How did Magento come to exist? Why did it grow in popularity so fast? What made it a different proposition to the other eCommerce platforms available?
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the brief history of Magento from its creation back in 2007 right through to the latest version available today in 2018.
Its appearance wasn’t simply a new system that just took off out of the blue – Magento was successful for a variety of reasons and instantly got the attention of leading brands which were fundamental in propelling it to the top of the global eCommerce platform leaderboard. Hundreds of thousands of online stores use Magento – let’s find out why.
A Magento-less World
In the years before Magento, the world of eCommerce was significantly smaller than it is today. Back in 2006, the majority of sales were made using cash in traditional brick-and-mortar stores – customers weren’t particularly tech-savvy and there weren’t a huge number of options when it came to shopping online.
The eCommerce platforms that were available offered limited flexibility, which meant online stores always had to make compromises – most of which impacted their bottom line. Regardless of whether the platform was open-source or not, the systems available just didn’t satisfy the demands of the market.
There was, therefore, a golden opportunity for a bespoke eCommerce platform to take a stranglehold on the market; a platform that could be completely customised, moulded and shaped to suit the needs of its user base.
The Birth Of Magento
Magento was different. It was the exception to the rule that all eCommerce platforms had to be rigid and uniform. With its creation, Magento Commerce offered a uniquely powerful system that was both flexible and scalable, perfect for any brand looking to create an online image that could grow as it did.
The Magento platform made its debut on 31st August 2007 courtesy of its creators Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner, both of whom worked for open-source systems company Varien.
Originally planned as a direct competitor to the then-popular osCommerce, the two creators had come up with a completely separate software application that was about to take the world by storm.
Its name was derived simply from the colour ‘magenta’, but as the domain magenta.com had already been registered back in 2005, they set about exploring some alternatives and settled upon the ‘more masculine-sounding’ Magento name that we use today.
Did you know…? Magento was named after the colour magenta, the colour of its very first logo from 2005.Tweet this now
And so Magento was born, primarily because both Rubin and Kutner felt limited by the boundaries set by osCommerce and wanted to develop a more robust platform that could create a feeling of near-limitless possibility.
The first officially stable version of Magento was released on 31st March 2008 – the open-source Magento Community Edition that was completely free of charge to boot.
Why It Became So Popular
There was something about Magento that just made it an instant success. Suddenly, eCommerce stores all over the world were taking note of the platform, recognising its potential and the fantastic range of possibilities it opened up for online businesses.
At that time, it was rare that such a flexible piece of software had been made freely available. Not only that, Magento was being tuned and worked on all the time – developers were constantly creating new extensions to support the original functionality of the platform to add even more value to its proposition.
This was a system that could be obtained freely, modified at any time and customised completely to suit the needs of any given eCommerce store.
After just under 2 years on the open market, Magento had gained so much momentum that it overtook its target predecessor osCommerce in March 2009. Just a few weeks later, Magento Enterprise Edition was released as the next logical step.
It was at this point that the bigger brands started to actively engage with Magento, as up until the release of the Enterprise Edition, they had been unable to firm up their interest. This new edition could satisfy the needs of even the most challenging eCommerce store designs and functionality requirements.
With almost unlimited customisation on offer, this was the turning point in Magento’s history – a moment that established them in the upper echelons of viable eCommerce systems.
eBay Takes Control
After the majority of its shares were acquired by eBay in 2011, Magento joined forces with one of the world’s largest eCommerce organisations. This was to become another major milestone in the life of Magento to date.
Initially, the takeover was mooted to be insignificant with no real effect on the day-to-day life of the average Magento user, but it wasn’t eBay that was to change the platform; it was another well-known organisation sitting under them – PayPal.
In need of a dedicated payment option, it made complete sense to permanently integrate one of the world’s most popular payment systems into Magento Commerce. This integration led to other popular services stepping forward, each one keen to add their piece of software to the Magento platform.
The likes of MailChimp, Salesforce, Zendesk and countless others created their own unique extensions within Magento to give it even more functionality. This led to the development of a huge online community supporting Magento and its user base – in fact, a 2014 conference dedicated to Magento users in Las Vegas attracted over 1700 people.
It took nearly 8 years, but the second version of Magento was released in 2015 and contained even more bells and whistles than the original.
The revamped platform contains new APIs that make the integration of external services simpler, faster and more reliable for developers. There’s also the option of fine-tuning the integrated payment system for the modern customer; something designed to increase overall conversion rate.
Magento 2 offers an upgrade in performance, an improved user experience, fantastic ongoing scalability and a wealth of additional features to enhance any eCommerce store.Tweet this now
User experience has also been dramatically enhanced. From reviewing an order to checking out, entering customer details to logging in safely – Magento 2 is seriously focused on keeping customers happy and bringing them back to your store regularly. It’s no surprise that the popularity of Magento 2 continues to grow at a rapid rate, especially as businesses realise they should upgrade from the original platform.
At the last count in 2016, sales through all versions of Magento topped $100billion and served over 50 million customers. It’s safe to say that Magento is here to stay as the leading eCommerce platform on the market – what more could you possibly need?