eCommerce store owners who are new to the industry are faced with a choice that may affect the future of their business:
which eCommerce application or service should they use?
Many people will think that using hosted solutions like Shopify or Squarespace.
Some might even try marketplaces like Etsy.
But what they don’t realize, once their store starts to do well, they run into issues.
These solutions work great when you start but as your store becomes successful, you are going to want other features or you may need to get additional resources to help your site.
Because of this, I strongly believe that self-hosted applications will provide you more flexibility and future-proof your store to decrease risk in migrating platforms later on.
Store Owners should take advantage of marketplaces, but base their business on an eCommerce application they control.
But there are differences that shape the experience for store owners and their customers.
There are several versions of Magento, but for a fair comparison to WooCommerce, this article will focus on the free version that used to be called Magento Community Edition and is now known as Magento Open Source.
WooCommerce and Magento have all the features that a new eCommerce store owner needs to get started.
WooCommerce includes fewer features out-of-the-box, and allows store owners to add the functionality they need most to their site.
Magento has a wider range of features and options, and thus is more complex and harder to use for someone with no experience of eCommerce.
Because of the way that WooCommerce is built, store owners may find that they need to purchase additional functionality in terms of plugins.
While you spend some money up front to get all the functionality you want, WooCommerce is build upon WordPress.
There are a lot of developers and options you have when selecting WooCommerce.
Magento offers everything out of the box for you as a store owner. It is built with a lot more complexity, but it is built specifically with eCommerce in mind.
Ease of use
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, so anyone who is familiar with WordPress has a great head start.
There will still be a learning curve because eCommerce is not the same as blogging or managing a business website.
But if you already know WordPress, it makes sense to leverage that knowledge rather than starting from scratch with Magento’s more complex interface.
If you already have a website or blog, adding WooCommerce means everything can run under one roof as opposed to running several different platforms.
WooCommerce also inherits WordPress’s ethos of user-friendliness, whereas Magento is aimed at professional retailers and developers.
Customization and support
Magento and WooCommerce can be customized with themes and extensions that provide additional features.
Many of these extensions are free on both platforms, but the best regarded extensions are not free.
The Magento Marketplace hosts thousands of curated extensions that cover a vast range of functionality.
With a larger ecosystem and developer community than Magento, WordPress provides store owners the ability to easily find professionals to help carry out custom development and design work and even offer support.
Magento, while has a smaller community or professionals tend to be more expensive to hire than equivalent WordPress developers.
When running an eCommerce store, you need to make sure that you have the proper security measures in place.
Magento and WooCommerce are secure platforms if managed properly.
WordPress and WooCommerce make it somewhat easier to apply updates and carry out routine security tasks — automatic and one-click updates for WordPress vs an unintuitive patching process for Magento.
As a store owner, it’s important to have a good grasp on how well your store is doing. Both Magento and WooCommerce offer some built-in analytics.
Since Magento is only an eCommerce platform, it provides better analytics for store owners. Both applications though can be extended through integrations with many analytics platforms and services.
In fact, this is what we did with our Managed WooCommerce hosting.
Both platforms will provide you with getting your store up and running. Both platforms will provide you with the ability to customize your store to your experience.
Go with WooCommerce if:
If you want unlimited flexibility, a large community to assist in developing and training, and of course easy to use.
Both platforms are excellent products that can support an eCommerce business as it grows over many years. However, because of its ease-of-use, excellent and diverse ecosystem of developers and implementers, WooCommerce is the best choice for new eCommerce store owners that want to future-proof their store for years to come.
About the Author: AJ Morris is the Managed WordPress Product Manager for Liquid Web, a fully managed hosting company. He has extensive experience both developing WordPress sites and speaking at WordPress events. AJ leads product and go to market strategy for Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress product line.
Feature image source - https://aionhill.com/magento-vs-woocommerce-2017