WooCommerce vs Magento vs Prestashop vs OpenCart: Best Ecommerce Platforms of 2019
January 20, 2019 Rajat Tyagi
Ecommerce is still in its infancy and this is the right time to explore the present-day CMS platform-integration to maximize its potential.
Gartner forecasts that by 2019, 40% of B2B digital commerce sites will use price optimization algorithms to deliver dynamic product pricing. The trends further predict the need to standardize the approach to mobile payments to smoothen the buying process. Thus, making it faster, secure and simpler while enabling the revenue generated via mobile payments to cross $1 trillion in 2019.
Without a doubt, with the rapid growth of internet users making online purchases e-businesses will need robust, reliable and easy-to-manage CMS platforms. So, let’s get to know the best CMS platforms of 2019 for your digital business.
WooCommerce (Self-hosted CMS)
WooCommerce is an open source ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It is a great tool for online retailers who are keen to build an online store based on their WordPress blog or website. Once set up, it lets you sell anything from digital products, subscriptions, services, to bookings and much more.
Magento (Self-hosted CMS)
Magento is one of the popular open source ecommerce platforms. This is because it offers the highest level of control and flexibility to develop an online store. It helps you take care of discounts, recurring payments, to name just a few. The platform is highly scalable as well and helps you get accustomed to it, in no time.
PrestaShop (Self-hosted CMS)
PrestaShop is a fairly new entrant in this category of open source ecommerce platforms. It is rather easy to use and does not require a thorough web development expertise. Its beautiful interface allows you to handle reporting, product management, store management etc. effectively.
OpenCart (Self-hosted CMS)
OpenCart is a lightweight ecommerce platform and is easy to customize as per your business needs. It can be used to manage unlimited categories, products, gateways and much more from a single admin panel.
Given below is the comparison between WooCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop, OpenCart for Ecommerce businesses to make informed decisions based on -
- Templates and Design
- Customer Service
- SEO Friendly
- Product Personalisation
- Pros and Cons
- Product Management
- Return on Investment (ROI)
WooCommerce takes only minutes to install and is even suitable for a user with little technical expertise. Its intuitive WordPress interface offers plenty of stunning themes but it can run on practically any theme.
How to install WooCommerce?
1. Log into your WordPress site.
2. Go to: Plugins > Add New.
3. Search for ‘WooCommerce’.
4. Select Install Now.
5. Select Activate Now and you are good to go.
To install Magento you would have to first find the installation that is right for you. For easier installation, you can install the Magento Software using the Setup Wizard. To experience more control you can install Magento using the command line after verifying system requirements.
The easiest installation method for PrestaShop is its ‘one-click install’. To do this you need a web hosting server which has a one-click installation script. Secondly, you can install PrestaShop locally. This way you can check for upgrades, test changes, modules on local installation which is on your computer without interfering with the live store. Some tools which can be used for this purpose are WAMP (Windows), XAMPP (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, Solaris), MAMP (Mac OS X). You can even install the platform manually. Download PrestaShop and follow the instructions on each screen of the installer to get started.
OpenCart is a stand-alone ecommerce platform. It can be installed in two ways – either manually or by using a single-click script installer. The manual installation offers a variety of options and customization features. You might have to take the help of a professional developer for the manual set up. But, if you go by the second method you can do it on your own. An example of a script which can help you install this way is Softaculous. You simply have to click ‘Install’ which takes you through the setup wizard.
WooCommerce is a Free plugin which can be chosen as per the nature of your business. However, you would have to factor in around $49 to $79 for extensions, $5 to $100 per month for third party website hosting, over $100 per year via third party SSL Certificate and $9 per year for Top level domain via the third party.
Magento offers Free Community Edition which lets you come across as a pro even if web development is not your forte. Magento Enterprise Edition licensing ranges from $22,000 to $125,000 per year (pre-discount) based on expected annual gross sales revenue. For cloud hosting, you can opt for Magento 2 hosting option called Enterprise Cloud Edition (ECE). It bundles together licensing and AWS-based hosting that ranges from $40,000 to $190,000 per year (pre-discount) based on expected annual gross sales revenue.
PrestaShop is a Free open source platform. But, if you are looking forward to purchasing add-ons, the costs average between $50 to $150 per module.
OpenCart is an open source platform which is free to download and own. It works on the Core+Extensions model and requires add-ons to perform higher-level functionalities.
WooCommerce can boast of being a highly user-friendly platform as it is a plug-in. It has an intuitive and robust onboarding wizard which consists of just five steps and hand-holds you through every crucial element.
With the release of Magento 2.0, the platform has become comprehensible. Making it a rather obscure platform to work on. To use it to its maximum potential it is best to spend some time learning its basics which makes it slightly less user-friendly than WooCommerce.
PrestaShop is composed of a customizable front office and an easy-to-use back office. These make the platform very user-friendly. Besides, it offers tens of add-on modules to improve its internal functions. Along with a sleek dashboard to provide quick access to all the needed store performance setting and information.
OpenCart is fairly user-friendly when compared to its counterparts owing to its well-designed interface. It is considered easier than Magento though a little harder than WooCommerce. It lets non-tech-savvy users to easily add, edit or modify within the platform with no struggle.
Templates and Design:
With a few exceptions, tens of WordPress themes can work with the WooCommerce plugin. You can pick interesting themes from Woo’s default online store theme known as Storefront which is available for free.
Magento editions offer a variety of templates for you to choose from. All of these themes are highly attractive, customizable and responsive designs suitable for any device. It has a mix of both free (up to 13) and paid templates. Moreover, other template marketplaces such as ThemeForest etc. offer a variety of free and paid Magento templates, as well.
PrestaShop offers 1,500 templates on the PrestaShop Official Marketplace. All themes offer front-end features which makes online shopping a breeze for your customers. Moreover, there are a number of third-party templates developed by certified partners. Their pricing starts from $59.99 onward.
WooCommerce’s open system architecture offers limited support from “Automattic Inc.” (web development corporation). You can submit a support ticket at WooCommerce.com and get support. Or, you can edit the source code and try solving issues on your own or appeal to WordPress forums.
Magento is backed by an extensive user community. But, if you are a user of a paid version of this platform you may count on expert technical support. You may take advantage of its free and paid educational courses to help you understand its features better.
PrestaShop has a diverse user community which comes together to solve technical issues, discuss upgrades etc. via forums and services. It comes with various plans for different levels of support but with a price. Its least expensive plan is for $249 per month for 3 hours of support or $399 annually with a minimum subscription of one year. The latter plan provides only up to 6 hours of support per year.
OpenCart supports its user by providing Dedicated Commercial support and via its free Community. These communities are free, active and you can easily find a developer or support representative to answer your queries. Its Dedicated Support has two options – one-time fix and monthly payment options both costing $99 each. You get guided assistance on installation, configuration, troubleshooting, bug fixing, and much more.
WooCommerce benefits from WordPress content integration and what is available via third-party plugins. This makes it extremely SEO-centric. You can use the Yoast SEO plugin to ensure better performance. Also, you do not have to bother about ‘URLs and 404 errors as WordPress usually generates 301 redirects when a product URL changes and this helps it in keeping the website 404 free.
Magento is considered one of the leading ecommerce platforms because it is highly SEO-optimized apart from offering Google content API, Google Sitemap etc. But, it must be noted that everything must be preconfigured with Magento. It seamlessly integrates with Google Analytics to help you track traffic from search engines.
PrestaShop provides a variety of SEO options which can be used to edit page, generate SEO friendly URLs, rank meta tags etc. to ensure your products are easily recognised.
OpenCart offers a variety of basic SEO features such as adjustments in meta titles, keywords, descriptions. But, it requires a lot of tinkering in its code. It helps to create out-of-the-box SEO URLs with a number of plugins to give your SEO performance a boost.
WooCommerce personalisation minimizes straying and offers an interesting experience to your customers. Some of the salient advantages offered are -
- By offering the latest products it allows your online business to stay in trend and satisfy the needs of customers where they can easily search products based on upcoming trends.
- The platform offers a set of amazing features which makes personalisation economical and sometimes costs nothing at all, depending on the plugin being used.
- It helps to build your online brand as simple personalisations such as a free gift wrap option, or a combo gift with an accessory does the trick.
Magento is well-known for its abundant custom options and additional adaptations. It is also known for its top-of-the-line product management with custom reporting features.
- With its features, customers get the right product and price information with personalised price lists. Thus, it helps to improve business profitability and customer satisfaction.
- The extensions make cross-selling and up-selling easier for online marketplaces.
- They capture customer data with ease to engage them and to improve their on-site experience.
PrestaShop has easy debugging modules and appealing backend interfaces. Its modules are easy to customize and version upgrade is not a hassle.
- Its extensions help to filter the customers as per their specific traits such as demographics, crowd type and geolocation and so on to offer custom products.
- It offers real-time, one-to-one customisations to customers by mapping their immediate behavioral changes or based on their individual profiling.
- Personalised product displays ensure a higher CTR 10x higher than traditional methods to turn potential customers to repeat ones.
OpenCart personalisation offers a host of benefits by eliminating natural barriers of online shopping. Thus, enriching the customer’s overall shopping experience.
- Its extensions help to do away with static products. It showcases dynamic product sets to customers based on their past shopping history.
- The use of Intelligent predictions and AI Algorithms displays only relevant products to customers offering them a personalised shopping experience.
- The extension helps to carry out email campaigns without any glitches and let your customers receive personalised product recommendations.
Pros and Cons:
WooCommerce hosts almost 400,000 sites. Being modular, it cultivates a community of developers who build extensions making it a feature-rich platform. Along with having several advanced capabilities via its extensions.
- It supports an unlimited number of products.
- It comes with a robust extension system that is based on the WordPress plugin format.
- It enables you to pick almost any payment processor you want using extensions.
- It offers dozens of premium and free themes.
- Unlike other ecommerce systems which have extensions designed specifically for them, this plugin can break at any time causing security issues.
- You will end up paying some amount if you seek a highly custom theme with added functionalities.
- If you are not on WordPress you would likely need to finish two setup processes to get your online store going.
Magento, on the other hand, provides you with both – free Community edition and paid Enterprise edition. These different suites are designed keeping the needs of various user needs in mind. It is recommended for store owners, developers and enterprises.
- It supports a number of products, as any respective self-hosted platform.
- It comes with its own theming and layout system.
- It includes efficient APIs that can connect with any third-party solution.
- It offers over 1,500 plugins and extensions.
- It offers intuitive admin interfaces and product suggestion tools.
- It offers multiple payment and shipping options.
- It regularly releases updates and given the enterprise aim the security is strong.
- It can be hosted on hosting solutions like Shared, Cloud, VPS and Dedicated.
- To get your hands on more features you would require the help of a technical expert.
- It is not for businesses who do not require a resource-intensive and a rather complex package.
- Being comprehensive, it can be comparatively tough to set up.
- Its security depends on how well it has been configured. If you are unsure of what you are using it for, it may turn vulnerable.
- The available documentation is inconsistent possibly because it has a number of legacy versions.
PrestaShop is an open source platform which supports payment gateways. You can extend its functionality by using modules which help in improving the user experience of your customers, as well. It is recommended for store owners, developers and designers.
- It supports all kinds of products and helps to manage a dynamic catalog.
- It enables better product merchandising and easy storefront configuring.
- It offers a number of inbuilt marketing and promotional tools with analytics and reporting.
- Its advanced tracking system lets you track promotions and taxes levied on customers.
- It offers over 25,000 plugins and extensions.
- It can be hosted on hosting solutions like Shared, Cloud, VPS and Dedicated.
- It lacks multi-store features which can be a major drawback if you want to set up a full-scale project.
- Its design lacks a professional touch and is suitable for startup with limited options to cross-sell online.
- Additional modules will cost you a good sum if you are looking to meet your advanced needs.
- It lacks an active support team but its users depend on its active user community of 700,000 members, user guide and rich documentation with FAQs.
OpenCart is an easy-to-operate platform which allows you to achieve your business goals. It is recommended for store owners, developers and designers.
- It supports a number of products in countless categories.
- It lets you manage multiple stores via a single admin panel.
- It helps you better optimize your online store with thousands of plugins.
- It lets you sell in any currency to take your business to a global level.
- It offers over 9,000 plugins and extensions.
- It can be hosted on hosting solutions like Shared, Cloud, VPS and Dedicated.
- Even on a strong hosting platform, it does not provide reliable performance and thus isn’t ideal for scaling.
- It provides limited features and extensions which may not be sufficient for ambitious businesses.
- It offers limited customisation options and is not a popular platform among developers. This limits its users or getting generalized developers at great cost.
- Extensions might be unsafe as they are not monitored closely.
So, Which is Better?
Advancements in technological and operational possibilities have paved the way for viable ecommerce solutions. It is no doubt, you have a wide range of customizable and flexible open source systems to choose from. But, while making the right business decision it is important to stack up and see what conclusions can be drawn according to the nature of your online business – particularly when considering their levels of security, performance, product management and return on profit.
Security is an uncompromised feature of any of the above mentioned CMS platforms. Undoubtedly, customers want their payment details and private information to be safe.
In this regard, Magento enables you to implement several advanced security measures via manual tweaks and extensions. It takes the lead in security by offering dedicated security patches to online stores and thus emerges as a clear winner among its counterparts. Although sometimes you might have to pay for help to implement these security patches, they are worth every penny, especially if security is a major concern for your business.
When you consider WooCommerce in a similar light it is fairly secure but that does not tell the whole story. The issues with this platform are an occurrence of a human error and related vulnerabilities in web hosts and WordPress. Your WordPress account can be prone to hacking anytime when a weak plugin is left active. However, you can use security plugins available for WordPress, designed specifically for it.
Talking about OpenCart, the big issue which arises is that its extensions are not under much scrutiny as those developed by other CMS platforms. Therefore, when you use OpenCart extensions you rely on the extension developer and that is a dangerous prospect.
When taking into consideration an ecommerce site’s performance, factors which play a critical role are:
- The type of theme chosen and whether it comes with additional skins and so on.
- How quick did the pages load?
- Were the customers able to find products and relocate any looked at earlier?
- Did the customer notice any surprises on the final bill, such as an unexpected shipping charge etc.?
It is also true that every online store will behave differently due to their sheer size and functionalities. Moreover, the load speed will depend on the CMS chosen and how optimized the various elements of your online store are.
A robust ecommerce CMS offers a smart handling approach to manage an array of products in several categories. WooCommerce is a good choice if you do not require advanced features for your online store. It lets you set up the store quicker which is preferable for small ventures and you can choose to expand its features with extensions.
While Magento provides various features without having to purchase extensions for management of products. It supports grouped items, advanced pricing rules, product reviews and product personalisation. But, it also brings with it a steep learning curve for you to make its best possible use.
Return on Investment:
Tracking ROI for CMS lies with having to calculate its cost-savings when it comes to the efficiency of your employees using it. Hence, it is good to calculate the return on profit based on increased productivity and staff cuts.
Further, some CMS offer Marketing Automation tools which help you to plan, track, coordinate and measure all of your marketing campaigns whether online or offline. This provides the necessary guidance on where to invest your money. For instance, if your CMS platform improves search traffic by an average of 10% to 15% then the conversion gained can get converted to revenue. While improved search on site and better engagement can push this up even more.
For detailed ROI tracking, it is best to take into account potential revenue generation sources, all of the cost savings and identify possible efficiencies to build comprehensive revenue reporting. In your report, track risk assessment with the time needed by your online Ecommerce store to gain appreciable profit on the investment.
Is WooCommerce good for eCommerce?
Yes, WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress and is an excellent tool for online retailers who are keen to build an online store based on their WordPress blog or website. Once set up, it lets you sell anything from digital products, subscriptions, services, to bookings and much more.
Is Shopify better than WooCommerce?
Shopify and WooCommerce are both excellent and popular tools. Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform so you can make your own store, while WooCommerce is a plug-in for built for WordPress. Shopify is much easier to use and scalable but is much more expensive. WooCommerce is a lot more customisable and cheaper.
Is WooCommerce good for SEO?
WooCommerce benefits from WordPress content integration and what is available via third-party plugins. This makes it extremely SEO-centric. You can use the Yoast SEO plugin to ensure better performance.
How much WooCommerce costs per month?
WooCommerce is a free plugin which can be chosen as per the nature of your business. However, you would have to factor in around $49 to $79 for extensions, $5 to $100 per month for third party website hosting, over $100 per year via third party SSL Certificate and $9 per year for top-level domain via the third party.
Can I use WooCommerce without WordPress?
No, it is a plug-in for WordPress and cannot be used without it.
What does Magento cost?
Magento offers a free Community Edition which lets you come across as a pro even if web development is not your forte. Magento Enterprise Edition licensing ranges from $22,000 to $125,000 per year (pre-discount) based on expected annual gross sales revenue.
Is Magento better than Shopify?
Depending on the goals and budget, the answer may differ. Shopify is easier and quicker, while Magento is more useful for an online store with unlimited potential for features, scalability, and customization.
How much does PrestaShop cost?
PrestaShop is a free open-source platform. But, if you are looking forward to purchasing add-ons, the costs average between $50 to $150 per module.
Which is better PrestaShop or OpenCart?
Prestashop offers better product merchandising, easy storefront configuration, in-built marketing and promotional tools and many more features. However, both Prestashop and OpenCart are not built for scale. Opencart doesn’t provide reliable performance, has limited features, and is not popular amongst developers.
Is Magento better than PrestaShop?
Yes, Magento is extremely popular, offers great security, and is wholly comprehensive. However, if you wish to run a simple business which is not resource-intensive – PrestaShop may be a better bet since it is easy to use and offers over 25,000 plug-ins and extensions.