Magento VS Shopify

Posted on: November 12, 2018
Blog

Looking into comparing Magento and Shopify you need to understand that the two platforms are not similar, this is misconception that most people believe to be true. In fact, the truth is that even though both of these platforms are eCommerce Solutions they are different in multiple aspects. From core structure, the payment options they provide, the way that extensions can be installed and different functionalities.Magento is one if not the worlds leading eCommerce platform. A self hosted solution that powers thousands of stores the world over, with a code base that has a thriving open source community behind it. Released in 2007, Magento offers both its free version and a premium version and is well known for being very flexible, allowing merchants to offer custom solutions for their customers.

Shopfiy is a hosted soliton, which currently has a rapidly growing user base and focuses on serving the needs of merchants that aren’t too focused on the technical aspect of running their online eCommerce store. It’s a monthly based subscription service, which offers a shared hosting package. The speed at which Shopify stores can be created is astronomical, stores can be started within minutes.

Talking briefly above about what the stores currently offer we need to dive a little deeper into the roles and functionality of these two platforms to find out more about them and what they can offer you as a solution.

Magento VS Shopify – What functionality do they share?

Having looked closely at the two stores and their differences, I’d like to point out what common instances Magento and Shopify share. Both platforms offer a wide range of features and functionality that allow merchants to run their online store hassle free. If you’ve ever had any experience working with either, you’ll know how powerful the functionality is in both.

A powerful user interface for the backend and frontend, to allow ease of use for merchants and clients a like. This is noticeable for any user who has switched from Magento 1 to Magento 2, with the new platform offering full page cache as a standard and upgrading to a more secure version of php.

Scalability is always in the back of every merchants mind, getting 1 year into running an eCommerce store you need to have the ability to scale and scale well, which both platforms offer as an experience merchants will like.

Frontend UX is now a large part of any eCommerce store, conversation rates matter. Both Magento and Shopify offer great aspects for frontend and the clients side experience. So all that we need to do now is run through the platforms and find which one is best for you!!

Where They Part Ways

No platform can do everything, all platform have there strengths and weaknesses. This needs to be kept in mind when looking at the two platforms. So, with this we need to start comparing each platform to the other and keep an open mind what is best for business, both for the merchant and the client. Choosing the right platform can’t come from just one factor, whether it be price tag or how fancy the product looks.

Platform popularity

There is no doubt that Magento and Shopify are gaining more popularity from the other eCommerce systems out there. Reports show that around 250,000 online stores are powered by Magento and 600,000 domains on Shopify. This is not always a clear indication that shows the distinct difference in the two platforms, as merchants of different sizes will pick different platforms.

On the whole, businesses that have smaller online stores will more than likely be inclined to lean towards a Shopify store. That’s because of its ease of use without any technical experience. Looking at Magento, the general image is that the system is most preferred by medium to large size online businesses. But the fact is that Magento can also be a great choice for small stores as well, with the effortless scalability, future proofing business’.

Hosting and files

When it comes to the hosting and control of Magento and Shopfiy there is one major difference. Magento offers an Open Source solution which you can self host. What does this mean? You have full control of where you put your store online. At this stage you get unlimited options of customisation, along with complete control over the source code and the amount you spend on servers. You can upgrade these at your own pleasure and move the store from one server to another.

Shopify on the other hand offers a hosted solution and you don’t require any technical experience to get this going. This allows merchants to click and install. However you don’t have access to the source code, or control over the amount you pay for your solution.

User Friendliness

Making up for the hosting, Shopify does provide user friendly platform. It allows you to easily modify basic attributes with its drag and drop interface.

Unlike Shopify’s admin area, Magento has a much steeper learning curve. But that is only due to its flexibility and needs to accommodate a wider range of customisations. Magento on the whole is more versatile, but forgoes some of its ease for this flexibility. However because the platform is so robust there are so many options for this, allowing large store owners to have the options they want and having to learn shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Speed & Performance

Website performance is key to every website, this is even more apparent when trying to make customers convert. Users don’t like waiting for a website to load, nor do they like waiting for checkout processes. If a user struggles to make I through the checkout they are less likely to return for a second time and make another purchase, or even convert the first time around.

Because Shopify is a hosted solution, you do not have to worry about the page load speeds or overall performance. They handle that, and should keep the server at an optimum level.

Taking control, Magento offers full control of every item you need. With full page cache, page speed is drastically improved. Other unique tweaks as also available, such as redis cache and the use of CDN’s such as cloud flare.

Payment Options

Every eCommerce store needs the option to have alternative payment options integrated into it. Both Magento and Shopify support different payment options.

Themes and Templates

Both Magento and Shopify support different themes and have a wide range of themes available online. With this Magento also lead the way, with a vast collection of people offering theme building and support.

Magento and Shopify also have customisable themes, though it’s relatively easy to install and modify Shopify themes. Magento,offers complex customisation but with enough room for flexibility, especially if you speak to the right digital agency.

Add-ons / Extensions

When it comes to add-ons or extensions Magento has the the market beaten hands down. The community offer hundreds of free and paid for extensions that extend the out of the box features and functionality of Magento. Some not even requiring development work to make them suit the look and free of a merchants store. Shopify, on the other hand has only a small number of add-ons, however there is a plus side, the installation of these is a lot simpler to help any merchant achieve their goals with ease.

SEO and Marketing

You don’t want all your efforts on the online store to go to waste by not employing powerful SEO techniques. You need to make sure that your eCommerce platform of choice allows you to apply SEO principles.

From the SEO and marketing perspective while comparing Magento vs shopify, both offer various functionalities and integration with marketing tools to maximize the ROI of your efforts. Both platforms allow basic functionalities to optimize the store level content to ensure higher SERP positions that directly translates into revenue for the store.

Shopify brings a basic set of SEO options. For example, you can edit meta tags and optimize inventory and product pages in SEO-friendly ways. Furthermore, this platform allows for in-depth optimization that involves modifying the file structure that makes it easier for search crawlers to do their job. The most prominent limitation is that Shopify stores are self-hosted, which means that you can’t make any server-level configurations.

However, Magento has the ability to integrate and implement your custom SEO and digital marketing strategies without any major hassles. It allows you to customize and tweak both the store design and the SEO strategy for maximum output. And its non-hosted, open source nature makes all this accessible through API and extension integration. Magento offers out-of-the-box tools that you might not be able to readily find in Shopify.
Pricing

Shopify starts out with a free trial, but you’ll soon have to pay for it. The most affordable option is priced at $29 per month, but that price goes up to $299 for the Advanced Shopify plan. By paying more, you get access to a more extensive set of features like advanced statistics, gift cards, and more. Additionally, themes and extensions can be premium-priced as well.

When it comes to ‘hidden fees,’ you need to know that Shopify charges transaction fees for payments made via external payment gateways. These include PayPal, Braintree, and others.

If you’re using Magento Open Source, then the cost of Magento ecommerce web hosting will depend on where you choose to host. With Magento’s Commerce Cloud and Magento in general, there isn’t a fixed price as everything is custom to your store and your needs. If we compare Magento vs shopify, then Magento provides a more robust platform than Shopify and can charge more for that premium experience.

Conclusion

Because every business is different, making the decision really comes down to you! Both Magento and Shopify are great choices, that’s why we offer support, development and design for both. Because Magento is our main bread and butter we usually opt for this, but we make sure whatever we choose, we choose it together and make sure it is the right fit for your business.

If you’re not sure which platform suites you best, why not get in touch and talk to us about your business.

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