Choosing the best platform to host your online store can quickly become overwhelming. If you’re having trouble choosing between Magento and Shopify, keep in mind that you’re not alone. Many merchants looking to move online have the same struggle with choosing between these two incredibly popular eCommerce solutions.
While Magento and Shopify are often compared with one another, the reality is that they are very different. Both platforms have their own unique strong suits, making each tool perfect for a specific type of business model. With the help of our comparisons below, you should have a better understanding on which platform is the best choice for your specific needs.
For those of you who want a quick overview, Magento is basically a powerful set of tools that is more complicated to use, making it the better solution for larger enterprises, whereas Shopify is a tool geared more towards beginners seeking a simple way to launch an online store without any coding skills.
As one of the top rated eCommerce solutions on the internet, Shopify requires no introduction for most webmasters. This easy to use website builder is ideal for business owners who want to sell products on the internet. With just a few clicks, you can set up a beautiful looking online shop with tons of products for sale in a variety of different collections. Shopify connects easily with third-party apps, allowing you to benefit from a highly efficient online store without much hassle. If you’re looking for a simple to use website builder that is highly versatile and affordable, Shopify is a great option.
Magento is another one of the highly popular tools for building an online store. However, unlike Shopify, it’s much less versatile - Magento is geared more towards larger businesses and enterprises. This platform is much more difficult to use, so if you have no coding skills, you’ll have a very hard time getting by and will most likely have to hire an expert to handle most of the tasks. However, one of the major upsides to Magento is the freedom involved - you will be able to build just about any type of online store without any limitations. Plus, Magento is open-source, so it’s free to use and the community is very active.
Shopify is more of a “go-to” eCommerce platform for beginners and users who don’t want too many hassles. If you’re looking for a simple way to get your online store launched and too care too much about the details, Shopify is probably the best way to go. However, if you’re a well established business trying to grow by adding online sales or even if you plan on having a lot of growth during the upcoming months/years, Magento may be a better option. Keep in mind that Magento is much more difficult and may require an additional budget for hiring coding experts to help build your platform and perform maintenance on a regular basis.
When it comes to the technical side of things, both platforms perform greatly. However, Magento has the upper hand when well coded and when used on high quality hosting. Magento is the prefered choice for large businesses and enterprises because of it’s powerful performance and ability to be incredibly fast and reliable. Shopify remains a very reliable platform with a 99.98% uptime guarantee along with fast websites that load in under 3 seconds. However, the more apps you add to your Shopify store, the slower it will become. Overall, they both offer great performance and reliability, but Magento has the potential to be much faster.
Customer support is important when dealing with eCommerce platforms. You’ll want prompt answers to your inquiries when you run into issues. Fast and high quality customer support can make the difference between making a sale or losing a customer for life. Fortunately, Shopify has one of the most powerful customer support teams in the industry. You can contact them via email, live chat and even phone. To make it even better, being one of the most popular eCommerce solutions means you’ll find a ton of helpful tutorials and forums posts online. Magento is built for professionals, so you won’t find as much information from them directly. They have a knowledge base along with a troubleshooting section and a FAQ page on their website, but that’s about it. Google searches can prove to be helpful, but you’ll need to know what you’re doing most of the time. Overall, if you’ve got great coding skills or plan on hiring a professional, Magento should be fine, but if you need regular assistance, Shopify is the way to go.
Ease of use is one of the biggest aspects that differentiates these two eCommerce platforms. Shopify is incredibly simple to use and you can set up an entire online store without coding skills within minutes. Magento is very difficult to use and can take weeks to set up your online store even if you have great coding skills. Of course, a well-coded website on Magento can provide you with more freedom and better performance, but you’ll need to know what you’re doing or at the very least, hire someone who does.
Built-in features are simple to use and manage at Shopify, the same cannot be said about Magento. In fact, you’ll most likely need an expert coder on your team at all times if you choose to go the Magento route. When it comes to third-party apps, Shopify has a nice selection of tools and functions you can integrate in order to make your website fully functional. Magento is one of the most complete eCommerce platforms online that provides excellent freedom, allowing you to integrate just about any function imaginable. One last thing worth noting is that Magento requires you to spend money towards hiring a coder, but you don’t have to pay for most integrations. Shopify on the other hand can be handled yourself, but you’ll most likely end up paying a monthly subscription fee for every app you integrate (there are free apps, but quality apps come with a fee). These paid apps add up and can quickly end up costing you a lot of money on a monthly basis.
If you’re looking for quick and simple, Shopify is the way to go and still manages to offer a lot of great built-in features. If you’re looking for every little optimization possible with the best performance and complete design freedom, Magento is the best option for you.
Shopify themes are versatile and can easily be implemented into just about any type of online store. Whether you’re running a store that specializes in just a few niche products or even if you plan on selling apparel, Shopify will most likely have a theme that works well with your business model. Furthermore, basic design customizations can be made in order to get your website looking the way you want it to look. Magento is a little different - they have just a handful of themes, but they can be customized fully. This means you can take just about any theme and make it look entirely different. Pricing varies from one theme to another, most Magento themes average out at about $140 and Shopify’s paid themes are just about in the same range. However, Shopify also offers some free themes.
Pricing is very different when opting for either Shopify or Magento. With Shopify, you’ll get everything you need bundled into the price. This means you’ll have your domain name, your hosting provider, your backend website creator and everything you need to get started with the monthly fee that you pay. Magento is different - you’ll need to first buy a domain name, then pay for hosting, then you can install Magento for free, but you will still need to pay for other items such as themes, extensions and in most cases, you will need to hire an expert to build your platform. Overall, Magento is often a little more expensive than Shopify, but the results can be much better.
Overall, both Shopify and Magento are incredibly great options that offer very different experiences. Magento is the ideal choice for experienced webmasters or for very large businesses. It’s more complex to use and setup, but can offer faster loading sites with much more freedom to customize your online store.
Shopify is a simple to use website builder that can be used by just about anyone. Even if you bought your first computer yesterday, you’ll very likely be able to get a Shopify store up and running within less than a day. The results remain excellent and you can still experience very great looking online stores that are powerful and beautiful.
Customer support is superior at Shopify, but Magento does have a very active community of online users, so you shouldn’t have to search very long to find the answers you need when in trouble on Magento. However, you will need to understand the answers once you find them, which once again, means you should have some sort of basic coding skills.
In the end, Magento is for professionals and large enterprises - don’t attempt to use it if you’re new to building websites. Shopify offers great results and is often more than enough for most online store owners. It comes down to personal preferences, but most users will find Shopify to be the better, easier option.