The online store market today is divided by the choice of eCommerce platform. There are two great options to choose from Magento and Shopify.
While making a choice, both technologies can be evaluated on these parameters:
Technical challenges- Shopify is a complete plug and play solution which will require you simply to choose a theme, fill in the sections of content and launch. Since it’s a hosted platform, there is no need to place files on the server or to connect hosting Cpanel to place the site. Shopify uses their own .liquid framework, and the look and feel can be customized after website launch. On the other hand, Magento eCommerce framework is out of the box and will require a good bit of time and technical know-how in order to setup/configure/build/run. It will require development expertise but is superior in that it will deliver full-scale customization to create a unique storefront.
Design friendliness– This parameter is to gauge the tool’s overall ability to match the theme with the business brand. Shopify has a theme library where one can buy either inexpensive templates or choose expensive premium ones. Alternatively, Magento offers customizable themes and they are mostly classic and aligned to typical e-commerce store styles.
SEO effectiveness– Shopify has a built-in SEO functionality to edit meta-tags, add necessary search engine console tags which are a basic level ability required to optimize store content. Since Magento is a non-host open solution, SEO strategy is better supported. Teams can customize display links for inventory items and the meta-content and page strategy can also be edited easily.
Channel capability– Shopify is making it as easy as possible to sell on many popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, Houze, Wanelo, and Pinterest. Magento offers true customization so you can integrate with any channel partner and not just the popular ones. This will, however, require a good amount of time to achieve and is better outsourced.
Inventory management– Shopify and Magento fair almost equally in terms of inventory management. Items can be added via an interface or through excel/CSV upload. The only advantage with Magento is the ability to extend the inventory so it matches inventory levels at the store location. This delivers true omnichannel capabilities and allows you to show available inventory at a store location.
Apps and Integrations- Magento has the most number of applications and extensions available to users. Shopify is a restricted, but still widely used app store.
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In-store usefulness– Shopify is perceived as a platform that is useful for the small store and retail business owners as it may lack in features to help a robust retailer who is operating many stores. Magento has been built keeping in mind large retailers who also run many stores. With Magento Enterprise Edition, there is full multi-store support, and ability to customize the offerings at each store, pricing, and discounts available, as well as easy sync across the multitude of channels that sales are done through.
Pricing– Shopify’s pricing list is available in the image below. The lowest $29/month option is when the site is already up and there is need only for Shopify’s buy now buttons, or to create a Facebook store. This is a good option but really limits the functionality.
All the basics for starting a new business
Everything you need for a growing business
Advanced features for scaling your business
Magento- Community edition is FREE but requires technical setup. For scalability, the enterprise edition starts at $18,000 a year but you will need to provide hosting, which will add significant costs.
Time investment– Shopify is the less time-consuming option - setup is convenient and there is a simple way to accomplish most changes within the main interface application. Magento becomes easy after the initial setup is done by a technical developer.
Magento and Shopify are leaders in the eCommerce space. Making a choice between them hinges mainly on organizational plans. If there is someone technical in-house, Magento is the ideal option. If the business is smaller and Plug n’Play tool is preferred, Shopify is a better fit. One also needs to consider growth and scalability for which a customize-able, multi-location platform like Magento is more suitable.