So, you're about to start your own online store. You have an idea of what you want to sell. You've done some research here and there. You've even managed to list down a few potential competitors.
The only problem? You're stuck on choosing the right eCommerce platform to use.
- Which is a better solution? Shopify or Magento?
- Which has better features?
- How do I know the one that's best suited for my business?
- What’s even their key differences, price structures, and built-in functionality?
It turns out we are about to answer all of those questions and more in this guide.
We’ll compare Shopify and Magento on various important dimensions such as ease of use, features, integrations, design flexibility, pricing, and everything else that you need to know to make a data-informed decision for your eCommerce business.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a popular user-friendly eCommerce engine that enables sellers to build and manage their online stores. Users sign up for a monthly fee that starts at $29 a month, register their store's domain name, and design the store to what they want.
Once the store is set up, the seller can add products with prices, manage marketing campaigns, process orders, and accept payments from customers, making Shopify an all-in-one eCommerce solution for businesses.
There's a large app store with thousands of apps that sellers can use to add different functionalities to their shops, a robust theme store with several modern templates to choose from, and a vast online community to provide support when needed.
One of Shopify's biggest advantages is that it is extremely easy to use. Anyone with minimal technical skills can set it up and start selling in no time.
What is Magento?
Magento is an Adobe-owned eCommerce software program. It is built for enterprise-class companies with larger eCommerce sites and a bigger budget.
As a matter of fact, for Magento to run appropriately, it requires experienced developers to set up and maintain it. This means the average person would find Magento difficult to use without knowing how to code — quite the reverse with Shopify.
Magento comes in three editions — Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce, and Magento Commerce Cloud. We'll discuss more about each of these in detail later.
The platform has customization options such as extensions, which can be obtained from the massive Magento eCommerce Marketplace.
Shopify Vs. Magento: Key Statistics
Before we delve into this in-depth head-to-head comparison, let’s quickly look at what the stats say. This will help you see how each platform stacks up against each other:
Magento Vs. Shopify: Infrastructure Overview
One of the biggest differences between Shopify and Magento lies in the infrastructure and architecture they run.
By understanding how they compare in terms of their infrastructures, you'll be better positioned to understand how the two tools compare in the other aspects of comparison addressed in this guide.
As mentioned above, Magento comes in three editions:
- Magento Open Source (open-source)
- Magento Commerce (on-premise)
- Magento Commerce Cloud (cloud-based)
Magento Open Source
Magento Open Source (formerly Magento Community) is the open-source edition of the platform designed for small businesses to download and use independently for free.
Anyone can access the code for free and edit it for their own use. To add advanced functionality, merchants have to use extensions from the Magento Marketplace or extend the basic features of the Open Source edition with custom-built extensions.
But building a Magento Open Source web store goes beyond just downloading and installing the software. You'll have to take care of your own hosting, security, coding, backup, configuration and everything else needed to make your website functional.
Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise) is an on-premise solution and it provides more built-in advanced features than Magento Open Source. Such features include page builder, content staging, the B2B module, and preview. There are also advanced marketing features like customer segmentation, gift registry, store credit, abandoned cart emails, private sales, and rewards points.
With Magento Commerce, you also have to provide your own hosting, configuration, and everything else as it is an on-premise solution. As an on-premise solution, it is best suited for businesses with an experienced team of developers who are confident about hosting their own website in-house.
Magento Commerce Cloud
Magento Commerce Cloud is the only hosted edition of Magento and packs better features than Magento Commerce. It is a cloud-based infrastructure hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Magento Commerce Cloud has better security, improved support, faster loading time, and better marketing features than Magento Commerce.
Commerce Cloud has a number of packages available, with the most commonly used ones being Cloud Starter and Cloud Essentials. Some packages come with Adobe products such as Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign, etc.
In summary, Magento runs:
- On-Premise; and
- Cloud-based infrastructures.
Unlike Magento, Shopify runs only SaaS-based architecture. As a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform, you're basically renting space on Shopify's infrastructure.
Users can go either with the normal Shopify which has three cadres (Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify) or opt for the more advanced Shopify Plus.
Shopify Plus is the enterprise-grade version of the platform — a hosted solution built, customized and priced for high-end merchants and large businesses.
Magento Vs. Shopify: Features Comparison
Next, we'll explore the main features of each of these platforms to see what they're made of and how those features compare.
- A robust app store: 3795+ apps, built to provide your store with additional features and functionality.
- Marketing and sales tools: Think marketing and sales options like social media integrations, abandoned cart recovery, discounts and coupon codes, gift cards, product reviews, etc.
- Multi-channel selling: Feature for reaching your customers on the web, social media, mobile, offline locations, etc.
- Search engine friendly: Tools for optimizing your store to rank high on Google, Bing, and other search engines.
- 70+ themes: Lets you implement whichever design resonates with your target customers.
- Multilingual capabilities: Serve and sell to your customers in the language they understand.
- Hundreds of payment gateways: Apart from the built-in Shopify Payments, you can also accept payments in Bitcoin, PayPal, Stripe, iDEAL, and hundreds of other external payment gateways.
- Shopify POS System: Point-of-sale software and hardware for managing in-store and online sales, tracking inventory, and accepting payments.
- Full blogging: A built-in blogging solution for reaching your customers.
- Domain name: Users are able to register a professional domain name within Shopify.
- Web hosting: Shopify web hosting is built specifically for eCommerce stores and rocks unlimited bandwidth, 99.98% uptime, and round-the-clock monitoring.
- Edit HTML and CSS: Although using Shopify does not require coding, the platform still gives you full access to your store's HTML and CSS.
- Mobile commerce ready: Shopify engine is mobile-friendly, making it possible to seamlessly sell to smartphone and tablet users.
- Industry-standard security: Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant and so are the stores built on Shopify's framework. The company also uses a 256-bit SSL certificate — a reliable file encryption technology.
- Shopify mobile: A regularly updated mobile app for managing inventory, processing orders, reaching customers, and accessing reports on the go.
- Store analytics and reports: See store analytics and reports including sales/orders reports, product/inventory reports, referral/traffic reports, and more.
- 24/7 support: Shopify provides support via email, live chat, and phone.
You can view more Shopify features on this page.
- Page builder: A powerful drag-and-drop editing tool that allows you to create a shopping experience without the need for developer support.
- Multiple payment options: Magento users can accept payment via credit cards, PayPal, Authorize.net, Google Pay, checks, money orders, and more. External payment modules like Cybersource, ePay, eWAY are also fully supported.
- Multiple shipping options: Magento's shipping functionality supports shipping to multiple addresses, flat rate shipping, price-based shipping, and weight-based shipping. It supports UPS, UPS XML, FedEx, USPS, and DHL.
- One-page checkout: There's one-page checkout capability that supports SSL and customers can even checkout without having an account.
- Search engine optimization: Built-in SEO capabilities gives Magento shops a head start for ranking high on the search engines.
- International support: Merchants can sell in multiple languages and currencies, add a list of supported countries, ship internationally, and localize the buying experience.
- Instant purchase: The Instant Purchase checkout option allows you to boost conversion rates for returning customers. It uses previously stored payment credentials and shipping information of customers to skip checkout steps, making the process easier and faster.
- Google integration: Magento has a special Google Merchant Center where you can auto-sync your products and link your Google Ads account so you can run a Smart Shopping campaign.
- Amazon sales channel integration: This integration lets you sell and distribute on Amazon. Your Magento dashboard serves as the hub for all your critical marketplace activities, removing operational friction and additional integration costs.
- PWA studio: You can create engaging and fast mobile experience using Magento Progressive Web Applications (PWA) Studio. This is great for improving conversion rates.
- Analytics and reporting: Magento's reporting feature is integrated with Google Analytics and offers many different reports.
- Product browsing: Magento comes with capabilities for multiple images for products, wishlist, options for extensive reviews, and much more.
- Catalog browsing: The extensive catalog system on Magento allows for easy navigation, advanced product filtering, and product comparison.
- Catalog management: Magento has a sophisticated catalog management system which supports different tax rates per location, inventory management, additional product attributes, and batch import and export of products.
- Customer accounts: Your customers can create their own accounts, which has certain benefits such as order status and history, default billing and shipping address, email and RSS feeds for products in the wishlist, and newsletter subscription.
- Responsive design: Magento eCommerce themes are responsive, touch-friendly, and easily customizable.
- Order management: Through the admin area, you can create orders, multiple invoices shipments, and credit memos. There's also a call center order creation option.
- Marketing tools: Magento is loaded with several useful marketing tools like coupons, discounts, and different promotion options.
- Multiple site management: Magento also offers support for the management of multiple websites.
- Magento eCommerce Marketplace: This is an online marketplace with 1000s of free and premium eCommerce extensions and some themes.
Shopify Vs. Magento: Pricing Comparison
The price of the eCommerce platform you use can impact your net profit, thus the need to compare prices before making a decision. Here's how Magento and Shopify compare in pricing:
Magento’s three editions have their own individual cost.
Magento Open Source is free to download and use. But you'll have to take care of hosting, development, and other requirements.
This table shows estimated costs of running an online store with the free Magento Open Source:
The cost of using Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud depends on your gross sales revenue. To develop an online store on either edition, you first have to create a Magento account to be able to buy a license.
The cost of the license starts from $24,000 and can go as high as $190,000 per year for the merchants that generate over $25,000,000.
On average, the cost of a basic Magento Commerce (on-premise) and Commerce Cloud website lies within the $24,000 - $50,000 range, however, it can be cheaper or more expensive depending on your business needs.
How much does Shopify cost?
Unlike Magento, Shopify's pricing structure is straightforward; you choose from any of its three paid plans, namely:
- Basic Shopify — $29 USD per month
- Shopify — $79 USD per month (the most popular)
- Advanced Shopify — $299 USD per month
While the Open Source Edition of Magento is free to download, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial.
If you choose to pay full payment upfront for one year, you will get a 10% discount; if you pay for two years, you get a 20% discount.
Here's a look at what is included in each of Shopify's plans:
Looking at the prices of both Magento and Shopify, it becomes clear how wide the price difference is between the two platforms. A more reasonable comparison would be with Shopify's enterprise grade solution — Shopify Plus.
Shopify Plus starts from $2,000 per month and is targeted at big brands with large sales.
Are there hidden Shopify fees? Well, the only other fees Shopify charges are transaction fees (which we'll address later).
Shopify Vs. Magento: Pros and Cons
It's time to take a look at the pros and cons of the two competitors — Shopify and Magento. These pros and cons are tailored to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each of the platforms over the other.
Shopify Pros and Cons
Magento Pros and Cons
Shopify Vs. Magento: Key Differences
If you've been wondering what the key differences between Shopify and Magento are, this section will show you everything.
Shopify or Magento: Which to Use?
So, which of these two eCommerce solutions should you use?
This totally depends on your business needs and goals. Each platform — Magento and Shopify — is built to efficiently meet the needs of its own set of users. So here's what we think:
Use Shopify if:
- You're looking for a solution that is easy to use (zero coding requirements)
- You're just starting your business and don't want to spend a lot of money in the beginning
- You are a small or mid-market business that's doing just fine (although Shopify has Shopify Plus — starting at $2000 per month — for large businesses who want to run eCommerce stores on budget)
- You want everything in one place — domain name, hosting, payment gateways, shipping, loads of apps, etc.
- You want a low-budget solution with which you can add a Buy Button to your existing website or blog
Use Magento if:
- You're a large enterprise with a mission-critical website that processes hundreds or thousands of transactions per day
- You have coding knowledge or are ready to work with developers
- You want unlimited customization and total control over the infrastructure that powers your online store
- You expect your eCommerce business to grow exponentially
- You want a free, open-source eCommerce tool you can edit and use as you want
If you decide to go with Magento, ultimately, the key decision will be whether to go with Magento Open Source, Commerce, or Commerce Cloud. If you're not ready to deal with the headaches of hosting, security, and other requirements, then Magento's platform-as-a-service Commerce Cloud is best. If you're experienced in running on-premise solutions, Magento Commerce will fit your needs. If you're out only for a free software program you can edit and run on your own and can build custom extensions for, then Open Source makes sense.
Magento Vs. Shopify: Ideal Users
Here's a brief comparison of the ideal users of both Shopify and Magento:
Examples of Stores Using Shopify
Here's a look at some popular online stores that are built on Shopify:
- Taylor Stitch
- Negative Underwear
- HELM Boots
- The Candi Factory
- Luxy Hair
- So Worth Loving
Examples of Stores Using Magento
- Christian Louboutin (Magento Open Source)
- Helly Hansen (Magento Commerce Cloud)
- Bulk Powders (Magento Commerce Cloud)
- Tom Dixon (Magento Commerce)
- End Clothing (Magento Commerce)
- Made.com (Magento Commerce)
- Brand Alley (Magento Open Source)
- PrettyLittleThing (Magento Open Source)
- The V&A (Magento Open Source)
- BrewDog (Magento Commerce Cloud)
- Cox & Cox (Magento Commerce)
- PMT Music (Magento Open Source)
- Paul Smith (Magento Commerce)
Both Shopify and Magento are well-built eCommerce platforms with extensible feature sets and functionality. However, they are meant for two different sets of users.
Magento is more suitable for enterprise-level companies while Shopify mostly attracts small and mid-market businesses.
But with the free open source edition of Magento, there's no harm in smaller companies trying out Magento. And with Shopify Plus designed for bigger brands, high-volume stores have a cheaper alternative they can use.
Magento's full control and unlimited customization advantages come with a price tag though - it is harder to use and often requires coding assistance. Shopify is way easier to use but may limit your data ownership and control.
We also found that Magento is more expensive than Shopify when considering the overall cost.
As you might have realized, ultimately the platform you choose depends on your specific business needs and goals.
What’s a Rich Text element?
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
Static and dynamic content editing
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
How to customize formatting for each rich text
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.