Welcome to the fourth post in our series, “Shopify vs.”, where we compare Shopify against other online eCommerce marketplaces.
For eCommerce businesses, selecting between Shopify and Magento stores can be more difficult than setting up an entire online business. Both platforms offer excellent features and integrations to create, manage, and maintain online eCommerce stores, which is why it's a challenge to decide between the two.
If you're planning to start your online business or are thinking of migrating your online store, Shopify and Magento are the best bang for your buck. Both are widely acclaimed, both are extensively used, and both platforms have amazing features, are easy use and have integration extensions. However, there are major fundamental differences in both these platforms which will affect the way you set up your store.
Both Shopify and Magento are leaders in creating eCommerce stores, but they offer totally different user experiences.
Let’s begin with our comparison!
Paid vs Open-Source: Weighing your options
While Magento has open-source versions, Shopify is a paid online store creator. This means that Magento has versions which are free to download and set up. On the other hand, you need to pay for Shopify.
This might seem like a sweet deal but the downside is Magento Community Edition does not offer hosting. You will have to bear hosting costs and manage setup, installation, and configuration on your own. So, before you actually begin creating your eCommerce store, you will need to put your programming and web development skills to the test. With Shopify, you wouldn't have to worry about any of this as they take care of your hosting, based on your plan.
What they're known for
While Shopify remains extremely popular with eCommerce sellers, Magento wins when it comes to flexibility in customization. Businesses that prefer third-party vendors are happy with Shopify to maintain their stores, while the DIYers are all about Magento due to its developmental capabilities.
The general consensus is:
- If you’re looking for something that is easy to set up and your business doesn’t require anything advanced or specialized, Shopify is best for you.
- If you’re very tech-savvy (or are open to working with a developer) and want a store that has complex features, Magento is best for you.
Which platform you eventually settle down for depends on the specific needs of your business and the capability of Shopify or Magento to cater to your business needs.
We know budget can be an important deciding factor for selecting an online marketplace provider, so let’s discuss pricing.
Shopify vs Magento: Pricing
Users often cite monthly fees as a deciding factor when choosing a platform. Budget does play an important role when choosing between Magento and Shopify, especially if you’re just starting out or are a small business, but it shouldn’t be the ONLY factor.
In this case, we think selecting the right features is far more important than considering the costs of each platform. If you thiknk about it, over time, the monthly fee you pay for Shopify can equal the infrastructure costs, salary of development team, and opting to use the paid plug-ins for Magento.
Magento have Enterprise editions and are moving more-and-more into hosted solutions, but the Magento community edition is free for download while Shopify’s basic plan begins from $29 and scales up as your business grows. The flip-side is, the costs of paid-plugins, development experts, and hosting costs will probably be higher with your Magento Store than what you will pay to begin with Shopify.
When it comes to basic eCommerce store functionalities, both Shopify and Magento offer fairly powerful features for using and maintaining. However, since Shopify is essentially managed for you, it clearly has an edge when it comes to user-friendly interface. On the other hand, developers and experts with prior technical experience would probably find Magento much convenient to tweak and use.
Inventory and Product Management
Both Magento and Shopify offer an unlimited number of items which can be added to your eCommerce stores. However, the number of products you can add on your Magento site also depends on your host server’s performance. Adding too many products to your store can seriously affect your site loading experience. This is something that you don’t have to worry about with Shopify since the hosting is provided by the company itself.
Most eCommerce creation platforms offer several features which help you optimize your store for Google. Both Shopify and Magento offer extensive SEO functionalities which can help you drive more traffic to your website.
Shopify, with its excellent SEO features and support is inarguably the preferred choice by beginners and those without marketing and technical backgrounds.
Both Magento and Shopify are nearly neck-and-neck in delivering traffic.
Ultimately, it is up to you - open source solutions such as Magento and Magento alternatives like WooCommerce do offer wide variety of affordable and free add-ons; the folks at Shopify provide Magento similar features with expert guidance, a blessing for those just getting started with their business.
With both Magento and Shopify, you can tap into expert networks for design queries and technical assistance. Their support also has marketing guidance. Since both are widely popular platforms, there are several external support networks including freelancers and agencies available for solving your issues.
However, since Magento is open source, it has a wider community than Shopify, attracting several developers and independent contributors collaborating on the platform. You can also seek help of numerous experts to setup, build and maintain your Magento store. Shopify, on the other hand, is only focused on catering the end user. The support is readily available but it is obviously a part of your paid plan.
Magento vs Shopify: Who Wins?
It really depends. If you have a marketing strategy in place, you can build successful eCommerce stores on both Shopify and Magento. If you know what you want to achieve from your online business, you can leverage either platform for excellent and effective results.
For beginners and those with a focus on ease of use, Shopify is highly recommended. But, if you have the technical know-how of running online stores, Magento is the superior platform.
Whatever platform you use, make sure to have a robust checkout and shipping system. The good news is that Easyship is integrated with both Magento and Shopify!
Moving forward with Magento? Awesome! Here's how you can connect your Magento store to Easyship.