Whether you are already using Magento Community or you are just starting out, at some point you are going to have to make the decision about when to switch to Magento Commerce. Community is a fine resource for those who are just getting their foot in the door of eCommerce, but Commerce has many features that will appeal to more established businesses. For the right businesses, these features make it well worth the additional cost.
Simply looking at a feature list might not give you the best idea of which solution is right for your business at this stage of its growth. So we’ve put together a list of signs that will tell you when you may be ready to make the switch. Let’s start with a brief overview of the features you will get when you upgrade, then we’ll talk about how to know when you will most benefit from these features.
What the Commerce upgrade gets you
Before you can start to evaluate whether an upgrade makes sense for you, you need to know what the upgrade brings to the table. You are likely already familiar with Magento, so this will be a brief recap rather than a detailed comparison between the two versions. An upgrade from Community to Commerce will get you:
- Magento Cloud – Hosting providers come in all quality levels. With Magento Cloud, you’ll get a 99.99% uptime guarantee and a dedicated support staff that stands watch over the systems 24/7.
- Scalability and performance improvements – Larger customer bases put more stress on a website. Magento Commerce scales better and has features to help your website load faster.
- Account management and support – When you upgrade, you’ll get your own Customer Success Manager to help you make the most of Magento, as well as additional onboarding training for self-study.
- Professional features – Many of the things you’d need third-party add-ons for come standard in Magento Commerce. This includes tools for marketing, customer support, content creation, reporting, and more.
Indicators that you may need to upgrade
Now that you’ve seen an overview of what features Magento Commerce has that the Community edition does not, let’s take a look at some common business scenarios that will let you know that it is time for your company to consider making the switch and taking advantage of the upgraded functionality.
You have a hard time keeping up with orders
Fulfillment problems can come from a number of sources. Magento cannot help you with all of them, but it can provide a solid framework that will help make the eCommerce side of your fulfillment operation go much more smoothly. The upgraded administration interface makes it much easier to manage your customers and keep track of their orders. A big area of slow down for many businesses is the handling of returns. One of Commerce’s customer management features is allowing customers to initiate their own returns. This saves you time and labour and lets your staff focus on other aspects of fulfillment.
With improved database support, you’ll be able to create a more efficient workflow between the fulfillment side and the eCommerce side of your operation. With the expanded Marketplace, you’ll have access to more third-party extensions that may also help you to optimize your systems.
Your current website cannot handle the load
As your business grows, more and more customers will be visiting the site. This is great news for business unless your current website cannot keep up with the demand. In that case, it will load slowly, may return errors when customers are trying to shop, and might even suffer crashes that prevent it from working at all. Suddenly, your asset has turned into a liability and is leaving customers with a poor taste in their mouth.
The bandwidth, performance, and scalability features that come with Magento Commerce mean that you won’t have to worry about your website holding up as your business becomes more popular. Instead, the time and resources that would have gone to fixing website problems can be spent ensuring that the rest of your business is also ready for the increase in orders.
Your current hosting has uptime issues
It isn’t just an overload of customers that can bring your website down. Poor quality hosting providers can have services that suffer from frequent downtime and other issues. If a customer wants to order from your site and get the dreaded error that the server cannot be reached, they are going to go off to one of your competitors. They may even assume you’ve gone out of business and not come back. Hosting your website in Magento Cloud solves this problem because Magento Cloud has a 99.99% uptime guarantee and an ever-alert staff ready to address any problem as soon as it occurs.
Your important metrics are dropping
Everything changes quickly in the world of web development. What is considered a state of the art feature now seems dated in two years. If your website isn’t keeping up with the changing time and your competitors are, then your customers are going to be leaving you for greener pastures. When nothing else has changed in your business, but you are seeing your KPIs drop then it is a good sign that your customers no longer find you to be an appealing alternative.
In that case, you need to act quickly to bring your website up to modern times. The tools in Magento Commerce are perfect for modernizing your website and bring your customers back with the features that they want. Once you’ve done that, Commerce will allow you to stay ahead of the curve and keep those KPIs from dropping again.
Your conversion rate isn’t rising
If your conversions are stagnating, it could be because you don’t have the proper marketing tools to drive serious growth. With the automated segmentation feature of Magento Commerce, you’ll be able to get actionable insights as to the different groups that make up your customer base and the preferences of each. You’ll then be able to use that data to serve customized pages with cross-sells and up-sells that maximize the likelihood that customers will buy more.
You’ll also get revenue-enhancing customer features such as gift-card support and over 100 different promotion types that will excite your customers and drive them to make a purchase.
You are spending more on add-ons than you would on the upgrade
Although there is a broader selection of add-ons in the Commerce Marketplace, you can still upgrade the Community version with third-party tools. You should take a close look at the add-ons you are paying for and whether or not the functionality they provide is something that you would get with the Commerce edition of the software. Often, businesses will get so caught up in trying to stay on the ‘free’ version of the tool that they won’t realize that doing so is causing them to spend more money than they would otherwise have to.
Aside from the money issues, if you find yourself needing a lot of the features that are available in Magento Commerce, it makes sense to get those features from Magento to ensure maximum support and compatibility going forward, rather than from a third-party provider.
You want to expand your customer base
Magento Commerce allows you to create multiple stores from a single instance of the software. There are many reasons why you may want to do this. You may want to expand from B2C to B2B, or vice-versa. You may be introducing a new product that is different enough from your core offerings that it would be better suited to its own site, with its own SEO and marketing strategies. Whatever the reason is, the ability to create and manage more than one site from one convenient interface allows you to multiply your stores without also multiplying your workload.
Any new venture needs to be given the best chance to succeed. Launching your new store with the same software as your old store and with the minimum amount of friction possible will ensure that you hit the ground running as soon as your new revenue path opens up. It will also save you from a costly migration that would have occurred had you chose to make the switch after the fact.
Regardless of whether you upgrade to Commerce or stay on Community, building a Magento store that converts well and features the bells and whistles that today’s picky customers want requires a high degree of skill in Magento implementation. Fortunately, we have a team of developers that are highly skilled in Magento and are ready to help your company meet its eCommerce goals. Our services include Magento web development, Magento 1 to Magento 2 migrations, Amazon and SAP integrations, conversion rate optimization using A/B testing and abandoned cart recovery, Magento website audit, and more.
If you need work done on your Magento site, or just need help deciding whether Commerce or Community is the better choice for you right now, then we invite you to contact us and let our knowledgeable staff tell you how we can help you become an eCommerce success story.