Choosing an e-commerce solution for your online store can be tough, especially when there are so many options out there. The confusion as to whether you should develop a simple website or go for a content management system obstructs you to go forward. This choice actually depends on your needs and business scalability.
A simple static website is usually enough when you simply need to add a description of your product or service along with a few easy forms to place an order, subscribe, or contact form. For example, e-books and music CDs. The project budget is quite small in this case.
Need of E-commerce solution
A specialized e-commerce solution is needed when:
• The online store contains product catalogs with many items and categories, whose descriptions, images, etc. are required to be updated frequently.
• You need effective tools for sale and marketing and CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
• You want to interact with your customers by allowing them to add reviews and comments.
• You have a multi-nation operating website and need multilingual support.
An e-commerce solution is required to be fast and full featured that facilitates cheaper development and maintenance. There are many open source e-commerce solutions available today like Magento, osCommerce, Shopify, ZenCart and many more. These solutions are often built on open source content management systems like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress.
Magento and Joomla
One of the most popular and widely used content management systems are Magento and Joomla. Their popularity can be directly assessed from the fact that Magento has been translated into 60 different languages and Joomla into 64 as of now. Both of them come with a variety of features, extensions and plug-ins.
Magento is one of the leading e-commerce solutions in the market. Its industry usage volume is simply great. Magento is beneficial from both the seller and the customer side. Some key benefits from the seller side include:
• Easy catalog management
• Availability of effective marketing tools like coupons, featured products and gift cards
• Tools for search engine optimization
• Support for advanced shipping
• Analytics and reporting tools
Customer side benefits:
• Facilitates filtering of products in categories
• Enables efficient and fast search
• Facile product comparisons and reviews
• One-page checkout facility
• Great shipping options
In spite of so many features, there are certain limitations of Magento too, that requires attention while making the selection. It requires a lot of hardware resources to work efficiently; many plug-ins and extensions are quite costly; and difficult to customize.
Joomla is also one of the most popular open source CMS available today and is being used by millions of people and organizations. The benefits of using Joomla can be enumerated as follows:
• Cost effective development and maintenance
• Support for SEO
• Great designing options
• Easy and user friendly admin interface
• Support for mobile friendly templates
• Easy to implement changes
The drawbacks also need to be considered here. Implementing SEO-friendly requires intense configuration; having technical knowledge is must for customization; category addition is tough; and changes to API are made often. And one more thing, Joomla is not specifically an e-commerce solution. It needs to be customized with the help of additional modules.
Integrating Joomla and Magento
As evident from the above information, both Joomla and Magento have advantages and disadvantages and as such none of them offers a perfect solution. In such a scenario, integrating both of them to realize the maximum benefits of both the systems is an ideal approach. With this approach, you get a perfect combination of friendly CMS and flexible e-commerce solution.
To the end, it can be concluded that before jumping to any e-commerce solution or CMS, the business requirements need to be planned out. In some cases, Joomla can be a better option while in the other, Magento. Also, there is no one size that fits all and so, going for the last option, i.e. integrating Magento and Joomla seems a good option.
Moreover, there are a lot of different e-commerce solutions out there and you need to choose what best suits you.