Shopify vs Magento: How to choose your ecommerce platform?

Shopify vs Magento: How to choose your ecommerce platform?

When coming into building an ecommerce store, it’s a bit tough task to select one from Magento and Shopify as both provides excellent services. Especially for small business owners who has limited resources and budgets. You might be planning to build an ecommerce store else going to modify the existing ecommerce website. First you need to know about ecommerce site and its two types.

Ecommerce platforms are a platform that helps you to build your digital store / online store /eCommerce shop. There are two types of eCommerce platforms:

1. Hosted ecommerce store.

Hosted eCommerce platforms are simple to manage. You don't need to worry about technical things like design, development, shopping cart features, hosting and technical support. The eCommerce hosting company will take care of everything. The payment will be monthly/yearly based on store size.

Some of the companies are:

  • 1. Shopify
  • 2. Etsy
  • 3. Wix
  • 4. BigCommerce
  • 5. Yahoo Commerce

2.Self-hosted eCommerce platforms

Apart from hosted eCommerce platform, in self-hosted, technical parts need to be handled manually. Everything will be well-documented and you (or your developer) can make any changes you require. It's customizable and can add extra features by either using plugins or extensions. As the name indicates, you can host it anywhere by yourself. Self -hosted eCommerce platforms gives you a degree of control over your online store. The model works best if you are willing and able to maintain the software side of your store.

Some of the companies are:

  • 1. Magento
  • 2. OpenCart
  • 3. ZenCart
  • 4. X-Cart
  • 5. WooCommerce

Comparison: Shopify VS Magento

Initial setup

Both Magento and Shopify offer easy-to-use online store interfaces. The functionality on both platforms is powerful enough to handle pretty much anything you might want them to do. The only huge difference in this regard is the amount of work involved in the setup stage, as Magento will require a lot more time and effort.

Inventory management

With Magento, you can add an almost unlimited number of products to your inventory and it won’t cost anything extra. With Shopify’s ‘Starter Plan’ of around $14 per month, you can only have a maximum of 25 products on your store. However, all other Shopify accounts after their Starter Plan offer unlimited products. Although Magento gives businesses the opportunity to add unlimited products to their store, if your host server isn’t up to the challenge, you may run into some big problems. If your server can’t handle the additional items, your site may slow down to the point where it is unusable for customers. This isn’ta problem for Shopify, however, as it is a fully hosted, managed service. However, as long as you pay for better, faster hosting, then it shouldn’t be a problem for Magento either – it’s just something you have to keep an eye on as your business grows.

Shipping Charges 

Both platforms allow flexible and powerful options for calculation of shipping charges. Magento offers:

  • 1. Multiple Shipping Address Management
  • 2. Online Order Tracking from Customer Account
  • 3. Ability to Manage Multiple Shipments on a Single Online Order
  • 4. Destination Country Management
  • 5. Per Order and Per Item Flat Rate Shipping Option
  • 6. Free Shipping Functionality
  • 7. Manage Shipping by Weight and Destination

Coupons and discount codes 

Shopify does not offer this feature on their starter plan while it is available on all other plans. Magento allows discount codes, coupons and calculation functionalities.

Payment gateway

Payment gateway should satisfy certain factors like, security, easy to use, its capabilities such as what payment options are available, methods used and pricing. Shopify offers 70 payment gateways while Magento Community is less with support for a far lower number of gateways. More gateways can be added to Magento store via third-party add-ons.

Themes and Templates

The Magento and Shopify online communities are very active, so they produce a huge array of themes and templates for businesses to choose between. This allows you find the perfect aesthetic to suit your products, your brand, and the customer experience you’re looking for. As Magento is open source, there are many more themes and templates for you to choose from. This is because Magento has been around for so long and is often the default ecommerce platform people go to once they’re serious about their online store, so many more developers spend time working with Magento. Check out our own Magento page for more information about what we could offer you. However, although Shopify offers significantly fewer themes and templates than Magento, these themes tend to be more modern and made to a higher standard than the average Magento themes. However, there are many Magento themes that are just as good as Shopify themes, and the price discrepancy between the two platforms is enormous: premium Shopify themes start out at around $80, whilst Magento themes start out at $1. You will need to shop around much more with Magento, but spending a little more time should save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Multi-lingual capabilities

Shopify does not offer full multi-lingual capabilities directly. For creating fully multi-lingual stores, third-party/paid apps are available for Shopify. Another option available at Shopify is to custom code your theme/templates with a simple as well as an advanced level interface. Magento is again at an advantage here, with more in-built multi-lingual support.


Extensive SEO capabilities are available on both in order to help you drive more organic traffic to your store via search engines. SEO capabilities include:

  • 1. Light Footprint Design for Fast Load Time and Search Engine Optimization
  • 2. Google Site Map Creation and Site Map Auto Generation
  • 3. Search Engine Friendly URL’s Including URL Rewrite Controls
  • 4. META Information Management at Product and Category Levels
  • 5. Auto-Generated Popular Search Terms Page

Customization Feature

Shopify offers a simple, menu-driven method to change the basic attributes of your store such as fonts, colours etc. very easily. Required separate hosting services for further customization. And it has only limited admin user access.

Magento are as high as it can get because all its code is open source, any of which you can modify in any way you wish to. This unrestricted freedom to customize can be used only by those who have deeply entrenched web programming and HTML/CSS coding know-how.

Blogging functionality

Easy blogging functionality is available as an integrated feature at Shopify while this can be achieved with Magento using a (free) plug-in.


There are several areas where both ecommerce platforms perform equally well. These areas include the following:

  • SEO on both platforms works incredibly well, with the structure of both platforms set out to make it as easy as possible to optimise your website, driving as much traffic to your site as possible.
  • Customisation options on both Shopify and Magento are extensive, whether you want to change the raw HTML/CSS code with Magento or the more user-friendly customisation options offered by Shopify.
  • Blogging is equally easy on both platforms. It is built-in to Shopify and can be achieved easily with a free plug-in on Magento.
  • Conclusion:

    It is impossible to make a conclusion that is relevant to every single business, as we all have different requirements and capabilities. Perhaps the biggest difference is how easy Shopify is to setup and manage in comparison to Magento. If you do not have the time and do not want to play someone else for their time, then Magento could prove too time consuming and difficult to get the hang of. Shopify does a lot of the hard work for you.

    On the other hand, Magento could prove significantly cheaper if you are willing to work hard and work out exactly what you need to pay a web development company for. Weighing up what you can do yourself and when you need to pay someone else to do something could save you a lot of money in the long run.

    So, if you are mainly looking for ease of use, then Shopify is a clear winner. Transactional charges are applicable for shopify beyond a limit of transactions. But, if you want thousands of add-ons to choose from and you’re willing to work a lot harder in order to save money, then Magento is the right platform for you. I hope this article has proven useful and that it’s answered most of your questions. If you have any more questions about whether Magento or Shopify is best for your business, then please get in touch.

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