Two of the most popular open-source e-commerce platforms on the market today are WooCommerce and Magento. Both are constant hot topics for bloggers but both have their own strengths and suitability. Magento is a standalone product whereas WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress backed by its WordPress community. We decided to compare WooCommerce and Magento to see what works best for which type of business.
Open Source and Enterprise
Although both platforms are open-source the architectures are entirely different and Magento is considered more stable and solid as an ecommerce solution. Due to Magento being born as an ecommerce product, the power and marketing of Magento Community and Enterprise for larger corporations has elevated it above Woocommerce into a different market. WooCommerce is, after all, a bolt on to WordPress content management system, which is the choice of CMS for just about every none ecommerce site on the Internet.
Scalability and Use
Magento’s feature set and architecture is much more scalable so is suited to those businesses with grand plans or ones that have an existing successful online store. It has more basic features out of the box and once installed by a developer the extensions marketplace is excellent for finding add-ons and extra functionality.
Magento allows total freedom for you to “think big” so you’ll need a bigger budget to setup this kind of store whereas we consider Woocommerce a great start for those just trying to get their store off the ground. As expected, it does the job of selling your products and there are extensions available to extend its capability.
Ease of Use
From the stores owner’s perspective, it cannot be denied that using WooCommerce to set up your store is easier than Magento if you are already a WordPress user. Magento requires a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of the architecture and how it’s going to work for your business. Woocommerce can be plugged into the existing WordPress site you may have, while Magento is almost going to need a dedicated agency or developer to setup and manage the site effectively.
From a Developers Standpoint
WooCommerce is great to get up and running quickly. It’s lightweight, easy to configure and a great option as a developer to extend an existing WordPress site. It has limited options, but time to deployment is quick, which is why it is expanding quickly with smaller sites.
Magento is a more rigid and complex MVC framework when it comes to installing, extending and customising. Its definitely not something a merchant can do without a skilled developer and it requires in-depth knowledge to be able to deploy complex solutions.
The barrier to entry is a few days of studying the architecture and understanding the structure just to create your own custom theme. Its takes even more time to study for customising and extending Magneto’s checkout, shipping or payment functionality to note just a few areas.
Aheadworks did a study in 2015 to compare the overall popularity of the two platforms which found Magento was primarily used by companies ranking on Alexa between 100-300k, whereas Woocommerce is used mainly by websites ranked around the 900k mark.
Woocommerce is great for the lower scale websites, where there is an existing WordPress site in place or you are either on a budget of both time and money. Magento quite rightly is etched into being the dominant one with larger mature online businesses and one that we don’t think Woocommerce will be able to compete with.
The barrier to enter the world of WordPress is so low that almost any developer can step into WordPress and bolt on an ecommerce solution. This is feeding the lower end of the market. Once these online stores mature into something that requires more customisation, needs enterprise software connections and a more scalable solution then they will continue to move to Magento and Magento will continue to win the higher value markets.