When giving a quick look at Magento 2 Enterprise Edition and Community Edition, one can’t help noticing that both platforms offer incredibly rich set of out-of-the-box functionality, so it can be quite difficult to explain the difference between these alternatives. Despite the fact that Enterprise Edition brings essential extra features, the polished Community Edition accumulates the best of what you expect to achieve, so which one is worth paying for? In this article we are going to focus on pros and cons each version offers to business and development and help you with your decision.

If you have a small business with limited number of products, the Magento 2 CE functionality is likely to be enough for you. If at some point you are going to feel like adding some extra features, you can easily do so by choosing one of the hundreds extensions from Magento Marketplace.

On the other hand, if you have a middle or big store, you might want to consider both alternatives. In case your business has already reached an international level and you use a multi-language store with 3M page requests per hour, well, it seems that you definitely have to choose Enterprise Edition. Although, it may depend, since pricing for Magento 2 EE recently moved to a model where licensing costs are based on the turnover. In 2015 the cost amounted to around $18,000 per year, but now the price may climb up to $22,000 per year for the license only (source). Also, there is a noticeable difference in pricing for designing implementations, as pricing starts with $50,000 for Magento CE and $100,000-$250,000 for Magento EE. To make it clear which one is more suitable in your case, make a list of required features, estimate additive development costs and website support expenses. Contact Magento provider for the business and technical consulting.

So, let’s start from unique Magento 2.1 Enterprise Edition Features and Benefits that are unavailable in the Community Edition by default, but let’s try to find out whether there are any tricks to implemented them into Magento 2 Community Edition.

1 Magento Support

Magento 2 Enterprise Edition guarantees 24/7 technical support that will resolve all technical issues you may face with your web store, answer any of your questions, control updates implementation (quarterly extended Magento releases). Your team will also have access the Expert Consulting Group. Please consider though that all additive updates, integrations and implementations will cost you around $100-130 per hour.

Dedicated account manager will help to you to get the most out of Magento software. It is the expert who can highlight key points aimed at optimising your eCommerce and recommend verified resources to gain more from your Magento store.

Magento team takes care of the security support. Magento experts scan the platform on the regular basis, perform external penetration testing and enhance Magento core security with special bug bounty programs. Users are notified about the hottest news concerning security issues through the Magento Security Center and mailing list.

If your store is going to be build based on Magento 2 CE, its technical support can be organized in two ways:

  • You can employ your own Magento support team
  • Your business can deal with outsourcing Magento support team.

You should expect that to keep your web store well-tuned, you’ll have to spend 3-10% of eCommerce generated revenue on maintenance. Forrester research shows that the cost of supporting eCommerce systems is on average around 7% of online revenue.

Price range of in-house Magento support depends on your location and level of qualification of Magento employees. For example, hiring a Magento PHP Developer in US will cost you about $84,000 per year. Here are the numbers per other countries:

The costs for outsourcing support services differs from location, professional level of support team and their response frequency. In this case if Magento developers’ location is not a point of concern, you can easily work with a foreign provider. As a rule, you can employ Magento support experts on a monthly payment bases. The team of experts is available 24/7, providing constant monitoring your website for security and performance issues, implementing platform updates and installing security patches. Actually, there is no standard support package, since services differ for various providers and client’s requirements, which is why the total price differs as well. In general, you can hire the support team for $6.000 - 12.000 per year, but it’s worth mentioning that additional costs can be added in case if you need to adjust theme, create, modify or buy additive extensions, etc.

2 Scalability and performance

Enterprise Edition is designed to deliver performance and scale right out-of-the-box to support fast growing businesses. Fast web stores sell more because they provide better user experience for customers, achieve higher SERP ranks and become more visible in search results.

With Magento 2 Enterprise Edition your store’s page load time is going to take <1.5 seconds on average. Page load time can vary for the first view of the Home, Category and Product pages but it becomes faster when pages are cached. You can speed up the caching process via the integrated Varnish caching and client-side improvements (minimizing/bundling Javascript and compressing images). These integrations reduce response and server load time. Varnish provides a super fast and efficient way to serve content to dramatically decrease response time, while also reducing the load on your Magento servers. Varnish configuration files are available out-of-the-box and are totally supported by Magento, so you can implement them easily and quickly.

Checkout process has been sped up too and now it takes <1.9 seconds per each step. Magento 2 EE includes Scale Checkout and Order Management databases with support for MySQL Cluster by default.

Proper configuration of Magento 2 Enterprise Edition hardware allows to handle 3.5M page view and 250.000 orders per hour. It helps to scale your system for crest periods.

To achieve scalability, Magento Enterprise supports MySQL cluster and separates master databases. Each master database has multiple slave databases to scale read operations. You can use different databases for checkout, order management and product data to protect shoppers from browsing and purchasing issues if your team simultaneously edits products.

Magento 2 Enterprise Edition empower large teams of Admin users in big enterprises to make concurrent order management and merchandising updates.

You can gain the same results with Magento 2 Community Edition. Unfortunately, we can’t forecast average cost because it definitely depends from your technical and business requirements. It can be calculated in each particular case.

3 Engaging shopping experience

Personalisation is a new mantra of eCommerce. All marketing activities on your web store have to provide fully personalized and seamless shopping process. Let’s dive in the shopping journey on Magento 2 store from the beginning.

You need to deliver unique engaging user experience through every touch-point, across any device. Customer experience is digital by default. Responsive design is built-in feature in both editions. Responsive themes easily adapt and provide customer friendly view and functionality on desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile device screens. Menus, images, checkout and other features are simply modified and touch-friendly. Mobile optimization works good for SEO. Please note that Google avoids mobile-unfriendly web stores. Year by year it has been making penalties for such sites harsher.

In fact, it doesn’t matter whether you are going to choose Enterprise or Connect Magento edition, since in both cases you’ll get mobile-friendly store in case you install responsive Magento 2 theme. Magento marketplace offers themes for every pocket. You can either find free theme and customize it to your requirements or buy a well-designed one and save your time, money and nerves.

Customer Segmentation and Personalization boost conversion rates. Depending on customers location, gender, purchase history, order lifetime, wish list and other behavior properties you can dynamically change displaying content, promotions, product recommendations.

What has also been improved in Magento 2 EE is product search. Due to Elasticsearch shoppers can easily find the product or category they are looking for and Solr Search enhances the product discovering process in large catalogs. Elasticsearch supports 33 languages out-of-the-box and is quite easy to set-up. It finds suggestions for misspellings, supports stop words, attribute weighting and synonym management via the Admin Panel.

To replace Personalised Products in a Magento 2 Community Edition, you can use free Personalised Products extension.

Layered navigation and filtering options also help your customers to find exactly what they are ready to pay for.

You can use Layered Navigation extension from our partner, AheadWorks, to replace Personalised Products in a Magento 2 CE. This extension costs $449.00, but you can also try to find a free alternative providing similar functionality.

Searching functionality available on multiple devices, so shoppers receive consistent shopping experience and can switch from a laptop to a tablet or phone without a single hesitation.

Thanks to Dynamic Rule-Based Product Relations it’s easy to set-up automated rules for up-sells, cross-sells, and related products to each customer segment. As a result, you can effortlessly target product suggestions to increase sales and average order values and your customers will see personalized buying proposals.

To replace automated rules for up-sells, cross-sells, and related products in the Magento 2 Community Edition you can use: Automatic Related Products by AheadWorks ($449.00 for CE) Automatic Related Products by Amasty ($199.00 for CE)

When your customer is ready to make a purchase, the streamlined checkout helps to finish the deal with success because 2-step checkout process is fast and intuitive. Quick and easy checkout process is one of the key points reducing cart abandonment.

To simplify checkout process in Magento 2 Community Edition you can use: One Page / Step Checkout by IWD Agency (FREE for CE).

To confirm a purchase, a customer is required to create an account and it can be done in a single click, so your shoppers don’t interrupt the transaction and don’t drag away.

Enterprise Edition has a built-in Automated Email Marketing Reminder. This feature is designed to send reminders to customers who have abandoned shopping carts and update them on products saved to a wish-list or to offer after-sales follow-ups.

To replace an Automated Email Marketing Reminder in the Magento 2 Community Edition you can use: Abandoned Cart Email by Amasty ($149.00)

4 Customer loyalty

Fostering a long-lasting relationship with your customers you’re in need of plenty tools that help to build customer loyalty. Magento 2 EE provides:

  • Reward points for purchases, registration, product reviews, etc. The more customers buy, the more points they earn. Points can later be redeemed for discounts, free gifts, and other incentives.
  • In-store credit that can be issued for returns.
  • Gift registry enables customers to create gift registries with things they would really like to receive and share them with their guests. For example, your customer has a wedding. Due to automated mailing, his friends and family can easily purchase products from the registry and opt for gift-wrapping or other special packaging. Th item list is automatically updated and the registry owner is notified on the purchases made. This way, your happy clients won’t receive 5 similar porcelain sets on their wedding. Gift Registry extension for CE by Magenest ($149.00).
  • Multiple wish lists allows to manage privacy settings of customers list (some they can make public, others may be saved as private).
  • Gift cards: physical and virtual. Gift cards increase sales and expand customer audience. Gift Card by Magestore ($259.00 for CE)
  • Private sales for your high-value customers provide exclusive shopping experiences and, as a result, higher engaging and customer loyalty. Also, now private sales allow implementing the Invite-a-Friend feature.
  • Recurring and bulk ordering for B2B wholesale and manufacturing buyers.

5 Fast deployment

Magento Enterprise Edition 2.1 provides 3 times faster growth for merchants. It is designed for easy, SaaS-like upgrades. Create Previews and schedule site updates easier, CMS pages are saved in a versioning system so you can revert a previous copy any moment. You can also schedule an unlimited number of updates.

Magento 2 EE allows to choose any deployment option to match your business needs, including cloud, managed hosting, and on-premise.

6 Business productivity

Content Staging and Preview capabilities enable merchants to make their tasks independently, without involving Magento developers. Merchants are now able to launch new products, promotions, and marketing campaigns right from the Magento Admin panel.

Magento 2 EE provides rich visual merchandising functionality. You can add multiple images, video, swatches, product recommendations, ratings, and reviews. Gain more from your product category pages, show your customers best selling items or the newest additions. Due to the simplified drag-and-drop interface it’s easy to set sorting rules for specific categories based on their attributes, such as brand, price, or date created.

Order Management and Customer Service right from Magento Admin panel:

  • Merchants can view, edit, create multiple invoices, shipments and credit memos per order to allow for split fulfillment, print invoices, packing slips, and shipping labels, create custom order status labels to track progress, use RMA to efficiently process returns.
  • Customer service can update products, prices, and coupons in customers’ shopping carts and wish lists.
  • Create customizable emails for account updates, password resets and send email notifications and RSS feeds with order status.
  • Create newsletters and manage their distribution.
  • Connect with customers via a “Contact Us” form.

Magento 2 EE supports multiple languages, currencies and local tax models:

  • Enterprise Edition supports fixed product taxes, such as WEEE/DEEE in the EU
  • Automatically calculates tax for transactions in the EU with VAT-ID validation
  • It integrates with multiple payment gateways, including PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, CyberSource and WorldPay
  • Offers PayPal Credit as a payment option

Support for Global Sites. Magento 2 EE allows to Manage multiple country sites all from the same store or environment.

Analytics and Reporting. Sales, taxes, abandoned shopping carts, best viewed products, best purchased products, low stock, search terms, product reviews, coupon usage, total sales invoiced and refunded reports are available through the Admin Panel.

Google Analytics, Ecommerce Tracking, AdWords Conversion are easily configurable in Magento 2 EE.

To sum it all up, there are few options, such as creating previews and scheduling site updates, that are available only for Magento Enterprise Edition 2.1 and cannot be replaced by any of the existing extensions, all other requirements can be implemented in Community Edition via modules, customizations or by hiring Magento support team.

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