As an agency that specialises in building successful eCommerce websites, our clients generally come to us with the same questions in mind when it comes to Magento 2:
What’s the difference between Magento 2 Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE)?
Why would I choose the paid version over the free version?
Which version does my store need?
Now as I’m sure you can imagine, these questions are perfectly relevant but very tricky to answer without key information about the business in question. Our experience tells us that every store is unique and needs its own set of specific requirements, so in order to answer these questions we generally a more in-depth understanding of your store.
Because these questions crop up regularly, we felt it could be valuable to our clients (both new and existing) if we went through some of the more crucial differences between the CE version and the EE version of Magento 2.
We’re going to try and highlight the features that really make a difference; in particular, the ones that are available on the EE paid version of Magento 2 which make upgrading from the free CE version so worthwhile. So here goes!
Before we begin, here’s a full features list that compares the two versions of Magento 2 and shows you the clear differences at a glance.
One of the key drivers behind understanding which version of Magento 2 you should choose for your business will cost.
CE is the free version of the platform, meaning you can simply download and start adjusting Magento 2 to meet your requirements. The software is open-source, meaning its functionality and design can be fully customised by a trained developer or anyone particularly code-savvy.
EE is the paid version of Magento 2, with the total overall cost of licensing the software based on your revenue as a business. With this version, the higher the gross merchandise sales value (GMV) of a store, the higher the annual fee will be. What this means is you can effectively calculate whether or not the cost of purchasing the EE is worthwhile for your store.
However, always bear in mind the cost of additional extensions if you’re leaning towards CE – not just the price, but also the time of installing, configuring and testing the extensions.
The key feature that really separates the two editions here is that Magento 2 EE offers the Split Database solution – allowing you to utilise 3 master databases simultaneously.
Not only does this increase the performance of your online store, but it also allows your store to hold separate databases for key areas like checkout, orders and product data. In terms of database replication, this feature provides data backup, scalability and better data analysis.
When your store begins to grow, you need a platform that can grow with it. Magento 2 has been developed with this in mind, allowing you to grow the administrative aspects of your store as well as things like adding a deeper catalogue and facilitating more payment methods.
One of the biggest updates to Magento 2 as a whole is its improved navigation and general shopping experience.
When it comes to choosing the right edition for your business, marketing is a fundamental aspect that you should consider.
EE has really taken Magento’s marketing approach to the next level, and these new features can help take your online store up a notch. There are unique options to add additional customer attributes like gender and date of birth, you can now segment customers for specific marketing campaigns and even promote to customer groups based on order history and wish lists.
Not only that, Magento 2 EE can now provide automated email messaging; perfect if you want to send abandoned cart or wishlist emails.
There are a lot of new inbuilt marketing tools as well, too many to list in full, but they include flexible pricing rules, up-sells and cross-sells, coupons and more.
If you’re still not convinced, there’s more – the way in which you manage your customers is now quite different between the two versions.
For example, in Magento 2 CE, you are only permitted to use default Customer Attributes unless you purchase an extension to add more. Compare that to EE where there’s already built-in functionality to manage customers attributes easily from the admin panel. This again relates back to cost; is it cheaper for you to buy and maintain the extension, or would it make more financial sense to pay for the full EE?
But wait, there’s more. Magento 2 EE also offers the opportunity for online stores to make their audience more loyal.
There is now a greater range of features designed to boost customer loyalty by increasing shopper engagement, encouraging repeat purchases and rewarding customers that stick around. To really grab user interest, EE uses reward points, in-store credits, gift cards, bulk ordering and private sales to step up the potential for more customer interaction.
What this means for your store is that your everyday customer will be kept up to speed with the latest products and available discounts. Not only that, but they’ll also be encouraged to return to your store with rewards – you have complete control over what you want to offer here, as well as what a customer needs to do to qualify for these promotions.
If you’re considering a new Magento 2 website, there are plenty of aspects to consider.
Our advice would always be to take your time, don’t rush into choosing the wrong edition as this could cost you both time and money in the future.
Also, don’t ignore the unique demands of your business – what specific features does your site need for certain? Are there any other features your business might need going forward? Is there room for a good level of expansion in the future?
Answer all these questions and you’ll have a good idea of which Magento 2 edition is more suitable for your store. If you’re still unsure, get in touch! Our team has over a decade of Magento experience and has built hundreds of successful online stores to date – we’re perfectly placed to help you make the right choice between Magento 2 Community Edition and Enterprise Edition.