The Clash of Ecommerce Platforms: Magento vs. Shopify

There is a myriad of e-commerce platforms available for an online store but they are not all the same. You need to understand what differentiates one from the other in order to make sure you choose the right platform for your website.

Determining which CMS software will be the best is a cumbersome task, and at the same times, a pivotal one. To make it easy for you, we have made a comparison between two of the most popular content management platforms – Shopify and Magento.

Most often retails get confused in choosing the right platform for developing their online store.

Check out our Complete eCommerce Platforms Guide

As ecommerce development company, we are experts in delivering perfect and clearly coded CMS and e-commerce web development solutions. Here is honest comparison of these two leading ecommerce store development platforms highlighting some of the benefits and downsides of the two popular solutions – Magento and Shopify – to help you make the right decision for your business.

Let’s start with your expectations from your e-commerce stores.

A good place to start is by outlining what you need from your store, which can help you match those goals up with the platform that offers the best solution for you.

How big is your shop?

Just like a physical store, the number of items you want to have on your store will determine your store size. Both the platforms allow you to put an unlimited number of items on your store, no matter what plan you choose.

This is an important consideration for choosing an ecommerce platform – especially if you’re a small merchant or a one-man-band.

Shopify Store Development Services :

Shopify has a really simple, intuitive admin interface which is really easy to use and get the hang of. Simple things like adding and editing your products, changing copy, creating and managing categories, adding modules etc are very easy and will take seconds.

Obviously Shopify does give you control over more advanced areas required for running an ecommerce store too (such as tax settings, order confirmation emails, delivery options and the front-end code editor etc) – however they’re mostly in one place and they provide different permission levels for users to facilitate for different people working on the site.

Magento Development Services :

Magento on the other hand is far more complex – mainly because it’s designed to facilitate for much larger merchants (but it is still used by smaller ones). Magento is hugely flexible as a platform and this means that there’s a lot more built into the admin section.

Also – things like handling re-indexing, setting up products (dependent on how you need them to work), applying patches, using static blocks etc are a lot more complex in Magento than in Shopify – I’d say there’s a much bigger learning curve with Magento as a developer and an admin.

The admin interface in Magento 2.0 community edition is more similar to Shopify and I’d definitely say it’s more intuitive for a non-super user.

In terms of managing and maintaining the store – I’d say Magento is more suitable for a slightly larger retailer – whereas Shopify (due to its simplicity), is better for smaller retailers.

  • Have advanced feature requirements (e.g. back-end requirements, rich search, complex product catalog, complex internationalization etc)
  • Are likely to require more advanced integrations in the future (e.g. POS system, stock management system, marketplace integration etc)
  • Use a back-office system, ERP etc
  • Require a multi-store setup
  • Have a complex SKU / product / catalog setup

Magento can be heavily extended with modules that will allow you to make use of things like hreflang, structured data, and control over dynamic pages, redirect management, control over the robots.txt file, canonical URLs etc. However with Shopify – the vast majority of these features can’t be achieved, which can cause issues – especially for larger stores.

What’s your budget?

I’d suggest consulting an expert before making a decision on Magento hosting as it is more complex than you might think. Depending on your needs, this can cost anywhere from $1,000 (if you decide to use a lower-end solution or off-shore developers) to $100k+, depending on the level of complexity of the site, whether you want a custom theme, any integrations that are required etc.

Shopify currently has four plans (Lite, Basic, Pro, and Unlimited), which range from $9 per month to $100 per month. All plans offer unlimited products and bandwidth, and the Basic, Pro, and Unlimited plans come with an online store.

What’s your timeline?

Installation, configuration, and setup can take longer on Community version of Magento. If time is a constraint, Shopify will make your site be up and running faster than Magento.

Magento has its own framework and is easy for an experienced software engineer to set up, customize and manage.

How simple (or complex) are your products?

Magento is complex compared to Shopify because it is built for higher-end online stores and multi-store ecommerce solutions. If dream project is of mid to enterprise level then Magento has got better solutions for you in long run.

Earlier, Shopify used to charge as per the storage capacity, but now even the basic plan is available with an unlimited product and storage capacity.

What’s your server capacity?

Both, Magento as well as Shopify are scalable; you can add theoretically an unlimited number of items provided your server capacity is good. If you are personalize and custom solution lover then you has to keep the entire infrastructure at highest level for Magento based ecommerce stores.

If your server speed is not very good, you should choose Shopify over Magento

How many users, contributors, or admins are you going to have?

Magneto: We can create multiple admins and provide him role for necessary access for the security purpose. N numbers of customer and wholesaler and contributors, we can add in Magento as per your requirements. Magento developers have made it as secure as any other platform.

Shopify on the other hand is written in Liquid language and has a reputation of being one of the most secure ecommerce platform. The number of staff accounts available is determined by your Shopify pricing plan:

  • The Shopify Lite plan includes 2 staff accounts
  • The Basic Shopify plan includes 2 staff accounts
  • The Shopify plan includes 5 staff accounts
  • The Advanced Shopify plan includes 15 staff accounts
  • The Shopify Plus plan includes unlimited staff accounts.

What’s your in-house web developer’s skill level?

As discussed earlier, the free-version of Magento doesn’t provide you any customer support. There are community forums dedicated to troubleshooting and providing free training courses which can help you if you encounter a problem. This will require you to have a good knowledge of website development.

With Shopify, you don’t need to know have such skills since, the website is hosted by the company itself. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the two leading ecommerce platforms Magento & Shopify.

Magento vs. Shopify: The Differences

Purpose: Both are the market leaders in providing CMS platforms to ecommerce websites. It is important that you decide on the basis of your unique business requirement.

E-Commerce Plugin: Although there are a large number of Plugin available on Shopify, Magento has far more Plugin and add-ons which can be either free or paid.

Security: After fixing the 2015 “shoplift bug”, Magento has become really secure. One can count on either of the two platforms for their website security.

Development: Magento is complex as compared to Shopify and hence, it needs developers to be highly skilled to be able to work on it.

Scalability: As far as scalability is concerned, Shopify has an upper hand. As the number of items grows on your website, Magento may make your website to load slower.

Price: Magento is an open-source and free CMS platform, whereas Shopify has different monthly plans for its websites.

Customization: There are many more templates available on Magento than there are on Shopify. Nevertheless, comparatively, customization is way easier on Shopify.

Ease of handling: Since Shopify is a hosted solution; it is easier for a small shop owner to go with it. Magento needs you to host your website by yourself.

So which ecommerce platform is right for your project?

If you have read the above information carefully, you must be having a clear understanding as in which platform will be the best for your store. We at i-Verve have an expertise in providing full range of services for both Shopify and Magento platforms.