Magento and OpenCart are both popular open source eCommerce platforms that make it relatively easy to deploy a functional online retail store. While both of these solutions are very capable, each has it own strengths and weakness that may make one or the other more suitable for particular users. Which you choose will have a significant impact on your business and its workflows, so before making a decision it’s a good idea to compare them in-depth.
While less popular than Magento, which is the industry leader, OpenCart has a lot to recommend it, particularly if you are not very experienced with eCommerce. Compared to Magento, OpenCart is easier to set up and manage. It’s also significantly lighter on resources than Magento, which can be slow without caching and performs best if it has plenty of RAM and processing power to play with.
OpenCart is freely available, and, as usual with open source software under active development, there are a large variety of community support options. The professional support options for OpenCart differ from those of Magento, which has an Enterprise Edition with support available from its developers. Paid-for OpenCart support is available from a number of third-party partners.
While OpenCart is easier to get to grips with than Magento, it has some limitations that make it less appropriate for larger stores. It is less flexible and customizable than Magento and lacks some of the more advanced customer management features that come with Magento out of the box.
Magento is hugely powerful and flexible. It is more than capable of supporting eCommerce stores that range from a few products to many thousands of products. Magento is more configurable than OpenCart and provides almost limitless configurability to its appearance and functionality, whichever of its two versions you use.
Magneto is an open source product, but it is owned by eBay, who are also owners of PayPal and a number of other eCommerce projects under the X.commerce group. While the Magento Community Edition is free, the Enterprise Edition includes a number of additional features, including full-page caching, advanced customer management and product discovery features, and support from the company that develops it.
However, the Enterprise Edition may be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. The Community Edition is not a second-class product in comparison to the Enterprise Edition and has all of the features that most eCommerce stores are going to need, with many more in the MagentoConnect extension library.
The major drawbacks to Magento are its steep learning curve and its resource use. Flexibility brings complexity, and Magento is no exception to that rule. For small businesses without a lot of technical expertise, Magento may prove difficult to set up and manage.
Magento Or OpenCart?
For smaller business that don’t need the level of customizability or the advanced features of Magento, OpenCart is probably the better choice. It is lightweight, fast, easy to install and more than capable of supporting a moderately sized product lineup and user base. For larger businesses and enterprise online retailers, Magento’s configurability and advanced features make it the superior platform.