-life. And I came out and I said like, “I don’t see people moving off it.” I know smart people on Magento 1, they’re gonna stick around. They ended up pushing it out further. I think it’s 2020 or like Alan said, it’s like a roll that will give you 18 months’ notice.

On, the Enterprise side of things, there are some things I do see people excited about. There is a B2B feature set that’s baked in that got launched recently. And then there’s a, they made an acquis-, they’re a little bit acquisition happy. So they made an acquisition of an extension called blue foot, which was some really interesting content management. So it makes it easy to manage content on your product pages, you know, all over the site in a really integrated way. So they’ve brought that into the core, and then things like staging.

So, for example, if you need a stage content roll outs across for a holiday thing or a promotion across products and discounts and homepage and landing category pages, there’s some interesting stuff there. So those are the features that I see people, you know, pretty interested in as far as like business facing features, but those are really more on the Enterprise side.

Open Source & Enterprise: Magento’s Two Flavors

Andrew: You mentioned, you know, one thing I probably should explain that up top. If you’re familiar with Magento, you probably know this. If you’re not, there’s kind of two flavors. There’s what we used to be called Community Edition now called Open Source Edition. It’s just totally free. You know, you download for free, Open Source, but there’s no support. And then there’s the Enterprise Edition, which is a license fee, and you largely, I think, just get support for it. It’s priced fairly aggressively, like Kalen was mentioning.

Back in the day when I was using this, it was number of years ago, I was on a community. It was patched decently. There’s no support. Even the documentation was pretty sparse. I remember more often than not, if I had a question, I couldn’t get it from the official documentation. I’d be more likely to get an answer from the forms. Can you guys give me a sense of how well is, especially with it now being owned by a private equity company, which, you know, obviously is in it to make some money versus just the love of Open Source software.

How is the support for community or for Open Source, I guess, edition versus Enterprise right now?

Kalen: I mean, my…and obviously, Alan will have a more direct experience on that, like when you say there’s no support, I mean any free Open Source thing by default doesn’t have support. Right? I mean, that’s the way I’d frame it. You know, a lot of people give them crap for like, you know, “Oh, you’re sold out. You’re just enterprisy, dah, dah, dah.” And it’s true, like they have moved up market.

They are focusing for Enterprise on bigger companies, but they’re also, they’ve made some significant investments in open source, which I think are interesting. They have this whole community engineering effort. They took basically their top Magento engineer, a guy named Maxie Ketteringko. And his full-time job is now the Magento community engineering. So he manages Open Source. I think he has a team of like five people. They’ve been getting really good at managing GitHub. So Magento 2 is on GitHub now.

Back in the Magento 1 days, it wasn’t like that. Poll requests are getting handled quickly. There’s tons of poll requests that have been merged by the community. Again, these are a little bit more developer facing kind of benefits, but I think they put some really serious investment into that. They’ve also done some interesting things like baked incentives into their partner probe, because in the past, like partners only cared about Enterprise licenses.

All they wanted to do was sell you an Enterprise license. Community edition was like I don’t wanna deal with that. But they baked some interesting incentives in where as a partner, as a solution partner, you get like partner credits for contributing to Open Source, which I think is kind of an interesting way to bridge the gap. So I think they’re doing some interesting stuff there.

An Open Sourcer for Life

Andrew: That’s good to hear. They’re actually investing a little more on the Open Source side. Alan, what’s been your experience as a store owner, because you’re on Open Source, not Enterprise, right?

Alan: Yeah, I’m on Open Source. I guess since I’m on Magento 1, I’m still on Community Edition of it.

Andrew: You’re in the edition for life.

Alan: But, yeah, support wise, it’s not. If you’re on Community Edition or Open Source, it’s not like…if you have an issue, it’s not like you can just email someone at Magento, you know, and get the kind of technical support. You really have to have a good developer, a good team on your site to get that. I have noticed when you Google or, you know, Magento issues or have questions on Magento issues, it’s usually something from stack overflow comes up.

I have noticed that there are…some of the Magento has become more involved over the past few months in those discussions. So it seems like they’re listening a little bit closer to the community side now. But, yeah, as Kalen said, I think a lot of the focus is on the Enterprise side and getting those customers and making them happy and developing out the B2B, not to say there’s not support on the community side. You just have to seek it out. You have to have the right developers on your side, and you have to essentially know where to look to get that support.

The Importance of a Magento Specialized Hosting Company

Kalen: And then the only other thing I’ll throw in. I think in that category is like I think it’s really important to have a good specialized Magento hosting company. There’s a lot of companies that do Magento hosting, and I think in my opinion a lot that don’t do it very well. There’s a few that I like. You know, there’s one…I don’t need to give them a plug or anything, that sponsors a podcast, that I’m a big fan of and like they have full-time Magento developers on staff so that if you have a question, “Hey, something’s messed up with my site,” like there’s always this interesting tension between hosting and development.

Hosting says, “Oh, it’s a developer problem.” Developer says it’s a hosting problem. I mean, that’s one of the annoying things about self-hosted in general. So I love having a specialized host where they can, you say, “Hey, my site’s slow,” and they can look at stuff on the infrastructure side. But they can also say, “Hey, you know what, let me go ahead and look at your code and look at these queries and see there’s a bottleneck in this catalog related query.”

And, you know, they have pricing that starts, I wanna say like 40, 50, 60 bucks a month, a lot of community merchants. I mean, you probably need to have a good developer as well, but having a good host that can back you up with kind of that tier one or two or three development level support even, I think gives you a lot of just overall peace of mind.

Andrew: I couldn’t agree with that more. I went from a non-specialized Magento host to a specialized Magento host, and it sounds like it’s, Kalen may be describing the same host that I used.

Kalen: It’s Magemojo?

Andrew: No, it’s not. There’s more than one out there.

Kalen: Yeah, there’s couple solid ones that I’m a fan of. And Magemojo is the sponsor of our podcast.

Specialized Hosts for Support Issues

Andrew: Sorry, having that support though, I’ve had them do code audits, looking for site speed improvements. There’s one point where my site went down. It was a Friday afternoon, and my developers being in Poland, you know, they were already asleep. I had no idea what was going on. So I submit an emergency ticket, and within 15 minutes, my site was back up.

It was a Magento issue or a Magento code issue that I myself caused but without realizing it. But I didn’t have a host with developers on staff. My site would have been down for probably the entire weekend. And I think a lot of people run into that problem. That’s why I think you hear a lot of Magento horror stories out there because they just throw it up on shared hosting, and they don’t have the developer support that they need to actually run Magento.

Kalen: So, Alan, who are you on right now?

Alan: The host is Sonassi.

Kalen: Sonassi, dude, I love. Actually, it’s funny. Sorry, real quick, I’m big fan of Sonassi. They were the very first sponsor of our…the second sponsor of our podcast for a while, good friends with the owner there, Ben. They actually were recently acquired, and it’s all public, moves public. They acquired for like 16 million pounds and just amazing. I’m super proud of them, and they’re incredible.

Alan: Yeah, he’s pretty involved in the community as well.

Magemojo, Sonassi & More Magento Recs

Andrew: Both of those hosts are ones you can recommend, anyone else that either of you guys can recommend that is a pretty reputable name in hosting if people are looking for good hosting for Magento.

Kalen: You know, a lot of people use Nexus. They’re not small. I tend to sort of prefer smaller companies, maybe 5, 10, 20 people-ish type companies. So a lot of people use Nexus. They’re fairly specialized, not entirely specialized in Magento. They do some WordPress, some expression engine. They’re out there for sure. Lexicon, I think, is the other one that I’m thinking of. So those are the ones I’d probably mention.

Alan: And the great thing with them, at least with Sonassi, is that they can take your current site. They’ll just take a copy of it, put it on a server of theirs, and will give you access to it, so you can see exactly how it runs. So you can see if there’s any site speed improvements and how much faster it runs on it.

And Now for the Cons: Development

Andrew: Yes, we covered some of the strengths of Magento, kind of just throughout the discussion, you know, of those, total control, of course, customization. Multi-site is a big one. Some of those features that are kind of…the newer one is coming out in Magento 2 that, Kalen, you alluded to. I want to switch a little bit to some of their biggest weaknesses.

For me, I mean, we can start with this one, you know, painful system admin especially on a smaller individual team if you don’t have a dev full-time, like when I…Magento was great for me to learn UNIX. I never had a reason to learn UNIX before, before I installed Magento. You know, it was a great incentive because I’m like the whole business would have crashed if I didn’t know at least the basics.

So people moving, and maybe we can take the approach of moving to…if you’re starting from scratch, you’re probably gonna move to the 2X platform. Is that still the case, like is it still…is that gonna be the biggest weakness for people, is just the overhead. And how bad is it? Is it getting better? Is it still pretty painful?

Better Extensions & Code Quality Standards

Kalen: I think there’s some improvements. You know, again, the admin is improved as far as UX goes. They have also made some improvements to marketplace. I think that was one of the big pain points, is you have extensions conflicting with each other and things like that. They’ve beefed up their code quality standards i their kind of code review process to the point where as an extension vendor, it’s a little painful. I know people that, you know, it’s taken them quite a while to get their extensions improved. But I think you’re starting to see lots and lots.

You know, a year ago, Magento 2 was out technically, but like virtually zero actual extensions that were available. You know, there’s a lot more coverage in terms of extensions. They are taking a bigger cut of the marketplace revenue. They’re taking like a 30% rev share, which, again, as an extension vendor, I’m not in love with, but I understand why it’s a smart business move for them.

It’s funny. Business-wise, you see them doing a lot of things Shopify has done in terms of going cloud, going SaaS, getting 30% of extension revenue, but I can understand. So all that to say, I think marketplace is improved. Here I go, just talking the strengths, again. You’re trying to get me to talk weaknesses. Yeah, I mean I think…you know, hopefully, you don’t have to dip into UNIX unless there’s an extension that isn’t on market place that you wanna install. I think like you said, complexity and costs are gonna the big areas for sure.

For Store Owners, Easy Maintenance Once The Right Development’s In Place

Andrew: Alan, on your side and again, you’re kind of…we’ve got the two sides, the one 1.x versus the 2.x, that kind of the re-platforming. Alan, again, you’re on the 1.x side of things. And maybe I was just error-prone, and I was the one who triggered all sorts of 50 gigabyte log files that I didn’t realize I was doing it and had all the problems. You know, on the 1.x or maybe, do you have as many problems keeping your site up and running and smooth as I did? Do you have a great developer? How much work is it to keep your site running smoothly and cleanly?

Alan: I would say once it’s developed and you have the extensions already installed and running, maintenance is pretty easy. The only times that you really have to go into the code, not even go into the code, but make any changes, is when there’s some kind of security patch. And most of those, you know, you can install those in less than 15 minutes unless it’s one of the bigger patches that touches a lot of files.

But as far as extensions and what’s going on with the marketplace, it seems like a lot of the extension developers are kind of in a transition period where they’re developing more for the Magento 2 platform and so in the last year or so. I mean, if you’re an early adopter to Magento 2, you probably ran into issues where the extension developers hadn’t created the M2 version of it.

I think that’s gotten a lot better as, you know, M2 matures a little bit, but that also creates issues with new Megento 1 extensions, because so many resources are working on getting those Magento 2 versions out.

Good (And Bad) Magento Extensions Are Out There

Alan: But one of the biggest weaknesses, I think, of the extension market is that there’s a lot of junk out there, and you kind of have to wade through and find the good extensions with good…not just good as in works, but you have to find good extensions that was coded correctly. And if you’re not a developer, that’s incredibly difficult to do. So I think this new Magento marketplace that Magento launched last year, it takes out a huge pain point in that because they actually do code reviews of the extensions and essentially vet out what’s good and what’s bad.

Andrew: Guys, what do you see, because I’m going to wrap things up here. What do you guys see coming on the pipe for Magento in 2018 and beyond? Either trends you guys have seen or maybe explicit things that Magento’s talked about releasing that aren’t out yet. Any news on the horizon that comes to mind?

Big Magento News on the Horizon

Kalen: Yeah, so, I think probably the big one is progressive web apps. So they announced a collaboration with Google, recently. They’re working on kind of a tool set around, so progressive web apps. And I don’t know too much about them, but they’re basically where you’re leveraging more of the tools that your Chrome browser gives you for notifications, faster loading time, things like that and so, Google, I’m sure at some point, Google is gonna heavily incentivize progressive web apps in the search results.

They’re probably already doing that to a certain extent, and also it’s just good user experience, right? Things work well if you’re offline and your internet connection, it’s more mobile-friendly. So they’re doing some interesting stuff there. They’ve hired some pretty heavy hitter front-end guys, and they’re doing some interesting stuff there. So hopefully, we’ll start to see some of that go live in 2018.

Alan: Yeah, I’m sticking out on Magento 1, so I don’t wanna know all the new features that are out because may…

Kalen: Having that said…

Alan: I don’t wanna spend money switching to Magento 2.

Andrew: Alan’s covering his ears for this part of the podcast.

Kalen: No, I think there a lot of merchants that are in like a wait-and-see holding pattern. You know, the holding pattern has probably extended a little bit longer than anybody really wanted to. I think the case for Megento 2 is getting stronger, you know, every day as they’re adding features and doing stuff, but it’s still not necessarily like a no-brainer to do the upgrade because, you know, it’s not necessarily gonna be cheap.

Alan: Yeah, and generally speaking, it seems like going to 2018 that it’ll be an easier decision if you’re on Enterprise. There’s just so many new features that Enterprise…it seems like they’re putting a lot more focus on it.

Andrew: Guys, this has been super helpful. If you don’t know both these gentlemen, Alan is the resident eCommerceFuel Magento expert, like I mentioned, and he also runs parkcatalog.com. So if you wanna check out a cool Magento site or just if you need, you know, Mats, cargo liners, door moldings, anything like that for your vehicle, check him out parkcatalog.com.

And Kalen is the host of the MageTalk, Magento Podcast. You can find that at magetalk.com, on iTunes, or wherever your favorite place to get your podcasts, also the founder of magemail.co and a current advisor there. He recently sold that, but an email marketing platform specifically for Magento and also the… You own founded commercehero.io, which is a service that helps you find great Magento experts and developers, is that right?

Kalen: Yes, that’s right. And then just small connection on magemail.co. I wasn’t able to get the dot-com. So it’s magemail.co.

Andrew: Oh, apologies.

Kalen: Yeah, don’t worries. So commerceario is my current jam. I have been focused on the last year, so full-time and just building up a talent marketplace, kind to address that pain point of where merchants are like, “Man, my developers suck. So I need a good developer or whatever.” And so that’s what we’ve been focused on and that’s been fun.

Andrew: Awesome. Gentlemen, Alan and Kalen, I appreciate you guys coming on and talking Magento with me. Thanks, gentlemen.

Kalen: Thank you so much, man, really appreciate it.

Alan: Thanks to you, too.

Kalen: Cheers.

Andrew: That’s gonna do it for this week’s episode, but if you enjoyed what you heard, check us out at ecommercefuel.com where you’ll find the private vetted community for online store owners. And what makes this different from other online communities or forums, is that we heavily vet everyone who joins to make sure that they have meaningful experience to contribute to the broader conversation.

Everyone who we accept has to be doing at least a quarter million dollars in annual sales on their store, and our average member does seven figures plus in sales by their business. And so if that’s kind of interesting to you, if you wanna get, you know, connected with a group of experienced store owners online, check us out at ecommercefeul.com where you can learn more about membership as well as apply.

And I have to again thank our sponsors who help make this show possible, Klaviyo, who makes email segmentation easy and powerful. The cool thing about Klaviyo is they play your entire catalog customer and sales history to help you build out incredibly powerful automated segments that make you money on autopilot. If you’re not using them, check them out and try them for free at Klaviyo.com.

And finally, Liquid Web, if you’re on WooCommerce, if you’re thinking about getting on WooCommerce, Liquid Web is the absolute best hosting platform. For three reasons, one, it’s built from the ground up for WooCommerce and optimized by some of the best industry professionals in the WooCommerce or WordPress space. They really know the stuff, and it’s highly elastic and scalable, as well as comes with a whole suite of tools and performance tests to optimize your store. You can check them out and learn more about their hosted WooCommerce offering at ecommercefuel.com/liquidweb.

Thanks so much for listening, really appreciate you tuning in and looking forward to talking to you again next Friday.

You want to connect with and learn from other proven e-commerce entrepreneurs? Join us in the eCommerceFuel private community. It’s our tight-knit vetted group for store owners with at least a quarter million dollars in annual sales. You can learn more and apply for membership at ecommercefuel.com.

Thanks so much for listening, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again next time.


What Was Mentioned

Andrew Youderian
Post by Andrew Youderian
Andrew is the founder of eCommerceFuel and has been building eCommerce businesses ever since gleefully leaving the corporate world in 2008.  Join him and 1,000+ vetted 7- and 8-figure store owners inside the eCommerceFuel Community.

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