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Shopify vs Magento

Last Updated: 27th January 2023

As an online business, choosing the right ecommerce platform is one of the most important decisions you'll make. Shopify and Magento are two popular platforms that have been around for years, and each has their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, we'll look at the pros and cons of each platform and compare them side-by-side to help you decide between Shopify vs Magento and which is best suited for your business requirements.

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Shopify vs Magento: Overview

Shopify and Magento are the two leading ecommerce platforms used by millions of businesses around the world. Both offer a wide range of features and functionalities to help you quickly and easily set up an online store.

Shopify is a hosted platform, meaning you don't need to worry about hosting your own website. It comes with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, an extensive library of themes and templates, and a range of built-in payment processors. It's especially popular among small business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking for a simple and affordable way to get their stores up and running.

Magento, on the other hand, is an open-source platform that requires you to host your own website. It's more complex than Shopify and requires a bit more technical knowledge, but it also offers more flexibility and customisation options. It's popular among larger businesses and those who need more advanced features.

What is Shopify?

Before comparing the two ecommerce platforms Shopify vs Magento, it’s good to have an understanding of what each platform does and its features so that a better-informed decision can be made when choosing between the two ecommece platforms.

Shopify is a complete commerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business. Its expertise and leadership in commerce come from the experiences of millions of merchants on its platform. With Shopify, merchants can build and customize an online store and sell in multiple places, including web, mobile, in person, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops and across multiple channels from social media to online marketplaces.

Shopify is completely cloud-based and hosted, giving users the flexibility to access and run their business from anywhere with an internet connection. Shopify's core product includes everything merchants need to turn their idea into a business and start selling, including templates for the look and feel of the store, tools to sell online and in-person, integrated payment processing, the best-converting checkout on the internet, SEO features and marketing tools, and access to Shopify APIs and development tools to customize the store's capabilities even further.

It also offers powerful upgrades to help merchants grow their business on its platform, from easier access to capital to flexible payment options. Furthermore, the Shopify App Store has thousands of apps and features built by third-party developers to customize the store without ever once touching the code. There’s also a marketplace of Shopify Experts that merchants can hire to build custom solutions for their businesses.

With Shopify, merchants can create commerce everywhere, including personalising the front end of their website to create a unique, seamless shopping experience for customers, promoting and selling their products across channels from one centralized place, and leveraging tools to create their brand, host their domain securely, and reach every customer. For an example of Shopify stores that have been setup from scratch or migrated over from other platforms, be sure to look at our work.

What is Magento?

Adobe Commerce's Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform for some of the top brands in the world, which offers versatile functionality. It was initially released in 2008, by Varien and has grown to become one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. Magento is written in the PHP programming language, and it uses multiple other frameworks such as Laminas (formerly known as Zend Framework) and Symfony. It also employs the MySQL or MariaDB relational database management system, the PHP programming language, and elements of the Zend Framework.

Magento offers a variety of features and capabilities. These include a flexible shopping cart system, and support for multiple payment gateways, shipping methods, and languages. It also provides a host of marketing, SEO, and catalog-management tools and functions. Additionally, Magento has enterprise-grade database scalability, built-in server-side Apache Varnish caching, and improved static content browser caching.

Magento is an excellent option for larger businesses who want to sell their products online. It has a flexible model to make store changes, and it also offers exceptional performance and security. With Magento, merchants can easily create unique, non-Plagiarized content to make their stores stand out from the competition.

Overall, Magento is a powerful ecommerce platform that offers a variety of features, capabilities, and tools. It is secure, and it is capable of handling enterprise-level functionality.

Shopify vs Magento: What's the Difference?

Now that we've got an overview of both platforms, let's look into how they compare with each other. The first and perhaps most important difference is in the way each platform is hosted. Shopify is a hosted platform, meaning you don't need to worry about hosting your own website. Magento, on the other hand, is an open-source platform that requires you to host your own website, so this requires a bit more complexity and extra steps before a merchant can get their store initially up and runing.

The second major difference is in the features and functionalities offered by each platform. Shopify is simpler and easier to use, but it's also more limited in terms of features and customization options. Magento, on the other hand, is more complex but also offers some more advanced features and customisation options.

The third major difference is in the pricing plans offered by each platform. Shopify has more affordable pricing plans, with multiple plans to choose from depending on a businesses needs, while Magento is generally more expensive. Let's dive into the advantages and disadvantages of the two platforms in a bit more detail.

Pros and Cons of Shopify

Shopify continues to take a larger portion of the ecommerce market share, and for good reason. The Shopify platform has a lot going for it and is a great option for many businesses across a plethora of industries. Here are some of the key advantages of using Shopify to host an online store:

• Easy to use, with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface
• No coding skills required for basic stores
• Comprehensive library of themes and templates
• Wide range of built-in payment processors
• 24/7 customer support
• Comprehensive app store
• Affordable, scalable pricing plans

However, there are also some drawbacks to using Shopify. Here are some of the potential disadvantages of Shopify:

• Limited inventory and fulfillment options
• Limited customisation options
• Some international selling limitations
• Not suitable for large-scale businesses unless on the enterprise plan

Pros and Cons of Magento

Magento is a powerful and versatile ecommerce platform, and is popular among larger businesses. Here are some of the key advantages of using Magento:

• Highly customisable
• Comprehensive inventory and fulfillment options
• Strong international selling capabilities
• Powerful content management system

As with Shopify, there are some potential drawbacks to using Magento. Here are some of the potential Magento cons and disadvantages:

• Requires hosting your own website
• More complex than Shopify
• Requires more technical knowledge
• No 24/7 customer support and more limited support resources

Shopify vs Magento: Features

Both Shopify and Magento provide fundamental store features that are quite easy to use and keep up-to-date. Compared to Magento, Shopify is a lot simpler to set up and use. Both Magento and Shopify come with the same fundamental functionalities, such as shopping carts, checkout modules, collections, and product pages. The primary distinction is that Magento has more sophisticated and intermediate functions included within the platform. With Shopify, more functionality is frequently only available through a third-party app. That being said, with the number of advanced apps available on the Shopify app store, advanced technology can be leveraged to unlock a new level of ecommerce experience.

With the help of third-party integrations with tech partners like Klaviyo, Yotpo, and Recharge among others, Shopify offers excellent marketing capabilities, including the ability to launch email campaigns or to offer customers highly-converting subscriptions. On Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest you may sell and advertise directly, adding an additional channel to reach a larger target audience.

The majority of Magento's marketing resources come from its Marketplace. To launch email campaigns, for instance, you'll need to install extensions such as Remarkety for example. Additionally, if you want genuinely customized features, you'll probably need to rely on a web developer's expertise to integrate your marketing tools, whereas Shopify has a tonne of built-in marketing tools to help your store grow. Overall, Shopify has a wider range of potential features and innovations with the help of the Shopify App store, with over 8,000 apps available as of 2023.

Shopify vs Magento: Payment Gateways

Payment gateways and processors set the foundation for every transaction in ecommerce stores. Without payment gateways, merchants cannot receive and process payments from customers, along with all the transaction information that comes with it.

Shopify integrates with over 100 payment gateways, offering a lot of flexibility to both customers and online store owners. Something that is worth noting is that different demographics across different countries around the world typically prefer different methods of payment compared to others, and many users enjoy the convenience of using payment processors they already have setup. Each third-party payment gateways has its own pricing structures and levels of ease of use, so integrating multiple ways to pay is often better as it offers more flexibility to customers. Magento supports PayPal,, Braintree, and supports some additional third-party payment providers, although, fewer than Shopify. Perhaps most significantly, Shopify offers an integrated POS system, while Magento does not. Shopify POS can be invaluable to ecommerce stores that also wish to sell products in person via pop-up shops or physical stores.

While Shopify offers more choice in terms of payment gateways than Magento, its worth taking into account the fees of transactions when using payment platforms as some can be more expensive than others. Third-party payment gateways tend to have a transaction fee, while Shopify’s built-in payment mechanism, Shopify Payments, has no transaction costs.

Shopify vs Magento: Web Development and Coding

When it comes to coding and the amount of knowledge needed for web development, Magento and Shopify are vastly different. Magento uses PHP, while Shopify uses a proprietary language called Liquid. PHP is a common server-side language and a widely-used programming language among e-commerce web developers around the world. Liquid is an open-source template language created by Shopify and written in Ruby. It is the backbone of Shopify themes and is used to load dynamic content on storefronts.

Both PHP and Liquid are great programming languages for ecommerce stores. PHP is an open-source language that provides flexibility and extensive features, making it popular for web development. Liquid is a template language used for customising websites and creating dynamic webpages. It is a secure language and makes it easy to change the look and feel of a website without changing the code.

Ultimately, the programming language that is best for your ecommerce store depends on your specific requirements and preferences. Magento requires a lot more coding knowledge than Shopify to create a store from scratch and is therefore better suited for ecommece businesses with access to a professional developer team. While basic Shopify stores are simple to setup with minimal coding knowledge required, it is still recommended to hire expert developers so that an online store can really stand out from the competition. In the ecommerce world today, there are so many new stores popping up month after month which is making it more difficult for websites to differentiate themselves from the competition and deliver a truly unique ecommerce experience, especially as similar templates are used.

Shopify vs Magento: Usability

Finally, when it comes to usability, both Shopify and Magento have a highly engineered and well-developed user interface. Shopify is generally more suitable for beginners, while Magento is generally better for advanced developers.

Shopify offers an easy-to-use interface with a drag-and-drop editor, making it simple to manage products, inventory, and more. Shopify also provides users with a huge library of themes, plugins, and other features to customize their store, making it easy to get started using a basic store quite easily and quickly. Magento, on the other hand, requires a steep learning curve and requires advanced coding knowledge to customize and manage the store. Magento also has fewer free themes available than Shopify. It is worth noting that while Shopify is less complex to use than Magento, the simplicity can sometimes limit how advanced the features can be out of the box, compared to Magento. Of course, if developers are available, both platforms can be utilized to the max to unlock online stores' full potential.

Shopify vs Magento: Pricing

When it comes to price, Shopify offers a variety of plans, ranging from their Basic plan at $39 per month, Standard Plan at $105 per month, to their Advanced plan at $399 per month, with Shopify Plus starting at $2,000/month for its enterprise clients. Magento also offers a range of plans, from their free Community Edition to their Enterprise Edition at $18,000 per year. In terms of features, the different tiers of plans generally have more advanced features the more money you spend. Ecommerce business and websites can choose more affordable or more expensive plans depending on their revenue and budget with both platforms. However, Shopify is a winner when it comes to overall pricing as the different plans are more affordable than their Magento counterparts, especially as web hosting costs are lower and transaction fees for payment gateways (if using Shopify Payments) are less using Shopify.

Shopify vs Magento: Security

Both Shopify and Magento are secure platforms and offer a range of security features to protect your business. Shopify uses a secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to ensure that your customer's information is kept safe, and also offers two-factor authentication and fraud protection. Magento also uses SSL encryption and offers two-factor authentication, as well as fraud protection and PCI compliance. Merchants can rest knowing that both platforms offer advanced levels of security for their online business and their customers.

Shopify vs Magento: Customisation

Customisation is paramount when it comes to building an online store, as it displays to prospective customers your brand image and mission. Better customized stores are also more likely to have higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates than more poorly designed or customized stores. When it comes to customisation, both Shopify and Magento offer a wide range of themes and templates. Shopify has an extensive library of themes and templates, while Magento has more advanced customisation options.

Magento is more flexible than Shopify, in that it enables you to customize your store however you like. Shopify offers a wider range of themes than Magento and you don't need to utilize code to customize Shopify themes. The free Shopify themes are often more modern than the free themes supplied by Magento Open Source, despite the fact that the quantity of free Shopify themes is substantially less than that of Magento Open Source. The fact that Shopify premium themes start at $80 while Magento paid themes start at $1 puts Shopify at a disadvantage in this area. With Shopify, merchants aren't limited to premade templates, they can also use custom Shopify themes made bespoke for their store. Both Shopify and Magento provide a good selection of responsive templates, both free and premium, to meet the modern necessity of responsive website design (a design that functions well across a range of frequently used devices people use to access the internet).

The customisation options with Magento are as good as they get because all of its code is open source, any of which you can modify in any way you like. However, as was already mentioned, Shopify performs better in this area by offering a straightforward, menu-driven method to change the basic attributes of your store such as fonts, colours, etc. very easily. However, only individuals with a solid foundation in web development and HTML/CSS coding are able to take use of this unconstrained freedom to customize.

Additionally, Shopify provides a theme editor that enables you to experiment with your theme's appearance. This editor also allows you to conceal areas so that you may work on upcoming upgrades without having to duplicate the theme or use a staging server.

The drag-and-drop sections that Shopify offers are nice for structuring the material on your website. Although it isn't exactly a drag-and-drop builder, it provides a far simpler design interface than Magento. Shopify also manages patches and updates for their customers, while Magento requires you to do this manually. In terms of design, both Magento and Shopify hold their own. However, Shopify offers a more direct design experience for beginners from the get-go. Merchants on Shopify that want to deliver a more bespoke user experience might require assistance from a team of web designers and web developers to truly create a unique store that stands out from the competition.

Shopify vs Magento: Support

In terms of support, Shopify provides excellent customer services including phone, email, and live chat support, as well as a a Shopify Acadamy resources, and Merchant Sucess Program (For merchants on the Shopify Plus plan). Shopify also offers helpful tutorials and a large number of third-party apps and plugins. On the other hand, Magento offers limited customer support that isn’t 247. However, Magento does provide a fairly comprehensive knowledge base and forums. Because of this, Shopify takes the win for smaller businesses that may require additional support and assistance when issues arise, while Magento might be better for more well-established companies.

Shopify vs Magento: Shipping and Inventory

An important component of selling physical goods through e-commerce stores is shipping and inventory management. Shopify has powerful point-of-sale (POS) software with inventory tracking, unified analytics, and staff management capabilities. Merchants can manage inventory levels and view detailed sales reports with Shopify. Magento comes with a basic inventory management system, just like Shopify. However, this platform stands out when it comes to advanced features. Magento has more robust inventory and order management features than Shopify. Its extensions and custom solutions let you create an unlimited number of product types and categories, and add custom fields to the checkout process.

Both platforms provide versatile and powerful solutions for the calculation of shipping fees. If you want to be as accurate as possible for your consumers, Shopify also interfaces with several dropshipping solutions (including delivery estimates) and more precise shipping calculators.

Provision for discounts and coupons is a feature that is not accessible on Shopify's Lite plan, making it somewhat of an underdog in this competition, but it is offered on all other tiers. Magento includes built-in functionality for discount code generation and calculation.

When it comes to inventory, your store can have an unlimited number of products under any of the Shopify plans. You can build and sell an endless number of products with Magento. Both systems make it simple to build goods and collections, but Shopify wins this round due to its direct interaction with dropshipping inventory apps like Oberlo.

It should be mentioned that because Shopify is a fully managed and hosted solution, it can sometimes be more seamless to add a higher volume of products and images to an online store. If you add too many products to your Magento store, your host (server) performance and site loading speed may bring problems during periods of high traffic and orders.

Shopify vs Magento: Plugins and Apps

Both Shopify and Magento offer a wide range of apps and plugins to extend the functionality of your store. Shopify has a comprehensive app store, while Magento has a wide range of third-party integrations. The Shopify apps help in numerous ways to improve and increase the functionality of your online store, as well as increase the life cycle of your business as it allows merchants to innovate and compete with other ecommerce stores more effectively. With apps for things like loyalty programmes, accountancy, and email marketing, the Shopify App store is continually expanding. A bonus is that you won't install a useless programme that will harm your website because Shopify moderates its app store rather well. The success of the Shopify App Store gives it a slight edge over Magento. Custom Apps can also be made entirely bespoke to unlock the full potential of ecommerce stores.

Shoify vs Magento: International Selling

When it comes to international selling, Shopify and Magento both offer a range of options. Shopify does not immediately provide in-depth multilingual features. However, Shopify Markets and Shopify Markets Pro, as well as Shopify, third-party/paid apps are available for building completely multilingual stores. Shopify also offers the option of custom-coding your theme to support many languages. To execute this, you would likely need to hire a professional Shopify developer. Magento natively has an edge because it has more multilingual support built right in, although both can be used to sell internationally effectively after some tinkering. For an in depth guide on how to sell internationally on Shopify, be sure to read our helpful article!

Shopify vs Magento: Content Management Systems

Shopify offers an ever-expanding list of ecommerce Content Management System (CMS) features, allowing users to create, edit, manage, and publish content. It also provides features such as SEO-friendly content blogging and managing multiple languages, which is essential for positioning on search engines such as Google and Bing. However, Shopify's CMS is not ideal for content-heavy pages, blogs, documentation, and or rich content, and it cannot handle all of the content requirements for a business today.

Magento has a very powerful content management system, featuring easy-to-use page builder capabilities, support for diverse content types, and a WYSIWYG editor. It is highly scalable and can easily handle a huge variety of products. Magento also offers excellent content management capabilities, making it a great choice for starting an ecommerce store. Shopify offers simpler capabilities as an integrated feature.

Shopify vs Magento: Conclusion

Overall, both Shopify and Magento offer unique solutions for creating and managing an online store. Ultimately, the choice between Shopify and Magento comes down to your needs and goals. Shopify is the clear winner in terms of user-friendliness and customer service, while Magento offers more customisation options and marketing features. Shopify is simpler and easier to use, with an affordable pricing structure, while Magento is more complex but also offers more advanced features and customisation options.

If you're a small business owner or entrepreneur who's looking for an easy-to-use platform with affordable pricing plans, then Shopify is probably a good fit. If you're a larger business that needs more advanced features and customsation options, then Magento could be a better choice.

In this comparison of Shopify vs Magento, we've looked at the key differences between the two platforms, including features, usability, coding capabilities, customisation, apps and plugins, support, international selling, payment processors, pricing, inventory, fulfillment, and any other comparisons of the two platforms. We hope this blog post has helped you decide which ecommerce platform is right for your business! If you're thinking about migrating to Shopify, or building a Shopify store store from the ground up, don't hesitate to get in touch with Charle today.

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