Skip to the content
Magenta vs Shopify

Magento vs Shopify

Which is the best ecommerce platform for your business?

You have a great business and you want to expand into online sales. So, what do you do? You have searched the various options, of which there are many, and like many growing businesses throughout the world, you are undecided - Magento vs Shopify, which is the best ecommerce platform for your business?

Choosing the right ecommerce platform can dramatically transform your business, both online and offline. Any business needs to be fast acting and flexible to meet the demands of the 21st century consumer. Delivering customer experiences that lead to repeat business is key, as is streamlining your efficiency whilst creating growth opportunities. Wouldn't it be good if your cloud-based ecommerce platform helped you to achieve this?

This comparison between Magento and Shopify considers 5 key areas that will help you in your search for the ideal ecommerce platform.

The Customer is Always Right

The 21st century consumer is no longer simply a passive shopper when it comes to online sales. They are no longer simply finding the products they want, clicking the "Buy Now" button, and leaving. They are looking for an engaging shopping experience that they can become immersed in as they browse the digital high street of online stores. As town centres and high streets across the country give way to the digital marketplace, consumers are now looking to move the immersive shopping experience online.

To satisfy this demand, your ecommerce platform must have the flexibility to continually adapt, offering engaging brand interactions.

Magento

  • There are a huge amount of native extensions provided by Magento technology partners, with well over 3500 options available from the marketplace. These include extensions for payments, taxes, shipping and many more. Your payment gateway of choice will not hinder your ability to use the Magento platform.
  • You are not confined to standardised templates. Magento offers a drag-and-drop page builder that is both flexible and, for those that worry about complex systems, code-free. Simply drag your items onto the page and let Magento do the rest. With Content Staging and Preview, you can create and deploy the perfect immersive customer experience with ease.
  • Magento allows for the more complex of business models, allowing you to sell configurable products whilst enabling alternative shopping experiences such as pick up in store, pre-ordering and ship from store or 3rd party merchants.
  • 3rd party integrations with other platforms like CRMs, ERPs and marketing automation systems allows for further customisation, allowing your business to cohesively function between these various systems without the need for duplication, human error and ugly ad-hoc interfaces.

Shopify

  • Shopify does not have the extensive array of extensions that Magento offers, and integrations with 3rd party solutions are not as thoroughly covered.
  • The Shopify platform offers a much more rigid ecosystem when it comes to customisations. The templates offered limit how flexible you can be with your store, resulting in a store front much like all the other Shopify businesses.
  • Shopify can be altered to offer good customer experiences but is somewhat limited in aspects of the platform, such as the cheque out process.

The Future is Bright - Provided You Have the Head Room

Whether you are starting out for the first time, or your business is well established, the one thing your ecommerce platform must be able to do, is scale up. You want your business to grow, so it stands to reason that your ecommerce platform needs to grow too. Don't let your platform of choice hold you back. Ensure you have scalability straight out of the box.

Of course, once the box is opened and your store is up and running, you want the peace of mind knowing that there is a vast marketplace of extensions, ensuring that your scalability options are practically endless. Sometimes you may not be able to find the right extension for your needs, on any platform. Therefore, it is crucial to know that you can call upon a developer and create your very own, without restrictions.

Magento

  • Magento is designed for scalability. With endless customisations that do not impose any platform specific restrictions, you can create features and functionality that is tailored to your business as it grows.
  • There are thousands of extensions available to the Magento platform, allowing a plethora of digital customisations that will enhance your customer experience.
  • Magento is designed to be expanded quickly and to your specific requirements. Whether you operate a B2B, B2C or both, you can run dedicated stores for your various operations without the need for separate platforms - all from a centrally managed Magento installation.
  • Straight out of the box, your Magento platform can handle localisation, multiple languages, multiple sites and stores, and multiple brand support channels. The platform also integrates with popular payment gateways and shipping providers straight off the bat, and all of this under a single instance of Magento.

Shopify

  • Whilst there have been, and still are many successful businesses using Shopify, the most successful businesses find themselves very quickly outgrowing the platform. This means they then must start again on a platform better suited to their growth and future business plans.
  • There are several crucial features that are not supported by Shopify such as order management, complex product catalogues, and multiple sites.
  • Shopify is very much geared towards the B2C sectors. Whilst their template-structured platform works well for simple B2C businesses, it is not geared towards complex B2B transactions and interactions.

Growth is Nothing Without Management

Having an online store is one thing but being able to manage that store and maintain it throughout your business growth is also crucial. An ecommerce platform needs to have a robust infrastructure that is rich in features, easy to maintain and manage the day-to-day running of the business. Not only that, but it needs to be able to adapt and grow, working with your expansion and not against it.

No business wants to bring complexity where simplicity can do. Your ecommerce platform should provide an easy, all-in-one-place, administration back end where you can manage orders, create invoices, communicate with shipping providers, manage multiple languages, and accept multiple payment gateways. It should be easy to change pricing, taxes, and shipping rates without having to endure complex formulas and multiple locations within the site. Your ecommerce platform should be working with you, not against you.

Magento

  • You can deploy multiple-language sites, accept local and popular payment types, communicate with shipping providers all under one roof, with a single Magento instance licence.
  • The Magento marketplace offers thousands of extensions for helping you to grow your business. From payment gateway support, to customer services and marketing.
  • Magento is highly flexible. This allows you to grow your business at your pace. And as your business grows, so does the complexity which Magento is built to handle.
  • Magento includes complex features such as Magento Business Intelligence and Magento Shipping. These significantly improve the operations of your business and provide the agility that large, complex businesses require.

Shopify

  • Whilst Shopify does provide support for multi-currency and multi-language, each instance only supports one language and one currency. This means that you would require additional costly licenses, one for each language and each currency that your business needs. Furthermore, each instance is its own entity. This means that each instance must be managed separately.
  • The extension market for Shopify is substantially smaller than Magento's. This means there are fewer solutions to the potential problems or expansion requirements of your business. Whilst you can create extensions with some custom coding, Shopify does not allow all customisations as it needs to protect its own business model.
  • Where Shopify is customisable, the elements require knowledge of their own propriety language. This means that there is less developer support for the platform, making development, and even general maintenance, more expensive.
  • Shopify imposes a size restriction on your catalogue and its attributes. this limits the platform's usefulness for businesses with large complex product catalogues and configurable goods.

Performance is Non-Negotiable

The bounce rate of visitors to a website can very much be attributed to your site's speed. This is the case across the entire internet. With shoppers it is even more crucial that your site performs quickly. With competition for products reaching all corners of the globe, having a potential customer bounce because your product pages just do not load quickly enough is unacceptable. Your ecommerce platform needs to be fast, scalable, and still fast no matter how complex and large it ends up being.

Whether you are targeting customers in your local town or across the entire planet, your platform should be able to cut through the internet noise like a hot knife through butter. Not only that, having hundreds, or thousands of shoppers perusing your shop at any one time should not hinder the performance of your platform. Whilst good, fast hosting is a crucial part of the equation, if your ecommerce platform is the bottleneck within your business, then you may well be using the wrong platform. It is much easier to change your host than it is to change your ecommerce platform.

Magento

  • Magento is used by over 250,000 websites around the world. that equates to about 12% of all online stores. Industries include healthcare, home, beauty, fashion, apparel, sports, media, electronics, and more. Some noteworthy mentions include Olympus, 20th Century Fox and Time Out.
  • 70 out of the top 500 companies on the Internet Retailer B2C ecommerce 500 list, and 40 of the top 300 companies on the Internet Retailer B2B ecommerce 300 list are powered by Magento.
  • Magento Commerce runs on AWS (Amazon Web Services) ensuring a 99.99% uptime. With the AWS global cloud's operational scalability, you can deploy your platform no matter where in the world you are.
  • With the inbuilt Magento monitoring tools, you are always up to speed with your site's performance. This allows you to retain total control of your ecommerce platform. Included are tools for optimisations so that you can tailor your sites to specific goals and milestones, ensuring you always offer the best customer experience.

Shopify

  • Shopify runs 10 of the top 500 companies on the Internet Retailer B2C ecommerce 500 list.
  • Shopify operates a multi-tenant infrastructure. this means that the resources of your platform are shared between other Shopify sites. That is not to say that the architecture is small and under resourced, but peak traffic in one Shopify store can directly affect the speed of another, especially when something goes viral and creates a flood of customers to a particular store. You may have heard when sites crash due to over demand, well with Shopify your site could be indirectly affected by another site's crash.
  • The Shopify platform is locked down. You have no monitoring tools to manage resources or optimise your site. Shopify also throttle the data exchange between the Shopify app and the extensions used on your site. This can create a degradation of speed and, therefore, the customer experience.
  • Shopify has minimal reporting tools providing a limited data analysis tools and insight.

Help when it is needed

It is no simple task to build, grow and maintain an ecommerce platform. There will always be times when a little help is needed. Therefore, it is important that your ecommerce platform has a complete and active support system. Whether that comes in the form of help forums, technical support, or developers on hand to create some special functionality. If your ecommerce platform results in very few support hits when you search for help, you probably need to start thinking about another platform.

Not only does a vibrant support community provide useful help, it is also an indication of how solid the platform is going forward. A sparce community implies either a dying platform or one that never gained widespread traction in the first place.

Magento

  • Magento currently has a developer base of over 260,000 people worldwide. These developers are continually creating new functionality and are available to help businesses to develop new and innovative ecommerce experiences. Syncrony have the expertise to help you develop and build an ecommerce solution specifically tailored to your needs at the most affordable prices the UK has to offer.
  • A global community of solution partners, community insiders and technology partners are available to offer services and expertise in site design, support, migration, implementation, and merchandising. If you need a site developed or you want to migrate your store from another platform to Magento, or move from Magento 1 to Magento 2, then Syncrony can help.

Shopify

  • Shopify use their own coding language behind their platform. This means that there is limited developer support and expertise in site implementation or bespoke projects.
  • The partner community for Shopify is smaller than Magento and is mainly based in the USA. This means the global reach is far less and help for growing ecommerce sites is somewhat limited.

Want to Know More?

Magento is clearly the better platform when it comes to scalability and it offers much more in the way of control. With thousands of extensions available, and a huge support community ready to help, Magento offers a robust and flexible ecommerce platform that is future proof. B2C and B2B especially uses Magento as their platform of choice. With the ability to create multiple stores, in multiple sectors, with multiple languages and currencies, all under one instance, makes Magento the only all-in-one solution for any ecommerce needs.

Syncrony are experts in the Magento platform, from site development and Magento 1 to Magento 2 migrations, to ERP integrations and B2B flexible platforms. If you are a new start-up, we can advise and help you get started on your ecommerce journey, and if you are an established ecommerce business, we can help you scale and grow. Please contact us for more information.

About the author

Howard Rybko

Howard Rybko

Involved in software development and web since 1996 (Hypermedia company established for web design and hosting). Specialist in software design, integration and implementation management. Experienced in c#, SQL, and project management. Working on Magento stores and integration since 2013.

Talk to a Magento Expert

Questions? We have the answers.