There are so many different online selling platforms you can choose from, and they all offer different features, pricing plans, integrations, and more, so we’ve put together some comparison guides to help you make a decision.
We are going to look at two of the very popular marketplaces: Magento and WooCommerce. Obviously, they both have good reasons for being popular, but which is best for you?
We are going to give an overview of the key features and benefits of using each platform, and then compare them with each other.
There is a large eco system around Magento with the official site offering extensions and themes from their Magento Connect area. Themes there typically cost around £50 and extensions can be quite costly with some going up to almost £700.
Magento is aimed at larger eCommerce stores which need a lot of functionality and it is easily the most in-depth system on this list. It will allow you to run large scale eCommerce operations all flexibility and customization that you would need. It can handle thousands of products with different currencies, payment systems, multiple languages, and multiple sotre fronts.
Key features and benefits of using Magento
- Rich in features, including multiple storefronts, multicurrency support, and mobile friendly
- Very flexible and totally customisable, so you have the freedom to create whatever store you want
- Huge community of users who create plugins and extensions, and also offer help and support
- Perfect for larger ecommerce stores
- Highly customizable with hundreds of addons to choose from
- Most powerful system on the list and can handle thousands of orders
- Community version is free
- Scalable, so it can handle however many products you need to sell
- Strong SEO functionability
Drawbacks to using Magento
- Well designed, but a steep learning curve for those who are new to ecommerce. Could take a long time to learn how to use the system, let alone build a good-looking store
- Addons are much more expensive than those available on the other platforms
- Because it’s so powerful, hosting can be expensive. You may need a dedicated server to handle it
- If you want support, the Enterprise version starts at $14,420/year (at time of writing) and the Premium Enterprise version starts at $49,990/year (for large businesses)
- Because it’s open source, so you need to be able to code or bring someone in to help. Good Magento developers are often much pricier than the average ones
WooCommerce is WordPress’s free ecommerce toolkit for turning your site into an fully functional ecommerce store, and and is the most popular WordPress plugin. You can sell anything on there, including digital downloads, and it’s easily customisable, like Shopify, with loads of templates to choose from, so you can let your branding shine though. It also has hundreds of free and commercial extensions, so you can optimise your shop however you want.
Key features and benefits of using WooCommerce
- The default storefront design is clean and simple, but also highly customisable with hundreds of themes available, and plenty of addons which allow you to optimise your store in whatever way you want.You can also add other stores, e.g a Magento Amazon integration, or a Magento eBay integration.
- WooCommerce supports PayPal for accepting credit card & PayPal account payments, BACS, and Cash on Delivery. They’ve also got a variety of specific payment gateway extensions.
- Cater for specific distribution logistics, like table rate shipping, through a variety of shipping extensions.
- Easily manage your digital or physical products with the intuitive and WP centric UI. You can assign store managers to handle the day to day inventory management.
- Keep on top of incoming sales & reviews, stock levels and general store performance, all from your WordPress backend, with the reporting tool.
- Marketing options including campaigns offering a range of discount options, usage limits & product / user restrictions as well as free shipping.
- Option to have a WooCommerce eBay integration, plus others such as WooCommerce to Amazon
- Responsive design, so your shop will look good on any screen
- Simple to use interface
- No limit to the number of products and categories
- Very SEO friendly (something WordPress is known for), so easier to get your shop to the top of search engines. Also, excellent blogging capabilities thanks to WordPress
Drawbacks of using WooCommerce
- Lack of high-end features to support very large stores
- More paid extensions required, so costs could add up
- No free support option
- You need to stay on top of updates
- It’s very popular which makes it a prime target for hackers, so you will probably want to take extra security measures
Magento Vs. WooCommerce
Both are free, but Magento offers more powerful stores for much larger businesses, but these cost a lot.
Both are very flexible and customisable in terms of deisgn, but Magento is slightly more powerful than WooCommerce, and is great if you’re a developer who has the skill to create truly individual and beautiful stores. WooCommerce would probably be better for someone with a smaller store who lacks the skill to develop their own features. It’s also far more expensive to find a Magento developer because they need to know the system.
Neither offer free support, but the Magento community is a great source for finding help with issues. WooCommerce lacks a similar alternative, although there are many WooCommerce-centri forums out there.
Both are SEO friendly; WooCommerce is supported by WordPress, which is a powerful blogging platform in terms of SEO, but you can add a WordPress plugin to Magento for free too.
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