Shopify vs Magento: Which will you choose?
If you’re stuck at a crossroads, unsure about whether Shopify or Magento is right for your business, you’ve come to the right place! This article has all of the information and insight you could possibly need to decide which option is right for your business.
Whether you’re planning to launch a new online store or contemplating migrating your existing store to a new platform, Shopify and Magento are two powerful eCommerce platforms worth considering.
Whilst the two share many of the same features and functionalities, some would argue that they are polar opposites in other ways. Shopify prides itself on offering a user-friendly and straightforward experience, whilst Magento is more concerned about providing a platform without limitations, hence its more complex framework!
It’s essential to take your time doing your research to choose the best platform for your business. After all, the capabilities of the platform you choose will directly impact your online store’s functionality, user experience, and scalability, and ultimately influence your business’s success.
In this article, we’ll discuss the features and functionalities of Shopify and Magento and explore the types of business that each platform best suits. By the time we’ve finished, you should have a good idea of which platform is right for your business, but if you’re still unsure, get in touch and we can help you decide!
What are Shopify and Magento?
Shopify and Magento are two of the most well-known platforms in the world for building online stores.
According to BuiltWith, a website that tracks the usage of various web technologies, there are nearly 150,000 live websites built using Magento, compared to over 4 million live websites built using Shopify.
If we look at global usage, Magento comes in 11th place, whilst Shopify steals 1st place. No jumping to conclusions at this point, though! This doesn’t necessarily mean that Shopify is better. Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs and preferences – we’ll explore them in more detail later in this article.
But for now, what is Shopify? Shopify is a powerful, all-in-one, hosted eCommerce platform known for its user-friendly interface and wide variety of tools, themes and templates. It features a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy and affordable for small business owners to launch their online store. Businesses also have the option to upgrade to Shopify Plus. Shopify Plus is Shopify’s premium service best suited to large enterprises or businesses with complex requirements.
Magento (also known as Adobe Commerce) is an open-source eCommerce platform that was acquired by Adobe in 2018. Magento uses PHP to offer a flexible and scalable solution for building online stores. Magento provides more scope for customisation but also requires more technical knowledge and self-hosting. Two different versions of Magento are available – Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce. Magento Open Source is the free, community-led version, and Adobe Commerce is the paid enterprise-level version that offers additional, advanced features and functionality. In this article, we’ll primarily be comparing Shopify with Magento open-source.
Both platforms offer unique features, themes, apps, and extensions to help you build a polished and high-performance eCommerce website.
Shopify vs Magento – The Pros and Cons
Before we dive deep into how Shopify and Magento compare, let’s briefly touch upon the pros and cons of each platform.
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Fast set up
- Support multichannel selling
- 135 polished and mobile responsive themes
- Shopify app store
- SEO tools
- Powerful reporting and analytics
- 24/7 customer support
- Marketing tools
- Multiple payment processors
- Recurring monthly cost
- Transaction fees
- Cost of apps
- Limited customisation
- No email hosting
- It uses a lesser-known coding language, Ruby
- Limited blogging tools
- Unlimited customisation
- Highly flexible
- Offers complete control over SEO
- Excellent scalability
- Powerful reporting and analytics
- Supports multiple languages and currencies
- Mobile friendly
- Thousands of themes available
- Large user community
- Challenging to find hosting that supports Magento
- Steep learning curve
- Requires a developer
- High development costs
- Slow and time-consuming to set up
What advantages does Shopify have over Magento?
As we’ve already seen, more websites are built using Shopify than any other eCommerce platform worldwide. There’s no doubt that it’s got a lot going for it, particularly if you’re a small business with simple needs. The platform is bursting with valuable tools and features that simplify the process of launching an online store, and new features are being added all the time (see what’s coming later this year in Shopify’s winter ’23 release).
In this section, we’ll find out more about what sets Shopify apart from Magento, highlighting some of the reasons why the platform has such widespread appeal.
Fast and hassle-free set-up
One notable advantage of Shopify over Magento is how quick and hassle-free it is to build and launch an online store. Shopify’s all-in-one approach and user-friendly interface allow even those with limited technical know-how to open an online store within a matter of days.
This contrasts with the steep learning curve associated with Magento. Magento is a complex platform that can pose challenges even for experienced developers. Generally, launching a store on Shopify is considerably quicker than it is with Magento.
Another advantage of Shopify over Magento is the convenience of it being an all-in-one hosted solution. With Shopify, everything you need to get your website up and running is included in the plan’s cost. This makes it fast and convenient for business owners to launch their stores.
In comparison, Magento requires store owners to find and manage their own hosting solutions, which can be time-consuming and challenging, especially for those with limited technical knowledge.
What makes Shopify really stand out from other eCommerce platforms is its user-friendly interface. Shopify makes building and managing an online store straightforward and intuitive, even for those with zero experience in coding. Sure, if your store has very complex requirements, they may not be achievable using Shopify’s drag-and-drop editor. But the platform caters to the needs of most small and medium-sized businesses with ease.
In contrast, to use Magento you need coding experience, so businesses will either need to hire an in-house developer or collaborate with a freelancer or web design agency to build and manage their website.
Low development costs
Businesses can usually make simple updates to their eCommerce store in-house when it has been built using Shopify. This provides more control over the website and saves the business money on development expenses. Because of the relative simplicity of the platform, Shopify web design and management expenses are generally more affordable than Magento.
Businesses that build their online store using Magento usually require the help of a developer for most changes and updates, which can lead to higher costs and a dependence on external expertise.
Affordable, polished themes
Another notable advantage of Shopify is its impressive selection of free and premium themes. With 135 professionally designed and fully responsive options available, Shopify makes it easy to ensure that your online store looks stunning on all devices. You can even use the platform’s visual layout editor to modify the template’s appearance without touching any code. Shopify’s themes are also checked and verified by the Shopify team to ensure they are polished and error-free.
While thousands of themes are available for Magento, they are developed by third parties and are not usually as reliable or polished as Shopify’s themes. They also often require more technical expertise to customise and manage effectively. Magento themes are generally considerably more expensive than Shopify themes too.
Businesses with online stores are responsible for keeping their customer’s sensitive information safe, so a secure website is a necessity. As a fully hosted platform, Shopify takes care of security updates, SSL certificates, and PCI compliance, giving store owners peace of mind that their online store is always protected from potential threats.
Because Magento is an open-source platform, store owners must manage their own security, updates, and compliance, which can be time-consuming and daunting, especially for those with limited technical knowledge.
If something goes wrong with your online store, you want to feel confident that you’ll be able to get the help you need to resolve the problem as quickly as possible to minimise any disruption to service. Shopify provides 24/7 customer assistance through various channels, including phone, email, and live chat.
The level of support that you receive with Magento depends on which service you’re using. If your store is built using the open-source version of Magento, you’ll need to rely on forums, documentation, or external developers to resolve any issues. Those using Adobe Commerce can access more dedicated support services, including the Adobe Commerce Help Centre and Adobe Customer Care.
What advantages does Magento have over Shopify?
Shopify has gained immense popularity because of its user-friendly approach to building an online store and its accessibility to users of all skill levels. Whilst this simplicity is undoubtedly appealing to many businesses, Shopify does have its limitations and may not be the right platform for businesses that require advanced flexibility and customisation options or superior scalability. In these cases, Magento emerges as a powerful alternative. It’s time to level the playing field and learn about some benefits of choosing Magento over Shopify.
One of the key reasons why businesses choose Magento over Shopify is the potential for complete customisation. The ability to customise your online store to meet your business’s specific needs is essential to its success; whilst Shopify can meet most businesses’ needs, it can’t meet them all as it doesn’t allow for the same level of customisation as Magento. Magento’s open-source nature allows developers to dive deep into the code and modify every aspect of the website, from layout and design to functionality and features. With no restrictions on customisation, businesses can build their eCommerce website from the ground up, creating a tailored and unique shopping experience for their customers.
In contrast, Shopify imposes limitations on the level of customisation available. Although it offers a wide range of themes and apps, users may experience constraints when implementing unique or innovative features or customisations that do not fit within the platform’s structure. This can sometimes result in websites that look and feel more generic than those built using Magento.
Complete control over SEO
Another benefit of Magento is the level of control it offers when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO). Magento’s open-source framework empowers businesses to optimise every aspect of their website, not just the areas predefined by the platform’s SEO tools.
Shopify’s SEO tools are great because they are user-friendly and make it simple for businesses to improve their search ranking without technical knowledge. However, their simplicity can be limiting for larger enterprises. Magento’s open-source nature suits large or rapidly growing businesses with more advanced SEO requirements. With Magento, you can customise URL structure, implement advanced metadata, and fine-tune on-page content to ensure maximum search engine visibility. However, it’s important to note that to take full advantage of Magento’s SEO potential; you will need to have an excellent understanding of both SEO best practices and coding.
Thousands of themes available
Building a website that perfectly balances aesthetics and functionality can be challenging. The website theme or template you choose will be the foundation for your website’s overall look, feel, and functionality, so getting it right is very important! Because Magento is an open-source platform, it has a large community of developers and designers contributing to its ever-growing library of themes and templates. As a result, there are thousands of themes available for Magento, all of which can be fully customised – providing businesses with an unbeatable level of choice.
In comparison, Shopify offers 135 different themes. It is, however, worth noting that, although Shopify offers far less choice, Magento’s themes have not been vetted in the same way that Shopify’s have and may provide a less polished finish. You will also usually require the help of a developer to implement and customise a Magento theme. However, with so many choices available, Magento can help businesses to design a one-of-a-kind store to stand out in an increasingly competitive online market.
No transaction fees
Another notable advantage of Magento over Shopify is that it does not charge any transaction fees. In comparison, Shopify charges a transaction fee for every sale. Although these fees are relatively small, they accumulate quickly, especially for businesses with high sales volumes.
The Magento platform is suitable for businesses of all sizes. Its robust architecture and open-source nature make it easy to add new features, extensions, and integrations to your website as your business expands. Another key benefit of Magento is that it can support multiple languages, currencies, and stores, making it an excellent choice for businesses expanding into international markets.
In comparison, Shopify’s hosted structure may impose restrictions on customisation and functionality as a business expands.
Installing apps and integrations can help your business to adapt and innovate its online store’s functionality to improve the shopping experience. Because Magento is an open-source platform, it can easily integrate with various third-party apps, extensions, and plugins. This offers more flexibility, choice, and possibilities for eCommerce business owners.
While Shopify offers over 8,000 apps, its limitations can hinder a business’s ability to fully customise its online store or implement specific functionality or features.
Takeaway differences between Shopify and Magento
Wow, that’s a lot of information to take in. If you’ve made it this far, you should now have a good understanding of what the differences are between Shopify and Magento.
Each platform offers very distinct advantages and disadvantages. Whilst there are a lot of similarities between the features and functionalities of the two, they are polar opposites regarding the level of expertise required to use them effectively. Whilst Shopify is generally much simpler to use, if you want to push the platform to its limits and build a unique store that provides a seamless user experience, you will benefit from hiring a web design agency to build your store. Once it has been built, Shopify’s user-friendly interface makes it simple for your business to then manage the store in-house.
Shopify’s most significant selling point is its user-friendly interface and accessibility to people of all skill levels. In comparison, Magento’s biggest selling point is the unlimited customisation and scalability that its open-source framework allows for. To take advantage of this, you need to either be an experienced developer or hire one.
If you’re a small or medium-sized business and you don’t require a highly complex eCommerce store, then Shopify may be the most affordable, hassle-free, and reliable solution for you.
However, suppose you’re a larger business or require an eCommerce store with more advanced, complicated, or unique design or functionality. In that case, Magento offers greater flexibility than Shopify and could be the more suitable option.
Which is more expensive – Shopify or Magento?
And now, to answer the million-dollar question, how much will it cost?
It’s all very well hearing the benefits of each platform, but I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath to find out whether the platform you’ve got your heart set on is within budget.
This question can be tricky to answer accurately, as many factors affect the overall cost of building and managing an eCommerce website.
The cost of Shopify
Let’s take a look at the price of Shopify first.
The cost of Shopify is a little simpler to work out than Magento because it is an all-in-one hosted solution, so most of your expenses are consolidated into one monthly charge.
There are three tiers to Shopify’s pricing: Basic (£25/month), Shopify (£65/month), and Advanced (£344/month).
The plan’s price includes hosting, security, an SSL certificate, unlimited storage, and 24/7 support.
Shopify also offers a premium service called Shopify Plus for enterprises and high-volume businesses; prices for Shopify Plus start at £1650 per month.
Other expenses to consider when budgeting for Shopify include transaction fees, paid themes, and Shopify apps.
The cost of Magento
Since Magento is open-source, it’s free to use; however, this doesn’t mean it will be free to build and launch your website!
You must organise all the essentials required to launch a website independently if you opt for Magento – including hosting, domain, website security, and an SSL certificate.
The cost of these can be vastly different depending on the provider and level of service you choose.
However, to give you a rough idea, the average cost of each is as follows:
- Hosting fees – £3 – £30 /month
- Domain – £10 – £20 /year
- SSL certificate – Free – £200 /year
- Security – £50 – £300 /year
On top of this, you’ll also need to budget for themes, extensions, and plug-ins to give your store the design and functionality it requires to succeed. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between £30 and £100 /year for an extension or theme.
Enterprises interested in Adobe Commerce will need to contact them directly to receive a bespoke quote on the subscription price.
No matter which platform you choose, unless you already have a developer in-house, you will also need to factor in the expense of hiring a developer or web design agency to help build and manage your online store. The cost of this will likely be significantly higher if you choose Magento, as it is a more complex and time-consuming platform to work with.
Usually, because of the complex nature of Magento and the size and scale of the businesses that use it, Magento tends to be more expensive than Shopify.
What factors should you consider when choosing between Shopify and Magento
Generally, Shopify is best suited to small and medium-sized businesses with simple requirements, whilst Magento is a more appropriate choice for enterprises and companies with high sales volumes or complex needs.
If the right choice for your business still isn’t clean-cut, then there are several factors that you should consider when choosing between Shopify and Magento; these are:
- Your business size and requirements
- Your team’s level of technical expertise
- Your budget
- The level of customisation you require.
- The level of scalability you need.
- The level of support required.
- The third-party apps and integrations you require.
Analysing your business’s requirements in more detail should help to enlighten you on which platform can best meet your needs.
Let Create8 help you choose the right eCommerce platform for your business
If you’re still filled with indecision, our team has extensive experience using both platforms and can help you to select the most suitable platform for your business’s needs.
What are the main differences between Shopify and Magento?
The most notable differences between Shopify and Magento are their ease of use and the flexibility each platform offers. As a hosted solution, Shopify provides users with everything they need to launch their website. In comparison, Magento is open-source software that requires self-hosting and extensive coding knowledge. Shopify has many features and functionalities but is restricted to the platform’s capabilities. As an open-source platform, Magento offers more flexibility and customisation than Shopify.
Which is more expensive – Shopify or Magento?
The cost of both platforms varies depending on various factors, but generally, Shopify tends to be the more affordable option. Shopify uses a subscription-based model where everything you require to launch your store is included in one monthly cost. Magento open-source is free to use, but you’ll need to pay separately for your own hosting, domain, SSL certificate, and security. Other costs to consider include the price of themes,apps and a developer.
Is Shopify or Magento better suited to small businesses and startups?
Shopify is usually the best option for small businesses and startups as it provides a convenient, hassle-free all-in-one solution. Its user-friendly interface also makes it possible to carry out more updates to the website in-house, saving money on development costs.
Is Shopify or Magento better suited to larger businesses or those with complex requirements?
Magento is generally better suited to large businesses, enterprises, and those with complex needs. This is because Magento’s open-source framework offers the potential for almost unlimited flexibility and scalability. In comparison, there are some limitations to the level of customisation available using Shopify.
What are the main factors to consider when choosing between Shopify and Magento?
When determining whether Shopify or Magento is the best fit for your business, you should consider business size and requirements, technical expertise, and budget. You should also factor in the level of customisation, scalability, and support that you require.