When faced with several choices for a given situation, the only way to make the right decision is to get as many facts as you can for each of the different options. This is precisely the case when thinking about building an eCommerce site, as the number of platforms available may soon turn the process into an overwhelming ordeal, especially if you are about to build your first site. Among the various options out there, two come to mind for their characteristics: Magento 2 and WooCommerce. Let’s analyze their pros and cons.
Price is one of the initial concerns for anyone looking to start an online store. The good news is that both options are free. Well, sort of. Magento 2’s Open Source Edition (formerly known as the Community Edition (CE)) is completely free. But the Commerce Edition (formerly Enterprise Edition (EE)) is not. However, the latter has more powerful features, like the advanced extensions that are easy to install and update, content staging and preview, different levels of permissions to administer your store, optimized indexation, advanced search capabilities, stronger security of data encryption, data base scalability, and many more benefits. Meanwhile, WooCommerce is completely free. This would immediately make it seem like the best choice altogether; however, there are certain aspects to be considered before making a decision.
Magento 2 is in fact an eCommerce platform, while WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, a content management system. And though both may involve a learning curve, WooCommerce requires that users either have a previous knowledge of WordPress or learn how to use it before trying to manage the plugin. So free may mean you won’t have to disburse money, but it doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay a price.
Both options are suitable for basic eCommerce needs, but only Magento’s scalability offers the possibility to grow as the store grows. And although both can handle an unlimited number of products, only Magento offers a streamlined shopping process that allows shoppers to check out faster and more efficiently. Magento 2 is perfectly capable of managing large volumes of page views without crashing.
In this regard, there is little to say about WooCommerce. It integrates with Google Analytics, which can provide you with insights on how users interact with your site, and allows you to track return-on-investment for your online marketing. However, Magento 2 integrates with tools that enable your visitors to go from browsing to checkout almost seamlessly, as it integrates with other platforms like PayPal, Authorize.Net, and Braintree right out of the box.
In terms of the overall performance, unless you are using the Commerce Edition of Magento 2 (the one that is not free), loading times will be very similar. Regardless of the platform, each site will behave in a different fashion depending on its size and functionality, and also on the web hosting provider you may have chosen.
Although both systems offer advanced security options, Magento 2 takes the lead by offering its users dedicated security patches. It may require a little more knowledge to implement these patches, but if you are serious about security that should not pose a problem.
Last but not least, one of the most important features of any eCommerce system is the way you add products to your catalog. WooCommerce is downright simple, but it lacks several features Magento offers, unless you purchase additional extensions. So when it comes to product reviews, wish lists, or pricing rules, Magento 2 is the better way to go.
Both platforms are fine for a beginner, with Magento 2 being a little harder to set up for someone with no knowledge at all. But in the end, simplicity could be a high price to pay once the site needs to grow.
Ask our IronPlane certified staff for advice on the best way to start your Magento 2 eCommerce site.