When it comes to selecting a platform for creating and managing an online store, there are two names that stand out among all. They are Magento and Shopify and your choice between these two can make or break your online venture. There are fundamental differences between the two that make them suitable for specific types of online store. If you happen to choose the wrong one, your online store will never click and if it is the case, you might have to consider a switch.
The first fundamental difference is that Shopify is a paid product while Magento is a free and open source product. It does not mean that if you have a low budget, you should go for Magento or since Magento is free, it is worthless. Before taking any such conclusion and decision, you should know the differences in features.
Hosting – When you create your online store in Shopify, the hosting is included in the overall price. In other words, it is a self-hosted platform. On the other hand, when you use Magento to create and manage your online store, you have to buy hosting space separately from popular web hosts like GoDaddy, BlueHost and likewise. Even when you buy hosting space separately, the overall costing will be less than Shopify.
User-Friendliness – When you create an online store, it is just the beginning phase of the overall development. More than creating an online store, it is more significant to manage the store from the back-end properly. If you have the slightest knowledge of drag and drop based website creation, you can easily create an online store with Shopify. But in case of Magento, you have to go for a developer to let him create the online store for you.
The constant modification of an online store is a daily activity. Even if you hire a Shopify expert to create your online store, the back-end is so simple and intuitive that you can manage the store and even modify here and there as per requirements pretty effortlessly. On the other hand, Magento based online store will need the constant help of a developer to make modifications. Therefore, Shopify is a clear winner even though it may cost higher to purchase plans.
Themes – Themes are highly effective in making an online store appealing and create that first impression and a necessary trust factor. Nobody wants to shop at a cheap looking store and it is not trustworthy and we all know how some online stores are complete scams and traps of hackers. Fortunately, both the platforms have enough number of quality themes and templates. Shopify has a limited number of free themes but the ones that are available are worth applying. On the other hand, Magento has quite a number of themes but they are not really contemporary.
Since design and functionalities matter a lot, it is a wise decision to invest in a premium theme. Shopify’s premium themes are way too expensive for people with a limited budget as it starts from $80. But on Magento, you can get high-quality themes at a very cheap rate starting from $1. This is one of the main reasons why people choose Magento over Shopify in the first place even though Shopify might have a great grip on other features.
Apps and Features – No platform is powerful without the support of greater external apps or plugins. Both the platforms have enriching set of apps to expand the features and functionalities that the platform can offer to your online store. But Magento is a clear winner here as it is an open-source platform. Shopify has over a thousand apps to add more interesting features to your store while Magento has over five thousand.
Having said that, a platform that is highly dependent on the external apps is not a good thing as the processing time goes up and the site becomes vulnerable. In this connection, it is important to mention that for an online store, multilingual support is extremely important when it is targeting the local and global customers. Shopify depends on external apps for the full multilingual support while Magento has more inbuilt support for multi-language usage.
Payment Gateway – Online stores and payment gateways are interlinked. The more local and global payment gateway you can provide to your customers, the more trustable your website will become and you can cater to a greater section of potential customers. Shopify has more inbuilt payment gateway support than Magento. On Magento, you have to depend on various external apps for several payment gateways.
Miscellaneous – Both the platforms offer high SEO support for organic ranking. Both have a robust inventory management system in the back-end but Shopify is one step ahead for effortless modification options and better user interface. When it comes to Point of Sale solutions through the offline market but using modern devices and systems for billing and payment acceptance, Shopify takes the calk for its speed and ease.
Final Verdict –
There is a reason why more entrepreneurs and businesses choose Shopify over Magento. If budget is not a constraint, Shopify is a perfect platform to choose for headache-free development and management. Magento is good when you are low on budget and you want to see whether your online store clicks or not. You can always start with Magento and eventually make a transition to Shopify as the business picks up.