Selecting the most suitable eCommerce platform to create, manage and maintain your online store is of the utmost importance; it can be the difference between success and failure for your business, especially true for small businesses which may be limited by smaller budgets and scarce resources. If you’re really stretched on spending, it’s important when reading the pros and cons to remember that, while Shopify is a commercial product, Magento Community is open-source and completely free.
You might be considering your options if you’re someone who plans to build an online store or wants to migrate your store to another platform. Shopify and Magento are two of the most popular eCommerce creation management platforms out there, but there are fundamental differences between the two which are important to consider before choosing which platform is right for you.
1. Basic store functionality
Both of the two platforms offer similarly powerful basic store functionalities, though Shopify is said to be slightly easier to set-up when compared with Magento.
2. Inventory management
Shopify’s starter plan offers customers a maximum of 25 store items, while with Magento customers are offered a virtually unlimited number of items. Other, more advanced Shopify plans allow access to an unlimited amount of items and also offers Oberlo as an app to newer users.
3. Templates and themes
Magento and Shopify both offer wide collections of templates and themes to give online stores the exact look to suit the business’s products. Although Shopify provides far fewer free themes than Magento Community does, it’s fair to say that the designs of some Shopify free themes are generally more contemporary.
Both of the platforms offer premium themes but there is a great gulf here: Shopify’s premium themes begin at around $80, whereas Magento Community’s paid themes begin at just $1.
4. Add-ons and apps
Shopify provides over 100 applications and add-ons to enhance the functionality of an online store, but Magento has a huge 5000+ range of apps and add-ons, driven largely by the community-driven and open source nature of the platform. Various free and paid apps and add-ons are available on both of the platforms.
5. Hosting options
Shopify is a full hosted solution, where your store is directly hosted by them, whereas with Magento Community you’re required to provide your own hosting – and then install, setup and configure all of the things you need – before you begin the creation of your store. This requires some level of programming and web development knowledge in order to get set up and running.
It would be hard to say which eCommerce platform is the best choice for all online stores as it depends largely on budget, goals, as well as expertise. If you’re trying to create a store quickly to handle less than 100 products, then Shopify is probably better. But when you’re looking to develop a store with virtually unlimited potential for extra features, upscaling, and further customisation, Magento would likely be a better choice.
It depends on the situation entirely and different stores will carry different priorities, with Shopify being more user-friendly in the setup and building of the online store, whereas Magento offers more possibilities with myriad and extensive ranges of apps and add-ons.