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Magento vs Shopify : a Continuous Struggle of eCommerce Platforms

Magento and Shopify can be compared with Android vs Apple or Coca-Cola vs Pepsi rivalries. The two parties seem to be involved in a never-ending competition, causing lots of developers and e-commerce observers to write longreads on choosing between these platforms.

Even though Magento and Shopify serve slightly different needs, entrepreneurs still manage to hesitate which one is better for their business. In this article, we will dig deeper into each of them to see their pros and cons.

Magento vs Shopify : An Overview

Shopify is an advantageous way for online retailers to create a store with minimal costs. The platform offers 24/7 support, a wide range of highly-optimized themes along with extensive apps for e-commerce, and affordable prices.

Magento is a robust open-source solution that can be free to use in some cases. This CMS is extremely scalable, secure, SEO, and mobile-friendly, provides lots of third-party integrations, and possesses a huge community with 180,000 Magento developers in total.

Before we dig into the comparison, let’s take a look at what the numbers say:

Magento powers 315,000 sites vs. 820,000 sites that are powered by Shopify. But if we take a closer look at these numbers, we’ll learn that Magento powers 70 companies from the Internet Retailer Top B2C e-commerce Leaders Report, while Shopify powers only 10 from this list.

The reason is that Magento is a preferable option when it comes to larger companies. Magento is massive, even its settings and features are targeted to advanced developers. While Shopify is a good choice for small and middle-sized online stores.

Prices: Magento vs Shopify

Magento and Shopify are different in terms of pricing. While the first platform has an open-source and free version, the second one charges a certain fee per transaction.

But is it that simple? They both have some pricing intricacies that should be taken into account to decide which one is more cost-efficient.

Magento pricing

Even though the Magento Community Edition is free of charge, merchants have to pay to customize their store and improve its performance. With the Enterprise Edition which includes all the required functionality, the price will depend on your store total revenue. But the license cost starts at $22,000 per year.

Other expenses may include:

  1. VPS, cloud, or dedicated hosting solution. As far as Magento is a resource-intensive platform, it requires advanced hosting if you want your website work smoothly during traffic peaks;
  2. Customization. The prices of extensions, plugins, add-ons are diverse: they start from $20 and can be up to $28,700;
  3. Theme purchasing (is about $10 – $200);
  4. Website maintenance (the cost of maintenance services varies depending on the hourly rate of developers and starts from $50).

As such, you may expect to pay $7,000-$140,000 to create a customized Magento 2 store.

Shopify pricing

Unlike Magento, Shopify doesn’t provide the users with a free version. However, it offers a two-week trial. After the trial is expired, the users can go with one of the pricing plans:

  • Basic Shopify: $29/month;
  • Shopify: $79/month;
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/month.

Moreover, the CMS charges a monthly fee for using extensions, as well as a certain fee per transaction. Shopify is a self-hosted platform so that there is no need to pay for an advanced hosting solution. Every Shopify pricing plan includes unlimited bandwidth and an SSL certificate.

However, Shopify is far from being cheap. Some extra services that should be deployed to expand functionality, as well as the support of third-party integrations and app subscriptions will likely make up a pretty penny. As such, you may expect to pay $30,000-$100,000 for a new Shopify store.

Performance: Magento vs Shopify

According to the latest Google research, if the page load time is more than 5 seconds, the probability of bounce rate increases by 90%. No one wants to waste their time waiting for a page to load – shoppers are becoming more and more demanding. So, online merchants need to deliver a faster user experience.

Magento performance

Magento is scalable and goes with lots of built-in features. The other side of the coin is that all those benefits significantly affect the performance of the platform making it slow. Without proper optimization, fine-tuning, and advanced hosting solution, your Magento website will be sluggish. All in all, if you want your store to perform well, considerable investments are required. With the help of experienced Magento developers, it is possible to combine great customization and progressive functionality with exceptional speed.

Shopify performance

As mentioned above, Shopify is self-hosted, which means that website owners shouldn’t worry about updates and maintenance.

On the other hand, Shopify constrains the data exchange between the core app and add-on extensions. This may lead to slower performance. Besides, Shopify has a multi-tenant architecture, meaning, if one store has a peak demand, it may harm the performance of your specific store.

Customization Options: Magento vs Shopify

Due to the flexible mentality, Magento allows merchants to do whatever they want within their stores. Along with more than 6,000 extensions created for M1 and M2 websites, there is still an opportunity to build your own and implement it in the system.

Unlike Magento, Shopify was created as an all-in-one CMS platform with limited customization potential. For instance, the platform offers a simplified product category structure that can’t be customized. But this is not the whole story. The fact is that Shopify doesn’t allow their stores to use their own gateways and advanced search is not provided.

Conclusion

In this battle, it is impossible to identify the clear winner, as the two CMSs serve different purposes.

Choose Magento if you need:

  1. Create a large online store and you have enough money to pay for its development;
  2. Get full control over your server environment and its configuration;
  3. to create an excellent UX and exclusive design for your site;
  4. to implement the payment gateways of choice;
  5. scalability and freedom of customization.

Choose Shopify if you need:

  1. to create a small store and have a limited budget;
  2. a self-hosted platform to cut down expenses;
  3. an out-of-the-box solution to save money on development services;
  4. easy support;
  5. basic functionality and standard features.

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