When you set up an e-commerce site for your brand, you are writing the fate of its virtual life. The first step towards creating a customer-oriented website is to design a blueprint of everything your brand stands for and how you can exhibit it through the site. The platform you choose will decide to what extent you can bring such an image to reality. Does the platform support responsive design and optimization for mobile, along with user experience which is conversion-oriented? What is the quality of support they put up? At the basic level, Magento fulfills these requirements. However, there are three versions of Magento: Magento Go, Magento Community and Magento Enterprise. How do you choose the right edition? Here is a comparative analysis of the two editions to help you make the choice!
Community vs Enterprise Edition
The community edition of Magento comes with no annual license cost and is primarily designed for developers. You will have to just pay for the domain name, a qualified Magento coder and the web hosting. The community edition gives code-level entry to the files along with web services API and Mobile HTML5. You can have access to the Magento Connect Marketplace where you can browse and choose extensions (some are paid while others are free) and themes. There is an option to customize your website for smooth mobile experience (mobile commerce) along with the unique advantage of multiple stores backed by a single back-end system.
Magento Community includes features of persistent shopping cart and dynamic pricing rules. With persistent shopping cart, your system will remember the contents of a shopping cart by chosen by the user for a certain time period (a week, 6 months or a year) and exhibit it to them when they visit again. The dynamic pricing rules include options like free shipping for order above $70, buy an item and get another free, discount on certain category of items and so on.
In the community version, you will receive standard reports based on total sales, abandoned carts, bestselling items and new customers. With layered navigation, the results on the e-commerce page is highly specific owing to the advanced filters which can be enabled on the category page. You can set country-specific website features like currency and shipping options. Shipping options for international users are available, through FedEx, USPS, UPS, DHL or customized shipping instructions. Payment configurations are also customizable by enabling PayPal and PayPal Express Checkout. Configurations for product include product name, product price, MAP (Minimum Advertised Price), special price, SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), description of the item, weight, product image, URL key, SEO page title, digital downloads, and custom attributes.
Cross-sell and up-sell are allowed in the community edition. Basic SEO tools like site map auto-generation, Google site map, meta-description and page title management are supported in the community edition. However, for specific SEO uses, one will need to configure the Community version mentioning specifics. Otherwise, issues such as improper URL structure, duplicate content and so on could crop up. There are limited options for coupon code creation in community edition.
How Magento Enterprise Edition Stands Out?
Enhanced Indexing and Page Caching for More Products → Faster Page-load Time and Better Performance
Rolling back to Previous CMS Version is Easier: In the Community Edition, you will need to rollback to previous CMS through the previous day’s database. You will be missing out on customers and product changes that might have occurred after the backup point. With the Enterprise version, you can go through the details of any change made (the date, time and by-whom) and you can roll back the revisions if it is a minor change to the live production. It is ideal to have a development/test site for checking on the modules, extensions and other design changes.
Different servers to scale better: Community edition works on a single server, which manages caching, Apache (web server), DNS and PHP, session handling and memory (RAM). While it is possible to use different servers on Community Edition as well, the Enterprise version is specifically built for those users who receive high traffic coupled with huge range of products. The category of servers can include: Web Servers, Backup System, DNS Server and Proxy Server.
Easy Tax Calculation: Most users of Community edition only need to calculate and pay taxes for the location where their stores operate. With the Enterprise version, you can handle tax rules, tax rates, create/edit customer tax classes with greater efficiency.
Highly Customizable Customer Attributes and In-Built Gift Wrapping Option: You can swiftly change the customer attributes with Magento Enterprise, to include the prefix, first and last name, gender, date of birth, email, TAX/VAT number and others. This is not available on the Community Edition. The Enterprise version also has an in-built option for gift wrapping (for which you can set a price).
Target-oriented Marketing: You can practice strong marketing strategies for your brand by segmenting your customers into different categories based on the geographic data, order history, first-time visits, and shopping cart items among others. You can open up a sale for any specific category, following it up with e-mail message inviting the customer for the same.
PCI Compliant Code: Merchants can avail secure payment bridge which syncs with the PCI Security Standard Council, provided they have a PCI-compliant server architecture. Such an infrastructure is essential if you want to gather and save credit card data.
Gift Registry/Loyalty Points and Store Credits: There is in-built gift registry synced with the shopping cart on Magento Enterprise Edition. While a registry might not be a must-have for many sites, those brands which work on occasion- specific sale (like birthdays, wedding) will need Gift Registries.
You can introduce gift and loyalty points on your website which can be redeemed as free shipping, or other features. You can easily create a gift card account on the Enterprise Edition by simply selecting the website, and sending the card to your user through e-mail.
Return Management and Solr Search: There is a RMA (Return Management Authorization) system built into the Enterprise version which is unavailable on the Community edition. Solr Search, where the website recommends products as you begin typing, is available on Enterprise Edition, but not on Community Edition.
Automated E-mail Message System: Unavailable in the Community version, automatic messaging service is available on Enterprise Edition. that can be enabled for series of scenarios including second-day order email and abandoned cart reminder mails.
Technical Support: Enterprise support includes installations and downloads along with expertise. Configuration issues can be easily resolved through support team chat/mail correspondence.
Should you choose Magento Enterprise Edition?
If a larger part of the above given features can sync with your brand needs, then you should be going for the enterprise version. The Community Edition works perfect for mid-market merchants who intend to have greater control over the environment and wish to use extensions and customize codes for catering to their customer needs.