In our digital world, the first thing that every entrepreneur does is a webstore creating. An offline brick-and-mortar store is not enough today to be successful, while online gives your business dozens of opportunities for development. When it is decided that webstore is a necessity, hundreds of questions appear. Some time ago we have already reviewed some of them. And now it’s time to continue the topic and decide what ecommerce platform to choose because the number of them is big and their characteristics differ.
In today’s article, we will overview two the most popular platforms: Magento and Shopify. Although popularity isn’t the main reason to make a decision, it should be certainly taken into account, because when large groups of people lean to a certain solution, we hope that it is because of a good product, not a good marketing. So what are Magento and Shopify? Let’s have a bird’s eye view of them and compare Basic Shopify and Magento Open Source (previous Community).
The ecommerce platform made for you — that’s a brave company’s motto. Its history started almost 15 years ago when three enthusiasts decided to open a webstore of snowboarding equipment. As they hadn’t found the suitable platform, they created it on their own. Today Shopify has 5 offices across North America, 3 000 employees, and 600 000 active stores.
Magento considers itself the worlds #1 commerce platform. There is no reason not to believe it, especially keeping in mind that Adobe would acquire it for $1.68 billion. Magento is chosen by such world-famous brands as Seat, Munchkin, Canon, Coca-Cola, Burger King. It is the only platform that can boast about a community of 315 000 developers and a network of 1 500 technology and solution partners.
So what platform is better for your business: Magento or Shopify? Despite a common goal: webstore development, platforms have many differences. Let’s take a look.
Shopify is a product with a monthly fee. It can be installed in minutes because it is hosted by itself. Magento Open Source is an open-source platform available in the public domain and free to use, but it needs separate hosting.
You can have your own domain linked to the store on both platforms.
It is quite an important point because you will face it every day. And it doesn’t matter, what cool features the platform has if you don’t know how to use them.
Well, we will be honest, Shopify is easier to use. The platform has drag-and-drop website builder: you can move elements around the page and customize it as you want.
The Magento Content Management System is not so user-friendly and requires some knowledge of the code to fully use the platform. But once you figure it out, you will appreciate all of its advantages.
Shopify has 24/7 support available via phone, live chat and email (has anybody checked?). But Magento has the biggest community and forum, where you can connect with other users and discuss any difficulties.
The design is very important for webstore. It is very similar to the traditional shopping: customers will more likely return to the beautiful store rather than to the ordinary one. That’s why a great attention should be paid to the theme.
Shopify has 63 professional, customizable and mobile-optimized themes, but only 10 of them are free.
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Magento has 14 themes, almost all of them are suitable for mobile and will look great on every device. The platform is very flexible, it allows to create the theme from scratch.
This amount of themes is available on the official platforms’ store. There are also hundreds of themes on third-party sites.
The appearance of the online store is something you should invest in. Take your time and choose the really interesting and unique design. But don’t ignore the usability in the pursuit of beauty.
Believe us, with your business growing you will look for different ways to improve your webstore. And here apps, add ons and extensions come to the aid.
Both Shopify and Magento have thousands of paid and free tools for enhancement. You can find them on platforms’ official shops and add to your website. Furthermore, numerous Magento partners can develop extension according to your needs.
We won’t explain how important is search engine optimization when it comes to online stores, we have the whole article about it on our blog. Both Magento and Shopify allow creating SEO-friendly shops. There are also many additional tools, that can be installed on a website and helps in optimization.
As we have already mentioned, Shopify is a commercial product with a monthly fee. Also, costs depend on chosen plan.
Magento is an open-source platform and your first investments are the domain name and hosting. But don’t forget, that both platforms have plenty of paid themes and add ons, that may be necessary for your shop.
In this article, we don’t try to pit Magento and Shopify against each other. We just want to explain, that these platforms are different and suitable for different businesses: traditionally Shopify is used by small and medium companies, while Magento is for large enterprises.
Before choosing ecommerce platform you should look closely at your business, imagine your future webstore’s appearance and functionality, analyze the plans. After all, you can always move from one platform to another. But it will take extra time, money and effort. So it is better to think twice before making a decision. Or contact us to get a free quote and consultation. And don’t forget to walk in your customer’s shoes sometime. It will help to understand, what webstore you should have.