If you’re reading this, you’ve either dreamed of starting an online business, or you currently have an e-commerce website with Magento or Shopify.
In either case, you have probably attempted to do some research between the different ecommerce platforms.
So if you are debating between the Shopify and Magento, look no further. Here you will find useful information that will aid you in your decision between the two platforms. In the following, We will go over the pros/cons and similarities/differences between these two platforms. After reading, you will be able to make a better decision on which platform is right for your business.
Shopify is a quick and easy solution to building a website with a shopping cart. Shopify is built on the ideology of SaaS (Software as a Service), so they generate income based on how many people sign up and use their software.
They have plans starting at $29/mo and up to $299/mo depending on functionality. The higher plans come with more features and reduced transaction fees, which are fees applied to every purchase that you, as the owner of the web store, incur (Magento also has transaction fees, which we’ll get to later). Shopify is geared more towards users who are not tech savvy, or startups who want something simple.
But at the same time, there is an option for you if you have an enterprise level business. Shopify offers Shopify Plus, a scalable e-commerce solution.
If you are looking towards the future, Shopify has options for scaling your business which should give you peace of mind.
Magento is a free, fairly complex and extremely robust open source software. This means you have complete control over your Magento installation and can freely modify anything on it.
This allows Magento to suit most, if not all of your current and future needs. Depending on the complexity, some of these modifications may require a developer’s assistance. This open source software leads to huge numbers of developers creating both free and paid extensions or plugins that are compatible with it.
Magento also has an enterprise solution which is now known as ‘Magento Commerce’. If you’re planning for the future with Magento, you can rest assured knowing that you have an enterprise option.
If you need something done to your site like a one-page checkout, cloud zoom, or even a color swatch, chances are that someone has already made a plugin that you can purchase and install on your web store. Like Shopify, some of these are paid but there are also numerous free software that you can easily take advantage of.
Without getting into too much detail, you can browse through the Magento Marketplace especially as you make the transition from 1.9 to 2.
Pros: a. Extremely easy to set-up b. Get up and running quickly c. Friendly UI e. hosted-solution (site is hosted by shopify)
Cons: a. One storefront on one platform b. monthly fee c. Limited extensions d. Limited customization e. Hosted-solution(no FTP/SSH access to files to customize/make edits) f. requires extension for some out of box features like adding product reviews. g. limited staff accounts
Pros: a. Free b. Open Source c. Giant community of developers and support d. Scaleable e. Multiple storefronts / languages / currencies on one platform f. Versatile/Robust out of box features g. Unlimited admin accounts
Cons: a. Difficult to set-up b. Complexity c. Learning curve to fully utilize its features
So now the real question we should be answering is: “What about the costs?” Below are the general costs that you will see when first starting out with each platform. These costs will most likely increase based on your needs for additional features from extensions/apps.
Magento Open Source – Free
Extensions: Free, 1-time fees, reoccurring
Hosting: You will have to buy hosting which typically start around $10 and only increases based on your server needs. This means that you can shop around and find a hosting provider that is right for you and you will have full access to your files.
Shopify – Monthly cost – Basic $29, Middle $79, Advanced $299
Extensions: Free, Recurring
Hosting: Hosted solution you can NOT move your shopify site to another hosting. This also means no FTP/SSH access which in layman terms means you can not connect to your server to customize/make edits to your files.
The way that Shopify runs their business is that these extensions are installed quickly as easily but once your subscription to them stops, you lose your changes.
For example. There are SEO plugins where you can optimize your pages, and listings for $4.99. However, once you cancel your subscription, the changes get reverted.
This is one major downside so as a warning, make sure that you do the proper research before installing your extension and you are committed to subscribing for the long-term.
For Magento, these extensions may incur a higher up-front cost than Shopify but also do require a developer to help you install them.
Unlike Shopify, these extensions remain yours once they are installed.
In both instances, it requires your due diligence to perform research before you install them. You can also contact us with any questions or advice on our professional opinions.
In the end, the question you need to ask isn’t whether Magento or Shopify is better, it’s important to understand what your business needs and who will be managing the store.
Luckily for Ready Artwork, we have Magento certified developers and are now a Magento Partner and feel that when it comes to platforms, it is the one that we typically recommend. We’re also doing what we can to help everyone make a smooth transition from Magento 1.9 to 2.
Shopify on the other hand is simplified and has helped some of our clients scale their online retail business.
For the most part, the back end is simpler to use and manage.
Both platforms have low-cost solutions and both have solutions to help your business to scale to the enterprise level.
We hope that this guide was helpful but if you have any questions or if you’re still having trouble deciding, you can ask us using the form below!