Two Jay will be exhibiting at this year’s eCommerce Show North.
Which platform is right for your business?
Magento rebranded its product suite in June 2017, renaming and reconfiguring the three primary Magento platforms into two. Magento Community Edition is now known as Magento Open Source, whilst Magento Enterprise and Magento Cloud Edition become Magento Commerce.
All versions of Magento share the same core code base with Enterprise adding additional licensed features. This provides a secure and scalable solution for your eCommerce business and a potential migration path between versions. Which Magento platform you choose really depends on your business needs and future growth plans. With so much varying advice out there, we appreciate it’s not an easy decision.
So, if you’re looking to migrate to or build on Magento, we’re hoping to provide a bit more clarity on which version is the right one for you.
Magento Open Source for Start-ups and Small Businesses
Magento Open Source provides all the basic performance and features needed to run an eCommerce store. It is the license free version of Magento which makes it more accessible for startup businesses and small businesses who are potentially new to the industry or have a limited budget. Although this version does not have the same capabilities as Magento Commerce, it can be customised through additional extensions or custom development.
Both Open Source and Commerce users can take advantage of Magento 2’s improved capabilities including Varnish caching, browser caching, asynchronous processing, and page minification and merging. Plus, they have the same access to the Magento Marketplace, which enables you to purchase additional Magento 2 extensions to further your website functionality.
Despite this, Open Source will not scale operationally as you grow which may cause issues in terms of offering eCommerce service in the future, and it does not offer Magento’s support (which means you will have no assistance if your platform crashes… even if it’s in the middle of Black Friday!) It’s also important to note that, whilst it is entirely possible to upgrade from Magento Open Source to Magento Commerce, the ease of doing this will be impacted by the amount of customisation which has taken place. For example, not all third party modules are compatible with Enterprise and as a result of this some refactoring may be required.
In summary, we believe this is the ideal platform for startups and smaller businesses and despite its drawbacks, there are a number of well-known retailers who’ve managed to adapt their Open Source website to keep up with their growing requirements and customer expectations.
Magento Commerce for ambitious and Established Businesses
For businesses looking for something more secure and operationally scalable than Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce offers a more robust option with enterprise-level features right out of the box. Depending on the size of your business, Magento Commerce is available in two monthly pricing tiers, the Starter subscription starts at $1,999 per month, whilst the Pro subscription starts at $3,399. Each plan includes support and Cloud-based hosting and infrastructure, which means Magento will handle any hosting challenges such as redundancy, disaster recovery and dynamic scaling.
Whilst marketing tools can be integrated with Open Source, Magento Commerce boasts a range of advanced marketing tools including content scheduling, dynamic customer segmentation, cart abandonment emails and personalisation tools which have seen users increase sales significantly.
The Magento Commerce admin also allows return and exchange rules, and other customer service features such as gift wrap options, wish lists, gift cards and store credit. Vital features for any brand interested in improving their brand loyalty and increasing repeat sales.
Not only this, Magento is constantly improving their platform through ongoing research and development, so if you have an enterprise license you will benefit from this and get immediate access to any new features they implement.
Magento Commerce is designed for larger organisations and is ideal for those who require reliability and availability. It offers one native platform for B2C and B2B with the option to add as many storefronts as you want. For B2B retailers it is the ideal option as it includes everything you need to manage B2B sites for multiple brands, channel partners, or key accounts.
When considering what functionality you will need it’s important to consider the next 5 years. For ambitious retailers, Open Source will have some restraints, and it is important to understand what additional extensions would need to be installed and what custom development would need to be undertaken to allow your business to keep up with its potential growth. Extensions are ‘bolted onto the outside’ of the application, which means they will be less integrated to other core features which could potentially cause issues. However, whilst it may not be our preferred option Magento Open Source is a brilliant platform for brands who want to get online quickly and build as they grow.
The platform we recommend to the majority of our customers is Magento Commerce – it’s the most robust and scalable of the two, as well as being a 100% open for customisation. It allows merchants to work on a better basis with supported functionalities and a cleaner code which is more adapted to high demands of traffic and revenue. It’s also good to bear in mind that the extra investment in a higher specification platform is often outweighed by a reduction in maintenance costs, as Magento Commerce merchants will require fewer developers for daily maintenance of the platform.