Magento is the most deployed web-shop for small/medium retailers, installing add-on modules and a decent theme results in a good solution for web shops targeting up to $20+ million in sales per year. Here at Xpractical we are also keeping a close eye on the following hosted solution alternatives to Magento for smaller stores requiring fast deployment
They are all solid basic web-stores but tend to miss out on key best practice features. Here are a few features that we believe are essential to a serious online retailer that are currently not easily provided by these hosted solutions
1) Muti-tick faceted search - In the example here from an apparel site we are filtering products to show both blue and beige catalogue items
2) Auto dismissing pop-ups. Ajax mini carts and product add to cart messages should auto dismiss themselves after a few seconds. This means less clicks for the consumer.
3) Promotions and imagery in the main menu. Here the main menu is acting like mini home pages for each of the main categories. Consumers get to their destination with less clicks
As an alternative to Magento, a potentially stronger contender than these hosted solutions is http://www.prestashop.com/ , like magento it has an extensive add-on marketplace.
Here are google search statistics for popular web shops, popularity is strongly correlated to use, skills availability, problem resolution ( and thus bugs! )
Another good analogue for popularity of the web shop solution is to see how many contractors on the freelancer site www.odesk.com are claiming that they have experience in a particular package.
Magento - 3,820
Prestashop - 637
Shopify - 349
Volution - 266
bigcommerce - 460
Leave a comment or send us a message if you want to know more about the relative capabilities and suitability of different e-commerce solutions, it really is about defining your requirements first and then finding the best fit