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Magento vs Shopify: Which eCommerce Platform is Best for Your Business

Summary: Can’t choose between Magento and Shopify? You’re not the only one. Thousands of eCommerce business owners find it difficult to choose between these two eCommerce platforms. Read on to find out where they coincide and which platform you should choose to build your eCommerce website.

Magento and Shopify are popular eCommerce platforms with a 3.69% and 2.32% market share, respectively. Each has a special place in the eCommerce landscape, with millions of loyal customers. Over 20% of websites use Shopify, while 8% are powered on Magento.

While both Magento and Shopify offer unique ecommerce store experiences, they differ significantly in some areas. Magento may work for some businesses but not for others. A similar can be the case with Shopify. Businesses need to consider multiple facets of their businesses before choosing between the following eCommerce platforms.

In this blog, we’ll compare Magento and Shopify to help you make the right decision for building your eCommerce website.

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Magento vs Shopify: A Basic Overview

We can easily understand the difference between Magento and Shopify with the analogy of a self-driving and manual car.

Shopify is like a self-driving car that automatically manages programming, coding, and other back-end processes. The upside is that you can build and set up your website even if you have zero coding knowledge. But the downside is that you can’t customize it the way you want.

On the other hand, Magento is like a manual car where you can specify inputs and customize the website. However, to work in Magento, you need specific coding expertise.

For a deeper understanding, here’s a table underlining the fundamental differences between Magento and Shopify:

1. Founded In 2008 2004
2. Built on PHP Ruby
3. Solution Type Open-Source Hosted
4. Suited for Enterprises with Large Product Catalogs Small-scale businesses selling limited products
5. Versions Magento Community Edition (CE) 2.4.5 Shopify 2.18
6. Number of apps and add-ons 3600+ 4200+
7. Current Live Websites for US region (source: BuiltWith) 59,739 2,581,140

What are the main differences between Magento and Shopify?

1. Pricing

The open-source version of Magento is free of cost. However, you will have to pay for the domain name, hosting, themes, and add-ons. The free version can help you kickstart your eCommerce business journey.

But if you want to enhance your eCommerce website’s capability or expand your eCommerce business, you must opt for paid versions. Two paid versions are available: Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud. Pricing depends on how you choose to customize your eCommerce website.

Here’s the detailed pricing of each Magento version:
differences between magento and shopify

For an exact estimate, you must contact Magento development companies with experience developing customized Magento-powered eCommerce solutions.
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial and then charges a fee on a subscription basis. It is a plug-and-play solution where you don’t have to pay for external costs like outsourcing or in-house management of developers.

While pricing varies from plan to plan, here’s a detailed Shopify pricing estimate:
shopify pricing

You get almost everything covered here — online store features, shipping, payment gateway integrations, apps, and advanced point-of-sale functionalities. You can even downgrade/upgrade your plans anytime if you want.

Verdict on Pricing of Magento and Shopify?

It’s hard to say which is more affordable among Magento and Shopify because both platforms have distinct pricing models. Magento is open-source, and the pricing depends on your requirements. On the other hand, Shopify has fixed pricing, which may seem cheaper but has extra costs as you need to pay for apps and themes.

2. Themes

Magento offers five fully mobile responsive themes and charges up to $499. You can even create a theme from scratch, but that will need coding expertise or a budget to hire Magento developers.

Here are a few things that make Magento themes stand out:

  • Flexible customization options (but you need a firm technical foundation).
  • Ability to make your store engaging by adding animations.
  • Option to add a featured product slider to your homepage.
  • Ability to add newsletter options in your webpage footer.
  • You can also add cross-selling blocks on your product pages.

Shopify offers over nine free and 88 premium themes, all mobile-optimized. Each theme costs around $150 – $350 which is affordable compared to Magento themes.
magento themes

Here are a few more interesting features of Shopify themes and templates:

  • Drag-and-drop editor to add, switch, remove and resize elements of your Shopify theme.
  • You can easily create new pages or modify the color palette and images based on your business needs.
  • Integrating social media feeds in Shopify themes is easy.

Verdict on Magento themes vs Shopify themes

Shopify offers a wider variety of themes than Magento at an affordable price. You don’t have to have strong coding expertise or hire development experts. Instead, you can customize your website to the needs of your eCommerce brand.

3. Apps & Extensions

The Magento marketplace offers 3600+ extensions. You don’t even need coding knowledge to install and implement these extensions.
featured categories

Popular among these extensions are

  • Amasty Multiple Coupons: This plugin encourages repeat purchases and makes customers feel valued by letting them add custom discount coupons and apply multiple coupons to one order.
  • Product Pre-order: With this plugin, you can send an automatic email to your potential customers when a new product is available.
  • Remarkety: With Remarkety, you can integrate email marketing campaigns and social feeds with your store.

You can also download quality Magento extensions like Magezon Builder from the Adobe Exchange Partner Magezon.

The Shopify App Store offers over 4200+ free and paid apps to boost sales by adding new features to your website.
most popular

Here are some popular Shopify extensions:

  • Trust Hero: Trust Hero shows trust icons to your visitors and potential customers, leading to less cart abandonment.
  • MailChimp: A marketing automation platform to successfully integrate email marketing campaigns.
  • Trackr: A real-time order tracking tool to help customers find the whereabouts of their orders.
  • Analytics Buddy: Analytics buddy offers valuable insights by fetching all your Google Analytics data into your Shopify dashboard.

Verdict on Magento Extensions vs. Shopify Apps

The Shopify app market is easier to use and offers more polished extensions than the Magento Marketplace. Magento has more extensions than Shopify. However, installing Magento extensions requires in-depth coding expertise.

4. Marketing Features

Magento relies heavily on its Marketplace to offer marketing features. For example, you must install extensions like Remarkety to email campaigns. Also, you need to hire a web developer to integrate marketing tools.

On the other hand, Shopify offers built-in marketing tools to help your store scale. You can advertise and sell directly on social platforms and use integrations like Seguno and Klaviyo to email campaigns. Shopify even supports multilingual websites.

Verdict on Magento Marketing Features vs. Shopify Marketing Features

Shopify may appear as the winner in the marketing features category. But there’s a lot more to the story. Shopify may offer in-built marketing features, but it has its limitations in SEO options. You can’t change the default features of Shopify, like the URL structure, hierarchy, and server-level configurations.

However, Magento offers business owners more marketing features and flexibility than Shopify. Unlike Shopify, you can alter your eCommerce website’s structure, change meta tags, optimize images, and change URLs in Magento.

5. Ease of Use

Magento Developers should be good at coding and handling other technical aspects, as ease of use depends on their expertise. They should also possess good research skills to access the community-contributed code.

Magento is not user-friendly when handling the Magento Content Management System (CMS). But, the good thing is a developer’s freedom to experiment and apply their creativity.

Magento supports a flourishing community of Magento developers from around the globe and an active help centre that offers all-time support in the form of
magento help center tools

With less to worry about, the Shopify’s interface is easy-to-use and comes as a perk for the non-technical members of the organization. The platform’s “drag and drop” convenience makes it a cakewalk to set up an online store, irrespective of it being; B2B or B2C.

You can personalize the store, add/delete products, and even set up payment methods. The best part is that there is 24/7 support, live chat option, and email support.

Verdict on Magento vs Shopify Easy of Use

Shopify is easier to use than Magento. It is a great choice, especially for someone who lacks technical expertise.

6. Core Functionality

Magento supports the following two core functionalities:

  • Robust inventory and order management features: Magento supports a powerful inventory. You can create unlimited products and customer attributes, sort your data, and offer a personalized user experience with its extensions and custom solutions.
  • A great solution to grow a multi-channel business: You can use Magento to integrate your online store with comparison shopping sites, social media channels, and marketplaces. The eCommerce platform also lets you create and bulk-upload product catalogs for different channels.
  • core functionality

Here are some core functionalities offered by Shopify:

  • Reduction of cart abandonment rate by sending automatic emails to customers who left items in the shopping cart for some reason.
  • Partnering with shipping providers like UPS, USPS, DHL Express, and Canada Post to simplify order fulfillment and offer discounts.

Shopify and Magento also offer POS functionality. The only difference is that Shopify provides a first-party POS system, while Magento offers a third-party POS via their extensions.

7. Sales Tools

Magento has a unique inventory system that supports built-in features like bulk product import from the database, multiple product variants, total visitor count, and total revenue reports. Besides, here are some fantastic sales tools that Magento offers:

  • Multi-channel selling options to integrate your store with Facebook, Instagram, and eBay by installing extensions.
  • Checkout customization to enhance your online store checkout the way you want.
  • Options to recover abandoned cart rate.
  • Ability to set percentage and fixed price discounts.

Shopify offers the following tools to help you sell products and make money:

  • Abandoned cart recovery options to recover potentially lost sales.
  • Multichannel selling option to sell your products on Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
  • You can sell both digital and physical products on Shopify.
  • Shopify partners with USPS, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post to deliver your products from any courier service.

Verdict on Magento Sales Tools vs. Shopify Sales Tools

Shopify offers a broader range of sales tools, which you can only access by installing expensive extensions on Magento.

8. Payment Processors and Transaction Fees

Magento doesn’t have payment processors, but you can download one from the Magento Marketplace. However, it means you have to pay a transaction fee for each payment.

On the other hand, Shopify has a payment processor called Shopify Payments, which means there are zero transaction fees (except for regular card processing fees). If you choose not to use Shopify payments, here are the charges you need to pay per transaction:

  • Shopify Basic: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Shopify: 2.6% + 30 ¢ per transaction
  • Shopify Advanced: 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction

As far as payment gateways are concerned – Magento supports over 150 payment gateways, most of which target large businesses. You can also integrate standard payment processors like Stripe or Square from the Marketplace if you want.

Shopify supports 100+ payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay – but they all come with a transaction fee.

Verdict on Magento vs Shopify Payments

Magento offers better payment processors and transaction fees. Shopify offers fewer payment gateway options and transaction fees, which is restrictive.

9. Community Support

Being an open-source platform, Magento has a large community of developers to back you. You can browse previous threads to seek answers to your queries or ask a new question. You will get replies quickly because Magento users are active worldwide. Magento also has a help centre containing best practices, troubleshooting tips, and FAQs.
help center

Shopify relies on 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support channels to offer active customer support. You can also refer to self-help content like forums, video tutorials, and help centres. There are also dedicated professionals to help you if you face any issues.
contact support

Verdict on Magento vs Shopify Community Support

Shopify is more reliable as it offers you access to community support and immediate help.

10. Security

Magento doesn’t have a built-in security mechanism, but it is flexible enough to let you make security changes to your website. Also, Magento regularly releases updates and patches to keep your website safe. Magento 2 even lets you install security extensions to protect your valuable data.

On the other hand, Shopify has built-in SSL encryption and Level 1 PCI-DSS compliance to protect your website automatically. It is also a fantastic resource for eCommerce businesses wanting to learn how to handle customer data sensitively throughout a customer interaction with store websites.

Verdict on Magento vs Shopify Security

While Shopify makes security easily accessible, you can’t match the regular updates and the community support Magento offers.

11. Upgrades

Upgrading from Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration is a prerequisite as Magento has stopped supporting Magento 1 from 30th June 2020.

The new Magento version offers an improved product catalog, framework improvements, and a streamlined approach to everyday admin activities. Many eCommerce platforms have made this significant shift to make the most of the opportunity. The migration involves a one-time cost but will lead to positive ROIs in the long run.

On the other hand, Shopify has introduced a newer version of the eCommerce platform that is suitable for businesses that have outgrown the standard Shopify version and are making it big in the market, i.e., their annual revenue equates to about $1-2 million. The newer version is called Shopify Plus.

The abundant possibilities introduced by Shopify Plus make it an enticing up-gradation to consider. Heinz, the American food processing company, runs on Shopify Plus. The Heinz store, called “Heinz to Home,” was launched within seven days of the announcement, thus paving the fastest route possible for customers in the pandemic.
Shopify Plus offers myriad extensions and features, making it evident that its cost would be on the higher side too. The Shopify Plus plan starts from somewhere at $2000/month and can go up to $40,000/month.

Verdict on Magento vs Shopify Upgrades

In terms of Magento vs Shopify Plus, choosing Magento seems a viable option if you are looking for a global reach of all the stores. Stores powered by Shopify Plus need to be managed independently, i.e., it does provide a holistic management option.

Here’s an example — Legend Footwear, a Magento 2-powered footwear company, has been garnering success after we managed to optimize their store. The Net Solutions’ Magento certified team helped improve site speed, create a mobile-friendly website, offer better user experience, and accelerate the checkout process. Here’s a detailed insight:

legend footwear case study

Magento vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

After listing the differences between Magento and Shopify, here’s a comprehensive chart that enlists their pros and cons to narrow down your research.

1. Magento

Timely update

Intuitive admin interface

Myriad of payment options

Offers nearly 1500 plugins and extensions

Can manage sizeable incoming traffic

Optimal level of customizations

Magento developers are required

Resource intensive

Security is dependent on the level of configuration

Documentation is extensive due to the number of legacy versions

More suitable for enterprises

2. Shopify

More of a plug-and-play solution

Timely updates, automatically implemented

Easy setups, faster time to launch

High reliability and security

Advanced analytics capabilities available. For instance, in-depth statistics for abandoned cart

Expensive due to its plug-and-play nature

Limited control on your store

Not hosted on your server

Store migration is a complex process

Implementing customizations is complicated

Magento vs Shopify: Which one is More Powerful for eCommerce?

Both the eCommerce platforms differ on various parameters, making it imperative to analyze them before setting the foundation for your eCommerce business. Ponder these factors before choosing:

  • What is your budget?
  • What is the store size and the corresponding business needs?
  • Do you have developers, or are you looking for a plug-and-play solution?
  • What level of customization are you planning?
  • What is the vision for your eCommerce store in the coming years?

You can always seek help from Shopify and Magento-certified companies to discuss your requirements. The experts will help you in the best way to come up with the best-suited eCommerce platform.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 01

    Is Magento good for small businesses?

    Magento is an excellent choice for small businesses. Anyone with experience in web development can create their store in minutes. The platform also offers a mobile-friendly interface and multi-address shipping and lets you manage your store from anywhere.

    There are also useful extensions to enhance your web store or community support to help you if you face any issues.

  • 02

    Can I use Magento and Shopify together?

    Since Magento and Shopify are two different tools to fulfill the same purpose. For example, Magento is a CMS, and Shopify is a website builder that you use to build a fully-functional eCommerce website. Hence, using them together doesn’t make sense.

  • 03

    Which is more affordable for startups – Magento or Shopify?

    If you are a startup and have a limited budget, then Shopify is a more affordable option for you because it includes hosting costs, which means you don’t have to pay overheads. Also, unlike Magento, where you must invest in a team to manage your website’s design, development, and maintenance – you can handle everything on your own on Shopify. Moreover, you can scale Shopify based on your business needs.

  • 04

    Why is Magento Commerce so expensive?

    Magento commerce is expensive because it offers enterprise-level functionality like access to Magento’s Page Builder, B2B module, and Adobe Sensei, which uses AI and machine learning to tailor product recommendations. You can quickly boost your website’s sales with these features.

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