Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise Edition: What’s the Difference?

magento-community-enterprise

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?

Cost

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.

Security Mechanism

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.

Website Performance

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.

Customer-centric Functions

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.

Is it High Time to Switch to Enterprise eCommerce?

enterprise-ecommerce

Is your eCommerce website store rapidly expanding? Is your customer base quickly growing at a speed you can’t cope up? Does your website store lags down from time to time because of the high volume of traffic? Could your current ecommerce solutions platform still handle all the increasing loads of your website store?

Is it really high time for you to switch to an enterprise platform?
What is really an enterprise ecommerce platform?

What is an Enterprise Ecommerce Platform?
Enterprise eCommerce platform is a specific type of EAS (Enterprise Application Software) that caters to large businesses doing ecommerce or online shopping. For ecommerce website owners, enterprise ecommerce platform is also called shopping cart software.

Since enterprise ecommerce entails different complexities in its needs and goals, the software or platform must be also big and complex enough to handle all these requirements, but must be easy to use. With an efficient enterprise ecommerce platform, all of the concerned departments and personnel handling different aspects of the business are organized together into a single umbrella, making it possible for a more seamless communication and management.

Simply put, an enterprise ecommerce platform is a centralized solution that handles and manages the company-wide solutions for the following:
• Accounting
• Staff Management (Admin Accounts Roles)
• Order Processing
• Product Line Inventory
• Sales and Marketing
• Localization
• Shipping and Taxation
• And all other related aspects of an online store.

However, one size does not fit all in ecommerce. Enterprise ecommerce softwares are usually categorized into different criteria.

One category is based on the type of hosting provider:
• Cloud Hosted – The type of hosting where your servers are actually in the “cloud.” This means that you don’t have to build your own physical infrastructure to accommodate the servers of your website. Since an enterprise-level ecommerce website is complex and big, it needs bigger servers for its database, uptime, and high volume of traffic. Having a cloud hosted server is advantageous in that sense, but it does not come cheap too. You’ll need a trusted and reliable hosting provider so your website can always be up and running even at times when there is a high volume of traffic like Black Friday Shopping.

• Self-Hosted – In most cases, this is usually paired with open-source platforms. Self-hosting means you are hosting your own website. You need to build your own physical infrastructure to run the servers for both the back-end and front-end of your website store. You will need a bigger investment for this. But, the advantage is that you can take full control of the server side, thus, you can do a lot of customizations.

Another category is based on the permission level of customizations:
• Open Source – This is simply a platform wherein you have access to the source code, meaning you can edit the code and implement different modules for your website store. With an open source platform, you can do full customization of you website, provided you meet the technical expertise required for tweaking the source code.

• Closed Source – A closed source platform is what you get when you avail it from a third-party provider. You don’t need to have the technical skill of a developer or designer because the back-end is handled by the provider. The catch though, is that you are limited on what you can implement on the website store. Any customizations you want will be limited to what the provider approves.
But as for the cost and expenses, there’s hardly an enterprise ecommerce solution that is free. There is, however, a free open-source platform but the cost for additional integrations are not totally free. Maintaining an enterprise-level website store needs investment and that includes cost for both the deployment and recurring expenses.

Below are some of the top enterprise ecommerce platforms today:
• Shopify Plus – A closed-source, cloud-hosted enterprise ecommerce platform. Hosting and licensing starts at $1,200 per month. Recurring expenses would depend on how big your ecommerce website store is and how much customizations you want to implement. Shopify Plus is well known for its aesthetics, having a huge collection of templates and designs from both the company itself and from third-party providers.

• Magento Enterprise – An open-source, self-hosted enterprise ecommerce platform. To save on expenses for hosting, you can avail hosting from a third party provider. But, just recently, Magento released its Ecommerce Cloud, which allows merchant to avail of hosting services. Magento Enterprise licensing usually starts at $15,000 to $18,000 per year. Magento is well known for its open source platform that includes a huge collection of features and functionalities – a haven for developers and designers who want to take full control of their website stores.

So, What Does an Enterprise Ecommerce Platform Offers?
The enterprise ecommerce playing field is a totally different level. Once you enter the playing field with your enterprise ecommerce solutions provider, your website store can enjoy a long list of advantages.

• White Glove Support System – Website stores running an enterprise ecommerce platform enjoy a higher level of technical support from the providing company. There’s always a dedicated merchant manager to help you out every step of the way, from deploying your website store to maintenance, sales and marketing, and scaling up your business.

• Virtually Unlimited Scalability – With an enterprise ecommerce platform you don’t need to worry about growing your business. You can scale up to as big as you want and enjoy unlimited:
o Product Inventory
o Bandwidth
o Support
o Database
o Uptime maintained at 99.99%

• Integrated Management System – You can run your enterprise level business in a seamless system under a single platform. This means that all information relating to every department in your business is centralized. You can:
o Send information about shipping and inventory to your warehouse.
o CRM functionality allows you to implement sales and marketing strategies to boost sales.
o Integrate POS system from your physical stores to your website store.
o Integrate all your stores into a single access.
When all of the data are accessible from a single management system, it is a lot easier to run your business, prevent any glitches, and apply the necessary improvements. Management is centralized and makes it easier for all team members to work seamlessly.

• Advanced API Integrations and Extensions – To maximize the capability of your business, an enterprise ecommerce platform allows you to integrate as many extensions and add-ons as you want for your different business needs:
o Shipping and Inventory Tracking
o Sales and Marketing
o Wholesale Outsourcing
o Accounting and Billing
o Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
o CRM platforms

So, is it High Time for You to Switch?
Do you really need all these features and functions?
Take note that these are just a few of the things that you can enjoy when upgrading to an enterprise ecommerce platform. These are just the core features and functions. There’s a lot more that you can discover in an enterprise ecommerce platform.

To answer that, you need to answer the following questions:
• Does your product line includes multiple types of products and services?
• Does each department of your business utilize the same:
o Technical Resources
o Financial Resources
o Management Team

• Is your business earning at least $10M in annual revenues and still growing?
• Is your business outgrowing rapidly your current ecommerce platform?

The bottom-line is that you have been in the business for quite some time now. You know the ins- and- out of the industry, especially your very own retail business. In fact, with your growing business, every decision counts. And just doing a trial and error run won’t cut it anymore.

You need a solution that could virtually allow you to scale-up with unlimited functionality – a system that won’t outgrow your business no matter how big you grow.

If you are in such a situation, then you must be ready to make the leap of faith and upgrade your platform to an enterprise ecommerce.