The most important decision that an online retailer has to first make when starting out is to choose the online shopping platform which is going to serve as the base of their ecommerce store. The shopping platform you choose not only influences the layout and look of an ecommerce store, but it is also used for handling the various backend functions in the website. Some of the important functions that the shopping platform should be able to handle include management of inventory, delivery tracking and discount management among many others. Essentially, the platform helps in managing the operation of your store and thus choosing the right one, whether Spree Commerce or Magento is important.  This article highlights a few of the differences between Magento and Spree Commerce.

Magento is an open source platform owned by eBay.  It was founded in 2008 and acquired by eBay in 2011.  Magento is built on the Zend Framework, which is an open source, object-oriented web application framework implemented in PHP 5.  Spree Commerce is an open source platform built on Ruby on Rails.  It was created by Sean Schofield in 2007 and has since been further developed with the help of numerous contributors.  Both Magento and Spree are both open-sourced, self-hosted platforms, so if you are looking for a all-in-one hosting, security, support, and templates, check out Shopify and Big Commerce.

Magento is the most popular eCommerce platform currently online.  Out of the box, it is extremely powerful and filled with numerous features.  Furthermore, Magento has a many easy install extensions that can quickly add features and/or connect to other applications.  However, Magento does have a reputation with some of being overly complicated, bloated, and a resource hog.  Some of these “reviewers” may be comparing Magento to hosted platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, which may not be a fair comparison for medium to large eCommerce companies.  Nevertheless, it is able to perform complex functions like unique sales discounts and promotions, multiple currencies, and location support, as well as the capability of managing operations from bigger online stores.

Spree Commerce is regarded as the new alternative to Magento.  Like Magento it is free and open sources, but Spree is built using Ruby on Rails, which has earned a great reputation for producing fast, light, and elegant sites.  In fact, some say operations in Spree take 1/10th the code as Magento.  Spree Commerce does have a very community of contributors that are working to constantly improve and enhance Spree.  According a recent Spree Commerce review, the large number of developers for this platform are rapidly increasing and making some innovative changes to make sure that it can compete with Magento features, while still keeping it responsive and light.  Since Spree is the new kids on the block, it doesn’t yet have the vast library of extensions like Magento.  While there are some available on GitHub, you’ll likely need to budget to have custom extensions built.  Fortunately, the Spree team has create Wombat, which claims to be the “Operating System for eCommerce” by connecting your Spree storefront (and other eCommerce storefronts) to any service, such as Quickbooks, ShipStation, MailChimp, etc.  If you happened try Spree before reading this article, the first thing be blown away by is their admin panel.  The Spree admin panel is one of the most well designed, elegant admin panels out there.  It is extremely lean and efficient, but you will have be prepared to load features you’ll need, like a CMS.

Magento and Spree Commerce are similar in many ways.  Both are open-sourced, powerful, and fully customizable eCommerce platforms.  The differences between the two platforms stem from PHP vs Ruby on Rails and the collections of extensions, tools and themes.  If you have a set budget and need a more tied and tested platform, Magento may be the correct platform for you.  If you are seeking a leaner, fast, and more elegant platform and your budget afford additional development and customization, then Spree Commerce may be the correct platform for you.