In addition to building e-commerce solutions from scratch, we’ve also build e-commerce websites using both Magento and WooCommerce. We’ve also used several other e-commerce options in building client websites, but currently Magento and WooCommerce are our favorites for different reasons.
What we like about both Magento and WooCommerce as e-commerce platforms
As in any platform, we like to use software that has a large community of both users and developers. A large community shows that the platform is well accepted. It’s also easier to find additional software to extend the functionality of the platform and support from other users/developers. Both Magento and WooCommerce have large communities of enthusiastic users and developers.
When a client asks us to add a feature to their Magento or WooCommerce e-commerce website, in most cases we can find add-on software that has already been built. This decreases the cost of development and creates a higher quality e-commerce solution.
Magento has the Magento Connect Marketplace to find and purchase extensions. As a side note, our friends at Extension Galaxy have a great system to test and buy Magento extensions for any version of Magento. We recommend you check them out.
WooCommerce also has a large number of extensions they have listed in their website. In our experience, we can always fulfill a client feature request with a quality WooCommerce extension.
Backed By Quality Companies
In 2011, eBay purchased Magento for $180 million. According to Forbes.com, just last year, in 2015, eBay sold off Magento as eBay Enterprise to a consortium of private equity investors including Permira Funds and Sterling Partners, which was then spun off into it’s own company, Magento Commerce.
WooCommerce is part of WooThemes who was acquired by Automatic in May of 2015. Automattic is a web development company that operates wordpress.com and is a large contributor to the WordPress open-source project.
Both Magento and WooCommerce are open-source. Meaning the code is open to the community to view and modify. Many developers, from various backgrounds, participate in the development and maintenance of the code base.
Stand-alone vs WordPress Plugin
Magento is a stand-alone e-commerce platform. It can be installed by itself in a server environment without the addition of any other software. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and therefore must be installed within a WordPress CMS(Content Management System) installation.
There are ways to integrate Magento into WordPress, but it’s not as seamless as WooCommerce. Magento does have CMS features but they are not as robust or as easy as WordPress.
The standard Magento installation contains more features than WooCommerce. However, many features can be added to both platforms using either prebuilt or custom extensions.
Magento is focuses towards the enterprise business and is therefore more scalable than WooCommerce. WooCommerce is geared more towards the entry-level e-commerce business or as a portion of a WordPress marketing website.
From our experience, installing, configuring and maintaining a Magento e-commerce store is much more intensive than WooCommerce. Those clients with Magento stores tend to have a full-time staff or rely on a Magento development partner to maintain the e-commerce store. WooCommerce is easier to install and configure than Magento. It is also much easier for clients to learn how to manage their WooCommerce store on a part-time basis.
Why choose one e-commerce platform over the other?
So why would one client choose Magento and another choose WooCommerce? We believe that each platform serves a different target market. Magento is geared towards the more established retail business with lots of products and bigger budgets. WooCommerce is geared more toward businesses starting out in the e-commerce or with a fewer number of products to maintain. WooCommerce is also nice choice for website owners who already have a WordPress website and want to add an e-commerce store, or want a great CMS along with a great e-commerce shopping cart.
Please let us now what you think.