Magento or WooCommerce: Which is Better for your Biz?

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: September 5th, 2016 | Updated: November 5th, 2018

Magento or WooCommerce - Which is Better?

Without a doubt, both platforms are the kings of the ecommerce industry. Two of the most popular and powerful in the market today, WooCommerce and Magento. Both share great qualities of a selling platform, what to use still depends on you. This article will help you decide depending on your preference and how you see your ecommerce website in action.

The Similarities

Open Source

Open Source

WooCommerce and Magento are open source products, meaning both are freely available to create a store that is professional and delivers results. With open source, the code can be modified to make needed changes in the frontend. One reason why these platforms are popular is that of its availability to the public. People are free to share their experience and encounters with the platform. This includes sharing source codes, experiments and of course, indulge in debates.

Forums

Forums

There are also many forums for both. Since WooCommerce is an open source WordPress plugin, there is an available support forum designated for it specifically with a wide range of topics and detailed documentation making it convenient for developers to use and look up. While Magento, as a large platform also appears in a lot of web forums especially in the ecommerce market. Both platforms assure you’ll get plenty of help from the community.  

Customization and Key Functionalities

Customization and Key Functionalities

Partly the reason for the success of WooCommerce and Magento is their capacity to give the users the ability to create their store the way they want it. The customization options of both are as wide as you imagine it to be. They support your business’ branding through plugins and add-ons that maximize the capabilities of your store. These platforms are brilliant for helping you make your online shop your own. Both also have the basic key functions of a fully functional ecommerce website: each has the cart, the product database and item details like prices and product photos.

WooCommerce

Pros

EASY TO USE WITH FAMILIAR WORDPRESS SETUP

WooCommerce is easy to use

Being a plugin for WordPress, a hugely popular CMS that supports 51% of the top million websites currently existing, WooCommerce is easy for past WordPress users due to its familiar user-friendly interface. With the said familiarity, it saves a huge amount of time in production and makes room for more creativity.

WooCommerce is a simpler, less technical kind of ecommerce platform, which is why it is best for businesses starting out. It has widgets giving customers the power to rate products and feature items like best sellers or those on sale.

GIVES MORE THAN JUST E-COMMERCE

WooCommerce is more than just E-Commerce

WooCommerce doesn’t only give users the freedom to customize, it also gives the users plenty of opportunities to build a fully functional store, which is not only professional looking but also with integrated blog pages, and we all know how blogging is important for businesses to build their brand presence and manage reputation.

Even though WooCommerce is free, it doesn’t limit you in delivering a great and professional looking online store. WordPress lets you choose between an assortment of WooCommerce themes in the Woo Themes Store that you can also customize – making it your very own style. You can do this by changing color themes, adjusting the CSS styles and even edit the code and experiment your way to a more personalized look.

FLEXIBILITY AT ITS BEST

WooCommerce is Flexible

One of its biggest perks for an ecommerce newbie is WooCommerce’ flexibility when it comes to its products, without having to learn all about the technical side of it. Products can be categorized, assigned prices and independent attributes and all the other basic things an online store can do. In addition to this, WooCommerce can manage to sell a physical product or even virtual downloadable types.

Cons

SOME PLUGINS AND ADDONS ARE COSTLY

WooCommerce's plugins are sometimes expensive

WooCommerce earns money from its add-ons and plugins that users would want for their online store like the rating functionality, the featured products, coupons and more. It might be very customizable but for the right price. Unlike Magento, all the functionality you wish your online store has can be coded and applied. All you need to have is a team of well-rounded developers to have it functional.

LIMITATIONS

Even though WooCommerce gives you the freedom to customize and add products and get it to be fully functional, it also has limitations like every other platform. WooCommerce has pre-order limitations and for some businesses, pre-orders are an essential part of their e-commerce functionality. It is said that with WooCommerce when a pre-order item is added in the cart, then any item previously added is removed. A pre-order item cannot co-exist with any other item in the same order. It also seems like this problem has not yet been resolved until now.

NOT COMPATIBLE WITH EVERY BUSINESS

Being limited with the functionalities that come free with the plugin, not all businesses are compatible with WooCommerce, sure it can do basic online selling and whatnot, but a large business with a huge database of products might be a problem. WooCommerce Variations can slow down the loading speed, and although it can handle the products, the speed would eventually be affected by it being only a plugin instead of a standalone platform.

Another thing, this being a WordPress plugin, a software update might cause some changes in your WooCommerce store. Sometimes a plugin isn’t too quick to adapt to the updates, leaving the online store to experience glitches and issues that can affect your business.

Magento

Pros

MULTIPLE STORES

The great thing about Magento is it can run multiple storefronts from a single backend system. Running multiple stores with multiple brands is possible with Magento. This allows you to maintain a harmonized backend.

OVERALL MANAGEMENT

Magento has a designated admin panel where you can manage transactions in your online store, adjust the shipping process and resolve issues. It also consists a list of important data of your business like product list of most searched products, most viewed, most popular – you can even see if a customer has placed an item in their cart but didn’t purchase.

You can also import thousands of items and modify the attributes. You can upload images, set conditional pricing and decide how your customers will see the product in their window.

3 AVAILABLE EDITIONS FOR DEDICATED USAGE

Enterprise

This is for the largest of e-commerce retailers. The scalability and ability to create and add new features and marketing strategies is impeccable.

Community

Magento Community is dedicated for tech-savvy users or developers who handle the coding and programming. Here, users can re-use codes and apply it to their own unique platforms to meet their business needs. Users can collaborate on formulating extensions, codes and other knowledge to maximize the Magento platform.

Cons

COMPLEX FOR BEGINNERS AND NON-CODERS

Setting up Magento is not as easy as WooCommerce. This platform runs on PHP with Java code. Users must know how to configure and make the store fully functional on their own. You also must have advanced skills in PHP to maximize the customization capability of Magento.

SLOW

Since it runs in PHP with Java codes, it’s given that this requires a lot of memory during the process. This means strong hardware is needed to run the software itself. A lot of businesses use cloud services but still struggle to obtain a high speed experience.

TIME-CONSUMING IN DEVELOPMENT

The complexity of the platform is beyond confusing at some point. Even with almost 4000 lines of free reusable codes, it is still very time consuming to be able to figure out a way around it. This uses an MVC approach which follows best web programming practices which make it difficult to work with. If you decide to hire a team of professionals to handle the development, the only downer is how much this would cost. Since it’s a complicated system, you better have a decent amount in hand.

Conclusion

All being said, WooCommerce or Magento, both are amazing platforms you can use for your online business. What to use between the two still depends on your business requirements. If you want your customers to have the full experience of a web store without limitations and you can code your way through PHP and Java or even pay people to do it for you, then nothing is stopping you from using Magento. If you think your business is in its infancy and does not require a lot in the processes other than selling your product and get customer feedback and you have the budget to purchase special features, we suggest using WooCommerce since it is also good for growing businesses, a few steps at a time.

Img c/o Pixabay

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Peter A. Liefer II

Peter is the CEO of PrimeView, the leading Arizona Web Design and Digital Marketing Firm. A veteran in the Web Development and eCommerce industry, he is focused on delivering data-driven results. Learn more about Peter and PrimeView on our Profile. You may also reach us here.