eCommerce is a huge market – one that is expected to grow nearly 15% in the States alone this year. Within the next 5 years, the Business to Business (B2B) eCommerce market is expected to top $6.7 trillion and Business to Consumer (B2C) will be roughly $3.2 trillion. For those of you playing at home, that’s an global eCommerce market valuation of $10 trillion dollars by 2020.
This high value has attracted a lot of attention from software developers and entrepreneurs alike. It indicates to the entrepreneur that there is a mammoth opportunity here: eCommerce is not only here, but it’s not going away. Just look at the behemoth Chinese tech company Alibaba. Their focus on B2B eCommerce has netted them billions in profits – and made them larger than Amazon and eBay combined.
On the developer’s side, it means that there eCommerce web and app development will take off. It means the proliferation of eCommerce development frameworks and the proliferation of people who have no idea which framework they should use.
We talk a lot about eCommerce on these blogs for a reason: there is an insane amount of information out there. With at least ten major frameworks, it can be hard to know which is best for your business. So, as part of our ongoing series on development frameworks, why don’t we compare two of the most popular eCommerce frameworks out there: WooCommerce vs Magento.
Some of you may be wondering “what the [expletive removed] is WooCommerce??” It is yet another eCommerce framework – and the youngest of the bunch. WooCommerce was built off an open source plugin known as JigoShop (a technique known in as Forking).
Launched in 2011, WooCommerce is owned by WordPress and is also open source (most development platforms are – they make their money with extensions, plugins, and other advanced paid features). One of it’s greatest advantages is that not only is it owned by WordPress, but it’s built on WordPress.
This means that not only do you have access to the massive amount of add-ons found in the WooTheme store, but you also have access to the majority of WordPress add-ons as well. Even without the WordPress add-ons, WooCommerce has one of the largest add-on libraries out there; with WordPress taken into account, it far outstrips the competition.
Other benefits of WooCommerce include:
• Developers love WooCommerce and there are always available WooCommerce development companies;
• Easy to install and use;
In fact, all you do is install WordPress as normal, launch the WooCommerce plugin, and wallah! the framework will create the pages you need. Simple, easy, and even fun;
• The themes and plugins are pretty cheap (only a few of them pass $50) and both the WordPress and WooCommerce basic downloads are free;
• Hosting is always a big concern for entrepreneurs and business. You obviously need a server from where your site can be hosted, but it’s hard to find a good balance between over-priced options and servers that move slower than molasses on a cold day. Many frameworks are massive endeavors (see our discussion of Magento below) that need large, expensive servers or a great cloud setup. WooCommerce, on the other hand, prides itself on the fact that it’s a lightweight, super fast framework (much like PrestaShop). Its low footprint means that it can be run smoothly and quickly on virtually any host server;
♦ The option for Startups and SMBs.
Magento is preferred option for many large options and is used a large percentage of sites worldwide. This is for several reasons:
• It’s a seriously huge program. There is very little you can’t do with Magento – I’m pretty sure if you asked it nicely, it’d do your laundry and wash your dishes.
• If you’re an experienced coder, Magento can be used to build sites with a head-spinning efficiency – from concept to launch in less than 2 weeks for certain projects;
• Due to its massiveness, you don’t need to purchase as many addons as you would with WooCommerce;
Magento makes it super easy to scale up the functionality of your website;
• Extremely customizable;
♦ The option for large eCommerce sites.
Magento Vs WooCommerce
We’ve covered the benefits of both frameworks, but you may have noticed we haven’t gone into much detail concerning the problems each framework has (because nothing is perfect).
• Its vastness is both its biggest benefit and its biggest drawback. Magento is so big that unless you’re an excellent coder, I wouldn’t even try. Just hire a development partner who knows how to use Magento.
• Again, it’s vastness. Because is so big, users frequently have server issues; i.e. the site takes too long to load, it can cause server crashes, or it can load improperly. Basically, if you want to go with Magento, be prepared to spend a pretty penny on hosting.
• It’s expensive. The free options are not as extensive (though the basic framework is free) and the add-ons can range anywhere from $100-1000.
• as if to be contrarian to Magento, WooCommerce’s biggest problem is the exact opposite – it’s almost too lightweight. The basic framework is pretty thin, which means you need to buy a ton of plugins to make it work properly. While the plugins are pretty cheap, it can get pricey when making a complex site;
• For instance, the basic framework only supports a single payment option (PayPal). If you want to accept any other form of payment, you will have to buy plugins.
• Updates can get complicated; since the WooCommerce is on WordPress, updates for either framework can seriously mess up core functionalities. Updates can be dicey, but the WordPress/WooCommerce team does a pretty good job of staying on top of it.
To conclude, both frameworks are excellent. Magento is a fantastic option for large-scale enterprises with a decent budget, or for those who want a site up in record time. For SMB and startups, the WooCommerce route may be your better option, due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of learning.
Ready to get going on you own WooCommerce website? If you call SDI at 408.802.2885 we can get your site up and running in just a few months. Email us today and get a one on one consultation for your project.