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Magento vs Shopify – Which ecommerce platform is better

Magento and Shopify are two of the biggest ecommerce platforms which allow anybody and everybody to start their online store with absolute ease.

Both have numerous options in terms of themes, apps, and pricing.

But the question remains; Which one is better?

Considering the perspective of somebody who wants to start their very own venture in the colossal cosmos of ecommerce, I have jotted down the key parameters on which we will compare both the platforms.

Before we get into it, let’s understand that both platforms are really great. The reason for this comparison is to give you a clear idea of which one fits your exclusive demands or needs.

While Shopify is a hosted platform and offers its users to create online stores, Magento is an open source platform which requires hosting. However, Magento does have a paid version which is affordable for large enterprises only. So, we’ll be talking about the open source version as we are discussing it from the perspective of someone starting out an ecommerce store.

Let’s get cracking!

Magento vs Shopify – Features


Let’s start by talking about the features both platforms offer when it comes to setting up an online store.

Both platforms offer basic functionalities to set up your ecommerce store but when compared one on one, Shopify is fairly easy to set up. Both offer features such as checkout modules, shopping carts, and product pages.

The most significant difference when it comes to features, Shopify offers basic while Magento offers advanced functionalities. With Shopify, the only way you can get advanced features is by adding an application for extended functionality.

Magento and Shopify both offer unlimited inventory management. However, Shopify has an option of integration which allows you to connect with dropshipping apps like Oberlo.

  • Inventory – Another significant difference between Magento and Shopify is that even though you can add an unlimited number of products on your online store, in case of Magento, that number directly depends on your hosting. On the other hand, because Shopify is a hosted platform, you don’t need to worry about it.
  • Coupons – Shopify, apart from its Lite plan, offers discount coupon creation on the platform. Whereas, with Magento, you can do that from that start.
  • Payment Gateway – Another factor that separates Magento and Shopify is the payment gateway. While Shopify offers over 65 payment gateways, Magento doesn’t even offer half of it. However, you can add more gateways on Magento via the third party add ons. Even though Shopify offers many 3rd party payment gateways, but it charges transaction fees on them, and not if you use their gateway, which is a bummer.
  • Themes – Magento has a better library of themes and its premium themes start at only just $1. While Shopify paid themes start at a whopping $80.
  • Marketplace – Shopify offers a great app store which has over 100 apps. The moderation of the app store is good, so any and every app is useful in the market place. Magento, on the other hand, has over 5000 apps on its market place!
  • SEO – There’s no significant difference between Magento and Shopify when it comes to SEO. Both offer enough tools and plugins to sort out any kind of SEO operation.

Magento vs Shopify – Customization

When it comes to customization, this is where the line gets drawn between an open source and a hosted platform.

While Shopify and Magento both can be edited using HTML/CSS code. The simplicity of Shopify is unparalleled. In fact, just like WordPress, you can change the font, themes, colors et. right from a single dashboard. But when it comes to advanced customization and tailored specifications, Magento wins the race. The simple reason is that its open source.

Magento developers are in high demand because of this. Companies that are peculiar about their storefronts and designs want an end to end customization. This can only be achieved by experienced developers who have a level of expertise in customizing Magento.

So to sum it up:

  • Shopify and Magento both can be edited using HTML/CSS.
  • Shopify offers a simple menu to make basic changes.
  • Magento offers better customization via development as it is open source.

Magento vs Shopify – The cost

When it comes to costs, Shopify offers a 14 day free trial for evaluation purposes. However, it doesn’t have a setup charge. Magento is completely free as it is open source. Though, you would need to procure and pay for hosting as it’s a self-hosted platform.

As of March 2019, Shopify has the following pricing plans mentioned on their website:

Basic Shopify This plan is of $29 per month and has all the basic features to get you started with your very own online store. The plan includes two staff accounts, sales channel, manual order creation, discount codes, and SSL security.

Shopify – You can get this plan for $79 per month and has all the features in the basic plan. Along with that, you get five staff account instead of two, gift cards and also professional reporting feature.

Advanced Shopify – At $299 per month, you get the advanced plan of Shopify. This includes all the possible features Shopify can offer you. Along with the features mentioned in basic and Shopify plans, the advanced plan also has 15 staff accounts, professional reporting, advanced report builder, and third-party shipping calculations.

Magento like mentioned several times in this post is open source. So, what you pay for is the hosting, which can range from $5 to $500 per month, depending on your location, the data usage of your online stores and so on.

Magento vs Shopify – Verdict?

After reading a lot about both platforms, I decided the above-mentioned points to draw a comparison between both/ Features, customization and cost is something any entrepreneur or business person would want to look at.

When it comes to giving a verdict regarding which one is better, none and both.

It really comes down to what you seek.

If you want a platform that gives you an online store with basic functionalities and some of which you can edit on your own, such as colors or fonts, etc. then Shopify is for you. But if you’re a serial entrepreneur or a person with long term goals and want everything according to you then Magento is for you.

Some people would see Magento as inexpensive because it’s free and fully customizable and some will find Shopify better because of pre-canned templates and hosted platforms.

So, it’s a “to each his/her own” situation.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Which one is better for you? Have tried any of them or both? Share your experiences.

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