As the owner of an ecommerce store, you have many major decisions to make that directly impact your company. What products will you carry? How will you determine your pricing? What shipping services will you use? All these and more are questions you need to answer before launching your site.
But before you begin the process of designing your store – or selecting a web design agency to take on the project – you have to determine which content management system, or CMS, you want to use. And in when it comes to ecommerce, there are two major names to choose between: Drupal and Magento.
In this post, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about Drupal and Magento so you can pick the right CMS for your site.
Advantages and disadvantages of Magento
One of the most well-known ecommerce platforms on the market today is Magento. It’s often the go-to choice for business owners because of its wide range of functionalities. Here’s what you should know:
Ecommerce sites that run Magento can handle hundreds of thousands of products at a time and can even run several different stores at a time. This means that no matter how much your business grows, you’d never need to worry about upgrading to another platform.
The platform is designed to be commerce-focused, and has a straightforward process for creating and managing product catalogs. You basically set up different product categories (ex. shirts, pants, accessories) and place your products within them. Magento also offers analysis, report, and product management systems to help users manage their inventories and reports.
As an added bonus, Magento is SEO-friendly, meaning that it’s easy to optimize your product pages for search. And with the extensive support community on Magento’s site, there are a lot of people who can help if you run into any issues.
The tradeoff for Magento’s extensive capabilities is that it can place high demands on your server. This means that if you’re planning to use it for your site, you need to first make sure that your server can handle it.
And although its ecommerce capabilities are strong, Magento’s CMS functionality isn’t the best. As a result, most site owners who use Magento only use it for the ecommerce sections of their site, and run the rest of their site on another CMS like WordPress.
Brands that use Magento
If you’d like to see what an ecommerce site running on the platform looks like, you won’t have to search too hard. Many successful ecommerce brands rely on Magento, like Nike Australia, Rosetta Stone, Harper’s Bazaar, Volcom, Rebecca Minkoff, and Sierra Nevada Brewing company.
Advantages and disadvantages of Drupal
Drupal is another well-known ecommerce platform, but also has the added functionality of a full CMS. Here’s what you should know:
Drupal is a comprehensive CMS and ecommerce platform, meaning that your entire site can run on it. Unlike Magento, which is typically integrated with another platform like WordPress, you can manage all of your pages in one central location.
It’s also an extremely flexible platform, and virtually every aspect of your site, catalog, and product presentation is fully customizable. When you use Drupal, you begin with a much less defined setup and play a much bigger role in choosing the options you want.
Drupal is not compatible with other software, so if you have another CMS in place (like WordPress), you can’t integrate it into your site without some major changes. Some users also don’t like that it lacks a few features in its shopping cart, like discount codes and estimated shipping and tax.
It’s also important to note that although many developers love the flexibility that Drupal allows, customizing your platform requires advanced coding knowledge. This means that it’s not necessarily a user-friendly choice for those who don’t have experience developing sites.
Brands that use Magento
Drupal also has an impressive client list, including Whitehouse.gov, NBC, Tesla, Harvard University, Timex, Weather.com, and the Dallas Cowboys.
Which one is right for you?
Ultimately, the CMS that’s right for you depends on what you’re looking for in an ecommerce platform. If you just want to add ecommerce functionality onto your existing site, Magento is a great choice. But if you’d rather do a complete overhaul to have your site running on one CMS, Drupal is your best bet.
That being said, if you have an in-house developer, they should definitely be a key decision-maker in this process. Regardless of which platform you choose, you’ll need someone with coding experience to get your ecommerce functionality up and running. And if you don’t plan to work with an outside agency, learning either one of these platforms is a challenging task for even the best developer.
Ready to start designing your storefront?
If you’re considering launching or updating an ecommerce store, deciding between Drupal and Magento (as well as the many other options on the market) can be difficult. It’s worth investing some serious time in making the right choice, as it will ultimately play a huge role in the overall look and feel of your site.
And if you’re looking for a developer, I encourage you to take a look at our CMS development and ecommerce services. Whether you’re looking to build an entirely new site or add ecommerce functionality to your existing one, our experienced team of developers can help.