Shopify is one of the fastest growing hosted solutions out there. It has an enterprise version: Shopify Plus, which can easily compare with Magento on many grounds. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each solution and help you decide which platform is right for you.

Shopify Plus vs Magento: 7 key differences

Shopify Plus and Magento are competitors. This blog post is meant to provide a comparison of the two platforms based on 7 factors. Those are easiness of use, flexibility, design, maintenance, costs, agility and scalability. Do you have your winner? Hope to hear it, but in the meantime, read our guide.

1. What’s easier to use: Shopify Plus or Magento?

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform. It needs to be installed on a server to work. Those who pick this platform must take care of its security, maintenance and updates. If you know a thing or two about ecommerce development, it won’t cause you any trouble.

Otherwise, you need to ask a developer for help with installing Magento on your server, as well as integrating with third-party tools and keeping the platform up to date. The developer has to explain to you how to use the platform, too, as it’s not as straight-forward as Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus takes a couple of hours to set up. You just need to pick a theme, connect integrations, upload products and content. After that, you’re good to go. The admin panel is intuitive and easy-to-use, so you can do it by yourself. You don’t need any professional help.

Furthermore, Shopify is responsible for maintaining your store and installing updates, security patches, etc. You, on the other hand, can focus on driving sales and scaling your business. The only exception to that is when you want to build custom solutions. Yet, as a Shopify Plus merchant, you can enter the Merchant Success Program and get access to Shopify specialists.

Who is the winner? Shopify Plus is easier to use than Magento.

2. Flexibility

When it comes to Magento, there are almost no limitations as to what you can connect with the platform, since you own the code. You can customize the solution, create your own template and adjust it to your business needs. The internet is full of ready-made solutions that you can integrate into your store. Headless, B2B sales, advanced reporting, managing a couple of stores at once – it’s all easy to do with Magento.

Shopify works a bit differently. You don’t own the code, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own Shopify solutions. You can. Sometimes, you will need to ask a Shopify specialist to help you or hire an agency (see: Shopify development).

Who is the winner? Both platforms are flexible and you can connect with third-party solutions, such as CRM, PIM, ERP systems.

3. Agility of Shopify Plus versus that of Magento

Magento has almost unlimited growth opportunities and a propensity for scale. Nevertheless, you need to have a Magento developer’s support to edit your store. If you don’t have a developer on your team, the cost of growing your platform is ever-increasing. Every change requires time, so the pace of growth is slow, not least annoying.

Shopify is more agile than Magento. You don’t need a developer to keep an eye on your store. Changes are quick and easy. The platform definitely allows you to stay agile.

Who is the winner? Shopify Plus is more agile than Magento when you don’t have a developer on your team who can help you introduce changes.

4. Themes and customization

Type in “best Magento themes” in Google and you will be surprised how many designs you can find. You’re bound to choose the right template. If you want to create something original, nothing stops you. Theme customization is not difficult either. What’s more, most themes have a blog, filters, social media integrations built into them.

Shopify Plus also has a library of tried and tested themes that can be custom-fit to your brand. You can also create a bespoke theme from scratch, but you might require a Shopify agency to help you with that.

Who is the winner? Both Magento and Shopify Plus have a wide range of themes to choose from and make it easy to create an original theme.

5. Shopify Plus and Magento: Price comparison

One of the most cited reasons for switching from Magento is the total cost of running an online store on the platform. Magento can get expensive. The development, maintenance, customization costs pile up and a lot of ecommerce companies look for another platform to optimize the costs.

How much does Magento cost?

Magento’s cost depends on the edition you choose. You have three options:

  • Magento Open Source Edition – free version supported by Adobe;
  • Magento Commerce Edition – advanced version that starts at $22 000 per year;
  • Magento Commerce Cloud Edition – cloud-based version that starts at $40 000.

Shopify Plus starts at $2000 a month plus a monthly transaction fee, and the price includes hosting SSL and other certificates, security and maintenance. Plus, the monthly cost of apps and systems connected to Shopify.

Who is the winner? Shopify Plus is cheaper than Magento.

6. Store performance

A Magento-based store’s performance is pretty much dependent on the server. As mentioned above, Magento needs a dedicated server. It can’t be a shared server, though. If we take care of caching, updates, setting up Content Delivery Networks, minifying code, we can have a well-optimized site in terms of performance.

Shopify Plus advertises itself as having great site performance, with 99.8% uptime. As a Shopify agency, we haven’t come across a site with performance issues, but site optimization is always welcome. With Shopify, you don’t need a Content Delivery Network or cache optimization. Yet, it’s recommended that you minify code, optimize images and apps for better performance.

Who is the winner? Both platforms have good performance.

7. Ecommerce support

Magento has a lot of die-hard fans who share tips and tricks about using the platform. You’re sure to find support and help with any issues. In the same vein, it’s easy to find an ecommerce development agency that specializes in Magento. The same goes for Magento’s documentation. You get a lot of help from various sources around the internet.

Shopify is slowly catching up to Magento in terms of support. There are many agencies that provide Shopify-exclusive services (such as our agency, WeCanFly). Furthermore, Shopify has a well-structured Help Center, knowledge base, video library, etc. Shopify Plus merchants can get help from Shopify experts for free, just like higher-paid Magento editions.

Who is the winner? Both platforms have great support that is, official documentation, engaged community or agency’s services.

Magento or Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus and Magento are great ecommerce solutions for large companies. We don’t recommend those platforms to small or medium-sized businesses, as they can get expensive. Such merchants will be better off with basic Shopify plans, PrestaShop, Shopper or WooCommerce. Choose the best one for you. If you’re interested in setting up a Shopify or Shopify Plus store, give us a call. We’d love to help you grow your business on Shopify.