Two heavyweights step into the ring. Only one can come out on top. In the left corner we have Magento. In the right, Shopify. In terms of pricing, features, tools and support, who wins? Find out ahead.
I know that choosing an e-commerce platform can be difficult. There’s so many choices, you have to consider your budget and what if it’s difficult to use? Relax, today we’ll compare Magento vs Shopify so you can finally make a decision. The sooner you decide, the sooner you can start making money. Lets begin!
Magento vs Shopify
Released on March 31st, 2009, Magento is an opensource e-commerce platform. That means it’s free! It was created by a privately held company called Varien, Inc with the help of volunteers. In 2015, Magento 2.0 was released with improvements to navigation, user engagement and conversion rates.
Right now they offer their free version(Magento Open Source) and their paid version(Magento Commerce). Both will allow you to sell online, add extensions and customize your store. Open Source has all of the basics features to get started while Commerce offers order management, B2B functionality and more depth.
Speed & Security
Magento, similar to Woocommerce, can be slow at times when you have many extensions running at once. Optimization practices such as caching, updating regularly and using a CDN can prevent this though. Slow page speed is a common complaint about Magento if look at review sites.
For selling you will need an SSL certificate. This adds an extra layer of security to your store. Don’t worry too much about how it works, just know you need one. Most payment gateways will require it. Magento unfortunately doesn’t come with one already equipped. This means you will have to purchase an SSL, configure it and enable it through the Magento dashboard. For those with less tech skills, this can be a royal pain.
Development & Customization
With a vast theme and extension marketplace, you can customize your store exactly to your liking. I don’t think there’s a single platform that’s made for development more than Magento. It really rewards technical sophistication. If you or your team comes from a programming or development background, that’s a huge advantage. At the same time, you will experience hurdles if you do not.
Ease of use depends on your technical abilities. Experienced developers should have a relatively smooth experience using Magento. The dashboards, navigation and settings are simple. Adding products, checking reports and your day to day activities are streamlined. In terms of being an admin, you won’t have any problems.
The real effort of Magento is developing your website and its features. That’s where I would say the user friendliness drops substantially. You or your team has to be very technically skilled. Even then, you may still have some hiccups.
Magento has plenty of resources to make sure your experience on their platform is smooth. They offer e-books, documentation and guides to answer any questions you have. This will set you on the right path and give you good knowledge to begin using Magento.
The official forums are a great place to ask questions and become a part of the community as well. There’s also 24/7 monitoring and support if you need technical assistance. Overall, Magento has a great blend of customer support.
Would you like an out-of-the-box problem? Would you like to launch your store in a day without crazy tech skills? Then Shopify is a great option. They are tailored towards beginners and businesses that need a quick solution. No matter your experience, Shopify is easy to use and has high performance.
Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake founded Shopify in 2004. The trio originally wanted to start an online sbowboard shop but couldn’t find a good e-commerce service. So, what did they do? Developed an e-commerce platform themselves! In 2006, it was officially released to the public.
More than 500,000 businesses are powered by Shopify with a total sales volume of $45 billion. They offer beautiful themes, tons of useful apps and all of the essentials for selling online.
Speed & Security
Shopify stores are lightning fast with unlimited bandwidth. Their servers are backed up by high amounts of CPU and RAM with high uptime. Compared to Magento, Shopify definitely blows it out of the water. You’ll also be pleased to hear that every Shopify store has an SSL certificate for free. This means you spend less money buying one and less time figuring out how to configure it.
Development & Customization
There are over 100 free and paid themes to choose from with Shopify. You can customize them from the color scheme to the navigation, logo and more. You will be able to tweak all of the main areas of your theme and if you have some coding skills you can get more creative.
With thousands of apps available too, you’ll have no shortage of extra features. They can do anything including:
- Automating email marketing.
- Adding top bar notifications.
- Adding reviews.
- Making social sharing easier.
- Import products.
The best part about it? You can install them with a single click.
If Magento is the best platform for development, Shopify takes the cake for ease of use. There’s no e-commerce solution that is simpler to use and easier on the eyes. The dashboard is straight forward, settings can be quickly tweaked and it’s very organized. You won’t be feeling confused or on any wild goose chases with Shopify.
Shopify has a unanimously good customer support system. Their team is available 24/7 through email, phone and livechat, whatever’s more convenient. You’ll also love the official help center, packed with documentation on selling, taxes, migrations and more. Still need help? Visit the Shopify forums and ask your question there to get help from the community.
Magento vs Shopify Verdict
I think this is pretty cut and dry. Magento is definitely more suitable for higher budget businesses that come from a development background. Shopify is great for any sized business that wants an affordable and streamlined solution. Simple as that.