January 29, 2024

Magento vs. Shopify for Your eCommerce Business: Head-to-Head Comparison

Nadya Bakhur

Researcher, Technical Writer

Ecommerce

Magento vs. Shopify for your e-commerce business
January 29, 2024

Magento vs. Shopify for Your eCommerce Business: Head-to-Head Comparison

Nadya Bakhur

Researcher, Technical Writer

Ecommerce

Magento vs. Shopify for your e-commerce business

Today's e-commerce market offers various platforms to grow successful online retail businesses, but sometimes, many options complicate decision-making. 

This article will compare two popular options – Shopify and Magento. What are their advantages and disadvantages? Which platform should you choose based on your business requirements and circumstances? Let's move on to the details.

Why is selecting the right e-commerce platform essential for your business?

Before going into the Shopify vs. Magento comparisons, it is necessary to look at the general characteristics that are crucial to consider when choosing the e-commerce platform.

Pay special attention to the following:

  1. Functionality

Functionality is an essential indicator, including the following metrics:

  • Data upload: this is especially important if you have a large online store with tens of thousands of different products. Study how products are exported and imported (what file format is applied) and if the ability to upload products to marketplaces will be manageable.
  • Content generation: here, you should check what font templates are available and evaluate the proposed plugins, modules, and anything else that may be required while working on the project.
  • Increasing conversion: the platform may have special blocks, integrations on which you can place your advertisements, and information about promotions and discounts.
  • Analytics: the platform must have a unique tool for collecting and analyzing data. This will allow you to evaluate your conversion rate and make certain adjustments if necessary.
  1. Integration with third-party services and tools

Check whether there is compatibility with payment aggregators, accounting tools, and other software that simplifies the store's operation and makes it more functional.

If the built-in integrations of the platform do not include the software necessary for your web store, you still don't need to cross this off the list. First, request the platform's support. It may be possible to set up integration via a plugin or API.

  1. Management 

An important point is that if you are not a system administrator or programmer, ease of installation and management is a parameter to which you should pay close attention. Many store owners prefer to install a content management system themselves. If you do not have special skills, then ease of installation and subsequent work with the platform is significant.

  1. Technical support

The e-commerce solution must be supported and updated, and there must be an active community of developers so that in case of any problem, you can seek qualified help and promptly receive a response to your request.

  1. Security

Security is essential both for a small project and an extensive online store. This criterion should be addressed when choosing the optimal e-commerce platform.

  1. Pricing

eCommerce platforms can be paid or free. If you have just started working on your project, you do not need a paid, expensive solution initially. The reason is apparent – you will spend most of the money on functionality that may be unnecessary.

Your e-commerce platform has a considerable impact on the growth of your business. It's a window into your store and can make or break your budget and customer experience. Below, we will thoroughly examine two real e-commerce giants, Shopify and Magento. Follow up!

Shopify or Magento: how to make the right choice?

Which e-commerce platform should you choose for your business, Magento or Shopify? Both are great options that have a lot to offer. Shopify is a fully hosted, fixed-price platform known for its user-friendliness. On the other hand, Magento (Adobe Commerce) and Magento Open Source are known for their extensive feature set and customization options.

Following the most recent statistics, there are more than 140,000 live Magento-based websites. Shopify can boast more than 4.7 mln. active e-commerce websites. Thus, Shopify is selected as an e-commerce platform in 6% of cases, while Magento is chosen only in 0.7%.

Shopify and Magento shares of all the e-commerce websites.
Percentages of websites using various content management systems. Source.

The difference may seem drastic, but it's worth noting that Magento is much more often used for sites with high-traffic volumes, while Shopify is more often the choice for low-traffic websites:

Market positions of the most popular CMS
Content management systems, market positions. Source.

Moreover, while Shopify is preferred in Canada and the United States, Magento has gained worldwide popularity. In the EMEA region, it is, in general, the top-selected e-commerce platform:

The most popular e-commerce software platforms in the EMEA region
Distribution of most used e-commerce software platforms in the EMEA region. Source.

With that in mind, we're comparing Shopify versus Magento not to find a clear winner (spoiler: the winner in this case is impossible to select) but to help you understand their features and whether they can support your e-commerce store's ambitions.

General information

Magento entered the market in 2008. In 2015, the Magento 2 version was introduced. Today, the "two" is already the default edition of the platform since technical support for Magento 1 ended on June 30, 2020. 

Magento was built in PHP and is available under an open-source license. Thanks to a popular and proven language and openness, the platform allows you to adapt it to your needs, of course, if you have the appropriate skills.

In 2018, the platform was acquired by Adobe, and since then, it has been available in 3 versions – Magento Open Source, Adobe Commerce, and Adobe Cloud Commerce. Magento Commerce is an open-source “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) e-commerce website builder. Adobe Commerce is a paid version of the solution, offering many more features and opportunities than its “sister.” 

Shopify was founded in 2004. The platform operates on a SaaS (software as a service) model and is aimed primarily at newbie sellers who do not have advanced technical skills and are just starting their e-commerce adventure. For this reason, many aspects of creating and managing a store are adequately automated and simplified.

Shopify uses a language created specifically for its needs, namely Liquid, built on top of Ruby. Thanks to Liquid, the platform introduced functions that allow you to edit your store freely and easily. Still, the core code is not accessible, and that's why it's impossible to implement some particularly advanced functions requested in e-commerce.  

Usability

Comparing Shopify versus Magento regarding usability, the winner is obvious – it’s Shopify. This platform is user-friendly in the truest sense of the word. It allows its users to create the same user-friendly e-commerce websites with a simple drag-and-drop page builder. Moreover, Shopify's mobile responsiveness ensures that your products, checkout process, and overall website functionality work smoothly on mobile devices.

Magento, in its turn, seems to be more complicated to build a web store, but with various extensions available on the Adobe Commerce marketplace, the functionality becomes almost unlimited, and you get the chance to provide the customers with a unique shopping experience. Additionally, Magento supports mobile app development, allowing you to create dedicated mobile apps for your e-commerce business. Seeing that by 2025, retail m-commerce sales are predicted to grow up to $710 billion in the US only, providing an excellent mobile shopping experience to your customers can be an essential component of a successful e-commerce strategy.

 “Today, Magento also makes an efficient platform to launch a mobile project. Through the development of Magento-based microservices and the implementation of Progressive Web App technology, a mobile app can access the features you specifically want.”

Michael Klimovich,

Senior PHP Laravel Developer, NEKLO LLC

Themes & customizations

Shopify provides users with over 100 free themes that can be upgraded with additional fees and paid premium professionally designed themes. As a rule, a Shopify theme price ranges from $150 to $350. However, the drag-and-drop editor allows you to add, remove, switch, and resize elements on the page. You can also add integrations with the brand’s social media or apply new color palettes to add individuality to your web store.

Shopify themes

One of the few severe disadvantages of Shopify is the absence of access to the core code. So, it's true that with the help of themes, you can create a unique design, but platform-level customizations are unavailable. 

Magento offers two design themes as standard: Luma as a demo theme and Blank as a base for creating your themes. Because Magento has such a high level of customization, you will likely need to hire a developer to design your e-commerce website unless you have coding skills. Otherwise, to select the theme suitable for your business and reflecting your vision from the existing library, you will have to pay from $100 to $300.

Themes for Adobe Commerce

Magento, in terms of customizations, is a paradise for an e-commerce business owner. With an open-source code, it is flexible and offers unlimited opportunities for custom development. However, the comparison between Shopify Plus vs Magento Enterprise shows that Shopify's developers evaluated and appreciated the benefits of customizations for clients and are ready to provide access to the core code to the users as well.  

Add-ons

This round of Magento vs Shopify battle may seem particularly complicated as both platforms offer a rich selection of extensions that help brands stand out. 

Thousands of Magento extensions are available on the already familiar Marketplace. The prices vary depending on the solution’s complexity – from $19.99 to $2,000.  However, as the community of Magento developers grows daily, many offer extensions through their companies’ websites – just like NEKLO does! Our experts developed plugins for various needs, from social media feed integrations to global delivery opportunities. Discover the plugins we’ve created for Magento in our store!

Shopify broadens its functionality through extensions as well. Free and paid, serving various e-commerce business needs, they are available on the Shopify App Market and the vendors’ websites. Prices vary from $9 to $6,000 (!) per month. Still, remember that even the extensions, in this case, can't provide the platform-level changes – Shopify watches you 😉

SEO-performance and tools

Comparing Adobe Commerce vs Shopify regarding SEO performance, we will not find a winner quickly. On the one hand, Magento offers SEO-oriented features to users, including adding alt tags to images and editing URL structure, H1 titles, and subcategory descriptions. Shopify also provides an opportunity to edit page names. However, this platform invites you to install the applications from their App Store to apply more SEO strategies.

On the other hand, not only URL-edits help to make your e-commerce website appear higher on search engines. A critical parameter in this case is the website speed: the quicker your website loads, the higher it will be ranked. If we compare Magento and Shopify against this indicator, we will see that the speed of uploading content is fast but higher for Shopify – 2.6 seconds vs 2.8 for Magento. 

However, let’s not forget that the website speed depends on the web store size. Thus, comparing heavy-loaded large Magento Enterprise vs Shopify Plus solutions, we discover that the full page load speed is higher for Magento – 6.0 seconds vs 6.8 seconds for Shopify.

Magento is a platform that allows the creation of a high-loaded web store with various extensions but has a necessity for external hosting, therefore it can have issues with page speed. However, NEKLO experts in Magento support & maintenance can optimize and speed up any Magento-based website, so if you want to skyrocket your solution – reach out to us!

Customer & tech support

Regarding customer support, in the Magento 2 vs. Shopify battle, Shopify is a winner. They have a dedicated team ready to help 24/7 in the most suitable way for the user to help resolve any issue. In addition, Shopify users can explore community forums, a help center, API documentation, and numerous video tutorials.

Magento offers personal assistance only if you opt for a paid Adobe Commerce edition. However, finding a solution is never a problem if you face any challenge. First, you can try looking for help on a dedicated forum – the community of almost 500,000 professional Magento developers gladly shares manuals and guides to help resolve various issues. Additionally, you can always find a reliable Magento support & maintenance partner for fast issue resolution.

Sales and marketing tools

When you build an e-commerce website, you mean to generate sales, right? Opposing Shopify vs Magento 2, Magento offers more to the users.

First, you can create a clear and well-structured product catalog with Magento, applying the necessary categories and attributes. Moreover, you can fully control inventory tracking. Shopify, in turn, offers more options for fast product page building, but the options for overall catalog management are limited. 

Next, to promote the goods and services on your website, Magento helps you to create personalized approaches for your customers. You can apply coupons, select what products to show in the "related" category and suggest customized discounts. Shopify relies on its apps to promote cross-selling and upselling because the built-in tools for promotions and discounts are less customizable, although sufficient for online retail.

Additionally, Magento provides a strong admin panel with integrated Google Analytics tools. You can easily create custom reports using your solution, while Shopify applies extra charges for analytics broader than primary sales and traffic data. 

However, Shopify's specialty is integrations with the most popular and in-demand shipping companies, including DHL, UPS, and FedEx, which helps to organize order fulfillment and shipping faster. With Magento, you will have to install additional plugins to arrange delivery. 

Pricing

One of the top questions that bother any business owner trying to select between Shopify and Magento is how much it will cost.

Shopify offers several pricing plans, and all of them are paid. The fee is charged monthly, but if you want to pay the yearly fee at once, you’ll get a 25% discount. 

Before going over the established pricing plans, it is essential to mention that Shopify applies charges for online credit card payments made through Shopify Payments. The rates decrease as the overall plan price increases. 

Another meaningful point is that Shopify Payments are supported in 23 countries only, including Canada and the USA, as well as some European and Asian countries. If the country you want your Shopify-based web store to operate in is not on the list, you will have to consider the integration with payment gateways supported by the platform.

Thus, for the users, Shopify offers 3 most balanced pricing plans: Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. The three plans are united with an opportunity to get the first 3 months for $1/month:

Shopify main pricing plans
  1. The Basic Plan costs $39/month and serves the needs of sole proprietors and small businesses. You can manage up to 2 admin accounts, receive very basic sales reports, and get access to up to 1,000 inventory locations. 
  2. The Shopify Plan costs $105/month and suits businesses from small to medium. With this plan, you can have up to 5 staff accounts, receive up to 88% discount for shipping, and get access to professional reports.
  3. The Advanced Plan has a price of $399/month. It is developed for the needs of medium to large businesses, offers the lowest transaction fees, allows the management of up to 15 admin accounts, and creates completely custom analytic reports. 

In addition to these plans, Shopify offers 3 more ways to start an e-commerce business: the Starter Plan, Retail, and Shopify Plus:

Shopify additional pricing plans
  • The Starter Plan costs $1/month, and it was created to sell products through social media, email, and messengers; that is when you only need to share the link to the product.
  • Retail Plan costs $89/month, serves the needs of in-person retail businesses, and includes 2 admin accounts, unlimited POS logins, and a simple online store. 
  • Shopify Plus. Its price starts from $2,000/month but is calculated according to the business size. It represents the enterprise version of the platform, and its main advantages over its "minor brother," Shopify, include the following:
  • Unlimited admin accounts;
  • Unique dashboard for several online store management;
  • Personal manager, providing necessary support;
  • Access to the wholesale network;
  • Opportunity to code-level backend modifications.

With its pricing plans and offered services, Shopify suits the needs of small-to-medium online retailers. However, the Shopify Plus version attempts to attract large online retailers, managing several online stores and dealing with multiple tasks simultaneously.

In terms of pricing, Magento may seem more complicated. On the one hand, the most popular Magento solution – Magento Open Source – is free of charge, so what costs can there be? On the other hand, getting something for free doesn’t mean you will receive the solution ideally tailored to your business needs. So, let’s try to figure out what the approximate actual Magento pricing is.

Today, Magento is presented in 3 editions:

  1. Magento Open Source – free version.
  2. Magento Commerce (Adobe Commerce) – this edition includes more advanced features, including those for catalog management or business analysis and reporting, as well as Magento team tech assistance.
  3. Magento Commerce Cloud (Adobe Commerce Cloud) – the edition similar in functionality to the previous one, but it is cloud-based. The cloud web hosting, however, substantially adds to the final price.

The pricing for Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud is determined by the annual sales in your web store in the following way:

Annual Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud pricing

As it follows from the table, the annual costs for a Magento license grow together with your business, and the more successful your Magento-based e-commerce website, the more you have to pay. 

Brief Comparative Table & Concluding Remarks

Magento vs. Shopify: brief comparative table

Consider Shopify if:

  1. You’re an individual seller distributing products via social media and messengers;
  2. You’re running a small e-commerce business, and basic functionality meets your requirements;
  3. Apart from online stores, you sell products in person and need a POS (point-of-sell) system.

Consider Magento if:

  1. Your business is large or enterprise-level from the start;
  2. You’re involved in B2B e-commerce;
  3. You’re running an international business

Summary

What is better, iOS or Android? What a tricky question! The same applies to choosing the right e-commerce platform. Magento and Shopify use different approaches to building websites and have advantages and disadvantages.

As an experienced e-commerce website builder, NEKLO believes that Shopify is an excellent solution for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), and Magento is the best solution for enterprise businesses. However, both platforms can be used for small and large web stores. It is your business goals that determine the best platform to choose.

And remember: if you start with a Shopify store and outgrow it, you can upgrade to Magento later, and NEKLO specialists will be happy to assist with both! Check out the variety of our e-commerce development services and contact our experts for a comprehensive consultation.