The world of online stores is exciting but complex. There are many platforms from hosted solutions to open source solutions. There are hosted solutions like shopify, bigcommerce and others. Hosted solutions can work well for a small inventory of products but as an eCommerce store grows larger there are limitations on hosted platforms. Open source platforms offer you the freedom and flexability you need for your growing business. As for open source solutions there are many; here we will focus on Magento and woocommerce.
Many platforms offer hundreds of customization options that allow you to create unique stores that fit all budgets. You no longer need to be a developer. You just need a good idea, a little research and a lot of enthusiasm for the project.
Characteristics of Magento
Magento is the world leader in electronic commerce. It was created in 2008 in the United States and was bought by eBay in 2010, then sold to Permira, who later sold it to Adobe. It has two versions – a free one called Community and another paid one called Enterprise. It is the most robust and customizable platform, allowing us to build a custom solution for each application. Magento is a large platform so requires a bit of a learning curve . One of the biggest differences between Magneto 2 and WooCommerce is that Magento’s database is split up into more layers. This gives magento developers the ability to do a lot more on the customization side, the only real con here is that you will need more server resources and optimization to handle all the data.
Some additional features of Magneto 2 are:
- Fully customizable design using templates
- Fully customizable code using local override files so updates do not get overridden when upgrading.
- Ability to make custom extensions
- Easy responsive admin user interface
- A powerful widget system allows admins to do complex customizations without hiring a developer.
- Magento 2 allows extensions to be purchased and installed from the market place without needing to hire a developer.
- Promotions, coupons, marketing deals can be created with a if this then that system.
- Private sales (restrict the catalog to specific clients)
- Multiple wish lists
- An integrated content management system
- Customer groups
- Product attributes
Characteristics of WooCommerce
Finally, there is WooCommerce that is not a platform, but a plugin that is installed to WordPress. It was created in the United States in 2011 and purchased in 2015 by Automattic, a WordPress developer. Although it has a few configuration options, it is compatible with other plugins, which makes it possible to expand its use.
Some additional features of WooCommerce are:
- Options to offer free shipping or flat shipping rate
- Built as a WordPress plugin and available from the wp-admin of your site
- It incorporates the necessary SEO fields for search engine positioning.
Comparison of The Two Platforms
According to google trends when you add up both magento and magento 2 searches vs woocommerce you can see they are very closely tied in volume of searches. The only reason why “magento” searches are going down is because they are being replaced with “magento 2” searches. See graph below.
On the other hand according to Built With, Woocommerce has 6 times more users. More users I think mainly because it is quite a bit cheaper to run and just the fact that so many people start with blogs so they are used to the wordpress platform.
- Installation of E-commerce Platforms
Both the platforms are Open Source. This means that they can be downloaded and installed for free. It is recommended to buy a suitable template, depending on the type of business you own.
- The Functionality of The CMS Of E-Commerce
Magento has a lot more functionality out of the box then woocommerce but woocommerce has a lighter foot print.
Conclusion: Which E-commerce Platform should you choose?
If your just starting out Woocommerce can be a cost effective option if your on a shoe string budget, but once your making sales and can afford some development resources switch to Magento . The significant advantage of woocommerce is that it is more cost effective. You will find that the hourly rate of a woocommerce developer is likely lower as the skills required are lower.
The difference in hosting costs can be very significant. Woocommerce can often be ran on a $15-$69 per month server where as Magento will likely require a $42-$89 for shared. Both platforms would need a dedicated solution once traffic and sales increase enough to warrant it ranging from 120-1200 generally.
When clients ask me what I think about the Magento vs Woocommerce I respond with “Why would you buy a passenger van then try to retrofit it to be a cargo van, why not just by a cargo van.” Another words woocommerce is a modification to blogging software it is not at its core eCommerce software.