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Evaluating Two eCommerce Platforms Throughout 9 Classes


Shopify vs. Magento: Comparing Two eCommerce Platforms Across 9 Categories

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 ProsMagento Cons
Large user communityNot a lot of customer support
Ideal for medium to large businessesUnsuitable for beginners
Very SEO friendlySelf-hosted
Built for scalabilityDifficult to find a hosting provider
Lots of customization optionsComplex customization process

Shopify Pros and Cons

Shopify ProsShopify Cons
Easy to useTransaction fees
24/7 Customer supportPrice
Professional, responsive themesLimited customizations
Shopify app storeCost of apps
Marketing and sales tools
Built for scalability
Fully hosted

These two eCommerce platforms have a lot in common. Let’s see who comes out the winner in our head-to-head comparisons.


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

  • $2.75/month
  • 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.

Of course, there are extra costs with a Shopify storefront, too. Their apps can carry monthly subscription fees that jack up your price, too.

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.

WINNER: Shopify

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:

Magento’s themes

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:

WINNER: Shopify, for its wider selection, cheaper, and more easily customized theme templates.

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.

Magento’s Marketplace has over 5,000 apps and add-ons for you to choose from, ranging from $30 to $2,000. And all require some coding or web dev skill to install.

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.

Here, Magento really shines. It has a lot of built-in SEO features, while Shopify relies pretty heavily on its apps for SEO.

WINNER: Magento

Marketing Features

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.

Only now, the tables are turned. Shopify has more ready-made marketing tools than Magento, which requires you to purchase and install apps from its Marketplace.

WINNER: Shopify

Sales Tools

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:

Magento offers the following:

Unfortunately for Magento, many of Shopify’s built-in tools are only possible if you pay. For example, just to sell on Facebook requires a $190 app.

WINNER: Shopify

Payments and Transaction Fees

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty here.

Shopify supports 100 third party payment processors. And it charges you a transaction fee for every purchase through every one of them.

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.

WINNER: Magento

Customer Support

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

Katrina McKinnon

Post by Katrina McKinnon

Katrina is a Charter Member of eCommerceFuel and leads an eCommerce content creation agency. Need content? Blog posts, product descriptions, category content, buyers guides, product reviews and more. Get in touch –




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