For building an ecommerce store, there are a number of credible platform options available. But obviously Shopify Plus and Magento 2 leads the pack with their enterprise-grade features, robust performance and unlimited custom website development options. Both are widely used by ecommerce stores around the world including many leading brands and online stores across the niches.
Both offer great ecommerce CMS solutions and this is precisely why choosing any one of them becomes so difficult and challenging. Well, there are several differences between Shopify and Magento Development Services platforms and these differences are crucial to making your choice. There are also pros and cons on both sides and not all ecommerce requirements can be satisfied by them. So, after meticulously considering the details of both ecommerce platforms and their respective pros and cons you need to take a call on what suits you best.
Magento vs. Shopify: Background And History
Between these two platforms, Magento is slightly older and has seen more of the evolution of modern ecommerce stores. It is there since 2008 and since then it has been used across millions of ecommerce websites all over the globe. Certified Magento developers often boast of the long list of leading brand websites built with Magento. Shopify being a late starter in the ecommerce space quickly rose to fame and prominence mainly because of the exceptional pace and ease of development it provides. In 2016, Shopify Plus surpassed Magento in a number of supported sites and popularity. Since then the competition between these two platforms has continuously been a contentious subject for the ecommerce developers to prefer one over another.
While Magento right from the beginning has been embraced by enterprise-grade ecommerce stores, Shopify, in the beginning, was only a platform for small and medium grade enterprises until it expanded into enterprise-level stores with the launch of Shopify Plus. Today, a Shopify ecommerce website has the same power, performance, scalability and versatility as a Magento website. On the other hand, with the launch of Magento 2, the platform has incorporated an array of enterprise-grade features and fine-tuned many aspects related to modern ecommerce development.
Magento vs Shopify: Cost Consideration
Before you decide to hire Magento developers or go for developers with Shopify expertise, it is important to consider the cost implications of your project. Shopify looks to be a little cheaper than Magento but the later is already omnipresent across a multitude of leading ecommerce stores in North America and Europe.
As most ecommerce developer charge by hourly rate, by minimising the development time and process complexities, you can significantly save on the development cost. This is where Shopify has an edge over Magento. Least backend development needs make Shopify a cheaper CMS option. Shopify also lowers the development time by making integration tasks easier compared to Magento. In the rough analysis, a Magento 2 ecommerce site development may cost somewhere between $150-$500k. The same project with Shopify Plus can be completed within $100k to $150k.
Apart from the edge in terms of development cost Shopify Plus also offers lower maintenance cost compared to Magento 2. Just because Shopify Plus is a self-hosted platform, before new upgrades the security patches are taken care of automatically by the platform.
Lastly, you can always go for the community edition and open-source Magento which comes as absolutely free as a platform. Though you need to bear the additional cost of development and hosting. Shopify also offers other cheaper plans than the Shopify Plus, though none of them comes as open-source and free.
Magento vs Shopify: Business Intelligence and Reporting
Ecommerce businesses often like to manage all the business tasks and data through a robust CMS platform. They also depend a lot on business intelligence input and reporting of the respective CMS platform to evaluate the performance of products and customer engagement. Shopify in this respect lacks a robust reporting suite that comes with all the power of enterprise-grade business intelligence.
Magento earlier also lacked any such reporting feature but with Magento 2.2 we have an advanced reporting feature that can easily be set up with the dashboard to provide relevant data and BI inputs. This reporting feature has the power of Magento BI which is a cloud-based business intelligence service of Magento. Shopify Plus reports lack the depth of business analytics and intelligence compared to Magento.
Magento vs Shopify: Customisation Options
As far as customisation with features and flexibility is concerned, Magento 2 is way ahead of Shopify Plus. In case your ecommerce website never needs to opt beyond the average features found in most ecommerce sites, Shopify comes as a neat option with great performance and cost advantages. But if you want to build a very unique ecommerce website with a lot of custom features over and above the regular ones, Magento comes as a better choice.
When you have hundreds of product categories and a very busy website allowing a multitude of customer-centric promotion and sales options, you do not need to think twice about choosing Magento. Magento offers the widest range of extensions and plugins to incorporate all kinds of features to give your ecommerce store a unique look and feel. Large business conglomerates mainly prefer Magento for the huge and unparalleled customisation options with flexible Magento features and integration capabilities.
Magento vs Shopify: Scalability
When it is about scaling up and down the ability to accommodate increasing customer footfall, sales queries and revenue handling needs, you can easily find Magento as the ideal option. Large businesses and research agencies like Gartner mainly use Magento because of its unmatched scalability. In contrast, Shopify is less scalable but in recent times several small businesses using Shopify scaled up to grow in millions of revenue.
Magento Pros And Cons
Magento has already become the standard of ecommerce solutions thanks to its reliability, flexibility, scalability and unmatched customisation options. But it has also its share of cons besides the pros. Here we are going to explain the pros and cons of Magento.
- Feature-rich: Even the free Community version of Magento offers an array of features missing with other platforms. From multiple storefronts to multi-language and multi-currency support to a host of other value-added features in Magento 2 licensed version, you have every imaginable ecommerce feature available with Magento.
- User-friendly: Magento offers one if the most user-friendly admin panels. The simple and easy to use backend with effortless navigation is a key attraction of Magento.
- Community: Magento boasts of a global user community comprising most experienced and expert ecommerce developers.
- Customisation: Magento comes with a robust templating architecture that allows customising everything to help you shape the look and feel of the website the way you want.
- Scalable: Magento is a highly scalable platform that allows handling unlimited products and categories as per specific business needs.
- Developer constraint: Magento development largely depends on expertise and experience and finding a good Magento developer experienced with a lot of elements and plugins and object-oriented programming expertise is really hard.
- Hosting: Magento is not a self-hosted platform and you need to take third-party hosting service providing specific Magento ecommerce configuration. The shortcomings with hosting can translate into performance issues easily.
- Time to market: Magento is a robust and very complex platform requiring a lot of customisation efforts and expertise for the ideal shopping experience to create. This enhances the development time for Magento ecommerce websites.
Shopify Pros And Cons
Shopify as a leading ecommerce platform has its share of pros and cons in equal measure. Before you hire Shopify experts for your next ecommerce development project, consider the following pros and cons.
- With a fully self-hosted solution, Shopify comes as the cheapest ecommerce CMS platform for all types of businesses including the small shops to big enterprises.
- Shopify offers a very clean, easy to use and clutter free interface optimised for making purchases easier.
- Shopify comes with a whole array of free, responsive and eye-catchy templates.
- Shopify also offers the point-of-sale options to make the shopping experience even better and flexible.
- With a whole array of third-party apps, you can easily extend Shopify’s functionality.
- Shopify also offers a built-in blog to help content marketing.
- Product options of Shopify basic version are very limited. With plans lower in the hierarchy you do not get a lot of professional grade features that you get with Magento community edition.
- Shopify reporting functionality lacks the power of business intelligence.
- Shopify offers limited customisation and scalability options with third-party app integration like Magento.
So, while both are fairly great ecommerce platforms with a lot of value to offer, the respective audience for Magento and Shopify are not the same. Enterprise-grade ecommerce websites that target expanding with a year on year growth potential may find Magento a far reliable and scalable solution. On the other hand, small and medium enterprise starting with their ecommerce dream can just find Shopify an ideal option.
Do you want to know what ecommerce platform and typical features and plans suit your new store best? Let us guide you in making a choice. Just drop us a message and let our experts reach you at the earliest.