Magento vs Shopify: Choose the Right Platform
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Magento vs Shopify: Choose the Right Platform For Your Business

20.12.2021

Are you building an ecommerce website for your online store? If yes, then Magento and Shopify should be on your list of things to research about. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place because we’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. 

With all the Magento vs Shopify debates, you’re probably lost in regards to which one you should choose for your business. Starting from the top, there are many aspects and features you should consider, including ease of use, design and theme possibilities, SEO tools, sales features, etc.

If you’re choosing between Magento vs Shopify, let us make your choice easier. Read this ultimate Magento vs Shopify review to understand their pros and cons, then choose the one that’s best for your business.

Overview

Huge spoiler alert! Shopify is the winner of this battle. But.. it’s not so cut and dry. Since the platforms are so different, Magento still might be the better option in your case.

Overall, Shopify has amazing designs, powerful ecommerce tools, and a wide range of apps to power your shop (PayWhirl Shopify, for example). The cost of apps might pile on, and the transaction fees can be tough to handle for beginners. Nevertheless, the answer to “Is Shopify worth it?” is Yes!

This is not to say that the Magento software isn’t worth it. Magento has a large user community and a flexible platform, but it’s best suited for businesses with a dedicated development team that can handle the learning curve.

What is an ecommerce builder solution?

What is an ecommerce builder solution? Ultimately, it’s a tool that will help you build an online ecommerce website without too many headaches. There are many types of ecommerce builder solutions. Some take the lead and give you any feature you want, while others cost less, and give you more flexibility but require more effort. 

E-commerce builder

Magento and Shopify are some of the world’s most popular ecommerce builder platforms.

Describing each platform

Even though both platforms help you achieve the same goal, they do it differently. Let’s talk about what Magento is and what Shopify is.

Magento is an open-source platform that requires you to get your own hosting, purchase your domain, an SSL certificate, and so on. Nevertheless, it gives you powerful tools for creating your own ecommerce site, helping you promote your products, accepting payments, tracking inventory, and so on. 

Adobe Magento commerce

On the other hand, Shopify is a hosted platform that serves as an “all-in-one” solution. It provides hosting, gives you a 1-year domain name for free along with an SSL certificate, helps you with marketing, abandoned cart recovery, global selling, etc.

Both solutions are great at their job, but to find out which one is better for your own shop, let’s look at their scalability.

Fun fact: Magento was acquired by Adobe in 2018.

Discuss Scalability

As opposed to Shopify, Magento is not a good fit for first-timers. It requires coding knowledge and works best for medium to large businesses. Let’s look at what is Shopify used for and what is Magento used for in general.

Shopify is easy to understand and get the hang of for essentially anyone. Whether it’s your first time building an ecommerce site or you’re upgrading your shop, Shopify covers all the bases with their available packages and features. Even for B2B and other major ecommerce global shops like Heinz, they have their Shopify Plus option that starts at around $2,000.

Shopify Plus platform

If you’re just starting off, Shopify or Shopify Plus is definitely the way to go. Nevertheless, if you have an advanced business and a tech team, Magento’s flexible platform might be the one for you. Both can work wonders for your business, so you have to find a better match for your needs and resources.

Ease of use

When choosing between Shopify and the Magento open-source platforms, the intuitiveness of the platform plays a huge role. We have a clear winner in this category – it’s Shopify, and here’s why.

Shopify and Magento are different at their core. Shopify is a simplified drag and drop website builder where what you build is what you get. Magento is more code-based and requires a savvy tech team to really make it work.

In other words, Shopify is perfect for those with any profession and a knack for tech tools. It’s extremely beginner-friendly and doesn’t require any coding knowledge from you. On the flip side, people who call Magento “easy to use” probably know how to code.

And the winner of the Ease of Use section between Magento vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Build time

The answer here is as clear as with ease of use. Shopify offers a much faster build time in contrast to Magento. In fact, we’re not looking at differences of days but weeks and sometimes even months. 

With Shopify, you could build your first online store in just a couple of hours. As for Magento, it can take anywhere from six weeks to a whole year to set up your ecommerce website, depending on its difficulty. 

Although Magento offers more flexibility and customization, it could never beat Shopify’s quick and efficient ecommerce builder platform.

And the winner of the Build Time section between Magento vs Shopify is… Shopify, by far.

Design and themes

Both Magento and Shopify have some pretty good-looking design templates. Still, one of them does it better. You can edit and customize both of their themes to your heart’s liking. Let’s look at the flexibility of their designs, are they responsive on mobile, and how many options are available to see who wins this round.

Design Flexibility

Magento is the winner in terms of flexibility, but at what cost. Yes, you can edit Magento themes in more detail than with Shopify, but you’ll need to have deep developer knowledge to do so. 

Shopify retains more control but leaves less room for errors. In other words, it won’t let you change some things, but it might be for the best. If you want to modify a theme at the code level, you can do so with their template language “Liquid.”

Mobile Responsive Designs

According to Statista, 72.9% of all ecommerce sales in 2021 have been through mobile devices. I’m sure we don’t need to convince you anymore about how important it is to appeal to mobile users, right? The lesson is this – your ecommerce website must be mobile responsive.

Mobile responsive design

With Shopify themes, you don’t need to worry about a thing because all their themes are mobile responsive, no matter how you edit them. As for Magento, their themes are mostly made by independent designers. That’s why the theme’s responsiveness depends on each developer. You need to specifically find a theme that checks that box. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually edit the theme to look how you want on mobile.

Template Availability

Shopify offers 81 amazing, modern-looking themes for you to choose from. 10 of them are free, and 71 are paid, costing anywhere from $150 to $350. You can also build your own or hire a developer to build one for you using their custom theme language, “Liquid.”

As for Magento, you can choose from hundreds of ready-made themes made by independent designers. On average, they cost $100. If you want to get a custom theme, prepare to increase your budget by $600-$25,000. Of course, the higher end of the budget is for large, advanced stores.

And the winner of the Design and Themes section between Magento vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Sales features

Now that we’ve covered which platform is easier and faster to use, plus has better design features, let’s talk about the features that are crucial for an ecommerce shop to run – sales features. From multichannel selling to international shipping and inventory management, let’s see how Magento compares vs Shopify.

Multichannel Selling

With Shopify, you have built-in multichannel selling features, allowing you to integrate your store with Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. On top of all that, you can install apps that allow you to integrate with many more platforms, including Google, TikTok, Pinterest, eBay, Walmart Marketplace, LYST, Etsy, and so on.

Multichannel selling feature

Unfortunately, Magento requires you to install extensions to enable integrations with Facebook, Instagram, and eBay. Again, Magento relies on apps to provide some much-needed ecommerce functionality.

In terms of multichannel selling, Shopify takes the cake.

Shipping

Here’s one of the features that can sway your decision either way – shipping options. Let’s check what Magento shipping and Shopify international shipping capabilities look like. 

Shopify seriously takes care of your international shipping needs by partnering with major delivery companies, including USPS, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post. So, you don’t need to find your own partners. How convenient is that?

Magento provides partnerships with UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL. If you have a commercial account with these providers, you also get real-time shipping rates, package tracking, and labels. Plus, you can easily create new shipping labels from your Admin panel.

Note: Magento shipping tracking can also be integrated with a free extension.

Dropshipping

If you’re planning on starting a dropshipping business, should you choose Magento vs Shopify? 

Shopify partners with Oberlo, where you can find products and sell them in your ecommerce store. You can also integrate your store with Amazon, Shipwire, and Rakuten. In other words, dropshipping with Shopify is convenient.

Regarding Magento, you’ll need to install an extension called Dropship, which will cost you $239. That’s a pretty hefty price, but you’ll be able to showcase and sell items from AliExpress, one of the world’s largest retail services.

Note: Dropshipping is a business model whereby the seller doesn’t hold inventory in a warehouse but rather ships products from the manufacturer directly to the buyer.

Tax Settings

Magento enables many tax settings, including defining tax classes, tax zones, and rates, plus calculating VAT even for B2B transactions in the EU. As for Shopify, you can set automatic and registration-based tax rates, and display and hide taxes as you please.

Multilingual Capabilities

Magento has built-in features allowing you to duplicate your shop in another language. You can do the same with your Shopify stores, but you’ll need to integrate third-party apps like Weglot, which will cost you upwards of €99.

As for compatibility with currencies, Magento allows selling with over 200 currencies, vs Shopify’s 133.

Inventory Management

Both Magento and Shopify do their best to serve their users with the best ecommerce features, including complete inventory management systems. 

With Shopify’s built-in inventory management tool, you can easily get reports on your inventory levels, manage your stock, register single and multiple products, etc. Plus, you can integrate it with your Point-of-Sale (POS) system and have a fully managed inventory on Shopify’s ecommerce platform.

Magento, too, goes above and beyond to help you manage your inventory. You get superb built-in features such as bulk product imports from your database, multiple variants for one product, comprehensive revenue reports, visitors counts, etc.

Choosing the winner in this category is tough, but there is always a platform that simply does a better job. Both platforms offer abandoned cart recovery, which is another crucial feature for ecommerce platforms.

And the winner of the Sales Features section between Magento vs Shopify is… it’s a tie! Both platforms get a point.

Apps and Addons

All ecommerce platforms and website builders usually feature their own app store where you can find apps, plugins, and extensions to add to your site for better functionality. Let’s look at the Shopify App Store vs the Magento Store (Magento Marketplace) to see which one is better.

While building Shopify, you can install any of their 5,760+ free and paid apps. The best part is that Shopify App Store fees range between $5-$250. 

Shopify app store

As for Magento, you can access over 5,000 extensions on the Magento Marketplace. Although anyone can contribute to the Marketplace, and you might need some coding knowledge to install these extensions, they can still be very useful.

With a similar number of apps and addons, similar pricing, and similar capabilities, Magento vs Shopify App Stores are great competitors.

And the winner of the Apps and Plugins section between Magento vs Shopify is… it’s another tie! Both platforms get a point.

Marketing Tools

Built-in marketing tools aren’t just nice to have. They are necessary, especially for an ecommerce website.

Both Magento and Shopify offer marketing tools outside of email marketing, social media integrations, and blogging features. Some tools include the Shopify Product Add-Ons or the Magento Addons you can integrate from a third party.

Since email, social media, and blogs are some of the most common marketing tools, let’s investigate Magento vs Shopify in those regards.

Email Marketing

Shopify’s built-in email marketing capacity is extremely limited. To run successful email marketing campaigns, you’ll have to rely on apps like Shopify Email, Seguno, Klaviyo, Constant Contact, or others. We’re not going to lie, these apps might not be so budget-friendly.

With Magento, you’ll again have to rely on its Marketplace extensions such as Remarkety for your email marketing campaigns.

When it comes to email marketing, the choice is all yours.

Social media integrations

While Shopify has built-in features allowing you to seamlessly integrate with Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, Magento requires an expensive addon to integrate with just Facebook. Plus, Shopify’s social media integration has a wider range of platforms available.

There is a clear winner in this regard.

Blogging

Shopify comes with built-in blogging features. Granted, they aren’t the best features out there, but they can still help your website rank high in search engine results.

As for Magento, the capabilities of your blogging function highly depend on your developer’s skills. 

Neither Magento nor Shopify are the best at a built-in blogging functionality. Nevertheless, you can always turn to their trusty app stores and hopefully find what you need.

And the winner of the marketing tools section between Magento vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Payment Options and Transaction Fees

Here’s another major point that can sway your decision between Magento vs Shopify. What percentage does Shopify take, and what percentage does Magento take? Let’s talk about payment options and transaction fees. 

So, how do Shopify fees compare to Magento fees?

If you use the Shopify Payments gateway, Shopify won’t charge you any additional fees per transaction when accepting online payments. However, if you choose to use third-party payment processors/gateways like PayPal and Stripe, Shopify will charge an extra 0.5-2% on top of the fees charged by those third-party apps (2.4% + 30¢ – 2.9% + 30¢). The rates decrease as you move to bigger packages.

Magento transaction fees are not as complicated. Still, since Magento is more focused on larger stores, it only features built-in payment gateways like WorldPay. If you want to use PayPal, Stripe, or other third-party payment processors, you’ll have to access it through an addon from the Magento Marketplace. Magento will make no additional charges.

Since Shopify imposes its own fees and offers fewer options for payment processing, we have a clear winner here.

And the winner of the Payment Options and Transaction Fees section between Magento vs Shopify is… Magento.

SEO

Did you know that 50% of all traffic to websites comes organically from search engines? If you’re not investing in your SEO efforts, you’re missing out on a large crowd of visitors.

Ecommerce platforms and website builders like Magento and Shopify have a reputation for being “shortcuts” and “not good for SEO.” In reality, that’s simply a myth. Shopify and Magento SEO tools can get your website high in the ranks. But which one is better?

Let’s take a look and see who wins at SEO between Magento vs Shopify.

Editing meta tags – meta title and description

Being able to edit how your web pages show up on search engine results should be available to users of any website builder. Magento and Shopify both allow you to edit the meta titles and descriptions of your site’s pages.

Editing URLs

Modifying URLs is beneficial not only for SEO but for readability as well. Both Magento and Shopify allow you to edit the URLs of your website’s pages. However, Shopify adds category tags like “/products” to links.

Hiding pages from SERPs on demand (no-index)

You can hide specific pages of your website from search results on demand with both Magento and Shopify. On Shopify, you’ll have to edit the code of your site’s theme. As for Magento, your tech team can figure it out.

Search engine result page

Editing the robots.txt file

Editing the robots.txt file of your website is available for both Magento and Shopify websites. Magento has more flexibility in this sense, while Shopify requires you to edit it through robots.txt.liquid templates.

SEO plugins diversity

Shopify’s App Store is packed with awesome SEO tools that can help you with image compression, 301 redirects, issue scan, suggestions, etc. Since Shopify’s SEO capabilities rely more on apps rather than built-in features, its App Store makes up for it.

With Magento, you get more built-in capabilities, so you won’t need to refer to the Magento Store too much. Nevertheless, it has cool SEO modules that’ll help you climb the ranks faster.

PageSpeed

If website speed is a crucial factor for you, Magento might not be the best way for you to go. Shopify websites are fast, maybe even the best among all the ecommerce builders. 

Both in comparison and separately, Magento websites are slower. Still, not all hope is lost. You can optimize the speed of your website built on Magento through some best practices, like choosing a better hosting service.

And the winner of the SEO section between Magento vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Security

When discussing the security of platforms, it’s important to consider the core difference between Magento vs Shopify. Shopify is a hosted platform, so you don’t have to worry about findings a hosting service and other technical issues. Shopify hosting is reliable and ensures your website stays online and loads fast. On the flip side, we have the Magento open-source solution, which requires you to bring in your own hosting service, SSL certificate, etc. 

Magento hosting can be tough to find because not all hosting providers support it. SiteGround is one that’s widely used.

Let’s take a look at Shopify security and Magento security features and find out which is better.

SSL Certificate

For those who are unaware, an SSL certificate verifies your site’s identity and enables visitors to have an encrypted connection. Having an SSL certificate for your website is simply a must in this day and age. Luckily, Shopify comes with an SSL certificate plus a free domain name for 1 year. 

As for Magento, just like acquiring your own hosting, you need to purchase your domain name and SSL certificate. If you already have a tech team, this won’t be tough.

PCI-DSS Compliance

Any website that deals with accepting credit or debit card payments are required to have PCI-DSS compliance. You’ll never need to worry about such security requirements with Shopify hosting. As for Magento, they assist you along the way, but you’ll need to follow the guidelines and apply for compliance yourself.

And the winner of the Security section between Magento vs Shopify is… Shopify.

Customer support

Whether you’re building your first ecommerce site on Shopify or trying out a complicated feature on Magento, you’re bound to come across an issue at some point. That’s why having someone answer your questions sometimes is essential to ecommerce platforms like Magento and Shopify. 

Let’s see how the customer support quality and availability compare between Magento vs Shopify.

Live support

When it comes to the availability of live support, Shopify simply does it better. They feature 24/7 live chat and phone support, plus social media and email support. As for Magento, they might not provide 24/7 support, but there sure are lots of people in the world who do it for them. The massive Magento community is where Shopify can’t compete anymore.

Quality of Materials, FAQs, and Guides

Both Magento and Shopify provide extensive materials, FAQs, guides, video tutorials, and so much more for their users. Even though Shopify also has a community forum, Magento is the hands-down winner.

At the end of the day, there are almost no questions you can’t find answers to through the Magento community.

And the winner of the Customer Support section between Magento vs Shopify is… Magento.

Pricing

Last but not least, let’s cover one of the most vital points in this Magento vs Shopify guide – the Pricing. How much does Shopify cost, and how much does Magento cost? At the end of the day, it might come down to a numbers game. 

Let’s remember the main difference between Magento vs Shopify. Shopify is an all-in-one, hosted platform, while the Magento open-source solution is free for anyone to download, but it comes with additional costs. 

Shopify pricing is pretty straightforward – you have 3 pricing plans to choose from.

Shopify pricing

Ideally, you’ll want to start off from Basic Shopify, then move up gradually as your ecommerce store expands. 

The main difference between these packages is the transaction fees, varying from 2-0.5%, and other third-party payment processing rates.

So, how much does Shopify cost per month? Choose your package, pick the apps you want to use, add it all up, and you’ll get the final monthly cost of running your ecommerce shop on Shopify.

Magento pricing is a little more complicated than that. Even though Magento is free to install, you’ll need to get your own hosting ($9.95-$29.95/month), a domain name ($10-$15/year), SSL certificate, extensions, and most importantly, a tech team to set it all up. 

The monthly Magento cost of running your ecommerce site depends on your human resource expenses.

Overall, Magento pricing to Shopify pricing is like apples is to oranges. Their prices can’t be compared because they work in very different ways. One requires more effort, the other requires more investment.

And the winner of the Pricing section between Magento vs Shopify is… it’s a tie! Both platforms get a point.

Final Scoring

The final score in our Magento vs Shopify battle is 9:5, and the winner is Shopify!

Shopify was the leader in ease of use, build time, design and themes, marketing tools, SEO, and security. With very strong features, an intuitive platform, and an all-in-one solution, Shopify is tough to beat.

Shopify platform

Magento excelled in payment options and transaction fees, plus customer support categories. This is not to say that Magento is not worth your while. In fact, if you have a tech team or programming knowledge, Magento is your best friend!

The two platforms are tied in many categories, including sales features, apps and addons, plus pricing. As much as the two platforms are different, they are similar in many ways as well.

If, after reading this Magento vs Shopify review, you still can’t choose which one is best for you, consider the following situations:

  • If you’re a beginner at building websites, there is only one way for you to go – Shopify.
  • If you’ve got an established business and a dedicated tech team, Magento could potentially do wonders for you.
  • If you’re looking to launch fast, be very hands-on with building your ecommerce store, and want to scale fast, Shopify should be your final choice.
  • If you know how to code and can build the site by yourself without spending on a dedicated tech team, the Magento ecommerce platform can be a great fit.

 

Angel Poghosyan

6+ years of doing content, marketing, and strategy for startups & businesses. Specializing in social media, entertainment, and tech.

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