Magento 2 Open Source vs Commerce
Lately, we’re getting more and more questions regarding Magento Commerce edition — what is the difference, is it worth the price etc. Therefore, I want to create a post where most of that is described.
Magento Commerce Features
Magento Commerce edition gives you more functionality than Magento Open Source. Below, I have listed most of the Commerce-only features.
Advanced Promotion Management
With Magento Commerce, you are able to create more advanced promotion rules that are not possible on Magento Open Source by default.
Customer Segmentation & Personalization
Create customer segments based on customer activities and offer segment/activity related ads and promotions. For example, you can create banners that appear to customers that have at least 3 orders in their order history.
On Magento Open Source you have to maintain/edit the store on the fly. Meaning, if you want to change a CMS Block or CMS Page on Black Friday, you have to make the change exactly then. On Magento Commerce it is different — you can schedule changes to CMS Blocks and Pages. Also, this module allows site admins to preview the changes before publishing. On Magento Open Source a typical scenario is to publish the changes and then go to the link and check the changes (that are already visible to other site visitors). More information available on the user guide page.
Automated Product Relations
Magento Commerce allows store admins to set up various rules to map product relations. No more manual related product selection — all can be done with automation (such as related products are all that start with certain SKU or are in certain categories).
In reality, this feature doesn’t give any real functionality, just changes the admin layout how products can be sorted. In Magento Open Source you would go in a category (from admin panel) and set priority numbers to set the product display order. In Magento Commerce, you have a nice looking layout that displays products and you can drag & drop them for the wanted sort order. This makes regular changes in the category display order easier for the site admins.
If you are a small to mid-sized business, you won’t use this functionality. It is designed for large businesses that need to separate their master database into multiple master databases (so checkout is not loaded by users browsing the catalog etc). This also allows you to scale certain parts of your Magento site for heavy loads. Technical information available on the devdocs page.
Page Hierarchy and History
Modified a CMS Page and it broke? This is not an issue on Magento Commerce anymore as you have the page history saved (and you can easily roll-back to the version you desire). The pages also can be organized in a hierarchy so all Customer Care related pages can be under a single title etc.
Magento Commerce has a built-in loyalty program that you can configure to suit your business. Set up various cash-back mechanisms, loyalty level based discounts etc. You can read more about the capabilities here.
Sell digital gift cards that your buyers can redeem online. Also, the gift cards can be used multiple times until their balance is used. The official information about this functionality is available here.
In a default Magento Commerce store you can set store credit limits for certain customers or customer groups. This way you can allow a set of your visitors to check out fast and easy. This feature is extremely useful for B2B stores.
The reporting in Magento Open Source is quite limited and provides only the base information. In Magento Commerce, you can create advanced reports and even use Business Intelligence feature to focus on metrics that matter the most to your business.
Bluefoot CMS Editor / Page Builder
This functionality is not yet open in General Availability. Registered participants can install it on Beta starting from Commerce version 2.3. Either way, this allows site admins to have a visual drag&drop editor in CMS Pages and Blocks. It is a nice to have feature as it allows people with nearly 0 technical knowledge to create, organize and style CMS Pages and Blocks.
Blackfire is a tool for developers. I haven’t heard of a case when site admins actually go there and check the metrics as they are developer-oriented. It is an integration with external service called Blackfire that analyzes and suggests improvements for page speed.
Adds the ability for your customers to return items in your online store, choose a return reason etc. The full description of the capabilities can be read here.
This is a feature many stores use, even in Magento Open Source as a purchased module. It has a section in Magento admin panel where you can see the activity of all admin users. This is a great security measure internally.
A feature that is extremely useful for B2B sites — create proposals and send out invitations to pre-made carts. The full description of this functionality can be seen here.
Elasticsearch — Available in Open Source since 2.3
The standard Magento built-in search is not the best one, especially when it comes to large catalogs. Elasticsearch to the rescue here — on Magento Commerce (and on Open Source versions 2.3.X) it is a supported integration and can be configured to achieve a great search experience for users.
What else does the Commerce edition give you?
While the features mentioned above can mean a lot to your business, they can be created as custom extensions or purchased. Of course, it can be tough to maintain them as they can be quite complex, with fewer features and the support from extension sellers is usually pretty slow (which doesn’t really work for mid to large-sized businesses).
But that is not it, with Commerce edition you get even more.
Dedicated Account Manager
You get an assigned Magento point of contact and can speak with them on a regular basis. The Magento account manager will help you get the most of the Magento platform. Also, together with this, you are granted access to use fee-based Magento Professional Services (previously, Expert Consulting Group) that can help you with code reviews, supervision of the development etc.
Exclusive Platform Access
Get exclusive access to quarterly feature releases to drive business growth even more.
Together with Magento Commerce, you receive different diagnostic and testing tools for your site such as Magento Performance Toolkit. These are really helpful when building a new site on Magento 2 that needs to handle large datasets.
Magento Support services are available for all Commerce license holders. The SLA’s differ on the deals though. From my experience, the Magento Support team is great and they respond quite quickly. You can get also technical support where they help you resolve Magento core issues. Below is the standard SLA for Magento Support.
Should you go with Open Source or Commerce?
This question is stressing many store owners that are willing to migrate to Magento 2. And there is no simple answer.
One of the ways to determine the need of Commerce edition by online revenue. If your online store revenue is more than USD 5mil per year, then you should definitely consider the Commerce version as utilizing just some of the features alone can grow your business quite a lot.
If you are selling less than USD 5mil per year in your online store, you need to go over the feature and benefit list and decide how much of that is a must-have, and how many of the features/benefits are nice to have. Consider what kind of impact these features can make on your business.
Also, if you plan to use only one or two of the features of Commerce, it is most likely best to go with Open Source and purchase extensions for that.
Magento Commerce edition is quite costly and for small to mid-sized businesses, it might not be the wisest decision to go with it. From my experience, I’ve never encountered a Magento Commerce deal that is less than USD 20k in the yearly license fee (and it scales up based on your yearly online revenue).
It is quite different for bigger businesses as proper usage of the Commerce functionality can boost their online performance quite a lot.
In the end, this is a decision each business thinking of going to Magento needs to make. It might be that it is worth the cost for a small B2B site that is willing to use a lot of the Commerce-only features as well as it can be that going with Commerce is not a good idea for a large enterprise going on Magento 2. It all comes down to what are you willing to use and whether or not the extra functionality, support etc are worth the yearly license fee.
Which Commerce option to go with?
If you have decided that you want to go with Commerce edition, the next question most likely will be whether to go with self-hosted or Commerce Cloud.
Same as above, there is no one-fits-all solution. It depends on how you are going to use the system, what is your business like etc.
My suggestion here would be to set up a call with Magento themselves (you can do that right from magento.com homepage) or with any Magento Partner agency to discuss this in depth. There is quite a big difference in terms of development, maintenance and hosting. A certified Magento Partner and Magento themselves are the best ones to seek advice from as they are the ones with proven expertise in this, and they will help you make the best decision for your business.
Where to try Magento Commerce functionality?
We created a demo Magento 2 Commerce site that you can use to check the features, study for exams or just play around to see whether the functionality available there could be utilized in your business.
Front-end: https://magento2-demo.magebit.com/ Admin panel: https://magento2-demo.magebit.com/admin/ Admin user: magebit Admin password: Demo123
Environment auto-resets every hour (*:00) to maintain it clean.
In case you want to discuss this in more detail or have further questions, please get in touch with me directly at email@example.com or just via our website form here. We’re a certified Magento Partner and ready to help you.
Magebit is a full service eCommerce agency specialized in Magento. At Magebit we create the wonders of eCommerce and support small sites as well as large enterprises.
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