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Magento vs WooCommerce – Which ecommerce platform is right for you?

12th February 2021

There is a lot to consider when choosing which platform is best suited to your ecommerce business and Magento and WooCommerce are two of the most popular ecommerce platforms available. They are both highly functional and powerful ecommerce platforms, with similarities in features and integrations, but which one is right for you and your business?

We hope to help in your investigation to find the best ecommerce solution for your business by providing the pros and cons of both platforms below. 

Magento vs WooCommerce: at a glance 

MagentoWooCommerce
Core featuresComprehensiveSufficient
Plugins and Extensions  6,000 55,000
Easy to useNo Yes 
Pricing Costly Affordable 
Scalability Yes (More advanced)Yes 

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce uses open-source technology and is a plugin for WordPress, built specifically to power ecommerce websites. It was launched in 2011 by WooThemes and acquired by WordPress in 2015. Throughout the years it has grown in popularity and is said to power just under 4.5 million ecommerce stores globally. This is not surprising given the thousands of plugins and themes available, as well as its easy to manage nature. 

Pros 

  • Site management from any location
  • Widely used and accepted
  • Open source – zero cost to purchase the basic platform
  • Lower cost of ownership than Magento
  • Wide range of plugins covering most requirements

Cons 

  • Sufficient set of core features
  • More reliant on plugins to get advanced features

What is Magento?

Like WooCommerce, Magento uses open-source technology, the platform is used mostly by web developers to build enterprise-level ecommerce websites. It was founded in 2008 by Varien but was later acquired by Adobe in 2018. Magento is one of the most popular enterprise-level ecommerce solutions on the market, with over 250,000 merchants using it to power their ecommerce store. 

Pros 

  • Powerful high-end features for managing high-volume websites in multiple languages and selling in multiple currencies
  • Site management from any location
  • Comprehensive set of core features
  • Wide range of plugins covering most other requirements
  • Widely used and accepted
  • Open source – zero cost to purchase the basic platform

Cons

  • Complex and difficult to install and upgrade
  • Demanding server requirements
  • High cost of ownership
  • Plugins do not always interact well together

WooCommerce vs Magento Comparison 

Features, Plugins and Extensions

Magento and WooCommerce have a huge library of plugins and extensions. This is largely thanks to developers enhancing the platforms with third-party plugin creations. This makes both platforms extremely flexible, as you will seldom run out of functionality. Magento offers nearly 6,000 free and paid extensions and Woo offers 55,000, this large number is made possible via its parent platform WordPress.

Product and Inventory Management

When deciding which platform is suitable for your online store – product and inventory management will be at the top of your list. Both can house an unlimited number of products and product variations. Therefore, if your business was to scale up and extend its product range, this will not be a limitation on either platform. However, the more products you have the more power you need, so ensure that your hosting solution and server is of a high enough spec.

Magento offers several built-in product and inventory management features that WooCommerce does not, this includes:

  • reviews
  • grouped items
  • wish lists
  • personalization

However, the aforementioned can all be added through WooCommerce themes and plugins.

Payment Integrations 

When migrating to a new platform, it is essential that the chosen platform can support your payment gateway. Both Magento and WooCommerce support PayPal Commerce Platform by default. However, many other payment gateways can be added through extensions, including Amazon Pay and Opayo (formerly Sage Pay).

Shipping and Fulfillment 

Your store needs to have a synchronised fulfilment process. This is made possible on both Magento and WooCommerce through third-party extensions. Integrating shipping and fulfilment plugins into your platform, can remove manual processes and streamline your fulfilment strategy. Both platforms support Royal Mail, UPS, FedEx and many more. 

SEO 

Search engine optimisation is key to any online business, as it has the power to improve your search engine ranking place, in turn boosting organic traffic and thus increasing sales. Both platforms have great SEO abilities, mainly due to the vast amount of SEO Extensions on the market. We have listed the free SEO extensions below:

Magento:

Perfect SEO Solution 

WooCommerce:

Yoast SEO

Analytics and Reporting 

In 2021 data is the driving force behind many key business decisions. Identifying your most profitable products is essential. 

Magento includes basic analytics within its platform, however, you can enhance your analytics and reporting mechanism with extensions. Magento and WooCommerce both offer comprehensive analytics and reporting extensions. Through third-party extensions, both platforms are capable of reporting on your sales, products, and customer behaviour. 

Multi-Languages and Currencies 

When it comes to multi-language and multi-currency support, Magento is the clear winner. It can support a variety of languages, which are built into the core features. Although this is possible in WooCommerce, it is not part of the platform’s core functionality. However, it can be added via extensions; which helps to run WooCommerce pages in a myriad languages and currencies.

Features, Plugins and Extensions: at a Glance 

It is clear that Magento has more out of the box core features, however, there is a wide range of plugins available on WooCommerce, covering almost every possible requirement.

MagentoWooCommerce
SEO PluginsPlugins 
Analytics and Reporting Yes (Built-in), can be advanced via PluginsPlugins 
Payment Integrations Default providers and PluginsDefault providers and Plugins
Shipping and Fulfillment PluginsPlugins
Product and Inventory ManagementYes (Built-in)Plugins
Multi-Languages and CurrenciesYes (Built-in)Plugins

Winner: Draw

Ease of Use

Magento is well known for being complicated, as it was built for developers and because of that, you require a particular skill set to understand its complex environment. This means it can often be challenging to manage this platform; even performing patch upgrades require expert help from Magento specialists. 

Unlike Magento, WooCommerce has been constructed with end-users in mind (you), which has been created to keep the day to day management of your core ecommerce store, including management of integrations (payment security, tax management and fulfilment) easy and frictionless. So you don’t require any technical skills to manage/maintain the website, however, if you are developing/building the website you will need to be competent in HTML, CSS and Javascript.

Winner: WooCommerce

Pricing 

When choosing which platform is best for your business, price is often the deciding factor. Both Magento and WooCommerce are free platforms. However, this really depends on your ecommerce store’s requirements. If you’re migrating your existing store – you’ll find that the free version is not suited to the needs of your business and therefore can range from thousands to many hundred thousands. 

Although Magento is also free, this is only true for its Community version, which can sit alongside multiple premium services. With that being said, WooCommerce is probably the most affordable on the market, because unlike Magento you will not need to install more premium versions of the platform as your business scales.

Winner: WooCommerce

Scalability 

Growth is at the centre of most businesses goals, however, many online store owners often overlook scalability as a factor when selecting a platform. Overlooking this factor can have a detrimental impact on your business, as your platform can quickly become obsolete with rapid growth. 

Both Magento and Woo are fit for handling growth unlike many of the ecommerce SaaS models currently on the market (e.g. Shopify or bigcommerce) which impose growth caps. Therefore you’re less likely to experience financial growing pains with the likes of Magento or WooCommerce. 

However, when it comes to scalability Magento outperforms WooCommerce. This is because It’s built for scalability. Magento has been built for large enterprises and therefore can handle the conglomerate within the ecommerce industry. 

It is important to note that Magneto’s scalability possibilities still come with its disadvantages. If your online store grows, you may be required to purchase a premium version which will increase your overall operational costs. Although WooCommerce is tailored to SME’s, it is still possible to scale up which can be done through various enhancements – one of them being a server migration. 

Winner: Magento

Conclusion 

Like many ecommerce solutions, Magento and WooCommerce both have their own strengths and weaknesses. With that being said, WooCommerce is tailored towards small businesses but can still cater to larger businesses through various extensions and superfast hosting. Its easy to use and cost-effective nature, is its most powerful USPs, however, if your business is focused on growth and expansion Magento is the most viable option.

Furthermore, Magento is an enterprise-level and feature-rich platform. There is no doubt that its scaling capabilities, most powerful USPs. However, if you are scaling your business, you will need to consider the cost implications, because as your business scales you will be required to install more premium versions of the platform.

Ultimately your decision should be geared towards your ecommerce stores requirements, size and scope. With your final decision being centred around your businesses commercial goals. Will Magento help you achieve your commercial goals? Or will WooCommerce? That is up to you to decide.

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