Magento vs. Shopify in 2018
People that are looking to start an e-commerce business are often presented with two options; you either have to choose Shopify or Magento.
The interesting thing is that despite the fact that these two platforms are often referred to interchangeably, they’re actually quite different from each another.
That’s why we’ve decided to do a comparison of both so that you can clearly see the unique advantages and disadvantages of each option, and then make an informed decision based on that.
What you don’t want is to make a premature decision without fully understanding either platform or end up realizing later on that it’s actually not the best option for you.
To avoid all of that, we’ve put together what we think is a comprehensive and unbiased overview of each platform that will help you figure out which of the two options is the best one for your needs and preferences.
Shopify Pros and Cons
- More than 60 storefront themes
With Shopify, you don’t have to manually configure your website for web-based and mobile applications, as Shopify does that on its own. This makes it possible for your customers to enjoy a seamless experience regardless of the device they’re using to access your online store, and all that without any additional effort on your part.
It’s a really an awesome feature when you consider the fact that a lot of business owners struggle with making their sites mobile-friendly, and yet over 65% of customers in the 18 to 39 age group shop online using their mobile device. This is why the mobile version should be as engaging and user-friendly as the web version.
- Comprehensive e-commerce website builder
The Shopify App Store enables your site to have unlimited mobile functionality, which in turn leads to a smooth user experience and of course, a healthy bottom line for you.
- 24/7 support and easy to use
One of the great features about Shopify is that they really go all the way when it comes to providing support for their users.
For example, if you experience difficulty with your site in any way, you can always contact them via email, live chat or phone support, all of which are available on a 24/7 basis.
Not only that but there’s also a handy forum that you can visit to communicate with other website owners about how to improve your site and build your business.
- Only 10 free themes
Shopify is not the place to go if you want cheap or free options but you really do get what you pay for in the end. Their free themes are limited and quite frankly, nothing to write home about, whereas their premium themes are really unique and attractive to customers.
- Apps can make your store complex
Be warned; there are a lot of apps available on Shopify so it can be tempting to just choose all or most of them. However, as experience has taught us, this can really cost you in terms of website functionality.
So, just go with the most important apps like Instagram which is quick and easy to integrate while enabling you to showcase your products on a consistent basis.
An email marketing app is also essential because it allows you to increase your customer base and capitalize on their buying potential.
- There’s a transaction fee per each sale
With Shopify, you can either choose a more costly plan and pay less per transaction, or choose a cheap plan and pay more per transaction; there’s no in-between.
However, you can do away with all transaction fees but that involves using their internal payment system, which is known as Shopify Payments.
Magento: Pros and Cons
- Big support community
The Magento Forum connects experienced users with new ones so that the former can share their experience and help the newbies to avoid common pitfalls.
This also means that you’ll have someone with experiential knowledge to help you whenever you get stuck or run into trouble. And the best part is that they’ll be able to explain the solution to you in a language that you can understand, without using any of the confusing technical jargon.
- Flexible platform that gives you complete freedom
Instead of giving you themes to purchase, Magento leaves the design of your website completely up to you.
So, if you know how to code and you’re willing to hire someone to code the design of your website for you, then Magento is the ideal option because then you’ll have a unique, one-of-a-kind website that truly reflects your creativity and brand identity.
However, if coding is not your thing and you don’t feel like looking for someone to do it for you, then you should probably just choose Shopify.
Perhaps the most attractive characteristic about Magento is the fact that it’s absolutely free to use, and the only thing you’ll have to pay for is the hosting and app purchases.
- Requires coding knowledge
Magento is by no means an easy platform to work with as it requires serious coding knowledge in order to operate.
Compared to Shopify, which has everything ready for you, Magento is definitely difficult for anyone who’s not a coder.
- Needs a lot of time to get the store up and running
Navigating the Magento interface on its own is definitely not a piece of cake, and can be especially daunting if you don’t have any coding experience.
So, if you’re considering using Magento, make sure that you have the time to invest in learning how to use it properly because it will take a lot of time for you to get used to even the fundamental aspects of it.
Just the design of your website will take significant amounts of time out of your day, so it’s a great platform for someone who’s not in a hurry to get online. Otherwise, you should go with Shopify.
While you can use Magento free of charge, you’ll still have to pay for other stuff like app costs and hosting, both of which can be quite expensive.
Not only that but you’ll have to pay more for hosting when your store starts to grow, whereas Shopify gives you unlimited room for growth without having to pay for any additional hosting fees.
Plus, while adding apps to your site is included in your package with Shopify, you’ll have to pay an installation and annual fee for apps on Magento. As time goes, you may end up paying up to $100 per app or more due to the growing demand for functionality on your site.