Magento is the open source ecommerce platform on which many, many businesses conduct their online retail operations. There’s the standard Magento Community edition, and then the fancier Enterprise edition. Both are designed to meet the respective needs of the businesses that use them. As a business that’s ready to delve into the world of ecommerce, you’re probably curious to know—Magento Community or Magento Enterprise? After all, why shell out $18,000 a year for the Enterprise edition when your business doesn’t call for it?
The Perks of Community
Therein lies the first difference. Magento Community is a free download, while Enterprise costs a pretty penny. By no means however, does that imply that Magento Community is a lemon of a platform. Community provides you with a solid foundation of the necessary ecommerce functionalities, and then some. It’s built in capabilities include a persistent shopping cart, international commerce, the ability for flexible pricing on certain products and promotions, multiple product images within a product page, basic SEO tools, and much more.
An attractive benefit of having Magento Community is that it’s the perfect base for customization. You have direct code access so that the design experts and tech savvy members of your development team can go in and customize your site as you’d like. You can also change the theme (look and feel) of your store without having to touch much of the foundation of the code on which your site is built.
With this all being said for Mangento Community, you might be thinking, “Well that’s all I need!” This is true if your retail operations are small and more manageable in traffic and product offerings, or if you have an awesome team of developers and designers ready to get their hands in and make a truly custom ecommerce site. What happens, however, if you have 200,000 products, generate $30,000 in sales a day, or millions in site visitors? This is where Mangento Enterprise comes in handy.
With Enterprise, it’s all about “More! More! More!” More features, more bandwidth for more transactions, more automation—everything that Community offers, plus a bevy of fancy bells and whistles, all fully backed by the Magento team. For starters, Enterprise supports a much larger catalog of products than Community. Full page caching allows for faster loading and a fast checkout process. New product features, additions, price changes—things that could take minutes on Community, show up instantly on the front end on Enterprise. One of Enterprise’s most attractive features is its highly advanced customer segmentation capability. Your shoppers are broken down into bits of demographic and customer behavioral information ready to be custom-marketed to.
A few more benefits of Enterprise includes:
- • Advanced administrative roles
- • Secure payment bridges required by banks and credit card companies
- • Return management system
- • SOLR Search
A Community of Possibilities
Keep in mind that all of these great features aren’t exclusive to websites built on Enterprise. With the right extensions, modules, and configurations, Magento Community can perform to nearly the exact same capabilities. A quick look at our favorite marketplaces for Magento Community add-ons, Magento Connect, Amasty, Magestore, and you'll see that a great website built on Community is perfectly within reach.
In fact, in our ecommerce design work, we’ve built more than a few awesome ecommerce websites on Community that would rival any on Enterprise:
So if a Community-built website can be just as awesome those on Enterprise, what exactly does that $18,000 a year get you? That answer is support. With Enterprise, you receive the full support of the Magento team, accessible at anytime during your year of subscription by phone or email. For businesses that run a very high volume and highly intricate ecommerce operation, this support is imperative, and is well worth that hefty yearly fee.
While no extension or add-on feature can get you the kind of support and expertise that’s on hand at Magento Enterprise, a great team of designers and developers, specifically those at a certain digital marketing agency, can not only build your website on the free Magento Community edition, but also provide you with their expert support long after the site is up.