Magento vs Drupal Commerce

When it comes to open source, Magento and Drupal are about as big as they get these days.

After comparing OpenCart and Magento and OpenCart vs PrestaShop, Magento vs Drupal Commerce seemed a natural next step. So, here’s our comparison of Drupal Commerce and Magento.

Drupal Commerce vs Magento: features

The first point worth raising is that Drupal Commerce is relatively infantile compared to Magento; it’s not as mature a project, but it’s expected to grow and improve rapidly over the coming year(s). Drupal’s previous ecommerce bundle, UberCart, was a bit of a mess, and first impressions of Drupal Commerce are good: it’s better thought through this time round.

Feature Drupal Commerce Magento
Content management Drupal Commerce is built on Drupal, the content management system, so no problems here! The WYSIWYG module makes it really easy to add a text editor to the site, too. Expect quite a bit of work to get image embedding working, though. Magento’s content management tool is reasonable, but doesn’t have quite the refined feel about it that Drupal does.
Administration panel Drupal is renowned for having a learning curve, but Drupal 7, the most recent incarnation of the content management system is much smoother to use. The overlay module allows the administration area to appear over your site, which can make things easier to manage. Magento’s administration panel is well tested now, but the huge array of options can be off-putting to first time users. And, of course, there are quite a selection of Magento training courses available, too.
Theming Drupal has a reasonable theming system with room for plenty of control if you’re patient, and at the time of writing the documentation for theming Drupal Commerce specific areas is pretty poor. Magento is more complex to theme than Drupal, but gives you greater control once you’ve mastered it.
Documentation Don’t expect much from Drupal Commerce’s documentation at the moment – the project is still relatively young and it takes time to trickle through! Whilst Magento has a community support forum and a documentation wiki, I’ve found the Magento community one the more difficult to get an answer from, and there is often no clearly identified ‘final’ solution to problems found. There are plenty of books on Magento to get you up to speed, though.
Search engine friendliness Both platforms are pretty search engine friendly, and Drupal Commerce is pretty search-engine friendly out of the box. Magento is well optimised, though be careful with some off-the-shelf Magento themes being pretty poorly built.
Scability Magento wins this round: it’s more readily proven scalable for large-scale enterprise websites, but expect Drupal Commerce to catch up soon!
Checkout process Drupal Commerce’s checkout process is pretty smooth out of the box, but expect to spend some time fine-tuning it. Magento’s one page checkout is well developed, and nicely enhanced with JavaScript.

So, Magento or Drupal Commerce?

Both Magento and Drupal Commerce are solid ecommerce systems. For any serious ecommerce store, I’d personally chose Magento, but it’s well worth keeping an eye on Drupal Commerce as the months go by!

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10 Responses to Magento vs Drupal Commerce

  1. Ryan says:

    Thanks for posting this first look comparison! Not a whole lot of these yet, but we expect them to come more regularly. (The only other I know of came through the French Le Journal Du Net, which ranked Drupal Commerce favorably over Magento on its openness – as in licensing / community – and flexibility but as you said not its polish.)

    One of the current efforts to help new users and developers understand the possibilities with Drupal and to simplify a lot of the configuration of advanced features is Commerce Kickstart 2.x. It’s going to look a lot more like an eCommerce application out of the box, with both a sharp store-friendly theme and back-office tweaks to make it much easier to administer products and orders on-site. We’ve had a couple blog posts on its progress, but you can start with the most recent and follow the link to the previous one with a lot more screenies and detail:

    http://commerceguys.com/commerce-kickstart-version-two

  2. Thanks for the comment, Ryan. We used the Kickstart package and was much easier to get Drupal Commerce up and running than I expected, always a pleasant surprise!

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  4. Kasper says:

    It also depends on the existing knowledge and setup. If you’ve been building Drupal sites for a couple of years and you want to turn an existing (non e-commerce) Drupal website into an e-commerce site. It makes a lot of sense to continue with Drupal and simply add Drupal Commerce to your site.

  5. Tomas says:

    At the moment I am searching for a shopping cart solution, to migrate from VirtueMart. I had already decided on a migration tool- Cart2Cart , I think it is really worth attention as it can prevent from any serious mistakes like data loss or info duplication. But still not sure about about the platform.
    I am trying to compare Magento, which is the the most popular one with some others shopping carts. Actually, I don’t know exactly if Magento is the best one, but definitely the most famous. But finally, thanks to you, I started to think about Drupal. It is rather good choice

  6. Gery says:

    Thank you for this excellent article. We are in January, 2013. What would you recommend today? Drupal or Magento?
    Thanks again.

  7. Web Dux says:

    I always consider Magento and Drupal commerce. Yes, Magento is professional commerce platform but Drupal can do more things.

    Only considering online shop, Magento seems better but we have to consider how to build buyer group, which not only buy products directly, which may always are interesting one thing then I think Drupal will be better because Drupal can do more, such as Forum, you customers could talk on their interesting things and when they have requirement to buy, they could place the order on your website directly. So I think Drupal will win the game.