After you decide to create an eCommerce store the first big decision you’ll have to make is what platform to use. There are plenty of options, but two of the most popular today are Magento and Shopify. Both eCommerce platforms offer plenty of advantages and disadvantages and we’ll point out the fundamental differences below.
- Shopify is a commercial product that you have to pay a monthly fee for, while Magento (community) is a free open-source software solution that you can download.
- Shopify is a hosted eCommerce solution while with Magento you have to find your own host and configure everything before you can launch your store
These fundamental differences provide key advantages and disadvantages for each platform depending on your level of technical expertise, budget, and size of the store you’re setting up. We’ll break it down into a few categories below.
Shopify is a hosted solution and requires very little technical knowledge to set up a store quickly and easily. Shopify support can easily assist you with any minor problems, but it’s a pretty self explanatory process. Magento requires a medium level of technical knowledge to setup on a server and get it running properly. Winner: Shopify
Shopify supports over 70 payments gateways while Magento Community out of the box supports far fewer. However there are many 3rd party extensions to add payment gateways to Magento. Winner: Shopify
Shopify offers some beautiful themes but they often come at a hefty price. Magento has far more themes available with some as low as $1. Winner: Magento
Both Magento and Shopify have extensions or apps that can be installed to improve the functionality or gain access to special features for your store. However Magento has a huge advantage here in the number of extensions available with more than 50 times as many to choose from. Winner: Magento
Magento and Shopify are both highly customizable to suit your needs. However as Shopify is a hosted solution, you will never have complete control over your website and therefore cannot customize it to the point that you could customize a Magento store. Winner: Magento
Magento is often referred to as a “resource hog” and this can definitely be true in some cases. If Magento isn’t configured right on the back-end or on the server you could see long load times, however Magento has improved in speed with every new version released. Magento 2 promises to be faster than ever. Since Shopify is hosted for you Shopify takes care of everything here. Winner: Usually Shopify
As with speed, this will depend completely on how you set up your Magento store and the server you decided to place it on. Shopify will take care of all of this for you. Winner: Usually Shopify
Since Shopify is a commercial product you will be paying a monthly fee for using their product, up to $179/month. When you start adding apps and other add-ons most of these also all charge a monthly fee, so this can add up quickly. Magento Community is completely free to use and most of the extensions offered are either free or just charge a one time fee. Winner: Magento
Both of these platforms have been highly successful for many people. If you have some technical knowledge or can hire someone that does, Magento will offer you a much more customizable eCommerce solution. Shopify is very intuitive and you can literally set up a store in minutes with no technical knowledge at all, but be prepared to pay the monthly fees.