The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Magento: Magento vs Shopify
Unfamiliar with the particulars of Magento and Shopify e-commerce platforms?
Then this, the second installment in our Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Magento series explores some of the key differences between the two to help you make an informed decision about which one is right for you and your business:
Software coding is one of the most fundamental differences between Magento and Shopify.
Shopify is proprietary, meaning that users pay for a licence to use its software which is comprehensive, but depending on your requirements can be restrictive.
Magento is open-source. Every aspect of its software is unrestricted from modification, making it possible to refine every component of your e-commerce website for optimal functionality, engagement and search engine recognition.
The bigger your e-commerce business or more bespoke you want your online store to be, the more important open-source becomes. Freedom from software licencing restrictions enables users to overcome complex compatibility issues, particularly when trying to integrate existing ePOS, CRM, ERP and order management systems into your new online store.
Shopify provides users with a range of over 100 categorised themes and templates that with some HTML and CSS programming skills can be customised to suit the needs of an entry-level e-commerce site. For more intricate designs, you may need to hire a programmer familiar with Liquid, Shopify’s unique proprietary coding language.
Magento allows users to create an unlimited number of custom-built designs. These require a greater level of technical expertise than Shopify to create, but give you greater flexibility and freedom to build unique, credible, engaging websites and shopping experiences that capture the ethos of your brand and your business.
One of the greatest advantages this gives Magento is that as far as e-commerce solutions go, it’s future proof.
As your business grows, Magento can be customised to incorporate large volumes of new products that are branded, promoted and optimised for the language, currency and customer preferences of any international markets you expand into. Furthermore, you can manage multiple online stores through one account and one admin panel which streamlines and simplifies your business management tasks.
Apps and Plug-ins:
With Shopify, you can enhance your online store with a range of free and/or paid apps and plug-ins that can be integrated to help you automate and manage everything from your finances to inventory control. However, this can be restrictive as it relies on Shopify developed or approved app availability.
Magento relies on its global community of developers and programmers to constantly innovate and improve it. This means that as online services, consumer expectations and your business evolve, new apps and plug-ins that anticipate or respond to needs are quickly developed and readily available.
Shopify offer a hosted service, using reliable and secure software and hardware to get your store online and working efficiently. As a buyer, this simplifies some of the set-up processes and makes it possible to get online quickly.
Magento gives you the freedom to host your own online store. Doing this requires more technical skill and know-how but with unrestricted access to the most suitable hardware and software to power your business, you retain full control over it.
E-commerce lets you open for business 24/7, but when you’re getting to grips with a new platform it’s likely that you’ll need advice or support 24/7 too.
Shopify offer round the clock support services by phone, email or messenger and have a growing community of online user forums.
In addition to the multi-lingual phone and online support Magento also offer day or night, a well-established community of skilled developers, programmers and users who take a proactive, supportive approach to resolving queries or problems encountered by other Magento users is also available.
The cost of using Magento or Shopify varies depending your specific business needs but there are some key differences. Let’s assume you want a basic package:
Shopify charge a monthly service fee, plus transaction fees calculated as 2% of your total sales. The transaction fees will be waived if you commit to using the Shopify Payments service which supports online credit card payments and charges a flat credit card fee of 2.5% + 30p per transaction.
Magento do not charge any monthly service or transaction fees but like Shopify, you may need to pay fees to a payment merchant like Sage Pay or Paypal for the use of their services.