Shopify vs Magento: Which Platform is Best for Your e-Commerce Business?
“Every Enterprise Strategy Is A Digital Strategy”
Magento CEO of eCommerce platform Magento, Mark Lavelle
If you are getting ready to launch a new eCommerce website or migrate your current website, one of the first decisions you will need to make is which eCommerce platform you should choose from. The most widely-used customer management systems (CMS) are Shopify and Magento. But which one is best for your needs? This article will help you to understand the differences and decide.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHOPIFY AND MAGENTO?
Up until a few years ago, there was no real choice between the two, Magento was the only platform to choose from. However, 2016 was the year in which Shopify surpassed Magento in Google Trends web searches. This is not to say that they surpassed use and adoption but established themselves as a worthy contender.
In plain and simple terms, Magento is an open source platform that empowers developers to customize eCommerce websites in a way they desire—coding skills and a development budget are required.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a super simple platform easy enough for the non-web developer to build and maintain, but most still choose to hire a development team for the initial build and major updates. Shopify can be customized with a variety of extensions.
Both platforms deliver outstanding results, so here’s what you need to know before you decide.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
An increasing number of online shoppers begin their shopping process not by heading to a specific website, but by performing an online search. This means that you need an eCommerce platform that is initially well-optimized to search engine requirements.
While both platforms possess this characteristic (meta-descriptions, page titles, independent links, embedding URLs, etc.), Shopify has a built in Traffic Control app that manages redirects after you build your website.
The same can be achieved with Magento, but the code would need to be built from scratch. Yes, you will still need to optimize your site with original quality content, and relevant keywords.
Price must be a determining factor, but not the ultimate factor in deciding between the two.
Magento may be less expensive from a monthly standpoint, you must also factor in the ongoing need for custom coding and ongoing support. Both have a variety of pricing options, to meet the needs of small startups to enterprise-grade. Magento Community Edition is free with hosting for about $60 per month, but enterprises will need to request a custom quote which can run upwards of $18,000.
Shopify has a larger variety of price points, ranging from $30 to $300 a month for low-volume, with a $49 retail package—and from 5 to 2 percent of each sale. High volume packages begin at $2,000 and custom quotes for shops with more than $10 million in sales per year.
Shopify offers all their customers 24/7 customer service by chat, email, or phone.
Magento doesn’t have support, but instead an active user forum. While designers and developers are happy to help others troubleshoot, response time is not always rapid. Most who choose Magento requires a third-party host and a dedicated third-party support team to provide the 24/7.
EASE OF DESIGN
Magento is made for developers and designers who understand how to code and design advanced features and file edits. Themes are available to use as a foundation with pricing starting at $50 and running upwards of $300. Some themes are free, but free themes are less stable—and ongoing theme updates are not guaranteed. The goal is to select a general theme and customize it with a never-ending option of features and functions.
Shopify has a far more impressive collection of DIY themes, no coding required. All are built with eCommerce in mind and can easily be customized with standard features and functions. All Shopify themes are designed with modern eCommerce practices—including mobile compatibility. While clean and intuitive some advanced needs may not be met.
Many startups, small businesses, and enterprises sell their products on Amazon as a secondary, or primary, stream of income. To simplify uploading products, inventory management, and overall business process—Amazon integration is essential.
While both Shopify and Magento are integrated with Amazon, the defining difference is that Shopify currently only integrates with US dollars, while Magento automatically matches products and lists them across the major global marketplaces—North America, APAC and Europe. This one difference can be a major motivating factor in deciding between the two. For example, you could use Shopify for your US Amazon integration and manually update products to your global markets, but the labor this will cost to upload and edit inventory, manage both stores, and process orders may not be the most cost-effective option.
You can’t go wrong with either platform, but you must understand your limitations in both budget and skill. For example, if you are a startup or small business who plans on creating a DIY eCommerce shop, and you have a minimal budget for website development Shopify is the way to go.
If you have a larger development budget and a need for custom features and functions, or Amazon integration is of high priority—Magento may prove to be your best option. Whichever you choose, you can migrate to the platform that is a better fit. Yes, this will be costly but is always an option.
That being said, keep an eye out for the ongoing upgrades and features of both platforms—because one small but meaningful feature can be the defining difference between the two.
Cider is a Software Development Company based in the heart of Silicon Valley. We combine business domain knowledge and technology expertise of more than 50 development studios spread around the world. We specialize in custom web development, as well as customization of CMS based websites. We have experience in building websites across different verticals: from eCommerce to Healthcare.
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