Setting up an E-commerce Store- Magento V/s WordPress

WordPress v/s Magento? Which one is a better choice for your E-commerce store? Here is a comparison of the two platforms to help you make an informed decision.

I run a small web design studio based in Sydney, Australia and am often asked by my prospective customers what could potentially be the best platform or CMS to power their e-commerce stores. The choice is always between WordPress and Magento. I thought I will pen my thoughts and experience in the form of this blog discussing both the platforms in detail and hope this will help you decide the best solution based on your specific needs.

If you are setting up an e-commerce store, the first question that pops up is what platform should you use to build the store? When you talk of open-source platforms there are two options available i.e. WordPress and Magento both with their positives and negatives.

WordPress was initially launched as a blogging tool in 2003 and slowly used as a CMS to manage informational websites. The platform is written in PHP and MySQL. This is essentially an open source tool i.e. developers around the world could code plug-ins that could be added on to the platform thus providing more features and functionalities to website owners. The E-commerce functionality on WordPress also comes in the form of a plug-in that can be added on to sell online.

On the other hand Magento was launched in 2007, also an open source CMS built specifically to power e-commerce stores. There are currently two versions of Magento i.e. Community Edition and Enterprise Edition. The Community edition is essentially free and allows a store owner to add more functionalities through paid or free extensions whereas the Enterprise edition is paid for and comes packed with a number of powerful functionalities and better technical support as compared to the Community Edition.

WordPress v/s Magento, so which platform is the best option for you to run your e-commerce store? Well that depends on a number of factors as listed below:

  • Primary purpose – What is the primary purpose of setting up the website? Is the e-commerce store just a small part of the website or is it the main purpose of setting up the website. If selling online is the main purpose behind setting up the website then Magento is the best choice for you.
  • Size of your catalog – How big is your current range of products? If you have a small range of products and you don’t expect it to grow significantly in the next few years then WordPress is a viable option however if you have a large catalog of products that keep changing with time then Magento will be the best solution for you.
  • Budget for setting up your online store – Setting up a website on WordPress is a bit cheaper as compared to a Magento based store however bear in mind, Magento does provide more functionalities as compared to WordPress. A good starting point would be to seek quotations from developers for setting up the store using either of the platforms and comparing the two.
  • The amount of control you require – If you require high level of control for your store i.e. bulk uploading of products, inventory management, multi-warehouse ordering system then Magento is a better choice for your business.
  • Target Market – Who is your target market? Are you planning to sell domestically or internationally? Magento offers a multi-currency option for pricing and also allows for cross border taxation rules to be incorporated seamlessly within your store. WordPress can allow for the above functionality to be incorporated only through a plug-in whereas this is a inbuilt feature on the Magento platform.
  • Turnover of products – Do you expect the turnover of your products to be high e.g. Electronics, Branded clothing. If yes, then Magento will provide you a high level control for inventory management.
  • Business model – Are you a wholesaler or a retailer? Do you offer multi-level pricing to different segments of customers? If so then Magento can cater to your needs better than WordPress.
  • Size of your business – If you are an established business with multiple online stores and warehouses then Magento is the answer however if you are a small business with just a single store and warehouse then WordPress can do the trick for you.
  • Accounting Process – Would you like to integrate your Accounting software (MYOB, Xero, Reckon) to work seamlessly with the e-commerce store? Both the platforms allow you to do so through a third part plug-ins. There is no one up here!
  • Warehouse Management – If you fulfill orders from multiple warehouses then Magento provides you better control as compared to WordPress. There are a few Magento extensions that can seamlessly connect multiple warehouses. Some of the features included in this plug-in are real time stock level reports, Drop-shipping management, multi-level access, low stock or returned stock notifications and supplier and procurement management.
    To sum it up, if your operation is going to be small with limited number of products and you are comfortable managing the inventory manually then WordPress should do the trick for you however if the sole purpose for setting up the website is selling online with a large catalogue of products that are stocked in various warehouses across different locations then Magento is the right option for you. Magento based ecommerce stores are often more expensive to setup initially but basically you get what you pay for. The extra money that you spend gives greater control and more flexibility for managing your online store in the long term.

Websites ‘N’ More is a Sydney based web design company with expertise in WordPress and Magento. If you are looking to setup an e-commerce store or would like consultation based on the above blog, get in touch with us today to get a quote.