Planning to start a new eCommerce store? What platform to opt for Magento or Shopify? If this question has been raised in your mind, then you are not alone! It’s very crucial to select the right platform, considering there are a lot of great eCommerce and website builder options available these days.
Magento and Shopify are two such great options that are best for mid to large-size businesses. Shopify is super convenient to build online stores, whereas Magento is open-source, which means it’s totally free to install on any device, alike WordPress.So, if you have shortlisted Magento and Shopify for your eCommerce store and are still confused between the two, here is a blog that covers a detailed comparison between these two.
So, let’s get started.
Magento vs Shopify: The Basics
Magento is a free-to-use eCommerce platform. This open-source eCommerce platform provides merchants with complete flexibility over shopping carts and enables them to exercise full control over functionalities. Magento offers a comprehensive range of tools and features, allowing you the freedom to customize the appearance and user experience of your online store according to your preferences.
Magento was first launched in 2007 and in just one year, it won many awards including the “Best Open Source Award” and “SourceForge Community Choice Award.”
Then in 2015, Magento launched its second version named ‘Magento 2.0’ with much better features and functionality like improved page caching, a better-structured code base, enhanced file structure with easier customization, and more.
Some Magneto stats worth knowing:
- There are over 200,000 Magento 1 & 2 live stores on the internet.
- Magento is downloaded around 5,000 times daily.
- According to the Web Tribunal, Magento handles about $155 billion worth of transactions every year.
On the other hand, Shopify is also an eCommerce platform that was first released in 2006 by Tobias Lutke and Scott Lake. They initially created a platform to sell snowboarding equipment and hence named it ‘Snow Devil.’
And then after two years, the platform that was hosting the ‘Snow Devil’ website was introduced which was called Shopify. After that, Shopify released an API (application programming interface) in June 2009, that allowed the developers to develop applications for the Shopify platform and then sell them on its app store.
Today, Shopify is a renowned name in the eCommerce market which is best known for its ease of use and extreme functionality.
Some Shopify stats worth knowing:
- There are over 1.7 million merchants that sell goods using the Shopify platform. (Shopify Unit)
- According to Shopify, there are over 3,200 apps available on the Shopify App store.
Magento vs Shopify: The main differences
Both Magento and Shopify are great from a design perspective. However, Shopify provides a straightforward design experience for beginners right from the start. Its stock themes are available in both free and paid versions, offer a contemporary appearance, and can be customized to match your brand’s identity. These tweaks include:
- Altering the color schemes across the entire website.
- Adding personalized images to products and pages.
- Modifying the functionality of newsletter sign-ups.
- Modifying the action bar and navigation text.
In contrast, constructing a Magento theme can be a time-consuming undertaking that necessitates coding expertise. Nevertheless, the potential benefits are significant. A personalized Magento build enables you to design a distinctive storefront such as:
- Incorporating cross-selling and up-selling blocks across your site.
- Implementing advanced search functionality with tools such as Elasticsearch.
- Adding featured product sliders and hero carousels.
- Enhancing footer functionality, including newsletter sign-ups.
- Integrating advanced cart and payment options.
Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, Shopify takes on the lead. Shopify is recognized for its ability to empower vendors in creating user-friendly and visually appealing digital shops promptly. The platform offers an effortless drag-and-drop administrative interface for creating new pages, which sets it apart from Magento.
Although Shopify’s user-friendliness is impressive, it may lack versatility compared to Magento. Magento offers a wide range of built-in customizations and functionalities, along with an extension marketplace with several unique features that are not available in Shopify. Moreover, Adobe’s acquisition of Magento has resulted in the addition of various features and integrations for the eCommerce platform, making it more suitable for enterprise-level clients than Shopify.
The main distinction between Shopify and Magento is their hosting model. Shopify is a hosted platform, meaning that all hosting expenses are incorporated into the subscription fee, with no additional costs. On the other hand, Magento is a self-hosted platform, which means that you will need to pay for domain registration, web hosting, security, and extensions.
Both Shopify and Magento offer different pricing models. Shopify has three fixed pricing plans that may appear cheaper at first, but you will need to pay extra for themes and apps. In contrast, since Magento is an open-source platform, the total cost depends solely on your specific needs.
The ideal platform for your business is determined by the range of built-in features it provides. If these features satisfy the functional needs of your eCommerce site, you can save a significant amount of money on extensions and custom development. Let’s compare what Shopify and Magento offer in terms of native features.
Shopify comes with a set of basic features for eCommerce management. While it may be considered limited by large-scale retailers, small businesses may actually find it advantageous. With all the necessary business operations easily managed, merchants can avoid feeling overwhelmed with unnecessary functionality.
Have a look at these features that a Shopify basic plan offers:
With the storefront, you can get access to over 70 customizable mobile-responsive themes, along with a domain name.
The Shopify basic plan also offers a shopping cart that provides you with a free SSL certificate, manages shipping rates, releases effective email marketing campaigns to reduce cart abandonment rates, and more.
Marketing and SEO
With Shopify’s basic plan, you can benefit in terms of marketing and SEO from the automatically generated sitemap, customizable H1, discounts, and social media integrations.
You cannot just create orders manually, but you can even manage customer accounts, returns, and refunds with Shopify’s store management feature.
Shopify also lets you access a variety of reports to track and analyze your store’s performance.
Lastly, you can add an infinite number of products to your Shopify store, track its inventory, and sell it to multiple locations.
Note: do remember that many different types of Shopify plans offer different features. For instance, the custom report builder feature is not available in the basic plan, so you will need to pay extra for that.
Alternatively, Magento comes with a lot of features as compared to Shopify to meet any mid-size business or enterprise needs. Apart from features that Shopify’s basic plan offers, Magento comes:
Develop solutions with a mobile-first approach and utilize the PWA studio to craft your very own shopping application.
Omnichannel commerce features
Effortlessly manage your sales channels by incorporating numerous storefronts, leveraging integrated B2B functionality.
Performance and security
Magento comes with built-in tools to secure and increase the speed of your website.
The available features are determined by the edition of Magento. While Magento Open Source may have a smaller feature set compared to the cloud-hosted Adobe Commerce edition, the upgraded versions may even surpass all the features of Shopify.
For example, the B2B module in Magento Commerce and Commerce Cloud editions is highly sought after by manufacturers and distributors. However, if they opt for Shopify, they will need to switch to Shopify Plus to gain access to the B2B module.
When it comes to theme selection, Shopify comes with 9 free and 72 premium themes to select from that are priced between $150-$350. However, you can download themes from third-party websites and can even customize them as per your need.
On the other side, Magento provides 12 themes that you can easily download from the marketplace and will cost you between $30-$499. However, you can build your own UI/UX design from scratch. For an easier way, you can just download a readymade template, but designing your own theme will provide your store a unique look and feel and it also aligns with your store features with the buyer’s journey.
Apps and add-ons
The extent to which you can enhance the functionality of a website is determined by its add-ons, which may include SEO tools, email marketing features, upselling and cross-selling capabilities, and tip sections, among others. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the more add-ons you incorporate, the slower your website’s performance may become.
Shopify provides 4,000 plugins, with 1,500 of them available for free use. Integrating these plugins is straightforward, and you won’t require the assistance of a technical team.
Magento features a wide range of 4,600 add-ons with all the essential functionalities. However, integrating these add-ons on Magento may require the assistance of IT professionals. In case you’re unable to find the necessary feature, you may want to consider developing custom extensions for Magento.
What would you choose Magento vs Shopify?
In summary, it’s not possible to determine which platform is superior since Adobe Commerce and Shopify cater to different types of merchants and meet distinct business requirements.
For small-scale retailers or drop shippers seeking to establish an online presence, Shopify is an excellent choice. You won’t need to possess advanced technical expertise or the resources to hire a tech team. Instead, simply choose a Shopify plan and commence selling right away.
If your priorities include user-friendliness, automated maintenance and security, and seamless integration, and you don’t intend to expand your business anytime soon, Shopify is the best option for you.
Magento is considerably more potent, albeit more intricate. It’s ideally suited for mid-sized companies and enterprises seeking advanced functionality and a significant level of customization. Such merchants can afford to engage a development team, pursue extensive scalability and flexibility, and are willing to manage maintenance, performance, and security concerns independently.
Entrepreneurs with established businesses who aspire to expand and anticipate substantial website traffic will discover Magento to be an ideal e-commerce solution.
About Author –
Mitul Patel Founder & CEO at Bytes Technolab Inc. with a demonstrated history of scaling up the company in the ever-competitive Software Industry. An elite mentor & problem-solver to a dev team of 120+ software experts. A growth strategist and dynamic tech consultant helping global clients to scale up their businesses.
I Have 17+ years of experience. My colleagues in the leadership team are like-minded with ONE GOAL – to use our expertise in web, eCommerce, and mobile app spaces to deliver digital excellence for global startups, SMEs, enterprises, and Fortune 500 brands. To serve at a global level, we have registered offices in the USA, Canada, and India.
Our ODC in India has developed & delivered 300+ business solutions. Our clientele encapsulates 500+ clients from 30+ countries.
nt. I have consulted 150+ Clientele that also includes Fortune 500 Companies.
Also, I am having Experience in serving end-to-end Software Solutions, especially into the Retail/eCommerce Industry. I have been an integral part of 50+ B2B, B2C, B2B2C eCommerce projects with a Strong Technical Knowledge of Building Digital eCommerce Infrastructure. This makes me the perfect growth hacker for my global clientele.