Magento vs Open Cart: eCommerce Platform Comparison

When it comes to your eCommerce platform, you need flexibility, security, low cost and ease of use. These are the criteria we are using for this comparison. So which is better for your online business, popular mainstay Magento or relative unknown OpenCart?

Before you Start, Ask yourself…

  • What is your level of experience with managing websites?
  • How much support do you need?
  • What size is your business?
  • Are you a domestic or international retailer?
  • Do you have multiple eCommerce sites?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you have programming skills?

Magento

Straight off the bat, Magento’s own beautiful website inspires confidence. The first major selling point with Magento is that it is fully customizable from a design point of view. You can make your online store look however you like, which is a big plus. That said, it is an open source product and uses templates which means no programming skills are required. They have industry specific eCommerce solutions that are great off the shelf options for your particular business.

Magento supports multiple currencies, which is a must if you sell in different international markets. Product reviews, ratings and multiple languages are a given.

There are a huge number of plugins and extensions which means you can customize to your heart’s content. Because of all these features, however, shared hosting is not an option and this comes with extra cost. The SEO aspect is a real selling point with flexibility on metatags, images and the ability to connect to a WordPress blog.

Whilst no programming skills are necessary, to take full advantage of Magento’s customization, you need to know how to code in PHP or be able to afford a developer to do it for you. This, needless to say, adds another layer of cost if you want the highest level eCommerce platform.

The verdict: Ideal for established businesses with a big budget looking for a slick and customizable platform that will cope with your business’s growth.

 

OpenCart

OpenCart is a less sophisticated platform. But with shared hosting being an option, it is more affordable. One of the main strengths of Magento is that it is easy to setup and use. Absolutely no programming experience (not even experience with websites) is required. This makes it ideal for startups and small businesses transitioning online who want a quick and easy way to establish an online presence.

It may be more basic than Magento, but OpenCart allows for serious online commerce. It supports multiple currencies, languages and a whole host of payment options and shipping methods.

It is not as customizable as Magento and there are fewer add-ons. This means that an OpenCart site may look a little generic. For smaller enterprises, though, this isn’t major concern.

It must be said that the SEO features let OpenCart down. It lacks the features of Magento and many find it overly complex. Bearing in mind startups have a critical need for SEO, this is disappointing.

The verdict: Open Cart is a great low cost choice for startups. It will get you online and operational quickly and easily, just don’t expect any bells and whistles.

 

The Last Word

At the end of the day, both are solid platforms. Magento is the clear winner if you are an established business who can afford high end features and need customization (and have access to the skills to customize it). Open Cart is great affordable option for startups on a limited budget whose priority is selling online quickly and easily.

 

Oksana Melnik
Magento certified solution specialist. Passioned by travelling and technologies.