Last Updated on August 11, 2020 by David Bryan
eCommerce Comparison – WooCommerce vs Magento Open Source
Both immensely powerful solutions for creating flexible, easy-to-use and responsive online stores, there is little to separate these two powerhouses of the open source eCommerce world….but we’re going to try.
WooCommerce vs Magento: The Basics
Both WooCommerce and Magento are open source eCommerce platforms which allow you to create an online shopfront which can take orders, manage payments and provide additional features such as:
- Inventory management
- Email marketing and lead generation
- Shipping services integration
- Live Chat customer support
- Testimonials and product reviews
- Google Analytics
WooCommerce is designed for use with WordPress whereas Magento is a self-hosted platform. Both can be customised using a huge range of templates and themes and are well-supported by a global network of developers and designers.
Between them, they occupy the top two spots in terms of market share for global eCommerce platforms and, according to builtwith, power over half a millions stores worldwide.
So, how can you separate these two big hitters?
Ease of Use: WooCommerce vs Magento
If you are just starting out with your eCommerce site then it is unlikely you a technical wizard with programming. You will probably be looking at implementing a platform that is relatively straight forward to manage on an ongoing basis, even if you commission a developer to initially design the base site for you.
Even the most technically proficient bods prefer to use a system that is easy to manage rather than a complex one that can take to implement even the simplest of tweaks.
So, which platform is the easiest to use?
Ease of Use: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is relatively easy to use, particularly if you already have experience of working with WordPress. If you don’t then the learning curve for using both platforms will be a little steep.
Installing the software to work within WordPress is straightforward but if you opt for a specialist hosting provider then they will often do this for you. WooCommerce has a handy wizard that will take you through the setup process which includes setting up your products, creating pages and getting the basics of currency, payments, shipping and tax in order.
Additional plugins and extensions to add features to your site are very easy to install and each comes with their own walk-throughs and support mechanisms directly from the developers who created them.
Ease of Use: Magento
By contrast, Magento takes a little more of an advanced approach to both set-up and ongoing management. In fact, the software is geared far more to developers than it is end-users.
There is no doubt that the platform presents a far steeper learning curve in order to get started than with WooCommerce and you will need to learn some basics before moving on to customisation and installing extensions. There are help files available but, again, most of these are tech-centric and not intended for entry-level users.
So, whilst there are some exceptionally powerful features to Magento, accessing them and setting them up is not for the faint hearted.
Flexibility and Adaptability: WooCommerce vs Magento
Both WooCommerce and Magento comes with a lot of built-in features but to truly unleash the power of what these two eCommerce platforms can deliver you will need to incorporate some third-party extensions, plugins and tools.
Both WooCommerce and Magento have a great selection of additional plugins including many that are free and thousands that aren’t. Ultimately WooCommerce (as part of the WordPress stable) has access to more of these plugins yet Magento, built from the ground up as a dedicated eCommerce solution has, arguably, some of the most powerful.
Scalability: WooCommerce vs Magento
If you are just starting out with your eCommerce ambitions, it can be a heady thought to imagine a stage when traffic spikes are a problem your online store may have to deal with. However, future-proofing your investment in an eCommerce site is essential to consider at the development stage to save you time and money later on.
Both WooCommerce and Magento are more than capable of providing scalability and both already power some very large online stores. With both platforms you will need to consider the peripheral aspects of where you are hosting your site, how secure these are and what kinds of firewalls and DDOS protection is provided. You will need to consider how backups are managed and how you can optimise your store for caching as well as other technical challenges. All of these things can be scaled well with Magento but do come with additional costs.
The same is true of stores built using WooCommerce and along with scalability comes a commensurate rise in other costs.
Price: WooCommerce vs Magento
Price is an important factor to consider when setting up an eCommerce site, particularly as a startup when budgets are a huge influence in decision making. When looking at the costs associated with WooCommerce vs Magento, you need to bear in mind the initial set-up fees, design costs and monthly costs for hosting plus ongoing fees for add-ons and any other services you need.
Built to run with WordPress, WooCommerce is available to use for free so, as long as you have a domain and WordPress hosting account then, there is no cost to the software at all.
If you don’t already have a domain name and a hosting service then there are some specialist WooCommerce hosting companies that offer full services from under £10 per month. However, this is only to host your domain and does not include any site development costs.
As far as extensions, plugins and themes go, the WooCommerce community has stepped up to the plate and there are thousands of free services and products to use that are ready to go.
By contrast to WooCommerce, Magento is a self-hosted platform that is available to host yourself or comes complete with cloud hosting via a paid plan with Magento. The cost of the plans vary depending on the size of your business and ranges from Small Business to Mid-market and Enterprise editions; this means the license is revenue-based.
Each package comes with varying levels of features and includes full support direct from Magento. None of the options of paying for a license with Magento are cheap and can cost from £350 per month. You can access the community edition of Magento for free but you will need to host the core software somewhere. This means paying for this service directly with a hosting provider.
On top of this, you will also need to factor in the costs of any add-ons and extensions that you wish to run, each of which are priced individually.
Lastly, if you use a developer to help you build your Magento site then this should be added along with any ongoing monthly management costs.
WooCommerce vs Magento: Summary
When it comes to price and ease of use, WooCommerce just about wins the battle . Both hosting and ongoing running costs are more affordable (and readily available) than those for Magento plus, the platform is exceptionally easy to use.
This is particularly true if you are already using WordPress and users will feel comfortable using this simple bolt-on software. Offering a good degree of scalability, WooCommerce is therefore seen as a good choice for small businesses and start-ups.
However, Magento, with its ultimate scalability and powerful features is seen to be more suited to medium sized and larger businesses, particularly if they already use a developer or in-house team to take responsibility for their online store.
Opace and eCommerce Solutions & Services
Opace is a specialist digital agency that has extensive experience in providing some of the slickest, quickest and most stylish eCommerce websites design around.
Combining creative and technical knowledge with business acumen, we deliver good looking online stores that are memorable as well as being functional and secure. Not only that but our core service delivery is in marketing and SEO services so we can not only deliver the store, we can help deliver the customers too.