E-COMMERCE PLATFORM: SHOULD IT BE MAGENTO OR SHOPIFY?
Building a website is crucial if you would like to start a long-term business from a scratch, especially if you want to jump into the e-commerce industry. You may have many concerns to start an online store, in which the most common question is: which platform is right for your business?
Shopify and Magento are definitely two of the most prominent names for small and medium businesses. Depending on your preference and the requirements for your own e-commerce stores, you may have your own decision to choose Shopify or Magento. We will make a total comparison of these two e-commerce platforms to see, which one is right for your business. The evaluation will be based on those criteria:
Ease of use
Adds- on and apps
Payment processor and transaction fees
What is an e-commerce platform?
According to Adobe, an e-commerce platform is “a software that enables the commercial process of buying and selling over the internet. An e-commerce platform needs a search feature that lets customers find a specific product, a cart feature that lets them manage their order, and a payment feature”. In other words, by using an e-commerce platform, businesses can sell their products and services online.
There are many reasons why you need an online store. Needless to say, in the era of technology and the Internet, especially with the dominant of online shopping due to COVID-19, an efficient e-commerce platform that can keep up with the demand is a must.
Traditionally, an e-commerce store was expensive, inflexible, and time-consuming as it usually required extensive IT setup and in-house management with an expertise backend team. However, today with an infrastructure that unifies business applications and data, the needed commerce and business functions are integrated into a single e-commerce platform, which simplifies the process of management for businesses, and creates relevant and personalized online experiences for customers.
A highly-rated e-commerce platform should satisfy those criteria:
Have a single, unified platform: the systems added into the e-commerce platform should be seamlessly integrated, including accounting, POS, inventory, marketing, customer service, financial solutions, and so on.
Deliver excellent customer experience: it must provide a consistent and personalized experience, responsive interfaces on desktop and mobile.
Manage the orders in a superior way: include fulfilling and returning orders, managing inventory across all channels and logistics.
Support expansion: businesses can easily find any add-on features for different business models, countries, and languages
Magento vs Shopify: At the first glance
First released in 2008, Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP. Magneto is similar to WordPress, which means that you just need to install on the computer and use it. In the meantime, Shopify is an effective e-commerce website builder. User needs to pay a monthly fee, and it’s capable of supporting both fledgling and high-volume businesses.
Let’s go through the extensive comparison to come to the decision: Magento or Shopify, which e-commerce platform is right for your business.
1. Magento vs Shopify: Themes
Themes are the look/ presentation of your online store when the customers first land on your website. Therefore, an attractive and appropriate theme will leave a strong and memorable impression in your online visitors’ minds. Having access to the right theme will help you stand out from the crowd, and enhance the customer experience.
Shopify provides 9 free themes and 64 paid versions with an average cost from USD$100 to USD$180. All of these themes are mobile-friendly, which means that the mobile version will be displayed in response to the device of the users. It is a tempting feature of the Shopify theme satisfying the demand of the market as 70% of mobile users have made a purchase online in 2020.
Once you choose one theme on Shopify, you can customize your online appearance without needing a code. You can add new pages, move and resize the elements, integrate the social media platforms, and change the color. No code needed!
On the other hand, the cost for a theme on Magento is more expensive than that on Shopify. 10 out of 16 themes on Magento are mobile- responsive. Ready-to-use themes may cost you around USD$100, and if your business would like to go for a customized option, it will cost you about $600 to $2,500, together with the requirement of a professional developer. On the bright side, Magneto has some awesome customizations, such as product sliders, or animations.
2. Magento vs Shopify: Ease of use
Both Shopify and Magento are powerful e-commerce store-building platforms.
Shopify: 4 / 5
Magento: 3 / 5
Shopify is easier to use compared to Magento. Basically, Shopify allower users to move the elements of the page exactly the way they desire. They just need to drag and drop the cues. We can say that all levels of users can use Shopify.
However, if you desire to build a professional website in which every element must satisfy your sense of art, and you have a definite level of coding knowledge to create the code, then Magento is a more suitable platform.
3. Magento vs Shopify: Add- ons and apps
Extra functionality should be always considered when choosing an e-commerce store-building platform, especially if the chosen platform doesn’t provide enough built-in apps for your desire. Both Magneto and Shopify have a wide range of extensions, apps, and add- ons.
Shopify: 4 / 5
Magento: 3.5 / 5
Shopify offers around 1,200 free and paid apps to choose from with just a click of a button, categorizing in various areas such as Marketing, Inventory management, Fiances, Sales, or Reporting.
Similarly, Magento also offers thousands of extensions and apps for its users, but at a higher number than that of Shopify, around 5,000 apps and add-ons (approximately 1,970 of them are free).
If you want to integrate the most popular Social media platform- Facebook into the online store on Magento, it will cost you around $199, which is free on Shopify. Therefore, you should be aware of the fees when using those add- ons and extensions to avoid wasting your money.
4. Magento vs Shopify: Marketing features & SEO Friendliness
Shopify: 4 / 5
Magento: 4.5 / 5
You cannot open an online store without doing marketing. It is the same as opening a business without telling anyone. After having an online store, you need to promote it in digital spaces to generate sales. With the help of powerful marketing tools, especially SEO features, your online stores will be able to reach a wider number of potential audiences.
Shopify offers a lot of built-in apps and features for Marketing and SEO. You can also advertise and sell directly on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram by integrating your store with those third parties.
Similarly, the Marketing tools on Magento are great. Especially, the SEO features of Magento come with plenty of guides and prompts to get started. You can also edit alt tags of images, which can help users find your website by built-in features. Meanwhile, these features must be searched on the app stores in Shopify.
5. Magento vs Shopify: Payment processors and transaction fees
Shopify and Magento: neck-to-neck
One of the most important elements of an e-commerce store is the payment process. If it is made too complicated, the chance of order incompletion will be high.
Both Shopify and Magento allow you to accept online payment from the customers. Shopify has its own payment processor called Shopify Payments, which will be automatically set up to accept all major payment methods as soon as you create your Shopify store. By choosing this option, the transaction fee will be zero. Otherwise, you still can go with other 100 different external payment solutions such as Paypal or Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, which will cost you some transaction fees.
On the other hand, Magento supports all the major payment processors in different languages and countries. In addition, it allows you to sell directly via Amazon while using your own Magento-based inventory. This is a great option if your business aims at the International market. However, as Magento is not a hosted platform, you may need some coding skills.
6. Magento vs Shopify: Pricing
The pricing models of Magento and Pricing are different, as they are vastly different platforms.
With a hosted platform like Shopify, you have to pay monthly. Instead, it will take care of all hosting worries for you. Meanwhile, Magento is free to get started but you have to pay for web hosting, security, extensions, and your domains which are already covered in the plan of Shopify.
The cost of building an online store via Magneto will massively vary depending on your desire and capacity. If you are a large business with the capacity to scale quickly, you are the targeted audience of Magento.
7. Magento vs Shopify: Scalability
As a business owner, you must look forward to the future with the chance of scaling up your business. You must always put into consideration the capacity to serve of your online store. One day, if your product gets the attention of the public, resulting in significant traffic to your website, then which e-commerce platform will do the best?
Shopify serves mainly B2C cases. This e-commerce platform imposes limits on product attributes and catalog size, restricting its ability to service merchants with large, complex products, especially in the workflow of B2B. Once your business decides to scale up, Shopify also has limited offers to satisfy the demand for growth.
Meanwhile, unlike Shopify, Magento is an open e-commerce platform where you can decide the size and scale of your business, as long as you have a professional developer and financial stability. It allows rapid extensions, no matter what areas of your business are B2B, B2C, or both.
In short, Magento and Shopify Pros and Cons
From our extensive comparison and examples, you may have your own answer for the question: Magento and Shopify, which e-commerce platform is the right one for your business?
Shopify is your first priority if:
You are new to an e-commerce platform with little knowledge of coding
You have limited time to set up your online store
You want the convenience of all-in-one payment and the support on hand
Magento is an ideal choice for your business if:
You want to build an online store for medium or large business
You have solid experience of coding skills
Your store aims at both domestic and international market with a variety of payment methods
You want to be fully prepared for scaling up in the near future
No matter what you choose, good luck with your Online business. In case you are still worried about building an e-commerce platform, let ask for help from experts.