If you are thinking about which ecommerce platform to choose for your online business, we would advise you to find out with our comparison of the two platforms to do the right thing.
In 2020, Gartner conducted a study on the digital commerce market. It identified Magento as the “Leader” leading platform due to the extensive feature set, growing global partner network, and robust capabilities that Adobe’s ecosystem offers.
Shopify was named as a “Challenger” because of its usability, popularity among midsize brands, and a large app store with hundreds of easy-to-install solutions. Below you can see how Magento and Shopify are positioned on the coordinate system with other strong players in the market of ecommerce platforms.
Now we’re ready to dive deep into more specific things that distinguish Magento from Shopify. Let’s start the ball rolling!
General Overview of Magento & Shopify
Market share. According to Hosting Tribunal, Magento amounts to 12% of the ecommerce market.
Geography. Magento is prevalent in the west, especially in the USA, while European countries, such as Great Britain and Germany, are not behind and actively use Magento. Here are the top countries with the most significant number of Magento-powered websites:
Top Brands. Among leading brands powered by Magento are Coca-Cola, Seat, Helly Hansen, Timberland, Everlast, Land Rover, Ford, Omega, Missguided, Fred Perry, Björn Borg, Monin, etc.
Market share. Shopify accounts for 8% of the ecommerce market.
Brands. Global brands also use Shopify, such as Beardbrand, Gymshark, Bailey Nelson, Red Bull, The New York Times Store, Polaroid, etc.
Shopify vs Magento: Behind the Scenes
The first thing you should know is that Magento has two editions: Magento Open Source (Community) and Magento Commerce (Enterprise) — the latter is an enterprise solution for large businesses.
Magento 2 Open Source is a free platform with open source code that can be easily customized if you have a technical background or a trusted development team.
It is self-hosted, which means you’ll have to find your own hosting, configure it, download and install the Magento 2 instance, buy a domain name, and an SSL certificate on your own.
This legwork will pay off with full control of all aspects of your online store and the ease of its customization and scalability. The Magento 2 platform allows you to build anything — from a modest online store to an ecommerce empire, though you’ll need to invest in some customization
Number of extensions (applications/plugins):
- ✔ Open Source (CE): 486
- ✔ Commerce on Prem (ECE): 211
Number of themes:
- ✔ Open Source (CE): 11
- ✔ Commerce on Prem (ECE): 4
Theme prices: starting from $70–$410 and above
License prices: starting from $22,000 per year and can go as high as $190,000 per year for the merchants that generate over $25 million
Transaction fees: $0
Unlike Magento, Shopify has a full subscription business model with different pricing plans and features. Prices start from $29, and luckily, they already include domain and hosting fees. Also, this platform invites you to try using the free period and see if its services are right for you.
It is a commercial product you have to pay for, designed for not tech-savvy end users who want all the technical work to be taken care of. Shopify provides its own hosting, domain names, and SSL certificates, along with 24/7 email, chat, and phone support in case any questions arise.
Number of extensions (applications/plugins):
- ✔ Shopify: 700 000+ app
- ✔ Shopify Plus: 5000+ apps
Number of themes: 60+
Theme prices: $140–180
License prices: starting from $29
Transaction fees: 0.15% per transaction
Please take a look at the table below to learn more about Shopify pricing.
Shopify Plus, as well as Shopify Basic, takes a cut of each transaction on your site. If you use a third-party payment processor, they charge 0.15% per transaction to cover additional security requirements. This fee helps maintain their PCI compliance and the integrity of both you and your customers’ data.
For Shopify payments, this fee is waived. You can also take advantage of up to 18% higher conversion rates when you enable Shop Pay.
Anyone who once had a chance to test each platform’s admin panel will tell you that Magento has richer core functionality than Shopify.
Magento’s core functionality is tailored for retail and wholesale businesses that have complex requirements for product management. Among Magento 2 strengths, we can name promotions, customer segmentation, merchandising, and attribute management. Moreover, Magento 2 doesn’t limit the number of your staff accounts.
Magento Commerce (Enterprise), a premium version of Magento, provides you with advanced features, such as B2B functionality, visual merchandising opportunities, and powerful marketing functionality (customer segmentation and personalization). And the icing on the cake is that you’ll get 24/7 Magento specialists’ support.
Magento Commerce users also have a choice between the on-premises deployment and a cloud-hosted solution. Magento Cloud benefits are:
- ✔ Cloud availability SLA up to 99.99%;
- ✔ Fast page loading with a content delivery network (CDN);
- ✔ Performance monitoring tools;
- ✔ Enhanced security with Fastly WAF and DDOS services;
- ✔ PCI compliance;
- ✔ Easy deployment;
- ✔ Streamlined updates and testing.
Shopify also provides customer management, discounts, and collections, but its core functions are designed for smaller businesses selling simple products. And it limits the number of your staff accounts to just if you’re using Basic Shopify.
That’s why it’s fair to say that Magento’s core functionality is much stronger out of the box than the Shopify one.
In terms of products, Shopify has two types: simple and configurable products, which are enough for such businesses as, for example, art stores or fashion retailers. The number of product configurations in Shopify is limited, so you can choose either the color or size of a product and that will be it.
Magento Open Source edition provides six types of products: simple products, configurable products, grouped products, bundle products, downloadable, and virtual products. Meanwhile, Magento Commerce features gift cards and a wider variety of products, giving more freedom in customization according to your business needs.
Multi-store management is a big key selling point of Magento 2 compared to other platforms. We’re talking about different online storefronts, with various suppliers, different warehouses, different products — not just multiple domains on one store.
At its core, Magento 2 includes multi-source inventory functionality capable of juggling multiple lists of products and brands in various countries simultaneously, recalculating remains, sending you low stock notifications, choosing the closest warehouse location to your customers, and much more. Moreover, you can upload your product list just once and configure each product with different attributes, pricing, and more for other countries.
Shopify platform is not designed to manage multi-stores or multi-brands in one single interface. To set it up, you will need to buy a new separate account and all the Shopify apps again and double all the settings and product attributes manually from scratch. Shopify’s platform implies different product lists for each store. Even with the Shopify Plus edition, you’ll have to create ‘clones’ of your store and manage each of them manually.
If you are a novice seller, one of the main work principles is to expand your website, understand the platform’s functionality, and use it to the fullest.
Magento is not precisely an easy platform to use and is more suitable for medium or large businesses. To use Magento, you need technical knowledge and timely developer support. The platform requires restyling of the design and time to set up or launch.
Shopify is the easiest way to get your website up. You can register on the platform, fill out the information about your company, products, administrative and organizational sections; you can also get a 14-day free trial.
The admin panel is very easy to use and has drag and drop tools (with this, you can quickly move items around on your website just as you would like).
The number of built-in payment gateway options can decide when choosing between two platforms. On the one hand, it may seem that Shopify beats Magento here. It comes with 70 payment gateways out of the box and has its own payment gateways built-in. Still, on the other hand, Shopify charges from 0.5% to 2% of each transaction on your store depending on your Shopify plan when your clients use external payment gateways to pay.
At the same time, Magento has two payment gateways out of the box – Paypal, Braintree, and Authorize.Net, which can be increased with the help of extensions later, without a transaction fee.
Magento payment apps support a massive variety of languages, so you won’t have any problems using them. Magento does not support Magento Payment, so you should add the payment processor extension via the Magento marketplace.
Themes, Integrations, Extensions, and Apps
That is a tie for both Magento and Shopify as both of them have a well-developed marketplace with hundreds of themes and templates, extensions, and apps, either free or paid.
Here we need to mention that Shopify themes are proprietary and do not allow much customization. Magento themes are as responsive as playdough, allowing you to sculpt your own brand visual identity.
While choosing themes, please pay attention to their reviews, functionality, SEO, mobile-friendliness, and suitability to your store’s structure. We would not recommend using free themes on both platforms as they are not verified and may not be compatible with your store nor meet all the requirements above. A Premium Shopify theme varies from $16 to $900, and a Premium Magento theme cost is more affordable – on average, it costs from $17 to $300.
More than 2000 extensions for Magento and apps for Shopify cover all kinds of ecommerce purposes: SEO, marketing, blogs, integration with 3rd-party ERP, shipping and payment systems, etc.
Extensions and apps are effortless to install and user-friendly. The only significant difference between them is that most Magento extensions have an annual billing cycle, and most Shopify apps have monthly billing cycles.
Marketing & Sales Tools
Magento inventory system that works with built-in features such as importing products from a database, reporting total revenue, and real visitors. To integrate your store with Facebook, Instagram, or eBay, you need to install an extension to help you. There is also an abandoned cart function, checkout settings, discounts, percentages, or fixed price.
Shopify’s electronic platform has many built-in functions that allow you to sell and select products and get paid for them. The ability to advertise and sell through multichannel channels such as Amazon, Facebook, or Instagram. It is restoring an “abandoned cart,” i.e., by sending automated emails to customers who left your site before completing a purchase. It works with major shipping companies such as DHL Express, UPS, or Canada Post.
Talking about SEO, Shopify has several default tools and even more SEO apps, but all of them are limited because Shopify is a hosted platform. So, if you need to edit your URLs structure and hierarchy or configure server settings, you’d better go for the Magento 2 platform.
Magento comes with the following built-in SEO features:
- ✔ Direct access to robots.txt, sitemap.xml, CSS files;
- ✔ Creation of images sitemap.xml;
- ✔ SEO-friendly URLs;
- ✔ Editing meta tags: title, description, alt;
- ✔ Canonical tags;
- ✔ Schema.org in the default template;
- ✔ Product labels;
- ✔ Internal linking between products.
And what’s more – Magento offers accelerated loading speed thanks to Ajax add-to-cart, minimized JS, Varnish cache, and PHP7 support.
Shopify offers the following built-in SEO features:
- ✔ Editing meta titles and descriptions;
- ✔ Headings;
- ✔ Images alt;
- ✔ Creating custom URL names;
- ✔ Setting 301 redirects and canonicals;
- ✔ Adding Google Analytics code.
Shopify also features a wide variety of SEO apps, good speed, and uptime.
On the other hand, Shopify does not have access to robots.txt or sitemap.xml files and has no access to CSS files, which are SEO basics. The files are generated automatically by Shopify.
Every site owner uses Google PageSpeed Insights to optimize their site’s loading speed on desktop and mobile devices, which is impossible without root access to CSS files on the server. Strings in URLs: Shopify automatically adds an extra line to your pages’ URLs, such as /product/, /pages/, /blog/, /collections/, which means a different nesting level and poorer accessibility for search crawlers.
There are no subcategories out of the box – they are named “subcollections” and require coding to be created. So, for example, you can organize your blog posts using tags only.
Non-ecommerce content, such as pages and blog posts, does not adapt automatically if you switch to another theme.
There are no social sharing buttons out of the box. If you want your content to be shared across social media, you’ll need to find a Shopify theme providing social sharing buttons or go for an app.
Support & Community
Magento comes with only developer support. There is no free 24\7 phone support, but you can purchase the support hours of a Magento Technical Account Manager.
The saving grace is that Magento has a vast community of Magento partners and specialists who share their experience on Magento forums, Github, and Slack channels. So, in case any question arises, you will always be able to find a person who already faced it, solved it, and documented the process.
Shopify, at another point, offers 24/7 support for all of their pricing plans. Merchants can quickly submit their requests on a separate portal and get help.
Aside from official support, there is a second option – asking the community in person. Both platforms have hundreds of top-level developers who are not only creating thousands of online stores, apps, and extensions but are always glad to share their valuable insights on annual ecommerce conferences that stretch the globe.
Shopify VS Magento: Works for Who
All these comparison charts and detailed functionality lists may seem confusing while choosing a platform for your business. So, to be short, answer three simple questions: do your products have more than two attributes? Do you have more than three stores? Does your product list exceed 400 SKUs? If yes, Magento is your choice. If no – Shopify is. It’s that simple 🙂
In conclusion, there is a huge variety of e-commerce platforms on the market right now, which all have many pros and cons.
To understand what works best for you, you need to analyze and carefully study the ins and outs of your business. If you are still in doubt and cannot decide, contact us, and we will help you make the right choice, even if it is not Magento or Shopify, after all.
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