As two of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market, Magento and Shopify often race head to head against each other. They each have their fair share of ardent supporters, but as they are completely distinct tools with a whole set of individual features, we will try to highlight the ways in which Magento and Shopify differ, to help you to choose the best eCommerce platform for your business needs.
Both very popular platforms, Magento and Shopify have always scored high in users’ preferences. If Shopify has made a name for itself as an easy-to-use platform that anyone can come to grips with, Magento on the other hand is preferred by eCommerce owners who want more than a one-size-fits-all website builder.
Ease of use
With a drag-and-drop website builder, which means you can easily customize your store by moving elements around the page exactly how you want, Shopify scores high with users lacking technical abilities. To keep things hassle-free, Shopify is a proprietary platform, and the source code cannot be altered in any way. Therefore, it is a fine solution for simple stores, but not ideal for more complex ones with specific advanced functions that require changes to the source code.
Completely different, Magento is for web developers only. An open-source platform, extremely adaptable, and customizable, it can be adjusted to fit just about any sort of needs that developers, merchants, or other end users might have. On top of that, it boasts the largest community of implementation partners and developers, with more than 200,000 developers worldwide.
Sales tools are impressive on both platforms. Shopify features abandoned cart recovery, multi-channel selling on Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram out of the box, and partnerships with USPS, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post, to save the hassle of finding your own courier service.
Magento comes with excellent built-in features such as bulk product import from your database, multiple product variants, total revenue reports, and total visitor count. It also features multi-channel selling options, checkout customization, abandoned cart recovery, and setting price discount options. But the possibility to expand it with any imaginable extension makes Magento limitless.
Shopify supports over 100 different payment gateways. It also has its own payment processor, Shopify Payments, which imposes zero transaction fees (aside from the regular credit card processing fees). Shopify imposes its own transaction fees for all payment gateways unless you use its own option, Shopify Payments, which can be quite restrictive.
Magento has better payment processor options than Shopify, supporting over 150 payment gateways. In order to integrate your store with the more common payment processors like Stripe or Square, you’ll just need to install them from the marketplace. Moreover, Magento allows you to sell directly through Amazon while using your own Magento-based inventory. This is quite practical, allowing you to reach many more customers via the Amazon marketplace.
With over 30 security enhancements, like two-factor authentication for the Magento Admin panel by default, and with a large community of developers keeping an eye out for vulnerabilities, and frequently releasing dedicated security patches that are the result of constant testing and development, Magento tops the polls in every aspect.
On the other hand, Shopify’s updates and security patches are managed by in-house talent. This makes for a much smaller pool of resources working on creating and deploying fixes for security problems.
Magento excels in SEO and comes with plenty of built-in features to help you get started. You can edit image alt tags (which help Google understand how to categorize an image on the image search platform), and customize URLs to help search engine users find your web pages more easily.
Shopify is more reliant on apps for its SEO. While you can edit page titles and image alt tags, you’ll need to search the app store for the majority of your SEO tricks.
Both Magento and Shopify allow for an unlimited number of products, and the integration of shipping and fulfillment extensions into the store so that inventory management is easy.
With Shopify, the larger the store becomes, the more products you have to manage in terms of search, deliverability, and more, and this can create performance problems.
On the opposite side, Magento’s support for Elasticsearch, allowing for search by SKU, name, attributes, category, and personalized product delivery make it a clear winner.
This is where Magento really excels, with more than 2,000 M2 compatible extensions, providing unlimited ways to upgrade your website with must-have features. This is mainly due to Magento’s community-centered open-source software, which allows anyone to create their own extensions.
In comparison, Shopify is far behind on integrations and extensions, with far fewer add-ons.
Time and resources
As we mentioned earlier, Magento is known to require certain skills and effort from developers. Getting comfortable with its concepts and terminology, understanding its mechanisms and paradigms, and learning how to develop it properly is definitely no play in the parc! But, if done right, this is the right tool for your business to tackle growth and expansion.
In comparison, Shopify is intended for simple, small online shops, which are easy to build and to manage. Besides look and feel, it does not present enough flexibility in terms of features and feasibility of customization. Shopify may seem easy and inexpensive at first, but, as your business grows, and demand for customization increases, this quickly becomes an expensive and unscalable option.
In conclusion, both platforms are well equipped for today’s eCommerce market. Deciding which one is best for your needs depends on your goals and resources.
If you have the resources and are looking to create personalized customers’ experiences that visitors will not find anywhere else, then Magento is the one for you. With functionality, you just can’t find anywhere else, and an open-source version driven by an incredible community, it’s hard to beat.
Shopify on the other hand is best if you’re looking to design a more simplistic website that requires little commitment and maintenance overall. This makes it the perfect choice for new businesses without the budget or technical know-how for a more in-depth builder.