Magento's Project Stratus (Magento without the hassle)

Magento is one of the most powerful e-commerce systems out there. Yet, it's also one of the most cumbersome to get up and running with and then maintain, partly because of its steep learning curve, but also because you have to deal with hosting it yourself. This is why I sometimes recommend more elegant, but less-featured, carts like Shopify.

But starting in June 2011, it looks like Magento is going to release something called Project Stratus. My guess is they have taken quite a hit from hosted shopping cart services like Shopify that make it easy for just about anyone to create an online store. Magento hasn't announced pricing yet, but I'm sure it will be comparable, with packages starting in the $20-30 per month range.

This is great because it will lower Magento's barrier-to-entry and make its feature reach platform more readily available. In other words, you won't need to be or hire a web developer just to get started using it. It will also be a good alternative to more elegant, but less-featured, shopping carts like Shopify.

I'm still waiting on my Magento Stratus beta invitation, but there's probably not much different between it and the regular Magento. In fact, we're currently working on magento integration over at eCommHub, so I'm sure it won't be too hard for us to integrate with Stratus in the coming months.