Last updated - May 10, 2018
With advanced tools being accessible to everyone, more people are venturing out into eCommerce business. As a result, there are more tools suiting varied kinds of business models. WooCommerce and Magento are two of the most preferred eCommerce platforms across the world. Interestingly, you can find staunch supporters for both platforms, if you look around the eCommerce world. As both the platforms offer great features, a choice between the two involves the careful consideration of many features. This article offers a comparison between two of the best eCommerce platforms – Magento vs WooCommerce. After reading the article, you should be able to decide which one suits your business model best.
Magento vs WooCommerce – How to Compare
When you compare two top eCommerce platforms, you need to consider multiple aspects in accordance with the business model that you are planning. Here is a list of aspects that we would consider for this article pitching Magento and WooCommerce against each other.
- Set up process
- Ease of use
Magento vs WooCommerce – The Comparison
Let’s look into both Magento and WooCommerce in more detail to see how each fare in a head-on comparison.
Setting up process
When you are starting an online store, one of your primary concerns is how you can get it up and run within no time. In many cases, you might need some professional help with the process, but many store owners love the DIY nature of advanced eCommerce solutions. Let’s take a look at how WooCommerce and Magento fare when it comes to setting up the store.
Magento is pretty simple to start with. You can simply add your email and get started with a 30-day free trial. There are hosted and self-hosted options, which you can choose according to your requirements. For the self-hosting option, you will have to find a good hosting service provider as well as a domain name.
You will find extensive documentation and tutorials to help you with the setting up process. In addition, there is dependable customer support to help you with any queries or issues. Moreover, Magento has a large online community behind it that ensures its quality. One of the expert forums also might provide you some timely solutions. However, experts suggest hiring a specialist developer, when you are trying to incorporate advanced features to your Magento site.
Setting up WooCommerce is pretty simple if you already have a WordPress site. That is the reason why WooCommerce is exceptionally popular among WordPress enthusiasts. There is a great set up wizard that will guide you through the basic settings of your WooCommerce store. You can set up pretty much everything, from shipping to payment solutions, using this setup wizard.
However, if you are starting completely from scratch, you have to look for a suitable hosting solution to run your site. In addition, you need to register for a domain name as well. Choosing a reliable hosting service is especially important, as your store’s scalability is largely dependent on the capabilities of the hosting server. Here is an article that would help you choose a good hosting provider for WooCommerce.
The cost of the platform plays a decisive factor in your choice. Let’s take a look how the price factor creates an impact in Magento vs WooCommerce.
Magento offers a freemium model, with a community edition that is free, along with paid versions. Therefore, getting started with your store is not much of a concern, but if you are extending functionalities, it is going to cost you more. And as per experts’ suggestion, it is always better to hire a professional developer to extend your store functionalities. And this is definitely going to cost you more money than doing it yourself.
Similarly, Magento demands a more powerful server or even a dedicated option to run your online store. You can even make use of a great cloud hosting option for this. The upside of all this is better scalability. When your customer base and traffic grows, you will be better prepared to handle the rising demands.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that you can simply download and install. It gives all the bare essentials to set up a store including shipping and payment options. That is one reason why it is much loved by small businesses. However, as you scale up your business, you will find the default options inadequate in many scenarios. That means you will have to opt for a premium plugin. You can choose from a variety of WooCommerce extensions to integrate several advanced features on your store. In addition, you can find several quality developers featuring awesome WooCommerce plugins. The advantage is that you can find a plugin for every function that you can think of.
Moreover, you can host your WooCommerce store on a moderately powered server at the start. And as and when your store grows, you can easily upgrade to a bigger plan. So overall, WooCommerce helps in maintaining your store on a budget. And, you will be able to handle most store aspects without the need of hiring a professional.
Ease of use
When you are managing an online store, the last thing you want is to focus on the technical aspects too much. That is why most store owners prefer an easy to use interface for their eCommerce platform. Let’s see how Magento and WooCommerce compare when it comes to ease of use.
Magento is a great choice for enterprise-level solutions. That means it might get slightly difficult for beginners to get their way around Magento. However, once you gain familiarity, you can manage it pretty effectively. Moreover, you will get a lot of help from the extensive documentation. And, whenever, if you need some developer efforts, it is better to look for expert help.
WooCommerce has a simple and intuitive interface that helps anybody to set up their shop. In addition, you can make use of the great variety of free and premium plugins to extend functionalities. Adding an extension too doesn’t require any coding efforts, and that is the reason WooCommerce is considered more user-friendly when you compare the two. Basically, you can set up a WooCommerce store all by yourself, and consistently upgrade functionalities and design with the help of themes and plugins.
In the current scenario, store owners look for a range of advanced features in an eCommerce platform. Thankfully, both Magento and WooCommerce offer a lot of great features to set up an online store successfully.
By default, Magento offers a great set of features. However, when you try to integrate a new feature, it can get a bit costlier. Moreover, you will have to get the help of an expert developer to get it up and running. That means more investment in terms of money, time and effort. This makes Magento more suitable for larger business models with slightly bigger budgets.
Magento’s features include unlimited product support, inbuilt theme, and layout, APIs to connect with third-party solutions, etc. Moreover, the streamlined checkout process ensures a great experience for your customers. And if you have ambitious plans regarding the size of your business, Magento offers better options to scale effortlessly. Moreover, it offers great options to create upsells and cross-sells in your store. And, Magento’s smart search functionality ensures your customers can narrow down to a product of their choice more readily.
WooCommerce offers a basic set of features that are suitable if yours is a small store with limited requirements. That is why a lot of small business owners go for WooCommerce. However, that doesn’t mean WooCommerce won’t suit bigger stores. It has great flexibility to transform itself according to the store’s requirements. Only thing is you have to find a suitable plugin for the respective functions that you are looking for.
Experts advise being prepared well ahead when you are starting an online store. For example, when you start itself have an idea of what traffic you are expecting on your store. This way you will be able to choose the right hosting plan and can avoid downtimes when the traffic surges. There is large number of plugins in the WooCommerce community for any of the features including, payment, shipping, marketing, customer experience, etc.
Every eCommerce store is unique. And platforms should be flexible enough to allow for that. Magento and WooCommerce offer great customization options but in a slightly different manner. Let’s see more.
Magento’s one limitation when it comes to customization is that it is slightly complex for non-experts. Experts always advise hiring a specialist to help you with the customization, to avoid breaking the site. And, because Magento is a solution slightly leaning towards enterprises, experts tend to be tough to afford. So, if you are planning a big store, with bigger budget and resources, you can more readily opt for Magento. And you can find a lot of extensions in the dedicated marketplace of Magento.
Customization can be done pretty effectively in WooCommerce with the great variety of extensions. WooCommerce itself has a large number of premium extensions that you can purchase and install. And, for each premium extension you purchase, you will find dedicated support and updates. Many popular developers, like XAdapter offers further customization based on your specific store scenario.
Search engines are what brings business to an online store. So you need to be on top of your game when it comes to search engine strategies. Both Magento and WooCommerce offers great options to optimize stores for search engines.
Magento offers great control for store owners in SEO aspects like metadata. Moreover, the URL structure is search engine friendly, and pages are well structured. You get lot of options to improve the visibility and popularity of your store with Magento
Again, WooCommerce has plugins for search engine optimization. For example, the Yoast SEO plugin offers great features like keyword optimization, readability calculation, breadcrumb design, etc. Moreover, easier connections to social media channels ensure your store stays relevant all the time. You can read more about WooCommerce SEO plugins in our other article.
One of the critical aspects of running an online business is security. Every day new threats and challenges appear in the world of internet. The platform you choose should be able to avert these threats in a strategic manner. In fact, you are keeping information about your customer, and any lapse in their security would lead to bad consequences. Let’s look how Magento and WooCommerce handle security issues.
Magento handles security aspects quite seriously, and the dedicated security patches make sure your store is able to handle the latest threat. However, you might need a developer’s help in updating your site. So, naturally, you should be able to afford one. And, because Magento has a lot of features inbuilt, you are less likely to add a lot of extensions. This reduces the risk of security vulnerabilities with Magento.
On the other hand, WooCommerce faces more threats on a regular basis. First of all, a WooCommerce store is built upon a WordPress site, which is one of the favorite spots of hackers. So with WooCommerce, you should be more ready to face security threats more often. Thankfully, with some best practices in site management, you can avert most of these threats. Another aspect that makes a WooCommerce store more vulnerable is the unrestrained use of external solutions. Experts advise choosing extensions from reputed developers when you need them.
The choice of an appropriate platform determines the success of your eCommerce store in many ways. At the moment, there are plenty of eCommerce platforms available, which will probably make you slightly confused. This article has looked at two of the most popular eCommerce platforms preferred around the globe – Magento and WooCommerce. With more inbuilt features and dedicated eCommerce capability, Magento is more of an enterprise level solution. On the other hand, with great flexibility, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness, WooCommerce is widely preferred by small to medium businesses. We hope this article has helped you make a choice between these two eCommerce giants. Let us know any suggestions or insights.