Magento is one of the top leading ecommerce platforms in the industry today. There’s no doubt about that. Statistics would suggest that Magento accounts for nearly 30% of all ecommerce website stores today.
As you might have known, Magento has two versions available for implementation:
- Magento Community Version
- Magento Enterprise Edition
In fact, there’s also Magento Go, but we will not be including this version in our discussion because it is not really suitable for large businesses and enterprise level ecommerce. On the other hand, Magento Community edition, even if it’s just a free version is also capable of running an enterprise ecommerce website store. But, of course, there’s a catch.
While both are both are from the same ecommerce solutions provider, there’s a big difference between the two – not just about a paid platform or a free one. If you are planning to switch to Magento, but can’t make a decision yet as to what version you want for your enterprise ecommerce website store, this article might prove to be helpful.
Let’s take a closer look.
What is Magento Community Edition?
Magento Community Edition is Magento’s free ecommerce platform. It is available for download for everyone, for free. It is also an open source system. This means that you can have full access to the source code. Many developers and designers are attracted to the platform it is open source, meaning they can implement as many modules as they want and take full control of the customizations.
The basic features and functionalities are enough to run a small scale retail business. But, with its limited functionality, since it’s just a free version, it might prove to be very challenging for running an enterprise ecommerce website store. Running an enterprise level business and only using Magento Community Edition would take up more time than needed for your IT team to come up with all the needed code to implement the required complex customizations for your website store. Nevertheless, it might also save you on the cost and expenses.
What is Magento Enterprise Edition?
Magento Enterprise is the paid version. It has all the features and functionalities that are included in the Community Edition. The Enterprise edition also comes with a more advanced collection of integrations and extensions. With this, the core features and functions are optimized to a level suited for a rapidly growing business.
There are many differences when comparing the Magento Enterprise edition to the free version. But, it is clear that the Enterprise edition is the best suited platform for big businesses that are entering the enterprise level and want to scale-up as big and as fast as possible.
You might think, that because the Enterprise edition caters to the complex needs and goals of a bigger retail business store, the learning curve in managing the platform might also prove to be difficult. However, this is not the case with the Magento Enterprise edition. With the Enterprise edition, you’ll be able to enjoy a seamless workstation for the back-end system of your website store. Ease of use is one of the core features that is added into the platform.
You will understand more about this below.
What are the Differences between the two?
Magento Community edition as discussed above is free, while the Enterprise edition is a paid platform. The licensing and hosting for the Enterprise usually starts at around $15,000 to $18,000 per year. The Community edition on the other hand, requires you to host your own website store, so the cost for hosting is a separate payment.
While the Enterprise is obviously expensive, it does come with a lot of features that are not included in the Community edition. With the higher cost also, the platform offers more reliability and functionality. The Community edition, however, would require you to seek third-party providers for added features and functionalities, still adding to your cost and expenses.
Magento Community Edition:
- Lower security mechanism since it is free.
- You’ll have to apply your own security protection for your customers.
- Does not include credit card tokenization, creating higher risks for payment transactions.
Magento Enterprise Edition:
- More secure with its PCI-Compliant certification.
- PA-DSS payment-bridge for processing payment transactions.
- Include integrations for a more secured and advanced payment options.
There is no doubt that the Enterprise edition secures the sensitive data of your website store in the same way as banks secure their sensitive data. Its security certification is also assessed regularly to keep its database definition updated to include the latest threats and risks. This prevents any attempts of breach in your website store.
Indexing and loading time for each of the pages in your website could greatly affect how your website performs. This in turn affects how your customers feel about your website store. Simply put, this affects customer experience.
At less than 5,000 products, indexing for the Community edition is at normal speed. This, however, is greatly slowed if the amount of information is significantly increased. At more than 5,000 products, the Enterprise edition is 3x faster and could run the process in the background.
For page loading time, the Community Edition has a normal cache speed while the Enterprise has a much faster full page caching:
- Community Edition – for heavy pages, the average is usually 5-8 seconds.
- Enterprise Edition – for heavy pages, the average is usually 2-3 seconds.
The Enterprise Edition offers the following customer-centric functions in its platform:
- Customer Grouping and Segmentation
- Gift Options
- Gift Registry
- Customer Rewards and Points
- Customer Store Credits
- Private Sales, Events, and Other Promotions
All the above features, however, are not included in the Community Edition. You’ll have to make your own modules for those features.
What to Choose?
If you have a catalog that contains more than 5,000 products and an increasingly growing number of customers, the right choice would always be the Enterprise Edition. This would also be suited if your annual revenue increases to at least $10M.
However, if you want to keep your IT team busy with the coding, you can always stay close within the Community Edition. The lacking features and functions, you can always make additional modules for that. These, however, entails additional resources that you need to invest in your IT team, along with the additional time-frame for testing, completion, and the actual implementation.
If you’re having second thoughts because you’re mainly comparing the two with the cost of expenses, take note that you are running a big business and in order to keep up with the growing needs, you need to invest.
Invest in the more efficient platform that can provide solutions to even the most complex of your needs.