Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition Review
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- Date Established
- Culver City, CA
- Suited for large businesses
- Highly customizable
- Impressive feature set
- Developer skills required
- Expensive monthly cost
- Moderate learning curve
With 250,000 stores worldwide, Magento is one of the world’s most commonly used eCommerce software. This shopping cart is used by more Internet Retailer Top 1000 merchants than any other service, and the company deals in $50 billion in merchandise volume annually.
As you would expect from such a popular service, Magento has a lot to offer, not least of which is Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition (Magento ECE).
Launched in April 2016, Magento ECE is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) that is very similar to other software companies’ SaaS (Software as a Service) programs. It is a fully hosted, cloud-based service with superior features and priority customer service.
Magento ECE is both scalable (able to handle large amounts of traffic) and flexible. And thanks to Magento’s Apache caching system, pages load faster, which should keep your customers happy.
Check out one of Magento’s videos about scalability and caching here:
Magento ECE is perfect for a large company looking for a better, more versatile platform for their online store. In order to provide that versatility, however, Magento ECE sacrifices user-friendliness. If you’re just starting out, or if you can’t yet afford to hire a developer to do the coding for you, Magento ECE probably isn’t for you.
If you’re excited at the prospect of customizability, however, and about the numerous (almost endless) features that Magento ECE offers, keep reading.
Table of Contents
Like most Enterprise solutions, Magento ECE’s pricing depends entirely on the size and needs of your business. You can expect some pretty high prices, though.
Magento’s Enterprise Edition (which is self-hosted) starts at around $22,000-$32,000 a year, and ECE, since it is fully-hosted, is priced even higher than that.
Click here to get in contact with a sales representative who can help estimate a price for your business.
Web-Based or Locally-Installed
Although Magento offers a couple of self-hosting software options, Magento ECE is a fully-hosted web-based service. Everything occurs online.
Hardware and Software Requirements
All you need to operate Magento ECE is a good computer, internet connection, and up-to-date web browser.
Specific Size of Business
Magento ECE is recommended for medium to large businesses. As I’ve already mentioned, Magento’s platform requires some coding ability (kind of a lot, actually), and if you can’t do that on your own, you have to be able to hire someone who can.
Ease of Use
Because Magento ECE is still fairly new, I wasn’t able to access any demo software to play around with. However, I was able to join in on a webinar and watch a demonstration of Magento 2.0 (the system used by Magento ECE), including a display of Admin functions and front-end capabilities.
Here’s what I learned.
Magento’s Admin isn’t all that difficult: After reading review after review discussing Magento’s complicated functions, I was a little wary. But, as it turns out, that difficulty applies a bit more to developers and a bit less to site administration.
That being said, Magento’s dashboard is definitely not as simple as those found in some other software. And that’s because of all of the features available. To put it simply, more features = more stuff to dig through on your dashboard.
Here’s a screen shot of Magento 2’s dashboard.
One of the great things about Magento 2 is the ability to list and add product attributes to facilitate filtering, both for you and for your customer.
Adding product attributes is simple; it only takes a few clicks.
From there, you can filter your products in your master catalog, which is also fully customizable. You can drag and drop different columns to make organizing and planning discounts just a little easier.
Yes, Magento 2 requires more than basic knowledge to adjust the storefront’s overall look. But, there is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor available to change the content featured on your landing pages.
Here’s what that WYSIWYG editor looks like.
Most importantly, ease of use for your customers is fantastic. Filtered search lets your customers find exactly what they’re looking for, videos of featured products increase conversion, and checkout is a one-page process to keep things simple.
Overall, Magento 2’s back-end and storefront are not nearly a daunting as I feared.
Magento, even at its lower Community Edition level, really takes the cake with its features. There are so many. Here are a few of my favorites; keep in mind that these features come with every Magento product:
- Flexible Coupon Features: You can use the Admin to set exclusive coupon codes for specific stores, groups, times, products, and categories; it’s possible to then export these coupon codes offline to distribute them in paper publications.
- SEO: Magento sites use search engine friendly URLs. To further improve SEO, you can write metadata for products, categories, and pages.
- Site Management Functions: With Magento, you can manage multiple stores from one Admin, which, by the way, you can also customize to meet your needs.
- Checkout, Payments, Shipping: Magento comes with out-of-the-box one-page checkout (a must have). Tax and shipping estimates are displayed in the soft shopping cart, which keeps customers from fleeing due to unanticipated costs. HTTPS support is also available for front-end and back-end.
- International Commerce Capabilities: Magento ECE supports the world’s most commonly spoken languages and offers the ability to work in various currencies. Tax calculation for international selling is also available.
And Magento still has loads more to offer, including features for mobile commerce, analytics, international support, customer service, order management, product and catalog browsing, and catalog and site management. Check out the full list of features here.
But wait! There’s more!
With Magento ECE, you’ll get all of those features, plus additional features that allow you to manage lots of products and lots of traffic.
Again, there are many more features than I can describe here, but these are a few of the best.
- Scalability: Keep the customers coming! Your site won’t crash because of too many visitors.
- Faster Load Times: Using caching and optimized code Magento ECE loads pages faster, especially on repeat visits.
- Work with your Team: With Magento ECE, multiple users can access the Admin at once. Delegate away!
- Customer Segmentation: Group your customers by location and the products they’ve viewed and purchased. With customer segmentation, you can advertise to customer groups more easily and effectively.
- Visual Merchandiser: Optimize your product category pages with a drag-and-drop visual merchandiser tool.
- Analytics: Magento ECE supports Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
- Customer Loyalty Features: Offer rewards points, gift cards, and private sales to your loyal customers. Magento ECE lets you offer in-store credit in exchange for returns and lets your customers create gift registries and wish lists.
- B2B Wholesale Options: Sell in bulk easily.
Yet again, these are only a few of Magento ECE’s features. This list has more of Magento ECE’s specific features on the last few pages.
Magento ECE comes with two themes out-of-the-box: Luma (the demonstration theme) and the Blank theme.
Both themes are Responsive Web Designs, meaning that they will adjust to be both viewable and attractive on all browsing devices.
Magento really is geared toward customization; they recommend that you start with the Blank theme for building your own custom site.
But, if you’re not up for building from the ground up, it might please you to know that third-party developers are finally starting to release their themes for Magento 2. You can find a handful here.
Integrations and Add-ons
There are plenty of integrations available for Magento 2; I’m listing only a few:
- AJAX Cart Pro: Streamlines the checkout process for your customers ($749.00 for Enterprise Edition)
- Fastly CDN: A Content Deliver Network (CDN) helps you distribute your site’s files to customer browsers faster (Free integration).
- Shipwire: Order fulfillment service (Free integration)
Unfortunately, since Magento ECE uses Magento 2.0 and 2.1 (and because Magento 2 is so new), many of the current applications in Magento’s marketplace are not yet functional with ECE. However, I imagine this will change in the future.
Find the full list of Magento 2 integrations here.
Magento ECE integrates easily with many payment methods, including many international gateways; just check out the variety of languages on Magento’s Payment Gateway Integrations page.
These integrations include:
Just make sure that the payment gateway you’re considering is compatible with Magento 2.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Customer Service is essentially non-existent for clients below Magento’s Enterprise levels. With Magento ECE, however, you have access to technical support, account management, and security support.
Phone support is available 24/7 to Magento ECE clients.
Gold customers (lower-end enterprise clients) can expect a response to their priority one concerns (major issues that cause your site to be non-functional) via phone call within four hours. Platinum customers (higher-end clients) within two hours. For other types of concerns, all customers can expect a response within 24 hours as long as requests are placed between Monday–Friday (PST).
Magento’s site has a guide which explains the specific types of technical phone support you can expect from Magento’s team and what types of support fall outside of their obligation.
Magento ECE clients are also eligible for support from Magento’s Account Management team which consults on best practices and performs regular check-ups on your site.
Security Support is available as well, including site scanning, external infiltration testing, and bug bounty programs.
Documentation and Community Forums can be found on Magento’s site.
Personally, I’ve found Magento’s employees difficult to contact. Now, I know I’m not an Enterprise customer, so I’m not really entitled to any sort of help, but I called multiple times only to find no one available to take my call. And although I left a message, I was never called back. Once, my call was dropped during a transfer. I was, on a whole, unimpressed by the service I received from Magento’s sales and marketing team, but again, a lowly reviewer is far from a priority in their eyes.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
The majority of Magento ECE’s complaints are directed at Magento’s overall lack of usability. Customers tend to use the term “steep learning curve” in their comments. That being said, here are the most common complaints:
- Out-of-the-Box Does Not Mean Simple: Just because you get loads of cool features within the software does not mean they’re easy to work with at the beginning.
- Limited Documentation: Apparently Magento’s software is so complex, all their documentation is not enough to cover all of the features and fixes that you need to know.
- Support is not Cheap: In order to get the help that your team needs, you really need to be on an Enterprise plan, which can be, as I’ve already mentioned quite pricey.
- Buggy: I’ve only seen a handful of comments on this one, but a few customers say that Magento 2 is still a little buggy. It may be that the kinks haven’t been totally worked out yet.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Here’s the good news: Once you overcome that “steep learning curve,” you’ve got the know how to make use of all of those features. Here are some things that customers love:
- Everything Can Be Customized: From your dashboard to your store front, you can customize every aspect of your Magento site to fit your business’s needs and brand.
- Open Source Documentation: Open source makes it easier for developers to create and integrate resources for your site.
- Decreased Transaction Times: With cache management and two-click checkout, customers buy even faster.
- Scalability: Your company has the ability to grow with Magento’s platform.
Testimonials on Magento’s site name B2B selling functions and creative freedom as some of Magento Enterprise’s best features.
Magento ECE is PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) Compliant and uses Fastly to protect against DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. You can also use Fastly’s CDN (Content Delivery Network) to distribute your site faster across the globe.
I must admit, I’m a fan of Magento ECE. It was difficult to find any complaints at all about the software, and the complaintsI did find only emphasized Magento’s top qualities.
Magento ECE is the way to go if you’re looking for customizability. And if you need lots of features, Magento ECE has you covered. Technical support is comprehensive, with reasonable response wait-times. It’s everything you’d expect from an enterprise software.
There’s a reason Magento is the most used eCommerce platform: it’s definitely among the best.
Click here to get in contact with a Magento ECE representative.