B2B Magento Development with Simon Dell

B2B Magento Development with Simon Dell

Last week we sat down with Simon Dell, a Brisbane-based marketing and SEO consultant with over 10 years experience dealing with companies of all sizes and industries across Australia. Simon has also recently released his new podcast - The Simon Dell Show - on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Our team of Magento developers asked him some questions about his recent experience with developing websites for B2B clients and we discussed some shared experiences we’d learnt from those jobs. We also talked about whether Magento or WordPress were the best options for our client’s needs.

What sort of clients have you been working with in the last 12 months?

It’s been a broad range of small family-run businesses to large multi-national corporations. They’ve all been in very different industries but it’s proved really exciting understanding the sort of demands that these businesses and their teams face day-to-day. It’s sometimes quite funny how, irrespective of size, the same challenges crop up in slightly different guises.

And how’s it been going?

On the whole, well. The biggest challenges in my space are trying to teach some small business owners who’ve been doing the same thing for decades that they need to change and evolve. They have to be willing to at least listen; some sadly aren’t.

So they continue using the same poor quality suppliers and tools they’ve been using for years and for some reason expect a different result. That’s simply not going to work; they need to invest in their business, both financially and with the right talent and systems.

With the bigger companies, they’re often more aware of their objectives but naturally with more stakeholders, it’s sometimes slower to turn the wheel and change direction.

What have your biggest digital challenges been?

I’ve been involved in the redevelopment of a number of digital assets in the last twelve months and one of the first steps is working out the right platform for the business to use.

Historically, many businesses I’ve worked with have relied on a simple Wordpress website, with Woocommerce functionality if they needed an Ecommerce platform. But the projects in the last 12 months have shown me the limitations of this solution.

The budget can be a challenge. Magento websites aren’t generally at the same budget levels as WordPress sites due to their complexity; Magento is an enterprise piece of software whereas WordPress is open source. So they take longer and need developers with specific skills. The user interface for the client is still as simple, but the development process is much more complex.

What are the limitations with WordPress?

WordPress is a great platform for a small to medium-size business to produce a predominantly information-based website. Even a basic ecommerce platform will work well on WordPress.

But as the complexity of the site increases, there’s a point where Wordpress struggles. Not necessarily in terms of ability but more in sheer weight of customisation needed. Heavy customisation - especially coupled with a big database of products - results in a slower, more clunky site, and thus a poor user experience. That’s when you can run into trouble.

What are the solutions?

We’ve been focusing a lot more on Magento development. In one instance, where businesses users were looking to enter in multiple product orders in fast succession, it’s proved a huge step-up from Woocommerce.

Where changing a number in a box would cause Wordpress a second delay, Magento handles that much quicker. That tiny change in interaction time makes all the different for people who are using the system every week.

So how has the Magento implementation been?

Even with Magento, I’ve seen clients embark on ill-informed or poorly executed projects. For example, whilst it’s free and obviously a cheaper solution, the Magento community version isn’t always a great option. Not because it can’t do what you want it to do, but because the back-end interface for non-tech savvy users can be complex and overwhelming, and certainly lacks a little in terms of intuitiveness.

I’ve found the Magento 2 platform to be much better from a speed sense and also from a back-end user experience. If you’re looking at developing a more complex business-to-consumer or business-to-business website, then that’s definitely a platform worth investing time in.

Final thoughts?

All content management systems have their pros and cons, and there’s a reason 25% of the world’s websites are built on Wordpress. But it’s important to start off on the right foot when building your new company website - so make sure you really investigate properly the needs not just of the site in the near future but also where it might be in a few years time.

Simon Dell is a digital marketing consultant based in Brisbane, Australia. He’s the author of Good Ideas Marketing and the presenter for the podcast The Simon Dell show. Both are accessible through his website at www.simondell.com

iFactory have a seasoned team of expert Magento developers working in house. If you’re looking for a sophisticated and reliable ecommerce solution, we can help.

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