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Magento Small Business Program

Magento Small Business Program

So, Magento has announced the new Magento Small Business program. I don't want to speak for Magento as to why they launched this program, so I'll reference their press release, which says they want to "help emerging businesses quickly deploy affordable online Magento storefront". There's also a great blog article on the new Magento Small Business blog from Magento's head of Small Business, Ryan Thompson, which explains a bit more about Magento Small Business. 

 

So that's why they launched it, in their words. 

 

Here at Creatuity, I have been very passionate about small business since the day we got our as a small business 7 years ago. I've always felt like the Internet gave everyone the opportunity to compete on a more level playing field than the brick & mortar retail world does. So I've always had an interest in helping smaller merchants, which is why we're involved in the Magento Small Business program. 

 

So I wanted to put that info out there, but then also ask everyone reading this - what do you think about the Magento Small Business program? What was your reaction to it? What questions do you have?

--Joshua Warren - @JoshuaSWarren on Twitter
CEO, Creatuity & Launchpad.
Magento Certified Developer, Front-end Developer, Solution Specialist
11 REPLIES

Re: Magento Small Business Program

I think it is great for Magento to emphasize the value of Magento CE for small businesses moving forward. I think other eCommerce platforms have done a better job, at times, of branding themselves as a small business ecommerce platform and this push could help Magento to close the gap.

 

My reaction to the release was mixed. While Magento is making the right move marketing itself to small businesses, I believe that Magento risks alienating other partners by only highlighting 4 do-it-for-me partners alongside 1 option for pixafy. As you know the do-it-for-me camp includes many small businesses who need personal touch yet cannot afford agency-level rates. By only showing these 4 partners as options, it may discourage future Magento users (at least, it can give small businesses the impression you need to partner with a large business in order to run Magento).

 

Are the partner solutions proprietary builds of CE or are all the solutions simply Magento CE with some distinguishing marketing name?

eCommerce Development, Marketing Strategy & Creative Design (Magento Certified x2)
LinkedIn | Website | GitHub | Magento Certifications

Re: Magento Small Business Program

As far as your mixed reaction - you know, I really don't envy the Magento team when it comes to launching things like this. Because it's not practical to include everyone in the entire Magento ecosystem in every initiative, but if they leave anyone out, they risk alienating others. They also have to make sure they're getting the right people involved in the right initiatives to make sure everything lines up to deliver the best possible solution to merchants. So I don't think there was a way they could have included everyone that probably deserves to be included. 

 

I do know that this is just a starting point - it's as much a way to gauge interest and start a conversation than anything else. I'm sure the Magento Small Business team will be taking in this information and checking everyone's reactions and mapping out the next steps for the Small Business program from there. So don't assume just because there are 4 partners listed it will always be just 4 partners or those 4 partners. 

 

One question I have about your comment about agency-level rates - if you don't mind me asking a very blunt, direct question - as a freelancer, charging the rate that you charge for Magento work, would you be able to build and launch a Magento site for less than $4,000? And, if so, realistically, how long would it take from signed agreement to go-live? And not just a default installation - one with about 100 hours of features, customization and integration work built in?

 

We priced our option low - we're the lowest of the bunch, actually, at $4,000 - and we did this on purpose. Because from talking to merchants, they were finding these sorts of quotes out there in the market:

 

Lowest bid from a freelance developer, non-certified, generally overseas: $500 and 1-2 months to be live. VERY mixed results - many never went live, most of them had ongoing problems with their site, etc. 

 

Lowest bid from a certified developer: $5,000 and 1-2 months to be live.

 

Then you had the agencies, which ranged from $10k to well over $100k, and timeframes from just weeks to many months. 

 

So we wanted to put something together that allowed clients to get live in just a day or two for less than any other high-quality solution, so that everyone had the option of having their site built right by a certified developer. 

 

The other reason we priced it this way is because Launchpad is something I've put out there for the entire Magento community - I don't want any merchant to feel like their only option is going overseas to a questionable solution from a non-certified freelancer. Because when merchants do that, they get frustrated, they get exhausted and they give up on Magento. That doesn't help any of us. So we've setup Launchpad so that anyone can refer merchants to it - if you get someone who absolutely can't afford your rates to build them a quality Magento site, send them to Launchpad. We'll have their site live within 2 days, and then we can send them right back to you and you can provide the hands-on support that they need. 

 

So, there's no requirement at all that they pay "agency-level rates" - Launchpad is designed to get merchants live on Magento for $4,000 in just a day or two and then send them back out into the ecosystem to the right ongoing partner for their needs. That could be Creatuity if they like our work and are looking for an agency to support them, or that could be you or another freelancer that they already have a relationship with. 

 

I don't think the message of Magento Small Business is that you have to partner with a large business in order to run Magento. I think the message is that you have affordable options to get your Magento site built correctly from the start, and that we're here to help make sure that happens. But maybe the messaging doesn't come across that way? Maybe there's something in the program or the landing pages that should be tweaked to make that clearer?

 

As far as the partner solutions go - I can't speak to the others, but I can tell you that, yes, Launchpad is our own custom build of CE. As of today we've spent a total of 915 developer-hours on building Launchpad. That's in building in a number of Launchpad-specific features, as well as in building all of the automations and tools required to be able to literally go from "I want a website" to having the site live in 2 business days. We've actually gotten it down to 30 minutes now, but we're saying 2 business days just in case things get too busy and we're not able to get to a launch right away. 

 

I don't want to turn this thread into a Launchpad-specific discussion (if there's interest/questions about Launchpad, I'll start a new thread about that), so I'll stop there, but my understanding is that Magento asked all of the partners in Magento Small Business to build a custom solution that met specific small business requirements and not simply rebrand CE with a new name. 

 

Thanks for the great thoughts and comments - I'm curious to hear more!

--Joshua Warren - @JoshuaSWarren on Twitter
CEO, Creatuity & Launchpad.
Magento Certified Developer, Front-end Developer, Solution Specialist

Re: Magento Small Business Program

Hi There!


joshua34 wrote:

Are the partner solutions proprietary builds of CE or are all the solutions simply Magento CE with some distinguishing marketing name?


Founder of Pixafy here - Uri Foox - great question! At this time, to my knowledge, Pixafy is the only proprietary solution built on Magento CE. Pixafy transformed Magento Community Edition, the world’s leading eCommerce platform for developers, into a SaaS solution made for emerging merchants by offering:

 

  • A new admin interface that is user friendly
  • Free, easy-to-customize responsive themes with sophisticated design tools
  • Pre-integrated, leading apps which ensure compatibility and no conflicts
  • A true SaaS solution to ensure fast site speed, security and scalability
  • Free tutorials and phone/email support with a 97% satisfaction rating

I hope you'll give us a try! We've got a ton of features about to be released and are really excited about working with Magento on this program. Drop me a note at uri@pixafy.com or reply here. Happy to chat.

 

Thanks,

Uri

 

Re: Magento Small Business Program

Unfortunately you are incorrect however do understand the value for marketing purposes. We come from a business perspective and the thing about small business is their difficulty in valuing time, which is where the Magento platform becomes a problem as it is a technical solution as opposed to Shopify or WordPress/WooCommerce which are business focused.

 

Obviously Pixafy & Creatuity have backing of eBay, however the partners who we  work with via via designed equivalent solutions 3yrs ago however did not roll them out due to the fundamental issue with small business rollouts. The implementation consultants are Bloomberg registered and the architects work for multi-nationals, there are five levels of company involved all the way up to venture capital who funded the architecture. We work on behavioral analytics and predictive recommendations (marketing). The incubator via the @CommerceKick programme (the lowest level) support the rollout of Magento based sites at no cost, it is not publicly visible for one very important reason.

 

The architects took Magento, stripped out all the technical nasties, wrapped business (ie. large enterprise) friendly packaging around it, made sure it was multi-million product friendly via Informatica grade tools, and designed a specialist hosting architecture launching sites with the same products as Amazon which were duly indexed and ranked by Google placing them first page next to those same Amazon products. The problem is that most small business have low growth projections, around $50,000 to $200,000 per employee revenue which is where Magento CE as a platform excels. The above architecture however takes Magento up to $1m per employee which makes it on par with WebSphere, SAP and Amazon.com, @CommerceKick is a small business rollout derived from the architecture but designed purely to launch one person companies towards $multi-million within 1-2yrs growing in to the full SIA platform. No offence to eBay, but they only have $500k revenue per employee which matches the largest EE sites (Alex & Ani), it's a short conversation with architects working in the $1.5-2m Asos range.

 

Each of these solutions, Launchpad, Pixafy, CommerceKick, SIA have their place in the market but they are not comparable as each target a different revenue per employee range. They achieve different goals, some to compete against Shopify (Pixafy $70-100k), some to launch in-house sites (Launchpad $150-200k), CommerceKick (up to $200k) to incubate startups to rapid growth, SIA Funded ($300-500k) to provide Alex & Ani EE efficiency on CE, and SIA Suite for $700k-1m to compete directly with Amazon.

Re: Magento Small Business Program

Don't get me wrong, the Magento Small Business Program is very good for both the Magento partners involved and Magento alike. No one was obligated to seek out my opinion or input into the deliberations and preparations. But since you asked...

My concern is this, it seems that Magento is making a conscience effort to steer small businesses away from the community-based CE ecosystem into a new partner-oriented, CE-branded ecosystem, where partners are offering their own optimized and branded Magento CE build-outs (custom solutions) for $4000+. At smallbusiness.magento.com there isn't much mentioned of the open source nature of Magento CE, or the multitudes of extensions/partners, or the vast number of support resources or the many community partners (certified, non) available to help get a small business built out and launched. If not one of the 4 partners or pixafy, then not much else. Is that deliberate?

Based on this, I see 9 options for small businesses here in the US looking to build out on Magento CE, ordered by perceived Magento heirarchy:

 

#1 One of 4 Magento partner agencies

#2 Pixafy

 

#3 Certified, US-based agency

#4 Certified, US-based developer

#5 Certified, Overseas-based agency

#6 Certified, Overseas-based developer

#7 Non-certified, US-based freelance developer <-- Me

#8 Non-certified, Overseas-based developer

#9 Hire personnel

 

As you can see I am pretty low on the pecking order so any additional competition doesn't help. As you know, developers around the world, both certified & non, offer my clients Magento services at rates which are much lower than are decent for me and my family here in the US. So there is already market pressure felt as those less qualified than me are offering Magento services at much lower rates, and of course market pressure exists as there are many which are more qualified than me and now an added pressure as Magento partner agencies slash agency rates, backed by Magento-fueled marketing. No small thing...


Since my 1099 hourly rate is not three figures, I actually can build out and launch a Magento CE website for $4000. But you left the definition of "build" somewhat unknown, in this case. Different partners define builds, differently.

 

Otherwise, Launchpad is a great concept and the time and cost you quoted is excellent.


Will there be any type of reseller option?
What level of customization will be included in that price?
Are businesses locked into your proprietary features and custom tools, such as modules, extensions?

Will community support/resources be available for these tools included in Launchpad?

How will Launchpad work with Magento connect or 3rd party extensions in general?

 

Would love to hear more about it.

eCommerce Development, Marketing Strategy & Creative Design (Magento Certified x2)
LinkedIn | Website | GitHub | Magento Certifications

Re: Magento Small Business Program

Hi Uri!

That sounds great. What amount of access will front-end developers have to the platform?

Do you have a demo link you can send me?

Please send me more details... email@joshua34.com

 

 

eCommerce Development, Marketing Strategy & Creative Design (Magento Certified x2)
LinkedIn | Website | GitHub | Magento Certifications

Re: Magento Small Business Program

Concerning the content of the site - no, I don't think that's necessarily deliberate. I also know that there's a lot planned for the small business blog section of that site, so I think you're going to see more content added over time, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the content we see in the next few months is based on feedback like yours. So, hopefully we'll see some articles soon discussing the size of the Magento ecosystem, the types of support and help available, etc. 

 

I do completely understand what you're saying about the market pressure - used to, you could basically just setup a website and say "I know Magento!" and it didn't matter where you were, what kind of company you were or anything - you'd be flooded with work. As the Magento ecosystem has grown, though, merchants have more options than ever for development and support, making it harder for each of us to get noticed by merchants. One thing I would say is get certified. I don't necessarily agree with the order you put that list in, but if we use that order - simply getting certified moves you halfway up the list. Even if it's "just" the frontend certification, picking up one of those certifications and getting in the Magento Certification Directory will help you. 

 

As far as your questions about Launchpad, here you go:

 

Will there be any type of reseller option?

 

Yes! We have an informal referral program for Magento community members - other developers, designers, agencies, etc., where you can refer a merchant to us, and when we get their site launched we share a portion of the Launchpad fee with you + we send them back to you for their ongoing support and maintenance needs. 


What level of customization will be included in that price?

 

That price includes a basic level of customization - one of three fully responsive themes with the merchant's logo integrated into the theme and the color scheme adapted to their brand colors or the colors of their choice. Enough to get the site live and get revenue coming in, but not so much as to cause "analysis paralysis" by providing too many options. 


Are businesses locked into your proprietary features and custom tools, such as modules, extensions?

 

Nope! I'm very, very focused on the open source and community nature of Magento. I'm also a VERY strong beliver that merchants should own and control 100% of their eCommerce presence. So, when we deploy a Launchpad site, the merchant gets 100% of the source code - nothing's encrypted. They can do whatever they'd like with it. Want to replace some of our extensions? Go for it! Want to add more extensions? No problem! 

 

Will community support/resources be available for these tools included in Launchpad?

 

Yes! Right now, everyone who purchases Launchpad gets a lifetime subscription to...something we're not advertising too openly just yet. But basically, it combines Launchpad support with something I'm calling "The Moz.com of eCommerce". 

 

How will Launchpad work with Magento connect or 3rd party extensions in general?

 

Magento Connect is present and enabled. Merchants can choose to use it, or not. Same thing with installing 3rd party extensions. Everything we've built into Launchpad we've ensured is free from extension conflicts and will 'just work'. We can't say the same thing about any extensions a merchant decides to add on their own (which is one reason why we do encourage them to find a freelancer or other person or company they're comfortable with to provide support and advice for their site, or they can hire us if we're a good fit). But we don't restrict their ability to use Connect or add extensions. Launchpad uses no encrypted code, no obfuscated code, and the merchant 100% owns and controls it from the moment we launch their site. 

 

If you have any other questions, let me know! 

 

--Joshua Warren - @JoshuaSWarren on Twitter
CEO, Creatuity & Launchpad.
Magento Certified Developer, Front-end Developer, Solution Specialist

Re: Magento Small Business Program


joshua34 wrote:

Hi Uri!

That sounds great. What amount of access will front-end developers have to the platform?

Do you have a demo link you can send me?

Please send me more details... email@joshua34.com

 

 


You can sign up for a free trial at www.pixafy.com - takes about a minute to get a store. Regarding front end developer access we actually have plans to open it up completely but I can't disclose too much at this time. For the moment we have a full suite of design tools built right into the platform including full CSS/JS access....much more coming soon Smiley Wink

Re: Magento Small Business Program

Look, this is nonsense, the spin is all very nice but the primary focus is to make sure the retailer is profitable.

 

http://gtmetrix.com/reports/launchpaddemo.creatuity.com/gzvx2o2h (cdn enabled)

http://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.lecosmetique.com/DjXybPR7

 

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions

Other certified hosts

http://gtmetrix.com/reports/me-d1.sonassihosting.com/1fCNQ0y8 (fpc enabled $279/mth)

http://gtmetrix.com/reports/sip300-demo.nexcess.net/OAd7YFB2 ($189/mth)

 

http://blog.radware.com/applicationdelivery/applicationaccelerationoptimization/2014/10/sotu-for-eco...