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Shopify vs Magento – which ecommerce platform is best for your business

Let me ask you, do you believe that the market today is even more competitive? It is in fact, very competitive; with the advancement in technology, retailers and traditional business owners are struggling to push the latest and greatest Ecommerce platform to serve their customers.

You would find it extremely hard to even compete if you don’t have the right tools. Customers today expect convenience and options. Most of them, want their transactions fast and simple. This article was made specially to solve this problem.

You will read in this article:

  • Simple and concise but detailed information on how an Ecommerce platform can give you all the
  • advantages that your competitor(s) wish they had.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Shopify and Magento
  • Which is best, which is easier, which requires coding knowledge and which does not.
  • It’s bridging that gap between you and your prospective buyer(s) especially their loyalty to you.

Now, let’s start with the basics before diving deeper into the differences between Shopify and Magento.

What is a Complete ECommerce Platform?

A complete Ecommerce platform such as Shopify or Magento combines the ease of use of a content management system that – does not require coding knowledge to start using – with the convenience of a processing system that radically simplifies the whole transaction experience, making it easy for the customer to actually transact with you.

What is Shopify?

Imagine a store, filled with various items for sale, maybe a couple of guards with nice, friendly staff and a reliable, and respectful cashier. And you get Shopify essentially. It’s a subscription-based tool that transforms your physical business into an online business magnate.

Everything you need, from showing all the products you have to offer and even a reliable Point-of-Sale checkout system is all there. And best of all, there’s barely any coding knowledge required.

Advantages of Shopify over Magento:

  • Does not require coding knowledge to take full advantage of its many features.
  • One-stop shop.
  • User-friendly.
  • Drag and drop e-shop builder.
  • Ideal for small businesses.
  • Easier to use than Magento.
  • Extensive Ecommerce apps of over 1,200+.
  • Thousands of tutorials on anything you need.
  • The vast majority of themes are mobile responsive and optimized.
  • Multi-channeling or cross-platform selling from Amazon to Facebook, Instagram even eBay, and more.

Disadvantages of Shopify over Magento:

  • Not the most fleshed-out content management system in fact it’s more for actually selling your products than
  • controlling the whole buying experience.
  • Shopify takes a small percentage of each of your transaction.
  • Lacks deeper customization options.
  • Moving to another platform is going to be difficult and costly.
  • Tendency to splurge on multiple paid apps.
  • There is an absurd amount of paid add-ons for your store (yes, it does improve your store but it can cost you $$$).

What is Magento?

Though similar to Shopify in many ways. Magento is often designed for the user that has many, many products and services to offer. Magento Open Source is an on-premise, open-source software. It is free. The business entity locally hosts the on-premise solutions, at monthly costs. It installs, sets up, and configures all that’s needed to create the online store.
Magento was primarily intended to be used by a business owner that requires much more customization and control especially with regard to the whole buying experience of a customer. It’s as if, you’re guiding the customer where to go, what to look at, and what other options could they want.

Advantages of Magento over Shopify:

  • Control of a customer’s buying experience.
  • A very large community (Magento forum) that contains everything big and/or small concerns you might have.
  • Ideal for medium to large businesses.
  • More flexible platform, with much deeper customization features and options.
  • There are no limits on how you want your store to look.
  • Security tools are much more robust and extensive than Shopify’s.
  • Magento has over 5,000+ “extensions’ or apps to choose of which 1,950+ of them are free.

Disadvantages of Magento over Shopify:

  • Not ideal for beginners or small business owners.
  • Requires a good amount of coding knowledge or a good web developer to fully utilize Magento’s fantastic features.
  • Not easy to implement or install on your website.
  • Can be difficult to find hosting providers that accept Magento.
  • Extensions, themes, or apps though robust can be much more costly than Shopify’s apps.
  • Sale apps are not as optimized as Shopify’s often requiring tinkering to fully utilize its many features.
  • Marketing tools can be limiting if you don’t know how to utilize (code) them fully compared to Shopify’s often already
  • well-optimized tools and services.

Verdict: Magento vs Shopify

Well, this really depends on what your situation is. If you are new to ecommerce stores, a small store without prior coding experience, then Shopify is a no-brainer for you. If resources are limited, and cannot keep technical resources, Shopify makes it easy for you to sell, without knowing the technology.
But if you’re someone who wants a challenge (regardless of whether you know how to code or not) or has more control over your medium or large business or focuses on customer-user experience specific to your product and industry. Then Magento is for you.
If your business is in a high risk industry and public sentiment and laws constantly evolve, Magento’s flexibility will provide stability. Or if you’re in a highly regulated industry, like pharmaceuticals, you will need complete control over your hosting and technology, then Magento is for you.

Okay, that was the most simple answer but for a much more detailed and well-thought-out answer. You need to consider the following:

  1. Business Needs.
  2. Business Capacity.
  3. Business Goals.
  4. Which offers you much more ease in creating, managing, and maintaining your Ecommerce store.

As a general rule, both are different platforms yet similar to each other. Both offer the same basic services. Shopify is just so much easier to use than Magento however if utilize (code) properly Magento is so much more robust.

Again, most of these are available on both. Just remember that with Magento, you need to put in actual work to get it to fully function:

  • Search feature
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Multi-platform selling
  • Subscription-based platform
  • User-friendly
  • Partners with courier services
  • Customization features
  • Sales & marketing tools
  • Future migration
  • Country availability
  • Platform or hosting fees
  • Transaction fees
  • Payment options
  • Inventory system
  • SEO capable or optimized
  • Extensions, themes, or app options
  • Database (online records or online ledger) of every form of interaction such as purchase transaction

A simple but effective tip for you is to imagine Shopify as a WordPress plugin while Magento is WordPress itself essentially. If you have relatively small traffic and sales, Shopify is for you but if you have “high order volumes” then pick Magento.

As a general industry practice. If you are a merchant with lower product sales, you want something that’s easy to streamline – something standard – that’s Shopify. It’s simpler and cheaper.

However, if you have large volumes of sales, Magento offers a plethora of options for the buying experience even post-purchase control. This is much more complicated but it gives you so much control.

Just think of it as easy (Shopify) over challenging (Magento). Choosing which is best for you can be as simple as choosing easy over challenging. Low volume vs high volume. Select number of items vs hundreds of items with high quantity orders.

If you were confused or had questions, at any point, please contact us. And we will respond.

Photo by Roberto Cortese on Unsplash