It’s just been announced that eBay are ceasing not just one hosted software product but two, Magento Go and Pro Stores.
And this is on top of eBay discontinuing support for Blackthorne at the end of 2014 which was announced last year.
If you’re using any of these, then you need options, fast.
Note: For those of you that have not come across either Magento Go or ProStores before, they’re both “hosted” solutions, which means that these companies host your website for a monthly fee and sported varying degrees of integration into the eBay & Amazon marketplaces.
The thing is that these are now being closed down and in this article we’ll be looking at a like for like comparison to each of these providers to the “3rd Generation“.
BigCommerce as an Alternative
eBay have suggested for “smaller merchants” to consider using BigCommerce and for larger businesses to look at Magento Community Edition or Enterprise ( Enterprise is probably overkill for most ).
This suggestion for BigCommerce kinda makes sense as you would be moving from one hosted provider to another.
The thing is that it can get expensive when you start to tot-the-numbers-up and work out the hole in this approach.
So for example using the latest pricing from BigCommerce the silver package is $34.95 per month.
The huge gaping hole in this approach is…
There is no direct listing feature for eBay OR Amazon in BigCommerce.
Instead you have to rely upon a 3rd party application to do this and the apps listed in the multi-channel listing section of their website here start at an extra £60 per month ( roughly an extra $100 per month ) and after that the sky’s the limit with the percentage of sale providers like ChannelAdvisor.
Matt’s Tip: Investigate thoroughly how variation products are handled in BigCommerce (HINT: they’re handled in a “funky-way”) and whether this is suitable to your products and business.
Magento Go & Pro Stores
Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to consider what these providers offer and when we break it down to the core components we’re left with the following:
- Inventory Management
- Order Management
- A website ( with payment integrations etc… )
- Courier integrations
- eBay & Amazon Marketplace integrations
Yes that’s a simplified list, we’re doing our best to keep this as “simple as possible” for you.
If you want a comprehensive breakdown in “Plain English”, see this article “Why Does MultiChannel Software Cost So Much?”
Say Hello to the 3rd Generation
Earlier I mentioned the “3rd Generation”, but what on earth is this?
The 3rd Generation is basically using Magento Community Edition and an eBay subsidised & endorsed extension called M2E Pro ( click here to find out more about M2EPro ) as your multichannel software.
So if you’ve been using Magento Go, this has many of the features that you’re used to, plus the ability to add in any of the thousands of extensions available in Magento Connect ( the online library of Magento extensions. Previously you only had access to a dozen or so ).
Using Magento Community Edition which is free to download & use, plus the M2E Pro extension which is available for free because eBay have been subsidising it for the past few years and to the best of our knowledge is set to continue doing this for the next 2 & half years.
You can build your own multi-channel software for eBay, Amazon and your own Magento website.
This may sound scary and the thing is all the tutorials you’ll find elsewhere on the internet are made by developers for developers and aren’t designed for business owners like yourself.
But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Sound too good to be true?
View the free video tutorials in this course and we’ll show you that it’s dead simple to do.
Even we can do it, and a “degree in nerd” isn’t required either :)
BigCommerce / Prostores / 3rd Generation Costs & Features Compared
The table below shows a comparison to the features and costs of each of these providers.
Of course this is only a high level overview and you should carry out your own due-diligence when considering any 3rd party software solution for your business.
All prices used are the absolute minimum to be able to provide a common base across all the options. If you have lots of orders or inventory, you’ll need to factor this in accordingly as some of these get really expensive.
|Feature/ Tool||Pro Stores||Magento Go||Big Commerce||The 3rd Generation|
|Direct eBay Integration||Yes||Yes, M2EPro||No||Yes, M2EPro|
|Direct Amazon Integration||No||Yes, M2EPro||No||Yes, M2EPro|
|Number of extensions / apps available||Yes||12 (ish)||+165||Thousands|
|Open Source Code?||No||No||No||Yes|
|Courier Integrations Available||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Absolute Minimum Cost Per Month|
|$29.95 + 0.5% commision||$15.00 (min)||$34.95 + 3rd Party Tools||$19.95 hosting|
The one thing you cannot skimp on with Magento is quality web hosting.
We’re using the value of $19.99 here as that’s how much decent Magento webhosting starts at with the US based hosting provider called SimpleHelix. Everything else is optional.
The Opportunity to Update & Upgrade
Magento now powers over 26% of top 1 million eCommerce websites on the internet.
The same for web design as well. If you’ve been using an older website that isn’t responsive, then this could be the nudge in the right direction to bring your businesses website up to date.
Right now, we’re a 3rd through the “How to Design a Responsive Magento Website for $99” course and we assume absolutely nothing and there isn’t any geeky coding in sight.
If you can manage “copy & paste” you can build a responsive Magento website.
The course is based upon the Ultimo Magento theme, it’s been purchased over 8,500 times and costs a bank-breaking $99. Who said Magento needed to be expensive?!
Magento For eBay & Amazon
You can do oodles with Magento & M2EPro.
Build your own website, which is optional I hasten to add. You can list to eBay, revise eBay listings and even use posh eBay listing templates as well.
Manage your orders from a single orders screen and even collect orders and list to Amazon too. Of course with stock control bundled in too.
You might not have heard of this option before.
The reason is simple.
The businesses that are using the 3rd Generation probably don’t want you to know about it, they have a massive competitive advantage over you because their overheads are lower and they can be more agile than you with their multichannel software.
Over 14,000 eBay businesses use M2EPro and over 5% of these do in excess of $1,000,000 per month using the 3rd Generation ( see here for a full run down on these numbers ).
Here is an interview with a UK Business that is turning over 2,000 orders per week ( this was recorded earlier this year, yesterday they told us they’re now over 3,000 a week with the summer rush ) and another interview with another business with 10 retail stores and 40 members of staff accessing Magento everyday.
It’s a generation of choice. If you want a feature adding you add it in “off the shelf”, if you don’t you don’t.
You’re not paying for 50% or more of a system that you don’t or won’t use.
Want to Know More?
You’re not alone. We’re here to help.
Here is the “non-nerd proof” installation tutorial for Magento:
And here is the “non-nerd proof” guide to installing and setting up M2EPro:
And if you need a hand, join in with the community forums, the doors are always open.
See you there,
Matt & Dave