Magento can be considered one of the most popular eCommerce software out there. It offers a large library of extensions, excellent enterprise support, and a customizable platform for building a store if you have the development experience to utilize its open source framework. While Magento positions itself as the ultimate solution matching the needs of any eCommerce business, small businesses can find it difficult to set up and customize. Despite Magento's popularity among enterprises, it is primarily designed for B2C businesses, with few features that B2B businesses require.
Why switch away from Magento?
With Magento 1 reaching its end-of-life beginning June 2020, there is a large push by the Magento community to get everyone onboard Magento 2. This leaves many businesses with the question if it's worth upgrading at all. For one, Magento 2 is practically a new platform, which means that the upgrade process is more similar to replatforming.
Some may be sick of tackling expensive bug fixes, configurations and building integrations. Others may be tired of endless themes and plugins, instead looking for features that Magento simply can't offer out of the box. So what is B2B eCommerce solution? It can include functionality specific to B2B eCommerce such as access permissions for multiple decision makers, quote or proposal submission, personalized pricing, and post delivery payments.
While Magento may be right for some, it's definitely not right for everyone. The market is full of Magento alternatives with lower development costs, and the right features already built into the platform. If you are currently with Magento and looking for a replacement, or if you are shopping around for the best Magento alternative, you may want to consider the eCommerce platforms listed in this post.
Advantages: Why people love using Magento
To many, Magento is a household name. It's an extremely popular platform and many are drawn to the amount of applications available for practically any need or want. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Here are the primary reasons people like Magento:
1. Free and open source
Let's face it, many businesses, particularly small businesses are drawn to the fact that Magento is free and open source. Startups and small businesses who are just getting into eCommerce aim right for Magento and as they grow, explore extensions and development resources they might need.
2. Mobile experience
For most online retailers, mobile experiences are a strategic driver for customer acquisition and retention. With a good chunk of customers visiting shopping online from mobile devices, it's important that your store looks its best on mobile. Magento is praised for being mobile-centric and is known for offering mobile-ready experiences.
The Magento marketplace is full of extensions, themes, and developers ready to write the correct code or apply the right customization for your needs. Everything from the look of the navigation menus to product descriptions can all be customized according to your needs.
4. Great customer service
Magento boasts hundreds of enterprise customers that use the Enterprise Edition of Magento. While it requires hefty monthly fees, the support is top-notch and arguably the best on the market. Furthemore, the community includes developers, partners, technical consultants that can walk you through any challenge.
5. Multiple store support
Some sellers need to operate more than one store, or need to separate their offering by product lines. By hosting a number of domains and stores with one Magento installation, businesses can save money while targeting unique markets with one brand, or selling multiple brands.
Disadvantages: Why people stay away from Magento
Some consider Magento to be overrated, and for good reason. Running a Magento store is a never-ending process. Unless businesses are fully versed in customizing the platform, or have a certified developer on staff, they may experience interruptions or downtime.
While the Magento Community Edition is free, it doesn't include development work and add-ons to make the store work as desired. The Enterprise Edition will set you back a yearly fee, but it offers 24/7 customer service and additional marketing, payment, currency and localization options.
2. Difficult to update
One disadvantage of a free platform like Magento are all the underlying costs of upgrading. There is a barrage of updates that need to be manually installed and configured. Managing different themes, extensions, and compatibility issues can get overwhelming.
3. Extra development
Some businesses may struggle running a simple eCommerce site without an on-hand Magento developer. For larger businesses, relying on Magento developers, consultants and technical partners is very much a necessity.
4. Migration costs
Those using Magento 1 should not hope for a quick and easy upgrade. For larger eCommerce operations, it means a replatforming effort that involves combing through code, replacing extensions and changing themes.
What Do You Need in a B2B eCommerce Platform?
Unlike Magento, some eCommerce software are packed with features that make it easier for businesses to sell to other businesses. Here are the main reasons why B2B businesses on Magento should consider switching to an alternative:
B2B eCommerce platforms natively offer a number of features critical to B2B businesses. This means less reliance on integrations and extensions that must be maintained and upgraded down the road.
Built for business customers
Business customers demand a buying experience that closely mirrors the experience they are used to as B2C customers. A B2B platform should accommodate access permissions and user roles, and personalize pricing, discounts, and ordering experience to each.
B2B back-end functions
B2B sellers require platforms that can easily integrate with ERP, PIM and eProcurement systems with support for punchout catalogs. Some businesses appreciate headless architecture, allowing them to decouple back-end from front-end functions.
Flexibility is a must for B2B eCommerce systems. Business buyers have different management structures, buying cycles, ordering and payment preferences. Look for platforms that offer personal product catalogs, multiple price lists, and ordering workflows.
Integration with marketing
B2B businesses want their eCommerce platforms to act as marketing hubs. They need to quickly publish landing pages or modify product pages. They also expect integration with CRM, customer service and chat systems.
What are the Best Alternatives to Magento in 2020?
As businesses prepare to migrate to Magento 2, we have prepared a list of the most popular Magento alternatives for you to consider. While they are similar to Magento, some are better for smaller businesses, others are more suitable for B2C or B2B.
If you are looking for a B2B-ready eCommerce platform, look no further than OroCommerce. Developed by the makers of Magento, OroCommerce boasts all the open-source benefits of Magento including robust architecture and flexibility. being designed to get businesses up and running quickly, OroCommerce is particularly well suited for mid-market and enterprise businesses. Marketplaces or multichannel resellers will also appreciate multisite and multi-locale functionality. Thousands of businesses in manufacturing, distribution, wholesales, as well as multinational brands run on OroCommerce.
OroCommerce is open source and available as a cloud-based or on-premise solution. Select features include multiple catalogs, price lists, and a built-in CRM. It accommodates multiple storefronts on one instance, integrates with numerous applications and systems, and supports headless architecture.
With OroCommerce, you can configure workflows that accomodate different customers' needs. With an open source platform and an ecosystem of developers, plugins and technical solution providers, it's easy to configure OroCommerce for any B2B application.
B2B businesses moving from Magento will find switching to OroCommerce easy. Other businesses can struggle at first. But they can also take advantage of training and community assistance offered by Oro.
Prestashop is an open source eCommerce software written in PHP. Like Magento, it is offered both in the cloud and on premise. It's great for startups and small businesses starting out with eCommerce due to its intuitive content management system and website builder. With a range of themes and extensions available, businesses can launch their online stores quickly.
Prestashop features countless features around product creation, product management, navigation, order management, marketing and customer service. It's a global store with over 75 languages and millions of community members.
Prestashop has a great user interface and includes many themes that come with the application. It's particularly ideal for small stores that sell B2C. It's also attractive to stores with a global reach.
Hosting is not included, but there is an option of signing up with hosting partners. There also isn't much design support from Prestashop themselves, but having a large community helps.
Just like Magento, Shopify is another great option for businesses starting in eCommerce. Since it's not an open source solution and doesn't require services of a developer, it's great for offline businesses who want to ease into online selling. Shopify is not as customizable as Magento and has less B2B-specific features when compared to OroCommerce.
Shopify plans contain many features that help its users maintain an up-to-date eCommerce presence. It includes built-in mobile functionality, marketing and SEO tools, product management options and easy setup. It's a great Magento alternative for those who lack IT skills and need a balance between control and ease of setting up their store.
Shopify is great for businesses that want to start selling online. It comes built in with many features that small businesses need, including round-the-clock support. There are many plans to choose from for businesses of all sizes.
Shopify comes with a price tag which goes up considerably as you switch plans. While their extension and plugin library is big, there's less customization and a smaller community compared to Magento.
BigCommerce shares many of its characteristics with Shopify, including everything needed for easy setup and launch of an eCommerce store. It comes with numerous templates, an easy editor and product manager. Just like Shopify, BigCommerce is a proprietary software for those looking to move away from the difficulty of maintaining Magento.
BigCommerce is similar to Shopify, but not as popular. While it has the same marketing and content management features, there are less themes and add-ons to choose from. It makes up for it with an extensive documentation library, including how-tos and tutorials.
BigCommerce is a slightly cheaper alternative to Shopify, which makes it an ideal choice for startups. It may be a good solution for Magento users looking for a proprietary software that will not break the bank.
There are less functions and customizations with BigCommerce when compared to Magento and Shopify. Unlike Magento or OroCommerce, it's not an enterprise-ready platform, nor is it built for B2B.
WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce platform that allows you to sell out of WordPress. With a WooCommerce integration, a WordPress website or blog is quickly turned into a store. Just like Magento, WooCommerce is a popular open source solution that, with enough development and programming knowledge, can accommodate any eCommerce business.
Being the most downloaded extension in WordPress, WooCommerce is ideal for customers that want to leverage their WordPress to sell. Its strengths lie in multimedia for product pages such as galleries and zoomed images.
WooCommerce is a formidable Magento alternative. It is lauded for its seamless integration with the WordPress interface. It has a strong community of developers and partners to address every business need.
While it's nearly as customizable as Magento, costs can add up quickly once you start purchasing add-ons. While enterprises and B2Bs sometimes use WooCommerce, it's not as flexible as OroCommerce.
6. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is an enterprise cloud-based eCommerce system for those using the Salesforce family of products - its CRM, marketing, sales, and other tools. Salesforce is famous for its large community and vast integrations that can address complex enterprise needs. It is a compelling option for B2C and high-margin B2B sellers.
Salesforce has many enterprise-ready features including multi store, multi channel, kitting and inventory management. It's also a no-brainer if you're already part of the Salesforce ecosystem or are utilizing their CRM and sales analytics products to further accelerate sales
Salesforce is a good Magento alternative for those who are looking for enterprise-ready eCommerce features and a CRM integration in a proprietary package. Salesforce is great for managing multiple stores, customers, interactions, promotions and orders in real-time.
Compared to Magento and OroCommerce, Salesforce is very expensive. Salesforce Commerce Cloud has limited marketing capabilities as it heavily relies on other products in its ecosystem (the CRM) to work as intended. Additionally, customizations of a proprietary product if possible at all, will cost you a fortune.
B2B Businesses Migrating From Magento
For the majority of B2C needs, Magento is a great choice. Those looking to move away from Magento and into a purpose-built B2B eCommerce solution will appreciate OroCommerce. Aside from coming with the necessary features out of the box, OroCommerce requires no additional development or extensions to get your store B2B ready. It's also easy to build multiple B2B storefronts, including B2C or B2B2C scenarios.
To Stick With Magento or Not?
Magento is a great product, but it certainly is not for everyone. Magento may not offer the right features, the right user experience, or not be cost-effective over long term. If you feel like you've outgrown Magento, remember that there are many alternatives that can help you sell more, make you more productive and your customers happier.