What is the Difference Between Magento and Shopify?

 13 Feb 2019

Most of the internet users of the world have shopped online for goods and services via desktop, mobile or tablets in recent times. The number of people taking the internet for routine work is continuously increasing which means that online businesses are continuously thinking of ways of either improving an existing eCommerce platform or expanding an existing one. Choice of a suitable eCommerce platform for your business is a highly critical one and must be made after thorough consideration. The market offers many options, but any wrong choice will arrest the growth and success of your business. Therefore, a meticulous search is highly important. Magento and Shopify are two widely popular platforms and have dominated the industry for a long time.

It is a common misconception that both Magento and Shopify are largely similar but the truth is that even though both of them are designed for the same purpose, but they highly differ from each other on aspects like payment mode, handling of extensions, core structure, functionalities, and other endowments. Magento which was launched in 2007 is one of the world’s most widely used e-commerce platform which offers both a free version and a premium version. While the former is a Community version the latter is an Enterprise one. It is flexible and has numerous possibilities for customizing an online store. Shopify, on the other hand, has an increasing user base and serves the needs of the retailers which serves those retailers which are not interested in the technical part of the things. But as it is a hosted solution, you need to pay the subscription fees for using the shared hosting infrastructure. It helps to erect dynamic stores online in a few minutes.

Although both are strong e-commerce platforms, which give you a well-formed user interface, which will be powerful and easy to use. Also, when you must scale your e-commerce store, both Shopify and Magento can facilitate growth despite following different paths to do so.

Major Differences between Magento and Shopify

There is no such platform which offers all the functionalities, so your choice of the platform is not dependent on any one particular factor but will be based on a host of factors which are useful for your business. Here is, a list of factors which will help you define your choices:

Popularity

Both Shopify and Magento are very popular in the domain of e-commerce platforms. As per a recent report on the present state of the e-commerce has stated that there are nearly 240,000 registered domains in Shopify while the number for Magento are about 160,000 websites. The real difference lies in the fact that what type of websites are based on these platforms. It has been seen that small stores which online have their preference for Shopify primarily because of its ease of use. Magento has been largely preferred by medium and large-sized enterprises. Magento can also be a wonderful choice for those online stores who are looking towards the future in terms of scalability.

Control

It forms a basic difference between the two platforms along with hosting. Magento is hosted by itself which clearly means that the as a user you will have complete control and can pick up both the servers and hosting as per your choice. Also, its open source nature gives you umpteen options to customize i.e. a full control over the look and feel of the store. You may then update and customize it without being limited to a basic level technology or other integrations. Shopify, on the other hand, is hosted and it doesn’t need a very high development. This actually signifies that one does not have to worry about configuration and troubles of hosting but at the same time one cannot also know the source code thereby confining your customization options.

Ease of Use

Shopify provides an obvious edge in terms of customization and user-friendliness. It permits easy modification of the fundamental attributes of the store along with the drag-and-drop interface. Magento is harder in comparison in terms of user-friendliness. This is mainly as it needs to accommodate flexibility and facilitate a wide range of options for customization. Magento has thus a preference towards flexibility at the cost of ease-of-use but there are many features available on the platform which makes it a preferred platform for large store owners who have the Magento development skills. They do not switch their choice for the sake of user-friendliness constraints.

Performance

The success of every e-commerce platform will depend on its performance and speed as no internet user wants to wait for a long time for loading a website. This even extends to loading websites which are involved in online sales, so customers do not want to spend too much time while checking various products and thereby making a purchase. If any online store fails on these basic aspects it is quite sure that the users will not return for the next purchase or result in conversion the first time. Shopify is hosted so it does not offer you any control over the hosting and other adjustments at the level of the server. However, despite these, you will have no worries about the loading time of the page and the all-around performance. Magento on the other end of the spectrum has unique and sound performance and adjustments in addition to the flexibility it offers in hosting and control. As it is self-hosted it allows you to make a choice of your own server and thereby making other adjustments for enhancing the performance. It also offers managed hosting and other advanced technologies like caching mechanism and CDN. Magento usually has two options Open Source and Commerce. In the former case, you are responsible as the owner as you must host your own store. Magento Commerce allows you to host your store on the Cloud project which assures you to that your site will never go down and will always be live. This is costly but proves to be highly useful if you do not have skills like hosting, e-commerce or web support as all of these are handled by Magento.

Payment Gateways

This is one of the most significant aspects for an end user. Shopify allows for easy payments as it has an integrated custom solution and other payment modes. Magento also gives similar options for sales for extending the functions of your store but all these come with modules. You can find many such modules and other additions for both configuration and setting different payment methods.

Themes

Both the platforms have abundant themes which are both free and paid. However, in comparison, Magento has a larger collection to choose from. It also offers a huge variety of premium themes at economical prices. Even for free themes, there is a huge collection to choose from. The themes for both the platforms have customization options although Shopify has more themes which are not only easier to install but also to modify. Customization on Magento is relatively more complex.

SEO

Absence of robust SEO leads to a sheer wastage of your efforts in your online business. Thus, it is wise to ensure that your e-commerce platform allows sound SEO strategies. When it comes to comparison of both the platforms, both offer many functionalities with various tools for marketing to enhance the ROI of your work. They are endowed with functions which allow for store-level content for ensuring better SERP positions which also means more revenue.

Customer Support

There are a dedicated customer service and support offered by Shopify while Magento has dedicated community-based support. The community has many certified individuals in addition to backend and frontend developers. It is known that the community is big and highly helpful which is constantly growing. 

Pricing

Shopify has a subscription model i.e. you can start with a free trial but will have to pay soon to continue. The prices start at $29 but shoot up till $299. The costlier options offer more advanced features like statistics, gift cards etc. There are charges for various payments like external payment gateways etc. in Shopify. In the case of Magento, as it is an open source platform, the costs will depend on the fact where you choose to host. This means that there is no fixed price as everything depends on your needs and store. Magento does charge more for premium services.

Conclusion

Thus, we can conclude that both platforms are complete in their own respect and the choice clearly depends on your needs. Each has its own set of strong and weak links. The choice will depend on your budget and business model. Where Shopify gives ease of use, there are charges for its services. Magento will require you to have some level of technical know-how but does not involve any charges for installation and other daily transactions. Looking at all the aspects, Magento does offer an edge of Shopify as you remain in control of your future. The final decision will be influenced by what is the size of your business and what are the fundamental needs.

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