Shopify and Magento are two ecommerce titans that allow users to create an online store for their business. At their most basic level they provide a webpage, shopping cart and a gateway for customer payments, allowing users to sell their products on the web. Many retailers find it difficult to choose between the two platforms when branching out onto the intimidating face of the internet. At Shopify Builder we have done all the hard work and strove to analyse the differences: raiding websites, customer reviews and our developer’s minds to make it easier for you to choose between the two.
Shopify History - http://shopify.com
Shopify is the older and more well renowned of the two platforms. It was founded in 2004 by a group of online retailers that were struggling to find a decent host for their snowboarding shop, so they decided to create their own. One founder, Tobias Lütke has summarized Shopify by saying, “what used to take months in 2004, can now be done in about 20 minutes.” They now cater for over 100,000 online retailers including massive names such as Budweiser, Gatorade and The Foo Fighters.
Magento History - http://magentogo.com
Shopify’s younger sibling, Magento, was launched in 2007 by a company called Varien. Ebay then brought 49% of the business in 2010 and then brought the rest in 2011. Magento provides three distinct platforms, Magento Community Edition, Magento Enterprise Edition, and Magento Go. The one that we will be using for comparison with Shopify will be Magento Go as it is aimed at medium sized businesses.
Shopify Vs Magento Go - Price
When setting up an online venture the first key point to any business person is going to be price. The nice thing about both of these hosts is that they offer free trials. Shopify offers a 14 -day trial, whilst Magento Go offers a 30-day trial. Both of the merchants then have different price plans that are available for different requirements. They both do not charge to set up or cancel the stores.
Shopify offers four different levels of membership:
Starter £10/month. 2% transaction fees. 1GB storage. Unlimited bandwidth. 25 products.
Basic £17.50/month 2% transaction fees. 1GB storage. Unlimited bandwidth. Unlimited products.
Professional £47/month. 1% transaction fees. 5GB storage. Unlimited bandwidth. Unlimited products.
Unlimited £107/month. 0% transaction fees. Unlimited storage. Unlimited products.
Magento Go also offers four different levels of membership:
Get Going £9.99/month. 0% transaction fees. 200mb storage. 4GB bandwidth. 100 products.
Going Places £19.99/month. 0% transaction fees. 500mb storage. 8GB bandwidth. 500 products.
Go Beyond £39.99/month. 0% transaction fees. 800mb storage. 16GB bandwidth. 1000 products.
Go Anywhere £79.99/month. 0% transaction fees. 5GB storage. 32GB bandwidth. 10,000 products.
The price of starter plans for both Shopify and Magento Go are on an even keel. The obvious difference is that Shopify charges 2% for every transaction in your store. This rate may instantly attract you towards Magento if you own a starter company. However you must keep in mind where your business is going to lead to. The differences become more substantial when looking at premium packages. With Magento you will always have a restriction on storage, bandwidth and amount or products, whereas these are all unlimited for premium Shopify packages (along with the transaction fee dropping to 0%.) Our research also found a whole host of customers complaining about bandwidth charges from Magento. There is no way to see how much bandwidth you have used and this can result in surprise charges. Therefore if you are going to use Magento you must pick a package with enough bandwidt
Shopify Vs Magento Go - Design
Shopify offers 16 completely free themes and about 100 to purchase in the Shopify theme store. Whereas Magento Go offers 11 free themes and a choice of 1900 to buy in Magento Connect. If you are looking for a free theme, the quality ismuch better at Shopify. The free themes are slick, modern and easy to adapt. On the other hand Magento Go free themes are lack lustre and very hard to adapt.
Shopify Vs Magento Go - Usability
Usability is the thing that separates these two sites the most. The analogy I can make to help you choose between Shopify and Magento Go is that Shopify is more like an iPhone. Sleek, easy-to-use and looks great. However as a serious music fan, you may be frustrated that you cannot put music on your phone without iTunes. Magento is more like Android, you can customise all types of functionality, there are more options for add-ons, yet the overall feeling is just a bit chaotic and overwhelming for a first time user.
An example of Magento’s confusing interface is that there are two different log-ins for your store admin and your account information. Though if you can get past the confusion, Magento has everything that you would expect. You can import customers and products and there are a range of marketing promotions like polls, coupons, and newsletters. You can also hook up your eBay store with Magento easily. It also offers five different language options (German, Spanish, English, Dutch, French) which is a great feature for International companies.
Shopify has less features than Magento Go. Which can be preferable since feature-heavy stores can create slower, less efficient websites. With Shopify, you will have one log in and find an extremely easy to navigate account settings and shop admin. They still provide lots of marketing tools and a free mobile app. But there are some features you may need to upgrade to add applications which you can get on Magento for free.
In summary, if simple usability is important then the slick, easy-to-use, adaptable Shopify is your answer. However if you are an experienced store developer and want a plethora of features and functions then perhaps go for the mighty Magento. It is a hard one to dictate as usability really is in the eye of the user. What one person may find completely over-complicated, another one may find useful, depending on skill level.
Shopify Vs Magento Go - Applications
Shopify has a multitude of free and fee-based applications that can be easily installed onto your site. Whether you need help with marketing, shopping, or social features you will find an extension for it. However Magento Go has many more and lots of the features are free. That means with Shopify you may have to pay with certain extras that are already included with Magento Go.
Shopify Vs Magento Go - Customer Service
When running a business, it can be frustrating if a service provider does not have good customer service in times of crisis. Luckily both of these platforms have quality customer services. Shopify offers a wide range of ways that customers can get in touch with them. One of the key features in that they run a 24/7 phone helpline which is available for all customers at any time. Unfortunately Magento Go users can only get phone support if they are “Go Beyond” or “Go Anywhere” subscribers.
Both platforms also offer a live chat function and also emails. These are great if you are looking for quick, technical advice. However we have found that the response to the Magento Go emails can be a little slower than what we would expect. Shopify responds very promptly to every email enquiry.
For learning, Shopify really steals the spotlight with their E-commerce University, which is packed with information on how to change design, add applications and improve functionality of your site. This is backed up with an active forum that is full of Shopify experts and also official developers who have a huge knowledge base to help you with different queries. It is important to use the search function to check if your question has been answered previously.
Magento takes a different tack when it comes to learning. They have a very friendly forum, offer webinars and also video tutorials on different Magento subjects. This style of tutorial works brilliantly visually as a descriptive tutorial would be too complicated to follow on their complex system. Both companies also have active social media platforms which keep users up-to-date with developments.
Shopify Vs Magento Go - Payment Gateways
Shopify boasts a vast range of over 70 compatible payment gateways – very handy for businesses that are already using a provider that they want to stick with. They have also recently introduced something called “Shopify Payments,” which is their own payment gateway and waives any transaction charges. However this is only available for the US and Canada at the moment. Magento Go has a smaller range of payment gateways but include all the major ones like SagePay, WorldPay and Paypal. The also offer a one-step checkout which is important in terms of reducing basket abandonment on your store. Shopify does not offer this though there are rumours that they are going to fix this in upcoming months for more premium accounts.
Hopefully you can now make a choice between the two platforms and decide what is right for your business. For most medium sized companies we would still recommend opting for Shopify as it is easier to manage and low maintenance once set up. Eastside Co are experts at creating expert designs for both, and can help you develop either type of store. Contact us now for help with development of Shopify or Magento shops.
If you already have a website on Magento Go , you might be interested to read about Shopify migration from Magento.