Enterprise or Community? Making the Magento Choice

The Benefits of Magento’s Enterprise and Community Editions and the Best Choice for Your Business

Rated as one of the top eCommerce platforms on the web and with a clientele that includes brands like Rosetta Stone, Olympus, and Ghirardelli, Magento currently dominates as one of the reigning digital mediators of the modern economy.

For businesses who are new to Magento, a quick trip to their website will reveal that there are actually two editions of Magento available: Magento Enterprise and Magento Community. One of the biggest differences between the two? Price. Magento Enterprise is fairly expensive, Magento Community is free.

So what are you paying for with Magento Enterprise? Is it worth it to your business?

Magento Features: Community V. Enterprise

Here’s a brief list of the features you get with the Community and Enterprise editions of Magento.

Community vs Enterprise

When Magento Enterprise is Worth It

Although superficially, Community and Enterprise share a lot of the same functionality, Magento Enterprise offers a more scalable system than Community. Although Enterprise also offers some beneficial tools for marketing and customer loyalty management, what you’re really paying for with Enterprise is the ability to maintain and manage a massive, high-performance, high-activity website.

Marketing Sophistication

Magento Enterprise supports tools for elevated marketing capabilities, as well as supporting more complex user capabilities.

  • Personalization: Enterprise collects and compiles information from users in order to assist with list segmentation and automated personalization. This can include information from user accounts, purchase history, and browser data (location, language).
  • Visual Merchandizer: This is a user interface unique to Enterprise that allows admin more control over product category pages with drag-and-drop software.
  • Automated Email Marketing Reminders: These can be sent to users to alert them to abandoned cart items, promotions, and other notifications.
  • CMS: Magento Enterprise includes a stronger content management system (CMS), like a WYSIWYG editor and an easily navigable website hierarchy that can allow you to build your own website navigation and build out content pages.
  • Customer Loyalty Tools: With Enterprise, you can manage promotional benefits such as rewards points and store credits, and offer more capability to your users with multiple wish lists, gift registry, gifting options, and private sales offers.

Better Tools for B2B

Enterprise offers tools for advanced shopping customization that are especially important for larger, B2B websites with complicated commercial processes and elevated customer care.

  • Catalogue Viewing Control: You can control which customer groups are able to access specific areas of your product catalogues.
  • Solr Search: Solr Search is an incredibly intuitive and scalable website search server. It can assist with misspelled search items and indicate previously searched terms.
  • Shopping by SKU: Your customers have the ability to search and shop using SKU’s, circumventing having to go into multiple, separate product pages.
  • Configurable Order Tracking Widget: Your customers can manage and keep track of their products as they’re being shipped to them.

Tools for a High-Performance Website

The chief benefit of Magento Enterprise is its scalability. With Magento Enterprise, you have the ability to use multiple servers to support different points of your eCommerce management, as well as store vast amounts of data.

  • Multiple Servers: For businesses with complicated commercial processes, this is a vital feature. Your production, ordering, and shipping processes, are each run on different servers independent of each other. This means that while they can be scaled to differently, they can still communicate with each other. For example, allowing orders quantities and shipping dates to influence production.
  • Increased Website Administrative Ability: In addition to managing user accounts, Enterprise allows you to manage what your website administrators are allowed to access, monitoring when updates are being made on your website and who is making them. For websites with large teams making changes to your website simultaneously, Magento Enterprise’s scalability can support and display updates immediately.
  • CDN Support for Higher-Performance: Instead of saving your media content on a file in your web server, you can store your content instead on a Content Delivery Network, alleviating strain on your server and decreasing load time.

When Is Magento Community A Good Option?

Although Magento Community is positioned as a platform for developers familiarizing themselves with the Magento system and smaller-scale businesses, the truth is that we often build our client’s websites (who range anywhere from smaller to enterprise-level businesses) with Magento Community. This is because Magento Community, like Magento Enterprise, is extremely customizable thanks to it’s open-source build. And like Enterprise, you have the option of extending your website with custom extensions and API integrations, as well as unique website designs.

Unlike Magento Enterprise, however, Community doesn’t offer the same resources that boost scalability and performance for larger websites.

Community or Enterprise: What You Need to Build Your eCommerce Site

Whether you choose Community or Enterprise, Magento is characterized by its open-source build. While this means enhanced customization ability and the ability to extend your website over time, it also means that your eCommerce website won’t be up and running from the moment of installation. In either instance, it’s likely that you’ll need to work with developers who are familiar with the Magento system in order to build your website, customizing it to your business’s specifications. With that in mind, we recommend making the choice between Community and Enterprise considering scalability and the possibility of future expansion.