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Magento e-commerce implementation - save at least 50% in implementation with a template!

At Optima Forma we are able to engage into a diverse set of IT consulting requests like ERP implementation, System Integration, DevOps, Mobile Development, Custom Web Applications. With e-commerce we have been able to support Shopify, Amazon Seller Central, Order Desk and also Magento. This blog focus on how we would advise in doing a Magento implementation for small / medium e-commerce business.

So recently we have been approached through our partners from Netherlands to help out with an upgrade of a custom Magento 1 website + shop to the latest Magento 2 platform. It's great to see business owners still being able to run their e-commerce cost effectively even after software officially reaches end of life and is no longer supported. The pains in this case:

  • No more support for Magento 1

  • Custom theme that is not-responsive (OMG!!!)

  • Broken ERP integration

Of course budgets are always limited, so in this project we focus on getting the client to choose a Magento 2 template. It's such a bad practice when digital agencies / service suppliers don't advise small / medium businesses to start with a template. For bigger businesses with proper traffic, conversion and dedicated e-commerce team we would not advise using a template, but for small medium businesses it's definitely a start. Using templates easily slash implementation costs with 50% (probably more in the long run)!

So let's boost our blog with <START ChatGPT>

In the vast world of e-commerce, the lure of custom development and agencies promising extravagant results can be tempting. However, we want to shed some light on a more sensible approach to Magento implementations that won't break the bank. Let's explore why a pre-designed theme and practical thinking can be your secret weapons for a successful e-commerce venture.

  1. The Pitfalls of Custom Development: While custom development can promise a tailored experience, it comes with its drawbacks, especially for small e-commerce ventures. High costs, lengthy development timelines, and a steep learning curve are some of the challenges that small businesses might face with custom solutions. Additionally, maintaining the custom code and retaining specialized developers can become cumbersome and expensive over time.

  2. The Sensible Approach: Pre-Designed Themes: A smarter approach for small e-commerce businesses is to start with a pre-designed theme from the Magento Marketplace. These themes are carefully crafted, responsive, and optimized for performance. By choosing a pre-designed theme, you can save precious time and resources during the setup phase.

  3. Understanding the Service Supplier's Mindset: When seeking a service supplier for your Magento implementation, it's essential to find a partner who shares your vision and understands the drawbacks of custom work. A project manager with experience in e-commerce can help you navigate through potential pitfalls and ensure a smoother implementation process.

  4. Watch Out for Design-Focused Agencies: Some agencies might place a strong emphasis on design, which can skyrocket the implementation costs. While design is crucial, the focus should be on a balance between aesthetics and functionality, with an eye on cost-effectiveness.

  5. Conversion Optimization Beyond Custom Development: Custom development alone doesn't guarantee increased revenue. To optimize conversions, you need to explore various aspects, including traffic generation, user experience (UX) reviews, analyzing user recordings, and conducting A/B tests to fine-tune your website for better performance.

  6. The Long-Term Picture: Small e-commerce ventures need to think about the long-term sustainability of their online stores. Custom development might be enticing at first, but the costs and challenges of maintaining it over time can be overwhelming for limited budgets. Choosing a pre-designed theme and building upon it allows for easier maintenance and scalability.


Conclusion based on our experiences:

While custom development might seem like the answer to all your needs, it's essential to approach your Magento implementation with a pragmatic mindset. Generating traffic and getting to conversions will take so much effort, don't spend too much effort on the initial setup of your e-commerce implementation. You need a long runway before you will get to your satisfactory revenue numbers.

That's why we always promote the main benefits of starting with a template (not only for Magento)

  • When you pick a well rated theme, you can trust that the theme has been used / implemented / tested by many before you! This easily saves hundreds of hours of custom design / development / testing.

  • Getting most of the design / development / testing out of the way, you can focus on what e-commerce is about:

    • marketing, traffic generation

    • product, pricing, placement

    • customer service

  • Time to market can be within 1-2 months, custom development will cost you at least 4-5 months before you launch your shop.

Be aware of the following challenges in your e-commerce project:

  • You are engaged with an agency / service supplier / developer who doesn't talk about the efforts / budgets needed to:

    • generate traffic

    • measure UX

    • implement A/B tests

    • conversion optimisation

  • If you don't have an online marketing plan / budget in place to generate traffic with activities like SEO, ads, influencer marketing.

  • If you or your supplier does not talk about activities to optimise your e-commerce site for conversion like (analytics, heatmaps, user recordings, A/B tests)

Getting the right help!

Remember, with the right partner and a well-thought-out strategy, your small e-commerce activity can blossom into a thriving online store that meets your goals and delights your customers. At Optima Forma we are experienced to find talents to help business owners who want to take growth of their e-commerce business seriously. We have access to marketing specialists who can help you to actually help you test out various online marketing strategies.

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