Magento and Shopify are a well-known couple to compare. These are the most popular and widely used e-commerce platforms, merchants use them to create either an online shop or an online version of the existing brick and mortar store(s).
Even though Shopify and Magento might seem similar, they have a range of significant differences that make them almost opposite to each other in terms of the target audience and business needs they suit for. In this blog post, we are going to highlight the main pros and cons of these platforms in order to help you make the right choice for your e-commerce business.
Magento and Shopify Comparison
To become widely used and popular, any software solution should be robust and reliable as well as comply with the users’ demands. Both Magento and Shopify successfully cope with those tasks. Let’s now see how exactly.
Ease of use
Being a merchant does not involve having any technical skills, so building a website for your shop might be a challenge. Likely, Shopify is a user-friendly platform that allows drag and drop editing and easy-to-use admin panel. This makes Shopify a perfect option for non-coders and allows getting the store up and running really fast.
Magento, in its turn, provides a less clear interface and quite a poor choice of easily implemented features. In order to get a powerful website ready for any business tasks, you need development skills and notably more time.
Continuing to speak about the functionality, we turn the Magento’s disadvantage from the previous point into the main plus. Even though it requires time and coding skills (most likely it means hiring software developers), Magento allows creating solutions with the richest functionality among all the e-commerce platforms which means the best user experience and level of customization.
The functionality that Shopify-based websites can provide is limited to the set of ready-made apps (which is not that bad, in fact).
To get the solution you need, both platforms provide a range of apps (as they are called at Shopify) and extensions (as they are called at Magento). Behind the different names stands the same thing: a choice of additional features you may add to your website. For example, multiple employee logins with different permissions or custom discount coupons. Some of these add ons are free but most of them are extra charge.
Magento offers many more apps than Shopify does (~5000 vs ~2500) but both platforms allow implementing the functionality good enough to create a robust solution for your business.
Shopify stays simple even in terms of costs. There are several packages to choose from (like basic or premium) that include certain functionality, services, and monthly fee starting from 29$. It is the best option if you do not want to think of managing separate payments for hosting, domain name and other — everything is included.
Magento itself is open-source and free but you will not get a website without any expenses simply because you have to pay at least for hosting (and its price will grow together with your business). Unlike lightweight Shopify, Magento requires serious hosting environment to cover its resource consumption. There are many more additional hidden costs you might have with Magento, eg. for hiring developers.
Magento might turn out to be cheaper but its cost is not as predictable as Shopify’s.
What about the payments inside of your website? Both Magento and Shopify provide an opportunity to integrate a range of most popular payment gateways (like Amazon Pay or PayPal) but there are some differences.
Shopify’s solutions are easily integrated but require a fee for each transaction: every time a customer buys something from you, Shopify will take 0,5-2% of the purchase sum depending on the size of your business (the more you sell the less Shopify takes). To avoid these fees you can use Shopify Payments — the platform’s own payment processor.
Magento’s list of available payment services is shorter but it includes payment processors that support different languages and countries. This makes Magento a perfect option for large and international businesses.
The situation with available themes is the same as with add ons: both Magento and Shopify have some free options and many more paid ones. Most of the themes are already mobile-optimized which is really important today when more and more customers prefer to make a purchase via smartphone.
Shopify provides more than 100 themes to choose from but only ~10% of them are free. Magento offers even less ready-made themes — 12 with only a couple free of charge. But the customization opportunities Magento provides are not limited to the existing themes. This platform allows creating and implementing your own unique design. It requires time and the help of qualified designers and software developers but having such an opportunity makes Magento a more preferable option for those who can afford those expenses.
Since Shopify is SaaS (software as a service), the support is included. It is provided 24/7 through any channel that comforts you: e-mail, phone, or chat. Being an open-source platform, Magento does not provide any centralized support but it has a large and involved community that is always ready to help. You also can hire a software development team that will not only customize your website but also maintain and support it.
Shopify is a simple and user-friendly way to create and launch an e-commerce website really fast and without coding skills. It is also a great option from the point of planning budget as each month you have to pay a fixed fee that covers all the website’s needs like hosting, support, and others. This makes Shopify a perfect platform for small and emerging businesses.
Magento, on the contrary, is an option to choose for large and international businesses as well as for merchants who have development skills (or a skilled team) and time. Magento offers great flexibility allowing you to build the website exactly the way you want: with the functionality your business requires and the user experience you want to provide.
If you want to get a fully customized Magento-based solution but are afraid of the upcoming difficulties, SCAND is here to help. Our web development team has 15+ years experience of effective e-commerce solutions development including those built on the Magento platform. Contact us to ask any questions and get more details.