If you’re looking for an ecommerce solution for your business’ website and don’t know where to begin, we’re here to lend a helping hand. There are a fair few ecommerce platforms out there, but as it stands (in our opinion), the two front runners are WooCommerce and Magento and it’s easy to see why.
Both WooCommerce and Magento offer fantastic ecommerce solutions for a variety of businesses, and there are certainly some debates out there about which of the two reigns supreme. The truth is, there is no one size fits all when it comes to the ideal ecommerce system and what might meet the needs of one particular business, may not necessarily prove beneficial to your own.
In this guide, we’ll weigh up the pros and cons of both WooCommerce and Magento, from their key features to their performance and how well-suited they are for beginners. Use our comparison to give you a jumpstart into discovering which of the two would be best for your business, its objectives and its customers.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an ecommerce platform that is accessed via a WordPress plugin. It maintains the same simplicity and ease of use that WordPress provides, all whilst offering all of the features you would need as part of an ecommerce system. These features include creating an online store, taking payments, managing products and stock, etc.
WooCommerce is an open-source platform, which means extensions can be created by developers for certain needs and requirements. If WooCommerce doesn’t have something you need, you’re bound to find an extension for it that offers exactly what you’re looking for. If not, it’s easy enough for a developer to create an extension to fulfill those needs for you.
WooCommerce possesses the largest market share out of all the ecommerce platforms available, due to its connection to WordPress (the largest content management system) and its ease of use.
What is Magento?
Magento is another open-source ecommerce platform that offers fantastic features to a variety of businesses. Unlike WooCommerce, Magento isn’t paired with a top content management system, but that doesn’t prevent it from being a fantastic choice.
When it comes to its development capabilities, Magento’s is vast. There are so many levels to Magento that there’s always a new avenue to pursue when it comes to making the most of its potential.
Magento takes second place in the current market share, slightly behind WooCommerce but racing ahead of the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce, for example.
Comparing WooCommerce and Magento’s offering
You can use both platforms for free
Whilst WooCommerce is a completely free ecommerce platform, Magento has both a free version and paid for versions too.
The benefit of WooCommerce’s free platform is that you can make use of its entire offering, whatever your budget, without having to pay additional fees. With Magento, you might find that your business requires features outside of the free community version which will incur extra costs, so you’ll want to check whether your budget can accommodate.
What about hosting?
WooCommerce requires its users to organise their own hosting with an external provider. However, seeing as though this particular ecommerce platform is used with WordPress, chances are you will already have found your own hosting provider when setting up your WordPress website, so no problems there!
Similarly to WooCommerce, the free version of Magento requires you to host your website with an external provider. Magento can be extremely resource hungry, so it’s important to keep this in mind when factoring in ongoing hosting costs!
Security is vital for any ecommerce website, to assure your customers that you’re providing a safe place for them to enter their private information and payment details.
Both WooCommerce and Magento provide a number of security measures that you can implement to your site. These are mostly accessible through their available extensions and you may have to make some adjustments to them for them to run seamlessly with your website.
Magento has a slight advantage when it comes security, by providing dedicated security patches to its users. These patches allow you to create a small piece of software to fix any security flaws that you uncover. However, these patches can be difficult to apply, especially if you’re relatively new to this side of things.
Which is best for beginners?
If you’re new to world of ecommerce, chances are WooCommerce is going to be your best bet. Not only is it as easy to pick up as WordPress, there’s plenty of tutorials and documents that will help you along the way.
Magento has been created on a more professional level and while developers will have no problem navigating their way around the system, beginners might. That being said, there’s plenty of help and support available to those who need it, and you’ll learn to pick it up with plenty of determination.
What payment options are available?
A major part of your ecommerce website is the payment options available. Ecommerce is all about selling products and services online, so without the suitable payment methods available, your business is going to struggle taking off.
Magento offers PayPal, cash on delivery, bank transfer, authorize.net and standard card payment methods out of the box. You will also be able to add extensions which expand the variety of payment methods to include Braintree, Google Checkout, Stripe, Skrill and more.
WooCommerce provides payment methods for standard card payments, PayPal and Stripe as its basic offering. Similarly to Magento, you’re able to install extensions which will increase the variety of payment methods you can use on your website.
Both platforms have the ability to add newly created extensions to their system, so if there’s a particular payment method you are hoping to add, your developer would be able to create an extension that could be added to the platforms’ systems.
How easy is product management?
WooCommerce offers a stress-free and straightforward approach to product management, with the option to add more into the mix through the use of extensions. You can manage both physical and digital products, and adding new items to your store couldn’t be any easier.
Magento provides a number of different, often complex, features as a standard, but many similar features are also available on WooCommerce with extensions. These features include product reviews, wish lists, production personalisation, etc.
If you’re looking for a simple and stress-free way to add and manage products on your ecommerce website, then WooCommerce is certainly your best bet. For more complex, intricate features to pair with your unique product offering, opt for Magento.
What about measuring results?
Both WooCommerce and Magento are able to integrate Google Analytics in with their systems, which makes measuring the results of your ecommerce store a breeze.
That being said, Magento also offers its own version of analytics, where you can produce a variety of sales reports for you to download and review. This gives Magento a slight edge in terms of analysing results. However, Google Analytics alone is a pretty brilliant tool if you’re looking for a one-stop shop to measure performance, so the vast majority of websites could happily make use of WooCommerce and its Google Analytics plugin.
When it comes to scaling a business…
As your business grows, you’ll need to make sure your ecommerce platform is able to keep up. That means making sure it can handle the amount of traffic your website is receiving, as well as being able to provide additional resources and features that your business might require further down the line.
Both WooCommerce and Magento are fit for handling the growth of a business, but with Magento, your costs are likely to rapidly increase. Whether that’s due to investing in the premium version of the platform, or having to hire a Magento specialist to tackle the many technical requirements, these costs can be rather significant over time.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is completely free to use, so you don’t have to worry about upgrading to a premium, more costly version of the platform. However, there may be times where you require the help of a developer when you’re scaling your business, but these costs will be much less than that of Magento.
WooCommerce vs Magento – the conclusion
At the end of the day, the best ecommerce platform for you depends entirely on your business, its needs, your budget and your technical abilities, too. However, when comparing the two leading ecommerce systems as a general overview of their offering, there can only be one clear winner – WooCommerce.
Not only it is affordable and extremely easy to setup and use, there are also no limits as to what it can provide. Your website can easily grow as your business does, making it fit for purpose for the vast majority of businesses.
That being said, Magento is still a pretty brilliant system to consider and falls only ever so slightly behind WooCommerce. Its security features are second to none and you’ll be blown away by what the premium version has to offer – so long as you can afford the price tag!
No single platform will fit a business perfectly, so it’s all about finding the best fit for you. There will always be disagreements over which ranks number one out of WooCommerce and Magento, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to what’s best for you and your business.
If you would like to discuss WooCommerce and Magento further, feel free to contact the team here at Identify. We work with ecommerce platforms on a daily basis and have the knowledge to help you make an informed decision on which is best for your business.