Magento eCommerce Shopify

Choosing between Magento and Shopify may be quite a tough task. You wonder why? Before comparing shopping carts you need to make a list of your business inquiries as both these eCommerce platforms have fundamental differences and it takes time to determine which of them can work best for you. Comparing Magento and Shopify is similar to making a choice between complicated freedom and limited simplicity.

It’s a well known fact that Magento is an open source platform, so any Magento web developer can contribute to its modification or development. Due to this a lot of digital agencies focused on developing extensions for Magento to meet different needs of demanding customers. Unlike Magento, Shopify is a commercial edition software, which is why it comes with a limited number of extensions to choose from.

Magento is available in two versions: Community Edition which is free both for download and further usage (you have to take care of hosting though) and a paid Enterprise Edition (Magento can offer its own hosting facilities). On the other hand Shopify is a hosted platform offering cost-effective pricing for startups and small businesses.

Now let’s take a more detailed look at what potential customers can get from Magento and Shopify and pros and cons of each platform.

  Magento Shopify
Features List
  • Web Design
  • Shopping Cart
  • Customer service
  • Site management
  • Catalog management
  • Catalog browsing
  • Product browsing
  • Checkout, payment and shipping
  • Order Management
  • Catalog Management
  • Customer Accounts
  • Loyalty Program
  • Returns Management
  • SEO Management
  • Mobile Commerce
  • Product Management
  • Search Engine
  • Optimization Marketing, promotions and conversions
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Multiple Websites
  • Persistent shopping
  • Private sales
  • Gift registries
  • Store credits
  • Storefront
  • Shopping cart
  • Store management
  • Marketing & SEO
  • Products
  • Web hosting
  • Analytics
  • Shopify Mobile
  • 24/7 support
Supported Integrations
  • Interprise Suite ERP
  • Embedded ERP
  • BankPayment
  • eBay
  • WebShopApps MatrixRate
  • PayOne
  • CashOnDelivery
  • ShipWorks
  • MageMonkey
  • MailChimo
  • Mandrill
  • osCommerce
  • Correios
  • Fontis Australia
  • BeeTailer
  • DebitPayment
  • MigraShop
  • AddThis
  • WorldPay
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • ePay
  • Searchanise
  • GoMage
  • Open ERP
  • Social
  • DHL
  • Bcash
  • Ingenico
  • Zopim
  • Live Chat
  • MailChimp
  • QuickBooks
  • Fulfillrite
  • itDuzzit
  • Zapier
  • KISSmetrics
  • Chargify
  • Magento Community (CE) – Free to download and use
  • Magento Enterprise (EE) - from $1,250.00/month
  • Magento 2 Enterprise - $1,800.00/month
  • Lite - $9/month
  • Basic - $29/month
  • Pro - $79/month
  • Unlimited - $179/month
Business Size Large Enterprises and Medium Business Small Business and Medium Business
Installation & Ease of Use It takes about 10 minutes to install a base version of Magento or a few hours to run a store. Significantly easier to setup and use as compared to Magento.
Support Magento developers community with up to 130.000 members is considered to be one of the biggest developers community in the world, which makes it easy to find answers to any questions you may come up with. Magento supports multiple languages and currencies. Although Magento official support is only available to expensive Enterprise Edition stores, you certainly will not feel left out if you choose a free Community Edition with all the enthusiastic web developers who enjoy to help. Shopify has official 24/7 technical support but it isn’t multilingual.
Customization Capabilities Encourages extensive customization to meet specific business goals. Magento is definitely more complex due to the great variety of its features. With Shopify it is much simpler to implement customizations via the Admin panel, however, the choice of customization options is limited to standard ones.
Design Up to 1500+ free/paid and fully customizable Magento themes and more are created each day.  Magento CE, 1.9 and later versions handle responsiveness “automatically”. Shopify is famous for well designed and responsive themes but as it is a hosted and proprietary solution, it’s impossible to implement some custom elements there.
Flexibility Magento is a perfect choice for product editing and is capable of handling heavy loaded databases gracefully. Shopify has a lot of limits and lacks flexibility needed for implementation of custom solutions.
Extensions More than 15.000 Magento plugins and extensions. Over 100 apps and add-ons are available. 
Discount Codes Allows creating and calculating discount codes. Unavailable in starter plan.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Magento SEO solution set is a lot more powerful than ones offered by other popular eCommerce platforms, including Shopify. Shopify provides easy-handling SEO techniques.
Popular Customers Christian Louboutin, Vizio, Rosetta Stone, Easton, Nike, Olympus, Gant, Ford Accessories, Sisley Paris, Eastwood, TractorTool, Webprint, Mothercare, Burger King Los Angeles Lakers, Wikipedia, Johnny Cupcakes, Citizen, Tesla

Magento Community Edition offers free access to basically the same capabilities that Shopify provides for a high price package.

When using Shopify, you must pay transaction fees in case you are using external gateways (costing between 0.5% and 2% depending on pricing plan). If you are running a small eCommerce business it actually does not seem much but in the long run these fees add up, so you will eventually rise your sales but you will have to pay more and more. With Magento you don’t have to pay a percentage after the transactions.

To sum it all up, both system have their pros and cons and it only depends on you which one do you think will work the best for you: Shopify is a smart choice for small enterprises or startup e-stores, even considering lack of functionality, since in the beginning you don’t need to operate with 500 000 SKU, implement additional customizations, support coupons, sales, discount codes.

Magento is a perfect solution for professionals. It’s a great system for growing medium-sized businesses struggling to develop and for big enterprises that want to empower their facilities. It gives freedom but you’ll need professional assistance and high quality hardware. You should totally go for it if you are a specialist in web programming (both in frontend and backend development) or if you are ready to hire someone who is.