Finding an ecommerce platform that can meet your business needs is challenging. With so many options on offer, you’re probably going around in circles trying to find the right one. Some provide ease of use, while others offer advanced commerce features but have a hefty price tag.
But here’s the good news. There’s one platform that can do it all. Magento is the only ecommerce platform that can deliver cutting-edge ecommerce functionality and unlimited customizability without a price tag. Its ability to support businesses with large catalogs and high-traffic volumes without compromising performance is unparalleled.
Magento is currently offered in two primary editions — Magento 2 Open Source, formerly known as Magento Community Edition (CE), and Adobe Commerce, formerly known as Magento Commerce and Magento Enterprise Edition (EE) before that.
Magento’s open-source edition is more popular. However, its enterprise editions provide merchants with access to leading-edge AI-based technology and a host of other advanced commerce tools to help them create unique and intuitive shopping experiences for their customers.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the differences between Magento’s community and enterprise editions and figure out which is better for your business.
Key differences between Magento CE and EE
1. Catalog management
Magento users enjoy a feature-rich catalog management system in their stores. Both CE and EE users can host simple, configurable, virtual, grouped, bundle, and downloadable products on their stores.
They also enjoy enhanced inventory management functionality allowing them to manage product inventory from multiple locations and sales channels with concurrent checkout protection.
However, Magento EE users have access to even more premium catalog and product management features, including the following:
- Category permissions,
- Gift cards,
- Shared catalogs,
- Full catalog export.
Magento’s enterprise editions allow limiting or entirely restricting access to product categories by customer groups. This feature includes the ability to specify the landing page, controlling the display of product prices, and determining which customer groups can or cannot add products from a specific category to their cart.
With the enterprise editions, you can offer three types of gift card products to your customers — virtual, physical, and a combination of the two.
Virtual gift cards can be emailed to a customer, whereas a physical gift card requires a delivery address to ship the gift card to the customer. A combined gift card is emailed and shipped to the customer. Therefore, it requires both an email and a shipping address at the time of its purchase.
Limited to those using the B2B module with Magento’s enterprise editions, shared catalogs allow merchants to create and maintain gated catalogs for multiple company accounts. This enables them to provide their B2B customers with custom pricing and pricing structures.
Full catalog export
This feature allows merchants to export their entire catalog through the admin panel with a single click. Once initiated, this feature exports all products, including newly created or updated products, to a .csv file in lots of 5,000.
2. Customer management
Magento simplifies customer management for merchants in several ways. Under the ‘Customers’ tab in the admin panel, it provides merchants with a bird’s eye view of all customers registered with an account and those added manually by a store admin.
Further, it lets them create new accounts and manage existing ones by updating their information, activating/deactivating accounts, and even allows admins to view online customers on their website. These features are available to both Magento CE and EE users.
Magento EE users get access to some extra features, including:
- Customer segments,
- Company accounts.
Using this feature, merchants can create customer segments and display content and promotions that are updated dynamically based on customer properties like order history, address, and cart contents.
This dynamic feature constantly updates to associate and disassociate customers from segments based on their behavior. Therefore, it allows store admins to generate reports and export lists of all targeted customers to gain better insights and optimize their marketing endeavors.
Those using the B2B module have access to the ‘Company Accounts’ feature, which allows creating a company account for businesses with a company admin account and sub-accounts. Company admins can create a hierarchy of users in their company and associate them with teams or divisions.
3. Order management
Magento helps merchants process and manage orders efficiently through a centralized dashboard. Its ability to integrate with POS and ERP systems allows merchants to oversee orders across multiple channels, online and offline.
Magento’s order management system provides control over orders, invoices, shipments, billing agreements, and all transactions. Its integrated payment solutions make it easy to accept payments online and offline.
Magento EE’s order management system provides the following extra functionality to improve the end-user experience:
- Magento Commerce Order Management,
- Order Archive.
Magento Commerce Order Management
The Magento Commerce Order Management system is a set of modules that integrate several aspects of an ecommerce business like distributed order management, inventory management, fulfillment, customer services, and business intelligence.
This feature allows merchants to grant returned merchandise authorizations to customers who wish to return items from their purchases. It also allows admins to control which products can be returned and provides them with complete control over the entire workflow of the returns process.
The Archive feature only appears in the ‘Sales’ menu for customers using Magento EE. It allows merchants to archive orders on a schedule to improve their store performance and keep their workspace clear to help them focus on current business activities.
By default, all Magento store owners can use two sets of price rules to apply discounts at the catalog and cart levels based on a set of conditions. These rulesets allow merchants to create hundreds of combinations using store and customer attributes to trigger discounts automatically or manually using coupon codes during checkout.
Magento EE takes this a step further by allowing merchants to use powerful AI-based technology to promote products and increase sales. Its users gain access to the following features:
- Product Recommendations,
- Visual merchandiser,
- Private sales and events.
Product Recommendations is a powerful tool that uses visitor data and analyzes it using Adobe’s proprietary software Adobe Sensei. This software uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to analyze data and provide relevant customer recommendations in real time.
Using a set of advanced tools, Magento EE allows merchants to position products on their websites using pre-configured conditions. They can even configure category listings to update dynamically based on changes in the catalog, and the entire workflow can be managed using a visual drag-and-drop style builder.
Private sales and events
This feature allows merchants to create private invite-only sales using customer groups and is perfect for generating sales from existing customers and promoting brand loyalty. Merchants can even promote these private sale events using the catalog events carousel to display a countdown to the sale event on the frontend.
5. B2B functionality
Magento’s B2B module helps merchants run B2B and B2C stores from a single location. It streamlines business operations and allows them to leverage their business branding and design across their entire customer base.
Although Magento CE users don’t have access to this, they can achieve similar B2B functionality on their stores using a combination of custom Magento development and third-party extensions.
The B2B module delivers the following features to Magento EE users:
- Requisition lists,
- Quote management,
- Purchase orders.
This feature allows company account customers to save frequently ordered products as requisition lists and add items to their shopping carts using these lists. Further, they can maintain multiple lists and segregate them based on teams, campaigns, and vendors to streamline their workflow.
The quote feature in Magento’s B2B module allows merchants to authorize buyers with company accounts to request quotes and initiate price negotiations from their shopping carts. Admins can assign users access to this functionality using the role resources tree available in the admin panel.
Purchase orders allow authorized commercial customers to place orders using a PO number. This feature speeds up the ordering process for companies that usually require multiple approvals and authorizations to issue payments to their suppliers.
6. Business analytics
Magento offers several ways to track store performance, product sales and gain insights into the efficacy of marketing strategies. Inside the Reports menu in the admin panel, merchants can access and export several useful business performance reports.
Magento EE takes this a step further with more detailed analysis and reporting capabilities. Its business analytics features include:
- Site-wide analysis tool,
- Private sales reports.
Site-wide analysis tool
Magento’s site-wide analysis tool allows merchants to gain deep insights into their store performance with round-the-clock real-time monitoring, reports, and recommendations based on best practices to address any issues that it might detect.
Private sales reports
This feature provides merchants insights into sale invitations and the performance of private sales events. Merchants can analyze the success of their campaigns by viewing reports on the number of invitations generated, sent, and the status of the invites.
Magento CE users do not receive any technical support from Adobe. They’re usually limited to unofficial channels like Stack Exchange, Reddit, and other online forums for help.
In contrast, Magento EE users have access to 24/7 technical support for all issues related to the core application. Further, new Magento Commerce Cloud Pro users are assigned a customer success manager to assist merchants with all queries from the start of their subscription to the time their store goes live.
The most significant difference between Magento CE and EE is the cost. Magento CE is open-source software licensed under OSL 3.0. This license provides developers and merchants free access to its source code and the ability to use, modify, and distribute the software.
Magento EE is offered as a subscription-based software with pricing starting from $1,600 per month and upward. The subscription is calculated based on the Gross Merchandise Value of a business and which plan they choose — Magento Commerce, Magento Commerce Cloud Starter, or Magento Commerce Cloud Pro. Some consider Magento Commerce to be expensive, but here you’ll learn why the price is reasonable.
Which is better?
Now that you understand the differences between Magento CE and EE, you’re probably wondering which is the superior edition of the two. Although Magento EE offers several advanced features in addition to those of Magento CE, the answer to which one’s better will depend on your business’s needs and resources.
If you’re a small business starting on a budget, Magento CE will deliver everything you need to run a powerful ecommerce store and fuel your business growth for years. You won’t have to worry about needing technical support either.
But if you’re an established business that’s looking for advanced B2B functionality and bleeding-edge marketing features, Magento EE will be the perfect choice for your business.
Author: Jan Guardian
Jan is the Chief Business Development Officer at Staylime, a Magento design and development company headquartered in Redwood City, California. He is a Member of the Magento Association and an Adobe Sales Accredited Magento Commerce professional. Jan is responsible for developing and leading the sales and digital marketing strategies of the company. He is passionate about ecommerce and Magento in particular — throughout the years his articles have been featured on Retail Dive, Hacker Noon, Chief Marketer, Mobile Marketer, TMCnet, and many others.
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