So you’ve decided to rebuild your company website to improve the user experience… now the question is: WordPress WooCommerce or Magento.
What platform should I build my e-Commerce site in?
These days, there are literally hundreds of e-Commerce solutions to choose from – all with their own advantages and limitations. The most popular among them includes Magento eCommerce, WordPress, BigCommerce and Shopify, just to name a few.
But what suits one company will not necessarily work for another.
To make an informed decision, you really need to decide what it is you want to achieve and then match the capabilities of each.
We’re going to look at the key difference between the two most popular platforms, Magento and WordPress. By the end of this article you will be more equipped with the knowledge to make the right decision.
Evaluating your own business
Before delving into the pros and cons of each platform, the first step is to work out exactly what you are looking for in an eCommerce solution.
Based on the complexity of your services, you may opt for a dedicated eCommerce platform (such as Magento) or a content management system (Such as WordPress) that includes an eCommerce component (like Woocommerce).
The best way to do this might be to simply list your primary objectives and goals for business and the project at hand.
Below are a few things to consider that will eventually help you make a decision:
- Current revenue from online sales – if the overall business revenue is driven through online sales, or you solely have an online presence, then the CMS option may not be the right for you. The specific eCommerce solutions are designed to address the more complex process of high-level transactions.
- Amount of products and catalogues – in a lot of cases, the amount of products and scalability can be the decisive factor in choosing the right solution. There is no rule of thumb but generally, if you have more than 500 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) then the dedicated eCommerce solution will be the better option.
- Complex purchasing process – how much customisation is required to make the checkout process fit your online store? By default, most solutions provide a similar cart/checkout experience. However, if your business model requires customising the checkout then choosing a platform that has flexibility is imperative. As a helpful rule, it’s always better to find a solution that suits 100% rather than purchase a 90% fit that requires 10% customisation.
It can often be hard to determine a stand-out leader amongst the eCommerce platforms and CMS solutions available – as they all offer a range of different features. Just be careful, as too many irrelevant features can make your website confusing, slow down the load-time and become an absolute nightmare from a developer’s point of view.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of two of the most popular solutions, WordPress and Magento…
Although WordPress began as a simple blogging platform, over the last decade it has matured into a solid CMS solution with many plugins available to enhance your website with a range of fully-functional eCommerce capabilities.
Today we’ll be specifically looking at WooCommerce, a popular plugin created for WordPress.
WooCommerce is ideal for small and medium-sized online stores. It’s a free open source eCommerce plugin and in the last few years has seen incredible growth. It has had over 5.7 million downloads (at the time of writing this post) and due to this overwhelming popularity, is considered one of the fastest growing shopping carts available.
Out of the box, WooCommerce isn’t as powerful as Magento but there are plenty of really good plugins available to meet additional requirements, including:
- Very easy to install and configure
- Highly customisable
- Backend management and reporting is very easy and simple to operate, without the knowledge of any coding
- Products and categories are easy to add and manage
- It’s one of the most secured eCommerce solutions (and has been approved by Sucuri Security)
- Search engine friendly
Some of the disadvantages and considerations include:
- Frequently large updates may cause a significantly lower version to break your site
- Some extensions come from third parties, and don’t have great support
- Some extensions are also little pricey
WooCommerce is a perfect system for small to medium-sized online retailers, and of course for any developer or business that is already familiar with the WordPress interface.
If you’re starting out, then WooCommerce is definitely the place to start, as it’s very simple to use, however it does lack functionalities that may be beneficial for an enterprise eCommerce solution.
Magento is the most popular eCommerce solution for most online shopping stores – mainly because the platform offers a lot of flexibility and customisation. Like WordPress, Magento is open source, which means it allows developers to easily customise the look and functionality as required.
Magento development requires a higher level of coding skills, which means you need some experience with programming in order to setup your website. As a result, development costs can get expensive because of the complexities involved with customisation.
There are many themes available to purchase for Magento, but like all websites, we always encourage clients to build a customised design from scratch – to create the ultimate experience for users.
Here are some of the main features and benefits of the Magento platform:
- Open Source Solution – you can host Magento on your own server, however it’s recommended you try and find a Magento hosting specialist
- Develop highly-creative and responsive web designs – Magento has great flexibility with all templates and themes
- A large number of payment gateways and shipping options can be included – including integration with major Australian banks and Australia Post
- It has a really good product and order management system – there are good bulk uploading features available to help manage catalogues
- Good marketing and promotional tools – includes related products, coupons, multi-tier pricing and product bundles
- Search engine friendly – ‘out of the box’ Magento needs a little configuration, however it’s very search engine friendly
- Manage multiple stores from the same account – this makes multiple websites easier to manage centrally
Larger retailers and international brands choose Magento because it offers a stack of ‘out of the box’ features that can be enhanced with plenty of third-party apps and modules. It also provides endless possibilities for future growth.
For a full list of Magento Features visit: Click Here
The WooCommerce solution is a much more affordable solution for those that are price conscious. WooCommerce is also very easy to manage and quite often will not require a developer other than any future template changes. Compared with Magento which will be far more to develop and maintain.
It’s best to make sure with both WooCommerce and Magento that your developer is custom building the website from scratch and not using templates. Although the template can be a quick solution, they are often jam packed with extra features that will slow down your site and make updating the platform a nightmare at a later date.
If you are planning on building a new website or just want to improve the look and functionality of your existing website, then it’s important you choose the eCommerce solution that is right for you.
If after reading this you’re still not sure about what solution is right for you, feel free to contact the friendly team at DigitalThing. We’re always excited about taking on new projects and we’ll take to assess your needs and create a tailored solution.