Magento vs. Shopify

Posted On November 26, 2020 by Anca Iusan
eCommerce Guides

Magento vs Shopify, are consistently ranked as two of the most popular website platforms on the market- and for good reason! The eCommerce world has never been so competitive, online businesses are recognizing that to be successful they need platforms that compete.

From marketing goods and services to user experience and payments, businesses need end-to-end solutions. If you get it right you’ll provide high-quality user experiences, drive revenue, and grow your business, but how to know which platform to choose? 

In this article, we’ll breakdown all the things online businesses need to know about the Magento and Shopify platforms. From ease-of-use to security, and marketing, the pros, the cons, and everything in between-we’ve got it covered. Included in this Shopify Magento comparison.

  1. What is Magento?
  2. What is Shopify?
  3. Pricing.
  4. Ease-of-use.
  5. Themes.
  6. Sales features.
  7. Marketing and SEO
  8. Add-ons.
  9. Payment processors.
  10. Security, Help, and Support.
  11. Pros and Cons

What is Magento?

Magento is an open-source, community-based web platform. It’s free to install, but you will be paying for; extensions (if needed), hosting, and domain name. It’s a powerful platform with an array of features and functions, and you will need some tech expertise to get the most out of the platform. 

First released in 2007, Magento has built a strong reputation as a leader in the website platform business. High levels of functionality, features, and the ability to handle big numbers, have seen the platform go from strength to strength.

  • Magento is currently the second most popular content management system (CMS).
  • Merchants that use Magento grow three times faster on average. 
  • Magento accounts for 12% of all eCommerce sites.

There are two editions of Magento to choose from:

Magento Open Source is a free, self-hosted platform that provides a significant amount of functions to help you build a quality website, generally recommended for small to medium-size businesses.

Magento Commerce is the premium edition of Magneto. An all-in-one solution, with a heap of advanced features including optimized search solutions, professional reporting dashboards, and Magento cloud hosting. Magento Commerce is recommended for enterprise businesses, who want outstanding performance. 

Magento vs. Shopify 1

What is Shopify?

Shopify was built in 2006 as a way to create a fully functioning website in just 10 minutes- yes 10 minutes! Marketed as being an easy to use, all-in-one platform, which doesn’t require a degree in computer science to operate.  

  • 3rd biggest eCommerce platform.
  • 20% of eCommerce platforms use it
  • There’s a 126% year upon year growth for Shopify merchants.

Shopify is a proprietary commercial product, meaning you’ll pay a monthly fee to use it, rather than own it- but it does have lots of useful stuff included in the package.

‘Out of the box’ features include templates, a payment processor, blog capability, and marketing tools- setting up your shop is simple, create your catalog, add articles, text, and images, and off you go! Shopify also provides cloud-based hosting, to save businesses the hassle of searching elsewhere. 

Shopify comes in different versions, the two most popular are:

Shopify (standard)– A hosted solution that allows online retailers to; customize their online storefront, sell products and services, run and grow eCommerce businesses.

Shopify Plus– a hosted multichannel platform, which has a greater level of features, including:

  • Unlimited staff accounts. 
  • The ability to handle greater traffic-with over 10,000 transactions per minute. 
  • Personalized, dedicated help and support.
Magento vs. Shopify 2
https://www.shopify.co.uk/plus/customers

Pricing

Magento or Shopify, which platform is the best value? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as saying one is cheaper than the other, as hosting, number of extensions or apps, and the version of each platform you choose will make a significant difference.

Magento Open Source is free for anyone to use. But you will spend money on; domain name ($10 +), extensions ($0-200), and hosting ($10-).

The cost behind Magento’s premium offering ‘Commerce’, is based on your company’s gross sales revenue, and you’ll be spending a minimum of $22,000 a year. But IT does come with a complete package of features and support.

Shopify has three main price plans:

Magento vs. Shopify 3

Shopify pricing ranges from $29/ to $299/ month. For that you’ll get 24/7 support, hosting, SSL certificate, payment processor- basically, everything you need to set up a store. Shopify Apps range from free to $6000, but they average out at $19.14

Whichever platform you choose, always make sure you understand what functionality you need, and how you’re going to get it. You’re once lightweight store, could become heavy and expensive, before you know it.

Ease of Use

Choose the platform that matches your skills. If you pick a platform that doesn’t fit your companies expertise, you won’t end up with the website you want, and this could end up damaging your brand image. 

Magento and Shopify certainly differ here. Shopify is billed as the platform which allows you to create a functioning website in 10 minutes. Shopify is easier to use. It’s drag and drop system allows you to customize your website easily, moving things around as you see fit. Do not fear! Shopify still has a huge variety of options that allow you to create the website you want. 

Magento on the other hand is far more complicated. It could be a steep learning curve if you or your team do not have the prerequisite skills, to interpret technical jargon and code. On the flip side, if you do have the skills to match or hire a developer you’ll be able to unlock the quality that Magento has.

Themes

Themes are important, but why? When a potential customer arrives at your website, they’ll be greeted with different colors, fonts, images, and branding. A theme is the overall look of your store. A well-chosen theme fits your brand image, and can really impact customer experiences. Take inspiration from existing advertising/ marketing to show customers consistency between your digital and physical store.

  • 75% of all website credibility and 94% of first impressions about your brand come from the design of your site. 

Shopify has a range of free and paid themes purchased from the app store, paid themes cost between $140 and $180. Alternatively, you could go to a 3rd party vendor. Word of caution, if you decide to choose a theme other than one found in the app store Shopify does not provide support.

Magento only comes with two themes, so head to marketplace to find more, or try out third party providers-we quite like Welts Pixels offerings. Custom themes from $600 to $25,000. 

Both Magento and Shopify have mobile responsive themes, which look great displayed on tablet or mobile, important when 45% of all eCommerce will be coming from mobile devices soon!

Sales Features

All eCommerce retailers need to know about the sales tools they’ll have at their disposal to increase turnover.

Fueling the Magento/Shopify debate-when reviewed by users, it’s almost neck and neck for Sales Features Magento scoring 4.3 / 5, and Shopify 4.4/ 5. 

Some of Shopify’s most useful sales features, (and ones that’ll make you money) include:

  1. Abandoned cart recovery- when a cart is left an email is sent to the lost customer, pulling them back to the store to complete the purchase. Important considering recent research shows average shopping cart abandonment rate at between 68%-75%!
  2. Partnerships with couriers– Shopify makes it easy with preexisting partnerships with the likes of Canada Post, UPS, and DHL. 
  3. Multi-channel selling- sell on Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Imperative when you consider 73% of consumers will move between different channels before making a purchase.

Magento doesn’t disappoint on the sales front either, with an impressive inventory system that allows for bulk product import from database, multiple product variants, and total visitor count-not bad stuff. There are also several other smart sales tools you’ll be able to work with:

  1. Checkout customization-allows for a tailored checkout for your online store, which increases the quality of the all-important ‘user experience’ (UX).
  2. Multi-channel selling- everyone needs it.
  3. New Payment methods- moving on from Magento 1, the latest Magento 2 has a far greater choice in terms of payment options. Give options, keep customers happy.

Marketing

Whether you’re a start-up or an established business, marketing is always key to get ahead of the competition. According to IBM’s retail index, COVID-19 has accelerated the move from physical to digital dramatically, competition is fierce, eCommerce retailers need marketing tools that work.

Shopify has an excellent set of marketing tools, most of which are easy to operate. Retailers can now create, manage, and launch dynamic ads on Facebook, and Snapchat. Expanding on previous integrations including carousel ads on Facebook and Google smart shopping campaigns.

Run email campaigns through third-party integrations, with Segunao, Constant Contact, Klaviyo, and others. Blogging functionality is also available as an integrated feature on Shopify.

Magento on the other hand comes equipped with a nifty marketing menu for managing promotions, communications, user-generated content, and much more. ‘Refer or share emails’ is another neat function that enables customers to send emails from your website-expand your reach with the help of your customers! Sadly Magento doesn’t come with in-built blogging capability, 

SEO

“Build it, and they will come” is not strictly true when it comes to eCommerce. 

WordPress users alone publish over 2 million posts every day, that’s 24 every second! Point being you need to draw attention to your business, and getting towards the top of google searches through search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most powerful ways of doing so.

Shopify comes armed, with all the SEO options that most retailers need; automatic sitemap generation, canonical instructions, customizable title tags, etc. Shopify is also agile when it comes to SEO- if you choose a ‘lightweight’ template. Ultimately most on-page SEO implementations are a breeze to carry out. For greater SEO customization, there are plenty of apps available including, Plugin SEO, Smart SEO, and SEO Image Optimize. 

Magento on the other hand is already equipped with a powerful SEO toolkit straight out the box. Unlike some platforms, Magento doesn’t sacrifice key elements in favor of SEO, like UX or independent products. Users can create dynamic URLs that are keyword-friendly, XML sitemaps, custom meta titles, descriptions, and keywords. What’s more, is the overall architecture is designed for easy crawling and indexing by search engine spiders. 

Add-ons

Having the ability to add extra functionality to your store is a high priority, particularly if out of the box features don’t cover all your needs. Both Magento and Shopify make it easy for you to customize your store through apps, extensions, or add ons.

Shopify app store is constantly growing, offering both free and premium apps. The store currently holds 2400 + apps, and on average businesses use 6 apps. The average cost of an app comes in at $19.14, however, they can go into the thousands, as a monthly fee. It all comes down to what you need, and what you can afford.

The great thing about buying apps through the app store is that it is incredibly easy to install them on your site, even installing a private app isn’t too difficult. Leading the charge as some of the most popular apps are:

‘Privy’– used by over 500,000 websites to capture and convert website visitors to customers, with high converting pop-ups.

SEO Image Optimizer– optimize images and fly up the search engine ladder.

Trust Hero– display digital security badge to give peace of mind to customers during purchases.

Between Magento Marketplace, and all the third-party providers, you’re going to struggle to not find an extension that meets your needs. There are currently 1,900 (ish) free extensions available in the store, premium extensions cost from $50 up. Unlike Shopify installing extensions on Magento is much more difficult. Consider the skills needed to install the extension, and how much will it cost.

Quality examples, that get significant air time include:

  1. FAQ by MagePrince- it’s free, scores 5/5 in reviews, and helps your customers find what they need.
  2. Amasty Multiple Coupons- add custom discount coupons and apply several items to an order- keep your customers smiling.
  3. Firecheckout- remember online orders get abandoned. Firecheckout, gets customers over the line before they disappear!

Payment Processors and Transaction Fees

Payment processors allow your store to receive online payments- simple. Both platforms make it easy, with a few clicks you can connect a payments processor with your store. However, there are significant differences between the two platforms.

Shopify has its own payment processor, aptly named ‘Shopify Payments’, it does all the things you expect from a decent payment processor- enable local currencies, credit cards, and Apple pay. Because it’s built-in it saves you the hassle of looking for a third-party provider. 

This all sounds great. However, Shopify does make it obvious they don’t want you using third-party payment processors, such as PayPal, etc. Choose a third-party provider and you’ll be charged an extra 2% on top of the fees below.

Shopify BasicShopify StandardShopify Advanced
2.9% +  30 ¢ per transaction2.6% +  30 ¢ per transaction2.4% +  30 ¢ per transaction

Magento relies exclusively on 3rd party providers, there are over 150 options on marketplace, to meet all budgets.PayPal and Authorize.Net are two of the most commonly used. 

  • PayPal 2.9% + ¢ 30-with every transaction. With 17,000,000 online merchants using PayPal you know, there’s a reason. Advanced security, and a myriad of payment options.
  • Authorize.Net- 2.9% + ¢ 30- the processor allows you six options to either by credit card, e-check, Apple Pay, PayPal, or Visa checkout. 
Magento vs. Shopify 4

Help and Support

When things go wrong, you want them to be fixed fast. A website going down, or not functioning properly can have a huge impact-negative user experience, brand reputation, interference with SEO, and losing business opportunities are just some of the consequences. eCommerce businesses need support.

Shopify support features:

  • 24/7 phone support
  • Social media support
  • Advanced specialist support
  • Community forum
  • Help center
  • Video tutorials

There’s a big difference between Shopify and Magento when it comes to support. Where Shopify has an inclusive package, Magento doesn’t. With Magento your support will most likely come from Magento support forums, your development team, or your hosting provider (if separate). That isn’t a bad thing in itself, it’s just different. 

Due to the open-source nature of Magento, there is fantastic community support, with user guides full of information if you’re trying to troubleshoot yourself.

Here at Ecomitize, we’ll build, host and manage your website- sometimes that in-depth knowledge goes a long way when problems arise.

Security

Although Magento and Shopify differ massively in how they achieve it, both boast excellent security credentials. 

Shopify meets all 6 categories of PCI compliance (card transaction standards), and your monthly subscription also comes with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), keeping your customers safe. Secure hosting is included in each plan, which means that you’ll receive a comprehensive set of features, and you’ll always know where to go if you have an issue. 

Magneto runs security slightly differently. Firstly you’ll have to buy your own SSL certificate. Dedicated security patches are released by Magento to remove security threats and vulnerabilities. 

When it comes to hosting you’ll have to find that yourself, with a plethora of different options, really make sure you know what you need. Hosting starts at $10, but know what you’re getting- paying a little more can often help with security, and performance! When you choose a host-

  1. Make sure you know how much RAM you’ll need, and bandwidth- slow website = lost revenue.
  2. Choose between a shared server/low cost or dedicated server with control over systems and security. 
  3. Server issues happen, choose a hosting provider that is proactive-installing patches, isolating infections, etc. 

Shopify vs Magento the Pros and Cons

Magento Pros and Cons

Magento ProsMagento Cons
Magento forum– with a large user community, the forum has everything you need to know, almost.Unsuitable for beginners. With a high level of complexity, you need the expertise to deal with it. 
Features and functionality- that allow for lots of customization. Great for medium to large businesses.Hosting is not included, and you’ll need to find a server that has been adapted for Magento.
Scalability- with layered architecture with four tiers Magento is optimized for performance and scalability

Shopify Pros and Cons

Shopify ProsShopify Cons
Quick and easy- set up your shop in no time at all, and start tradingThe only platform with a monthly fee
Inclusive package- everything you need in one place; apps, support, and hosting Poor level of flexibility when it comes to payment providers.
Themes- comes with 70 out of the box themes, they’re optimized for mobile and look great.

Shopify versus Magento: Which One to Choose?

When comparing Shopify and Magento it’s clear to see that there are some significant differences, and because of this maybe it’s better to think of the two platforms as providing solutions for different problems, rather than seeing them in competition. Each has its strengths, and suits for different reasons.

Choose Shopify Standard- if you want to have a store up and running, quickly, and with little fuss. With its all-inclusive package, you won’t need to spend time looking for things as they’re all in one place.

Choose Magento Open Source- if you’re business is looking to grow. Magento does have a huge level of flexibility, you just need to skills to get the most out of the platform.

Consider Shopify Advanced or Magento Commerce- if you’re an enterprise business looking for performance. Both versions provide an extensive list of advanced features and support.

Shopify and Magento are two of the biggest platforms in the game. With a little knowledge and creativity, you too can create a quality website, one which sees customers coming back and your business growing.

Ecomitize has a team of specialists with extensive experience in getting the most out of both Shopify. Get in contact with our team to find out how we can help your business. 

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