Which Magneto platform is right for you?
Magento is a leading eCommerce provider which offers two open-source platforms: Magento Community and Magento Enterprise. At first glance both platforms have similar features, however what most people notice is the Community Edition is FREE while the Enterprise Edition carries the hefty annual fee of $15,000. So what makes the Enterprise Edition so expensive? Is the Community Edition any good?
Here we’ll break down the following:
- Features each platform includes.
- What to consider when choosing.
- Which platform is best for your company.
(Regardless of what platform you choose, it is important to note that the more customization you want, the more likely it is that you’ll need to hire a Magento developer.)
Magento Platform Features
“The Free Commerce Platform of Choice for Developers and Small Businesses”
The Community Edition is Magento’s base package that comes with all the basic necessities for creating a functional online store. Community contains 100+ features right out of the box. Let’s take a closer look at the most important options:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Google has many ways of rating a website’s value, such as the relevance to a user’s search or the quality of the content. Magento is known for being one of the most SEO friendly eCommerce platforms. From editing the meta-information on all of your products to having Google Content API, Magento’s features are important in having your products featured in Google searches.
- Marketing, Promotional, and Conversion Tools – All business owners know it is important to invest in long-term customer retention. Magento gives you the tools to keep in touch with your customers and generate repeat business. Right from the admin page, you’ll have control over sending newsletters, emails, polls, and coupons.
- Product Browsing – Make sure your customers have all the information they need when shopping. Magento allows for multiple images with zoom-in capability for each product along with updated stock availability. Take your sales a step further with related product searches and multi-tier pricing to help upsell your customers.
- Checkout, Payment, and Shipping – Magento makes buying easy with multiple payment gateways for you to choose from (PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, and more!). It also offers one-page checkout, saved shopping cart, Bill Me Later, and real-time shipping rates to make shopping convenient for your customers.
- Mobile Commerce – One of the most important features is the ‘responsive design’ themes which create a user friendly experience regardless of what device a customer is using to view your website.
- Customer Service – Keep your friends close and your customers closer. Magento allows customers to create feature-rich accounts that allow for fast and easy checkouts, saved shopping carts, re-orders, order tracking, and product reviews. It also comes with an easy to implement ‘Contact Us’ form to make sure all your customer’s questions are answered.
Consider: The free Magento Community Edition is tempting. It comes with everything you need to run a basic eCommerce site with the capability of adding more features as your business grows. This makes Community a great place to start for new businesses or those just getting into eCommerce. Customizing your website’s design and adding features that aren’t included with Magento Community will require editing the source code. To take full advantage of Community’s offerings, you will need to hire a Magento Certified developer. If you already have a website and want to add the Magento eCommerce platform, working with a developer would allow you to merge the two together to maintain a seamless shopping experience for your customers. For those that only need the basic tools to support their online sales, Community may be prefered and is free to test out. But, if your business is based around online sales or if online sales are a large source of revenue, you may be better off investing in Magento Enterprise Edition.
“The high performance, scalable digital commerce solution for fast-growing and large businesses.”
Magento’s Enterprise Edition includes all the offerings of the Community Edition and much more, but it also includes a $15,000 price tag. So what exactly is “more” and is it worth the cost? Here is what you get and why it could be worth the dollars:
- Magento Customer Support – Right away you will have access to Magento’s customer support, giving you (or your development team) 24/7 access to technical help. Their support technicians perform initial problem investigations and collaborate with product engineers to find the proper patches and hotfixes for your platform.
- Automated Emails – While Magento Community integrates automatic order confirmation and shipping updates, it does not offer other trigger-based emails unless you use a 3rd party extension. These extensions can often conflict with other systems and aren’t always dependable. Magento Enterprise comes with this feature included so you can manage and send automatic emails for abandoned carts, coupons, and to thank customers for their purchase.
- Backup and Rollback – For users of the Community Edition, they may find themselves with a nonfunctioning website after improperly editing code or trying to add an extension. The Enterprise Edition includes scheduled backups for your system, database, and media. This allows you to easily rollback your system if an implemented feature is disrupting the functionality of your site.
- Rewards Points – Like your favorite local retailer, Magento enables businesses to implement incentive programs to help increase customer loyalty. Customization allows for owners to choose ways in which points are awarded and redeemed.
- Store Credit – Sell virtual gift cards or issue store credit that can be linked to individual customer accounts.
- Return Management Authorization (RMA) – Enables both merchant and customer administration over returns including partial order returns, return shipping methods, and customer notifications.
- Full Page Caching – Paying for Magento Enterprise means you get the most powerful version allowing for faster page loads and checkout time. Full page caching stores the page data from your website which will enhance the speed and performance for end users.
- Strong Data Encryption/PA-DSS Certification – Magento’s secure payment bridge is PA-DSS certified which allows you to easily meet PCI compliance (a set of requirements used to ensure all eCommerce sites are providing a secure environment for transmitting and storing credit card information). This allows your customers to safely save their credit card information for future transactions.
Consider: Magento Enterprise Edition is considered one of the most powerful eCommerce platforms available today, but that does not mean it is the best solution if you will not use of all its features. Before choosing either platform it is important to determine the features you want on your site and the budget you have to work with. Using this package, you can expect to hire a full-time development team to continuously maintain your website and get the most out of your investment. If your business deals heavily with online sales, then the included features in Magento Enterprise are invaluable tools that will bring your website and customer service to the next level.
Which Platform Should You Choose?
If you haven’t already, it is important to create a budget and set goals to determine what exactly your future eCommerce site needs to accomplish.
High traffic volume, large inventory, aggressive sales goals…
If you are a large company with high daily traffic volume visiting your website or looking to move a large product inventory online, it would be wise to invest in the Magento Enterprise platform. Capable of handling a larger traffic volume while still delivering a fast online experience, it helps to guarantee a positive user experience. Enterprise also offers many automated features to upsell customers as well as create long-term retention. For a company that truly wants to invest in their online presence and cash-in on the eCommerce market, Magento Enterprise includes many tried and true tools for increasing the number of sales, the average order value, and the lifetime value of customers.
Small businesses, eCommerce first-timers, frugal spenders…
Maybe you are a smaller business, new to eCommerce, or are simply on a tight budget. Magento Community Edition still offers one of the best eCommerce solutions for getting your storefront up and running. As your business grows, you will be able to add new features to meet future needs. It is a great place for any business to start and can later be upgraded to Magento Enterprise.
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