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Daniel Law

August 22, 2020

Shopify vs Magento

Magento and Shopify are among the most popular eCommerce platforms available. Hence, it won’t be a surprise if you can’t decide between both of them. As a budding online entrepreneur or a seasoned eCommerce marketer, you’re not alone.

When starting an online store or expanding your eCommerce site, you must pick the right platform. Investing your time and resources on the wrong one can be a nightmare. Besides, no one wants to scale down after attempting to expand their business.

As a result, G Squared compares Shopify and Magento to break down the basics. We’ll get down to the core to help you pick the best partner for your eCommerce store.

Shopify

Shopify is known for its user-friendly solution to build and launch online stores off the ground. It is also a hosted eCommerce CMS — meaning, you don’t have to deal with hosting costs and third-party technical support.

Moreover, you pay a monthly subscription fee in Shopify, which can support fledgling and high-volume businesses. It is also remarkable for dropshipping stores and brands that rely on social media marketing.

Magento

Like WordPress, Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform that you can install to your computer. However, you’ll have to pay for web hosting as well as security, plugins, and features (which we’ll explain further below).

Magento is a reliable platform for people who know how to code. Otherwise, achieving your eCommerce goals without coding can be challenging. Therefore, Magento is more suitable for enterprise-level brands with dedicated webmasters and development teams.

So how would you know which is best for your store? To objectively choose, you’ll need to consider various factors and how they work for both platforms. After reading this article, you can answer whether Magento or Shopify is the better solution for your eCommerce site.

Shopify vs Magento: Pros and Cons

At this point, you have a vague idea about the pros and cons of both platforms. To give you more insights, let’s break down every benefit and drawback Shopify and Magento has to offer.

Shopify Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Easy to set up
  • Faster page load speed
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Compatible with Amazon and other platforms

Shopify Cons

  • Rated poorly in SEO
  • Limited customisation capabilities
  • Charges transaction fees per sale

Magento Pros

  • Feature-rich platform
  • Competitive SEO features
  • Limitless design potential (with coding)

Magento Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Individual costs can be significant over time
  • Virtually no help support

Now that the basic pros and cons are off the table, let’s break down essential eCommerce factors for both platforms.

Ease of Use

If you’re new to eCommerce, picking a complicated platform will make it impossible for you to achieve your desired brand image. On the contrary, expanding your existing site using a limited template or theme won’t get you anywhere.

That said, Shopify is far easier to use than Magento. Since it’s a one-stop-shop and a drag-and-drop site builder, you can customise store elements by moving them around the page.

In contrast, Magento’s steep learning curve favours more prominent eCommerce brands who like innovating in web design. Using this tool, you’ll need to interpret the jargon and use code to build and design your website.

Otherwise, you can seek a professional web design agency to design your website in line with your objectives.

Ease of Use: Verdict

Inarguably, Shopify is easier to use than Magento. While Magento is more flexible than Shopify, it requires hard coding and can be trickier for eCommerce beginners.

But with the right skill set, you can transform your Magento shop into virtually anything with code. Otherwise, Shopify’s drag-and-drop site builder can help you create your first eCommerce store.

Themes

LIke your storefront, your website theme forms the basis of customer impression the moment they land on your page. That said, you have to pick your template carefully to establish a good first impression and encourage trust.

Shopify users can enjoy ten (10) free, and 64 paid themes which can cost around A$194 to A$250. Besides, all Shopify themes are mobile-ready, allowing you to engage with mobile users effectively. Responsive design is crucial for eCommerce sites since 40% of millennials have bought something online.

Once you’ve made your theme choice, you can go crazy customising your Shopify page. Add new product pages, personalise your colour palette, move and adjust elements, integrate social media feeds — all without touching a single line of code.

On the other hand, Magento offers out-of-the-box themes without coding as well. It also provides custom themes that you can personalise using technical code that requires professional skill.

Magento’s ready-made themes can go up to A$150, while custom themes cost anywhere from A$828 to A$34,500. Therefore, custom themes best suit brands with a chunky eCommerce and web design budget.

Themes: Verdict

When it comes to themes, Shopify has a broader range of options than Magento, especially for the untrained eye. You don’t have to deal with coding to design and optimise your product pages. That makes it easy for you to tailor-fit your template to your brand’s needs.

Sales Features

What are eCommerce platforms without sales features? You can’t have one without the other. That said, let’s see what Shopify and Magento offer under their sleeves.

To begin with, here is Shopify’s list of sales tools and features available for every user:

  • Abandoned Cart Recovery — potentially recover lost sales through automated emails sent to abandoning customers
  • Multi-channel Marketing — integrate your store with Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites
  • Sell digital and physical products
  • Logistics partnership with couriers to save you the trouble of finding your delivery service

Magento also competes well in terms of sales tools. To start with, it has a unique inventory system with added features such as:

  • Bulk product import
  • Total revenue reports
  • Total visitor count

Aside from those, here are other sales tools from Magento:

  • Multi-channel selling options — Use extensions to integrate your site to social channels
  • Checkout customisation — Develop a personalised checkout for your store
  • Abandoned cart recovery — Recover lost sales through automated email marketing campaigns
  • Set price discount percentages — Let users compare original costs to discounted prices to encourage sales

Sales Features: Verdict

When it comes to your capability to sell, Shopify has a broader range of tools than Magento. Its built-in tools and plugins make it easier for most users to craft the winning formula than installing separate extensions on Magento.

Marketing Tools

Selling your products is one thing; marketing them to your target audience is another. Hence, gearing your site with powerful marketing tools will help your brand reach its long-term objectives.

Along those lines, Shopify and Magento both offer competitive and reliable marketing tools. To start with, Shopify lets you run email campaigns through plugins like:

  • Klaviyo
  • Seguno
  • Constant Contact, among others

Moreover, you can advertise your products on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

If you’re targeting international audiences, consider using Shopify’s Multilingual Site plugins. This tool lets you translate your site and help you sell products in multiple languages.

On the other hand, Magento relies heavily on its marketplace for most of its marketing tools. For instance, you have to install a third-party extension like Remarkety for your email campaigns.

You’ll also rely on a web developer to streamline your marketing tools if you want a bespoke user shopping experience, whereas Shopify has several built-in apps to help your store scale up.

Marketing Tools: Verdict

Both Magento and Shopify rely on their dedicated marketplace to streamline vital marketing features. However, Shopify lets you advertise on social media sites as an out-of-the-box feature.

Applications and Add-ons

Installing extra functionality to your eCommerce store is critical in scaling your brand. Besides, sticking with built-in features won’t be enough to reach your business objectives as soon as possible.

With that, Shopify and Magneto let you install apps, extensions, and add-ons. But which one is better for you?

Shopify’s dedicated App Store has roughly 1,200 free and premium apps. These apps range from email marketing, dropshipping, social media promotions, management tools, and more. Here are some apps you can use for your Shopify eCommerce site:

  • Seguno — Automated email marketing for abandoned cart recovery and customer retention campaigns
  • Trust Hero — Display security badges to improve trust rating and increase checkout rate
  • Oberlo — Dropshipping app that lets you resell third-party products without needing a warehouse
  • Analytics Buddy — Displays relevant Google Analytics metrics to your Shopify dashboard

Check out some of our favourite apps in Shopify’s App Market.

On the other hand, Magento Marketplace offers more than 5,000 extensions for you to choose. It also lets you integrate your Magento store into social apps, as well as other functionalities that are also available on Shopify.

Some of our favourite Magento apps include:

  • Remarkety — Automate your store’s email marketing campaigns and social feeds integration
  • Product Pre-order — Send emails to customers when a favourite product becomes available
  • Amasty Multiple Coupons — Customise product coupons and apply multiple vouchers to a single cart, encouraging repeat purchases and customer retention
  • Banner Slider — Publish banner ads with returning links to drive traffic to your site

Applications and Add-ons: Verdict

Shopify’s App Market offers more polished and easy-to-use apps than Magento Marketplace. Even so, Magento has more extensions in its arsenal, which requires basic coding knowledge to implement on your site.

Payment Processors

An excellent product page won’t compare to a seamless and reliable payment process. Besides, a subpar and untrusted payment method usually results in abandoned carts.

Fortunately, Shopify and Magento let your store accept online payments in a few clicks. But which one stands out from the other?

For your store’s payments, Shopify boasts its built-in payment processor, Shopify Payments. It imposes no transaction fees, excluding regular credit card processing charges.

Moreover, here’s a quick breakdown of Shopify’s extra fees if you opt not to use Shopify Payments and rather pick from 100 payment gateways:

  • Shopify Basic — 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Shopify — 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Shopify Advanced — 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction

Likewise, Magento supports more than 150 payment gateways, with most of them focusing on larger enterprises. If you want to integrate your payment with local processors like PayPal and Apple Pay, you’ll have to install them from the Marketplace.

Furthermore, Magento lets you sell directly through Amazon without leaving your Magento-based inventory. With that, you can significantly expand your reach, thanks to Amazon’s marketplace.

Payment Processors: Verdict

Magento and Shopify both support digital wallet services and other convenient mobile payment gateways. However, Magento has more gateway options than Shopify, and Shopify charges fees unless you use its dedicated payment method — which can be restrictive.

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO helps increase organic traffic from search engines to your site. Besides, the closer you are at the top 10 of search results, the more reliable your site becomes in the eyes of the public.

That said, Magento excels in SEO more than Shopify, as it comes with an array of SEO prompts to get you started. That means you can customise image alt tags, edit URLs, and let search crawlers find your page easily as a built-in feature.

Shopify, on the other hand, heavily relies on its apps for SEO. While you can edit media alt tags and URLs, you have to browse the app store for most of your SEO capabilities and features.

Search Engine Optimisation: Verdict

Magento closely beats Shopify in terms of out-of-the-box SEO capability. Still, taking the time to explore and install SEO apps from Shopify will make you on par with Magento.

Support

The quicker you can fix nuisance issues in your site, the more you can focus on earning sales and gaining new customers. That’s why we included help support as a crucial factor in helping you decide between Shopify and Magento.

When it comes to help and support, Shopify offers:

  • Round-the-clock mobile and live chat support
  • Social media support
  • Community forums
  • Email support
  • Video tutorials
  • Advanced specialist support

Magento, an open-source platform, has excellent community-based guides that can help you throughout the site-building process. You can get step-by-step tutorials and other useful information directly from other Magento users and developers.

Hence, you have to rely on your third-party hosting service’s help and support team when using Magento as your eCommerce platform. 

Help Support: Verdict

When it comes to a dedicated support team that caters user concerns 24/7, Shopify is the better platform. Besides, if you prefer a professional and technical support staff, you can opt for Magento and access a third-party support team from your preferred web hosting service.

Pricing

Let’s get down to business. Choosing the best eCommerce platform comes at a price, and performance or efficiency doesn’t translate to breaking your bank. Nevertheless, you only need to decide what works best for your brand.

When it comes to price, the main thing that sets the two apart is that Shopify is a hosted platform while Magento isn’t. That means Shopify does all the work for you — from site-building to optimisation, to hosting. All service costs, including site hosting, are inclusive in your monthly plan.

On the other hand, Magento is free to install, but you’ll have to pay for a third-party web hosting service, security verification, extensions, and your domain name. Hence, the overall cost of Magento depends on various factors — whereas Shopify has three fixed price plans.

  • Shopify Basic (A$40/month)
  • Shopify (A$109/month)
  • Shopify Advanced (A$412.62/month)

Previously, we also mentioned that Magento’s extensions and themes have a wide range of cost, depending on the web development team that built them. Hence, getting a close approximation of starting your eCommerce site using Magento varies greatly.

However, keep in mind that Magento focuses on larger enterprises with more budgets to boot. Besides, larger brands expect to expand quickly, so if you’re still on your first steps as an eCommerce brand, you might as well want to consider opting for Shopify.

Pricing: Verdict

Magento and Shopify offer different price rates because they are different platforms. Magento is open-source with a unique cost for every demand, while Shopify has fixed price plans as well as paid apps and themes.

Summary

Magento and Shopify are eCommerce platforms that would both guarantee a different experience for their users. Shopify is an out-of-the-box platform dedicated to new users with a few coding knowledge. At the same time, Magento is battle-hardened for professionals and seasoned users with know-hows on the technical aspects.

Regardless of which platform you choose, both of them can provide a user-friendly and reliable eCommerce webpage. The work now remains on crafting a remarkable web design that will streamline your vision to life.

Achieving your long term eCommerce goals is possible through best-in-class web design and development. At G Squared, we provide e-Commerce web design & development solutions to bring your business online and drive sales.

Still have questions? Call us at (02) 9339 4500 or submit an enquiry and speak with us today.

Daniel Law

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