When a client approaches me for an initial e-commerce implementation or a total overhaul and replatform of their current system, I educate them on why Magento Community may be a more cost-effective way to build an enterprise-level site without the enterprise-level costs. Magento Enterprise, which functions as a robust e-commerce solution for many larger businesses, might just be overkill for your company. It’s truly a case-by-case consideration.
Magento Enterprise does offer some features above and beyond their Community Edition software, such as customer segmentation and private sales. But for your money, is that functionality worth a $250-500k Magento Enterprise implementation cost, versus the $35-150k you would spend building a Magento Community site? Has your business matured to that level?
In my opinion, one thing is for certain: either Magento solution is far more feature-rich and scalable than a hosted solution like BigCommerce, Shopify, and Volusion. While these options can be great for the for the DIY internet retailer, they become a little less effective once your business breaks the $1M sales barrier, which is when your goals — and your needs — become a little different. Integrating into an ERP system or streamlining your operation workflow is much easier in the Magento environment.
I understand that making the decision to upgrade to an enterprise-level solution like Magento Community can be tough. But as your company grows, making the leap from a hosted shopping solution to an enterprise platform will streamline your processes, as you can connect your order and shipping management. In addition, you’ll take control of your own data, as it will be hosted on your own site and therefore accessible forever.
Here’s who I think would benefit most from switching to a Magento Community site:
- New retailers who are looking to do business online and are interested in building a store. Because Magento Community is open-source, there are no licensing fees, and you retain ownership of your data. It's a great way to start by doing it right.
- Retailers thinking about eventually moving to a Magento Enterprise site, but who can't justify the $17,000 per-year fees. Moving to Magento Community puts them on the same platform, gives them the same data model, and most of the tools they would use with Magento Enterprise.
- Current e-tailers that are doing business on an existing platform, but want to upgrade to more powerful e-commerce marketing tools, automated email platforms, and ERP/order management software.
Magento is a powerful solution and when done right, it can take your business to the next level.