Shopify vs Magento: What Makes Sense?

by Laura Dolgy October 01, 2019 4 min read

When it comes to building an online business,Shopify and Magento are two of the world’s leading ecommerce platforms.  

While both offer a comprehensive set of features to maximize ecommerce potential, how can you determine which one is best for setting up, managing, and growing your business?  

To help you decide, let’s take a look at some of the key features that each platform offers and evaluate their pros and cons.

Ease of Use

Shopify offers a straightforward website building experience. Using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, even first time users can add products, set up payments, and easily customize the look and feel of their store by moving elements around their page -  absolutelyno coding required!  

The learning curve with Magento is much steeper.  To get the most out of the open source platform,users will need to have some knowledge of coding and an understanding of technical terms. This makes for a more complicated platform, particularly for the non-technical user.

Features

Both Shopify and Magento provide the necessary tools to help your business thrive online including product pages, shopping carts, and checkout modules. 

While these features are directly available out-of-box, they both have an app store that offers free and paid apps and extensions so that users can expand their stores according to their needs.  

Shopify’s App Store offers a choice of 2400 apps, giving users access to features such asabandoned cart recovery, gift cards, and advanced reporting.  

Magento’s Marketplace is larger, offering just under 3000 free and paid extensions that will allow users to integrate email marketing campaigns and social feeds, apply multiple coupons to one order, and add pre-order functionality.   

While Magento provides more apps with complex ecommerce extensions than Spotify, both platforms offer a wide-enough range to take your business to the next level.

Design

Both platforms offer a variety of free and premium themes.  Magento offers 12 themes, while Shopify offers 60, or up to 100 with customization.  Although Shopify offers fewer free options, their choices are far more contemporary in comparison to Magento’s. 

Provided you have the technical background or are able to hire someone who does, the opportunity to customize your theme with Magento is limitless - in fact, you can even create your own theme from scratch. Keep in mind, however, thatthis is a pricey endeavor as developers do not come cheap.  

In contrast,Shopify’s easy-to-use editor allows you to change the basic attributes of your store so you never have to compromise design.  This is great for business owners who want to customize their site even though they may not have the resources or budget available.

To summarize, Magento’s flexibility gives you more opportunity for customization, but it comes ata cost of your time and money, especially if you’re not familiar with coding.  With Shopify, you can edit to your heart’s content - no developer required! 

Search Engine Optimization

Shopify and Magento both offer extensive SEO capabilities, allowing your business to rank high in search engine results and drive organic traffic to your store.  Via Shopify’s Editor and Magento’s CMS (Content Management System), users can add and edit meta titles and descriptions, customize URL slugs, and attach alt text to images.  

In addition, the Shopify App Store and Magento’s Marketplace both support your SEO efforts by offering apps and integrations such as site speed checks and SEO scans. The key difference is thatMagento’s Marketplace is quite a bit pricier - with some apps hovering around $300 - while the majority of Shopify’s Apps are reasonably priced at around $10/month andachieve similar outcomes

Cost

With Shopify, users pay a monthly subscription fee ranging from $29 to $299, depending on the chosen plan. All plans are all-inclusive, meaning that an SSL certificate, fraud analysis, unlimited storage, and unlimited bandwidth don’t incur any extra fees.  

Magento is a self-hosted platform, meaning that it’s free to use, however, don’t let that fool you. More time and money is requiredto sort out your own hosting and add any desired extensions or apps. All of this can quickly become costly - especially for the typical end-user who might be required to turn to their developer quite often.  

Magento also offers apaid version known asMagento Enterprise Edition, but this isextremely expensive at$15,550/yearWhile the free Magento Community and paid Enterprise editions have the same core features, the premium version, as you can imagine, offers enhanced functionality.  For most small business owners, however, the cost is unrealistic, making the Enterprise Editionbetter suited for large corporations that can afford to spend thousands of dollars on their website. 

Another prime difference is that users can waive transaction fees with Shopifyby using Shopify Payments - something that’s not possible with Magento as it does not have its own payment processor.  Plus,Shopify offers a 14-day free trial which Magento does not. 

At the end of the day,Shopify’s straightforward monthly pricing structure is more favourable than Magento’s, particularly for startups.  The larger expenses associated with Magento, combined with the time required to carry out all the software setup and installation procedures, makeShopify the better choice for your online store.  

Support

While both platforms provide an active community forum to answer your questions, Shopify goes above and beyond by offering a 24/7 help service through phone, email, and live chat.  

Decision Time: Shopify

Because the features and capabilities of each platform are similar, the decision to pick one over the other really comes down to your budget and level of expertise.

Unless you have thorough technical knowledge and a large store to justify the higher costs, Magento is not the ideal platform. 

Shopify offers a hosted and fully-managed service for less tech-savvy users and small business owners. Its ease of use, powerful capabilities, and cost-effectiveness make it the best ecommerce platform to build your online store.  

Ready to migrate from Magento? Contact us for a custom quotehere!