Magento vs Shopify: Revealing the Differences that Matter

Magento Vs Shopify- Which eCommerce Platform to Choose

Imagine you have a self-driving (driverless) car. You just have to feed your destination to the system, and the rest is up to the car how it takes you to the destination. It would fetch the best path for you and drive you where you need to be.

On the other hand, your friend has a manual car. A similar mechanical configuration, but the driver decides their own path to the same destination. If you would want to make a stop or two, it is up to you. In case, you want to take the longer path, it is again up to you.

You must be wondering why we are talking about cars here. It has nothing to do with either Magento or Shopify. But, it will help you figure out the key differences – Magento vs Shopify.

Magento vs Shopify: Connecting the Dots

Here, Shopify is like the self-driving car that automatically manages the technical process — programming, coding, and the other back-end processes without you having to do anything. All you need to care about is your destination, i.e., how your eCommerce business runs. In short, no technical intervention is required.

This way of doing things is a hosted solution built on SaaS (Software as a Service).

And, Magento is like the manual car that holds the capacity to gain input from a developers’ end and is open for customizations. Here the source code is made available universally, and how you intercept it and tweak its technical side is all up to you. The only catch being, the Magento developer has a fair knowledge about the technical side of things, besides an unending love for coding.

And, this way of doing things is called an open-source solution.

Now, this is the major difference that sets Magento apart from Shopify. But, which one do you choose? Refer to this flowchart below that helps figure out what solution will suit your needs best.

Differentiating between a open-source and a hosted solution and deciding which platform to choose

However, there are many others that you need to know before making the big decision of choosing the right CMS platform for your eCommerce Development project.

After all, it will form the foundation for the eCommerce platform in making, that would, in turn, decide the fate of your business in the long run.

Magento vs Shopify – A Brief Introduction

Before we move ahead with listing the differences between the two eCommerce platforms, here is a brief introduction to help you make an informed decision.

So, let us take each of these platforms individually and see what they have to offer.

What is Magento Development

Magento, an Adobe product was founded in 2008 and is a PHP powered platform that accounts for about 30% of all eCommerce websites. Leveraged as an open-source product, Magento is a reigning success for its ever-increasing community of contributors.

“Magento gets 50% (approx) of its code from a thriving community, which is impressive. More impressive is how the company is set up to make this happen.” –Tech Republic

The best part of Magento Development lies in the customization possibilities. A developer who has a knack for creativity can do a lot with Magento to offer a customer experience that stands out from the rest.

Magento is a custom-made solution that can be used by both startups and enterprises alike. If you are a startup, Magento’s open-source solution is the best thing you can ask for. On the other hand, if you happen to be a mid-sized or large enterprise, Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud are other viable options to consider.

Renowned businesses that use Magento include — Coca-Cola, Ford, and Budweiser

Note: Magento named a Leader in 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce Platform.

What is Shopify Development

Popular as a hosted eCommerce platform, Shopify takes away the burden of managing the technical side of things. Founded in 2004, the Shopify team created the product out of personal need and now powers over one million businesses on a global basis.

It’s a plug-and-play platform with 24/7 support available. And, its user-friendly interface makes it a lovable experience for your customers as well.

Shopify is a readymade solution that supports suitable plans for startups and established enterprises alike. If you are a startup, Shopify’s basic version is for you. It is both easy to use and gives you a professional background, but it is not free, unlike Magento. On the other hand, Shopify has a standard and advanced version too that can be customized based on business needs.

Renowned businesses that use Shopify include — Tesla, Red Bull, and Kylie Cosmetics

This comparison chart will help you figure out the basic differences between Magento and Shopify.

Magento Vs Shopify-Basic Comparison

Magento vs Shopify – A Comparison Guide

This was about a brief introduction to Shopify and Magento. But, this introduction would not be enough to make your pick. Instead, understanding of how one scores better than the other on the parameters listed below, will.

1. Pricing

The good thing about getting started with Magento Development is the freely available product that anyone can access. It is like a gift that Magento offers to help kickstart your eCommerce business journey. To be exact, the Magento Open Source version of the software comes FREE of cost. (Excludes: Hosting, themes, add-ons, domain-name, SSL certificate)

But, there is a catch here! Magento has other versions too that come at a price. The first one being Magento Commerce and the other one being Commerce Cloud. However, the costing is customized and is likely to change from business to business.

Here’s an estimate though.

Cost Estimation Plan of Magento

If you are looking for an exact estimate, we are here to help. Get in touch with our certified Magento developers who have been doing Magento Development over the years.

On the other hand, Shopify comes at a price, but you get everything with it. There is no need for the external costs of outsourcing or in-house management of developers. The costing varies from plan-to-plan, and here’s an estimate to help you get a fair idea of things.

Cost Estimation Plan of Shopify

You get almost everything covered here. Store features, shipping, payments, apps, and point-of-sale functionalities, being some of them.

PS: Shopify even offers the flexibility to downgrade/upgrade the plan anytime.

2. Ease of Use

This could be a roller coaster ride in terms of ease of use for Magento developers. They should be good at coding and handling other technical aspects. Also, researching skills should be in place if the community-contributed code needs to be accessed.

Magento is not that user-friendly when it comes to handling the Magento CMS (Content Management System). But, the good thing is the freedom a developer gets to experiment and infuse their own creativity.

Yet again, you need to remember that the technicalities and challenges that come along are all part of the package. But, it’s not that Magento developers are all on their own. Magento has a flourishing community of developers from around the globe and an active help center that offers all-time support in the form of:

Magento Help Center Tools

With less to worry about, the Shopify’s interface is easy-to-use that comes as a perk for the non-technical members of the organization. Its “drag-and-drop” convenience makes it a cakewalk to set-up the eCommerce platform, irrespective of it being B2B or B2C.

All the tools are available to you, and all you need to do is set-up the store and show creativity around the props available to you. That is, you can personalize the store, add/delete products, and even set-up payment methods. The best part is that there is 24/7 support, live chat option, and email support.

3. Global Commerce

If you choose Magento eCommerce Development platform, you will be enjoying a lot as it takes only one Magento instance to support multiple eCommerce websites, languages, local Payment Methods, and global shipping providers.

Being an open-source solution and having a community-based forum, a developer can seek help from anywhere and anytime irrespective of the geographical restrictions. The usage graph of Magento over the World Wide Web show significant growth.

Magento Usage Statistics as on 18 Dec, 2019

Although it’s paid, Shopify fails at offering multiple-language support, currency support, or even localized payment systems. For what suits them best, Shopify has a good market in North America and continues to grow in a specific market with no or less support in the global sector. Thus, Shopify’s usage graph showcases slow growth.

Shopify Usage Statistics as on Dec 18, 2019

4. Search Engine Optimization

Surprisingly, both Magento and Shopify offer similar search results irrespective of the platform you build it on. This means that the Magento vs Shopify battle ends on a happy note, but only if the stores are optimized in the right way.

These are a bunch of SEO functionalities & apps that Magento and Shopify offer for maintaining good SEO results. The following comparison chart helps in deciding the next big step: What platform is search engine friendly?

Magento Vs Shopify-Performance Comparison

5. Upgrades Available

For all those who are running their eCommerce platforms on Magento; Magento 1 to Magento 2 migration becomes a prerequisite as Magento has decided to end their support for Magento by 3oth June 2020.

There are a lot of reasons that require your attention to Magento migration. We have enlisted a few of them here.

New call-to-action

The features and extensibilities introduced by Magento 2 will be worth it. Many eCommerce platforms have already made this big shift to make the most of the opportunity at hand. Yes, the migration will cost you, but it is the cost you pay to stay ahead in the game.

Also, Stax Inc. interviewed nineteen eCommerce merchants that migrated to Magento 2. On a revenue-weighted average basis, the 3-year ROI of 165.3% was recorded. So, it would definitely be worth it.

On the other hand, Shopify too has introduced a newer version of the eCommerce platform that is suitable for businesses that have outgrown the standard Shopify version and are making it big in the market, i.e., their annual revenue equates to about $1-2 million. And, that is called Shopify Plus.

The abundant possibilities introduced by Shopify Plus make it an enticing up-gradation to consider. Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic store chose to migrate to Shopify Plus, and the results are overwhelming. Have a look for yourself.

Shopify Plus offers myriad extensions and features, which makes it evident that its cost would be on the higher side too. The Shopify Plus plan starts from somewhere at $2000/month and may go up to $40,000/month. Thus, making it a reasonable option for large scale enterprises.

On a parallel side of things, if you are still in the initial growth stage of your eCommerce journey, Magento 2 could be the best strategic decision you make. Just saying!


The purpose behind this comparison is simple – To help eCommerce businesses make an informed decision for their website. Because, if the foundation is set right, everything else gets right and stays that way in the long run.

Everyone has their own say when it comes to choosing sides in the Magento vs Shopify battle, but having your own understanding is a good idea before you make the big decision. So, choose wisely!

Whether it is Shopify or Magento, do not hesitate to make your own choices because you know your business better than anyone else. Give food for thought and consider your business needs and budget constraints before coming to a conclusion. And as for an opinion, expert help is always a step away.

New call-to-action

Surabhi Shukla

About the Author

Surabhi is a proficient PHP developer and has worked on frameworks and CMS like Joomla, CakePHP, Drupal, and Magento. She is also a Magento certified developer and Developer Plus. When not at work, she relaxes by listening to music and is an avid reader.

Leave a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest


Articles written by industry experts about things that matter most in designing and building Digital Products and Platforms for Startups and Enterprises.

Subscribe to our

Digital Insights

Follow us on:

Aw, yeah! That was a smart move.

We have sent a short welcome email your way.