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How to succeed with a Magento e-commerce store


WordPress is the single most popular content management system (CMS) online. A W3Techs survey found that almost a quarter (24.1%) of all websites were built with the platform – far more than competitors Joomla (2.8%), Drupal (2.1%) and Magento (1.1%).

When you take out the blogs and concentrate on e-commerce however, Magento is the clear winner. According to a study of Alexa's million top e-commerce sites, Magento Community Edition was the most popular, with 25.6% of the market share, knocking WordPress’ WooCommerce plugin into second spot. The premium Magento Enterprise Edition ranked in 6th place, powering a further 4.4% of the top million e-commerce sites.

One of the reasons Magento performs so well in is that it is custom-built for the purpose: it has a range of functionality that can be adapted to enhance e-commerce sites for businesses of all shapes and sizes. There are still some things you should bear in mind to get the best performance out of your Magento site however:

Open multiple stores

Magento’s multi-store functionality allows you to set up more than one store or e-commerce website using the same basic back-end code. One of the most useful aspects of this is the ability to establish localized sites for different countries and markets. Effective localization is worthy of a series of articles in its own right of course. There’s more to it than choosing the right platform. You still have to translate your content and localize other elements such as images and product prices but having the right base to build from is certainly important.

Optimize for mobile

Smaller screens increasingly mean big business. In the UK, for example, a Capgemini study found that mobile accounted for 40% of all online retail sales at the start of this year. The rise of smartphones is a worldwide phenomenon. Research from Google found that Singapore (85%) and South Korea (80%) had the highest smartphone penetration rates and optimizing to display and perform properly on a range of devices has become an ever more important part of website design.

Some designers still use the m. domain to direct mobile visitors to a just-for-mobile site. There are benefits in maintaining distinct and separate mobile and desktop sites, particularly if you want to use features and functions on desktop that simply wouldn’t work on mobile. For many businesses however, responsive design offers a solution that is simpler and often cheaper overall. Essentially, a responsive website detects the type of device it is being viewed on and formats itself to display properly on that device.

Magento now offers a responsive design reference theme that allows you to quickly set up your mobile-optimized site, a new payment option and streamlined checkout.

Increase speed and performance

You want your site to look good but it also needs to perform quickly and consistently. 18% of shoppers will abandon their cart if pages are too slow and 51% of online shoppers in the US say that overall site slowness is the top reason they’d abandon a purchase.

There are a number of ways you can speed up your Magento site. Think carefully about system-intensive displays such as autoplay videos and audio, especially if you’re optimizing for mobile. On a slightly more technical level you can adapt tips like merging CSS and JavaScript files and enabling compilation – a relatively new Magento feature that allows you to compile all Magento installation files to create a single include path. This feature is designed to improve the performance of your online store and is claimed to increase page load speeds by 25% to 50%.

Consider upgrading to Enterprise

As we saw in that look at the top million e-commerce sites, most businesses are happy to use the Magento Community Edition. This is hardly surprising when you consider it’s available for free and has a range of features and functions that are more than adequate for most purposes. The premium Enterprise Edition doesn’t come cheap but it could significantly enhance the performance of sites for major e-commerce retailers. Magento EE, in fact, was the second most popular platform in the 2015 Internet Retailer Top 500.

With increased features, functionality and dedicated support, EE can offer a much improved experience. It’s adept at handling very large product catalogues, for example, and third party benchmark performance tests show superior server response times and CPU utilization rates.

Optimize your content

Having the right platform gives you a great base to build from but you also need to create website content that captures and maintains attention and performs well in searches. An Econsultancy report found that “60% companies see content engagement increasing and 30% of companies plan to invest more in creating original and unique content. They are making this investment to stay ahead of competition, as well as a way to improve SEO.”

From engaging blogs and articles that can boost SEO, to unique, searchable product information, the old maxim ‘content is king’ still holds true. And using the right content and design with a flexible and functional platform like Magento can really help you succeed in your e-commerce enterprise.

About the Author:
Guest feature by Lingo24 CEO Christian Arno. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter @Lingo24.