E-commerce platform plays a crucial role in the development, management, and maintenance of an online store. An e-commerce platform should be selected with careful deliberation because ultimately, it is going to decide the success or failure of your business. It is always better to be aware of the consequences of your decisions than going on a wild goose chase. Moreover, it is particularly significant for small businesses since they have to deal with fewer resources and low budgets.
Talking about e-commerce platforms, Magento and Shopify are leaders in their own categories. Shopify has somewhat of a stranglehold in the “hosted, all-in-one” platform market, whereas Magento demonstrates dominance when it comes to bigger, more complex e-commerce sites. Both are unique platforms, but we are going to draw a comparison to identify which e-commerce platform is right for your business.
If you want to create an online store or migrate the current store to another platform, you might need to consider your options.
- Magento is an open source platform, while Shopify is a commercial closed source platform and you need to pay for it.
- Magneto requires you to manage and take responsibility of your hosting, installment, setup and everything you need before starting your store, while Shopify provides you the hosting service as a bundled in option.
With these differences in mind, here's our head-to-head comparison of Magento vs. Shopify:
1. Cost Efficiency
One of the major aspects that worries us most when it comes to setting up our online store is the cost that the deployment of it will entail.
With Magento you can download the Community Edition without incurring any cost and being open source you can program and/or configure the necessary functionalities to customize the store to your liking. You also have a community forum and access to different responsive themes that can scale to all types of screens. On Magento’s official website, we have a series of video tutorials and documentation to learn more in detail.
Shopify does give you an opportunity to try the platform for free for 14 days, however, if you want to use their platform on a permanent basis, you will have to pay a monthly fee.
Your monthly fee varies depending on the functionalities that you need. The simplest version allows you to upload an unlimited amount of products but you can’t have an online store with all the bells and whistles at that price. In the complete version, besides having an online store, you will have an advanced report and tracking for your business in real time. In addition to the monthly fee, Shopify also charges you a commission fee for each transaction that takes place on your store.
2. Design Templates
Another factor that is taken into account when we set up an online store is whether it offers a friendly and intuitive way to create website design for users. Using Magento, you have the option of connecting to an FTP client, enabling you to edit the files easily. It also has a marketplace that offers more than 120 themes to choose from enabling you to customize your online store. Many of these themes are free.
Shopify is quite similar when it comes to the design themes, as it also offers a wide variety. Although with Shopify you have the option to easily adapt the custom theme to the online store, it does not offer you the ability to customize code if you intend to modify it according to your liking.
3. User Friendliness
Although Magento can be a bit confusing for users who are just starting out, it should be noted that its backend is extremely robust. You can move through the administrator panel with ease and the platform gives you the ability to manage customers by groups, your products by establishing necessary attributes and the payment processors.
Shopify is more basic in this aspect, as it keeps the options to a minimum. On the other hand, it does provide you with the ability to add more advanced features giving you the opportunity to customize certain parts of the source code. In that aspect, it comes close to the administrator panel of WordPress. However, being a closed platform, Shopify cannot be integrated with accounting, supplier management, and warehousing systems which can be essential when your store begins to operate on a larger scale.
4. Digital Marketing
Magento provides powerful built-in SEO functions to have your online store well positioned by search engines. It gives you the ability to have search-friendly URLs, metadata information, automated Google Sitemap and more.
On the other hand, Shopify offers integrated basics for SEO with robots.txt and sitemap.xml files, canonical URLs, meta descriptions, URLs and editable title tags. The settings panel for SEO is much cleaner, but not as robust as the one Magento offers.
5. Web Hosting
Magento and Shopify communities are opposites when it comes to the subject of "hosting." Although the security is solid in both, in the case of Magento you must find your own web hosting solution. This is not a huge problem, but some may find it a tedious process.
Shopify provides web hosting when you sign up for one of the plans it offers, so you get a secure hosting account and a domain for your online store.
6. Technical Support
The only support you can get with Magento is through the community support forums. If you are someone who is fine with putting efforts into finding answers, you are lucky, since a lot of people from all over the world contribute assiduously in the forums.
In the case of Shopify, in addition to having forums, you get dedicated support with hired representatives to help you whom you can contact through chat, email or phone.
7. Cyber Security
Being an open sourced platform, Magento requires you to ensure your own security. While Magento, as a platform, is secure, it doesn't have the dedicated support you would need if anything goes south. You have to be technologically savvy or hire someone who can ensure your Magento site is safe from threats.
On the other hand, Shopify has a perfect solution to this as they host it in their own environment. It has a strong locked down environment that helps protect you from any small code instabilities that can open your site up to hackers and malware. Shopify maintains PCI Level 1 Compliance, just like your bank and the way they set up their platform.
8. Platform Stability
Since the entire community contributes toward the development, some updates or features can introduce bugs causing your website to glitch. Shopify, with their internal programmers who perform rigorous testing, ensures the stability of the platform. They fix a bug as soon as they find it in their system and the website keeps working without relying on a programmer to fix it.
9. Marketer Friendliness
You don’t have a built in Facebook conversion pixel in your Magento site. It is not marketer friendly, and that can be a drawback for some. If you are willing to grow as a marketer and want to add a conversion pixel to the website, you will need to do it through a plugin.
Shopify lets you assess the effectiveness of your marketing, and you can add conversion through the admin panel in a matter of minutes.
10. Checkout Instability
In Magento based stores, there have been thousands of people who complain that they were unable to checkout and were getting a 500 error. Customers sometimes cannot checkout for several hours, and they get frustrated. If your customers are unable to checkout, you are losing money and your customers. With Shopify, you can checkout easily and quickly, and it never stops working.
11. Easy for Non-Techies
Magento is more appropriate for advanced users whereas, Shopify is better for beginners with a simple e-commerce store creation and management platform. You should have the know-how of UNIX if you wish to speed up with Magento. Even then, you need to be on your toes to ensure reliability and security.
There are little to no tech worries with Shopify. Being a hosted solution, it manages all the upgrade, server, and code maintenance issues at the backend on its own.
Scalability is one of the primary concerns of enterprise-level brands. You should be confident that your e-commerce platform serves you well and will not let you down when revenues and your traffic hits the roof. Both Shopify and Magento are capable of handling high scale merchants and demands for you.
Magento requires you to architect your solution for accommodating the peak traffic. Whereas, with Shopify, scaling can be accomplished easily and efficiently. It is entirely handled by their in-house team of experienced and professional developers. Unlimited scaling and integration of extensive APIs can be accomplished with Shopify. So, if you want a platform that can evolve and grow with your business, Shopify is your best bet.
Magento can get very expensive very quickly and is more suitable for large enterprises that can justify spending tens of thousands of dollars per month. Since more businesses do not have money and resources, we would not be considering the paid version. If there are skillful, experienced and devoted individuals in your small business team, you should consider the open source version of Magento. Otherwise, Shopify offers great value, satisfaction, and efficiency for all your online stores. GO FOR SHOPIFY!