Magento vs Shopify: Which Is The Best eCommerce Platform?

John Ahya John Ahya April 02, 2021
12 mins read Last Updated February 07, 2023
Magento vs Shopify

Magento or Shopify? Which is the better eCommerce platform for your online store? If you have these questions, don’t worry; you are not alone. When it comes to building an eCommerce website, choosing the right platform is crucial for the success of your online business.

Magento and Shopify are two of the most popular options. Both platforms have their own set of features, strengths, and weaknesses, making it difficult to determine which one is the best for your specific needs.

“Here is the main difference between Magento Vs Shopify”

“Magento is an open-source platform that offers customization to fit the specific needs of your business. Shopify, on the other hand, is a proprietary platform that offers a more user-friendly interface and a wide range of pre-built templates and themes.”

One of the main differences between Magento and Shopify is their scalability. Magento is designed for larger, more complex eCommerce websites and can handle many products and transactions. Shopify, on the other hand, is better suited for small to medium-sized businesses and may not be able to handle the same level of traffic and sales as Magento.

In this article, we will compare Magento vs Shopify, discussing the pros and cons of each platform and helping you determine which one is the best fit for your eCommerce business.

So, let’s get started.

Magento vs Shopify: A Detailed Comparison

Now, let’s check the detailed comparison between Magento and Shopify on the basis of 11 key factors.

Popularity

There’s no doubt that Magento and Shopify both are very popular eCommerce platforms. But still, we can see some popularity differences between them.

Magento is more popular among larger, enterprise-level businesses. Shopify, on the other hand, is more popular among small to medium-sized businesses.

Shopify has been around much longer than Magento, but Magento has enjoyed quite a bit of popularity with brands and enterprises. If Magento review is anything to go by, it is not entirely out of the race. It still retains about 7% of online eCommerce stores worldwide.

Shopify, on the other hand, did not have a great start. Yet, it has steadily captured market share. It is so popular that it is the power behind nearly 20% of all eCommerce websites. Impressive! The reason for Shopifys’ soaring popularity is its simple, plug-and-play interface.

Ease of Use

Magento comes with a steep learning curve, and you would need a developer or a team to build your site. And let’s not forget that Magento doesn’t come with a hosting partner, so you should add ‘host’ to your ‘to-do list. It doesn’t provide on-site support, so it might be challenging for new users to navigate it easily. Although Magento is not entirely user-friendly, it gives developers much freedom to experiment.

There is a consensus that Magento is a tough nut to crack for those lacking technical abilities. It is true; Magento is not a ready-made setup. But with its many extensions, it becomes easier to work with.

With Shopify, its easy-to-use interface is a hit with new users and brands alike. You don’t require technical abilities to use Shopify. Its drag-and-drop feature and impressive toolkits make it easier for non-technical users to build a fairly decent web store.

It is the reason why many eCommerce merchants choose Shopify. You can customize your store by bringing in brand elements, adding/deleting products, and moving design elements around. And it brings in everything from marketing to inventory in its dashboard.

In terms of ease of use, Shopify wins as it’s more user-friendly than Magento, while Magento is a more powerful platform requiring more technical expertise and resources.

Themes and Design

Being open-source, Magento doesn’t offer themes as a part of the native software. You can, however, find a suitable theme from third-party sites. Magento is the developers’ favorite because it is possible to build custom-designed themes from scratch. The Magento themes are much cheaper than Shopify on the price front, ranging from $49 to $99.

On the other hand, Shopify offers free themes to start with and is easy to set up. Get a Shopify account, set your store up, and you are ready to go! It’s that simple. You can customize Shopify themes, start adding products, and content and tweak the design to get going. Moreover, these themes are mobile-optimized as well.

On the downside, only a few Shopify themes are free, and you will have to pay a bit for the rest. In case you don’t mind paying the extra buck, then Shopify’s site customization and social media integration options are great. There are 11 free, and 100+ paid Shopify themes. The price of Shopify’s paid themes starts from $180.

Another point (no developer will tell you) is that Shopify doesn’t allow too many tweaks to its themes as proprietary software. You can surely alter the colors and button size and add font or images, but customization choices are limited beyond this.

Community Support

Ever for an experienced user, there are times when help and support are needed. Whether you are building a store from scratch or customizing themes, you will have issues that need immediate fixing. So timely help and support is another parameter to judge the effectiveness of Magento vs Shopify.

Magento has a flourishing user community from around the globe that offers timely help to users. If you need help dealing with any issue, you can always find outside help using Magento support and maintenance services.

Shopify, on the other hand, has a large and active community of users, developers, and designers who create tutorials, share their experiences and offer support to one another. Additionally, Shopify ticks all the boxes of dedicated support – 24/7 phone and chat support, email support, tutorials, a help center, and more.

So, in terms of community support and help, Shopify generally has the edge over Magento.

Scalability and Flexibility

If you want your business to grow, you need to choose a platform that satisfies your present needs and is scalable.

In the case of Magento, if your business sees a sudden spike in sales, you can be sure that your Magento-powered store will work just fine without running into trouble.

Since Magento is built using open-source software, its flexibility is top-notch. You need new functionality, and you can ask your developer to update the Magento database accordingly.

Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform, so you don’t have to worry about finding a host. Even though you have three plans, they don’t have many feature variations.

In the case of Shopify, if your business grows, you might want to look at pricier plans to cater to your needs. And let’s not forget the steep transaction fees that come along with it. The more you sell, the more Shopify will charge fees from you. It means that you might not be able to scale beyond a certain point.

So, in terms of scalability and flexibility, Magento wins over Shopify. As an open-source platform, Magento can be customized and extended in various ways, and it can handle a higher volume of traffic and sales.

Coding

When we talk about coding, Magento and Shopify have different approaches.

Anyone with access to the source code can alter Magento. It’s written in PHP and uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture. If you are tech-savvy, then you can build your store. Otherwise, there are experienced Magento web developers to do the job for you.

Shopify is a closed-source platform, meaning the source code is unavailable for developers to modify. It runs on a programming language called Liquid and a set of APIs to allow for customization.

So, if you need a simpler and faster development process, you can go with Shopify, whereas if you want more extensive customization, you can go with Magento.

Pricing

The development cost for your eCommerce store is one of the essential factors that you should consider. The price structures of Shopify and Magento are entirely different from each other. Let’s see if there are any similarities between the two.

Magento has an enterprise version and a cloud version on offer. The cloud version needs extra funds for licenses and customization. The open-source program, however, is free of charge.

However, you need to get a hosting partner to continue using it. A decent hosting partner who offers great bandwidth and customization packages will be useful to your business. Also, you will have to keep an eye on other costs, such as developer charges and set-up charges. You can check the detailed pricing of Magento from here.

In Shopify, there are Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify plans at $29, $79, and $299 per month, respectively. All three plans feature unlimited products, support, discount codes, gift cards, and manual order creation features. The differentiating aspect is report generation and transaction fees.

Since it is self-hosted, the hosting charges are included in the package. But Shopify includes transaction fees, unlike Magento.

You can also read:

Payment Processing and Transaction Fees

The payment process is a major consideration when choosing the right eCommerce platform.

Magento supports more than 150 payment gateways. But a majority of these cater to large businesses. With Magento, you can also sell your wares directly through Amazon using Magento inventory -which might tip the balance in its favor.

Shopify supports over 100 payment gateways. However, it charges transaction fees if you choose external payment gateways. When you select the built-in Shopify Payment, you don’t incur these extra charges.

Shopify has the edge over Magento here as it offers a built-in payment gateway with no additional transaction fees, while Magento doesn’t have a built-in payment gateway.

Apps and Add-ons

Apps and add-ons are vital to the store’s performance when its in-built features don’t fully satisfy your brand’s needs.

Magento has over 5,000 extensions to offer. Since it is open-source, the applications and extensions are developed by the global community of developers. While it might still take time for all extensions to be compatible with Magento 2, nearly 2,500 extensions work well on the newer version.

Shopify’s advantages include its App store. The store has more than 4,200 free and premium apps for businesses. With the store constantly expanding, you will surely find one to suit your needs. It does an excellent job of offering essential apps that most stores need. Any additional functionality you require can easily be added-on.

Even with Shopify’s affordable apps, you can still run up costs if you need advanced features. Just make sure you know the features you want in your store before you start subscribing.

Additional Features

Both platforms have functionalities that help to do marketing and improve sales. Let us know the difference between Shopify and Magento based on their functionalities.

Dropshipping is simple to start with Shopify. You have to integrate Oberlo, a platform that enables you to identify many suppliers. If you want to enter into such a business, Shopify allows you to get started and find suppliers without any additional apps. On the contrary, to start dropshipping in Magento, you need the support of extensions.

Magento enables you to create and sell as many products as you want in its inventory. Shopify also allows you to sell unlimited products on the eCommerce store. The one thing that keeps Shopify ahead of Magento when looking at inventory management is its ability to integrate with dropshipping apps such as Oberlo.

Magento comes with multilingual skill-set support. Shopify doesn’t have multilingual support. However, you can have multilingual capabilities with the help of third-party apps.

Magento is highly adaptable when it comes to security. It offers users the freedom to improve store security according to their needs. Moreover, it regularly releases updates & patches to ensure your store is secure. Besides this, it enables you to install the extension to protect the business data. On the contrary, Shopify comes with SSL encryption and Level 1 PCI-DSS compliance to secure your store instantly.

Magento supports more than 200+ currencies worldwide. On the other side, Shopify supports 133 currencies from across the globe.

Talking about Blogging, Magento doesn’t possess a built-in feature. Hence, you need to take support of any third-party plugin or extension. On the contrary, Shopify enables you to do blogging with the help of its functionality.

Magento enables you to create discount codes and calculation functionalities from the initial stage. Talking about Shopify, the feature is available in all versions other than the lite version.

Marketing, Sales, and SEO

For instance, you are selling high-quality original products at an affordable price but not getting enough sales. On the contrary, your competitor dropships low-quality products and gets massive sales. The reason behind your failure is the incorrect usage of marketing tools.

Here we would compare Magento vs Shopify based on their marketing.

Marketing Features
Magento depends heavily on its marketplace to utilize marketing features. For instance, you require an email extension like Remarkety to run campaigns. Besides this, you also need the help of a web developer to integrate various marketing features into the store.

In the case of Shopify, the platform consists of all the marketing tools to increase the scalability of your eCommerce store. Shopify allows you to access third-party integrations like Seguno, Klaviyo, Constant Contact, etc., to execute email campaigns. The platform also offers you an opportunity to advertise on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Hence, we can say that Shopify has more features when it comes to marketing tools than Magento.

SEO
An effective search engine optimization strategy helps you to bring more traffic to your store and increase sales. Therefore, it is essential that your CMS consists of crucial SEO tools.

Magento has the edge over Shopify in the SEO category. With Magento, you can easily customize the URLs of your web pages. It will make it easier for search engines to find your pages. Another built-in feature is the ability to edit image alt tags, making it easy for Google image search to categorize your images. Moreover, the platform offers an SEO guide to help you become familiar with SEO & other things.

If we look at Shopify, the platform depends on third-party apps for SEO.

Sales
An online store heavily relies on sales tools to increase conversions and sales. Let us look at the difference between Magento & Shopify based on sales tools.

Magento provides multi-channel selling options to put & sell products on Facebook, Instagram, and eBay via extensions. The platform offers different ways to customize your checkout section as per your need. It also gives an option for abandoned card recovery. It means that the store sends an automatic email to customers who have left the store after keeping their product in the cart.

Like Magento, Shopify also offers multi-channel selling through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and eBay. It enables you to sell physical & digital products and has the feature of abandoned cart recovery. It easily collaborates with USPS, UPS, Express, DHL, and more.

Magento or Shopify: Which One Should You Choose?

Pick Magento if you are willing to pay the top buck for a unique store with more custom features and functionalities. The platform is always evolving, the features keep increasing, and the extensions get piled on.

If your business has an extensive line-up of products and needs great customization options, then you should go with Magento development.

If you foresee huge growth for your business and need a platform to keep pace, Magento will help you.

Finally – if you are willing to bear the initial set-up costs and have someone do the ‘techy’ stuff for you, then Magento’s robust software will help you scale up pretty well.

Now, let’s see how Shopify fares at the final countdown. When should you pick Shopify as your platform partner? Shopify is a simple and relatively straightforward solution to setting up online stores.

If you are a start-up or a small business, then Shopify’s ease of use and the hosted solution will fit your bill. You absolutely don’t have to have the technical knowledge or understanding of coding to build a powerful site on Shopify.

Finally – choose Shopify if you want a simple website, decent customization options, all-inclusive package (hosting, marketing tools, inventory plans) on a budget.

Conclusion

There are no winners here, only the right eCommerce solution to suit your business needs. Shopify satisfies specific users’ business needs, while Magento does the job for others.

Shopify is an excellent option for small to medium-sized businesses looking for an easy-to-use, affordable platform with a wide range of features and integrations. Magento, on the other hand, is better suited for larger businesses with more advanced needs and a larger budget.

Both platforms offer excellent features and functionalities, but the choice ultimately depends on the unique needs and goals of your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Magento is facing tough competition from Shopify. But, after the acquisition of Magento by Adobe, its popularity has increased. Moreover, Adobe is constantly releasing new patches and updates. Hence, Magento will have a significant share in the market.

Regardless of the online business, Shopify is still a choice that you can consider. Due to the platform’s scalability, you can establish trust and reputation among your audience. It also offers a wide range of integrations and add-ons to fulfill the needs of the audience.

John Ahya
John Ahya

John is the President and Co-Founder of WebDesk Solution, LLC. Living the digital agency life for over 10 years, he explores an extensive eCommerce world. He has immense experience in all major e-commerce platforms. Being a nature lover, he likes to breathe the fresh air on the hill stations during vacations.

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