When you are creating, maintaining and managing an online store, the most important factor is selecting a suitable E-commerce platform. An e-commerce platform is a website that hosts products and facilitates the purchasing of products by customers, for the business owners to then distribute. This platform will be responsible for the success or failure of your business, especially for a small business with limited budget and resources. Shopify and Magento are two e-commerce platforms as of today. The main difference in these two platforms is that Shopify is a commercial product that the user has to pay for, while Magento Community is an open-source software that is free of cost. Another difference is that Shopify is a solution where the store is hosted by its owners and stakeholders, whereas with Magento you have to source your installation, hosting, configuration and setting up before you start your store, in addition to having programming and web development skills.
It has been a common practice for some years now for e-commerce sites to use Magento for all their shopping platform requirements. Shopify was a platform that, at the time, was not considered a highly rated e-commerce solution. But things have been steadily changing over the years, with marketers and business owners looking towards Shopify in increasing numbers to replace Magento. Mid-2016 saw a significant change, with Shopify overtaking Magento.
Eric Sampson, the editor of Group 8A, reported that in the current month they had used Shopify and were fully satisfied with this platform. Though it was a difficult decision, many considerations took place while selecting this platform, which ultimately suited their requirements best. Below the main features considered while comparing Magento and Shopify.
For big businesses existing in today’s competitive world, the key to success is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Studies have shown that SEO integration is an important marketing tool that can make or break a business. Moreover, 35% of customers begin purchasing through Google, while 38% shoppers started their shopping on Amazon. Speaking fairly, both Shopify and Magento have embedded page URLs, page titles, meta-descriptions and links of products that will assist your business, helping to boost the site or page and increase your search engine rankings. Shopify includes a useful app called Traffic Control that can actually manage redirects, so that even after migration you do not lose search engine rankings or traffic. If you are thinking of changing your platform, it is essential to use such an app. On the contrary, Magento is open source with unlimited SEO options, yet you need to have access to technical know-how. If that is not the case, you may end up spending a lot of time and money searching for someone who has the expertise.
When it comes to pricing, both Shopify and Magento have their points of difference. For every business owner, pricing is a vital consideration. It can make or break the business, and saving money is paramount to achieving success. The pricing of Magento Community Edition is free. But if you desire to upgrade to Enterprise Edition, you can get a price quote from the company that can prove to be expensive and cumbersome (somewhere around $18,000).
On the other hand, Shopify has several price options for different businesses, ranging from $9/month to $299/month, plus credit card fees. It offers a free trial period for 14 days, but only once you buy a monthly subscription. Take note, though, that if you pay online, you will need to pay up to 2% if you use an external payment system like Paypal.
If you require consideration of raw data, Magento Community Edition may prove to be better if what you are looking for is hands-on and elementary. While there are certain, better, features that Shopify offers for its users, Magento offers 24/7 customer service, fraud analysis features and a means of manual order creation. If all of these considered, Magento certainly seems a good option.
Moreover, the Shopify subscription is inclusive of the price of hosting the site and everything else you need to launch a site. With Magento, it is required that the site owner has a third party hosting subscription, and that can cost you somewhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars per month.
It is comparatively easier to edit files on Magento, as opposed to Shopify, connecting you directly to FTP clients for advanced users (though this might prove to be confusing or difficult for inexperienced users). Both Shopify and Magento offer a variety of themes and templates to give your online store a unique look and feel. Although theme marketplace does exist, it appears that adequate quality control is limited, so using one of these themes could prove to be dangerous. Some are free, but most themes of Magento cost between $50 and $300. If you take a look over Shopify, you can view a large number of themes that are contemporary, powerful, sleek and mobile friendly. Shopify has a large variety of adaptable themes to suit any business, without coding and technical knowledge. Moreover, designing an eCommerce Website forms the basis of the User Experience (UX) it offers. Give your website a professional look by taking the help of one of the expert freelance designers available to help you on Freelancer.com.
The Shopify beginners plan allows a maximum of twenty-five store items, while its other plans allow an unlimited number of products in your online store. Magento Community offers unlimited items right from the start, but its slow host performance speed and site loading might prove to be a problem. You have to face serious issues when you add more products on Magento store, but Shopify is a fully managed hosted solution.
Both platforms have an advanced interface, offering substantial customization capabilities to edit the raw HTML/CSS code so that you get full control over the design of the store. Shopify simplifies things by providing simple, menu driven methods for when you want to change the core features of your store (like colors and fonts). Shopify can access blogging functionalities too, while Magento will only do this with a paid plug-in.
Business owners take great pride in the fact they are always available to customers. Similarly, we also desire a platform that provides the same customer service. On this point, Shopify offers consistent support while Magento does not. When you study both platforms, it is Magento that has helpful and knowledgeable developers, and a dedicated community support forum. But it is mandatory to have a background in developing or to hire someone who has this expert knowledge, otherwise this will be useless for you. Supposing your site gets disabled on Christmas Eve or New Year’s, there will be no one to do the troubleshooting.
Shopify’s 24/7 customer service is unparalleled. Their staff is ready to provide support at all times through chat, phone or email. In fact, E-commerce University is a blog that provides valuable advice along with user forums. Besides Group 8A, there are many businesses that experience success with Shopify, including a significant increase in conversions after migrating to this platform.
If you consider the overall performance of Shopify and Magento, they both have excellent features, but ultimately you have to decide which works best for your particular business and will help to strengthen it. But in the long run, it seems although the struggle for top e-commerce platform never seems to end, the tide is steadily shifting towards Shopify.
Which one do you think is the better e-commerce platform for your business? Share your views with us in the comment section below.