Magento and Virtuemart for Joomla are two popular ecommerce platforms, selected by online sellers for their various benefits. Each platform has its own merits, and depending on your needs as a merchant, you may find that one is better than the other.
Here, we explore the basics — everything from cost to how easy it is to use, customize, and integrate these storefront systems. With all of the details of each platform laid out for you, you may find it easier to decide which is right for you.
Ease of Installation
This is an important consideration for any online vendor. When you have things to sell, you want to be able to do it quickly and easily. Installation is the first step!
If you are working with Magento you will find that you have a few options. To install it manually, you have to download the package and load it onto your hosting account, as Magento is a self-hosted ecommerce platform. That being said, if you choose a host with Magento integration you can likely find one that will do a one-click install for you, making installation incredibly easy.
Installing Virtuemart is also easy, if you already have a website on Joomla. Because Virtuemart is basically an extension for the Joomla system, you should not find it too challenging to set up, as an existing Joomla user.
If you’re new to both Joomla and Virtuemart, you’ll have a bit more of a learning curve. Between the two platforms, however, Magento is easier for installation if you are a new user.
Ease of Use
Magento is a very powerful ecommerce platform, stuffed with lots of options for customization and advanced usage. To truly take advantage of this, though, a vendor has to have the know-how.
If you have skills in web design, coding, or development, you’ll enjoy the flexibility of Magento, and find it easy to use. Beginners will have to do some learning or hire out for advanced options, as it otherwise may be complicated. Technical knowledge is key!
Virtuemart, as a plugin, is easy to use. If you understand Joomla you’ll understand this extension of it. That ease of use comes with a trade-off though — fewer options for customizability and advanced usage. For beginners, or those who do not have the time or funds to learn more, this is fine, but those who want to expand in the future may feel stunted by Virtuemart eventually.
Search Engine Friendliness
Search engine optimization is vital to any business on the internet, especially an online store. You’ll want an ecommerce platform that makes SEO easy and seamless.
Magento is one of the top-ranked platforms for ease of integration with SEO, and very easy to use in this manner. From custom URLs to meta info, search analytics, and integration with Google, you can not only discover what people are searching for, but tailor your store’s data to it, too.
With Virtuemart, you can find extensions that help with SEO, so you can do much of the same thing with this platform as you can with Magento. You will have to find and purchase the extension, so it is not as simple as having it built right in. The options are there, however, if you are prepared to make the effort.
If you are looking for an ecommerce platform that plays well with others, consider Magento — it works across various platforms, and integrates systems and applications such as BankPayment, PayOne, MailChimp, osCommerce, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, and WorldPay.
Virtuemart has less extensibility, but does integrate with social media well. It can also integrate with a few services and applications.
Cost to Maintain
Both of these ecommerce platforms are free to download in their simplest forms, so the cost can be quite low, regardless of which you choose. Both systems may require additional expenditures, for hosting and further extensions. The benefits of the platforms requiring a host, it should be noted, include having some flexibility in choosing your provider.
Magento may cost more than Virtuemart if you require the enterprise system, built for large companies who need more resources.
Magento is highly customizable and a great choice for those with the skills to delve into design and development. This ecommerce platform is one of the most flexible and adaptable, but there is a requirement for some technical know-how to make it work for you.
Virtuemart is a more basic, simple platform. It is customizable, but not nearly to the level that Magento offers. If you need a bit of a custom look, but have fewer technical skills, it’s a good choice.
|Magento||Virtuemart for Joomla|
|Easy of Installation||One-click features are available depending on host. Developers are recommended to use the platform to the fullest. 4/5||Easy if you already have Joomla; if not you will have to install Joomla as well. 4/5|
|Ease of Use||Setting up should be taken care of by professionals. Using the system afterwards is straightforward. 4/5||Very simple to use, but may hold back power users. 4/5|
|Search Engine Friendly||Extremely SEO-friendly! 5/5||Extremely SEO-friendly! 5/5|
|Integration Ecosystem||Simple and straightforward integration with most major players. 4/5||Integrates with some other services, apps, and social media. 3/5|
|Cost to Maintain||Initially free, plus the cost of hosting. Many features are built in. Businesses can pay for extensions and developers to install them as the business grows. 4/5||Free plus cost of hosting. 4/5|
|Customizability||Highly customizable, especially for those with the skills, or with the budget to pay someone for customization. 5/5||Smaller degree of customization; better for beginner users or those who want to keep things simple. 4/5|
|Hosted vs. Self-Hosted||Self-hosted — more work, but more freedom.||Self-hosted — more work, but more freedom.|
|Target Market||Large businesses with high-volume stores and agencies managing multiple stores.||Businesses that use the open source CMS, Joomla.|