Magento v Shopify – A question that I often get asked by clients. Firstly, let me outline that I owned a Magento Agency. I ran a Magento Agency, selling Magento commence exclusively for 8 years but the point of this article is to give an unbiased opinion on the two platforms. This is a little of course in terms of content for a SEO Agency but most of the work I do is commence related.
Magento and Shopify both have their places in the market – one very frustrating thing about Magento is the code base constantly has issues.
I remember having issues with Magento Enterprise and the people from Magento just saying “Change the page” or “Change the Payment Provider”. The support was just an absoloute joke and they refused to allow us on the partner scheme because we did not sell Enterprise. The reason I refused was because it was terrible and offered customers little to no value.
Obviously this is completely my opinion, you must make your own decision on what platform is best for you and your e-commerce requirements
Large amount of modules
Easily customisable, easy to add and code custom modules
Very good if you have multiple warehouses or require complex output files
For multiple products or multiple choices it works very well
You can host your own platform, your not stuck with a platform and at anytime can export the data
You control the data, this means you have access to it at all times
Modules: There’s lots and lots of modules available, but again these (before) were never checked by Magento. So quite often Magento modules could cause a million problems. Most, however, worked without an issue
Code base had constant issues. The code (Magento 1) was written badly and not performance based, there were so many performance-based issues I cannot even start to tell you. We had to optimise the Database, optimise Cloudflare, optimise the website – literally every single thing, had to be optimised to an extreme level
The Enterprise Editions: … a money-making scheme for a couple of modules and not much else. The support – terrible.
Developers: Good Magento Developers are hard to find and expensive Contractor your looking at £600-800 per day.
UX / UI: The Magento UX / UI is a lot better since v2 but Is still confusing for a new user. Most of our time was spent explaining how to use functionality to new users.
SEO: Even in v2 they haven’t implemented basic SEO principles
One code base: One code base means that if there’s an issue with one site, they can fix it for all sites. This is a massive benefit. It means that any bugs, issues and problems with the platform get sorted … and pretty dam quickly because the effect
Cost: The cost is not comparable. You can setup a top-end Shopify shop for around £2k~ per month. If you’re a high-end shop on Magento you’ll be spending that on hosting alone
Payment Providers: All payment providers are integrated including Apple Pay. This is a major plus. Out of the box you don’t have to mess around with payment providers which always come with a load of issues or problems.
UX/UI: Easy to use for the end user
Backups, Redundancy, Hosting & SSL Certificates. The hosting and everything else is included – and it’s good – Magento 2 to start off with (and still now, is clunky).
Tied-in: Your tied into the Shopify platform. Once you’re on the platform it’s difficult to get off, it’s not like Magento you cannot export data easily and you own the whole the whole process.
Paid Platform: It’s a paid product and not open-source. This means that people cannot contribute to the source code. If that is a good thing or not who knows, but if you think about it logically if you have an open code base, with 100,000 users making fixes – things should get fixed quicker. That isn’t always the case however.
Modules: Compared to Magento, you are limited – quite a lot. This means if you’re looking for a specific module to do something i.e. integrate into a certain platform which is older for example, there’s a very good chance it will not be there
Payment Platform – Your tied into Shopify’s payment platform that means that you cannot negotiate rates or use another payment provider
Currency Support – Shopify only supports the base currency of the store. So it will show for example US prices, but when you get to checkout convert that to pounds. Not great.
To give you an idea on pricing (when I used to run an agency)
Magento (Custom Design/Development) – £30,000-£40,000+
Server: £1,000+ p/m
Server Optimisations: £1,000+
SSL Certificate: £400
Training: £600 per day (normally 2 days)
Shopify (Custom Design/Development) – £15,000-£20,000+
Monthly Fee (Shopify Plus): £2,000
Training: Not Required
Optimisation / Hosting: Provided
The gap is closing between Magento v Shopify. Personally, if I was starting a new store I would go with Shopify, Magento is super expensive and I’m not sure what benefits your getting for the major price difference.
If you require a really specific design, or you require specific product information to be displayed I think Magento is going to be the way to go. If your using up-to-date software and solutions then I think Shopify wins on quite a lot of fronts. The best thing is, if it doesn’t work out – you can ditch Shopify and move to Magento – Moving from Magento to Shopify is going to be costly with the initial investment.
Magento still have some really silly issues that have not been fixed, for example speed is still an issue and the SEO is sub-par. Magento – Out of the box, requires a stupid amount of configuration – if your on Magento, you’ll want to check out top tips.
So sorry Magento, but my recommendation is, for 90% of cases Shopify