Magento Vs. Opencart: the best fit for your online store
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Article Overview

Reading Time: 30 minutes

Posted on: Wednesday April 24, 2019

 

There are near about fifty different open source Ecommerce development platforms available out there, but there can be no denying the fact that web developers prefer either of two: Magento or Opencart.

Both Magento and Opencart are extremely resourceful and when it comes to popularity, both are at almost equal footing. Which is why, if you are on the verge of creating your own online store, it can be extremely difficult to select which of them will suit your store.

The decision to choose amongst Magento and Opencart to build your online store depends upon a lot of factors. Let’s take a look first on these factors:

  • Who is going to build your eCommerce platform. Are you going to hire a web development company, or dive into it yourself? If you plan on hiring someone else, what are the capabilities and skills of the agency you are going to hire?
  • Will you require long term maintenance services and who is going to provide them? How easy or how hard is it to find programmers or agencies for your chosen platform?
  • How hard is it to modify the basic template or flow of the platform (for example the checkout page and flow)
  • How much support is available online for your desired platform? How big is the community around it in terms of solutions and extensions?
  • Are you looking to have a flexible custom solution or would you rather go for more standardized settings?
  • What additional features and functions will you want to integrate into your online store, on top of the obvious default ones?
  • Do you want to sell outside of your own country?
  • How do you plan to tackle SEO performance and social share-ability and are they a top priority for your business?
  • Will you be running multiple stores?
  • What is your e-commerce content strategy? Do you need to integrate your eCommerce store with a WordPress blog?
  • How much will you need to spend on licensing, hosting, extensions etc and does it fit in with your budget?

All these questions have to be carefully considered and evaluated before an informed choice amongst Magento and Opencart can be made. Based on your answers, you can narrow down to the one option that is the right fit for your E-commerce business.

Let’s compare the two on the basis of some of these features

Hosting Plans and Options: When it comes to hosting, Magento tends to use a lot of resources and in a much efficient way. Therefore, it is apt for online store owners with a large hosting budget. With Magento, your online store may outgrow shared hosting too.

OpenCart, on the other hand, is relatively cheaper due to its lightweight, which means it’s a good option for medium to small sized businesses.

Usage and Features: As far as features are concerned, Magento is the obviously better choice, as it is offers almost every feature imaginable. Magento offers highly customizable shopping experiences, unlimited design options, powerful SEO resources and unlimited plugins and integrations.

Due to such varied features, Magento is also quite complex. Its complexity may not baffle a PHP developer, but it will be quite a handful for a non-PHP developer, especially to navigate through its custom features.

OpenCart, on the other hand, is fairly intuitive and simple to work through. Its features are straightforward but not low quality, although E-commerce development professionals may find it too simplistic and not upto their level. Because of its intuitive features, therefore, OpenCart again will suit small to medium sized businesses who have to quickly deliver results, without too may integrations.

Community Support: Since Magento came into the picture before OpenCart, naturally they have a more dynamic support community.

A 24*7 ready, reliable back up of a support crew is needed by any online store or business, regardless of the industry. Therefore, from an expert’s point of view, Magento should be the obvious choice here. Still, it is never inadvisable to assess needs before making a decision.

SEO: When it comes to the SEO angle, OpenCart still has a lot to improve on. Even though its URLs are SEO friendly enough, features such as modifying metadata and performing actions such as 301 referrals and rel canonical are unnecessarily complex.

Although, OpenCart does have various extensions that are easy to maneuver, but it’s still no match for the endless possibilities that Magento has to offer, such as optimizing titles, images and URL’s and connecting a store to a WordPress blog.

Takeaway:

After all the analyses and considerations, it’s quite clear that both Magento and OpenCart have their own set of pros and cons. Also, the features that may be con for some may actually be pro for others. The clear conclusion is that Magento, with its nuanced features and heavyweight budget is in general a great option for large businesses. On the other hand, OpenCart with its intuitive, simplistic and cost-effective price, is a suitable match for small to medium sized businesses.

Be warned that these are fairly general conclusions based on reasonable assumptions. But in business, especially online business, there are no hard and fast rules. What you may want for your, say medium budget startup, may defy all general patterns, thus requiring something more complex.

You may be a new player, but the game is new too. Play by the rules or make your own rules, it’s your choice.