It is not the first time that we have talked to you about “Magento vs WooCommerce: Which eCommerce platform should I choose?” Being Shopify experts, our passion revolves around digital commerce and the use of these tools that are helping both freelancers and large businesses to establish a name within the markets.
Why are these platforms so popular? The answer is simple: they help us, and a lot. Some, like Shopify, require less technical knowledge to be able to develop your online store on them. Others, like Magento and WooCommerce, may help you more initially, although everything ends up being paid for in the end.
Let us introduce these two e-commerce platforms and make a detailed comparison that will help you decide between one and the other if you finally want to make the leap. Go for it?
Magento vs WooCommerce: Which eCommerce platform should I choose?
To understand the great importance that electronic commerce is having throughout the globe. We only have to read a number: 4 billion dollars, or what is the same, the amount of global sales that are expected to be made through e-commerce in 2021.
Although this amount could change irremediably due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is also important to note that some e-commerce services have increased their market share. As a result of the decline of traditional stores. Buying online in times of confinement or public health problems has been a very pertinent solution.
The first e-commerce platforms appeared in the late 1990s and have continued to grow ever since. Along with the emergence of new technologies. They have been perfected to the point of being able to manage your online store with just an app on your mobile. That is why it is so important to choose a powerful and robust CMS. We are not only risking several orders or abandoned shopping carts. If our software does not respond but the future of our store.
The great competition that Magento and WooCommerce face leads them to be constantly updated. Stay with us and we will tell you the pros and cons of each of them.
Introduction to Magento (Magento is now Adobe Commerce)
Magento is an open source e-commerce platform. Like all CMS ( content management systems, for its acronym in English). It allows companies to create an online store, manage collections and manage all aspects of the business.
Being open-source the great advantage of Magento is that the community takes charge and contributes to the development and innovation of the product. This flexibility allows companies to control every aspect of the store and have the assistance of web design experts.
Magento is confirmed as a really powerful option but at the same time. It results in a somewhat complicated solution to master. Your ambition will mark the limits, although the beginnings can be somewhat more complicated than in other CMS.
The platform was very strong, but it has recently been upgraded to its second version, Magento 2, where some have questioned whether the forced upgrade is worth it. As the first version will lack ongoing technical support.
Currently, there is also a self-hosted version, that is, with hosting or hosting included and greater simplicity:
It contains many advanced tools, such as professional reports and detailed analytics that the standard version does not have, in addition to many others. By being able to move a hosting completely to the cloud with Magento Commerce Cloud. It offers greater stability and time savings by not having to wait for technical updates or the response of your hosting providers.
In the following lines, we will talk about the standard version of Magento, the so-called Magento Open Source (previously called the Community Edition). If you still have questions about the Commerce version, you have a completely free 30-day trial at your disposal. Otherwise, you can start perfectly with the self-hosted version. Although it is free at first, its cost will be defined by the payment of the hosting and domain, the extensions you buy and the themes you want to install.
Introduction to WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a CMS that was developed by Mike Jolley and James Koster, who did the first job based on a plugin (or add-on) that already existed. It was called Jigoshop and shortly after WooCommerce ended up appearing in 2011.
The business model was based on the creation of WordPress templates under the name of WooThemes. Ultimately, they were acquired by Automattic, who are the ones behind WordPress. We can see how the main difference with Magento is that WooCommerce is a plugin installed within a site built with WordPress.
WooCommerce allows you to build an online store with everything you need for its operation and management. Although it is a platform that is installed on top of WordPress, it basically works as a separate service. Just open the tab and you’ll have all the information instantly available, including the extension store (in effect, extensions within an extension basically).
Like Magento, it is open-source software and the advantages are similar. Great control and high customization of our online store since we will have the complete plugin code.
In this way, the doors are opened to edit everything that we consider necessary. Once again, with the help of an expert in web design or technical knowledge.
According to its official website, up to a third of all online stores in the world are built on WooCommerce.
A not insignificant figure that makes us understand the importance of this plugin. Also, if the merchant already has a WordPress site or is just familiar with it, the advantage is a shorter learning curve. WooCommerce works in a very similar way to WordPress.
In case you need additional help, the community will be able to give you a hand. And you only need to look for some WooCommerce support to understand the thousands of articles, manuals, videos and guides that exist on the network. It is impossible to get bored.
In some comparisons, we have started to explain the details of each platform. But this time we are going to start with the cost. Both Magento and WooCommerce are free platforms, if we put the word free in quotes of course.
The installation of the software of both CMS is free. The real cost of starting our business with one or the other is summarized in the hosting contracted and the extensions or themes purchased.
Cost of Magento
In Magento, the price will basically depend on three factors:
- The Magento edition with which we want to operate. We remind you that in the case of this platform, we have the open-source edition (or community edition), which is completely free, or the Magento Commerce or Magento Commerce Cloud edition, two more advanced versions.
- Hosting and domain costs.
- Costs of hiring an expert in web design and development.
As for Magento Open Source, you will need to download the software and install it on the hosting server that you have hired, in the following, you have paid subscription plans that will do this for you.
Let’s think about the main difference between the two versions of local installation or cloud installation. It would be simplifying everything too much, but it is a quick resource to get the idea.
So, how much is it going to cost me? you ask. Is there a figure we can give you?
Yes and no, it is complicated and depends on the type of store, the extensions to install. The power of your servers and, of course, the Magento edition you choose.
The cost of a simple store with reduced traffic in the free version of Magento can only be several hundred dollars a year, which will increase respectively from the traffic and the load that affects the contracted servers. Here we include the expenses of the theme and several contracted extensions.
If we want our Magento Open Source store perfectly developed and operational, that is, a professional store with medium traffic, the cost could be several thousand dollars a year. Let’s take an example:
- Hosting cost: $250 per month x 12 months = $3,000 per year.
- Cost of purchased extensions and themes: $1,500 per year.
- Web development expert hourly rate: For example, 20 hours per month at $40 per hour. 20 hours x $40 x 12 months: $4,800 per year.
- Total price: $9,300 per year.
If the quantities scare you, we remind you that they are the prices for a store with a great job behind it and with a considerable traffic load and a number of customers. The price to start with a theme and a couple of extensions on a basic server is much lower. But we wanted to show you a reasonable price for how far a successful business can evolve. Aim for the stars and you’ll hit the moon, as they say.
Without dwelling too much on Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud. We will just tell you that the costs depend on your gross profit. The license costs a minimum of $22,000 and increases based on your numbers up to $190,000 per year.
WooCommerce is also free, once again, if we include the quotes around the word. It can be an attractive option, whether we already have a base in WordPress or not. And the costs, in the beginning, can be low.
As in Magento, the price to pay will scale according to traffic and extensions. Although initially we only seek to pay a handful of dollars. If we really have a mission to establish a prosperous store. We have to keep in mind that we can pay hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
In this list, we are going to break down a little what the initial costs in WooCommerce can be so that you get the idea:
- A website with WordPress: free
- WooCommerce Installation: Free
- Hosting – From a few dollars a month to hundreds of dollars depending on traffic. In the earliest starts, you may only need to pay $10 to $20 per month.
- Domain: approximately from $10 per year and up to about $20 per year if you opt for the contracting of the domain that contains privacy protection.
- Theme purchase: $0 to $200. Your choice of theme will depend on your personal tastes as well as the intrinsic needs of the store. Be that as it may, we recommend installing a theme that is intended to work specifically for WooCommerce to avoid compatibility issues that may arise in the future.
- Purchase of extensions: Some extensions are free and others work on an annual payment model. An example of this is the plugin that allows paid subscriptions in your WooCommerce store, which costs $200 per year, customer support included.
Web programmer salary:
Hiring a web development expert is expensive. But it will get your store ready and prevent new problems that may arise in the future. It will also be able to assist you with installing themes, extensions, and SEO. Price? It may very well be something like $4,800 a year. Is it necessary to pay so much for an initial store? Not at first, but this is a realistic cost for when sales grow significantly and we need to unleash the full potential of WooCommerce.
Between one thing and another, the annual price is similar to the standard version of Magento and with a fully developed store using the most robust extensions. The cost amounts to several thousand dollars per year.
Without the help of a web expert and as an initiation. The cost can be reduced to several hundred dollars a year until we decide to take the leap. But believe us, you will not be able to escape the need to edit the code and have support for it.
Installation and interface
Magento is easy to install and easy to use, although a bit more complicated than WooCommerce. We hire our hosting, who will be able to carry out the installation automatically. And we would already have our store ready and prepared.
The interface is wonderful. It is very careful and designed to be able to present all the data in an intuitive and intelligent way. It allows you to move between tabs easily. And its adaptability to other devices is well thought out. So you can configure any aspect of your business from anywhere.
Magento’s customization and elegance take the cake. It has limitless potential that is hard to beat.
WooCommerce requires WordPress for installation; it cannot be installed independently. Therefore, the first thing that is needed is to acquire web hosting. It has an SSL certificate to protect the data of your clients.
Once we have the hosting contracted, it is recommended to configure the WordPress options. So that it is exactly as we want. The next step is to simply access the WordPress plugin store, search for WooCommerce and proceed with the installation. Failing that, our hosting providers could also do the installation for us.
The fundamental difference with Magento is the need to have WordPress previously.
WooCommerce is really easy to use and dare we say it is a bit easier than Magento. Its installation comes with an automatic configuration tab (the famous setup wizard ). It will allow us to create the initial pages, configure the payments, and choose the currency, shipping and tax options.
Once we open the WooCommerce tabs, we will realize that it is like browsing in WordPress. To access the store, we just need to access the corresponding tab and voilà, everything will be there: overview, products, shipments, settings, and categories. It has no loss and day today is a walk.
Extensions and themes
We could expand on the functions of each e-commerce platform but both are excellent and provide the necessary tools to boost your online store: product creation, description sheets, taxes, shipping, international trade, creation of multiple stores, SEO configuration and a long etcetera.
The differences are most prominent in the extensions and design.
Magento Extensions and themes
Magento has a very active community of developers, agencies and freelancers and it shows in the number of extensions and themes that you can find in its marketplace. Some of them are free and others require a one-time or annual payment.
When accessing the store, we will find the extensions divided into categories. Due to its recent acquisition by Adobe, we will also find recommendations made by them.
Although Magento already has a very robust functional capacity, you will be able to add new extensions that add, for example, more specific and advanced marketing and SEO tools, personalized reports for each product, integration with Google Analytics, advanced purchase functions, service tools of customer service and additional payment and security services (such as one-step purchase, something that your customers will surely appreciate).
Of course, a large catalog of themes will be at your disposal in its category. Just like extensions, you can filter the results by business sector, price, version and edition of Magento.
WooCommerce Extensions and themes
WooCommerce is not short on its offer of extensions and themes. As expected, it is very close to WordPress in terms of design.
The WordPress store, like the Magento marketplace, offers extensions with functions similar to those mentioned above, but with a notable difference: Storefront.
Storefront is a theme exclusively developed for use with WooCommerce. It is free and its integration is complete with the extensions you decide to install.
One of the biggest problems that the merchant can encounter within the WordPress store is choosing a theme that is not 100% compatible with WooCommerce. Storefront ensures to clear that doubt, being a theme designed exclusively for WooCommerce.
Storefront is highly customizable, clean and elegant. It will allow you to design your store in a way that suits the personality of your product or service. Of course, it is adaptable to mobile devices and has accessibility options.
Remember that both Magento and WooCommerce are open sources and each extension and theme can be edited and modified according to your needs, expanding the possibilities of your store to infinity.
Storefront in WooCommerce is a very interesting option. But in this section, we stay with Magento since not having to rely on the WordPress base is a point in favor of the installation of new themes and extensions and avoids headaches with its compatibility.
The main cost in terms of effort and money, scalability defines the responsiveness of the e-commerce platform to deal with increased traffic and increased sales.
Let’s remember that one of the main reasons why the customer abandons the purchase in a certain online store is poor performance. The survival of our business may depend primarily on this. In turn, the SEO score can be affected due to slow loading times.
If you want to use the open source version of Magento, you will need to consider scalability on your own. The platform is very powerful software. So you’re going to have to have a dedicated server when things get serious.
Security is also an important element. You need to keep backups and protect yourself against all kinds of attacks. If you do not have experience in managing high-traffic websites. You will once again need a web development expert, who can advise you, along with your hosting provider, on the best ways to get everything in order.
If you see that your portfolio can afford it, another option is to migrate to Magento Commerce or Magento Commerce Cloud, which will take care of several of these aspects.
WooCommerce is in the same boat, but you may find cheaper alternatives to Magento. Even the most beginners can learn to improve the performance of their store with the thousands of tutorials that are on the net, as well as in the forums dedicated specifically to it.
One of the advantages of WooCommerce working with WordPress is that there are numerous hosting providers that specialize in it. Surely it is not the first time that you see an advertisement for WordPress hosting.
In general terms, with WooCommerce it is possible to scale your business with lower costs than in Magento. But you will not have any enterprise edition to help you with it.
How will your customers pay? Magento has native integration such as PayPal, cash on delivery, bank transfer and the most common credit or debit card payment options.
In turn, it has 148 different payment gateways for international sellers, many of them including support for different languages in different countries.
There are additional payment gateways that can be installed via extensions to your store: Stripe, 2Checkout, Braintree, WePay, Google Checkout, Skrill and many more.
Magento code allows developers to integrate payment methods in an easy way. So if you don’t find what you want, the solution is back to expert assistance.
WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe as payment gateways, as well as payment by credit card, bank transfer and cash on delivery (yes, it seems that it is still possible to pay cash on delivery for online purchases).
WooCommerce also has support for lesser-known regional payment gateways, and just like Magento. You can integrate basically any of them with your own extension or one developed by your bank or company.
Both Magento and WooCommerce are great when it comes to payment gateways. International trade is assured and the most used payment methods in the world work with them.
The customer and the shopping cart
Magento2 is designed to offer customers a complete shopping experience. As expected, each user has their own shopping cart visible at all times and it is saved if the customer leaves the store before finishing the order.
In the backend part (we), the merchant can modify the products that have been added to the order. It also has the option to track if the cart is abandoned and specify the expiration of the pending order.
Customers can be segmented by purchase history or demographic profiles through coupons, special offers, and discounts. Magento also has the option of up-selling and cross-selling, that is, the recommendation of products with a higher value or with related attributes.
WooCommerce has great capabilities when it comes to shopping cart settings. Dozens of extensions will allow you to modify the different rules of the same. And even specialize the shopping cart to work with a specific payment gateway.
Even without the extensions, WooCommerce allows you more control over your shopping cart without forcing you to use specific services, as is the case with other CMS. You’ll also be able to set a minimum and maximum product number, create unique checkout pages and restrict multiple shipping options if you wish.
Can’t find what you want? With the help of a web expert will be able to edit the shopping cart codes. The advantage of both Magento and WooCommerce is the possibility to edit the shopping cart, something that cannot be done in other CMS that are not self-hosted, as is the case.
Remember to offer an intuitive shopping experience to your customers: high performance, low loading times, numerous payment and shipping options and the specification of shipping costs before accessing the order screen to avoid further surprises. Whenever possible, the buyer should be able to complete the purchase on the same screen, without accessing any third party.
The million-dollar question is which e-commerce platform is best for me?
Magento and WooCommerce are very powerful, robust and scalable. Their software has been constantly updated and the experience of years of operation of thousands of stores and a dedicated community gives them high reliability. The future seems assured for them.
What are the biggest differences between the two?
Well, WooCommerce has a larger market share, especially in USA. You benefit from being under the umbrella of WordPress, which is today the most popular website builder in the world.
For any merchant who wants to establish or expand their business online, and who has already worked with WordPress. WooCommerce is a very attractive choice. In general, it has greater ease of use and a lower cost in terms of scalability.
So Magento is not well suited for small businesses and is more expensive? Not at all. Magento is the preferred e-commerce platform for many and its potential is abysmal.
The biggest consideration to make with Magento is that it is more complicated to use and its scalability is more expensive. But on the other hand, it is more powerful. We can consider this CMS as a platform more intended for enterprise use, that is, focused on medium or large companies.
Magento Commerce and Woo Commerce Cloud editions are an interesting choice to broaden your business prospects even further.
We hope this article has helped you learn about two of the most popular and robust e-commerce platforms in the world and help you with your choice.
Now you know “Magento vs WooCommerce: Which eCommerce platform should I choose?”
At Webrito, we are specialized in Shopify and WordPress. We consider it to be an e-commerce platform with incredible potential. If you need help at any time, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to give you a hand.
Shall we try?