WooCommerce vs Magento: The Truth
As an agency we have worked with both WooCommerce and Magento for many years for our eCommerce websites. It is commonly believed that WooCommerce is for your smaller sites and Magento is for when you outgrow WooCommerce. I’m here to tell you this is 100% not true, there are differences between the platforms, but the real differences are not in how many products or sales you have.
We have WooCommerce sites with over 21,000 SKU’s running so seamlessly you wouldn’t realise it had so many products. We also have WooCommerce sites that have processed hundreds of sales within just a few days without a single issue. So what are the real differences?
Due to Magento’s extremely complex set-up you will generally pay twice as much for the same site built on Magento as WooCommerce. The ongoing costs are far more significant too. You’ll pay much more to update Magento and fix bugs, plus Magento requires a lot more processing power so the server costs are higher too.
Yes it is true that Magento has more features out of the box, however both are on par in terms of available features. WooCommerce is built lean, this means they’ve only put in what’s really required then you expand on it using plugins. There are a lot of pros to this approach such as it’s easier to fix and isolate bugs, it’s much more user friendly because it’s not crowded with unnecessary features, you don’t have to worry about unnecessary actions such as flushing the cache after you add a product and it’s more stable and cheaper to run.
Both platforms have a massive array of plugins available straight away, WooCommerce’s plugins are at a much lower price point for the same thing as Magento. When it comes to doing custom plugins both platforms support it – again though, WooCommerce is generally much cheaper to build these on then Magento. It is important to note that WooCommerce is built on WordPress, which has a solid plugin set-up thus making WooCommerce very easy to expand. In contrast Magento has been built to allow you to do whatever you want, however it can require hacking the core of Magento sometimes which makes upgrading problematic. It is also good to note that the most popular extension for Magento is the WordPress plugin, so the demand for WordPress and eCommerce to work together is very high, so why not have them managed through the same back-end?
You never want to go out alone on a platform that’s not proven, and this is where Magento had a head start and has a lot of large stores already running on it. When you actually look deeper though, you will find WooCommerce powers over 24% of all eCommerce sites in contrast to Magento which powers about 9%. WordPress also powers high traffic sites such as time.com, cnn.com, ted.com and techcrunch.com, given that WooCommerce uses the same foundation, it can easily handle the same amount of traffic.
This is a common question I get asked about WordPress and WooCommerce, and that is, “is it secure”. The reality is yes, WordPress and WooCommerce are both very secure. What you have to be careful of though is the plugins built by third parties. If the plugin isn’t frequently updated you can run into issues with the plugin having security holes. To avoid this make sure you use a plugin that is frequently updated and commonly used. This same rule goes for Magento as well.
In my opinion it is much easier to manage products within WooCommerce because it’s not overcrowded with unnecessary “advanced” features. But when it comes to managing a large amount of products to sync with your POS, eBay and/or your accounting software both will likely fall short. What you should do in this situation is find a third party ERP or inventory management system to manage this. Some great cloud based solutions that hook into both WooCommerce and Magento are: tradegecko.com, veeqo.com and stitchlabs.com. There are many more, just do your research as each has it’s strengths and weaknesses so you need to find one that in line with your business.
Design & Theming
WooCommerce easily wins this one. Being built on WordPress means it utilises the great theming architecture of WordPress allowing you complete flexibility. Magento on the other hand has a much more complex theming structure. This leads to less flexibility with the design and much longer development times.
So there you have it, the truth about both platforms. Both WooCommerce and Magento play in the same market, it just comes down to your preferences on which one is most suitable for your needs.