Magento vs Shopify – Which One Is Suitable For You?

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Like a foundation to build a house, the eCommerce platform can make or break the success of an online business. Thus, you should choose from the leading platforms, such as Magento vs Shopify, to ensure the best performance.

Understanding the difference between Shopify and Magento is crucial in making the right choice for your eCommerce venture. So in this article, I will provide you the detailed comparisons across all aspects between Magento vs Shopify. Knowing the differences in the features, pros, and cons of these two platforms are and ultimately helps you to understand which one is suitable for your business.

Overview of Magento

Magento is an independent eCommerce platform with an open-source code base. First launched in 2007 by Varien, Magento has continuously gained popularity with a lot of products and versions. The number of eCommerce websites using Magento has passed 250,000+. Magento offers hundreds of unique features that allow store owners to connect with their customers and sell their products.

Strengths of Magento

Customization options

Magento is most famous for its highly customized ability. As an open-source platform, Magento offers merchants the ability to create their customized eCommerce website. Moreover, there are over 2 thousand trustable extensions for Magento Marketplace, allowing merchants to tailor their website exactly how they want it with no coding required. From basic functions like adding extra payment gateway options to more complex tasks like creating personalized shopping experiences, with Magento, almost every functionality is possible.

Robust security measures

Magento has several security features to keep customers‘ information safe, such as SSL encryption protocols, secure authentication systems, data privacy protection guidelines, etc. Additionally, the platform offers dedicated security patches to close any vulnerabilities that arise. Better yet, their advanced plans provide enterprise-level security support to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Multi-store capabilities

Multi-store management is a key selling point of Magento 2 compared with other platforms. I’m talking about different online storefronts, with various suppliers, different warehouses, and different products not just multiple domains to one store.

In Magento 2, the catalog of the product can be shared across your websites, stores, and store views. The attribute of the product can be set at different levels from ‘global’ down to ‘store view’. So it’s easy for you to have one product on several websites but each site comes with its specific price, for example.

Moreover, Magento allows you to manage multi-brands, multi-stores, and everything in just one Magento interface and at no additional expense except for hosting.

Weaknesses of Magento

High learning curve and technical expertise required

Magento 2 has a more complex learning curve compared to some other ecommerce platforms. Its advanced features and customization options may pose a challenge for non-technical users, necessitating additional time and effort to grasp the platform fully.

Cost implications and hosting considerations

Though Magento’s open-source version is free, the complexity and customization options often necessitate professional assistance for development, customization, and ongoing maintenance. Its costs and expenses can be expensive, especially for small businesses on a tight budget.

Maintenance and security challenges

Due to its complexity, maintaining a Magento store can be demanding, requiring regular updates and security patches to ensure a safe and smooth operation. However, upgrading and applying Magento security patches is a task for those who have a technical mind. If you have no idea about coding, your solution is getting help from a reliable Magento agency.

Limited customer support options

Magento’s official support can be costly. And their community-based support might not always offer timely and comprehensive solutions to intricate issues.

Overview about Shopify

Shopify is an all-in-one commerce platform to start, run, and grow a business. It was introduced in 2006, and now there are over 1.7 million websites currently utilizing Shopify. Shopify offers user-friendly tools that allow store owners to quickly establish a professional online presence.

Strengths of Shopify

Quick and easy setup process

Shopify offers an easy way to quickly launch an online store. The admin interface is user-friendly and intuitive, with all the features logically structured. You don’t have to have any experience with eCommerce platforms or coding knowledge to use it.

Seamless website design and themes

Once you sign up for a Shopify account, you can gain access to over 70 free themes and thousands of paid themes. All of them are beautiful and easy to implement. Not to mention Shopify offers an easy drag-and-drop page builder, allowing you to easily customize your design.

Reliable hosting and security

An eCommerce store will have to deal with sensitive customer information and impatient customers. It means your website must be fast, secure, and always online. Thus, Shopify has a big advantage as it will take care of all server maintenance and upgrades to keep your store available at all times and ensure your pages load quickly. Moreover, you can enable SSL certificates to encrypt all data and pass it through a secure connection. Shopify also takes care of PCI compliance, which is required to deal with credit cards.

Extensive app integrations and add-ons

Shopify’s app store provides all the needed functionality to add to your shop. From adding reviews and setting loyalty programs to getting in-depth analytics or integrating with accounting software, etc., you can find an app for that. However, note that whilst many are free, over half of them are charged.

Weaknesses of Shopify

Customization limitations

While Shopify offers a variety of themes and templates, deep customization may be restricted, limiting the ability to create highly unique and personalized online stores. You can hire a designer to create a custom theme for you, but this will cost extra money.

Transaction fees and pricing structure

Shopify offers 3 plans based on the size of your business: Basic plan ($25/month), Shopify plan ($65/month) and Advanced plan ($399/month). On top of standard subscription plans, Shopify also charges transaction fees. Specifically, you will be charged up to 2.9% + $0.3 and 2.7% for online and offline credit card payments. It can eat into profit margins, particularly for businesses with high sales volumes.

Dependency on third-party apps for advanced functionality

Although Shopify has a wide range of built-in features, some advanced functionalities require third-party apps, leading to additional costs and potential compatibility issues.

Scalability concerns for large enterprises

Shopify is a great option for small to medium-sized businesses, but for large enterprises with complex requirements and high traffic, the platform may face scalability challenges, necessitating costly custom solutions.

Magento vs Shopify: Feature Comparison

Magento or Shopify: Comparison of the core features

Product types

In terms of product type, Shopify provides 2 kinds of products: Simple products and configurable products which can suit standard product sellers.

Magento provides 6 types of products which are: Simple products, configurable products, group products, bundled products, downloadable and virtual products.

More variety of products means more freedom for complexity in the setting.

Inventory and order management

In terms of inventory management and order management, Magento is more robust. It has better customizable solutions with superior attribute management. Shopify’s tag and meta field have no chance to be against in comparison.

When I work as a consultant, sometimes I have to deal with clients who decide to use which platform to build their websites based on some Shopify vs Magento comparison charts, not on which one is the most suitable for their business.

For example, I once convinced a client to build his store with Shopify while his first decision was Magento. Because his store sells bags and some jackets with less than 100 SKUs, he has only three staff with no IT knowledge specialist and has no plan to expand the business. Surely Magento can meet his needs, but Shopify is far more suitable for them since it is no tech required, simple, and nice.

I said it again and again if your company’s product needs a complicated setup (e.g., industrial machines or even just computer hardware.) Magento is for you. If you have more than three online stores, Magento is for you. If your product list has over 4000 SKUs, Magento is for you. Remember that.

Magento vs Shopify: B2B functionality

Magento B2B Features

Magento did release a Commerce version with some highlighted B2B features to support wholesalers who are planning to make online stores. You need to install B2B modules to have these features on your Commerce website:

  • B2B Quote
  • Shared Catalog
  • Quick Order
  • Company Account
  • Requisition Lists
  • Purchase Orders

According to Forrester, Magento is one of the biggest market leaders in the B2B Ecommerce Suite. Many big brands are using Magento to sharpen their business such as: ASUS, HP, BAUHAUS, and so on.

Shopify B2B Features

Meanwhile, Shopify offers an advanced version to help the wholesale business through a self-service online service – Shopify Plus. This e-commerce platform promises to bring users attractive B2B features such as:

  • Wholesale pricing
  • Wholesalers sign-up
  • Purchase amount limits
  • Order management

Compared with Magento Commerce, Shopify Plus lacks some essential B2B features that every store may need to enhance the shopping experience: Quick ordering and a Quote system. It has been more suitable for B2C than B2B business until now. However, Shopify developers are trying their best to make improvements for the wholesale market: more B2B functions with multi-channel support for B2B2C.

Tip: If you want to know more about B2B eCommerce platforms, let’s explore this useful article:

[2024] Savvy 15+ Best B2B ECommerce Platforms: Pros & Cons

Magento vs Shopify: Pricing and cost considerations

Magento cost vs Shopify cost

Magento Expenses

The Open source edition of Magento is free. Everyone can download and use it. Meanwhile, Magento Commerce Edition and Commerce Cloud cost you more and the license fee depends on your annual revenue. Please take a look at the following table for more ownership costs:

Av Gross Sale Revenue per year  Open Source Commerce Commerce Cloud
<$1,000,000 $0 $22,000 $40,000
$1,000,000 – $5,000,000 $0 $32,000 $55,000
$5,000,000 – $10,000,000 $0 $49,000 $80,000
$10,000,000 – $25,000,000 $0 $75,000 $125,000
>$25,000,000 $0 $125,000 $190,000

Magento is a self-hosted platform, so you have to pay for a hosting server. Hosting costs depends on how many products you have, and how many visitors come to your website daily, which makes the cost fluctuate. It can be as cheap as $15/month to around $200-300/month.

And since it’s not as friendly to the user as Shopify, you might need to hire outsourced developers. The rate for Magento developers depends on countries and can be as low as $20/hour to $200/hour.

*Tip: In case you need to outsource Magento developers, avoid individual developers. Hire agencies from Vietnam and India, they get the job done with the same quality, and the fee sometimes can be ten times cheaper than agencies from the US or EU.

Proudly recognized as the first agency to become Magento partner in South East Asia, BSS Commerce has been trusted by thousands of clients in the eCommerce industry. Our top-notch Magento experts are passionate about crafting exceptional Magento 2 development service tailored to match diverse business needs. Check out what we are offering below:

– Magento website development
– Magento consulting services
– Magento integration
– Magento deployment
– Magento maintenance & optimization
– Magento migration

Shopify Expenses

From my experience, with stores that sell simple products usually fashion and cosmetic & beauty products, I recommend my clients to use a $65/month Shopify plan or $399/month Advanced plan. It depends on how extensive their inventory is and the number of staff needed.

Shopify is a hosted platform, so you don’t need to care much about hosting, speed, and maintenance problems. A domain can cost you from just a few bucks to a few hundred dollars a year, but normally you need to pay $10 to $30 per year for the domain. The total cost is very cheap, from $400 to $3600.

Magento vs Shopify: Flexibility and customization options

Magento

When it comes to deep customization, the Magento platform is always the best. As an open-source platform, it allows developers and users to have full control over the code, enabling deep customization of every aspect of the online store. So that, merchants can create unique and highly tailored shopping experiences to align with their brand identity and specific business needs. The platform also offers a vast array of extensions and modules, giving users the freedom to enhance functionality and integrate with various third-party services.

Shopify

While Shopify does provide some customization options, it has inherent limitations compared to Magento. As a hosted platform, it prioritizes ease of use and simplicity over extensive code-level customization. Shopify offers a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, allowing merchants to make design changes without extensive technical knowledge. Although Shopify does have an App Store for additional functionality, the range of customizations possible is more restricted compared to Magento’s open-source nature.

Magento 2 vs Shopify: Performance

Magento

Magento’s performance is highly dependent on how well it is optimized and configured. Its open-source nature grants developers the freedom to optimize the code and server configurations, which can lead to exceptional performance.

However, due to its extensive customization options and feature-rich architecture, Magento can be resource-intensive and may require a powerful hosting environment to achieve optimal speed and responsiveness. Without proper optimization, Magento stores might experience slower load times, affecting user experience and potentially leading to higher bounce rates.

Shopify

Shopify, as a fully hosted platform, manages its own performance optimization. It is engineered to provide a seamless and speedy shopping experience for customers. Shopify’s servers are strategically located across the globe, ensuring fast loading times for users worldwide. Additionally, Shopify continuously updates its infrastructure to maintain a high standard of performance, reducing the need for users to worry about technical optimizations.

Magento 2 vs Shopify: Scalability

Magento

Magento’s scalability is amazing, making it an excellent choice for businesses expecting significant growth and expanding product catalogs. With the right infrastructure and hosting solutions, Magento can handle large-scale operations, accommodating thousands of products and concurrent users without compromising performance. The platform’s ability to scale effectively contributes to its popularity among enterprise-level businesses seeking a robust and future-proof solution.

Shopify

On the other hand, Shopify is designed to be scalable, catering to businesses of various sizes, from startups to mid-sized enterprises. As a hosted solution, Shopify automatically adjusts its resources to handle increasing traffic, allowing stores to smoothly handle traffic spikes during sales events and promotions. While Shopify is generally efficient in scaling for most businesses, there might be limitations for extremely large enterprises with complex operations and high volumes of traffic.

Shopify vs Magento Comparison: SEO and marketing capabilities

Magento

From the SEO perspective, Magento 2 surpasses Shopify in flexibility, thanks to the enhanced capabilities of the Magento 2 SEO Extension. Because it is self-hosted and Magento is also an open-source platform you can dig deep into your website’s structure. That makes Magento 2 an extremely SEO-optimized platform with a lot of SEO functionalities. For example meta tags, image optimization, canonical tags, edits of robot.txt files, URL. Your store can be customized and tweaked in its design and SEO strategy for the best results.

Shopify

Contrastingly, Shopify has built-in tools and SEO extensions. It can bring a solid set of SEO options such as editing meta tags, customizable titles, or auto-generating sitemap.xml. However, Shopify still has its limit in SEO because of its hosted nature. Shopify default features can’t do things like URL structure and hierarchy, server-level configurations, or other “deeper” SEO techniques.

Magento 2 vs Shopify: Integration with third-party tools and services

Both Magento and Shopify have well-established marketplaces that provide many themes/templates and extensions/apps from trustable third parties. These platforms offer a wide variety of themes and templates to change the look and feel of your store.

However, Shopify themes are proprietary, so not so much deep tweaking is allowed. Meanwhile, on Magento 2, you can still fully customize themes, and create your unique store branding. Shopify app store contains over 2500 apps, and the Magento marketplace has over 2100 extensions.

Extensions and apps can be classified as marketing, sales, SEO, accounting, or reporting for example. You can install those extensions and apps easily, with no coding knowledge. It’s a simple way for your store to have better functionality and more advanced tools with just a few clicks.

Because Magento and Shopify are two mainstream platforms in the e-commerce market. They’ve been integrated with a lot of popular third-party systems, like ERPs, shipping services, and payment gateways.

Most of the integration can be achieved with both platforms.

*Tip: You should remember to choose a responsive theme. Because in this mobile e-commerce era, desktop and laptop users only can go shopping when they are sitting with their computers, but mobile users can do it anytime, and anywhere. If your store fails to mobilize, then you will lose a significant number of potential customers who are shopping by smartphone.

Shopify vs Magento 2: Support & Community

Magento’s client support cannot match Shopify’s.

Shopify does an excellent job by providing 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email. Meanwhile, Magento doesn’t have 24/7 phone support, and other support options charge a fee.

The advice for Magento 2 users is to get support from the Magento community. They already answer almost every Magento-related question.

Both platforms are powering hundreds of thousands of live websites and have two massive communities growing beside them. Having a large and active community gives users a huge advantage.

Shopify vs Magento 2 Open Source

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Magento vs Shopify

There are 5 crucial factors to consider when choosing between Magento 2 vs Shopify:

Business size and scalability need

Consider the current size of your business and its projected growth. Magento is better suited for larger enterprises with complex operations, while Shopify is a great fit for small to medium-sized businesses seeking scalability without technical complexities.

Budget and cost considerations

Evaluate your budget for setting up and maintaining the eCommerce platform. While Magento’s open-source version is free, it requires higher hosting and development costs. Shopify, with its subscription-based model, provides predictable costs and eliminates the need for separate hosting expenses.

Technical expertise and resources available

Assess the technical expertise within your team or the resources available to manage the platform. Magento demands a higher level of technical proficiency for customization and maintenance, whereas Shopify’s user-friendly interface requires minimal technical knowledge.

Desired level of customization and control

Determine the extent of customization required for your online store. If you need extensive control over the design and functionality, Magento’s open-source nature allows deep customization. On the opposite, Shopify offers a more straightforward and streamlined approach, suitable for users who prefer ease of use over advanced customizations.

Long-term growth and expansion plans

Plan for the future and consider how your business might evolve. Magento’s scalability and flexibility make it an ideal choice for long-term growth and expansion, accommodating larger product catalogs and increasing traffic. Shopify’s scalability is suitable for moderate growth, but it might face limitations for extensive enterprise-level expansion.

Which is better Magento or Shopify: Summary

Both platforms have their pros and cons. Choosing the better one between Shopify vs Magento is really up to your situation. For example, your strategic plan, what your product is, resources, size of your business. For small to middle-size businesses, both Shopify and Magento are good for you, while Magento is a better choice for large enterprises.

Shopify is super friendly and easy to use. So, if you have standard products, only 1 or 2 storefronts, a medium-sized product list, and no tech team or specialist, Shopify is the best choice for you. The monthly expense for Shopify & Paid Add-on is acceptable for the majority of small to middle businesses.

If you have complex products, multi-store or multi-brand, and a huge amount of SKU, I will give you the free-to-use Magento Open Source. Free to use edition but still very powerful. Despite it might be hard to get used to, Magento can provide you limitless customization possibilities along with full control over your website. That makes it a brilliant choice for eCommerce businesses.

Do not miss: Magento Vs WooCommerce: Which One Was Developed For You?

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