What is Magento? Comprehensive Guide

When you decide to start an eCommerce business the word "Magento" definitely pops up. And no wonder. It's one of the best eCommerce platforms that offer you a secure, customizable and simple environment for your store. But what is Magento exactly?

It is easy to get lost when skimming through all those numbers, features and reasons why you should use Magento. While all you want is to know how it benefits your business and if it's really worth a try.

So, we've created this comprehensive guide to lend you a helping hand. You'll learn everything you need to know about what is Magento 2 and why you need to use it to grow your business. 

Ready to start?

What is Magento?

Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform that allows businesses to build and manage their online stores. Known for its scalability, customization and flexibility options, Magento holds a place in the top three world's most popular eCommerce platforms

The platform caters to any store size, with a few customers to a million, and goes with three different versions (including a free one). It allows businesses to launch their first store on Magento and grow with the platform. Some biggest brands like Nike, Coca-Cola and Samsung have built their websites on Magento

All because there are literally no limitations with Magento. The open-source technology allows you to control the functionality, look and content you have on your store. And the variety of themes and extensions for Magento 2 helps you to make your wildest dreams come true.

Magento Features

Now that you know what is Magento, it's time to learn what is all the fuss about. There are so many options out there, why you should go with Magento after all? Let the numbers speak. 

There are about 267,000 stores on Magento which power about 0,6% of all the websites on the internet.

Impressive right? 

But it doesn't tell you anything unless you know why all those vendors decided to start a store on Magento. So, now let's get into more detail about the outstanding features of Magento and discuss the vital options your eCommerce store needs.

Catalogue Management

You can sell pretty much anything with Magento since the platform provides you with an extensive list of features for product management.

  • Product creation — Magento provides a pre-set list of attributes and attribute sets you can use to create products quickly. However, you can also add your own custom attributes and attribute sets to create any product and edit them via mass actions.
  • Product types — the platform offers you to create any product type you can think of (each with its own set of attributes, we've just told about). You can create simple, configurable, bundle, grouped, virtual or downloadable products.
  • Product categorization — adding products to categories is vital for website navigation. So there is also no limit to the number of categories you can create and display on your store.

Magento categories

Multi-level Magento categories

  • Product pricing — product pricing is also well-developed on Magento. You can set various kinds of prices on your store: special price, cart price rule, catalogue price rule, and customer group pricing.

Order Management

A huge part of knowing what is Magento goes into knowing that order management is simple on the platform. Everything is managed from one location regardless of the number of channels you own. Besides, each step in order processing can be monitored and tracked by both the admin user and a customer on the frontend.

  • Order creation — Magento allows you to view, edit and create orders from the admin panel. This provides a better customer experience and allows merchants to quickly fulfil customers' requests for editing, removing or updating some order information. 

Magento order dashboard

Magento order dashboard 

  • Order fulfilment and shipping — you can split the fulfilment of orders, creating multiple or one invoice, shipment or credit memo (refund) per order. You can also print invoices, generate shipping labels, and track shipments, providing that information to the customer.
  • Refunds — it is easy to manage refunds, or as they are called credit memos, in Magento. The platform comes with offline and online refunds. This gives you more flexibility and control over the return requests and improves customer satisfaction.
  • Multi-source inventory — if you have more than one sales channel, you can still manage all of them from one location to monitor your inventory better and reduce the costs of separate multi-channel management.

Customer Management

Store-customer interaction is as important as the simplicity of your checkout since it defines whether people will buy from you again. And Magento is outstanding in this regard. It has plenty of features to support CRM and manage customer accounts.

  • Customer creation — customers create accounts in Magento to enjoy the best features you can offer them: wishlists, order history and order status monitoring, pre-order option, etc. However, you can also create a customer account from the admin panel if you want to.
  • Customer groups — customer segmentation in Magento allows you to target the right customer with the right message to ensure the highest conversion rates from your marketing efforts. The platform goes with a set of default customer groups. But you can create as many of them as you need and set up different custom rules based on that.

Default Magento customer groups

Default Magento customer groups

  • Customer notification — to increase customer engagement you can send out multiple customizable emails about account creation, order placement, abandoned carts and many others.


The higher you rank in search the easier it is for customers to find you. That's why SEO support should be one of the top features to look for in an eCommerce platform. As you start learning what is Magento 2, you'll most likely learn that it is super SEO friendly. 

  • SEO- friendly URLs and canonical tags — when it comes to the URLs, you can customize and change any product, category or page URL in your store. There's no limitation. And the platform allows you to enable canonical tags for products and categories.
  • Meta titles and descriptions — same as with the URLs, there is no limitation in the metadata of Magento pages. You can create meta titles, descriptions and keywords for each of your catalogue and content pages. 

Magento SEO section on product page

Search Engine Optimization section on Magento products (same on other pages)

  • Rich snippets — Magento is already equipped with the simplified Google rich snippets markup for products. So you can stand out in search using those. 
  • XML Sitemap — the sitemap feature offered by the platform deserves a separate article. Magento automatically generates sitemaps according to the schedule you set. Be sure all pages will be discovered and indexed accordingly.

Marketing and Promotions

If you want your products to spread through word-of-mouth you need to make sure to market them properly. Then, once you land customers you also have to make them stay and buy even more. Magento works for both scenarios and allows you to drive customers, boost conversion and increase your bottom line with the built-in tools.

  • Product recommendations — you can add related, cross-sell and up-sell products to the product pages to encourage customers to buy more, or to buy something else instead. Besides, you can add a catalogue product list to the homepage or any other content page.
  • Personalization — remember the customer groups we've talked about before? In Magento, you can personalize the discounts and messages you share with your audience using customer segmentation. It allows you to create tailored experiences and improve customer loyalty.
  • Email and Newsletter — you can create personalized emails based on the customer group, send automatic email notifications, and manage your campaigns and subscribers list. Moreover, each email can be customized to fit your business needs. 

new order template magento

New order template editing in Magento

Payment and Shipping

Once customers land at your checkout it is extremely important that they finally their orders. Two things can prevent that from happening: payment options and shipping methods. However, you don't have to worry about either when it comes to Magento. 

  • Payment methods — although Magento offers you to use multiple currencies in your store, which is a huge benefit in itself, there's more. The platform offers you multiple payment methods, including various Paypal integrations and Braintree. Besides you can integrate a multitude of payment gateways since Magento is very flexible in this regard. 

magento payment methods

Magento payment methods

  • Shipping methods — the number of shipping methods impresses too. Except for default shipping methods, there is also integration with the most popular delivery service like DHL, UPS, USPS and FedEx.

The list can go on and on, but this could be enough for you to learn what is Magento. Still, don't consider the features we've described to be all Magento offers. The platform architecture is just too vast to discuss all of the options at once. Especially, considering there are different versions of Magento.

Magento Open Source vs Magento Commerce

You've just learnt what is Magento and found out it is a massive platform with a lot of capabilities. But there appears to be more than that. Could it be even more complicated? 

Although people often confuse Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce the difference is pretty straightforward. 

Magento Open Source is a free, community edition of the platform. It works great for small businesses that only start their way into eCommerce. Don't let that discourage you. Free Magento edition has all the tools one needs to maintain a store. As long as you can integrate additional functionality through extensions or custom development, you'll be just fine. 

However, if you're ready to make a significant financial commitment, and start big, you need Magento Commerce. It is a paid, enterprise-level edition created for large businesses.

It does offer you a more advanced set of features. Nevertheless, since Magento Commerce is built on the same core platform as Open Source, I'd start with the free option. 

Magento Open Source проти Magento Commerce

What Businesses Should Use Magento?

As we've already mentioned, Magento is a good fit for any size of business: small, mid-size or enterprise. And as you've just discovered, it offers free editions. So there's plenty of room for development.

The platform is also easy for ordinary people to learn, navigate and manage. The community is vast and offers you plenty of guides and assistance along the way once you install Magento

So, what are you waiting for?

Now that you know what is Magento, and what it offers, all you need is to start creating your eCommerce website with Magento.