Magento’s Greatest Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Even though Magento is second to wooCommerce in terms of e-commerce platforms global market shares, when it comes to the first 10K, 100K or 1M ecommerce sites, this platform comes first. Ranking in second place globally makes perfect sense, as wooCommerce is available as a plugin for WordPress, the world’s most used CMS.
That being said, Magento is not without its flaws. Many of them aren’t exactly roadblockers, but they can cause plenty of frustrations to make companies turn their attention to other ecommerce platforms. Let’s take a look at some of these challenges, and what your business can do to overcome them!
Default Magento Configs Are Awfully Slow
This ecommerce platform can be extremely slow when left as it comes, but that can be the case with any other option your business might go for. The secret to a speedy platform is to optimize all the possible parameters. In other words, Magento is slow, but only in the wrong hands. Some of the aspects that you should change or tweak include:
- Hosting environment
- Magento configuration
Magento’s out-of-the-box slowness has a logical cause. The system is built so that each feature is isolated from the rest, to prevent changes across the entire platform when the feature is extended. This leads to an immense number of files, and the platform has to process thousands of them for each visitors on your website. As it turns out, Magento’s strongest point is also its greatest downside.
Getting a good host is among the first steps you should take to correct this. The host should support Magento explicitly, have great hardware to support a great deal of traffic, and good service.
Bear in mind that you should test the speed of your Magento implementation both before and after making any optimizations. Websites such as Magento Speed Test can provide valuable insights on the actual state. Next, run the website through WebsiteOptimization.com, followed by an assessment of the Page Speed and YSlow scores.
Keep in mind that the platform’s speed is such an issue that some have gone to the extent of compiling lists of 101 ways to speed up Magento.
Magento Documentation Is Virtually Non-Existent
The code doesn’t come with any documentation at all, and the manual sold by Magento is equally useless, in most situations. That’s not really that surprising, as it’s quite common for open source platforms.
If you want your staff to handle the Magento store, there’s no documentation to turn to for training. Because of that, your best options are to run webinars or to do all training 1 on 1. There’s quite a bit of terminology to get used to, and for development you might want to turn to a specialized development company.
The Upgrade Path of Magento Isn’t That Good
Magento gets regular updates, and as good as that sounds, these are also the source of some of its issues. Getting from one version to the next is quite a chaotic process, and Magento might not solve this anytime soon. Don’t act surprised if you discover that something broke right after an upgrade, as that’s common. That’s mostly the case when the store wasn’t developed following Magento best practices.
While there’s no straightforward solution to this problem, following Magento best practices might actually be the best approach. Make sure that upgrades take place in a separate development environment and that you have some Magento experts nearby.
Theming and Development Are Very Complex and Expensive
We encourage any business looking to launch an online store to test multiple ecommerce platforms before committing to one. If you’ve already gone on this path, you probably already know that Magento development is much more time-consuming than when using OSCommerce, ZenCart, CRE Loaded or just about anything else. The theming system presents its own challenges.
The good news is that any time invested in the beginning will be well worth it afterwards. After all, Magento is a modern platform that meets modern standards. The secret is to have a trustworthy technology partner by your side when implementing and customizing the platform. A team of experts will know how to do this while respecting Magento best practices.
Extension Conflicts Can Hurt Businesses
While not as common in Magento 2 as they were in the previous versions of this ecommerce platform, extension conflicts can still happen. The new architecture of Magento 2 makes it far more difficult for modules to enter conflict with one another. Some of the improvements that made all of this possible include:
- Class architecture has been changed from the ground up, resulting in lots of smaller, more targeted classes that overlap harder with the classes of other extensions
- New plugin system is in place
- New Dependency Injection System makes it possible for extension developers to make small changes, instead of system-wide ones that could lead to conflicts
Still, when they do happen, Magento 2 extension conflicts can be troublesome and can even hurt businesses by displaying wrong eCommerce shipping rates, for example. To solve them, developers can take the following approaches:
- Use the
module configuration in Magento
- Remove code in the config.xml module
- Remove the bad code in the conflict file
If you are uncertain of how best to solve the conflicts, turn to your technology partner for the ideal solution. Conflicts that are not solved properly can cause even more serious problems, so it’s far safer to do it this way.
The Search Function Is Extremely Basic
If we only had one word to describe Magento’s default search function, it would be “basic.” Considering how far e-commerce technology has come, getting such a rudimentary search on a platform is barely acceptable. Not even after tweaking the available parameters it doesn’t get any better.
The solutions to this age-old problem come in the form of extensions, such as:
- Better Store Search
- Blast Search Lucene (upgrades search to rely on the Lucene library)
- Celebros for Magento (a Semantic Search extension)
Try out any of these if you find that Magento’s out-of-the-box search lacks the functionalities that you’re after.
Overall, Magento remains such a popular ecommerce platform specifically because its benefits outweigh the disadvantages by far. Still, any business willing to implement it should know from the start that the platform is ridden with problems that can thankfully be solved. Just find a knowledgeable business partner to set up the platform, and most of these issues will be a distant memory.
If you’re having trouble implementing Magento or looking for optimization of your ecommerce solution, we’ll gladly assist you every step of the way!