Magento vs WooCommerce: what to choose?
As e-commerce platforms become more and more popular, companies start to notice the obvious benefits of an online catalog of services and products, which strengthens the relationship between a client and an organization, without demanding much time or computer knowledge from each side. In this ever-expanding world of e-commerce, the first step towards success is to select the right CMS to meet your business goals. The most common choice is one between Magento and WooCommerce – two giants of the e-commerce area. Each CMS has its benefits, together with its individual setbacks, making a side-by-side comparison necessary for anyone, who has yet to settle on one of the two platforms.
Since both Magento and WooCommerce are absolute leaders on the market, it is rather challenging to pick one and go with it. Making a “leap of faith” is no longer an option as the wrong decision might cost you a fortune.
We are going to compare these two market leaders using the following criteria: pricing, hosting, premium services, speed, themes, extensions, customization, scope, flexibility, and security. We will go stage by stage weighing up all the pros and cons to provide you with an exhaustive description of each solution.
Magento vs WooCommerce
Using a reliable CMS platform that comes with a set of extensions and extra features might take a chunk of your profits. As any business owner, you are pretty aware that a scalable e-commerce solution will serve as the foundation of your company bringing new customers to the website. Thus, we recommend looking closely at features provided and compare all pricing plans before jumping to the final conclusion.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that comes at no extra cost and provides a quality that makes it appealing for small businesses or private entrepreneurs, who have yet to ensure their financial stability and are wary about their spending. Although this e-commerce solution is free, it is built on the top of your WordPress website, which means you will need to register your domain name, buy an SSL certificate and a WordPress account to launch your online store. The price of hosting comes at $7.99 a month, while SSL certificate can be purchased for $69.99. The cost of a domain name might differ significantly depending on your requirements and domain zone. TLDs (top-level domains) have the most standardized pricing and will come at $10-15 on average. There are many TDLs out there, but only a few of them rank well globally. Therefore, in order not to waste your time and money, think of your domain level in advance and check its availability on one of the popular websites, such as Godaddy or Namecheap.
Magento is an all-in-one e-commerce solution designed to the needs of web professionals and medium to large businesses. It allows you to modify literary everything depending on your business goals and customer needs. If you have the ambition to grow within your sector, Magento can offer a set of features that will come in handy when you expand. This flexible e-commerce solution comes with several levels of pricing, but a free Community version is available for those who are only deciding on committing to this CMS. Depending on your needs, you can consider the following pricing plans:
WooCommerce is much lighter, so it can be run on a 2GB server, which makes it a fairly good match for startups. The installation process is fairly simple since this e-commerce solution can be installed with a single click. However, WooCommerce has a standardized set of features included in the Pro and Community versions. Starter package come at $13.99 and a Pro version can be purchased for $31.99, making it a fairly available service.
Magento is much more flexible since everything can be customized based on your needs. However, this e-commerce solution contains a wide range of features that can scale your website and streamline the user experience. An Enterprise edition, the price of which ranges from $1500 to $2500, includes a set of the necessary features to run your site successfully. Nevertheless, be prepared to scale your website when your business grows.
To use WooCommerce, its clients must have WordPress web hosting, which requires extra costs. You will have to conduct thorough research and choose a reliable hosting provider at a reasonable price. In contrast to WooCommer clients, Magento users need a host only if their website is run on Community version since Enterprise and Cloud editions have this feature included in their package plans.
WooCommerce is much faster than Magento since it requires only 2GB server to run smoothly on your website. However, being a plugin, you might need to do extra work to ensure it delivers everything your users might be looking for.
Magento may take longer to load due to its numerous extra features. However, there are numerous ways to speed up your website. For instance, you should choose the faster hosting and ensure Full Page Cache is on. You might also conduct a 3rd party extension audit to see if any adds on slow down your online store.
WooCommerce offers 15 themes, three of which are free, with the rest costing $39.Magento offers 14 themes, the cheapest of which are in the range of $25-$30, and most expensive ones ending up at $499.You can also order a customized theme that will help you to stand up from the crowd and make your online store memorable. Reach out to our software experts to get initial estimations for your project.
Both platforms come with multiple extensions and plugins that add new features to your store and help to make your website more user-friendly and appealing to your customers. WooCommerce provides a decent selection of 289 extensions, all of which are free to install. For instance, WooCommerce Customizer allows you to change everything on your website starting with small details, such as buttons, labels or field. This extension offers a wide range of filters that you can easily apply to your store. YITH Wishlist is also quite popular among business owners as it allows your customers to add products to their wish lists, which could be later purchased.
Magento has a mind-boggling selection of 4 980 extensions, which cover all of the updated versions of the CMS. The cost of extensions differs greatly: while some of them can be installed for free, the price of others will exceed $10 000. For instance, Responsive Custom Menu plugin, which comes at no extra cost, allows complete customization of the menu where you can choose the number of columns in drop-downs. At the same time, Post eParcel plugin, that is often applied to manage and track shipping operations, will cost you $399.
WooCommerce is easily customizable: it goes with a panel that will be familiar to a WordPress user. The platform has a user-friendly interface that guarantees easy navigation. Furthermore, if you google and conduct thorough research, you will probably find lots of plugins available on open resources, which allow greater customization starting with free themes and ending up with buttons, menu, and pop-ups. Nonetheless, if you require something extraordinary, it would be quite complicated to build in additional function without profound coding knowledge.
Magento allows its users to adjust indexation and has thousands of free and paid plugins and extensions, which enable you to change your store as you wish. However, given that e-commerce is quite a competitive niche, which means you should be creative to stay noticeable and retain your existing customers. Custom Magento development might help you to add features that will ease navigation and improve user experience.
The scope of WooCommerce is inherently small, with certain favoritism towards small independent businesses. But big entrepreneurs will be able to make good use of this CMS with the application of premium packages. The platform can be easily scaled with the help of plugins and extensions, which are available online.
Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform that can be easily adjusted to your business needs. However, to scale your website, you will need to invest a substantial amount of money. For this reason, it is more suitable for large businesses with expansion prospects. Moreover, companies with an extended product range can also benefit from it as Magento is capable of processing big data.
WooCommerce is more beginner-friendly compared to Magento. For those, who are acquainted with the basics of WordPress, it would be fairly easy to master this e-commerce solution.
Magento may be difficult for clients who have no prior knowledge of web development. Coding skills are not a necessity, but they are an undeniable commodity, with users who possess them being able to unlock more opportunities that this CMS has to offer.
WooCommerce covers all of the security bases but does not offer extra protection, aside from conventional extensions and security tweaks. For small businesses, it is enough to use commonplace solutions to protect your store from hacker attacks and other threats. In contrast to WooCommerce, Magento offers security patches that are constantly updated to keep your platform secure. Though such systems may be hard to install and apply for users with little experience of manual patch installation, the result is capable of providing premium protection and privacy.
Pros and Cons of WooCommerce
WooCommerce is good for people with little CMS experience, but it does depend on basic knowledge of WordPress, so absolute beginners may have insignificant difficulties in the process. Nevertheless, WooCommerce is one of the best choices for aspiring entrepreneurs, with modest prices and a wide selection of free extensions and themes. The service also documents customers’ activity, which allows users to track their progress and investigate any possible mishaps on a deep level. WooCommerce can also be synced up to Google Analytics, which simplifies monitoring. Other benefits provided by this e-commerce platform include:</span
- Fairly affordable e-commerce platform;
- Easy to use;
- Built on the top of WordPress;
- Low learning curve
- Lots of free WooCommerce themes are available online;
- One of the largest open source community.
For clients with zero WordPress knowledge, the fact of this CMS being a plugin may turn into a problem, much like for clients who expected to spend as little as possible, quickly accumulated extra costs may become an unpleasant surprise. Compared to Magento, WooCommerce may appear less diverse, but overall, the services that the platform offers are rather fitting for the price that it asks. Other drawbacks of using this plugin include:
- Weak architecture, which is not suitable for high-load websites;
- A limited set of features;
- Only Community edition is available (no options for enterprises);
- Quite difficult to scale for large businesses.
Pros and Cons of Magento
Magento has many advantages. It is compatible with PayPal, Authorize.Net, and Braintree, supports an unlimited number of products and can manage stores of any size. The primary advantage of using Magento is its scalability. If you have a specific request, need a custom solution or plan to expand in the nearest future, this platform will make the best match for you. It is capable of handling big data, which serves as a significant advantage for large e-commerce projects. Magento benefits also comprise:
- Incredible scalability;
- A wide choice of packages designed for the needs of different users;
- B2B-focused platform;
- Easily managed price system;
- More SEO possibilities;
- Premium Magento includes hosting costs;
- Enhanced order management system;
- More promotion options.
At the same time, mentioned vastness of choice is also a controversial perk. With several thousand extensions available online and several editions, you might get confused while choosing the right package or plugin. The chance an inexperienced user will give up after several minutes of reading long description are immense. Additionally, high cost for enterprise addition also makes Magento unaffordable for small and medium-size businesses. After thorough analysis, we noticed the following pitfalls of using Magento:
- Unaffordable and overly complicated for startups;
- Hard to maintain;
- Most extensions come at extra cost;
- Hosting is fairly expensive;
- Themes are either costly or need to be customized.
Both Magento and WooCommerce are strong market players that have proven their quality over the years. If you are just investigating the topic of e-commerce and want to start a new venture, Magento might be overly complicated to master with its numerous features and plugins. WooCommerce is easier to install and run since it is based on WordPress, which is quite familiar to the majority of Internet users. It has simple navigation that can be mastered in a relatively short period of time that makes it appealing to small businesses. Porter&York or Blue Star Coffee Roasters might become excellent examples of how startups can use the full potential of WooCommerce to promote their services and products online. However, if you have a large product range with hundreds of items, this platform is not the best choice for you.
Magento is a more elaborate platform that has built its reputation as a reliable e-commerce solution for large and medium businesses. In particular, Paul Smith, one of the largest online fashion stores, runs on Magento and handles hundreds of orders daily. If you surf the net and do preliminary research, you can find numerous international project built on this platform, such as Barbour, Hally Hansen, Brewdog, Bulk Powders and others. These companies choose Magento due to its scalability and customization opportunities. When you try it, you might unlock endless potential of this platform that comes with thousands of extensions, hundreds of themes, and additional defensive precautions. While Magento with its increasing costs may not be the best option for newbies, it can be the next step for people who have used another CMS before and want to grow their business in the nearest future.
Both platforms might become an excellent match for businesses at different stages of their development. In a way, Magento is easy to scale being skill- and money-wise at the same time. These features make it a leader among large and medium enterprises. At the same time, accessibility of WooCommerce is attractive, yet undeniably limited for demanding prosperous conglomerates.