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The basic level of the software is free for you to use though there is a paid tier available for enterprise users. Magento is being put to use by some massive retail outlets like Nespresso and Samsung, as well as by countless small ecommerce operators. It is thus a very serious contender for any business that is looking to make a move into online retail.
A quick review of Magento
By almost any account, Magento is THE ecommerce platform, and as of now the most popular such solution that exists. It is estimated that Magento is running 20% of the ecommerce sites online. Under the hood, Magento can work in one of the two ways:
• It is available as a free download. This would mean that you download it from the official website and have it installed on your own server
• It is used as a hosted service. This would mean that you do not have to install anything yourself, but it also comes with a much higher price tag.
Magento serves as your all in one solution for ecommerce, which offers you a ton of features with basically nothing missing from the platform. Having said that, it is a very advanced piece of software engineering. It is going to be nearly impossible for you to use it if you do not have experience in web development or do not employ someone who does.
What is Magento Platform best suited for?
Magento is an awesome platform for an online store that you know will do well. If you happen to be an ultra small business who is making their first move into ecommerce, then you may be able to find less heavyweight solutions that will suffice for your job. But if you are dealing with an established model, have the funding to back it up, and the time to mould and sculpt Mageneto to suit your needs, it may well prove to be the perfect platform for your online shop.
Magento is also optimized so it can work with thousands of products, lots of traffic and a huge number of sales. Put in other words, Magento is better suited for the bigger ecommerce stores out there.

Features of Magento eCommerce Platform
Here is the list of most important features of Magento:
• Inventory Management
• Coupon Management
• API for web services
• Built in multilingual support
• Built in SEO features
• Product Bundles
• Marketing tools
• Order Processing
• Gifts
• Handling shipping charges
• Multiple payment gateway options
• Availability of more than 5000 extensions
• Optimized for mobile and tavlets
• Customer groups
• Newsletter management
• Site Management features
• Customer service
The Cost of Magento
Well, we have good news and we have bad news
The good news is that you can get your hands on to the community version of Magento for free. All you need to do is download it from the website and install on your web server.
The bad news is that the enterprise version, which is the one that is set up by the guys at Magento for you is a lot more expensive. In fact, the company does not even advertise the prices openly on their website. You need to fill out a contact form and five them the details about your business before they give you a quote. It has been reported that you can get a number anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 a year.
Magento Themes and Designs
Magento does not officially offer any custom designs for your online shop. You need to go to a third party if you are looking for some custom theme for your website.
This means either having to browse the catalogue under Magento Connect or you can directly go to ThemeForest and get a premium theme from there.
Finally, if you know how to, you can build a Magento theme for yourself from scratch.

Managing products in your store
Once you are over the technical difficulties that you may face during the set up stages, Magento is actually very friendly to work with on a daily basis. The main dashboard is very easy to understand and has very well organized sections. The inventory is very simple to get around and you will be able to add new products without any difficulty.
When it comes to online payments, Magento allows you to integrate with PayPal and out the gate, and it also offers some other payment extensions through Magento Connect. Along with that, you can experiment with things like one-click payments, guest checkouts, and more.
To summarize, Magento is very user friendly, highly scalable and feature intensive. The downsides are that it may need high costs in case you want to get into some kind of development, support or maintenance.

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