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Shopify VS Magento: The Ultimate Head to Head Battle

Picking an eCommerce platform for your business is an important decision, one that will affect you and your business for years to come. So, you must make the right choice now to save regret down the road. In the eCommerce market, Shopify and Magento are huge brand names that you might have come across at one point or another. However, the question is, which platform should you choose between these 2. This question gives rise to Shopify vs Magento debate.

Obviously, the platform you choose for your eCommerce business heavily depends on your business model, industry, and nature. Similarly, your budget also plays an important part. All this makes it even harder for you to choose a particular platform for your eCommerce business. However, don’t worry; we are here to help. In this article, we are going to cover a head-to-head Shopify vs Magento comparison from different angles to make it easier for you to pick the right platform according to your needs. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an easy-to-use cloud-based eCommerce platform that charges a subscription service, allowing you to build your business both online and offline. It enables you to sell online (through your website) and in-person (with Shopify POS). You can build a website and utilize their shopping cart solution to sell, ship, and manage your items.

This eCommerce website builder includes features for all, from novices to experienced eCommerce professionals. In addition, it contains several tools to assist you in analyzing each area of your online store. Users can use these solutions to create personalized online experiences for consumers while maximizing the Return on Investment (ROI) for their business.

Features of Shopify:

To decide whether Shopify is right for you or not, it's imperative to understand its feature set. First of all, you can get Shopify as five different plans that range from 9 dollars up to 2000 dollars per month. Features may vary depending on the plan you choose, but generally, Shopify comes loaded with:

1- Unlimited Products & Customer Support: No matter which plan you choose, with Shopify, you'll be able to host a limitless amount of products and access award-winning customer support 24/7.

2- Sales Channels: With Shopify, you’ll be able to sell your products on online marketplaces and social media platforms.

3- Inventory Locations: Shopify enables you to assign up to 8 (only in the advanced plan, for the basic plan, it's 4) locations, including warehouses, retail stores, and pop-ups to inventory.

4- Discount Codes & Gift Cards: With Shopify, you’ll have the ability to easily generate discount codes and gift cards to boost sales.

5- Shipping: Get competitive shipping rates on DHL, USPS, UPS, etc. Moreover, Shopify will print out shipping labels, and it doesn't even need any special equipment.

6- Global Selling: With Shopify, you can set up to 20 languages, accept payments in 133 currencies, set up pricing for different regions, and set country-specific domains.


Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform developed by Varien Inc. A modular structure ensures that websites built on Magento are expandable, feature-rich, user friendly, and optimized for search engines. Magento offers users complete and in-depth control over their websites. However, this requires you to employ a developer on your team.

Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are all supported by Magento, and it offers a variety of payment options, allowing each visitor to pay using their preferred payment method. Magento also features a host of extensions and effortlessly interfaces with a variety of third-party sites that are required to run a successful eCommerce website.

Features of Magento

A perk of being open source is that there is a plethora of features that can be integrated into your website. Here are a few prominent ones;

1- Order Management: Magento allows you to view, update, generate, and fulfill orders and invoices from the admin interface. Additionally, you can provide customer care representatives the ability to create orders and invoices.

2- Catalog & Product Browsing: Magento allows the clients to browse products in a grid or list style, as well as filter products by category. Users can also compare products, add breadcrumbs, and explore product comparisons with history. Furthermore, zooming in on product photos and viewing several photographs per product are made simple. Swatches can be used to display colors, materials, and other details. Finally, you can enable product sharing via Facebook, Twitter, and email.

3- Search Engine Optimization: Magento creates a Google sitemap for your website automatically. Plus, you can design SEO-friendly URLs and metadata for your products, categories, and content pages.

4- Marketing & Promotions: Magento allows you to set up related products, upsells, cross-sells, promotional pricing, coupons, gift cards, and discount codes.

5- Site Management: Manage several websites and stores from a single administration panel with Magento, and create roles and permissions to limit access to administrative tools. Moreover, you can create a multilingual and multi-currency environment.

Shopify VS Magento; The Head-to-Head Comparison

Now that we’ve had a look at both platforms, we are in a better place to identify a few differences between them. Doing so will help you make a better decision for your business. There are a few key differences between Shopify and Magento in terms of their business models, what they’ll cost to operate, the level of tech expertise you’ll need to effectively manage a website, how scalable they are, and the level of control they offer users.

1- Business Models

First of all, there lies a fundamental contrast between Shopify and Magento in terms of their business model. Shopify works on the SaaS model, while Magento is open-source. This means that you’ll have to pay for Magento only once, and with Shopify, you'll have to shell out monthly or yearly subscriptions fees. This difference in business model is the reason why both platforms function so distinctly, and most of the differences we'll look at further are primarily because of this reason.

2- Cost

The upfront cost of Shopify and Magento are pretty similar, taking into account the feature set you acquire. However, this does not tell a complete story, and you should also look into operating costs.

With Shopify, you won't need to employ a full-time developer, and the platform is pretty straightforward to use. Moreover, if you have a high turnover rate, Shopify will suit you better as it isn't as complex as Magento and is easier to learn.

Magento, on the other hand, will require you to at least employ a developer and have access to technical leadership. Training time is also pretty long when compared to Shopify. So, training costs and loss of productivity have to be accounted for.

3- Tech expertise

Stemming from the previous point, both platforms will require you to obtain different levels of technical expertise. This doesn't seem like a big thing at first, but when we look into the costs and complexity of adding this expertise, a clearer picture is formed.

If your business is not in a position to support a developer, or maybe you just don't want one and prefer to do things yourself, go for Shopify. On the other hand, if you want to have complete control over your website and want a completely unique customer experience, go with Magento.

4- Control

As mentioned in the previous point, control is a crucial factor that most people tend to ignore. If you belong to an industry that requires you to stay on top of regulations, then Shopify updates might be too slow for you. Moreover, if you have existing back-office structures and you wish to integrate them into your brand-new eCommerce website, Magento is the way to go. These examples may seem too specific, but the level of control your business requires will play a massive role in making a choice between Shopify and Magento.

5- Scalability

This is something both Shopify and Magento do really well. However, the way they go about it is very different, and this does an excellent job of describing how each works. With Shopify, it's pretty simple. You just upgrade to the upper-tier plans, and it'll all be sorted out for you. This does come with caveats, of course, the most prominent one being all the extra features included in your plan that you don't need. Magento offers more control, and you can plug in just the modules for the functionality you need. However, this is followed by local testing and bug fixing before you can go live with that update.

Shopify VS Magento: Which Platform Should You Choose?

In the end, it should be pretty clear that Shopify and Magento are inherently different and cater to different businesses. That's why there isn't a clear winner in the Shopify vs Magento battle. Your choice may vary depending on the requirements of your business, your preferences, and the industry you operate in. If you want something quick and easy, with no faffing about it, go for Shopify. The great thing about Shopify is that it just works. On the other hand, if you want complete control over your website and aren't afraid of the extra time and money it will cost you, go for Magento.

How can we help?

Setting up an eCommerce platform, especially for new businesses, is a tricky decision. Which platform would work best for you? What's the first step in the process? How will you go about it? In short, there are multiple questions lingering in your mind, and it's hard to find clear-cut answers. That’s where we come in. IIInigence is a team of tech experts that believe in staying ahead of the curve and bringing excellence in everything they do.

We have helped hundreds of startups and growing businesses set up their eCommerce store to reach their true potential and widen their customer base. If you are looking for an eCommerce solution in the market, let us help you out. Our team of eCommerce experts provides consultation services, development, and design services for businesses. You can check out our portfolio by visiting our website or simply drop a message via our contact us page.