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Magento vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

The popularity of e-commerce is growing. In 2021, the global B2C e-commerce market size was valued at $3.86 trillion. By 2030, it is expected to almost double in size, reaching $7.45 trillion. More and more businesses are looking for a way to build an online shop. And e-commerce platforms offer an easier way to do it. In this article, we compare the two popular platforms: Magento vs Shopify.

According to Datanyze, both of them are among the top 10 most used e-commerce platforms globally. More than 600.000 websites were built with the help of Shopify (10% of the market), while around 70.000 are based on Magento (1,1%).

Magento and Shopify provide all the features you need to create, manage and grow your online shop. Therefore, your day-to-day operations become easier. Using either of them is cheaper and easier than building your online store from scratch. Also, it is more comfortable than relying on multiple plugins.

These e-commerce platforms streamline the purchasing process for your customers and help to prevent various technical issues or deal with them swiftly. Thus, you spend less time worrying about the online experience of your customers and focus on boosting your revenue.

Despite the similar benefits of Shopify and Magento for business, each of those platforms has its distinctive features. Read on to find out which of them is better for you!

Magento vs Shopify at a glance

Let’s begin our comparison with a short overview of each platform. The pros and cons Magento vs Shopify lists below outline the key differences between the two competitors that may have a crucial impact on your decision.

Magento vs Shopify at a Glance.webp

Shopify pros:

  • Hosted platform – hosting for your site is taken care for
  • Easy-to-use comprehensive e-commerce website builder
  • Swift online shop set up
  • Large variety of plugins for enhancing the functionality of your store
  • Plenty of checkout and payment options

Shopify cons:

  • Fee for every transaction if you don’t use Shopify payments
  • Most themes are paid

Magento pros:

  • Open-source and free to use
  • Almost unlimited customization options
  • Large variety of applications available
  • A lot of free themes

Magento cons:

  • Finding and purchasing (and, in some cases, configuring and managing) hosting is your responsibility
  • More technical knowledge is required than for using Shopify
  • Time-consuming and costly store set up

Features

Both platforms offer powerful functionalities for your online store. However, there are some important differences. Here is a detailed Magento vs Shopify Plus (Shopify) comparison.

Magento vs Shopify Comparison.webp

Payment gateways

Shopify offers over 100 payment gateways out of the box. However, a built-in payment gateway is strongly promoted by the absence of the transaction fee. Magento, on the other hand, supports adding gateways as third-party add-ons. You can choose out of several hundred options. In this round of Magento or Magento 2 vs Shopify, none of the competitors seems to have a clear advantage.

Payment fees

With Shopify, you will have to pay a credit card processing fee from the payment provider and a transaction fee. Both depend on the plan you choose. Here is the information on the card rates:

Shopify pricing plans information.webp

The size of the transaction fee varies as follows:

The size of the transaction fee varies as follows_.webp

Note that Shopify’s payment processor, Shopify Payments, is free. The use of Shop Pay comes with a free transaction for a customer.

Magento’s payment fee depends on the payment extension you choose. For example, PayPal charges 3.49% + $0.49 for each transaction within the US. For international cards, the fee is larger – 5%. There is no set-up or monthly fee.

SEO

In this aspect of Shopify Plus vs Magento comparison, both competitors offer similar options.

You can define how your e-commerce website is displayed in the search results pages by editing the page title and description. Also, you can add alt text to images. This way, search engines are able to figure out what they are about. Moreover, you can purchase some SEO apps in Magento's Marketplace and Shopify App Store.

Customization

Shopify provides simple menus to control the basic attributes such as colors, fonts. Also, there is a theme editor as well as the drag and drop sections to shuffle the content on your site. Magento offers maximum freedom with its open-source code. However, to harness all its potential, you’ll need an expert with web programming and HTML/CSS coding skills.

Blogging functionality

Shopify offers integrated functionality for easy blogging. Magento doesn’t have built-in features for that. Still, there are third-party extensions that may come in handy. Besides, with the help of a skillful developer, you can build a highly customizable Magento blog.

Loading speed

In Shopify or Shopify Plus vs Magento 2 loading speed comparison, one crucial difference has to be taken into account. Shopify is a hosted platform, while Magento is a self-hosted platform. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about the performance of your Shopify website. It is taken care of by a team of motivated technicians. Still, beware of using too many third-party apps, as they may slow down your online shop.

To build a Magento store, you will either have to find a managed hosting or choose a hosting provider and manage its set-up yourself. In this case, it’s up to you to make sure your infrastructure provides satisfactory loading speed.

Add-ons

Shopify, as well as Magento, offers thousands of free and paid apps to choose from. They can provide a variety of enhancements like providing custom discount options, automatically emailing potential customers about new products, or showing trust icons to decrease cart abandonment.

Most plugins can be added with the click of a button, though some require the knowledge of coding. With a team of experienced and skillful developers, your potential for enhancing your store both on Shopify and on Magento is virtually limitless.

Software delivery time

Multiple built-in easy-to-use features Shopify offers make creating a website a matter of days. Thus, the time to market for a Shopify-based e-commerce solution is really short. A Magento shop requires lengthy custom development. You will have to create a website from scratch, host it on a server, connect a domain to hosting, and install plugins. Only then will your website be market-ready.

Data security

Shopify is compliant with the PCI data security standards for card information processing. Also, this platform uses SSL encryption to protect customers’ personal information. Magento does not provide PCI compliance out of the box, though your business can achieve it quite easily. Both platforms release security patches and updates. However, if you use Magento, the main responsibility for data security lies with your development team.

API

Shopify has a suite of APIs that enable developers to enhance its built-in features. Aside from adding new functionality, the APIs allow reading and writing merchant data as well as interoperating with other platforms. Magento is an open-source solution, and its users have complete control over the sites they build. Still, it also has a web API framework. The latter supports Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), accounting, marketing automation, and Product Information Management (PIM).

Inventory management

Both platforms allow you to offer an unlimited number of products in your store. You can easily create new products and group them in collections. However, Shopify has the advantage of direct integration to dropshipping inventory applications. Also, as we have already mentioned, hosting a Magento e-commerce website is your responsibility. Therefore, adding too many products to a Magento store may be an issue.

Shipping charges calculation

Both Magento and Shopify have some powerful options allowing you to calculate shipping charges. However, the latter also boasts integrations with some dropshipping tools that have shipping estimates. Also, Shopify offers precise shipping calculators. Thus, with this platform, you can provide your customers with very accurate shipping cost estimates.

Proving discounts and coupons

With Magento, you will always have the functionality for managing discounts. Shopify has this option in all plans except the Lite. Thus, it wouldn’t be an issue if we were talking about the Shopify Plus vs Magento Enterprise comparison. However, if we consider starter options, Magento does have a slight advantage in this respect.

Themes and templates

Both platforms have a large collection of themes and templates. Among them, there are some responsive templates, free and paid. Thus, with Shopify and Magento, you can easily keep up with the modern trends in design. The difference between the two platforms in this respect is in pricing. Shopify offers much fewer free themes than Magento. As for premium themes, Shopify themes may cost between $80 and $180, while Magento offers a far wider pricing range — from just $1 up to $499.

Multi-language capabilities

By default, Shopify doesn't provide full-fledged multilingual capabilities. Therefore, you will have to use third-party apps that are mostly paid. At the same time, Magento supports multiple languages out of the box with the store view functionality. You can add multiple views in the language you need.

Ease of use

The next topic in our Shopify vs Magento Coalition comparison list is how easy they are to use. Both platforms offer quite powerful capabilities for building e-commerce sites. They provide user-friendly thought-out interfaces, making the launch of an online store fairly easy.

Still, Shopify’s wizard mode makes setting up stores simple even for novice users. Magento Open Source doesn’t have this feature.

On top of it, as we’ve mentioned earlier, unlike Shopify, Magento is not a hosted solution. To use it, you will have to procure hosting and set up your store yourself. Merchants who aren’t tech-savvy or don’t have an expert in e-commerce development at hand may find it challenging.

All in all, if you are a novice user and want to set up your store quickly, Shopify is a better choice.

Cost

At this point, the comparison of the two platforms becomes complicated. Calculating the total cost of building and using a website on one or the other requires taking into account many nuances. Have a look at the list below:

Points to consider that affect the total cost.webp

  • Pricing plans. There are no set-up fees in both cases. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, but eventually, you will have to pay to use this platform. The prices range from $9 per month for the Lite package to $2.000 and more for Shopify Plus.
  • Magento Community or Magento Open Source is free to use. However, the Enterprise Edition will cost you from $22.000 a year (around $1.800 per month). The price depends on the revenue your online shop generates.
  • Domain and hosting. If you choose Magento, you will have to pay for the domain and hosting of your online store. With Shopify, those expenses are included in the price of your package.
  • Store set up. Setting up a Magento store is more likely to require help from a professional. If you don’t have enough technical skills yourself, you’ll have to pay for the services of experts. Shopify is easier for novices to use.
  • Themes and templates. Both platforms offer free and paid themes and templates. In this respect, Shopify or Shopify Plus vs Magento Commerce competition has to clear no winner. Magento seems to have a wider pricing range, but it won’t necessarily be cheaper than Shopify.
  • The transaction fees. With Shopify, you will have to pay a transaction fee (0,15-2,4% depending on a plan) in addition to the payment provider fee, while Magento has no transaction fee.

On the whole, it is hard to tell which platform will be a better choice in terms of pricing. To make a decision, you’ll have to take the size and complexity of your e-commerce business and your online store into account.

Magento vs Shopify: which platform should you choose?

Hopefully, the above-mentioned pros and cons of Magento vs Shopify will help you decide which platform is better for your e-commerce business. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as the choice is essentially between the advanced customization options and the ease of building your e-commerce solution.

  • Shopify is more suitable for small businesses and startups. With its help, you get a short time to market for a relatively small cost and with little technical knowledge. You don’t have to worry about managing your hosting and keeping the performance of your servers up to the desired standard.

  • Magento is a better choice for medium and large businesses that are ready to invest time and money in building custom solutions. You will need a team to create your site, configure a server for it, and install all the add-ons you need. Also, this team will have to ensure that your infrastructure will come in line with the growth of your business.

This slow, laborious, and costly start gives you more freedom in the future. You have full access to the architecture of your solution. Therefore, you can implement any changes swiftly and adjust any processes.

Also, you can build your own custom payment gateway. Thus, you avoid Shopy’s transaction fees which can make a palpable difference for a large business. If you operate on a big scale, hiring a team to develop and support your website is more cost-efficient than paying a fixed fee.

On top of it, Magento is a better choice than Shopify if you choose to build a marketplace. In that case, the latter platform requires cumbersome development solutions.

But what if you are just launching your e-commerce business and have great plans for its growth? Should you start with Shopify or invest in a Magento site to avoid problems in the future? Counterintuitive though it may seem, Shopify is also a good choice. Later you make a transfer to a headless e-commerce solution to scale up. DigitalSuits can help you with that.

Our e-commerce development team has considerable knowledge of and experience in creating and upgrading Shopify online stores. We are closely familiar with the peculiarities of this platform and can enhance its potential with custom solutions. Contact us! We’ll be glad to help your e-commerce project start and evolve.

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