Creating an ecommerce store is not an easy task. Yes, you have to choose domain & host, decide budget, hire expert ecommerce agency and so on. But, the very tough and the most important thing is to choose the best ecommerce platform on which you want to create your online store.
Selecting ecommerce platform is crucial as it will decide the future of your online business. If you choose wrong platform, then you may face lots of difficulties in driving traffic & boosting sales. I have studied about all ecommerce platforms, but at last got confused in 2 major platforms- Shopify & Magento.
These two platform have exceptional features and functionalities that will make anyone puzzled. So, if you don’t want to be confused in between these 2 platforms, then read this comparison. I have mentioned each and every pros and cons of both platforms. Read it carefully and then go for the one you find most suitable for your business.
Features of Shopify VS Magento
Basic online store functionality – Both Shopify and Magento offer basic store functionalities that are fairly powerful to make use of and maintain on a constant basis. Shopify can be said to be meaningfully simple to setup and use as compared to Magento.
Inventory management – The Shopify Starter plan ($14/mo.) limits you to a maximum of 25 store items while Magento Community offers a virtually infinite number of items. All other Shopify plans facilitates an unlimited number of items to be added to and sold via your store. It should be noted here though, that while Magento enables a virtually unlimited number of products, your host (server) performance and site loading speed might turn out to be serious issues if you add too many products on your Magento store – something you don’t have to worry about with Shopify, since it is a fully managed and hosted solution.
Calculation of shipping charges – Both platforms allow flexible and powerful options for calculation of shipping charges which is one of the most basic and essential aspects of selling physical goods via an ecommerce storefront.
Provision for coupons and discount codes – Shopify, a bit of an underdog here, does not offer this feature on their starter plan while it is available on all other plans. Magento allows discount code creation and calculation functionalities.
Payment gateway options – Shopify has a major advantage here, with support for 70 payment gateways while Magento Community is comparatively at a drawback with support for a far lower number of gateways. Additional gateways, however, can be added to Magento store via third-party add-ons.
Themes and Templates – Both Shopify and Magento Community offer a large collection of themes and templates to give your online store a look and feel to suit your products and taste. While the number of free themes provided by Shopify is significantly smaller than that of Magento Community, it can be noted that the free Shopify themes are generally more contemporary as compared to the themes offered by Magento Community.
Both offer paid/premium themes but here, Shopify is at a great disadvantage, with premium themes starting at $80, while Magento paid themes start at – an almost unbelievable – $1!
In keeping with today’s must-have requirement of responsive website design, both Shopify and Magento Community offer a good number of responsive templates, free as well as paid.
Apps and Add-ons – Well over 100 apps and add-ons are accessible for Shopify using which you can enrich and multiply the functionality of your online store in various ways. Magento, again, is at a strong benefit here, with over 5000+ add-ons and apps, owing, undoubtedly, to the open source, community driven nature of the platform. A mix of free as well as paid apps/add-ons is available for both platforms.
Multi-lingual competencies – Shopify does not offer complete multi-lingual competencies directly. For creating fully multi-lingual stores, third-party/paid apps are available for Shopify. Another option available at Shopify is to custom code your theme/templates with a simple as well as an advanced level interface. Magento is again at an advantage here, with more in-built multi-lingual support.
SEO proficiencies – Both platforms offer wide-ranging SEO proficiencies with the intention of helping you drive more organic traffic to your store via search engines, scoring just about neck-to-neck on great SEO benefits and features.
Customization capabilities – Both platforms offer robust customization know-hows, via a cutting-edge interface that facilitates you to edit raw CSS/ HTML code directly to provide you total control over the look-and-feel and the design of your store. However, as stated above, Shopify scores better here by providing a simple, menu driven method to change the basic attributes of your store such as colors, fonts etc. very easily while with the customization capabilities with Magento are as high as it can get because all its code is open source, any of which you can customize in any way you wish to. Although, this unlimited freedom to modify can be utilized only by those who have deeply embedded web programming and HTML/CSS coding expertise.
Blogging functionality – Easy blogging functionality is accessible as an incorporated feature at Shopify while this can be accomplished with Magento making use of a (free) plug-in.
Ease of use
As mentioned earlier in this review, Shopify and Magento Community are both fairly powerful ecommerce store building platforms. Both come with a user interface that is well-designed and thought-out, making it fairly easy for any user to get up and running with an online store.
Having said that, it should be noted that Shopify has a wizard mode that allows even novice users to setup their stores very easily while Magento Community is lacking in this feature.
Also, since Magento is not a hosted solution, procuring your own hosting and setting up your store with it are processes that typical end-users would not find easy or convenient to do on their own.
Setup fees – Shopify does not charge any setup fees. In fact, they offer a 14-day free trial with which you can test and evaluate the functionality and features offered by their ecommerce hosting platform. With Magento, the question of setup fees simply does not arise since it is totally free to use. (You’ll need to procure – and pay for – your own hosting though, as discussed below.)
Monthly fees – Shopify offers four different plans with monthly fees ranging from $14 to $179 as follows:
- Starter Plan: $ 14
- Basic Plan: $ 29
- Professional Plan: $79
- Unlimited Plan: $179
With Magento, you’ll have to provide your own hosting, which is available at monthly costs ranging anywhere from $5 to 100s of dollars.
Bandwidth charges – Shopify does not charge any bandwidth usage fees on any of their plans. With Magento Community, this will depend on the hosting provider that you have used for hosting your store.
Transaction fees – Shopify does not charge any additional transaction fees if their own payment gateway is used. If using any other gateway or method (such as COD), their transaction fee structure is as follows:
- Starter Plan ($14/mo.) : 2%
- Basic Plan ($29/mo.) : 1%
- Professional Plan ($79/mo.): 1%
- Unlimited Plan ($179/mo.): 0%
With Magento Community Edition, no transaction fees are charged other than the gateway provider’s fees (which vary from gateway to gateway). These fees would, naturally, be applicable for Shopify as well.
Theme/Template prices – Shopify and Magento both offer free and paid themes, with their premium theme prices starting at $1 and $80 separately.
While both Shopify and Magento Community are equally great ecommerce hosting platforms, Shopify provides better user-friendliness since it is a fully managed and hosted service.
Magento, while free itself, wants you to purchase hosting and complete all system/ software setup and installation process yourself – something that only technical people can do.
By reading this as well as some of the points discussed above, Shopify comes out a winner as an ecommerce platform for building your online store with powerful capabilities and maximum ease of use.