Which is the best eCommerce platform?

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Posted on June 29, 2020

Best eCommerce Platform Magento vs Shopify

The right eCommerce platform can drastically change your business, both online and off-line. They help to create better customer experiences and streamline operational efficiencies. Magento and Shopify are two of the best and most popular eCommerce platforms on the market. If you want to start an eCommerce business and you’re considering both platforms, this blog was written to help you decide.

Hosting

The first and obvious difference between these two is how and where the platform is hosted. In this regard, Shopify is a hosted solution available as an inexpensive Software-as-Service, meaning you’re store is always hosted on their services as soon as you set up your account.

While Magento is available in a hosted option from Adobe, it can be hosted on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, and other providers. Shopify has an advantage in the ease of everything coming from the same provider, but Magento offers more choices to fit your budget and your needs.

Key Functionality

Both Magento and Shopify offer the similar basic online store functionalities, such as shopping cart and checkout facilities. Shopify can be easier to use and install with a simpler interface compared to Magento, but this difference is offset with Magento having more advanced features and functionality out of the box. Shopify needs apps to add further functionality to it.

Customization

Both platforms have robust customization options, but Shopify is more rigid, relying on fixed templates and plugins, meaning you might suffer some limitations in achieving your goals. Some aspects of Shopify can be customized while other can’t be.

On the other hand, Magento can be customized very easily with the help of a developer.  You can create what you want, when you want, with almost no limitations.

Flexibility

Magento is very flexible and allows vendors to roll out their eCommerce in phases and expand it further in the future. On the other hand, Shopify has a lot of restrictions on template, platform elements, catalog size, and other related features that limits how much you can change the underlying system.  In short, there will be potential limits on your creativity and flexibility using Shopify.

Insights

Another big advantage that Magento has over Shopify is that it offers Performance Observation tools and Business Intelligence tools to monitor the performance of your stores and generate the insights that allow you to run your business more efficiently. Shopify’s isolated technology stack doesn’t allow the users to monitor the performance of the stores and the reporting capacity of Shopify is also low.

Products and Inventory

Both of the sites allow you to host an unlimited number of products, but Magento’s actual performance is based on the capacity of your website host.  Shopify might be easier in this regard because the hosting details are managed on their side.  Shopify also has easy integration with drop-shipping inventory apps such as Oberlo.

Shipping Charges

Both platforms have flexible and powerful options for calculating shipping charges, one of the most necessary features of any eCommerce platform.

Discount Codes

Discount code creation and calculation is given as an option in Magento from the start. Shopify has this option in most plans, except the Lite plan.

Community

Magento uses PHP language and has a global community of solution partners, technology partners, and solution insiders who can help to solve problems and build new features. Shopify uses a proprietary language, leaving it with less developers who can offer support and technological expertise.

Integrations

Shopify has many free and out of the box integrations such as built-in integration for syncing your Amazon and E-bay store and many more. While Magento also offers a lot of integration options, you might need an experienced developer to help you meet your unique needs.  At the same time, with Magento’s superior features for order management and complex product catalog, it’s not surprising that some of the integrations would be more complex as they might not be possible to achieve in Shopify.

Templates and Themes

Shopify offers less variety than Magento, but the designs in Shopify are uniformly more modern.  Magento has some old and out-dated themes unsuited to a new store.  Also, Shopify only gives you limited ability to customize the template; the options are limitless in Magento.

Payment Gateway Options

Shopify offers more out of the box gateway options than Magento, but Magento can integrate with most payment gateways using a plugin. Pay careful attention to the fee structure—some plugins or features may appear to be free, but you might be racking up transaction fees as a percentage of your sales.

Extensions

Magento is the winner here with over 500+ apps and add-on options that can be used to further improve functionality. The large number of apps and add-ons is mainly due to the community driven nature of Magento. Shopify while also having a lot of apps is still behind Magento.

Multi-lingual Capabilities

Shopify doesn’t have much in-built multi-lingual capabilities, instead you need to incorporate add– ons in order to facilitate this feature. Magento, on the other hand, has the lead here and has built in support.

Cost

Shopify follows a monthly subscription plan. There are four such plan ranging from $9 to $299. They are Shopify Lite Plan at $9, Basic Shopify Plan at $29, Shopify Plan at $79 and advanced Shopify Plan at $299. Magento is free for the user but the cost of hosting can be anywhere between $5 to $100. It also has a paid version of the plan, but it is very expensive and is only meant for large enterprises. For transaction charges, Magento depends on the gateway provider, while Shopify is free if you use their gateways (though there could be charges).

Security

Shopify provides end-to-end security as a hosted solution, but Magento security can depend on the choice of hosting partner.  This is another area where you have more flexibility, but are likely to need more technical help.

Our Conclusion

Both Magento and Shopify are excellent eCommerce platforms.  Shopify is easier to get started on, but has limitations as you grow.  In our opinion, Shopify is well suited for businesses looking to do it themselves and who are just getting started with their eCommerce initiatives.  More mature businesses can benefit from Magento’s more advanced features, flexibility, and customizations.

Korcomptenz is a US-based digital transformation services provide, headquartered in New Jersey. We specialize in web, mobile, and marketing technologies such as Sitecore, Magento, Shopify, Kentico, and more. Contact us now for an assessment on how to better leverage your eCommerce platform.

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