Magento vs Shopify – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

Magento vs Shopify – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). Finding and picking the right eCommerce platform to create manage and maintain an online store is of critical importance, as it can be the factor responsible for either success or failure for your business. For small businesses, this is especially crucial, since they have a limited budget and resources.

There is many popular eCommerce platforms but none are as popular as Magento and Shopify. Magento is the market leader when it comes to more complex and large eCommerce sites, while Shopify dominates the market for “hosted, all in one” eCommerce platforms. Although both are very different platforms, we’d like to compare them to assist you in deciding which is best for your business.

What is Magento?

Magento was founded in 2007 and is widely known for its flexibility, scalability and high customization capabilities. There are two editions of Magento: The first one is Magento Open Source and the second one is Magento Commerce.

  • Magento Open Source: A free, open source and self hosted platform that helps you create your own online store from scratch.
  • Magento Commerce or Adobe Commerce: Magento’s premium version is recommended for businesses and developers who are searching for a cloud based solution that optimizes store performance and boosts sales.

Magento Features

Magneto and Magento 2
  • SEO Search engine optimization friendly. 
  •  Checkout, Shipping and Payment.
  • Tracking and Reporting.

Magento Pros and Cons

Pros of Magento

  • Flexible with a lot of customization capabilities.
  • Wide variety of themes to choose from.
  • Great community with a lot of support for its users.
  • Call support available.
  • Magento commerce does not require any coding knowledge.
  • Magento is free and open source.

Cons of Magento

  • The learning curve steep so beginners may find it difficult.
  • It’s expensive and it has a slow loading time. 
  • Setup takes a lot of time
  • Hosting – you should use a dedicated server to host Magento.
  • Bad product support.

What is Shopify?

The other popular and self hosted eCommerce platform is Shopify. It allows you to build and manage your online store using their software. It is known for its incredibly easy and ready made eCommerce solutions that take care of all technical details for you. Founded in 2004, Shopify is a plug and play platform powering more than one million businesses across the world. Shopify can be used by both beginners and experts alike.

In addition to its own payment gateway, Shopify offers the ability to use over 100 other payment gateways. You can also accept payments offline and online with Shopify POS. There are several shipping options you can choose from with Shopify Shipping, which integrates directly into Shopify. Moreover, Shopify offers a number of useful additional features that make it simple to set up and manage your store.

Shopify features

  • Speed & Security.
  • Catalog management, accounting and custom reporting.
  • Excellent inventory system to support you maintain your store.

Shopify Pros and Cons

Pros of Shopify

  • A large selection of beautiful responsive themes to choose from.
  • All in one eCommerce platform.
  • Adding functionality to your website is easy with their app store.
  • Customer support is pretty good.
  • Quick and easy to use for beginners.
  • No coding knowledge required.
  • Multiple payment options and checkout options.
  • Dedicated community of fans.

Cons of Shopify

  • There is usually a cost associated with most themes.
  • When you integrate apps into your store, it becomes more complicated.
  • Each transaction has a fee (unless using Shopify payments).

Next in Magento vs Shopify – What’s the Difference? we compare both tools. 

Magento vs Shopify - Key Differences

1. Pricing

Magento Pricing

You can download Magento Open Source for free. Even though there is no charge for the Open Source edition of Magento, there are other associated costs. To develop and launch your store, you need to pay for web hosting, development work, and security. In addition to this, there will be a fee associated with accepting payments online, which varies depending on the payment gateway you choose.

The Adobe Commerce edition is paid. The cost of the Commerce edition license ranges between $22,000 and $125,000 per year, depending on your Annual GMV (Gross Merchandise Value). The GMV represents the total sales value during a given period.

Shopify Pricing

You need to subscribe to Shopify on a month to month, annual or biennial basis. Shopify Lite costs $9 per month and is the most basic plan offered by Shopify. Although you cannot create an online store through this plan, you can sell through an existing website or on Facebook instead.

The next plan of Shopify is Basic Shopify plan that costs $29 per month. There are two more plans, Shopify that costs $79 per month and Advanced Shopify costing $299 dollars per month. Shopify’s final plan i.e., Shopify Plus caters to high volume businesses and large retailers. The price of this plan depends on the needs of your business, so you must contact Shopify directly to receive a quote.

2. Themes

Magento Themes

Magento has a number of themes, the prices of which vary between $30 and $499. Professional developers can use these themes to design the perfect online store, integrate any feature and customize your site to match your brand needs. Since the Magento community is huge, there are a lot of themes available from their partners.

Shopify Themes

With its extensive collection of both free and premium themes, Shopify seems to lead the competition. However, the theme can only be slightly modified like changing the fonts, colors, block placement, etc. Despite what the platform claims, it is not possible to fully customize the theme without any coding knowledge. You need to hire a developer to create something unique. However, a developer can customize only limited things since it is not an open source platform.

3. Ease of Use

Magento Ease of Use

Magento is difficult to install and administer. Although the eCommerce edition makes things easier through its Page Builder, but it is not affordable for everyone. As a result, managing a Magento store is more difficult. Even though Magento is a complex system that needs a developer, it allows you to fully customize the functionality of your store, which is not possible with Shopify.

Shopify Ease of Use

Drag and drop functionality makes this platform extremely user friendly and easy to use. It’s very simple and straightforward to make changes as a shop admin. Also, you don’t have to be a skilled developer to create a Shopify store. You can create a simple store with only basic technical knowledge.

4. Apps & Extensions

Magento Apps & Extensions

On Magento’s official marketplace, you can find nearly 4000 extensions related to sales, marketing, SEO and shipping. Installing them correctly requires technical knowledge and a basic understanding of coding. Prices of the extensions vary, but most are below $40.

Shopify Apps and Extensions

Shopify offers a wide selection of over 6000 apps that can be uploaded and used. Over half of these apps are free. While most of these apps are easy to install and use, but some of them require a little coding experience. While some costs up to $400, most apps cost between $20 and $50. It’s also important to note here that since Shopify app store has moderators so every app is working here. However, there might be some compatibility issues since the apps are created by different developers. This poses a risk that something may stop working at some point after installing one app.

5. Marketing Features

magento vs shopify - marketing

Magento Marketing Features

Most marketing features in Magento server are only available as extensions, rather than built in features. Furthermore, these marketing tools need to be integrated by a professional developer. But still it’s worth because it gives you the ability to run email marketing campaigns or have your Magento store integrated with your Amazon Seller Central account.

Shopify Marketing Features

Shopify offers you the ability to run email campaigns, as well as advertising directly through Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. You can see marketing recommendations and create marketing activities and automations directly from the Marketing page in Shopify.

6. SEO

Magento SEO

In terms of SEO options, both platforms are very similar. You can change the meta tags, meta descriptions and meta titles of every page, in addition to changing URLs and multiple image alt tags. Magento comes with most SEO tricks already built in. Moreover, it offers a host of detailed SEO guides that will help you get started.

Shopify SEO

Shopify work out of the box pretty well with Google as there are several plugins that can make some of the basics that little bit easier. With Shopify, its quick and easy to create an online store that is search engine friendly as lots of SEO is built in. Most of the SEO options are easily generated and auto populated with the built in apps making the processes very simple.

7. Help and Support

Magento Help and Support

Open Source users are not provided with live support by Magento. Adobe Commerce edition comes with some support that includes a technical expert and a dedicated account manager to answer your questions. In contrast, Open Source software is supported by over 500,000 partners across the globe and you find documentation, guides, or tutorials for almost any minor problem.

Shopify Help and Support

Shopify offers live chat, email and phone support 24/7. Moreover, there are forums, video tutorials, and API documentation available that are easy for beginners to understand.

Thank you for your time. Magento vs Shopify – What’s the Difference? It is time to summarize.

Magento vs Shopify - What's the Difference? Conclusion

There is no winner or loser in the Magento vs Shopify battle as they both serves different purposes. Magenta is a flexible, powerful and efficient solution that supports multiple products and can handle lots of traffic. You can go global and expand fast using Magento. To create and maintain the store, an in house developer or at least a dedicated team is needed. A Magento store cannot be owned or developed without coding knowledge. Additionally, its prices are very high, particularly for Adobe Commerce licenses, they are affordable only to large enterprises and not practical for small businesses.

With Shopify, you can build a simple store in minutes using its drag and drop builder. As it comes with a bunch of sales and marketing tools, so you get every solution in a single platform. But to customize your website as your business grows, you need to make serious changes which is not fully possible with Shopify as it has limited customization possibilities. So, Shopify is suitable only for beginners and small business owners who want an easy and budget friendly solution.

We welcome you to browse our content on Magento.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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