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Magento is an eCommerce platform that powers more than 250 000 online stores, which are collectively worth over $124 billion of goods and services every year. From the early beginning the platform has been available in two options: free Community Edition and paid Enterprise Edition.

But the world is changing and new paradigms come around. Now one of the most powerful eCommerce platform came up with other options: Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce. And these are not just new names for old stuff, so we are here to reveal the differences between the Open Source and Commerce editions. Let's shed light on new updates.

Magento Open Source Edition (formerly Community): a free version of the platform available for everyone to download, install and extend.

Magento Commerce Edition (formerly split into Enterprise & Magento Cloud Edition): a feature rich out-of-the-box version. It is available both on-premises and in the cloud.

FEATURE MAGENTO OPEN SOURCE MAGENTO COMMERCE (STARTER/PRO)
Basic
License Costs FREE Revenue based license cost (tiered)Starting at $1,999/month
Free Trial Version 30 days (Starter/Pro)
Responsive Ecomm website (Global capability) - Starter/Pro
Flexibility + Starter/Pro
Modern technology stack + Starter/Pro
Modular code base + Starter/Pro
Efficient APIs for integration + Starter/Pro
Reliable scalability + Starter/Pro
Support for database subsystems + Starter/Pro
Minimized and bundled JavaScript for improved performance + Starter/Pro
Varnish caching tool + -
Full-page caching + Starter/Pro
Cached images and content + Starter/Pro
Payment integrations + Starter/Pro
Split database performance solution required deep customization, but it’s possible to configure slave databases for replication Pro
Elasticsearch for in-store and admin use can be implemented with one of the extensions designed to improve the default search solution of the platform Starter/Pro
Cloud hosting & deployment + Starter/Pro
Business Intelligence - Pro (Prices start at $100/month)
Dedicated launch manager can be provided as a service of development provider Pro
Dedicated hardware + Pro
EFFICIENCY AND MAINTENANCE
Magento Marketplace + Starter/Pro
Modern theming + Starter/Pro
Simplified content and layout variations + Starter/Pro
Faster to-market time + Starter/Pro
Automated testing + Starter/Pro
Automated notifications + Starter/Pro
Automated code merge + Starter/Pro
Support for concurrent updating + Starter/Pro
Easier maintenance and upgrades + Starter/Pro
Quarterly updates + Starter/Pro
Diagnostic and analysis tools• Installed extensions• Checks for key database tables• Modified core files available for implementation via custom development Starter/Pro
ADMIN TASKS
Improved admin panel + Starter/Pro
Mobile-friendly admin panel + Starter/Pro
Modular admin tools + Starter/Pro
Customizable admin dashboard + Starter/Pro
Improved product uploading + Starter/Pro
Product creation tool + Starter/Pro
Faster product import + Starter/Pro
Sorting options (best sellers, new, top rated, etc) can be implemented with one of the extensions (ex. Improved Sorting by Amasty - $199 ) Starter/Pro
Dynamic Rule-Based Product Relations can be implemented with one of the extensions (ex. Automatic Related Products by Amasty - $199) Starter/Pro
Configurable parameters for RMA can be implemented with one of the extensions (ex. RMA Extension by Mirasvit - $119 and aheadWorks RMA - $349) Starter/Pro
Multiple permissions for admin users - can be implemented with one of the extensions (ex. Multi User Account CreativeMinds - $280) Starter/Pro
Content Staging and Preview Custom implementation / development Starter/Pro
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Completely responsive layout + Starter/Pro
Engaging experience + Starter/Pro
Easy-to-use navigation + Starter/Pro
Integrated video for products + Starter/Pro
One-click account creation + Starter/Pro
Registered users + Starter/Pro
Email lookup for easy login + Starter/Pro
Guest checkout + Starter/Pro
Improved two-step checkout + Starter/Pro
Comprehensive checkout page + Starter/Pro
In-site checkout + Starter/Pro
50% faster load times across catalog and checkout + Starter/Pro
Improved payment security + Starter/Pro
Multiple wishlist and gift registry capabilities can be implemented with one of the extensions ( ex. Rewards and Points (Loyalty Program) by Amasty - $249 / Reward Points + Referral Program by Mirasvit - $149) Starter/Pro
Virtual and physical gift card capabilities can be implemented with one of the extensions ( ex. Gift Registry by Mirasvit - $149 / Gift Card Extension by Amasty - $249) Starter/Pro
Store credit options can be implemented with one of the extensions ( ex. Store Credit & Refund - $149) Starter/Pro
MARKETING
Integrated marketing tools + Starter/Pro
Content campaigns, grouping and scheduling can be implemented with one of the extensions ( ex. Custom Static Blocks by aheadWorks $199) Starter/Pro
Customer segmentation for targeting - can be implemented with one of the extensions ( ex. Special Promotions by Amasty $249) Starter/Pro
Built-in logic for automated segmentation - Starter/Pro
Customizable registration fields - Starter/Pro
Segmented marketing campaigns - Starter/Pro
Multiple site views for different customer groups - Starter/Pro
Rule-based segmentation and pricing - Starter/Pro
Automated reminder emails for abandoned carts and wishlists - Starter/Pro
Rewards programs with customizable criteria - Starter/Pro
Link rewards to promotions - Starter/Pro
Private sales and flash sales - Starter/Pro
PRICE FREE Magento Commerce Starter - Starting at $1,999/monthMagento Commerce Pro - Starting at $3,399/month

Cloud-based solutions with service-oriented architectures are taking over the eCommerce market, where buyers are now dictating the new critical standard: the pace. To keep up with the customer demand businesses have to be agile and fast - there is no more room for years-long implementations and heavy solutions. In this regard, the cloud hosting & deployment opportunities of Magento Commerce are ahead of the curve. No wonder that in the “The Forrester Wave™: B2B Commerce Suites for Midsize Organizations, Q3 2017” Forrester defined Magento Commerce as the leader of B2B eCommerce: solutions offered by Magento allow to launch complex enterprise projects faster due to the easier and simpler platform deployment, ready-to-use B2B functionality (like selling to corporate accounts with multiple buyers and layered organizational structures, create personalized catalogs, price lists, and promotions for customer groups, etc), out-of-the-box sales and marketing tools.

Integrated cloud hosting in Magento Commerce edition is also beneficial in long term perspective, as it allows avoiding stressing out about server issues.

Also, Commerce edition has Content Staging and Preview option that allows your business team to easily create, preview, and schedule a wide range of content updates (products, prices, page designs, descriptions, images, menu and display options, page content and layouts, catalog and shopping cart and more) directly from the Admin panel, without adding a single line code or requiring customization from developers. Marketers can preview changes they’ve just made to the website without publishing them live. This handy tool improves user experience, as customers get only the production-ready version of each improvement.

Unfortunately, this helpful feature still can’t be implemented with a help of third-party modules in Magento Open Source version.

Magento Business Intelligence is also available only for Magento Commerce. It’s a set of reports and dashboards that empower merchants to make data-driven decisions without wasting hours on database queries. It contains 5 pre-built dashboards, comprising 75 reports, email summaries, SQL and visual report builders, data from Magento and Google Analytics, 10 user accounts with advanced user permissions. But keep in mind that all these time saving and data-driving benefits cost a pretty penny. Despite $1,999 or $3,399 min monthly payment you’ll pay higher rates for development and maintenance.

Magento Commerce differs from previous Enterprise Edition with its fixed-fee pricing model. According to this model, the final price determines with expected annual online revenue and average order value of web store.

Also, there is a noticeable difference in pricing for designing implementations, as pricing starts with $50,000 for Magento Open Source and $100,000-$250,000 for Magento Commerce.

So are such high expenses on Magento Commerce web store even worth it?

From the first glance, Magento Commerce is an undeniable leader; especially, if we are talking about the B2B area, since the B2B features are core for Commerce edition and they work as separate modules but don’t require additional charge. But the gulf between Magento editions can be easily overcome with the help of third-party extensions and custom development.

You choice depends on the definite business requirements, since not all companies will ever use the full Magento Commerce feature list. The company may already have its own servers or consider the on-premise deployment. Or you may have already built a data-driven organization and you are already using handy tools to make optimal business decisions. If it works just fine, why would someone want to replace it? What you may want though is to improve and customize it, which won’t hurt at all.

If you hire high-qualified Magento developers, you’ll get scalable high performance web store with all required features and reliable 24/7 support. As both Magento editions are fully flexible and customizable, almost all Magento Commerce features can be implemented on Magento Open Source based project.

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