Launching an online store is not easy as it seems to be. You have to take care of many things which might not have been on your list during the planning process. One of the most important things that you need to decide on is the ecommerce platform to build your store on. Given the number of options you have these days, ecommerce entrepreneurs are often confused when it comes to deciding on the preferable ecommerce platform. Most of the SMEs reach to the juncture where they have filtered their choices and stuck at the last decision making stage.
If you are also undecided about your favourite ecommerce platform, we will help you out right now! So you have heard a lot about Magento and someone told you that you should definitely build your site on Magento. But then you also got to know about Shopify, since you regularly see their ads and you kind of like what they have to offer.
And so, you are stuck now. You can’t decide between Magento and Shopify. So let’s dive deeper into both the platforms and find out which one is better for you.
Magento is undoubtedly the world’s most popular self hosted, open source ecommerce framework powering the largest number of top ecommerce businesses. From SMEs to big billion companies like Samsung, Ghirardelli, Brown-Forman, Magento has been a choice for all and lived up to their expectations by increasing their sales manifold. It is built on open source technology and flexibility in its functionality is something it is most preferred for. Additionally, the extensions and integrations help in extending functionality and reducing development costs.
Shopify on the other hand is rapidly growing as an ideal hosted ecommerce platform for small and medium size business. It requires less technical knowledge to setup a business and the installation is much easier. It also offers some attractive features like social media selling, buy button for campaigns, quick POS integration, etc.
Now, let’s look at the features you need to look for and how these ecommerce platforms are capable of delivering them. Judging the platforms on the following basis will help you decide which one to choose and when?
Cost is something that no enterprise can ignore, especially in the initial days when you are yet to stabilize your business. Magento is based on an open source platform, so you get the community edition for free. You just need to setup your hosting and domain name. If you have a small store, you can consider opting for a shared hosting which will reduce your costs further.
Shopify has four plans on offer namely Lite, Basic, Pro, and Unlimited. The plans vary from 9USD to 179USD on a monthly basis. There is no transaction fees on these plans and all of them come with a 14 day trial. Included in the costs, Shopify offers you day night customer support, manual order creation tools, unlimited products, and bandwidth.
If you are a small business, the user interface of your ecommerce store significantly reflects how you are able to manage your store. If you are looking for a less complicated admin interface, Shopify is for you. Everyday function like adding and editing products, managing categories, adding modules, etc. is really easy in Shopify and can be done without much technical expertise.
Magento though flexible, is more complex as there is lot more built into the admin section. You can go for it if you have a larger product portfolio and resources to manage the technical part.
Third Party Apps
Magento Connect, the old Magento marketplace and the new marketplace Magento is migrating to, are definitely one of the biggest reasons for user adoption of Magento as they have thousands of extensions for all kinds of functionalities. It’s easier to extend your store using one of these extensions than it is if you have a Shopify store.
The Shopify app store works for you if you don’t need additional integrations for your store but it’s yet to go a long way to equal Magento in terms of the number of apps available and the variety of the themes.
Another feature you need to look for in your ecommerce platform is how it aligns with your marketing strategies. Magento provides robust SEO features with friendly URLs, site mapping, and Google content API but Magento doesn’t provide you any in built social media features. You can add apps to make your Magento site social friendly. Talking about built-in promotion options, Magento wins with its uncountable features including up selling, promotional pricing, flexible coupons, related products, free shipping, product bundling, etc.
Shopify doesn’t offer lot of flexibility with SEO but offers you the basic essentials with robots.txt and sitemap.xml files. It’s more popular for its social media capabilities which lets you directly sell on Facebook and create saleable pins on Pinterest. Built-in promotions include coupon and discount codes. Along with, you can find other solutions for promotions in the app store.
Shopify provides 24×7 customer support and also offers both dedicated and community-based support. It surely has some advantage over Magento, especially for small businesses needing constant support regarding upgrades and security patches.
Magento on the other hand relies entirely on community based support so you won’t get any service representatives to answer your queries one to one. For any issues, you will require to post a question on community forums or look for a previous answer to similar query.
Both the platforms are capable in performing various essential ecommerce functions but have for some of the features one has an advantage over the other. While choosing a suitable platform for your store, look for the features which matters more to you and go for the one that dominates that particular niche.
In a nutshell, Shopify works best for small scale ecommerce business with no high-end requirements and a fixed budget while Magento is suitable for businesses looking for a lot of customization and are well equipped with resources that can be exploited to manage the complexity of the platform. If you are still not sure, you can let experts do the work for you. Since we provide both magento development and shopify development services, we will be able to help you out with both. All you have to do is focus on your products and marketing and we will take care of the store technology.