Choosing a eCommerce platform that meets your specific requirements for opening an online store is critically important, it can determine the success or failure of your new business. For most start-ups and small businesses who operate on small or limited budgets this is particularly important.
Green Apple Design operate on various eCommerce platforms however none are quite as popular than Shopify and Magento. Shopify has a cornered the all-in-one platform market. Magento on the other hand is the biggest operator when it comes to more complex eCommerce websites. While different platforms we would still like to put each of the strengths and weaknesses against each other to make an informed decision as far as which ultimately comes out on top.
When planning to create a website store or move your current store to a different platform, you might be considering your options. Shopify and Magento Open Source are two highly popular eCommerce platforms. However, there are some huge differences between them that ought to be considered before making a comparative judgement:
- Shopify is a commercial service you pay for where as Magento is an open-source solution like WordPress and is free to use.
- Shopify operates as a hosted solution whereas Magento requires you to provide your own hosting. Following that, you will have to complete an install, setup and configuration before you can actually start creating your store – something that will require medium to high level of website development skills.
- Shopify is geared more towards web design beginners, with a simple user interface. Magento on the other hand is for seasoned web design developers and is packed with features.
Magento does have a subscription version but it does get cost prohibitive for anything but large enterprises that can afford to spend thousands of euros on a website per month. With these differences taken into consideration, here is the Green Apple Design head to head comparison.
Online Store Functions
Both platforms offer standard store functionalities that are robust and easy to complete maintenance on. Shopify is considerably easier set up compared to Magento. Basic eCommerce features like shopping carts, checkout components etc can be found on both. The biggest difference is that Magento has much more advanced features built in as standard. Shopify on the other hand, you most likely will have to get an app for extended features.
All website plans with Shopify allow for unlimited products in your website. Magento will also allow creation of unlimited products to sell. You can easily create products / collections on both of these platforms but Shopify has a major advantage because of the direct integration of dropshipping inventory apps like Oberlo.
It’s worth remembering for your website that while Magento allows for virtually unlimited products, your host (website server) performance and website loading speed may become serious issues if there are too many products on your Magento powered store. This is something you have no worries about with Shopify since it’s fully managed / hosted solution.
Both platforms have adaptable and powerful options to chose from for the calculation of shipping charges. Shopify integrates some dropshipping tools and more exact shipping calculators.
Coupons / Discount Codes
Shopify is an underdog on this one, as it doesn’t offer this feature with their Lite plan but is available on their higher tiered plans. Magento on the other hand allows for discount code creation and calculation functionalities.
Shopify has a major advantage here as they have support for 60 or so payment gateways. Magento is at a a disadvantage with support for lot less. Additional gateways can be added to Magento website store via third-party add-ons. Shopify does somewhat force you to go with their built-in payment gateway as they have 0% transaction fees while they make you pay for fees on third party payment gateways on your website.
Themes and Templates
Both platforms offer a sizeable collection of templates and themes that give your store a modern look. There are significantly more free themes on Magento than Shopify but are generally less contemporary.
Magento and Shopify both have premium themes but Shopify is at a huge disadvantage with premium themes starting from €75. Magento start at an astonishing single euro, incredible value for your website!
Website Multi-lingual Capabilities
Unfortunately, Shopify hasn’t full multi-lingual capabilities directly. In order to create multilingual stores, third-party apps are required. Another option would be to create custom website code in your theme so that it has the necessary capabilities. Green Apple Design have a number of years experience developing Shopify websites should you wish to do so. However, Magento is again at an advantage in this regard with immediate built-in website multi-lingual support.
Both platforms have extensive SEO capabilities to assist with driving more organic traffic to your website through search engines, scoring almost identically on powerful SEO features and benefits.
Magento v Shopify: Which is the superior eCommerce platform?
While Shopify and Magento are very powerful website eCommerce platforms, Magento provides far greater value for money and has a superior feature set in the right hands. Green Apple Design have a number of years experience working on both and can confidently conclude the development costs with appropriate planning are lower than the monthly Shopify fees spread out over time. The expensive rates add up quickly along with various hidden fees you may not have initially considered would only suit it for small enterprises or start-ups.