At a glance
Founded in 2008, Magento is a powerful platform, tailored for eCommerce and primed for developers. Magento owns 9% of the eCommerce site market share, third only to Shopify and WooCommerce. The platform also offers three different variations depending on your needs; we’ll explore all three below and throughout this article. It’s interesting to note that Magento used to own a much larger share of the market but over the years this has continued to decline, this could be a result of other platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce offering a much easier approach to eCommerce.
WooCommerce is the enterprise-level eCommerce extension for WordPress and, established in 2011, it currently owns 26% of the eCommerce market share, making it the platform of choice for the majority of online shops. A predominately free platform, WooCommerce allows users to upscale their existing WordPress site with an online shop or create a fully dedicated eCommerce website using WordPress as a base.
As touched on earlier, Magento has three platform options for users:
- Magento Open Source (previously Magento Community)
- Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise)
- Magento Commerce Cloud
Magento’s tiered offering means that it’s easier for brands to upscale from a beginner’s store to an enterprise platform, suitable for multimillion-pound businesses. Depending on which version of Magento you opt for, the CMS has lots of out-of-the-box features, such as the ability to add discounts and coupons, unlimited products, and multilingual capabilities.
WooCommerce is a good contender for small to mid-enterprise level brands. It allows businesses to scale up their shop with unlimited products and plugins to match every feature available via their marketplace. If you’re looking for multilingual, you’ll need WPML which has either a one-off cost or an ongoing annual subscription. WooCommerce is packed with great eCommerce features out of the box, like discount codes, multiple shipping options and more. There are also plenty of plugins available to add additional features, enhance security, improve SEO and integrate with multiple payment providers. Most of these are available with either free or paid versions via the WordPress marketplace.
Magento Open Source is entirely free and primed for developers and small businesses. However, additional charges are involved in getting your website live as you’ll need a domain, SSL certificate and hosting – but this is the same will all platforms. The only other costs you might need to consider are if you choose to work with a freelance developer or agency.
Magento Commerce & Commerce Cloud are more advanced options and come with a price tag to match. Magento works with a series of trusted partners who are available to implement these solutions. Costs will vary based on which option you go for, how complex your website is, and your sales revenue. Hosting is included in these offerings though. To give you an idea, licensing fees start at $22,000 for Magento Commerce and $40,000 for Magento Commerce Cloud based on a $0-1m gross sales revenue.
WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress. However, just like Magento’s free offering, you’ll still need a domain, SSL certificate and hosting to get your site up and running. And, while WooCommerce doesn’t require any transaction or license fees, if you choose to work with an agency or opt for paid themes and plugins, you’ll need to factor these costs into your build. That being said, in general, a WooCommerce-based online shop should work out cheaper than a Magento equivalent.
Both platforms can integrate with the most popular providers on the market, including PayPal, Amazon Pay, Sage and Stripe, so you should have no issues integrating your chosen provider with either. We’ve included a link to the two marketplaces where extensive lists of providers are available.
Ease of use
Magento is a sophisticated CMS geared for enterprise brands with multiple users. As a result, it has a steeper learning curve than WooCommerce, and we’d recommend some training for your team in advance. Due to its complexity, there is also a long time to market, so if you’re after a quick solution, Magento isn’t the answer.
WooCommerce with WordPress is known for being intuitive and user-friendly; making it easy to manage content for even the least tech-savvy among us. That said, it’s also self-hosted (like Magento Open Source) which means you’ll still need to download the software, manage updates, hosting and backups yourself, or you can let an agency handle this for you.
Choosing the right platform for your business
So, which is better, Magento or WooCommerce? If we’re honest, there’s no right or wrong answer. Your decision should be based purely on the digital needs of your business and which platform offers the best-fit solution. We collated a few simple scenarios to help you along the way:
- If you want a quick solution: WooCommerce
- If you already have a WordPress site and you’re introducing an online-store WooCommerce
- If you’re just starting up and want a sustainable choice that isn’t going to break the bank: WooCommerce
- If you want to work with an enterprise CMS for long-term scalability: Magento
- If you’re a multimillion-pound business looking for a robust platform: Magento
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