Magento 2 and Shopify are no doubt the two most reliable eCommerce platforms in the world chosen by hundreds of thousands of users. For newcomers who are small-size or, medium-size businesses don’t know which one of these two platforms is suitable. This is the must-read article you don’t want to miss. In this article, I will provide you the detailed comparisons across all aspects between Magento 2 Open source (Formerly known as Magento Community Edition) and Shopify. So let move on to the comparison battle of Shopify vs Magento Open Source. Knowing what the differences in the features, pros, and cons of these two platforms are and ultimately help you to understand which one is suitable for your business.
*Tip: If you want to know everything about Magento, let’s explore this useful article HERE.
Shopify vs Magento Open Source Full Comparison
Pricing & Hosting cost
The expenses of a platform and hosting price are the first thing we bring up to considerations. Both Shopify and Magento Open Source are suitable for small to medium size business in term of expense, very reasonable and affordable.
From my experience, with store sell simple products usually fashion and cosmetic & beauty products, I recommend my clients to use $79/month Shopify plan or $299/month Advanced plan. It depends on how extensive their inventory and the number of staff needed are.
Shopify is hosted platform, so you don’t need to care much about hosting, speed and maintenance problem. A domain can cost you from just a few bucks to few hundred dollars a year, but normally you need to pay $10 to $30 per year for the domain. You will need a theme to make your store looks better.
Total cost is very cheap, from $400 to $3600. You can do all of this by yourself, not a single line of code needed. Shopify brings you a simple but still lovely website store. Very friendly and easy to do.
Magento OS Expenses
Magento is recommended for clients who have several stores or brands, who sell more complicated products, who want to improve the customer experience or who have a huge inventory and want to have better control of it. The Open source edition of Magento is free. Everyone can download and use it.
Magento is a self-hosted platform, so you have to pay for a hosting server. Hosting cost depends on how many products you have, and how many visitors come to your website daily, which make the cost fluctuate. Hosting cost can be as cheap as $15 a month. I’d say for a medium-size business, hosting price can be estimated around $200-300 per month. Domain cost is the same for both Magento and Shopify. Magento requires you to install and build the store.
Not as friendly to the user as Shopify, needed development skills and knowledge are at least at the medium grade. Whether you have developing skills and knowledge or your company has its development team is still good, no costs are incurred. However, if you don’t, then you will need the help from outside. The rate for Magento developer 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 developer. Hire small 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 US or EU.
Anyone who ever login in both Shopify and Magento can tell you that Magento has richer core functionality than Shopify.
Magento is more complicated than Shopify, and it much more suited to store retailers or businesses with complex requirements for product management. Promotions, customer segmentation, merchandising and especially attribute management are the strengths of the Magento platform.
On the other hand, Shopify also gets discount, customer management, collection but as I mentioned before, Shopify is created to be the best fit with stores selling simple products. So even the functions available on Shopify are still weak compared to the corresponding functions in Magento. This is the reason why it’s safe to say that Magento is stronger out of the box.
In term of product type, Shopify provides two kinds of products: Simple product and configurable product which can suit for standard product sellers. For example, fashion retailers or art stores sell simple products. This kind of store only needs a few configurations for the products to help the customers choose product size or color.
Magento Open source edition provides six types of product which are: Simple product, configurable products, group products, bundled products, downloadable and virtual products. More variety of product means more freedom for complexity in the setting.
In term of inventory management and order management, Magento is more robust. Magento has better customizable solutions with the superior attribute management. Shopify’s tag and meta field have no chance to 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 is 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 that Magento can meet his need, 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 (For example 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.
Multi-store management is a big key selling point of Magento 2 compared with other platforms. I’m talking about different online storefronts, with various suppliers, different warehouses, different products not just multiple domains to one store.
Shopify is not suitable for multi-store or multi-brand management, but they still have the ability to setup multi-store. However, you can’t manage your stores in one single interface. You need to create a new account, buy a plan for that new account, also pay again for all the Shopify apps. After that, you have to duplicate all the settings and product list. In Shopify, these lists are separated, each store has its unique products list.
In Shopify platform, the more website’s stored you have, the more account you have to create, the more you have to pay, the more interface you get to work, the more confused you feel to manage.
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, everything in just one Magento interface and no additional expense except for hosting.
Themes, Integrations, Extensions, and Apps
This is a draw between Shopify and Magento since both have their well-established marketplaces for third-parties to make themes & template and develop their extensions and apps.
These platforms offer a wide variety of themes and templates that allow you to change the look and feel of your store. Themes can be free or paid. The highest priority here is looking for the theme that gets the rational look and fit with your business. Themes are easy to install and modify.
However, Shopify themes are proprietary, so not so much deep tweaking is allowed. On Magento 2, you can still fully customize themes, and create your unique store branding. A good Shopify theme takes about $140 to $160. Magento themes are quite cheaper on average. A beautiful one can cost you less than $100.
Shopify app store contains over 2500 apps. Meanwhile, the Magento marketplace has over 2100 extensions for Magento 2. Extensions and apps can be classified into categories as marketing, sales, SEO, accounting, or report for example. Extensions and apps are effortless to install and no need a single line of code to do it. It’s the simple way for your store to have better functionality and more advanced tool with just a few clicks.
Please take note that paid apps on Shopify store have to be paid once a month. Approximately 90% of paid extensions on Magento marketplace are paid annually.
Because Shopify and Magento 2 are two mainstream platforms on the e-commerce market. They’ve been integrated with a lot of popular third-party systems, like ERPs, shipping services, 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 go to lose a significant number of the potential customers who are shopping by smartphone.
Payment gateway option is a crucial consideration for any ecommerce platforms. The more gateway options you provide, the more options customers can choose.
Shopify takes the lead over Magento on this Payment section. It brings over 70 build-in payment gateway options to the user. Shopify charges from 0.5% to 2% depending on which plan you subscribe when your clients use external payment gateways to pay. Shopify Payments which made by Shopify is included and if your customers pay through it, no transaction fees are charged.
Magento Open source only provides a few built-in payment gateway options like Paypal or Braintree. Commerce edition has more additional build-in Payment Gateways but still gets outnumbered by Shopify options. The solution is to use extensions from the third-party, some of them are free, but some are not.
From SEO perspective, Shopify has built-in tools and SEO extensions. So it can bring a solid set of SEO options such as editing meta tags, customizable title or auto-generate sitemap.xml. However, Shopify still has their limit in SEO because of hosted nature. Shopify default features can’t do things like URL structure and hierarchy, server-level configurations or other “deeper” SEO techniques.
Magento 2, on the other hand, has more flexibility with SEO perspective. Because it is self-hosted and Magento is also an open source platform so that 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, images optimization, canonical tags, edits of robot.txt files, URL. Your store can be customized and tweaked its design and the SEO strategy for the best results.
*Tip: Read Magento 2 SEO Settings – All Default SEO Features of Magento 2 here!
Support & Community
Magento’s client support cannot match with Shopify’s. Shopify does an excellent job by providing 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email. Shopify supports often gives you the answer instantly. Meanwhile, Magento doesn’t have 24/7 phone support and even other support option charge fee. The advice for Magento 2 users is to get the support from the Magento 2 community which is so large and bustle. They already answer almost every Magento-related question.
Both platforms are powering hundreds of thousands of live websites and having two massive communities growing beside them. Having a large and active community gives users themselves a huge advantage. The truth is, the community makes a significant number of Extensions and Apps. Whether you are a Shopify user or you are a Magento 2 user, you can easily find plenty of experienced and skilled people somewhere within the community who can provide you some custom solutions or to answer your questions about the platform.
Both platforms have its pros and cons. But to choose 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 business. For small-size to middle-size business, both Shopify and Magento Open source are good for you.
Shopify is super friendly and easy to use, so if you have standard products, only 1 or 2 storefronts, medium-size 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 business.
If you have complex products, multi-store or multi-brand, 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, the Magento Open source can provide you limitless customization possibilities along with full control over your website. That makes it a brilliant choice for ecommerce businesses.