If you’re looking to start an eCommerce store of your own, or looking to modernise your existing site by moving to a new platform, you’ve got a few big decisions to make – the most important being which platform is the right one for you?
Keeping your customers happy, maximising sales and having a store that is easy to update is all cornerstone elements of any eCommerce business. Nobody wants to leave customers unhappy because of a poor online experience, especially when your business is entirely reliant on generating sales through a website alone. In today’s world, it’s no longer uncommon for businesses to be based entirely online with no high street store or physical presence.
This actually poses a big question – if your website is the be all and end all for your eCommerce store, how do you choose the platform that is right for you? Well, we’re going to try and help you make that choice in this article.
The eCommerce platform industry is full of big hitters that are all hugely popular in their own right, but there are two or three that stand above the rest. For the purposes of this comparison, we’ve selected two of the best eCommerce site options to run through – Magento and WooCommerce.
Both these platforms have their supporters, but when it comes to comparing the two, you’ll need to try and remain as unbiased as possible. With that in mind, let’s break down Magento and WooCommerce to help you make an informed decision and choose the right platform for your store.
WooCommerce At A Glance
If you’re looking for a more simple, straightforward eCommerce solution then WooCommerce could be right for you. With the ability to be installed on any existing WordPress website as a high-performance plugin, WooCommerce brings the power of eCommerce whilst retaining the fantastic functionality of its parent platform. This could be ideal for sites that have only recently decided to go into selling online or those stores that just want an easy-to-use system.
Key Features Include:
- It’s a free-to-use plugin that can be installed on any WordPress site.
- WooCommerce can support an unlimited number of products.
- Full customisation is available across all WordPress themes.
- Basic security features come as standard.
- An easy-to-use platform that is designed for eCommerce beginners.
Magento At A Glance
As the world’s number one dedicated eCommerce platform, Magento is a tailor-made system for anyone looking to take their online store to the next level. If you choose to set up a store on Magento, you’ll enjoy a huge range of additional features that are perfect for any business with long-term goals of growth and expansion, making it unique among its competitors.
Key Features Include:
- Offers both a free version and a paid version to suit specific requirements.
- Magento can support an unlimited number of products.
- A huge range of themes, support extensions and plugins.
- Advanced security features and dedicated patches as standard.
- A more advanced platform that favours the already tech-savvy.
WooCommerce In Detail
If you’ve ever owned a WordPress website, chances are you’ll have come across the name WooCommerce at some point.
With over 4 million sites already on the platform, WooCommerce offers all the functionality an online store could need. This includes a selection of advanced extensions that can improve the user experience even further, such as BuzzSumo for social sharing and MailChimp for newsletter signups. You can even pick the payment processing system of your choice – just add the relevant extension and the platform will do the rest.
Hugely popular around the world, WooCommerce is free to use but comes with the option to pay for premium themes that can add that extra touch of UX and design quality. Perhaps its greatest benefit is the fact that you can set up a brand new store in just a few hours without having to worry about the additional costs of web hosting. The platform already includes the nice-to-haves like SSL support, simple Google Analytics integration and straightforward navigation management. Just pick a theme, add your products and start selling.
Furthermore, the WooCommerce support team are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have about your store and come highly recommended by thousands of users around the world.
Magento In Detail
It’s fair to say that Magento is the more technical platform on offer, but that doesn’t mean it’s beyond your reach.
With its roots firmly in eCommerce from day one, Magento is the platform of choice for millions of online stores since its creation back in 2008. Even the smallest business can get great value from Magento as there is a free community edition available will all the key features a store could need. As your business grows, you can relax safe in the knowledge that your website can grow with you – Magento has been designed to be scalable from the ground up, making it more than capable of managing large stores with thousands of products.
Similar to WooCommerce, Magento can be fully customised to suit your requirements. The platform allows you to link up directly with the payment processor of your choice, be it Braintree, PayPal or something else. Chances are if you find something you’d like to integrate into your site, Magento can handle it.
That said, you’ll definitely need to be more technologically savvy if you want to use Magento. Its interface isn’t as user-friendly as the likes of WooCommerce and Shopify, but this shouldn’t put you off – ambitious users will quickly find their feet and feel confident pushing their store forward. There’s also a huge community of support networks on hand to help you 24/7.
If you already own a large store, you may want to consider the paid version of Magento known as Enterprise Edition. This version of the platform is chargeable but comes with an improved selection of features that can really take your store to the next level. You can read more about the difference between the two versions in one of our previous blogs.
So there we have it! Ultimately the choice of eCommerce platform is yours but when you make your decision, you’ll need to have both your short and long-term business goals in mind.
The more simple option is certainly WooCommerce thanks to its user-friendly interface and straightforward setup, but it can be limited in terms of long-term scalability and additional store enhancements.
Magento may be the more complex option in terms of administration, but it’s the clear winner if you have a large store or want to stick with one platform for a considerable period of time. It also offers the choice between the free Community and paid Enterprise editions, giving you complete control over the features within your store.
If you’re still unsure which platform is most suited to your needs, give our team a call and we’ll be happy to explain all the options for your store!