Business is booming online. Actually, ‘booming’ doesn’t quite do it justice. To borrow a phrase from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, business is ‘boom, boom, shake the room’-ing online. Don’t just take our word for it though, let’s examine the evidence.
- Exhibit A: eCommerce penetration accelerated by a decade during the first three months of 20201
- Exhibit B: In 2019, online sales outside holidays exceeded $2 billion twice. In 2020, it happened 130 times2
- Exhibit C: Boosted by pandemic sales, Amazon’s stock soared 76% in 2020 with a net income of $2.1 billion3
So it’s no surprise that more brands than ever are looking to enter the world of online sales and grab a slice of that tasty eCommerce pie. To do so, choosing the right eCommerce platform is key as it forms the foundation of any successful online business.
To help you plan your eCommerce strategy and select the right software solution for your brand, let’s take a look at two of the world’s most popular eCommerce platforms: WooCommerce and Magento.
- Introducing WooCommerce and Magento
- How are WooCommerce and Magento similar?
- How are WooCommerce and Magento different?
- What do you want from an eCommerce platform?
- We’ll woo you with WooCommerce
- WooCommerce case studies
Introducing WooCommerce and Magento
In the red corner, used by 7.4% of all websites is the WooCommerce plugin, which can transform a WordPress website into an eCommerce site. It powers no less than 28.19% of all online stores and is used by almost 94% of all WordPress eCommerce sites.4
And, in the blue corner, used by 0.8% of all websites, is the Magento eCommerce platform, which powers 1.3% of all websites that use a content management system (CMS).5
It’s clear from these statistics that WooCommerce has a bigger market share, but when it comes to your eCommerce needs which platform is best? And what does ‘best’ even mean in this context? Let’s investigate.
How are WooCommerce and Magento similar?
In a nutshell, here’s what WooCommerce and Magento have in common:
- They’re both open source eCommerce platforms which means anyone can access the original code and adapt it as to their requirements
- They’re both free (up to a point). You can get the basic versions at no cost but if you need more functionality you can opt for the paid-for version, plugins, add-ons, etc.
How are WooCommerce and Magento different?
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. As such, it’s part of the WordPress offering and hosted by WordPress. While we’re discussing plug-ins, here’s our guide to the best WooCommerce plugins. Magento, on the other hand, is a standalone platform, which means you will also need to arrange hosting for your website to go live.
That’s the biggest difference between the pair but perhaps the best way to gauge what sets them apart in more detail is to ask…
What do you want from an eCommerce platform?
Ease of use
Let’s face it, everyone wants an easier life, particularly when it comes to running your business. That’s why you need an eCommerce platform that’s easy and intuitive to use to avoid the cost and time involved with training people to use it.
This is where WooCommerce comes into its own, particularly if you’ve already got a WordPress site as you’re just a few clicks away from installing it and, thanks to having its own setup wizard, once it’s installed you don’t need to be a technical whizz to get started.
As for Magento, well, it’s a little more complicated to set up, particularly if you want to add extensions to utilise its full potential. It’s fair to say you’ll have to factor in the cost of hiring a Magento expert to get your solution up-and-running. This brings us on to…
If your level of technical expertise ends at ‘turn it off and on again’ a) that usually works, and b) don’t worry! As the WooCommerce platform is hosted by WordPress, you’ll benefit from 24/7 customer support from their expert team as and when you need it.
If you plump for Magento, the level of support you’ll receive is dependent on the hosting provider you choose, who may not have expertise in your chosen platform.
Value for money
As we mentioned earlier, the basic versions of both WooCommerce and Magento are free but will they have enough bells and whistles for you to set up and run your unique eCommerce business? Probably not. The chances are you’re going to want to customise your site with added functionality and plugins.
With WooCommerce, you’ll need to budget for the WordPress hosting plus any extensions or themes you’d like to add, some of which are free. The potential costs for Magento include opting for the annual cost of the paid-for version – Magento Commerce – and the hosting cost from a third-party provider.
One thing to note here is that because Magento is a larger application that requires more server resources and higher operational costs, you could end up spending twice as much, which may be overkill for small and medium businesses.
Did you know that on average 30,000 new websites are hacked every single day?6 So it should come as no surprise that, as two of the leading eCommerce platforms on the market, providing a safe shopping experience is important to both WooCommerce and Magento. This is particularly important as research has shown that 64% of people will leave a website they believe to be unsecure.7
Magento is owned by Adobe (following a $1.68 billion acquisition in 2018) and together they regularly roll out security updates and patches to keep websites secure. You will also get site security from your chosen hosting provider, so be sure to prioritise security features when choosing who to go with. As for WooCommerce, any security issues will be addressed as part of your hosting package with WordPress.
This is another area in which both WooCommerce and Magento excel. As your business grows, you’ll want your eCommerce site to have the flexibility to scale with it to avoid your site crashing or loading slowly when it gets busy during an online sale or the peak holiday seasons. After all, 40% of visitors leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.8
Designed with the shopping experience in mind, WooCommerce and Magento are easy to scale and customise, whether it’s to add more products or services, or the ability to handle more traffic or process a larger quantity of orders in one go.
We’ll Woo you with WooCommerce
As a Web Design and Development Agency who specialise in building amazing products and online experiences, we recommend WooCommerce and WordPress to the small and medium-sized businesses we work with. It’s easy to use, it doesn’t require an additional content management system (CMS), and it’s more widely supported with a growing market share.
Find out more about how we can help design and build your perfect eCommerce store here.
WooCommerce Case Studies
If you’d like to see some examples of WooCommerce websites we’ve designed and developed at Code23, check out these recent examples: