Magento vs Shopify



Choosing the most effective e-commerce platform for creating managing and maintaining your online store is of paramount importance as it could determine whether your business succeeds or fails. This is especially significant for small businesses as they usually have to manage with limited resources or budgets.

There are plenty of e-commerce platforms today but none stand out like Shopify and Magento. Shopify for its part is dominant in the “hosted, all-in-one” platform niche, whereas Magento reigns supreme when it comes to larger, more complex e-commerce sites. The two are each unique in their own right, but in this post, we will compare and contrast Magento and Shopify to help you see which one fits your business.

Some of their more outstanding features are:

  • Shopify is a commercial product and thus you must pay to use it while Magento is free opensource software.
  • Shopify is a hosted solution meaning it provides hosting for your site while Magento leaves that burden to the user. You will have to host your site, install, set up, and configure everything before creating your store and this requires mid to high-level web development and coding skills.
  • Shopify favors beginners with its simple UI, while Magento is filled with features more suited to advanced developers.
  • Magento has a paid version although it can be quite costly and is suited to large enterprises. We recommend that small businesses consider the open-source version given that they have an experienced developer in-house. Otherwise, Shopify is more suitable for your online store.

Magento vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

Shopify Pros

  • A variety of attractive responsive store themes to select from
  • A comprehensive e-commerce builder
  • An app store rich in features that extend your site’s functionality
  • Efficient customer support
  • Ease of use
  • Several checkout and payment alternatives
  • Huge fan community

Shopify Cons

  • Most themes require payment
  • Integrating apps into your store makes it less user friendly
  • Every transaction is charged a certain amount except for when you use Shopify payments

Magento Pros

  • The bustling community supporting users
  • Flexible with several customization options
  • Wide range of themes
  • Phone support is available
  • Does not require advanced programming knowledge
  • Open source and free to use

Magento Cons

  • Has a considerably long learning curve
  • Can be problematic for beginners
  • Setup can be time-consuming
  • Costly to set up a new store

Magento vs Shopify: Feature Comparison

The basic online store functionality

Both platforms provide basic store functionalities that are robust and easy to maintain. Shopify is considerably easier to set up and use compared to Magento. Essential features such as shopping carts, checkout modules, collections, and product pages are found on both platforms. The principal contrast is that Magento contains much more intermediate to advanced features built into its system. Shopify usually requires an app for extended functionality.

Inventory management

All Shopify plans allow for an unlimited number of products in your store. Magento also allows a user to add and sell an unlimited number of products. Shopify however takes the crown on this because of its direct integration to drop shipping inventory apps like Oberlo.

Calculation of shipping charges

Both platforms offer flexible options for calculating shipping charges. Shopify even integrates with some dropshipping tools and more accurate shipping calculators.

Provision for coupons and discount codes

Magento allows discount code creation and calculation functions throughout. Shopify offers this functionality on all its plans except the Lite plan.

Magento vs Shopify: Themes and Design

There is much more to a website than its appearance, but an attractive site is usually more appealing and easier to navigate. Having the right theme will enable you to offer the best user experience and stand out from the rest.

Shopify offers a variety of customizable themes which are easy to use and optimized for mobile meaning your customers can easily navigate your site on desktop or otherwise. The downside is that majority of themes require payment.

Magento however offers only sixteen themes in total (paid and free), ten of which are mobile responsive. It also allows you to implement your theme and update designs from the backend of your site. This however requires extensive developer skills. On the plus side, it offers several amazing customizations such as product sliders and animations.

Shopify is certainly the better option concerning themes although Magento offers more powerful features to enhance your site.

Magento vs Shopify: Ease of use

Each platform boasts of a dynamic well-designed user interface that makes it easy for virtually any user to set up an online store. Shopify even has a wizard that allows less experienced users to set up their stores easily although Magento Open source still lacks this feature.

Magento is not a hosted solution and this presents some users with challenges such as buying their hosting and setting up the store themselves.

Shopify wins this battle.

Magento vs Shopify: The Costs

Setup fees

Magento Open source is 100% free to use although you’ll have to pay for your hosting as earlier mentioned. Shopify also does not charge setup fees. They even offer a 14-day free trial for users to test and evaluate their service and its features.

Monthly fees

Shopify offers four pricing plans with monthly fees in the range of $14 to $179 as shown below:

  • Shopify Lite Plan: $9
  • Basic Shopify Plan: $29
  • Shopify Plan: $79
  • Advanced Shopify Plan: $299

Magento requires that you provide your hosting with providers offering this service at monthly costs ranging from $5 to $100.

Bandwidth charges

Shopify does not charge any bandwidth usage fees at all. When using Magento, this will depend on your hosting provider.

Shopify wins this battle on account of the certainty it provides.

Transaction fees

Shopify charges no additional transaction fees provided their payment gateway is used. The following fees are charged when using other gateways or methods such as COD:

  • Shopify Lite Plan: 2%
  • Basic Shopify Plan: 2%
  • Shopify Plan: 1%
  • Advanced Shopify Plan: 0.5%

Magento open source charges no transaction fees other than the gateway provider’s fees.

Theme/Template prices

Both platforms provide users with several free or paid themes. Shopify theme prices start at $80, while Magento Premium themes start at $1.

It is generally difficult to compare Magento and Shopify in terms of pricing. Shopify appears friendlier with its monthly pricing. Magento despite being free comes with an array of side expenses.

Magento vs Shopify: Apps and Add-ons

Both platforms have plenty to offer users but one will want enhanced functionality for their online store through additional apps and add-ons. Integrations such as PayPal are crucial in adding functionality to your site.

Shopify comes close to a CMS like WordPress in terms of options for apps and add-ons as it offers thousands of free or paid apps to select from. It is worth noting though that some options require coding knowledge.

Most plugins can be added with just the click of a button to allow users to access elements like social buttons to raise your chances of creating a community of customers. They include among others, Oberlo a free app for drop shipping which saves merchants the cost of packaging and shipping; Shopify Email a marketing app for building an email list and managing campaigns; and Advos a free app that helps store owners with their social media advertising by creating custom ads to attract buyers from different social media platforms.

Magento also boasts of several thousand paid or free extensions. You can add gift cards and abandoned cart functionality with a click of a mouse. Whether you intend to improve order management options or grow your market share, Magento enables you to accomplish a lot in your e-commerce business. One step checkout extension helps your buyers make a purchase in one step; Banner slider extension is ideal for grabbing visitor’s attention at first sight with a spectacular series of images.

Magento stands head and shoulders above Shopify when it comes to apps and extensions.

Magento vs Shopify: Payment Processors

When evaluating options for your website, you will want to make sure that you have a variety of channels to accept payments. The profitability of your site depends on the safe completion of transactions.

Shopify has its integrated payment processor called Shopify Payments. This option lets users avoid transaction fees associated with other channels such as PayPal and Amazon which are also available on the platform.

Magento works with many popular payment gateways. It allows more than 100 payment options in multiple languages and locations.

While Shopify might be ideal for implementing a payment processor expeditiously, Magento offers more options for international selling.


Both are powerful e-commerce platforms but Shopify is much easier to use given it is a hosted and fully managed service.

Magento despite being a free service requires additional costs of hosting and system setup which is difficult for the typical end-user.

Shopify emerges as the overall winner in this face-off. It is easier to use and has powerful capabilities.

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