It has been said that the age of the physical shopping is coming to an end. More and more businesses especially small ones are looking to the internet to sell their wares. There are large commercial companies that sell ecommerce scripting for thousands of dollars. But if you’re a smaller scale company or a one person business you don’t need to invest that much. With the internet came open source software whose developers are committed to making as many free services as possible. The same is true for ecommerce. There are two big names that everyone knows when it comes to open source ecommerce: Magento and WooCommerce. These are the two big guns and before investing your time and energy into developing your website with one we’d like to help you make the right decision.
Because if you are in the business of creating an e-commerce website then it’s imperative that you use the right scripting tool. This blog post will assess each one’s strengths and weaknesses across a variety of categories. Our hope is that you can make a more confident decision on choosing an ecommerce platform.
WooCommerce is a small load and requires little disk space. It is considered to be the “bare-bones” hosting platform. It is a plugin for WordPress and works very efficiently. Magento needs extra power and space because it’s a more convoluted content management system. It requires at least a couple GB’s of space and can cause loads on the server. Therefore, it is important to budget your space requirements. If you are planning on using Magento then it is worth it to invest more into hosting services. There are horror stories about Magento stalling and becoming absurdly slow when using cheap server host like GoDaddy.
Both these ecommerce platforms are free in the beginning but if you are going to develop your business into something serious the long term costs must be taken into consideration. In this area WooCommerce was again has the advantage. The hosting is more affordable as are the plugins. You also have to factor in the development costs. The initial function of Magento will most likely not be enough and developing it costs more than WooCommerce. However, you cannot really hold this against Magento because it is geared towards larger businesses. It is designed to handle more volume. You will find that Woocommerce begins to be stretched thin if you have an online shop with hundreds of products and plugins all interacting at the same time.
An example of a plugin you’d need to buy with WooCommerce is a full range of payment options instead of just using something like paypal costs up to eighty bucks.
It is important to note that Magento and WooCommerce are both designed for ecommerce, not larger web development. WooCommerce is a part of WordPress. WordPress is one of the biggest, strongest, web development companies in the world. WooCommerce is just a little piece of a much bigger system that you can relatively easily use to produce a killer, content rich site.
While Magento has more processing strength it’s content management systems are not as well honed as Woocommerce’s CMS. One of the reasons that WordPress is so popular is that it employs a simple, easy to use content building system. Magento uses drop down menus that are less intuitive and harder to use.
Magento gains the upper hand when it comes to straight up features. They are unique in the way they have streamline cross selling and upselling. The product comparisons, coupon codes, discounts, and group pricing is all available and part of the Magento package. Those are actually regarded as some of their more unique features. It also includes the stuff you’d expect like product categories, shopping carts, stock counts, etc.) Magento Connect gives you the option to even further expand Magento’s features. You can search and install the needed extensions. These extensions will most likely require assistance from Magento staff to make sure they are integrated into the system properly. If you are successful in doing that then you are already standing on firmer ground than you would with WooCommerce.
That said, they still have some cool features to recommend them. The initial options are not as impressive as Magento but they have addons that you’d expect from Product ratings, featured products, bestsellers, products on sale, and the navigation system is almost as powerful as magento. It has also been noted that WooCommerce as problems with it’s Plugin Updates which will sometimes stall the flow of the site.
There are times when there is clear winner between two products and a time when that winner is more ambiguous. It is my opinion that today is the latter of the two. The best platform is going to depend on your needs. If you’re a small business with limited hosting space and speed then you are going to want to go with Woocommerce. But if you can afford to invest, and have hopes of your business growing bigger then go with Magento. For both the platforms are going to cost you a little if you want anything beyond the bare bones features. However, the total cost for Woocommerce is going to be significantly lower because it is a part of WordPress. When you are uploading and managing other content WordPress can back you up with its huge array of plugins. Magento has more base features but its plugins are more expensive and you are probably going to need more content besides your platform to has a successful business. Also remember that WordPress has much easier integration into the website so you save money on developers. I have worked with both and for small stores my personal preference is WordPress (100 products or so) and for bigger store Magento. However, the decision is ultimately yours. The internet is full of more details on this topic so be sure to research some more before you make your decision.