Magento vs. Other eCommerce platforms: a Guide for a Wise Choice
IntroductionOnline stores start with the choice of the platform. All of them are different and stress business owners’ attention on different features. Before diving into dreaming of design, functionalities, revenues, and visitor counters, you will have to make your choice.
What is the Type & Goal of Your Online Store?First of all, your choice shouldn’t bу based on the looks of someone else’s store. You might want the same design template and features, but specific characteristics of your business is the only guideline you should trust before the start. Decide what is important for you by answering questions:
- How big your store will be?
- How experienced you are in ecommerce, marketing, and programming?
- How many customers you expect, where are they from and what languages do they speak?
- What is your budget now and what are your plans for the future?
Facts & Numbers to Take into Account
MagentоAccording to statistics for 2017, Magento has about 40% of top ecommerce websites built on it, and this rate is declining. The brands include Burger King, Wrangler, Lee, Liverpool F. C., and many more. Magento-based expect sales growth from $100 Billion to $224 Billion until 2020. 41% of Magento stores customers complete their orders. The platform has a wide extensive resource for demos, about 10,000 free and paid extensions, and well-made documentation.
WooCommerceWooCommerce is a free plugin that adds full ecommerce functionality to an existing WordPress site. WooCommerce owns about 20,8% of the market and is still growing. It is the most popular free shopping cart with almost 29 million downloads and 400,000 online stores on it. 16% of WooCommerce-based stores are considered to be top entrepreneurs. WooCommerce has about 300 paid and free add-ons to complete any functionality.
OpenCartOpenCart has a 7% share in the ecommerce market and is in the top 5 platforms businesses switch to. While WooCommerce and Magento shops are mostly based in the USA, OpenCart has most of its customers in Russia, Turkey, and India. Alongside with basic functionality, there are about 13,000 extensions available to download.
How Much Does it Cost to Have an Online Store?All three reviewed platforms are free to download and use. With some nuances.
MagentоIn the case of Magento, you have a choice of Community and Enterprise editions. The prices for the last one start from $22,000 per year for businesses with sales revenue up to $1 million. The Community edition is free, but its basic functionality is usually not enough for the desired search engine, usability, and design optimization. Enterprise edition has more functions and is self-hosted. To justify these needs, there are plenty of extensions, themes, and templates, both free and paid. Proficient extensions can be up there in price. Extension prices go from a couple to 5,000 dollars Also, a big store on Magento needs quality hosting, which usually becomes a visible expense. If you need advanced Magento development, be ready to pay.
WooCommerceWooCommerce plugin is free and has all functions to establish a functioning online store: calculation of taxes and shipping, a customer area. You can invest in better hosting if you need it. But depending on your business size and type, you may need something extra, like a premium theme or subscription service for your customers. WooCommerce has paid and free add-ons for such options. The prices for addons go no higher than $300-$400. Themes, both WooCommerce and WordPress templates are relatively affordable, up to $50.
OpenCartOpenCart is also free, but like any other platform, requires hosting and domain. The platform has a very basic set up, which can be upgraded. For commercial extensions, the price goes as high as $100-$200. OpenCart has a range of themes up to $200.
Which Platform is the Perfect Match for Your Business?All three platforms are open source. That means, any developer can contribute to its development there is a community and a range of customization behind each of them. Technically, there are no limitations to what you can do to your store. But are these possibilities the same for every platform?
MagentоMagento is targeted towards larger-scale businesses and enterprises with high revenues. It reflects in the price for Enterprise edition, extensions, and custom development. Magento also requires a lot of resources to keep the store working fast, like powerful servers. Otherwise, there will be performance issues.It is a flexible and cost-effective solution because you can implement the wildest ideas there as far as you can afford it. For most customizations, there are extensions. With the basic installation you can adjust the design, shipping, payments, order management, and more:
- Mobile commerce
- SEO & Marketing tools
- Analytics and Reporting
- Multiple stores on the same admin panel
WooCommerceWooCommerce is flexible as WordPress since it’s a plugin. It is suitable for smaller and medium-sized shops. Having a WP blog or website as a base for a store is a good start, and it is much easier to manage than Magento. However, if you plan your business to grow a lot, WooCommerce shopping cart functionality maybe not enough for your store later, and you will have to switch CMS.WooCommerce has a vast variety of preinstalled features for merchants. The ones worth mentioning are:
- Advanced SEO benefits;
- User-friendly interface;
- Extensive designs (you can use numerous WP templates as a theme);
- WordPress content integration.
OpenCartOpenCart is easy to use and possible to customize to some extent. It is lightweight and doesn’t require investments into resources to start selling. It is perfect for smaller local businesses and has all features for productive marketing.. OpenCart supports sufficient ecommerce functionality, including:
- unlimited products and categories,
- multicurrency and multilingual modes,
- 20+ payment method,
- 8+ shipping methods,
- multistore option.
How to Manage an Online Store?
MagentоTo manage Magentо, you need to be at least an advanced user with coding skills. The bigger your project is, the more you need to learn. The good thing is, Magento is a well-studшув platform with expertise. Magento community is very active and there is everything you may need already explained in the documentation and on forums. Prepare to invest your time in learning or your money in a specialist.
WooCommerceWooCommerce doesn’t need special skills but still requires some knowledge. If you know WordPress, there should be no problem for you, it is easy to customize for beginners. With its relation to WordPress, WooCommerce is rather simple to explore due to the documentation and add-ons.
OpenCartTo maintain a shop on OpenCart, it is enough to know how to use a computer. The installation is done in a few clicks. OpenCart has official support, and its community is well-established but still growing. To perform major changes to your website, you might need some help from professional developers.
How Secure My Online Store Will Be?We already talked about the general rules of customer security. Open source platforms are considered to be more vulnerable because we point out what you should expect.
MagentоMagento is a self-hosted solution, and it is your job to make sure your site is PCI compliant and all security patches are applied regularly. Magento is famous for its extended security, but security patches are hard to implement without professional help. At the same time, it is not recommended to put off the updates:
WooCommerceThe security level you get in WooCommerce with the installation is basic. The rest of the security updates depends on you. There are some third-party solutions to cover what’s missing, but constant monitoring still requires your participation.
OpenCartIn the case of OpenCart, as with any open-source solution, the risk is always a little bit higher. The developers release security patches every once in a while to cover vulnerabilities, but you will definitely need additional protection. There are official security recommendations and third-party security extensions.
Bottom Line. Summarizing
From small to medium
For newcomers, small and medium
Free, paid Enterprise Edition starting from $20,000
Appropriate for advanced users
Easy for beginners, convenient for advanced users
Easy for beginners
Unlimited possibilities: vast choice of extensionsand custom dev solutions
Highly customizable, depends on budget and skills
Сustomizable to some extent; detailed customizationrequires strong tech skills and investments
Goods of any type
Most suitable for subscription and media services
Goods of any type
No sustainable customer support, but very large andactive community
Ticket system; support doesn’t extend to third-partyplugins. There are forums and documentation.
Mostly consists of forums and documentation; ticketsystem