Magento or WooCommerce: What's Better for Your Online Store?
If you're thinking about your own online store and wondering which eCommerce platform to choose: Magento or WooCommerce, then we can help you make up your mind. In this article, we compare both of these solutions, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. Happy reading!
Magento or WooCommerce: Key Similarities
Magento and WooCommerce are both dedicated for online stores and need to be installed on your own server. You also need to provide them – unlike in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, where the provider does it for you – with a stable hosting, solid technical support and regular software update.
Magento and WooCommerce are offered in the open source model, so you can download and use them for free. Launched in 2008, Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world and offers rich features for demanding online businesses. In Poland, it is used by 2099 online stores. This number is much lower than in the case of WooCommerce, which was created three years later, and is in fact a WordPress plug-in (when writing Magento vs WooCommerce, we really mean Magento vs WordPress). WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in Poland – currently it has 17,634 active installations.
Magento or WooCommerce: Key Differences
Both solutions have been created with completely different eBusinesses in mind and this results in all the other differences between them. Let's examine them one by one.
WooCommerce can be used free of charge but comes with considerable limitations. If you want your online store to offer slightly more ambitious features, e.g. instant payments, then you'll need to install additional plug-ins. The problem is that some of them are paid, so your theoretically free tool becomes a paid one. Also, some features such as multi-warehouse or a multistore, may be impossible or simply to expensive to implement in WordPress; the cost of creating them may exceed the cost of building a store based on other technology that supports such features as standard. In Magento all those features are included in the basic, free software package.
However, you can create a WooCommerce-based store all by yourself – you only need to know a little about WordPress. The same cannot be said about Magento – implementing a store based on this engine requires hiring IT developers or an external agency; the same goes for maintaining and updating your store's software. And all that means considerable expenses.
Both platforms are on the opposite sides of the complexity spectrum of an online business. Magento offers a lot of features that allow you to build a professional eStore, while WooCommerce allows you to only create a very simple, basic platform. Sure, you can enhance its limited capabilities with additional plug-ins and some programming (after all, its source code is open), but it is worth checking whether what you need to implement from scratch is not immediately available in other software, such as Magento. What's more, a large number of additional plug-ins (separate for quick payments, separate for automatic invoice generation, separate for SEO-optimization, etc.), strongly affects the efficiency of the store.
Magento does not impose such restrictions, and it allows you to freely adapt software to the individual needs of your business. Magento not only offers support for multiple languages and currencies, but also allows you to run many independent online stores from a single account panel. It also allows you to integrate with popular price comparison websites and eBay; it supports the sending of automated transactional emails and provides insights into detailed data in the reporting module.
And while doing all this, Magento maintains a good loading speed, while WooCommerce, especially when burdened with a multitude of plug-ins, can run very slowly.
As we've already mentioned, WooCommerce is a WordPress plug-in, so anyone who knows his or her way around it can quickly create a simple WooCommerce-based store.
With Magento this is much more difficult, because despite a similar interface, it is not as easy to use as WooCommerce. You need to ask an expert for help.
WooCommerce allows for automatic updates, but those do not guarantee the correct operation of the store (plug-ins may not work properly or not cooperate with the system). And if you are not a programmer, it's best not to update Magento yourself – the system is simply too complicated for a layperson.
4. Scalability and Performance
As we've already mentioned, WooCommerce is a tool for small eStores. As you business grows, you can slightly expand its possibilities by installing additional plug-ins, but with a certain number of them the operation of the store will become burdensome.
Magento, on the other hand, has been created with a dynamic growth of an eBusiness in mind. It is able to cope with a significant increase in traffic, multiplication of the number of transactions and payments (up to 50 thousand buyers per hour!). And at the same time it is able to handle e.g. loyalty programs hassle-free.
Obviously, both solutions are very safe – otherwise they wouldn't be that popular. Their security is increased by frequent updates, in the case of Magento released every 10-15 days. However, WooCommerce is considered by some to have significant security flaws. Also, largely due to the popularity of WordPress itself, WooCommerce is highly vulnerable to hacking. That's why when building a store on this platform, it is worth implementing additional, more advanced security measures.
In order to drive traffic to your online store, you need to ensure that its content is optimized for search engines. It's not so much about the mobile-friendliness or the loading speed – it's the content itself and links to it that matter. Both WooCommerce and Magento offer good SEO-optimization of the store's content, but Magento does not require the installation of additional plugins. WooCommerce requires you to install the Yoast SEO plug-in.
7. Technical and Community Support
Just like any other program distributed in the open source model, Magento and WooCommerce also have a large community around them, which provides professional support on discussion forums.
In addition, Magento offers to its customers free help in the form of a ticket system, and customers using paid Magento Commerce licenses can benefit from a proactive 24/7 customer support available via live chat and phone.
So, Magento or WooCommerce?
Let's summarize what we've just learned about both solutions.
In order to work, WooCommerce requires a WordPress website, and this can be an encouragement for those who know how to manage it and are therefore able to independently run their online business. But a WooCommerce-based store can only be a very simple one – if you think about expanding it, WooCommerce will simply not do. An additional disadvantage of WooCommerce is the fact that the aforementioned additional plugins may not cooperate with each other or even "sabotage" the operation of your entire store. Therefore, despite the fact that a WooCommerce-based store can be largely operated and developed independently, if you care about its stable operation, it is worth asking a professional agency for help in its creation and development.
Magento on the other hand allows you to create an online store without the need of additional plug-ins to support specific features. It allows you to create non-standard solutions, i.e. stores that offer customized assortment (e.g. custom-made windows), use advanced personalization and different settings for different time zones; you can also freely change price settings. However, when choosing Magento, you should lean on the knowledge and experience of IT experts, which increases the cost of using this software. But for an ambitious, dynamically growing online store such an investment will surely pay off.
The answer to our initial question is very simple: if you want to create a small, simple eStore on your own, where you will be selling a narrow assortment, go for WordPress with the WooCommerce plug-in. However, if you have ambitious plans for your eBusiness and expect constant development, go for Magento. Not only will it allow you to build a professional online store, but it also will provide you with conditions for its stable and trouble-free development, as well as ensure a greater data and platform secuirity.
Considering the above, we've worked out a compromise between the advanced features of the Magento system and the cost and difficulty of its implementation. The e-com.SHOP Magento 2 online store is a ready-to-use, SEO-optimized eCommerce store, equipped with our proprietary modules. Thanks to the standards and automation developed by us, you can have your own professional online store at a price competitive to the cost of creating a basic WooCommerce store by a software agency. Learn more about opportunities the e-com.SHOP Magento 2 online store offers your eBusiness.
Collaboration in research: Anna Para, e-com.house