Whether you are new to ecommerce or are looking to upgrade your store to a more robust platform, it is likely that Magento is one of the platforms you are considering. Magento is a powerful ecommerce system that provides users with a wide range of benefits. With over two hundred thousand users, it is easily one of the leading ecommerce platforms on the market.
Magento offers three different versions of their ecommerce software, Go (hosted), Community (open source) and Enterprise. In this article we will focus primarily on the differences between Community and Enterprise Magento to help you decide on the best solution for your business.
There are three different versions of Magento to choose from – Go, Community and Enterprise. Each edition is aimed at a different sized ecommerce business and comes with various different features.
Benefits of Magento
In a survey conducted by Alexa it was found that in February 2013, twenty six per cent of the thirty four thousand, eight hundred and sixty four sites detected used Magento. This was an eleven per cent increase since the previous October, showing the ecommerce platform to be growing at a significant rate.
Magento is one of the most popular platform choices of business owners due to the power and flexibility it offers. It also provides a wide range of SEO benefits and can be integrated with various different plugins for added user experience. With so many benefits, it is no wonder that so many people make it their number one choice of ecommerce platform.
What is the difference between Community and Enterprise Magento?
The Magento Enterprise version is more expensive than Community, but you also get a lot more for your money. Not only does it have improved functionality, but it also has better support and feature rich enterprise capabilities for top end merchants. Community version is designed for smaller businesses. It is powered by an active community of users and developers and in most cases is a more than adequate choice for those starting out in the world of ecommerce. Here we will take a look at some of the key differences in features that will ultimately impact your decision between the two editions of Magento.
Difference in features
When looking at the difference between Community and Enterprise features, you will find that whilst Community may share some of Enterprise’s features, they tend to be offered at a weaker level. This is certainly the case for features like robust back-up, managing customer attributes and the return merchandise authorisation systems offered by the platform. Other features such as advanced search capabilities, scalability, coupon generation, market segmentation, increased tax calculation and gift-wrapping options are all offered by Magento Enterprise but not Community.
Difference in support
There is also a significant difference between the levels of support for both Magento editions. Magento (which is owned by eBay) provides around the clock support for organisations using purchased copies of Magento Enterprise. Although the software creators do not support Community, you do have access to the Magento community via the support forum. The only issue with this is that you are not guaranteed a correct solution or a set timescale for answers.
Other key differences
When choosing between the two versions of Magento, price is something that you will also need to consider. Although the code for Magento Community is free as it is open source, you will be given a blank canvas and will have to pay to customise your ecommerce store with modules and extensions. Unless you plan on a cheap installation, Magento Community can end up costing the same or more than Magento Enterprise. The latter of which costs an annual fee of £15,550 minimum.
Although you can opt for whichever version you feel is most appropriate for your business, Magento actually intended Enterprise to be for large organisations with big product catalogues. Magento Community was designed for small businesses with small inventories. However it is not Magento’s only option for small businesses as there is also Magento Go, which we will go on to discuss below
Magento Go vs. Community and why Magento?
Both Magento Go and Magento Community are suitable editions for smaller merchants (with a limited number of products) looking to start trading online.
Magento Go is ideal for small merchants with very basic ecommerce needs. They are likely to have a restricted budget and will benefit from using this SaaS (software as a service) product. Unlike the other editions of Magento, Go is provided as a hosted service with monthly fees starting at £15.00 per month. The fee can go up to £125.00 per month depending on the number of products, admins, languages, level of support, amount of storage and bandwidth you require.
Magento Community is good for mid-market merchants that need more control over their ecommerce store. For example, they need to leverage modules and be able to customise their ecommerce store to meet the needs of their customers.
Either Magento Go or Magento Community would be a good solution for your small or new ecommerce business, but it is important to remember they are not the only options available to you. If you are looking for a less complicated platform and are happy to compromise on features, there are plenty of other ecommerce platforms available, which have been designed specifically for smaller traders.
Not sure your small ecommerce business is quite ready for Magento? There are plenty of other fantastic ecommerce platforms to choose from.
Magento is a great ecommerce platform that provides many benefits, as explored in this article, however it is important to remember that it is not for everyone. When considering its features and functionality, you need to decide whether you actually need them or whether they are in fact too complex. If you do decide to go ahead and use Magento, it is important to make sure you have a great Magento developer onside to help you with the installation of your ecommerce site and integration of plugins. Make sure they have experience in building Magento ecommerce sites and are capable of delivering a great return on investment.