Robert Rand: Scaling your Store with Magento

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Robert Rand: Scaling your Store with Magento
There are lots of options for eCommerce brands when it comes to what platform to use. For scaling businesses looking for more flexibility, Magento could be the best choice.

On the final episode of Optily Radio last week, I spoke to Robert Rand of Jetrails and our own Chris Machin about who might benefit from the Magento platform and more. We even had Robert regale us with a story about his stint as a background actor on the set of Spider-Man 2!

Robert and his team at Jetrails work with eCommerce brands on providing top-notch hosting services for Magento. While respecting that a robust solution like Magento isn’t for every company, Robert has an interesting analogy when it comes to pitting Magento against a SaaS platform like Shopify.

Robert discussed how Jetrails works with a lean team to create a great experience for all of the customers, while leveraging their extensive partner network to fill any gaps in service.

The sentiment I found particularly poignant that Robert mentioned, was that eCommerce truly takes a village. There is no single company or service provider that is going to be able to handle everything needed to successfully run an online store.

The big topics we covered off during our chat were:

  • Site performance and SEO
  • A holistic approach to eCommerce through partner programs
  • Applying a long-term strategy to your business

If you have 30 minutes to listen to the full episode, I definitely recommend hearing from Robert himself. Otherwise, check out the clip below and keep reading for more details on the topics we covered.

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Who are Robert and Chris?

Robert Rand is the Director of Partnerships at Jetrails and also hosts the Jetrails Podcast, a weekly show that dives into a lot of themes (and more) that we’ve covered off here. He had our own Brendan Hughes on a few weeks back! Prior to starting at Jetrails, Robert discovered his passion for partnerships while working for his own agency that he co-founded, Rand Internet Marketing.

Chris Machin is our Director of Strategic Partnerships here at Optily. He comes from a background of working with all the big players in eCommerce and has over a decade of experience building multi million dollar partnerships.

The impact of site performance on SEO

Robert highlights one of the main benefits of Magento as being that it’s open source. This can also be a bit of a drawback when it comes to maintenance and configuration, as it takes a good bit of development work, however, it also means you control every aspect of the site performance. As a result, you have less reliance on third party apps that can oftentimes slow down your site.

As we all know, Google prefers lean sites that are quick to load and give them priority in the rankings. So, if you use Magento and regularly audit your extensions to make sure you only run what you need, you can ensure peak performance.

Core web vitals add another layer to SEO rankings that isn’t purely about load speed. Magento can help with both organic and paid ads, with regard to quality score. When it comes to extensions, integrations, and applications, Robert suggests practicing a good amount of minimalism to ensure your site is lean.

Leveraging partnerships

Jetrails isn’t positioned to offer a wide-scope solution for all business needs, rather they specialize in hosting and providing the best service they can. As part of that service, they have a sort of consultancy program that links up their customers with complementary solutions from their network of patterns. 

Depending on each business’s unique requirements, the account managers will work with them to find a solution that works for them. After all, when their clients succeed, they also succeed. 

Long game mentality

Robert’s final takeaway is to keep a big-picture outlook on your business. Plan strategically for several years, really understand where you want to be, and then figure out the small steps that will get you there over the weeks and months.

Figure out what things could get in the way of that success and preempt them where you can. For example, can your website handle the traffic that you plan to get 2 or 3 years from now? If not, then it might be better to not wait and switch over to a more robust platform sooner, rather than later.

Also, it’s important to not assume that a third party you work with will be proactive about things like security. Make sure you’ve got all your bases covered so you don’t end up constantly putting out fires. Be proactive, not reactive.

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