There are two main versions of Magento: Magento Open Source (formally Community) and Magento Commerce (formally Enterprise). Although Magento Commerce is the premium version, essential for running a scalable, high turnover ecommerce store, Magento Open Source has many uses too. Aside from enabling small businesses to preview Magento, it allows enterprises to trial the platform before committing to it.
The latest Magento Open Source 2.2.8 includes brand new features plus many enhancements and fixes. To name just a few, it now includes over 30 critical enhancements, over 150 core code fixes, and 285 community-submitted pull requests.
- Multiple improvements to the Shipment workflow user experience
- Batch Processing. Error messaging and field validation has been added to the batch processing workflow
- Carrier-specific packaging has been added for FedEx. This option will be available where a FedEx carrier is configured
- Security. Closed scenarios that could allow for third-party code execution
- Cart Price Rules. Cart price rules can now be applied within the platform
Cart and checkout
- Administrators with permissions can now manage customer shopping carts from the Admin
- Customers can now configure options for a product after adding it to their shopping cart
- Magento now updates the minicart when an administrator updates the product from the Admin
Bundled extension enhancements
- dotdigital Engagement Cloud (formerly dotmailer)
- dotmailer has been rebranded as dotdigital Engagement Cloud
Magento Open Source vs Magento Commerce
Although Magento Open Source has many of the core features that come with the Commerce edition, it does come with limitations. For medium to large enterprises we recommend the Open Source version as a demo only – a quick and easy way to find out what it can do. To see the key differences between the free and premium versions, please see our summary table below.
|Features||Magento Open Source Edition||Magento Commerce Edition|
|Integrated checkout, payment||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile optimised shopping||Yes||Yes|
|Extended marketplace functionality||Yes||Yes|
|Business intelligence dashboard||No||Yes|
|Advanced marketing tools||No||Yes|
|Content staging and preview||No||Yes|
|Customer loyalty tools||No||Yes|
|WYSIWYG page builder||No||Yes|
Having seen which features differ in the Open Source and Commerce editions, let’s look at some of the key difference one by one. This will give you a better idea of the premium features available in the full version.
Rewards & Loyalty Plans
Magento Commerce provides a rewards points system as standard. This feature allows you to award points based on a wide range of transactions and customer activities. You can choose the value each reward point has in your selected currency. By adding a “Use My Reward Points” option to the checkout page, customers can use their points to purchase products from your online store. While Open Source does not have a rewards or loyalty program, there are a number of 3rd party reward programs that can be installed. These 3rd party reward programs, while often effective in their functionality, sadly often come at a high cost.
Elasticsearch allows your Magento 2 store to handle search queries through large catalogs with ease. Elastic search offers your customer’s suggestions, corrections to misspellings, support for attribute weighing, stop words, and synonym management to increase relevancy and help customers find what they are looking for quickly. This really comes into its own for stores with a large quantities of stock. While Open Source comes with a full text MySQL search, the Commerce edition now has Elasticsearch built in. Elasticsearch technology enables the user to handle large catalogs and easily scale search capacity as queries grow.
Unlike in Open Source (which does not come with this included) this feature allows you to optimise your product category pages via a simple drag and drop interface. You can use rules and conditions to sort them using products attributes such as best selling products, colours, latest products, etc. You can also pin specific products into position, push out of stock products to the bottom of the grid, set visibility options, define the page layout and set “VIP” products that will automatically display at the top of the list.
Built into Magento Commerce code base is a customer segmentation system, that allows you to personalise a site content based on customer attributes. For instance, customer segments allow you to dynamically display promotions to specific customers, based on properties such as customer address, order history, shopping cart contents, and so on. In this way, customers can be segmented into separate groups that similar attributes, helping you to avoid a ‘one size fits all’ marketing approach which in ecommerce rarely pays off.
Perhaps the biggest advantage Commerce has over Open Source is access to support. With Commerce, you gain access to 24/7 support for any questions you have or issues you may be facing. With a dedicated Account Manager, you also have an immediate contact for direct assistance. By contrast, with Open Source, despite a wealth of online resources, technical support is not included. If you need specialist help or advice, you will unfortunately have to seek this out yourself.
Downloading Magento Open Source
If our run down of Magento Commerce has wetted your appetite, you can now trial it in the form of the Magento Open Source download. Whether you are seeking to migrate to Magento from an existing platform, or aiming to build your webstore from scratch, this edition is open source, giving you the option to try before you buy. Don’t forget, it also comes with community support in case you get stuck. You can download it here and find out how to install it here.
Want to find more about Magento while you’re here? Take a look at our free Magento ecommerce guide.