Building a website can be hard, but choosing what platform to build on in the first place is even harder! You will more than likely contact 3 – 6 web development companies and ask what they suggest and get a bunch of different responses, making things even more confusing and forcing you to do further research yourself.
Most companies looking to develop an e-commerce store will land on either Shopify or Magento as they are two of the more common platforms to build on, so here we break down the difference between both of them and highlight some advantages and disadvantages.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business by creating and customizing an online store as well as selling in multiple places through the web, mobile, social media, brick and mortar locations, and even pop-up shops. It is totally cloud-based and hosted which means no need to upgrade, maintain software, or deal with web servers, meaning that your business can be run from anywhere with an internet connection.
Shopify offers a free trial, but is predominantly a subscription based model that gets its users to pay a monthly fee and also takes a portion from each transaction made through the website. Shopify boasts an easy to use online store builder will walk you through the process of creating an online presence. Shopify has various integrations through it’s app store which either has free apps or similar monthly subscription payment for apps available to customize your website and offer customer value.
What is Magento?
Magento is also an e-commerce platform that extends beyond the shopping cart for all shopping experiences. This platform is extremely developer heavy and has a huge range of customisation as it is basically a blank canvas. Magento is known widely as being suitable to websites with big catalogues, but due to it’s complexity often is a difficult choice for businesses who want to update their website content frequently. Now available with Adobe Experience Cloud, Magento joins the only integrated platform for advertising, analytics, commerce, and content creations, providing all you need for customer experience management.
As Shopify and Magento are both popular platforms for ecommerce stores, you may be wondering which is better or more suitable for your business. This is a critical choice as it can be a factor that is responsible for the success or failure of your business. Though Shopify has a stranglehold on the hosted all-in-one type platform market, Magento is the bigger player when it comes to complex, large ecommerce builds and integrations. They are actually very different, but you may need to know the difference to make the best choice for your business.
There are three main differences between these two platforms. The first, is that Shopify is a commercial product that must be paid for, while Magento Open Source is a free, open-source software, though paid versions are available. The next is that Shopify is a hosted solution, while Magento requires that you provide your own hosting, install, setup, and configuration before starting your store. This means a high level of web development and programming skills are necessary and it can be a costly endeavour. Finally, Shopify is more for entry level websites with a simpler user interface, while Magento has tons of features and
When compared head to head, both offer basic store functions that display well to customers online, though Shopify is significantly easier to manipulate and develop on. However, for extended features with Shopify, you may have to pay or get a specific app, while this is mostly included in Magento. Both Shopify and Magento allow for unlimited products in your store, but Shopify uses direct integration to drop shipping inventory apps like Oberlo. Magento allows for unlimited inventory, a large amount may slow down loading speed due to your host performance levels and it is encouraged that you only use necessary plugins and don’t have unused products in the backend. Shopify has an easy to setup and use payment gateway option, but makes you pay extra with each transaction if you use third party gateways on your store. Magento definitely has an upper hand when it comes to the aesthetic development as most magento websites tend to have a fairly different design as they aren’t templated and this allows for a more unique store front, whereas Shopify themes are becoming more and more recognised by users, meaning that the themes used by Shopify stores are becoming slightly more boring to view.
Which is Best for You?
Both options have benefits and weaknesses, though Shopify provides greater ease of use since it is hosted and fully managed as a service. Magento is free, but requires hosting, a large portion of development and is much more difficult and expensive with it’s upkeep. There is a reason why Shopify is the most popular ecommerce platform at this point in time as it’s simplicity and cost effective solutions tend to be the most appealing for users, but Magento is probably more suited to established businesses with development departments that can build what is needed quickly and without issue. Either way, both are great options and definitely worth the investment, you just need to identify the most important elements for you and your business first!