Magento vs Shopify – Which One Is Best For My Online Storefront?

With Magento and Shopify being two of the biggest eCommerce platforms on the market, there really is no easy answer to this question?  The decision on which platforms works best for your business, should really be based upon how much you are willing to invest into your business, the features you would expect and your approach to online eCommerce transactions.

Pitting these two platforms against each other is a virtually impossible task, as they are completely different to each other, despite their common popularity.

That said, Magento is still the most commonly used ecommerce platform, claiming over 14% of the top million sites worldwide, versus a much more meagre 6% for Shopify.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an ecommerce platform which is well suited to retailers looking to sell online without too many technical considerations. Focused on the SME market sector, a Shopify store can be setup in minutes.  All you need to do is sign up and setup a payment gateway. Shopify offer a wide variety of different packages and options available to suit all budgets and requirements and allows for extras like Facebook stores, buy buttons for campaigns and quick and easy POS integration.

What is Magento?

Magenta on the other hand, is the world’s biggest ecommerce platform, with over 240,000 merchant users from all over the world. Magento powers huge online retail sites of all sizes, including some of the world’s biggest brands like Nike, Ford, Hermes and many more. Launched in 2007, the community behind Magento is what makes it such a great option for merchants.  The community function allows for the easy addition of the existing modules, integrations and add-on’s that help to increase functionality whilst reducing development costs.

How do they compare?

Online Functionality

Both Shopify and Magento offer basic store functionality.  Both platforms are powerful enough to keep your online business functioning and are both simple enough to use and maintain on an ongoing basis. That said, to fully appreciate the functions of Magento, you may wish to hire the services of a Magento developer.

Payment gateway options

Shopify comes complete with support for more than 70 payment options, whilst Magento offers a lower number as standard.  More gateways for Magento, however, can be added to the store via third-party add ons.

Themes and Templates

Both platforms offers a wide collection of themes to templates allowing you to personalise the look of your online store. Both platforms also offer premium themes for an additional cost.  Shopify themes can be very expensive to purchase, but Magento really delivers with themes starting at as little as just $1! Both platforms also offer a number of responsive templates, which are vital if you want your site to do well in SEO rankings, as well as  being easily viewed on mobile devices.

Multi-lingual capabilities

Shopify does not offer full multi-lingual capabilities without add-ons.  Magento, however, offers far more built in multi-lingual support which is a necessity if you are looking to sell worldwide.

Ease of use

Both Shopify and Magento have well designed user interfaces, making them both exceptionally user-friendly.  Shopify has a wizard mode that allows you to set up your store very easily, but the results cannot compete with the feel and look of a Magento site. Keeping in mind the Magento is used by some huge global corporations to sell their wares, you can be assured that it offers design and functionality that surpasses almost all other ecommerce platforms, including Shopify.

Costs and Terms

There is no getting away from it, on paper Magento is the more expensive option of the two.  Although the Magento Community Edition is free, you will still need to pay for your own hosting which can vary depending on your individual needs. Magento also charges transaction fees based on your payment gateway, and but you will need to pay for your own hosting, with prices varying depending upon your needs. You may also wish to employ the services of a good Magento developer to keep your site problem free.

With Shopify, the fees work on sliding scales, depending on the package you choose.  You could be looking at anything from $9 a month, right through to $299 a month.  Shopify also charge transactions fees, again based on a sliding scales ranging from 0.5% to 2% depending on the package you have purchased.


Shopify is designed to help SMEs to get online and get selling! Whilst this is a great option for any entrepreneurs out there who want to do it all themselves, it can be time consuming and more involved than it first seems. It is also a closed platform, meaning you can’t make as many changes as you may want to.

Magento on other hand is an open source platform, and is ultimately much more flexible. The marketing functionality is superior to the one of Shopify and there are a wealth of other paid extras you can tag on for additional functionality.

Overall, we believe Magento is the superior of the two platforms.  Granted, you may have to dig deeper to get your store online, but with more advanced options will enhance the way you store looks, feels and functions, giving you have more chance of attracting visitors to your site.

Your customers want to trust your site and feel that they are buying a premium option from a reputable brand.  We feel that Magento gives you this and offers the edge of the smaller Shopify platform.

For more information on the best Magento ecommerce site for your needs, call our Magento development team today on 01257 758 078.