Magento vs WooCommerce - a common match up that UK businesses find themselves deliberating over when looking for the perfect Ecommerce platform. But what are both platforms? How do they differ? And what are the truths behind each one?
Contrary to popular opinion, these platform choices aren’t suitable for every business. A lot of people are under the impression that because these two major players are widely used they will represent the best Ecommerce solution to your business. However, smaller businesses only find out that they’re costly and ineffective once they’re heavily involved and are feeling the effects.
So, to help with your decision in choosing the perfect Ecommerce platform, we’ve outlined the truths behind both platforms. From what each one is, to the benefits and disadvantages that they both pose to your business, this post will explore everything you need to know regarding Magento vs WooCommerce.
- What is Magento?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Magento?
- What is WooCommerce?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of using WooCommerce?
- Magento vs WooCommerce: The verdict
What is Magento?
Magento is a popular Ecommerce platform used around the world. Generally aimed at larger retailers, it’s an open-source platform that gives retailers full control over the design, feel and customisation of their store. It’s one of the most popular options on the market - powering everything from small to medium-sized businesses up to enterprise organisations.
Although Magento is a name that many retailers automatically consider as their potential Ecommerce solution, does that mean it is necessarily the right decision? Sure, it allows businesses to list a small number of items on their store with relatively basic requirements and build up progressively to tens of thousands of products and more complex requirements; no doubt, that’s impressive and useful for businesses who are predicting vast growth.
Image Credit: Magento
However, is a store designed for such growth needed for all businesses? Well, it all depends on a business’ individual requirements, goals and forecasts. To house the functionality and capability of being able to extend your product range, you’re going to have to pay for it - and in more ways than just infrastructure and added features.
Your platform will need a significant amount of development work to be set up effectively. A person with an average knowledge of development and platform configuration will likely hit a wall with Magento. So, you’re likely to have to source an agency for help. Specific Magento developers are highly skilled and well sought after, which means the price of their aid doesn’t come cheaply at all.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Magento?
Of course, there are businesses out there that will benefit and succeed with Magento. Many global businesses are advocates of Magento and use it well to their advantage. However, in comparison to these global businesses, how do your budget and requirements relate to theirs?
The main advantages for businesses who opt to use Magento are:
- Scalability. Are you expecting your store to grow exponentially? As we briefly mentioned, Magento has the capability to extend your product range and accommodate retailer’s complex requirements. So, you needn’t worry about outgrowing the platform any time soon.
- Powerful. It’s one of the more powerful open-source platforms on the market - there’s a reason why it’s popular with small to medium-sized businesses and enterprise organisations alike.
- Development Community. Whilst support from Magento is largely limited to their enterprise solution, the platform has its own active community of like-minded users, professional developers and high-quality agencies. That way, if you hit a wall or get stuck with configuration, you have the network to be able to build past it and create a top-class Ecommerce platform.
- No transaction fees. Magento allows businesses to choose whichever merchant they want to use to process their transactions - and they won’t take a cut of your earnings from sales.
Whilst it’s easy to be blinded by the advantages and success stories of larger businesses, as always, there are two sides to the coin. While it can be a top platform to run your business on, that’s not always the case. Magento does have some drawbacks:
- Expensive. Magento is generally regarded as an infrastructure hungry platform so expect costly hosting costs. For Enterprise users, Magento Commerce, whilst offering a higher level of specification and support, comes at a high price with yearly costs going from £18,000 to £160,000.
- Further expense. Magento is a complex system that requires a lot of development to set up and configure to confide with best practices. So, unless you’re a professional developer yourself, you’re going to struggle and will need to outsource specific agency help. Professional agency help can be expensive - and on top of what you’re already paying for infrastructure, that’s massive.
- Even more expense! If you commit to building your site with Magento and realise it’s not for you, then you’ll need to replatform.
- Slow site speed and poor conversion. As Magento relies on a lot of extra plug-ins to add engaging features and cool personalisation, the more you pad out your site, the slower it’s going to be. People don’t want to waste their time online shopping on a slow site and may be forced to look elsewhere. This will, in turn, reflect a poor conversion rate due to unsatisfactory user experience. Slow site speeds will also impact your search rankings.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a plug-in for WordPress that makes it simple to add an Ecommerce store to your website. Like Magento, it’s open-source, so anybody can go into the code and customise it per their requirements.
Image Credit: Merchant Maverick
Whereas Magento is heavily scalable, WooCommerce can create issues when businesses need more complex requirements. Due to this, it’s not regarded as a suitable option for larger businesses. After all, you need to be sure that your site can easily cope with high demands, it’s safe and won’t crash.
Increased traffic and the addition of a wide range of plug-ins can slow down your site and cause issues. If you’re an online-only business, this can lead to severe downtime and if your site is down, you don’t have the chance of generating any revenue.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using WooCommerce?
For businesses that are launching their first Ecommerce site or if people are adding an Ecommerce format to a content-heavy site, WooCommerce can have many advantages. These are:
- Ease of use. WooCommerce is regarded as a user-friendly platform that’s easily navigable. It’s a good entry-level product for those who don’t have a huge knowledge base around Ecommerce but are familiar with the WordPress platform.
- Open-source control. You are in control of your whole Ecommerce store. Which means that you can dictate how you want it to be designed, structured and performs without feeling the restrictions of a strict template that other platforms make users abide by.
- Quick launch times. We know how exciting it can be when you’re looking to launch your site. You’ve got the ideas and the drive, you just want to pin them down and release it to the world. Well, WooCommerce allows a quicker route to market, so you can start selling as soon as possible - with some development assistance, of course.
- Low infrastructure costs. Providing that you only use a handful of plug-ins, you’ll find that WooCommerce infrastructure costs are capable of being low, but like with anything, you get what you pay for in hosting.
Whilst WooCommerce may seem like a great platform for many startup and small businesses, it’s not generally regarded as suitable for large Ecommerce stores. here are various disadvantages of the platform, these are:
- Limited growth capacity. If your business is expecting to grow rapidly, you’ll need a more comprehensive platform to rely on.
- Heavily plug-in reliant. Being a plug-in itself, the platform depends on a variety of other plug-ins to create the level of design freedom and functionality that you may require. The more plug-ins, the slower your site will be. In turn, a slower site has a high impact on site conversion and performance.
- Poor quality of plug-ins. WooCommerce plug-ins are renowned for being inconsistent with quality and security, therefore, you can’t guarantee that your site will be in full working order and performing to its optimum. Plus, you don’t want to leave yourself wide open to hackers with gaps in your platform for them to exploit.
- Requires development work at some level. You’re going to need agency help to aid you with the required development stages of your website build. Again, this comes at a premium cost.
- It’s basic “out of the box.” Although free to download, WooCommerce requires a number of plug-ins to get you up and running. Depending on how advanced you need your site to be, costs will vary. A high number of plug-ins will slow down your site and will increase costs. Some plug-ins will constantly make money with the use of them i.e. a payment gateway. However, others rely on sales to drive revenue - which may account for the poor quality levels in certain plug-ins.
Magento vs WooCommerce: The verdict
So, we’ve seen the truths behind both platforms and the winner is… well, it depends. However, infuriating that answer may be, it’s unfortunately, the only one that we can give. Different businesses will be more suited to one platform than the other.
Startups and small businesses, especially those with smaller budgets and relatively basic requirements may find that WooCommerce offers a more suitable solution. They’re attractive with their ease of use, quick launch times and generally lower infrastructure costs offered compared to Magento.
However, if they’re looking to grow exponentially, they should consider the forecasted growth from day one. Outlining functionality requirements from the outset is the best way to plan accordingly.
Magento allows businesses the scope of growth from small businesses right the way up to enterprise businesses. But do smaller businesses have the budgetary requirements to be able to cope with the expense that comes with the installation, management and maintenance of this platform? It’s unlikely.
Magento often releases new version upgrades that come with a cost to implement whilst there is an element of concern in the marketplace as to the direction Adobe is taking Magento in and there is the prospect they will continue to focus their efforts on their hosted solution, Magento Commerce leaving those on the open-source version with an uncertain future.
Find the perfect Ecommerce solution with Red-Fern and Aero Commerce
As you’ve just read, both of the above-mentioned platforms are suited to specific types of businesses and have various criteria to adhere to for it to be worthwhile hosting your site with them. Well, what if we were to tell you that Aero Commerce is the perfect solution for small to medium-sized businesses?
Aero Commerce is lightning fast, lean and highly extensible meaning small to medium businesses can develop an Ecommerce site that will be significantly faster than its competition whilst being affordable to run and can evolve with the businesses needs and requirements.
Does it sound too good to be true? Well, for more information of how we’ve helped different businesses of all sizes achieve and exceed their Ecommerce goals with bespoke solutions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today! One of our expert developers will be on hand to take your call and answer any questions or queries you may have.