Is Open Source Ecommerce Right For Your Online Business?
Is your eCommerce website platform chosen years ago is getting outdated? Maybe the customization you made years ago doesn’t integrate as well as it could today. With Magento 1, extensive modification is almost a guarantee that you’re stuck with the store version it was developed for, as such an upgrade will hit your pocket, period.
With Magento 1 sunset, we are realizing the necessity of upgrade and turning our heads to Magento alternatives on the market. Shopify and Bigcommerce and other much-hyped SaaS platforms seem to be the very first choice.
Well, in a sense, shopping cart platform is the suit for your eCommerce business, and if you have outgrown your current php eCommerce store, you should chose your Magento alternative with even a higher degree of responsibility and attention to details.
One of the most important questions for you to answer is if an Open Source eCommerce platform remains the right solution for your online business or it’s time to become a SaaS adept.
6 questions to ask yourself even before you google
Before examining the closest magento competitors, you should answer to this questionnaire. Type the answers to have on file, and you will be able to send the exact list of requirements to the sales reps of eCommerce website platforms you consider.
What are the exact reasons of your leaving Magento? What you hate about it most and, hence, what should under no circumstances be in your Magento alternative?
What eCommerce features do you use in your business processes? Do a complete list of tools like data import, integrations with payment gateways, shipping carriers and accounting software, marketing and SEO tools, integrations with marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, your own bells and whistles that proved to work best for the customers in your niche.
A derivative of the above question, should the new platform allow for unlimited customization of anything and everything or are you ok with somewhat pretty standard?
Is there a technically savvy person in your team or are you a “what-the-hell-MySQL” type of a user and would prefer to outsource all the tech stuff?
How much are you ready to spend yearly? As a Magento user you understand that even in a free open-source platform the expenses occur. Hosting, SSL certificates, domain names, technical support.
Is it critical for you to host the data on your own servers or are you ok with vendor-hosted solutions?
Complete List of Magento Alternatives
Hosted SaaS Platforms – Are They Viable Replacements for Magento?
Below are our short versions of Shopify, Bigcommerce and Volusion reviews. These are typical SaaS solutions, that release you from headache related to security and hosting questions. Each is PCI Level 1 certified, the security updates are installed automatically, and it’s the SaaS platform team to resolve hosting issues, if any.
What differentiates them from each other and how do they compare to Magento CE?
Monthly subscription cost: 3 plans: $29.95-249.95/mo. Products and admin accounts are unlimited, but the plans are limited by your annual sales volume. No transaction fees.
Design:42 paid ecommerce themes and 16 free ones. Access to HTML and CSS files via FTP
Features:The set of features is pretty competitive, but if you need faceted search, abandoned cart reminder and other features you had in Magento, you have to pay for the premium plan
Ready made Extensions:The app store is quite large, offering paid and free extensions.
Monthly subscription cost: 4 plans: $15-135/mo
Plans are limited by number of products and bandwidth. No transaction fees
Design:28 free ecommerce themes and 88 paid ones. Source code files are available, but they are a pain to customize. FTP client available
Features:It isn’t even close to the amount of features you’re having with Magento. SEO is way more basic than in Magento, too
Ready made Extensions:With 60 addons only, the Marketplace is kinda sad place after Magento’s plethora of extensions
Monthly subscription cost: 3 plans: $29 – 299/mo. Transaction fees apply. Number of staff accounts is limited by plan. Unlimited products, unlimited sales
Design: 116 premium themes and 21 free options. You can adapt the themes without touching the code or gain access to files, but no FTP account is not provided
Features: Shopify has the basic essentials for SEO, but not so robust as in Magento. You can’t have custom URLs. In terms of Reports it beats Magento, but reports are available in the top plans only, and so is the fraud analysis and real-time shipping rates. Overall, the features set is robust, if not out of the box, than via an extension
Ready made Extensions: Not so numerous as in Magento, but there are plenty of them and they’re easier to install
Unfortunately, with all their advantages, SaaS platforms are complete outsiders when it comes to customization. You don’t see a ready made extension – you don’t have the feature.
Another weak point is all kind of limits aimed at encouraging you to pay way more than the cost of the cheapest plan, be it only 2 admin accounts, only 15 products, only 100GB bandwidth or only $50K sales per year.
Transaction fees will piss you off too – this is the third line in your calculation of expenses in addition to static monthly fee you already pay to the eCommerce platform vendor and transaction fees paid directly to payment processors.
On this SaaS background, the open source self-hosted platforms shine bright like a diamond.
Direct Magento Competitors
Here we take a closer look at downloadable platforms: WooCommerce, Prestashop, OpenCart and X-Cart, they’re direct Magento competitors.
What makes them different from SaaS Alternatives of Magento?
They have unlimited customization abilities and you rest assured that the platform vendor is not looking at your data like GMV, products and customers.
But you’re to find a good hosting and to keep an eye on security updates – it works the same way as in Magento Community and Magento Enterprise edition.
Upgrades: The upgrade to the new version is a pain if your eCommerce store has custom features – just like in Magento 1. In average, only 5-10% of users upgrade their stores
Design: Being a WordPress plugin, it is compatible with many of WordPress Themes, that vary greatly
Features: WooCommerce is simpler, which can be a good thing for those just starting out, but for ex-Magento user it will look “bare”
Ready made Extensions:456 extensions, with only 45 being free, the others requiring annual subscription from $79/yr
Upgrades: just like in Magento 1, once your online store is customized, you’re either stuck in the current version or have to pay thousands. In average, only 5 – 10% of users upgrade their stores.
Design:The official marketplace lists 2100+ responsive PrestaShop themes within the price range €59,99 – 119,99. Besides, you may find a free Prestashop theme on Themeforest
Features:More feature-rich than OpenCart, with a vibrant community of developers and extensive collection of addons, Prestashop may be quite close to Magento from the functionality point of view
Ready made Extensions:With over 25K extensions it’s an absolute leader in the comparison, if to judge by quantity
Upgrades: The upgrade to the new version will hit your pocket, if the store contains custom features. In average, only 5 – 10% of users upgrade their eCommerce stores
Design: The marketplace lists 100+ pages of themes, 12 themes per page, free and paid, affordable and expensive – you have an extensive range of options. But compared to Presta’s themes, many of them look a bit dated
Features: Designed with ease of use in mind, opencart looks pretty good for newcomers, but after Magento, you will still have an unyielding feeling that it lacks this, this and this
Ready made Extensions: 13K free and paid Opencart extensions and themes available to download
License cost:free and paid plans ($495-6,995)
Upgrades: The upgradability is very good. Major upgrades between branches are installed by 62% of users. Within the branch, to get the most recent bug-fixes and security updates – by 80% of all X-Cart 5 based stores
Design: 4 free themes and 45+ paid themes, all fully responsive and SEO-friendly
Features: The closest Magento contender from the point of view of number of features. Some features like faceted search are available as optional paid extensions or on top plans.
Ready made Extensions: 361 apps and 50 themes in the built-in marketplace, that are being installed in the App-store like manner, right from admin backend, without necessity to patch files or access the server
Open-source or proprietary license? Don’t get trapped by “free”.
The top free ecommerce platforms WooCommerce, Prestashop and Opencart make their money through selling the extras you’ll most likely need over time, as your eCommerce business grows.
So if you decide to move forward with one of these open source shopping cart platforms, create a list of Magento features you use and check if they are available out of the box or through a paid extension.
Unlike the other Magento Community alternatives, X-Cart does not position itself as a free eCommerce platform, and the paid license starts from $495. Oh my! But calculate the cost of , say, all the WooCommerce extensions you will need to buy ($79 – $99 each) in order to build an analogue of your current Magento CE-based eCommerce webstore project, and the cost of X-Cart Business edition will look so much more competitive and cost-effective.
Below are only a few extensions, that cost you extra in WooCommerce. $1086 is the annual cost for the package of selected extensions
All these extensions (and more!) are included in X-Cart Business Edition, available for $495. The 2nd year of X-Cart Business edition (upgrades included) will cost you $99, and so is the 3rd.
|WooCommerce extensions |
Thank you for your purchase!
|One page checkout||$79/yr|
|Product reviews Pro||$79/yr|
|Product Tab manager||$99/yr|
|Orders/customers export in CSV||$79/yr|
|Ajax-Enabled Layer Navigation||$29/yr|
|Membership-based access to products||$149/yr|
|Authorise.Net or any other payment gateway||$79/yr|
|UPS real time rates||$79/yr|
|USPS live rates||$79/yr|
|1st year subtotal||$1086|
|2nd year subtotal||$1086|
|3rd year subtotal||$1086|
Paid and Free eCommerce themes and their customization
From the point of view of design templates amount, WooCommerce is a an irrevocable leader, as many of WordPress themes are eCommerce-compatible. There won’t a problem in finding a free Prestashop theme, too. Many of them look dated, many are fresh and juicy. Quantity does not necessarily mean quality, but it does give you freedom of choice. X-Cart offers only 4 free themes, but each is mobile-ready, fully responsive, sleek and elegant.
Of course, each of the solutions has a plethora of commercial skins to choose from. But keep in mind is that the top eCommerce websitesdo not use ready-made design templates.
Theme-wise, each of the top open-source ecommerce solutions we’re looking at are equal from this point of view – they are pretty customisable from A to Z.
The last thing the future owners of self-hosted platform ask, when choosing a solution, is about the eCommerce software upgradability. If you tried the customized Magento upgrade once, you will agree that this task is hard. Hard enough not to hurry with another upgrade, delaying it as much as possible.
But you should upgrade the shopping cart platform – at least for the sake of security.
80% of X-Cart 5 users successfully install upgrades. Only 5 – 10% of users of other self-hosted platforms do. That’s all you need to know before you press button “download” on a website of top Magento competitors.
Enterprise Magento Alternatives
If your store is powered by Magento 1 EE, it’s unlikely that you will switch to any of free open-source eCommerce solutions we compared above. Used to a different level of service, with serious eCommerce business unforgiving for mistakes, you will come up with a different list of alternatives to Magento Enterprise solution: DemandWare, Shopify Plus, Nopcommerce, X-Cart Enterprise.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud, formerly DemandWare
License cost: Revenue share model, you pay 0,75 — 1,25% of GMV. If the sales volume exceeds the figure specified in the agreement, you pay overage fee. As a result you pay much more than in Magento EE
Upgrade: The upgrades are seamless, they’re performed by Demandware without any interruption of work of your online store
Design: Responsive design out of the box plus a network of selected qualified partners to offer all kinds of design services. The costs are sky-high, compared to Magento EE, though
Features: The list of out of the box features is fairly comparable. But Demandware seems to have stronger personalization tools, be more scalable and offer more multichannel retailing capabilities
Extensions: The LINK Marketplace lists carefully selected partners that offer value-added services. But it doesn’t compete with Magento’s in terms of modules or number of developers
Customisation: Like in most SaaS-based platforms, the technology is controlled by the vendor, so there are some limitations on the features you can implement. There’s also an approval layer, which can delay the releases
Support: Comprehensive 24/7 support for all merchants, which isn’t just limited to core code issues, as it is done in Magento EE. You can also opt it for staff training
License cost: Available on by-quote basis only. Using Google you can find several non-official articles on Shopify pricing. From what we understand pricing starts at $2K per month
Upgrade: Shopify boasts seamless upgrades
Design: All themes can be adjusted on the “Customize theme” page as follows: make changes to the font, the colors, the layout, and the content of your online store. The checkout page can not be customised
Features: From the point of view of core features, Magento still wins. While Shopify Plus has a comprehensive list of features, that satisfies most of SMBs, Magento EE excels in such areas as sales promotions, customer segmentation, attribute management and merchandising
Extensions: The app store is one of the best in the market. Not so numerous as in Magento, the extensions pass the stricter quality control. In terms of apps, I would probably compare Magento and Shopify with Android and Apple, accordingly
Customisation: You’re kinda locked, because adding the new features to your Shopify store is possible only by means of ready-made extensions. It exists – you use it, it doesn’t -well, consider a more flexible solution
Support: Shopify’s 24/7 support is one of the main selling points, it has a reputation or being reliable and helpful
License cost: A free open-source eCommerce platform that goes with mandatory “powered by nopCommerce” footer, if want to remove it, you pay $120 per site or $500 per domain (wildcard)
Upgrade: The upgrade system leaves much to be desired. You have to upgrade stepwise, to each next version available ( a jump directly to latest available version is impossible), and all the custom changes require reimplementation
Design: There are about 35 free nopCommerce themes and a hundred of paid ones. Most of them are responsive. Customization of themes is possible
Features: nopCommerce is well equipped, it supports multivendor, multistore, product comparison, variants, egoods, 50+ payment methods, discounts, coupons, one page checkout and more
Extensions: The Marketplace contains several hundreds of free and paid nopCommerce extensions you download and install
Customisation: ASP.NET based, nopCommerce has a pluggable modular/layered architecture which allows additional functionality and elements to be dynamically added to the application at run-time
Support: Ticket-based system with holidays and days off, with all sorts of exceptions – this is not what you expect when you purchase commercial support service from the vendor. Yet, you’re expected to pay either $299/3 mo or $799/yr
License cost: The static fee consists of the license cost ( $6K, one-time fee) and the hosting plan that suits your needs
Upgrade: the upgradability is not 100% SaaS-like, but is very close to it, especially compared with the other non-SaaS solutions.
Major upgrades between branches are installed by 62% of users. Within the branch, to get the most recent bug-fixes and security updates – by 80% of all X-Cart 5 based stores
Design: 5 free themes and 45+ paid themes, all fully responsive and SEO-friendly. Everything is customisable via webmaster mode, drag-n-drop layout editor, custom CSS/JS
Features: The closest Magento contender from the point of view of number of features. Some features like faceted search are available as optional paid extensions or on top plans
Extensions: 361 extensions and 50 eCommerce themes are listed in the built-in marketplace. The addons are being installed without leaving the administrator backend, there’s no need to patch files or access the server
Customisation: The code is 100% open, and you have 100% access to the server. It means you can implement 100% of your ideas, no matter how challenging they are
Support: Comprehensive 24/7 premium support via phone, chat, email, skype or video conference. Additionally, a full stack of services directly by vendor is available
Shopify plus, a SaaS solution, is a worth contentender, as long as you’re not after massive customization, that is not possible. To me, that’s the only Shopify disadvantage, but from the point of view of former Magento user, it may be decisive.
nopCommerce, seems to be a decent alternative to Magento, only if you’re considering to start an online store AND you have .NET background/expertise, but have no PHP experience. But in context of switching from PHP ecommerce platform Magento, with all the server infrastructure being Magento-ready, you will hardly feel comfortable switching to Windows and asp.Net.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud, former Demandware, is built for the top tier of retail, while Magento EE is for a more mass market, even speaking in terms of Enterprise eCommerce. This research, carried out in 2016, shows that they would not even call back if you introduce yourself as a persona with $250 K annually .With $5M a year you’re to pay somewhat around $50K ,with $20M – $200K or so.
I would say that Salesforce Commerce Cloud is the platform of choice for you, in case you have outgrown Magento EE, if you have larger budgets and higher demands, and if you’re searching for a more powerful Magento Enterprise Alternative. The question is where to find that delicate balance between paying exactly for what you need an buying a too oversized package.
X-Cart 5 Enterprise solution seems the be the best Magento alternative, if you don’t a firm belief that Salesforce is the right fit for your online business, 24/7 support, fully managed VPS eCommerce hosting by vendor , top features and full stack of professional services by the vendor. Customizability of a downloadable platform and upgradability of SaaS makes X-Cart a genuine contender for any business leaving Magento.
X-Cart Vs Magento Comparison Chart
There’s a comprehensive comparison of Magento 1 vs 2 on a separate page. Since X-Cart has been a winner in our charts above, it makes sense to take a look how all 3 compare to each other.
Built in features: 3 packages, including a free one,and set of features varies. Most likely you will get a fully functional store with a bunch of all necessary features, custom integrations, custom theme and extensions for about $2.5 – $3K
Customisability: There’s a learning curve, because the platform simply will not allow you to write the low-quality code. OOP/MVC technology simply filters out the poor coders. Other than that, the customization is limitless
Upgradability: 62% of users install major upgrades between the branches. 80% of users install the most recent minor upgrades
Support by vendor: 24/7 premium support and fully managed VPS hosting plus a full stack of services from design creation and integration to turn-key website development projects
Enterprise Edition cost: from $10K – the first year, from $7.5K- the second year and further
Enterprise Edition features: Cloud Search and Cloud filters, X-Payments for PCI compliant credit cards storing and subscriptions, integrations with Amazon and eBay, native Shop App. 24/7 premium support. Fully managed VPS hosting
Built in features: In terms of features, Magento 2 is the successor of Magento 1. It means that you do get tons of features, too – and some Magento 2 specific cherries on the top of the cake. See comparison here
Customisability: Being a brand new platform under the same name, Magento 2 is not that easy and obvious for Magento 1 experts. There will be a learning curve, and the code quality requirements have grown because of stack of technologies used
Upgradability: No data about live stores, however Magento declares the platform has significantly improved its upgradability.
Support by vendor: Magento support is included into the paid products (Enterprise and Cloud), however it’s limited to the core issues only. Problem with a 3rd party extension is still outside of their zone of responsibilities
Enterprise Edition cost: $22,000.00 – $125,000/yr,* hosting is not inlcuded
Enterprise Edition features: Split Database Keypoint, ELasticsearch, advanced content management tools, customer attributes, limited Magento support, for details see here
Built in features: Numerous, sometimes even excessive. All bells and whistles possible, they tend to make the store resource-consuming, slow and heavy. Even if not used, it means superfluous code and it does affects performance and SEO
Customisability: There’s no chance you will not find a Magento 1 expert, whatever freelance website or digital agency you approach. The customization is unlimited and affordable
Upgradability: Very poor. Only 5 – 10% of stores are being upgraded only
Support by vendor: Tech support is included into the Enterprise plans, however it’s limited to the core issues only. Problem with a 3rd party extension? They wash hands of
Enterprise Edition cost:from $18K/yr, Hosting is not included
Enterprise Edition features: Customer attributes, Marketing segmentation features, gift wrapping, RMA, support by Magento team (limited to core issues, though)
To sum it up, when in comes to customization and upgrades, both X-Cart 5 and Magento 2 beat good old Magento 1: they preserve upgradability, giving you unlimited opportunities of adding custom eCommerce themes and extensions.
X-Cart 5 is a less heavyweight ecommerce website platform that gives you powerful enterprise features at only a fraction of Magento Enterprise cost. The other benefits of X-Cart 5 are top 24/7 support and cost effective, not cost-prohibitive hosting by vendor. Released in January 2013, it has already earned the trust of both merchants and developers, and there are numerous showcases, featuring beautiful live stores powered by this Magento competitor.
Magento 2 is a robust basis for an online store that you know will do well. Improved to work with a huge number of items, large numbers of users, huge amounts of activity. At least this is what the Magento team promises. There are still some rumors, hesitations and concerns in the Magento Ecosystem, whether the platform released in 2015 is mature enough. “When will there be a really stable version of Magento 2”, they ask.
No one doubts that Magento 2 will be stable and mature. But the early adopters of Magento 2 are still considered the early adopters.
Join their ranks or migrate to an alternative solution? That’s the Question of Questions for many people like you nowadays. Read why X-Cart is the best eCommerce platform for developers.
How much will Magento migration to X-Cart cost?
Let our team take a look at your current store and estimate the cost of Migration to X-Cart. Data only, turn-key migration or anything in-between, we have rich experience in all sorts of tasks to make the switch to our platform smooth. Drop us a line and we will get back with a quote. You do not risk anything, we will not ask you to pay untill you have read the project specification and decided to move forward with the platform change.
What X-Cart customers have to say after migration
X-Cart Team are excellent. Our Migration to their Platform was seamless with the Tech Staff at X-Cart handling all the work.
Maree Dennison, Mauve Interactive Pty LtdJun 14, 2014