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using magento

Hi I am thinking of using Magento for the first time and I have heard there are a few issues with loading times of pages etc.  have these been iron out now?

And from a functionality point of view

Does Magento come with a newsletter/email marketing module?
Do you have to connect shopping cart to a merchant services as I am not looking to sell directly
from the website at the moment, but just show my products in a e-shop?

One final question
I can see lots of templates where the products are shown in category order then each product on its own page.

But can magento handle all one categories products in a vertical list format?  As a lot of my customer are likely to want to buy several things at once from one category
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wood1e
Asked:
wood1e
3 Solutions
 
miked2004Commented:
Here is my 2cents.

Q: issues with loading times of pages etc.  have these been iron out now?
A: This depends on when you heard of the issues. In more recent versions, Magento has implemented "Flat Catalog" and "Flat Products". If you implement these then database queries are improved and so should page load times. This also depends on your hosting. I would not run Magento on a inexpensive hosting plan because It probably would be too slow. Minimum would be a Dedicated Virtual Server.

Q: Does Magento come with a newsletter/email marketing module?
A: Yes Magento comes standard with a Newsletter Module. It is fairly basic. It can collect email addresses, allow Admin users to create email templates, and set a scheduled send time. I never really use the whole newsletter system Magento provides, There are a few plugins that allow Magento to integrate with companies like MailChimp that provide a better and easier interface to create email campaigns and track the campaigns.

Q: Do you have to connect shopping cart to a merchant services as I am not looking to sell directly
from the website at the moment, but just show my products in a e-shop?
A: No, you don't need to set up a merchant account to use magento, but you would probably want to do some design work to remove the "add to cart " buttons, and other "Selling" related items.

Q: But can magento handle all one categories products in a vertical list format?
A: Yes, you can customize the "product list" template to display any way you want. You get two choices "grid" and "list". Grid is like listing products in multiple rows of X number of products.
p1 p2 p3 p4
p5 p6 p7 p8

List will display products vertically.  
p1
p2
p3
p4

You can also control how many are shown per page, and can also list all results on 1 page(could be a lot of scrolling for the customer).


Magento is a great shopping cart but don't skimp on the hosting and if you are not a developer and have not set it up before, plan on asking for help.
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Julian MatzJoint ChairpersonCommented:
Hi!

This isn't really a direct answer to your questions, just some additional food for thought.

I've tried a lot of e-commerce solutions. Magento was one of them. I'm a developer, but Magento was one of the most difficult applications to get my head around. To be honest, I eventually gave up on it simply because I ended up spending too much time on it. Because of this, I wanted to give you a couple of alternatives that might interest you: PrestaShop and OpenCart.

Both have an AJAX-driven shopping cart feature, by default, that's quite nice. It allows shoppers to quickly add multiple products to their shopping cart without directly loading or refreshing any pages.

I like OpenCart, but the one thing that bugged me a little was the templates - they use an XHTML doctype but the markup doesn't validate. If this is an issue, it would require some work, but it's definitely do-able.
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wood1eAuthor Commented:
Many thanks for both answer, very enlightening.

So in response to other suggestions from julianmatz,  is Magento then appearing to be the market leader due to what is spoken/written about it.  As it seems they are to me.

Whereas, PrestaShop and Opencart seem to not have the same following.  Obviously this is all perception....
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FDMilwaukeeCommented:
Woodie,

In response to juliamatz Magento is complex, however that complexity lends an incredibly powerful tool.  I have been with Magento since it first came out in 2007, and feel it is hands down THE BEST.  There is loads of support out there.  

Regarding Miked2004s comments

1) Magento has ironed out some speed issues.  That said it is still a resource hog.  I recommend hosting with Nexcess.net I host several Magento stores there, and they are GREAT!  they have shared server configurations designed specifically for Magento sip-100 which is more than decent for most stores startes at $25/month.  If you host on a shared server you will regret it, and possibly even get errors.  With VPSs starting at $40 at the very lowest, and dedicated servers starting at around $100/month $25 is a steal.

2)  I agree 100% with mike2004 on this point.  I also do not use all the capabilities of Mageno.  I haven't even gone so far as to install a plug-in.  I just export my list every time from the database, and into my mass mail client.  cumbersome for a novice, quick and easy for me.  I really should update my processes though!  Have it done automatically.

everything else he says is also 100% accurate.

Magento is supper powerful, but expect a learning curve in creating a stable, updatable, and highly customized product.

FDM

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wood1eAuthor Commented:
Many thanks
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