Whether you’re running an e-commerce business or just getting started with one, choosing a platform to build and operate your store on is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
A quick Google search will return several e-commerce platforms, but how do you know which is the right one for your business? We’ll make your decision easier by exploring two of the top e-commerce platforms, Magento and Shopify.
What Is Magento?
Magento is a popular eCommerce website platform owned by Adobe. It is an open-source platform that is completely free to install. Over 200,000 websites use Magento for their eCommerce needs.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Magento?
Magento is an open-source platform that is free to install.
- Community support for users
- Good amount of themes
- Open source and FREE to use
- Unlimited customization options
- Difficult for beginners
- Some coding knowledge needed
- It takes a while to set up
- Additional costs associated with setting up a store
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is a one-stop-shop solution for building online stores. It is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that enables businesses of all sizes to sell physical and digital products. With Shopify, businesses can create a store, manage inventory, process payments, track orders, etc.
What Are Pros and Cons of Shopify?
- Loads of responsive store themes
- Easy to use
- Checkout and payment options
- Good customer support
- Comprehensive eCommerce builder – a one-stop shop
- Extensive app store to extend the functionality of the site
- Large community of users
- Fee for every transaction (unless you subscribe to Shopify payments)
- Difficult to integrate apps outside of Shopify into your store
- Better themes have a hefty price tag
Magento vs. Shopify: Comparisons
Which Is Easier to Use: Magento or Shopify?
Ease of use is one of the biggest differences between Magento and Shopify. Magento is self-hosted, meaning you will need to acquire your own web hosting, download the software, and install it yourself. On the other hand, Shopify acts as a one-stop-shop for building your eCommerce store.
If you choose to go the Magento route, be aware that you will do significantly more development work to build your store and improve its capabilities.
Better Customer Support: Magento or Shopify?
Unlike Magento, Shopify has a dedicated support team to help you figure out any issues that might come up. They offer many different ways to either solve your problem yourself or reach out to someone who can fix it for you. On top of that, because Shopify is so widely used, there is, like Magento, a large community of users who can help you too.
- 24/7 Live chat support
- Help center
- Video tutorials
- Advanced specialist support
- Community forum
- Social media support
- 24/7 phone support
- Email support
- A large community of users
Magento is a community-based platform that features numerous user guides to walk you through the online store building process. These step-by-step guides are filled with valuable information from other Magento developers.
Although there is no dedicated support team for Magento, you will have access to a plethora of help and support from the community. Because Shopify has a dedicated team ready to support you 24/7, Shopify is the winner. However, because so many people use both platforms, there shouldn’t be any issues finding an answer to your query.
Who Has the Best Store Themes? Magento or Shopify?
Shopify and Magento both offer a variety of themes and templates to help you create an online store that is visually appealing and tailored to your products and brand. Although the amount of free themes from Shopify is significantly smaller, we want to note that the Shopify themes are more contemporary than those found on Magento.
Shopify and Magento both have a wide range of paid themes available. However, Shopify’s premium themes start at $80, while Magento’s paid themes start at just $1. As responsive website design has become a must-have in today’s market, both Shopify and Magento offer a variety of responsive templates – both free and paid. This ensures that you can view your online shop seamlessly on various devices.
Shopify and Magento both offer robust customization capabilities. While Shopify restricts you to their templates, Magento has an advanced interface that allows you to edit the raw HTML/CSS code. This gives you total control over your store’s design, look, and feel.
Shopify delivers a great user experience through its pre-made templates. On the other hand, Magento requires you to create a great user experience. To do that, you will need to learn how to create an effective ecommerce user experience.
Does Magento or Shopify Have Better Sales Tools?
Notable Shopify sales tools:
- Multi-channel selling – sell on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Amazon.
- Digital products – sell digital products as well as physical ones
- Partnered with DHL Express, USPS, Canada Post, and UPS – no need to find your own courier.
Notable Magento sales tools:
- Totally customize your checkout
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Discounts – percentage and fixed
- Multi-channel selling – through extensions integrated on your store with Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Shopify has a much greater range of sales tools than Magento. They offer a number of built-in tools which is something only available via expensive third-party extensions on Magento.
Does Magento or Shopify Have Better Marketing Tools?
Shopify has several incredibly useful marketing tools. This includes tools for running email campaigns, advertising, and selling directly on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Moreover, Shopify supports multilingual sites, so you don’t have to worry about your products getting lost in translation.
Magento, as mentioned, relies entirely on its marketplace for its marketing tools. You’ll need to install multiple extensions to do even a third of what you can do on Shopify. This means you will likely need to rely on a web developer to integrate and optimize these extensions.
Shopify’s ability to scale with its built-in marketing tools is unmatched. You need to put in some serious work and planning to get the same kind of scale on Magento. This makes Shopify the clear winner when it comes to marketing tools, even though Magento offers more options.
Who Has Better Apps/Add-ons?
Both Magento and Shopify have a wealth of extensions and apps to choose from, but Magento has a clear advantage with over 5,000 options. Thanks to the platform’s large, open-source community, which contributes both free and paid extensions. You should be able to find free apps for pretty much any task on either platform. Often, if you find a premium app that you don’t want to pay for, you can do a quick search to find something similar that is free.
Shopify offers over 100 apps and add-ons for enhancing and expanding the functionality of your online store. These apps can help with loyalty programs, accounting, and email marketing. The Shopify App store is constantly growing, with new options becoming available all the time. Shopify’s app store is also heavily moderated, so you’re not going to install an unprofessional or harmful app.
Best Payment Processor and Fees: Magento or Shopify?
Shopify doesn’t charge any setup fees. They offer a 14-day free trial for you to evaluate all of their features. Magento, as mentioned before, is free to use. You will, however, need to procure and pay for your hosting.
Shopify has four plans with monthly fees from $14 to $179.
- Shopify Lite Plan: $9
- Basic Shopify Plan: $29
- Shopify Plan: $79
- Advanced Shopify Plan: $299
For Magento, you’ll have to find your own hosting, which can cost anywhere from $5 to 100s dollars.
Shopify does not charge additional transaction fees if you use their own payment gateway. If you use a gateway outside of Shopify, their fee structure looks like this:
- Shopify Lite Plan: $9 (2%)
- Basic Shopify Plan: $29 (2%)
- Shopify Plan: $79 (1%)
- Advanced Shopify Plan: $299 (0.5%)
Magento charges no transaction fees other than the gateway provider’s, which varies based on the gateway. These same fees apply to Shopify if you are not using Shopify’s payment gateway.
Overall, it can be difficult to compare Magento vs. Shopify regarding pricing.
Shopify is manageable with its monthly pricing, but Magento is free. However, you need to consider the other expenses, like hosting, when using Magento.
Shopify and Magento are both powerful eCommerce platforms; however, Shopify’s ease of use makes it a better option for businesses looking for a fully managed service. With Shopify, you don’t need to worry about hosting or security, which can save you time and money.
If you’re not comfortable working with software and systems, Magento may not be the right platform for you. While Magento is free to use, you’ll need to purchase hosting and set up and install the software yourself. This may be a challenge if you’re not tech-savvy.
Best SEO: Magento or Shopify?
Both Shopify and Magento offer powerful SEO features that can help you increase organic traffic to your store via search engines. The platforms score nearly the same on SEO features and benefits, so you can’t go wrong with either one. Magento, however, has a slight edge when it comes to SEO. If you go with Shopify, make sure you know how to optimize your eCommerce site.
For starters, Magento comes with several SEO guides and prompts to help you optimize your store from the beginning. It also allows you to create custom URLs to help users find your store more easily on search engines. On the other hand, Shopify relies on its app store for SEO. The bulk of your SEO optimization will have to come from the app store when using Shopify.
Best ROI: Magento or Shopify?
One of the biggest factors in ROI is customer experience. Because Magento offers a completely customizable customer experience, it takes the cake here. The more tailored your eCommerce store is for the customer, the greater the performance and, therefore, ROI.
While Shopify offers a great user experience every time for your users, it lacks Magento’s complete customization control. Because you can’t edit the raw HTML/CSS code, you won’t be able to tailor your customer experience nearly as much as you could with Magento. This makes Magento the clear winner in this category, even though Shopify also has an excellent ROI.
Overall Judgment: Shopify
Shopify is a more user-friendly platform than Magento. With Shopify, you’ll be able to launch your e-commerce site faster than you would with Magento, and you’ll have access to a support team if you need help. This is because the Shopify platform is streamlined to building an online store and provides a wide range of capabilities to help you grow your business.
There is no doubt that Magento is a powerful platform with many features and options. However, this also means that it can be challenging to use and may require significant development time and technical expertise to create the website you envision.
Additionally, because Magento is not a commercial product, you will likely need to rely on online forums or developer resources to troubleshoot and get help with your project.
Shopify is recommended if:
- You want to set up your site quickly and easily
- You’re new to eCommerce
- You want an all-inclusive platform
Magento is recommended if:
- You are familiar with coding
- You want complete creative control of your website
- You are prepared to invest time and money into your store before launch
In the end, both platforms offer similar features and can get your store off the ground running. The most important distinction between the two is the amount of time and effort required to create and optimize your eCommerce store.
Alternatively, you could host your store on a marketplace like Amazon, where you won’t have to worry about most of these distinctions. Ultimately, the choice is yours; which platform is best for your business?