Wrapping your head round which eCommerce plugin or CMS to use can be a nightmare, but we are going to try to make it easier for you. Today we will compare Magento (Community Edition) and WooCommerce (an advanced WordPress extension). Magento can be quite overwhelming. So I decided to compare it to WooCommerce, a popular WordPress shopping cart extension that can relate to Shopify (Yet another option, but we’ll leave that for now) when it comes to features.
If you know little or nothing about either of these, then go do some reading as this post wont be very helpful unless you understand the basics. You can find a wealth of information for Magento here, and WooCommerce here. So lets dive in!
Setting it all up
Setting up both shopping carts is really very easy. WooCommerce is a WordPress add-on, so you’ll need WordPress installed of course.
Really you’re not going to split these two by the complication of the install. Both can be downloaded, uploaded, and installed very easily. The documentation to help is also adequate for both. Most will probably agree though, WooCommerce is really fool proof in this area.
Now these two head there own ways. In many respects WooCommerce is ready to go out of the box. Setting up WooCommerce starts with installing WordPress, and then adding the WooCommerce plugin. You obviously need to fill out the settings areas with your information, and upload your products; however once done you are good to go. Sample data has to be loaded manually, but it not as easy as with Magento. WooCommerce adds two buttons to the WordPress admin navigation. This lets you set up your categories and products. For those familiar with WordPress, this should look familiar. The options you have are quite limited: you can specify if a category view should display the product inside, the subcategories or both. With not as many options as Magento to choose from, adding a product in WooCommerce works much faster. Some people may find this welcoming, however others will look for Magento’s more advanced features.
When it comes to Magento you will notice the dashboard immediately is far more sophisticated. One reason for this is it was developed as a standalone CMS, not a plugin. The default template isn’t as modern as the WooCommerce template. Also, you won’t see a handy setup wizard on your first login. Magento allows you to change almost anything you see, and this gives you great flexibility in customizing your store. Because of this, adding your first product can be quite a challenge. For more on this complicated, but thorough procedure have a read here. Because of the advanced level of Magento, setting up your store can take you anything from a few days for a simple store based on a default theme, to months of work when you add thousands of products and use a custom design.
Really it comes down to what your online store in going to be. If you’re going to have a few products up then stick to WooCommerce (that’s not to say Magento can’t do that, it just saves time as you wont need the extra features). However, if you plan of running the next massive eCommerce giant with hundreds of products, take the time to get Magento setup and you will reap the rewards.