When we have clients/people looking for an eCommerce website, one of the questions that inevitably comes up is what system would we recommend.
And it normally comes down to an option of which is better a Woocommerce or Magento website?
Like many comparisons, there is no one definitive answer and it will all boil down to ‘what you’re looking for’
What you’re looking to build?
What sort of scale?
How many products?
How many visitors your website gets?
Is it a new website or rebuilding an existing one in a new platform?
What functionality you need?
Some of these points will be universal across both platforms, others may require extensions or custom functionality to provide what you want, each situation is unique and so what’s needed will vary from business to business.
Before we go into that, let’s take a look at the two systems.
Magento is an open-source eCommerce Content Management System (CMS), initially release in March 2008. It is currently one of the most powerful and popular eCommerce CMS’s with it powering just under 8% of eCommerce websites.
There are two different version available for this:
Magento Community Edition (CE) – The ‘free version’, allows you to use the CMS to build your own website, all the basis and functionality is there, you will need to get hosting for your Magento website and you’re ready to (figuratively speaking).
Magento Enterprise Edition (EE) – The subscription version that comes with extra features and 24 hour support.
Woocommerce (unlike Magento), isn’t actually a CMS, it is an eCommerce shop plugin built for WordPress and released in September 2011. It’s open source and can be customised with themes and a little web development knowledge.
It is currently is used by over a quarter of eCommerce websites worldwide, due to the ease of using WordPress and the simplicity of turning it into and eCommerce platform, have helped make Woocommerce so popular.
So let’s take a look at how Magento compares to Woocommerce;
Magento Strengths Over Woocommerce
- More inbuilt eCommerce functionality
- Multi-store capabilities
- Better scaling
- In built statistics and reporting
- More secure
- High end admin area
- Better checkout process (guest, one page)
- More for serious sized eCommerce websites
Woocommerce Strengths Over Magento
- Simpler to use
- Cheaper hosting
- Easier set up than Magento
- More extensions
- More for small, start-up eCommerce websites
So looking at these, we’re saying that Magento has the greater functionality of the two, with things such as advanced promotion and discount options, product up-sells and cross-sells, product attributes for filtering, advanced search capabilities as well as more.
If want to have multiple website, you have the ability to create multi-stores within Magento, being able to run all the websites from one back-end and add all the products and data shared across all stores, which also allows it to handle more and scale better.
There’s in built reporting options, on the dashboard for revenue and transactions, there’s multiple reporting options including customer, revenue, transactions, in-site searches as well as advanced reporting.
Speaking of all this though, Magento is a more resource heavy CMS, so will need dedicated hosting, making it more expensive, whereas Woocommerce will be able to get by on average hosting (this won’t be the case if you have a large Woocommerce website).
Where Woocommerce and WordPress lack in eCommerce functionality, they make up with extensions, Magento does have an array of extensions available, but it doesn’t compare to the vast landscape that WordPress has, this allows you to get more functionality needed.
For those of you familiar with WordPress, Woocommerce will be an easy transition to learn. Magento might be a little bit of a learning curve for those that haven’t used it before, just due to the sheer amount of options available.
Magento 2 has simplified the admin area, making it less daunting and more manageable, but the simplicity of WordPress and Woocommerce makes it much of a set-up and go system.
So the final question you may have is, which do you choose?
If you’re just starting out, don’t really have the budget for a big eCommerce website, then Woocommerce would be the likely choice. If you’ve already got a website and the business is growing and you’re looking to push more out of your website, then Magento might be the direction to go.
These are not set in stone, there are exceptions where we’d we suggest the other, it will all depends on your circumstances. If you’re still unsure which is best for you, you can always contact us and we’d be happy to help point you in the right direction.