Shopify vs Magento. The battle of the eCommerce giants. While both fill the same need, they do it in very different ways. A webstore is not simply a webstore, much like your company is not simply a company.
Shopify and Magento are both unique. The “best” platform for you will depend on what your needs are.
Comparing Magento and Shopify
Currently, Magento is the more popular platform (at least according to Google searches). However, Shopify is a newer platform than Magento and has been exponentially increasing in popularity recently. Take a look at this chart showing Magento searches (blue) versus Shopify searches (red).
As you can see, Magento is still around twice as popular as Shopify; however, if Shopify continues to grow at this rate, it won’t be long before they catch up. In fact, just recently Shopify went public and now has a valuation of around $1.27 billion. Shopify has the means to continue to grow.
Enough about popularity and size, lets look at the platforms themselves.
Shopify vs Magento: The Criteria
When looking at Shopify and Magento websites only, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s different about them. Each highlights its strengths and buries its weaknesses (or doesn’t mention them at all). That’s why we’ve decided to break our comparison into six criteria: price, support, transaction fee, storage, ease of entry, and features.
- Price: The total cost of ownership of each platform
- Features: The breadth of features available through the platform
- Support: The support offered by each platform
- Transaction Fee: The fee each platform charges per transaction
- Storage: The platform’s storage space for images, items, videos, etc.
- Ease of entry: How difficult it is to get up-and-running on the platform
We could keep comparing more, but we feel that these criteria will give you a good feel for which platform will work best for you.
Shopify vs Magento Pricing
Pricing is a little difficult to compare. Some of you may be thinking, “Well Magento Community is free. You can’t get cheaper than free.”.
But, that’s not entirely true. At least the part about Magento Community being free. At minimum, you have to pay for hosting your Magento webstore.
To start with the more simple of the two, lets look at Shopify’s pricing.
Shopify Monthly Subscription Pricing
According to Shopify’s pricing page, the plans currently available are:
- Starter – $14/mo
- Basic – $29/mo
- Professional – $79/mo
- Unlimited – $179/mo
Which plan works best for you is ultimately up to how large your company is. The main things to keep in mind are:
- At the Starter plan, you can only have up to 25 items and no extra functionality
- At the Basic plan, you gain unlimited items, but have no extra functionality
- At the Professional plan, you gain functionality for gift cards, professional reports, abandoned cart recovery, advanced report builder, and real-time carrier shipping and your file storage is upgraded to 5 GB.
- At the Unlimited plan, you gain all functionality including advanced reports and real-time carrier shipping and your file storage is upgraded to unlimited.
You may be thinking, “179/mo for full functionality? I get that for free with Magento Community”. That’s true, and a valid point. Still, let’s take a closer look at Magento’s pricing.
Magento Hosting Pricing
Magento hosting can be dirt cheap or extremely expensive. Keep in mind though, you get what you pay for.
(If you want to take a much deeper diver into our thoughts on Magento hosting, check out our post: Top 5 Magento Hosting Providers.)
Here are the price points for the top 5 hosting companies.
- SiteGround – $9.95/mo
- LiquidWeb – $14.95/mo
- Nexcess – $19.95/mo
- RackSpace – $246/mo
- Peer1 – On quote by quote basis
Keep in mind that the cheapest two on this list aren’t PCI compliant at that price level. Also, these plans are prices for “shared servers”. This means you are sharing server space with other companies. This can slow down your webstore considerably, depending on how much space you’re sharing with how many different companies.
After evaluating prices, Magento comes out cheaper, even with hosting.
Take into account that this is also assuming you will do the web development yourself. Magento doesn’t have as nice of a website editor as Shopify does. Shopify is meant for amateurs to put together their own website. Magento is a little more complicated.
If you’re planning on doing the web development yourself, or plan on using a template for your webstore and not changing it, then Magento is probably the cheaper option for you.
Shopify vs Magento Support
Comparing Shopify vs Magento support is much more simple. Shopify has support, Magento doesn’t.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Magento’s support comes from its dedicated communities of developers, which means there’s no official support). If you feel comfortable enough to pin-point your problem, and follow through on a developers suggestion, this may work for you.
Shopify has 24/7 support. So if you think you’re tech savy enough to run your Magento store with no problems, then don’t worry about support. On the other hand, if you aren’t a web developer, having that 24/7 support is a huge relief.
Simply having that comfort blanket is enough to make some choose Shopify. What happens if your webstore suddenly breaks? Are you comfortable enough to fix it yourself? Or do you want that support line to help you?
Shopify vs Magento Transaction Fees
Magento has no transaction fees other than the gateway provider’s fees (which apply to Shopify as well). Magento has the obvious edge here then.
That being said, if you’re using Shopify’s payment gateway or are on their Unlimited plan, Shopify doesn’t have any transaction fees either.
Here’s a breakdown of Shopify’s transaction fees by plan:
- Starter – 2%
- Basic – 1%
- Professional – 1%
- Unlimited – 0%
1% of a sale might not affect you when you’re selling a few items a month. However, these fees can quickly add up over time and hinder your business, if you’re selling more.
One could also argue if you’re selling enough for these fees to matter, you should probably be on the unlimited plan anyways and they won’t apply to you.
Shopify vs Magento Storage
Storage is like pricing, it’s hard to compare the two. For Shopify, you have to upgrade your plan to increase your storage. With Magento, you’ll need to upgrade your hosting.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about with storage, let me explain. For Shopify, you need storage space for all your images, items, videos etc. For Magento, you need storage for all of that plus the raw files of your webstore. Think of it as a USB drive in the cloud.
Shopify Storage and Pricing
With each step up in the Shopify plan you get more features, less transaction fees, and lastly – more data.
- Starter Plan – 1 GB – $14/mo
- Basic Plan – 1 GB – $29/mo
- Professional Plan – 5 GB – $79/mo
- Unlimited Plan – Unlimited – $179/mo
A store with many items should have even more images. Images take up a lot of storage. Be wary of this pushing you into a higher price plan.
Magento Storage and Pricing
For Magento users, you have to pay your hosting provider for your storage.Remember, this isn’t storage just for your images, it’s for all your webstore’s files, too.
- SiteGround – 10 GB – $9.95/mo
- Liquid Web – 5 GB – $24.95/mo
- Nexcess – 16 GB – $19.95
- Rackspace – (assumed unlimited) – $246/mo
- Peer1 – (assumed unlimited) – Quoted
Ultimately, you need to decide how much space you need. Are you a small store with a couple of items? You’ll probably be fine with 1 GB of data. Do you have 1000 items with 5 images per item? You probably need unlimited. Neither of these platforms are “better” for storage hosting – it’s just a matter of space and price.
In an ideal world, everyone would have unlimited storage. But if you have a tiny store, 5 GB will feel like plenty of room.
Shopify vs Magento Ease of Entry
If you’ve read the post so far, you probably know my opinion on this. Shopify is easier to set-up and use for a non-technical retailer.
If you plan on using Magento, you either need to be technical yourself or hire someone technical to develop it for you.
Shopify allows you to easily edit your webstore and use their extensive library of templates. You don’t need any HTML or CSS knowledge to update your templates.
It seems that Shopify has the edge, as far as ease of entry goes.
Shopify vs Magento Features
Magento and Shopify are fairly neck in neck in features. When it comes to the core functionality of a webstore, both are comparable. The only thing to keep in mind is that Magento Community gives you full functionality out of the box. Shopify only gives you full functionality if you’re on the unlimited version.
The main difference in features comes from the type of software each platform is.
Magento is open-source. This means that the original source code is freely avaliable and may be redistributed and modified. What that really means is that there are countless developers working on Magento and Magento applications everyday.
Shopify may have a few less applications. However, Shopify regulates their applications, so you know each of the applications works seemlessly with Shopify. You don’t have that same promise using a third-party plugin from a Magento developer.
Which is better, Shopify or Magento?
I can’t tell you the answer to this. There’s is no clear winner between the two. The best platform for you depends on your needs and abilities. Hopefully, by this part of the post, you know the answer for yourself.
If it was up to me, it comes down to is how comfortable you are with the technical side of things. If you’re more than competent, then use Magento. It’s open-source, flexible, and has an extensive, always growing community of developers.
If you’re not a “techy,” go with Shopify. They’ll take care of everything for you. You can just focus on selling. For a few extra bucks a month, you don’t have to be bogged down by the technical side of things.
Have you decided on Magento?
Great! If you are interested in integrating your Magento webstore with Amazon, eBay, or your back-end ERP/Accounting system, check out our connector. We can help you through that process.
In the meantime, if you want to keep reading more about Magento, check out our blog post on the top 5 Magento apps you need to run your store.
Have you decided on Shopify?
Superb! If you are interested in integrating your Shopify webstore with Amazon, eBay, or your back-end ERP/Accounting system, check out our connector. We can help you through that process.
If you want to keep reading more about Shopify, check out our blog post on the top 5 Shopify SEO problems and tips to solve them.
Have any questions or concerns? Let me know in the comments below!