Interview: Dripping in Fat
Magento has the features and support of many enterprise level e-commerce solutions - but its free. With the excellent default feature list and the modules available Magento supports almost every major payment solution, back end integration and feature your users and/or clients are asking for.
James Easley, Creative Director, We Love...
- Can you tell us a bit about your company?
We Love... is a full service media neutral, creative agency specialising in the digital domain, set up in Kent, England, by two creative directors - Mark Anderson and James Easley.
Disillusioned and frustrated with an industry that overlooks its clients and staff, our aim is to inject the love back by creating solutions that best meet our clients' objectives, with passion and excellence.
- What technologies are currently implemented / integrated in the frontend and behind-the-scenes?
- Why did you choose Magento for the project?
Initial thoughts were to develop our own solution internally (we could sell it to clients!) but we slowly realised that it would become increasingly difficult to extend and maintain as we added the myriad of features we wanted from the start. Nothing was going to beat a solution with lower internal overheads.
After examining many other LAMP e-commerce platforms we were initially disappointed. After looking at Magento it was easily the closest to an enterprise solution with the open source and professional communities to back it up. Many of the required features are built into the clean code base or available as modules and the code base is solid and stable enough for us to extend easily - to provide the rich experience we've created - in a short period of time.
The reporting and order management, customer management and ability to extend to multiple sites were also important in our decision - for future expansion. The fact that these are all centrally managed appealed to our sales people.
- Can you talk about the scaling and performance challenges associated with the project (and how you overcame them)?
After customer feedback the initial cross-site proxy did not instill much confidence in users as "the padlock icon" was not visible when making their purchase. Rather than sacrifice the modal checkout, SSL had to be rolled across the entire site which obviously has its own performance challenges.
Various MySql optimisations and caching was also employed to speed up reporting as well as a slight bottle neck in the number of configurable products and their separate images that required an adjustment to the core models.
- Would you recommend enterprise companies use Magento?
Magento has the features and support of many enterprise level e-commerce solutions - but its free. With the excellent default feature list and the modules available Magento supports almost every major payment solution, back end integration and feature your users and/or clients are asking for. So, yes!
- What are your future plans with Magento and the site?
Drippinginfat.com was initially soft launched - now we're implementing many of the features users asked for (there were a lot!) and adding another collection of designs. We are continually developing the user experience and working closely with our suppliers to allow them to integrate with the Magento platform for distribution and printing. We are also currently cleaning up some of our extensions to allow us to release them as extensions to the community.
- Any recommendations for people evaluating Magento?
If you need to extend the platform, there's nothing to be afraid of - the community (and development team) really are there to help. It's very refreshing once you dive into Magento to find such a professionally run open source project.
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