Magento or Shopify: Which eCommerce platform works for your business?

Consider the paradox of a hyper-connected and overcrowded virtual marketplace. Online selling has surpassed all previous records and yet selling online is now more difficult and challenging than ever. According to Statista, the total average eCommerce spend per customer over the course of the year is estimated to be $1,800 in the US and 1,600 in the UK. As online commerce continues to scale rapidly, it only means more competition with big and small players jostling for space. Customers are now harder to lure, easier to lose and finicky with price and user experience.

The complex eCommerce landscape is now more intriguing — shaped and influenced by many trends and factors such as the growth of mobile shopping, social commerce, cyber threats, and chatbots. A good number of eCommerce platforms and vendors have mushroomed over the past couple of years to tackle this interesting behemoth of online shopping. Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, PrestaShop, WooCommerce are some of the most successful platforms in the market.

But making that final choice from among the top contenders depends on your business needs and detailed comparative analysis. This post looks at an in-depth analysis of two of the most prominent platforms — Magento versus Shopify, listing the features and strengths of each to help you choose wisely.

Two cardinal differences between the CMSs that are noteworthy:

1. Shopify is a paid, commercial product whereas the Community edition of Magento is free and open-source.

2. Shopify is a hosted solution where the web-store is hosted by them. However, Magento requires you to set up your own hosting, install and configuration before you can create your store.

Shopify vs Magento


Shopify: $9 per month

Magento: Free

Customer Support

Shopify: Phone, Live Chat, Ticket

Magento: Phone, Training

Ideal For

Shopify: Small Business, Large enterprises, Mid-sized enterprises, Freelancers

Magento: Large enterprises


Shopify: Advanced shopping cart, Web-based website builder, 100+ professional themes, Blogging platform, Mobile commerce support, Free SSL certificate Automatic carrier shipping rates, 70 payment gateways, Multiple languages, Marketing & SEO Analytics

Magento: Shopping cart, Customer service, Order Management, Inventory management, Mobile Commerce, Marketing & SEO, Analytics and Reporting, Multiple languages


Shopify: MailChimp, QuickBooks, Fulfillrite, itDuzzit, Zapier, KISSmetrics, Chargify

Magento: Interprise Suite ERP, Embedded ERP, BankPayment, eBay, WebShopApps MatrixRate, PayOne, CashOnDelivery, ShipWorks, MageMonkey, MailChimp, Mandrill, osCommerce, Correios, Fontis Australia, BeeTailer, DebitPayment, MigraShop, SOFORT, AddThis, WorldPay, Facebook, Twitter, ePay, Searchanise, GoMage, Open ERP, DHL, Bcash, Ingenico, Zopim Live Chat

Popular Clients using the CMS

Shopify: Budweiser, Tesla, WaterAid, Bremont, Red Bull

Magento: Fraport, Burger King, Nine West , Coca Cola, Christian Louboutin, Murad, Ghirardelli

Magento: Magento is an open source platform launched in 2007, written in PHP. It provides three distinct platforms, Magento Community Edition, Magento Enterprise Edition and Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition. In 2016, it had the highest market-share with almost one-fourth of total eCommerce websites using Magento. The CMS is acclaimed for its reliability and scalability and is thus the underlying technology for some of the most celebrated web stores such as Burger King, Huawei, Pepe Jeans & Liverpool F.C.

Benefits of Magento

  • Excellent user experience: Magento is fairly easy to use and manage.
  • Open source: It is an open source platform therefore there is endless possibility to customize. Being open source allows it to be very easily accessible for developers and businesses with limited budget.
  • Plugins: 9000+ plugins/extensions to scale your business
  • Extensions: Magento offers a slew of free extensions that enable social commerce so you can sell on social media platforms
  • Library: It has an extensive resource library for store management, growth, demos, and online community of store owners as well as plugin developers you can tap for help.
  • Popularity: Magento is ranked number three among North America’s top 500 eCommerce traders. There are thousands of Magento developers, agencies and users in every corner of the world, meaning that the community support is generous. With so many experienced agencies developing Magento stores, skilled talent to develop your webstore is easily available. It would be quite smooth to pick a partner, switch to other providers etc.
  • Scalability: It offers a highly flexible and scalable solution both at the front-end and back-end to help businesses grow and scale faster.

Shopify: Shopify is one of the most rapidly growing eCommerce platforms which is somewhat SME-focused. It is well-suited for merchants looking to set up an online shop rapidly without engaging or investing in technical decisions. Shopify comes with a wizard mode that allows beginners or novice users to build their store rather intuitively. As of 2016, Shopify had a market share of 10.9 percent showing a significant year-on-year jump with 17.4 percent relative market share growth.

Benefits of Shopify

  • Quick set-up: Since it is a hosted solution, a Shopify store can be set up in a matter of minutes. Customers can opt for either the trial version or one of their packages and configure a payment gateway and they are good to go. Shopify offers various free default themes on signup — which can also be customized to add company branding.
  • Payment gateway options: Shopify has support for many payment gateways — nearly 70.
  • Beautiful responsive designs: Shopify offers a vast collection of themes and templates to create a beautiful front-end appropriate for the brand. Basic changes can be added easily but more detailed customization requires a knowledge of CSS, HTML and Liquid. Liquid is Shopify’s exclusive language for creating themes for their platform.
  • Intuitive interface: Shopify’s biggest strength is the ease of use it affords with an incredibly intuitive interface and dashboard. User onboarding is simplified with clear steps for merchants with low technical expertise to manage their store without much help. Creating products and adding elements to the store is also quite uncomplicated.
  • Social integration: Shopify has some out of the box features like social sign on, shoppable pins etc. that make it easier to sell offline and on social media from the get-go. It has partnered with Facebook and Pinterest to allow merchant integration on social channels allowing customers to complete purchase right from these networks.

To Conclude — Magento or Shopify?

Which eCommerce solution is better for your business?

Is it Shopify or Magento Development? It depends on the needs and nature of your online store as well as your budget.

Shopify is a better fit for merchants on a budget and whose eCommerce needs aren’t too advanced or specialized. However, Magento allows you to do much more with your web store and there is a Magento solution for each kind of online retail variant.

Magento also has a higher scalability potential and multi-lingual capabilities. Both Magento and Shopify provide free and paid themes but while Shopify premium themes start around $80, Magento has a larger collection with paid themes available for as low as $1. Magento also allows discount code creation and calculation functionalities that are not available on the Shopify starter package.

If you are on a small budget and need a plug and play solution without investing time and effort in technical know-how or resources, then Shopify might be the answer but otherwise Magento as the market-leader seems to have an edge in terms of functionality, customization and multi-locational possibilities.