For a long time Magento has been the King of the Hill when it comes to Ecommerce platforms, but for some time now WooCommerce has been coming up strong behind it. So, nearly 4 years after its creation, how does WooCommerce compare to the Ecommerce CMS giant that is Magento? Is it time to back the new kid on the block, or does Magento continue to reign supreme?
When choosing a CMS for your Ecommerce site, adaptability almost has to be top of the list for required features (second perhaps only to a functional shopping cart & payment system). Being able to use your CMS to make the store you want, including even the most minor tweaks to the most major overhauls, is vital if you want your store to stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to adaptability, WooCommerce and Magento both work wonders. If they didn’t, they would never have become such big hits. The exact brands of adaptability are slightly different, however.
WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a WordPress Plugin, which means that your site has all the customisability that any other WordPress site has access to. This means that as well as all the specialist features of an Ecommerce site, you also get all the add-ons that many other successful sites use, and often for a very low cost, or even for free.
Magento: Magento also has access to a large range of add-ons, all of which are accessible quite easily through the Magento backend. Installing these and making them work the way you need them to isn’t always easy, however, and often you will need a specialist Magento developer to help you get them to work properly. Aside from the cost of a developer, Magento plugins are also more likely to have a cost associated with them than WordPress ones.
Magento has adaptability, but often it comes at a cost of either time, money or both. If you have plenty of these, then Magento’s more focused solution can be superior.
It’s important for every business to retain control over their own backend, which means that you’ll want a CMS that’s easy for you or your employees to use. Magento and WooCommerce are each designed to be as easy to use as they can be, but when you dig below the surface, there are some key differences here that affect usability.
WooCommerce: Like WordPress itself, WooCommerce is quite easy to understand at its core, and you’re unlikely to need much help from a developer to get your needed plug-ins working. Most of the time, anyone who takes the time to learn should be able to get up and running fairly quickly.
Magento: Like WooCommerce, Magento is fairly easy at the basic level, but the main difference is that the more complicated options, usually only needed for larger stores, can be incredibly difficult for people who are new to Magento to grasp. Often, using Magento will eventually mean hiring a Magento specialist, which means extra expenditure, or becoming a specialist yourself, which takes time.
Hopefully, your business will grow and flourish thanks to your online Ecommerce platform, and when it does, you’ll need that Ecommerce platform to be able to cope with that growth. Whether it’s extra pressure on the site from higher traffic, dealing with international deliveries and complex orders or just making the site larger, a good Ecommerce CMS needs to work with you when your business begins to grow.
WooCommerce: WooCommerce is often stated to be better for smaller businesses due to its easy-to-learn, low-cost nature. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some power behind it for bigger businesses though. Thanks to the availability of plug-ins, the ease-of-use and the streamlined nature of WooCommerce, growing your site with this Ecommerce platform is usually easy and feels natural.
WooCommerce will grow with your business in a natural manner, so much so that you might not even notice that it’s been growing until you look back at where it used to be.
Magento: Magento certainly has more built-in options for larger businesses, the most touted being the ability to host multiple sites on a single installation. Without plug-ins, Magento is capable of a lot more than WooCommerce for larger businesses, but once again, you’re going to need a specialist on hand to make the most of them.
Magento is great if your business is already big, or if you plan for it to become big, but there are bumps along the way that can make your journey less than smooth.
Your site needs to load quickly and function flawlessly, otherwise customers are likely to be disheartened and Google may disregard you in favour of a more capable online store. The amount of resources used by each platform will affect how fast the site is, how well it runs and consequently, how well your business performs. Luckily, both Magento and WooCommerce are designed to work quite well in this area, as long as you don’t go overboard with plug-ins.
WooCommerce: Boasted as its main advantage, constantly bolting on new plugins to your WooCommerce installation can add a lot of unnecessary strain to your site, slowing it down. If you keep a careful eye on this, only install what you need and use, and make sure that everything stays up to date, you shouldn’t have a problem. Just don’t let it get out of control.
Magento: Much like WooCommerce, installing too many add-ons, or the wrong add-ons, to your Magento site can have a considerable effect on your site’s functionality. Make sure you don’t go overboard, and keep an eye on what you last did when checking your page speed, and you shouldn’t have any problems here.
Many reviews will tell you that WooCommerce is the superior platform for smaller and start-up businesses, and we’re certainly inclined to agree. However, we don’t think that Magento has so many advantages at the larger scale that WooCommerce falls behind it, so we’re happy to recommend WooCommerce for larger businesses as well.
This means that when you’re starting up, and WooCommerce is at its best for you, there should be no need to worry about whether your potential growth would mean you’re better off with Magento. On the other hand, if you are already a large business, using Magento may have some advantages over WooCommerce, as long as you accept that you are likely to need a specialist Magento developer on your team.
At Novi.Digital we can help with either Magento or WooCommerce installations, though we usually recommend the latter to you since it helps keep you involved with your site even when things start to get complicated.
If you’re looking at building a new Ecommerce site, migrating an existing site or simply looking to improve your online performance, get in touch with us on 01524 510 570 or send an enquiry to [email protected].