There’s more to choosing an eCommerce platform than meets the eye. When you are choosing an eCommerce platform for your business, you are sealing the fate of your online store, its growth, and future success. Agree?
Well, taking a leap of faith without thinking about the consequence is not always prudent, especially when the success of your eCommerce store largely depends on your choice of platform.
To leverage the maximum potential of your eCommerce store, you need to choose the best platform to power your store. A wrong platform choice can limit the growth, ROI, and success of your online business. There are numerous factors that you need to consider when choosing the right platform and make a well informed and opinionated decision.
The best approach would be to narrow down your options to the two most popular platforms that have long dominated the eCommerce space. You might be wondering, why compare Magento and Shopify in the first place? Well, this blog aims to address this and much more.
Magento VS Shopify: The Battle Of Two Giants/ The Face-Off
Most of us believe that Magento and Shopify are quite similar. But in reality, these two platforms are quite different even though both are intended to serve the needs of online retailers. They differ from each other on many grounds, be it the code structure, the way both handle extensions, to the payment options offered and more.
Launched in 2008, Magento is a PHP based self-hosted eCommerce platform that is currently powering over 248,060 live websites, which includes small retailers as well as world-leading brands such as Ford, Nike, etc. Magento is available in two versions Community (free) and Enterprise (premium). The platform is known to offer online retailers greater flexibility and a world of possibilities to customize an online store as per their requirement.
On the other hand, Shopify is a hosted solution that started as an eCommerce store selling snowboarding equipment to customers and is now leading the eCommerce space as a robust, easy-to-use, user-friendly platform. At present, Shopify powers over 1,064,926 live websites and has generated over $100 billion worth of sales.
Shopify focuses on serving online retailers who are less concerned with all the technicalities related to the selling process. You just need to pay a monthly subscription fee and in return, you get a shared hosting infrastructure that’s easy-to-use.
eCommerce store owners using Magento grow 3 times faster, on average.
126% year-over-year average growth expected for Shopify Plus merchants.
Looking at the stats it is easy to comprehend that, Magento and Shopify are undoubtedly the most popular eCommerce platforms being used today. And, why not? There are numerous reasons for the fan following. Here’s a quick comparison to help you make an informed decision:
Magento VS Shopify: The Similarities
Keeping aside the difference between Shopify and Magento, a fair comparison can be established between the two. Both platforms come loaded with a host of features and functionalities that allow great user experience. If you are a seller, using any of these platforms, you get a well-defined, easy-to-use and robust UI apart from the powerful features. Also, when we talk about the scalability aspect, both platforms offer ample scope for growth in the future. It is no secret that the strength of these two platforms goes far beyond what’s reflected in the stats and comparing Magento vs Shopify does make sense in the present scenario.
Magento powers 1.2% of the internet. Shopify is used in about 175 countries.
Magento VS Shopify – The Similar, But Not So Similar
Every business is unique with diverse requirements and one platform can’t always be the best fit for all these scenarios. So, before you delve deep into the comparison game, understand your business requirements first. Whatever your decision, don’t let one factor influence your choice of platform.
There is no denying the fact that both Magento and Shopify are quite popular in their respective realms. But, what really stands out amongst the two? Well, it is the distinction in the type of sellers using these platforms. Usually, small retailers who have just started, prefer Shopify because it is easy-to-use. Whereas, Magento is mostly preferred by already established brands. But, in reality, Magento is a great platform for even small enterprises who wish to scale in the future.
Since Magento is a self-hosted platform, merchants get greater control over hosting and store customization. Whereas Shopify being a hosted platform offers hassle-free setup, but users don’t get access to source code, which means customization option is not available.
- Self-hosted platform
- SaaS- Hosted platform
Ease Of Use
Shopify does make up for the above limitation, by offering online store owners a simple drag-and-drop interface that can be used to alter the basic elements of the store. Magento does have a learning curve, this is so because it is an open-source platform offering greater flexibility for store customization. On the brighter side, Magento definitely opens up a world of possibilities for the store owners. So, if you have got the required development skills and do not wish to compromise, Magento is definitely something you can look forward to. And, in case you do not possess the technical know-how, you can always hire a professional Magento developer.
- Steep learning curve but greater flexibility
- User-friendly drag-and-drop interface
Your customers won’t wait forever for your stores to load. Page load speed and website performance both influence the success of an eCommerce store. So, if you own a store having slow loading speed, your website visitors are less likely to convert or return back. Since, Shopify is a hosted solution, you will never have to worry about the page loading speed or your store’s performance. But, this also means that you won’t be able to alter or have control over the hosting environment. As Magento is self-hosted, you get the option to choose your server as per your needs and make the required adjustments to boost the performance metrics.
- Users get to choose their own server as per business need
- Users have no control on hosting environment
Choice Of Themes
Both the platforms offer a wide array of themes to choose from. However, Magento offers a vast collection of premium yet pocket-friendly themes as well as free themes that offer a lot of options. Though, both the platforms offer themes that are customizable, it is comparatively easy to install and alter Shopify themes. On the other hand, setting up a Magento store is a bit complex but it offers greater scope for customization.
- Vast collection of premium yet pocket-friendly themes.
- Wide range of themes that are easy to install and customize.
Payment Gateway Integration
Payment gateway options can play a major role in augmenting the end user-experience and is vital to the success of any eCommerce store. Shopify facilitates easy integration of popular payment gateway option while Magento offers similar integration option but by leveraging modules you can further expand the functionality. Numerous add-ons and modules are available for setting up and configuring a wide range of payment options on Magento store.
- Wide range of add-ons and modules available to set up and configure payment options.
- Easy payment gateway integration.
Inventory Management Capabilities
Both Magento and Shopify are equipped to cater to all your basic inventory management requirements with ease. But, you need to choose the one that can help save your time and effort. Shopify offers a simple inventory management interface and which reveals that it isn’t actually intended for large eCommerce stores. Though, several Shopify extensions are available that can be implemented to bring out advanced features like registered user discounts, etc. Magento also comes with a simple inventory management interface but it gains an edge when it comes to advanced features and third-party integration capabilities.
- Simple inventory management interface with advanced features.
- Simple inventory management interface with limited features.
Extensions & Add-ons
As discussed earlier, Magento offers a more extensive collection of add-ons that can integrate seamlessly with your store. With Magento, you get to choose from a variety of extensions that can help extend the features and functionalities of your eCommerce store without having to write any code. Though, you can always hire a Magento development company to get custom extensions tailored to your needs. On the other hand, Shopify offers a small collection of extensions that are easy to install and work with.
- Wide range of extensions to choose from. Over 200000 developers worldwide.
- A small collection of extensions that are easy to install.
SEO & Marketing
Both Magento and Shopify offer numerous integration options and functionalities to enhance your online store’s visibility and ROI. Both come with basic content optimization capabilities to facilitate higher SERP rankings and revenue.
The major limitation with Shopify is that you can’t make any server-level modifications as it is a hosted platform. Whereas, with Magento you get to implement custom digital marketing and SEO strategies seamlessly without any glitches.
- Implement custom digital marketing and SEO strategies with ease. Leverage canonical tags and no-follow links to your advantage.
- No server-level configurations can be made, though basic content optimization possible for higher SERP position.
Shopify offers dedicated 24/7 customer support to store owners. Magento, on the other hand, offers community based tech support. Magento has a vast and thriving developer community which includes certified experts, experienced frontend and backend developers. In fact, you can find answers to most of the development related problems on the forums. Magento Community Edition does not receive direct tech support, only Enterprise Edition receives it. For any support, you can always refer the forums or partner with a trusted Magento eCommerce development service provider that can help you with all your needs from store setup, inventory management to store optimization.
- Community-based support and direct tech support for Enterprise Edition.
- 24/7 dedicated customer support and service.
Cost and Worth
Shopify follows a subscription-based model and allows users to set up a store for free. The basic Shopify plan starts at $29/month, and the advanced Shopify plan goes up to $299/month.
By opting for higher value plans, you get access to advanced features, discounts and more. One thing that you need to be aware of when opting for the Shopify plan is that you will be charged a transaction fee for the payments you make via external payment gateways. If you plan to opt for Magento, then the cost of hosting a Magento powered website will depend on where you wish to host your online store.
Magento undoubtedly offers a more robust platform when compared to Shopify and might cost you more for the premium experience it offers. For exact pricing, it is advised that you connect with a trusted Magento development services provider who can guide you based on your project requirement.
- Magento Community Edition (CE) is free for small and medium businesses.
- Basic Plan starts at $29/month Advanced Plan goes up to $299/month.
Magento VS Shopify: Make an informed choice
As stated earlier, there’s no sure shot winner here as just one platform can’t be perfect for everyone. If you are planning to take your store online anytime soon, you need to evaluate and figure out which of these platforms work best for you. While Shopify is user-friendly and easy to start with, you may wish to consider the future scalability potential and the related cost involved. Likewise, Magento requires technical know-how and has a learning curve but you do not have to pay for installation or daily transaction charges. Above all, with Magento, you get the freedom to scale and customize without limits.
All this being said, Magento might still be a significant investment, even without a subscription fee. But, it is still recommended over Shopify for all businesses irrespective of size as it offers unmatched customization and scalability. Here are some of the factors you should consider for effective Magento website development.
Both Magento and Shopify are equally attractive and rewarding. But don’t just blindly follow what people say, evaluate your present scenario, goals and what your business needs. After all, no one knows your business better than you.