6 min read

Shopify vs Magento – Which One Is Best For You?

By Kristopher Crockett

Contents

Choosing the right platform for your online business isn’t easy. There are so many factors to evaluate. You have to consider the design and look of the customer-facing store to how transactions perform and how the data collected from the customer is stored.

Two of the most common eCommerce websites today are Shopify and Magento. They are best-in-class platforms that are used by thousands of merchants. Even with weaknesses in both platforms, they still offer superior functionality for feature-rich online stores.

If you’re on the fence as to which one is the best platform for your eCommerce store, it’s crucial to know the differences, pros and cons of each platform. We want you to make the best decision for you and your business. Let’s take a look at these platforms and the benefits and pitfalls of both to help you make the right decision.

Shopify

Shopify was released in 2006 as a hosted eCommerce platform. Its initial purpose was to provide a platform for small mom and pop shops offering a fast and easy online store that anyone can set up.

Because of the ease of use, Shopify has become a fan favorite for small to midsize online businesses. You can get a store set up and going in a fairly short period of time and it doesn’t take a lot of technical savvy to get it up and running.

Shopify is a hosted solution, meaning that it is fully hosted on its own service. There’s no hassle to find your own web hosting, installation, setup, and configuring the software.

It has a simple user interface providing you with templates and themes allowing you to plug-and-play your online store, Shopify handles all the rest. Let’s look at the details of Shopify, including the pros and cons.

Pricing

Shopify pricing is subscription-based. It has five pricing tiers that range from $9 a month to over $2,000 a month. These plans include both domain and hosting fees and it’s a one-stop-shop for getting up and running with ease.

Shopify offers affordable themes and website templates. The cost of Shopify website templates ranges from free up to Its most expensive website template at $180. Combined with its simple site setup, these prices provide value and ease of use to set up your eCommerce store.

Ease of Use

Shopify is king when it comes to usability. Because it is a hosted platform, you don’t need extensive technical knowledge to set up your store. It’s built for everyone, and you can create a site that is as simple or complex as you’d like.

Apps and Add Ons

Themes are just the start of the look and feel of your website. To add additional functionality, there are apps and add ons available to provide greater functionality and design.

The Shopify App Store offers over 4,200 free and paid apps to add features, control your store, and boost sales. Within their apps, you can show trust icons to decrease cart abandonment. You can integrate email marketing platforms like MailChimp to create email marketing campaigns to contact your target customer.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is crucial to getting your brand and products in front of potential buyers. Shopify offers several SEO tools to help you boost your standings in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). But, you still have to do a little leg work to fully optimize your eCommerce site to ensure that your store gets in front of the right viewers.

There are seven steps to increasing your SEO value on your Shopify site:

  1. Optimize the Shopify site structure – Structure your site in a way that leads the potential customer through a journey to making a purchase.

  2. Provide a smooth user experience – Ensure your site speed is optimal and choose a responsive theme or template.

  3. Research keywords – Use a keyword planning tool and use the keywords most searched for the type of products you sell.

  4. Optimize product pages – Use your keywords in your product pages and landing pages so that SERPs can crawl your site and rank you higher in the results pages.

  5. Build links to your store – Ask your suppliers to link back to your site for the products you sell, get social media influencers to link to your site and review your products and look for mentions on social media to find people who mention your products and ask them to link their posts back to your website.

  6. Create a content marketing plan – Create robust product descriptions, start a blog, and post often on social media.

  7. Research and use the best Shopify SEO apps and tools – Shopify offers many SEO tools, from translation apps, so your site appears in different languages to image optimizer. You won’t be disappointed when you take advantage of these tools.

Help & Support

Shopify offers dedicated help and support that’s available 24/7 by phone, email, and live chat. Their support team can solve problems in a minute. Shopify also offers community forums, a robust help center, API documentation, and video tutorials.

Now, let’s take a look at Magento and see how it stacks up.

Magento

Magento offers more flexibility and customization than Shopify. It is open-source, meaning you can change anything you want to fit your needs. However, the ability to read and write code is required to create a Magento eCommerce website. Magento is free to download, and if you’re interested in learning how to code or already know how, Magento is definitely appealing.

Magento works with thousands of products and is easily scalable to fit any businesses’ needs. There are many more features available than Shopify, and their app store is larger. Magento’s options are almost unlimited, and every site is optimized for mobile devices. Let’s take a look at some of Magento’s features.

Pricing

With no monthly subscription, Magento is appealing. The platform is free to download and install to set up your store. However, it is not a hosted platform, which means you have to pay for your domain and web hosting to publish your eCommerce website. Depending on where you get your domain name and hosting, the cost is flexible.

Ease of Use

If you’re looking for something you can set up in an afternoon, Magento is not your platform. Magento is suited more for a larger company with web developers on staff or enterprise-sized companies who can pay a web developer to create the site.

The best thing about Magento is that it is highly customizable and scalable, making it a perfect fit if you experience high traffic over holidays or specific periods of time.

Extensions and Add Ons

There are nearly 4,000 extensions on the Magento marketplace. These extensions do not require comprehensive coding knowledge to install and implement.

The flexibility of these extensions allows you to promote products with custom discount options and plugins that allow your customers to pre-order a product and get an email when a new product is available.

SEO

Just like Shopify, Magento has excellent SEO functionality. The Magento marketplace has over 250 SEO apps to choose from to help you fully optimize your site to increase your rankings on SERPs.

Again, the SEO functions of Magento will take a bit longer to optimize as they need to be integrated into your code to do the best work. However, the same list of SEO best practices applies here as the ones mentioned in the Shopify list. To refresh your memory, they are:

  • Optimize the Shopify site structure – Structure your site in a way that leads the potential customer through a journey to making a purchase.

  • Provide a smooth user experience – Ensure your site speed is optimal and choose a responsive theme or template.

  • Research keywords – Use a keyword planning tool and use the keywords most searched for the type of products you sell.

  • Optimize product pages – Use your keywords in your product pages and landing pages so that SERPs can crawl your site and rank you higher in the results pages.

  • Build links to your store – Ask your suppliers to link back to your site for the products you sell, get social media influencers to link to your site and review your products and look for mentions on social media to find people who mention your products and ask them to link their posts back to your website.

  • Create a content marketing plan – Create robust product descriptions, start a blog, and post often on social media.

  • Research and use the best Magento SEO apps and tools – Magento offers many SEO tools, from translation apps, so your site appears in different languages to image optimizer. You won’t be disappointed when you take advantage of these tools.

Help & Support

Because Magento is a self-hosted solution, they don’t offer live chat, phone, or email support unless you register for their Commerce Cloud plan for B2B.

Instead, there is an extensive user community where you can find answers to almost any question you have. It allows you to find advice from Magento experts all around the globe.

Magento also has a help center that provides articles on almost every problem you encounter when developing and maintaining your site.

Conclusion

There are many more features and more information than just the ones we’ve discussed here, but now you know the key similarities and differences between Shopify and Magento. But how do you decide? Let’s take a quick look at the main differences.

Shopify ranks high in the user-friendly department. You’ll be able to get up and running faster and have a support team at your fingertips. Magento takes more time and technical know-how to get your site up and running, but it offers more flexibility and customization.

Use Shopify if:

  • You want to get up and running as fast as possible.

  • You’ve already been using an eCommerce website builder like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly but want to level up to something more powerful.

  • You’re just starting but want to develop a complete eCommerce business.

  • You like the convenience of an all-inclusive payment

  • You want to have a full support team behind you to help when you need it.

Use Magento if:

  • You have web developer skills, and you want to build an online store for a medium or large-sized business.

  • You want total creative freedom.

  • You are already established and have a global audience or aspirations to sell internationally.

  • You want to create a big brand with big revenue.

  • You have the funds to invest the time and money into designing an eCommerce website.

Still Need Help?

We’ve given you a LOT to think about. Choosing the right platform for your eCommerce business is critical to your success. Don’t feel too overwhelmed. There is help available.

That’s where we come in.

Selworthy is a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner. We have the expertise and ability to help you create and implement eCommerce websites and content strategies that work.


Our goal is to help businesses like yours build a strong brand, craft effective strategies, and drive revenue to your business. It’s our mission to help you create your success story. Schedule a call today and let one of our team members show you how we do what we do.

Tags: Grow Your Ecommerce Business