Shopify vs Magento: 21 Things You Need to Know
Picking the right Ecommerce platform is an important decision. It will play a critical role in how you manage and grow your online business. It could be the difference between breakout success or your business breaking down.
If you are creating an online store for the first time or unhappy with your existing platform, you may be considering either Shopify or Magento.
The question of shopify vs Magento comes up a lot in Ecommerce. Both platforms offer a variety of features and each has strengths and weaknesses. Before deciding which platform is best for your business you should first consider their differences.
Things to consider when deciding
Before picking the Ecommerce platform that is best for you, take a moment to answer the following questions:
- Do you need to set up your Ecommerce store quickly, or are you more focused on scaling the business over time?
- What are your realistic sales projections and what evidence do you have to support these numbers?
- Do you plan on selling products internationally or within your country or region?
- How many SKUs are you planning on selling? Are there different SKUs for different locations or countries?
- Do you have a development team to setup and maintain your store or are you planning on doing this yourself? If so, how much experience do you have with HTML, CSS, and Dev Ops? Are you willing to hire outside developers if the need arises?
- Are you planning on integrating your store with third party services or APIs?
Now that you’ve answered these important questions, let’s take a look at both platforms to see which one is right for you.
Shopify is a SaaS product that you pay for with the Basic Plan starting at $29 a month plus transaction fees. Shopify Plus has a monthly fee as well with no transaction fees.
Magento is a free, open-source platform. But free isn’t always free, unless you know how to code you will need a developer to customize the platform for your specific business needs.
Shopify is a hosted solution (they host it for you).
Magento requires that you host, install, setup and configure everything on your own before you can start setting up your store. This again will need a skilled developer to set everything up.
Important Ecommerce Features
Basic Ecommerce functionality — both Shopify and Magento offer the basic store functionalities needed to run an online store. Shopify features are easier to setup and need less technical knowledge to use compared to Magento.
Inventory management — the Shopify Starter plan allows a maximum of 25 store items unlike Magento which offers almost unlimited items in your store. The other Shopify plans above Starter allow for unlimited items as well.
Since Magento is not a hosted solution, your server resources may affect the performance of your store. If you add more products than your hosting can handle you could see issues with speed and load times. You won’t have to worry about these issues on Shopify since it is a hosted platform.
Calculating shipping charges — This is an important aspect when selling and shipping physical products online and both platforms do this well.
Coupons and discount codes — Magento allows for coupons and discount codes on all versions of their platform. Shopify allows this on all version except the Starter plan.
Payment gateways — Shopify supports 70 different payment gateways giving you plenty of options. Magento supports far less, but allows for the addition of more gateways by using third-party addons.
Themes and Templates — both Shopify and Magento offer a large collection of themes and templates. Magento has a larger library of free themes. The free Shopify themes tend to be more stylish and up to date with current design trends than Magento.
Both platforms also offer a wide selection of paid themes. The Shopify themes are generally more expensive, starting at around $80 while Magento’s start at only $1.
Blogging functionality — blogging is an integrated feature of Shopify. Blogging on Magento requires using a free plug-in.
SEO Capabilities — both platforms offer robust SEO capabilities to help drive organic traffic to your store. You can learn more about Ecommerce SEO here.
Multi-lingual — Shopify has third-party apps for creating fully multi-lingual stores but this feature is not available in the core platform. Shopify themes can also be custom coded to add this functionality. Magento has more built-in language support out of the box.
Apps and Add-ons — Shopify users can enhance the functionality of their store with over 100 apps and add-ons to choose from. Conversely, Magento has over 5,000 apps and add-ons. Both platforms have free and paid apps/add-ons to choose from.
Customization capabilities — both platforms can be customized via advanced interfaces that give you direct access to the raw HTML/CSS. This will allow you to change the UI and design of your store.
You can change basic attributes like colors, fonts, and menus through Shopify’s admin panel. SInce Magento is open-source, you have virtually unlimited customization options but you must be capable of programming the HTML/CSS to do so.
Shopify and Magento both offer robust Ecommerce solutions for your online store. Choosing the right one depends on your goals, technical skills/resources, and budget. If you are just starting out and don’t have a lot of experience coding HTML & CSS then you should consider Shopify.
If you are planning to scale into large volume and are willing to to hire Ecommerce developers, then Magento could be a good fit. Especially if you want a custom shopping cart experience.
Before making a decision, take the time to review your goals and answer the questions at the top of the post. Shopify vs Magento is an important decision to your Ecommerce success. Putting in a little work now can help you decide on the best solution for your business.