Congratulations on building a successful, profitable online store! You’ve succeeded where many others have failed.
Like many of our ECommerceFuel forum members, you’re looking for ways to grow and improve even more. Part of that journey may be wondering if you’ve chosen the right eCommerce platform.
To help with that, we’re going to compare two of the more popular eComm platforms today ⸺ Shopify and Magento.
We’ll give a head-to-head comparison across 9 categories, declaring a winner in each. When finished, you’ll have a better understanding of each, and know which is the best eCommerce platform for your business.
Here are the 9 categories we’ll cover in this guide:
Let’s start with a brief overview of each to begin.
The Pros and Cons of Shopify and Magento
Magento Pros and Cons
|Magento Pros||Magento Cons|
|Large user community||Not a lot of customer support|
|Ideal for medium to large businesses||Unsuitable for beginners|
|Very SEO friendly||Self-hosted|
|Built for scalability||Difficult to find a hosting provider|
|Lots of customization options||Complex customization process|
Shopify Pros and Cons
|Shopify Pros||Shopify Cons|
|Easy to use||Transaction fees|
|24/7 Customer support||Price|
|Professional, responsive themes||Limited customizations|
|Shopify app store||Cost of apps|
|Marketing and sales tools|
|Built for scalability|
When it comes to Magento vs. Shopify on pricing, the big difference is that Shopify is self-hosted and that Magento is a bit difficult to find affordable hosting for.
HostGator was named the best overall host for Magento by the researchers at the WebSiteBuilderExpert. Let’s look at it first.
HostGator’s Magento Hosting Features
- One-click Magento installation
- 24/7 customer support
- 45 day money-back guarantee
Now let’s look at Shopify.
Shopify Plan Pricing
Shopify has three plans suitable for most eCommerce sellers. They are:
- Shopify Basic: $29/month
- Shopify: $79/month
- Advanced Shopify: $299/month
All this makes Shopify look pricier than Magento. Just remember, with Magento, you’ll have to pay for site security, domain name, and add-ons like themes and apps. Your Magento online store could actually end up costing thousands a month.
WINNER: Tie. While Magento is open source, that factor alone carries extra costs. And while Shopify has set fees, its add-ons and themes can add up.
Ease of Use
There’s almost no real competition here. In the Shopify vs. Magento race for ease of use, Shopify is way ahead.
Shopify is a drag-and-drop, one-stop-shop website builder. Magento requires a pretty steep learning curve, with its own inside jargon as well as the need to know how to code.
Shopify is for users of all technical abilities, from newbies all the way up the tech-geek ladder. Magento starts with the top of that ladder, being almost inaccessible unless you are a web developer with some experience.
Design, Themes, and Customization
Your online store’s looks are what makes that all-important first impression. That means your theme template is a vital piece of your eCommerce success. Customers cite a store’s design as one of the first things they consider when deciding whether or not to buy.
Shopify offers 10 free and 64 paid premium themes. They all cost less than $200 as of this writing. They are all responsive and ready for mobile, and rather customizable with Shopify’s built-in customization tools. There’s no need to know code at all.
Let’s take a look at a couple of Shopify’s current theme templates.
First, one of their free themes:
And now, one of their more expensive themes, currently running at $180:
On the other side of the fence, Magento’s themes run anywhere from $55 to $25,000.
Here’s one that costs $994:
And one more comparable to Shopify, at $170:
Apps and Add-ons
You need extra functionality than almost any theme can offer. And that’s where apps come into play. Both Shopify and Magento let you easily install and use apps. So, which one gives you the better choices?
Shopify’s App Store has over 1200 apps on offer. You have your choice of free or paid. And you can get apps for everything from email marketing to shipping tracking and more.
WINNER: Shopify. Fewer apps, yes, but easier to use.
All the marketing in the world doesn’t do you much good if you can’t get found organically, right? SEO is another vital ingredient to your eCommerce success.
What’s a business without customers? You need marketing to build and grow. Many of our forum members here at eCommerceFuel join specifically for marketing help and advice.
Magento and Shopify both offer marketing tools. The two platforms approach marketing features the same way they do SEO ⸺ differently. One uses quite a few built-in features, while the other relies on apps.
Your ability to please your customers will make or break your store, making sales tools another vital part of your success equation. Here’s how Shopify and Magento stack up in the sales category.
Shopify offers a lot of built-in sales tools, like:
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Ability to sell digital products
- Multi-channel selling: Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, and Instagram
- Four choices of shipping carriers
Magento offers the following:
- An awesome inventory system
- Check-out customization
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Set percentage and fixed price discounts
Payments and Transaction Fees
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty here.
Magento supports 150 third party payment gateways, with no fees involved. You may have to make a one-time app purchase for the likes of PayPal or Stripe, though.
Shopify is known for the quality of its 24/7 customer support, and why not? It’s available on social media, via phone, through chat, video tutorials, and more.
Magento has its community of users. Expert users who have created guides and YouTube channels dedicated solely to helping you.
WINNER: Tie. Magento is aimed at experts, and gives help from experts. Shopify is aimed at a general audience, and provides excellent general help. There’s no clear winner here.
Magento vs. Shopify: Which One is the Right eCommerce Platform for Your Business?
The results are in and it looks as if Shopify has this one. With a score of 5-2-2, it seems to come out on top.
There is one caveat to this “victory”, though. Magento is built for, aimed at, and works best for the larger, most successful eCommerce businesses out there. All that expert know-how and skill can be hired out and those apps can be bought without breaking the bank.
After all, your store’s continued success is certainly worth it, right?
Photo by Freepik