Selecting an e-commerce platform for your online store is often the first stepping stone in your journey as a digital brand. It can be a tough decision- there are so many options to choose from! But once you narrow down the playing field to a couple of top contenders, the decision becomes easier.
Today's blog is a quick rundown of Shopify and Magento - two of the most popular eCommerce platforms - to help you determine the perfect fit for your business.
Shopify Vs. Magento: Which One Should You Choose?
Shopify was established in 2006 as a worldwide e-commerce platform. It allows users to build an e-commerce website with powerful features to manage a full-fledged digital store with inventory, customer management, orders, and shipping. One of the primary attributes of Shopify is its ease of use, even for those with no previous experience in web development or design.
This exclusive platform, based on the Ruby on Rails foundation, makes it simple to create online storefronts. In addition, being a hosted platform, you do not require any hosting fees, which is an additional expense when using other eCommerce platforms. With Shopify, all you need to pay is the monthly subscription fee.
Shopify can accommodate any size business, from a small startup to a multibillion-dollar corporation. Some of the top Shopify users include The New York Times, BBC, Raymond, Kylie, Gymshark, Red Bull Gmbh, Heinz, David Beckham, and Nescafe.
Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform developed in 2008. It functions as a shopping cart platform and content management system (CMS), allowing users to customize e-commerce sites, and manage content, catalogs, and marketing.
Magento is written in PHP and uses multiple PHP frameworks, such as Symfony and Laminas. It has been used to create over 100k online stores, with its software having been downloaded 2.5 million times. This platform is highly customizable, flexible, and scalable, allowing it to handle online shops of all shapes and sizes.
Magento is excellent for medium to large-scale businesses since it is complicated and requires an IT staff to create and operate the shop. Some of the well-known corporate users of Magento include Nike, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Nestle Nespresso.
Shopify Vs. Magento: How Do The Platforms Stack Up Against Each Other?
Let's take a more in-depth look at how the platforms compare to one another in terms of key attributes.
Five years ago, Shopify was an afterthought for most e-commerce businesses. Currently, it is handling more than $5.1 billion in sales every year. In 2020 alone, more than 44 million customers bought from Shopify merchants. As of January 2023, the market cap for Shopify is esimated to be $51.49 billion (Source). On the other hand, Magento accounts for 4% of the market share, with more than 60,000 current users worldwide.
It is evident that both Shopify and Magento are dominant players in the ecommerce market - Shopify in terms of usability and Magento in terms of versatility.
Shopify follows the SaaS model, where it acts as a simple plug-and-play solution with in-built hosting. No matter the type of Shopify plan you are on, hosting is included in the package, and you do not have to opt for 3rd party hosting or pay any extra fees for it.
On the other hand, Magento does not include hosting features in its package. Therefore, you would have to find a compatible 3rd party hosting platform to start your online store. This can be a little complicated and would require someone with IT experience to set things up for you.
Both platforms also come equipped with requisite security features.
Shopify comes with an in-built fraud analysis feature, made to specifically work with online credit card orders, that helps store owners pinpoint orders of fraudulent nature. As a result, they can review and eliminate high-risk orders before fulfilling them to avoid potential chargebacks. Furthermore, SSL certificates are available for all Shopify sites in addition to being PCI and GDPR compliant.
On the other hand, Magento gives users the flexibility to set up their own set of security features. Alternatively, users can also download extensions from the Payment & Security section to further secure their stores.
Page Load Speed
According to Google, 53% of visitors will abandon a mobile site if the page load time exceeds 3 seconds. With mobile commerce claiming a large share of online shopping, these statistics assume great significance. Moreover, low page speed affects your ranking too.
Being a hosted platform, Shopify’s technicians managing the software and servers handle page load speed and incorporate enhancements on the server to improve site performance. By helping your site generate successful sales, Shopify benefits from keeping you on its platform. Therefore, Shopify provides the latest techniques to enhance your site’s page speed.
Magento is a self-hosted platform. To increase the page load speeds of your online store, you would need to invest in the services of a hosting provider who provides a Magento hosting package. Alternatively, you could choose a hosting provider but handle the software installation and other functions yourself. The latter could affect your sales if you accidentally cause a glitch.
Designs & Themes
One of the key elements that attract customers to your online store – apart from its ease of use – is the look of your store. Using appealing, relevant, and well-construed themes will help you establish your uniqueness amidst the clutter.
The theme store on Shopify offers you up to 73 premium and 8 free, user-friendly e-commerce templates in various categories. The paid themes range from $150 - $350 USD. You can customize templates, manage homepage layouts, fonts, and banners, upload logos, link to your social media feeds, and more, thereby enriching the customer interaction on your online store.
Magento provides 5 mobile-friendly themes (2 are priced at $499.00) while the others are free templates. Additional themes by Magento partners can be purchased at varied costs based on the provider. Alternatively, you can create your original theme if you have good coding knowledge or hire a professional for the job.
Magento allows for customization but requires a certain level of technical know-how. You can enhance your online store appeal with newsletters, product sliders, animations, etc.
Ease Of Use
Choosing a simple, user-friendly platform can help you create an ecommerce store that your customers prefer to use, thus enhancing your business.
Shopify is a convenient, drag-and-drop website builder. It’s straightforward approach allows you to implement customizations in your store by placing the elements exactly where you want them on the page. Users with varying levels of technical expertise can work around Shopify.
On the other hand, Magento is mainly developer-dependent, even for the most minute customizations. The learning curve is steeper than Shopify’s, as you will need to understand and use code to build an online store as per your choice. Alternatively, you may need to hire a professional web developer to create your online store.
Apps And Extensions
Shopify has a well-documented and extensive app store with more than 6600 apps. While some of these apps are free, most come with a price tag. These apps can help you extend the functionality of your Shopify store and add features such as live chat, product reviews, abandoned cart recovery, etc.
Magento also has a marketplace with 3600+ extensions that can also be included in your stores with no prior coding knowledge. In addition, they offer extended capabilities such as custom discount options, product pre-orders, and wishlists.
POS is critical for most startups because of retail compatibility.
Shopify POS is a point of sale app that you can use to sell your products in person. Shopify offers online retailers a first-party POS system, more than 6,000 integrations, 24/7 support, and superior security features for businesses, irrespective of their size.
You can use Shopify POS to even sell at regular stores, markets, and even pop-up shops. The app syncs with Shopify to track your inventory and orders across retail locations, ecommerce stores, and your other sales channels. The app also allows you to view and manage your store's orders. Shopify offers two POS app subscriptions to fit your retail needs - the Shopify POS Lite and Shopify POS Pro plan.
Magento doesn't have its own POS system. Feature-rich extensions are available, but the prices vary. You can get real-time synchronization of your inventory, customer orders, and purchase online and offline pick-up capabilities as per your requirement.
Global Commerce & Scalability
Allowing your customers worldwide to pay in their own currency is key to managing successful, scalable online shopping stores. Likewise, scalability helps you to increase your e-commerce stores. Having a scalable platform helps avoid unwanted hurdles and keeps your store up and running smoothly.
Shopify store owners can sell in 133 currencies. Users can choose from more than 100 credit card payment providers and popular payment methods. Shopify accepts local currencies enabling hassle-free checkouts. It is suitable for both big enterprises as well as smaller stores. As your business scales up, you can upgrade your plan to the enterprise-level Shopify Plus and add new functionalities and features to your store.
Magento supports currencies from 200 countries worldwide, allowing customers to make payments on the platform in a relatively simple experience. It offers users great flexibility and scalability and has the capabilities to cope with high traffic volumes.
Help & Support
Powerful tools underpin Shopify to help you start and run your online business with minimum hassle. To this end, Shopify is recognized for its excellent help and support 24/7 by a professional team. You can quickly access customer support via phone, live chat, and email to solve your queries and problems. In addition, Shopify’s help center, community forums, API documentation, and video tutorials are excellent and reliable resources.
You can also hire certified Shopify experts to facilitate a quick and efficient resolution of your problems.
Magento - being self-hosted - does not provide help/support features. To avail of support, you will have to register for the Magento Commerce Cloud plan for B2B. Most Magento users work around this hurdle by leveraging insights from the vibrant user community worldwide.
Shopify's pricing is subscription-based, with different plans for different types of businesses. The basic Shopify plan starts at $29/month, while the more advanced plans cost $79 and $299/month. All plans come with transaction fees that range between 2.4% + 0¢ USD and 3.9% + 30¢ USD based on the type of plan and mode of payment (when using Shopify Payments). If you're not using Shopify Payments, the transaction fee ranges from 0.5% to 2%. In addition, Shopify Plus is the enterprise version of Shopify that is suitable for businesses with high sales volume. The pricing for Shopify Plus starts at $2000/month, and it does not have any transaction fees.
Magento's Community Edition is free to download and use. However, you would need to pay for hosting, a domain name, and other associated costs that can significantly dictate the pricing. Depending on your use case, there is no cap on the pricing of a Magento store, and it can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Magento also has an enterprise edition (something similar to Shopify Plus) with a starting price of $22,000. Additionally, Magento Commerce Cloud starts at the cost of $40,000.
Shopify Vs. Magento: Which One Should You Choose?
Now that we have compared the two platforms side by side, it's time to answer the big question - which one should you choose for your e-commerce business?
The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as the type of business you have, your budget, and your technical expertise.
If you are starting with your ecommerce store and are looking for a simple platform that is easy to use and does not require any technical expertise, Shopify would be the best option for you.
While Magento is also a reliable platform, the ownership costs for Magento are much higher. If you are price-sensitive, like most digital businesses in their early (or even advanced) stages, Shopify trumps Magento by being significantly more affordable.
Shopify Plus would be an ideal option for enterprise-level businesses as it lets you scale flexibly. Moreover, you can benefit from the multiple integrations and innovations within the e-commerce store structure using Shopify.
On the other hand, Magento is self-hosted and therefore resource-dependent to a large extent - for even basic minimum customization. When you factor in the absence of in-built workflow automation capacity (like Shopify Flow), you will have to depend on 3rd party integrations and tools, significantly increasing the total cost of ownership.
In the end, the best platform for you is the one that meets your specific business requirements. We hope this article has given you a better understanding of how Shopify and Magento compare to each other to make an informed decision about which platform is right for your business.