Introducing MagentoNow the property of eBay, Magento is an eCommerce staple. It's used by 11.91% of online retailers. This may sound like a tiny slice of the pie, but in reality that's a jaw dropping number of websites – within the hundreds of thousands. It's a relatively old kid on the block these days, with 6 years under its open-sourced belt. These “years of experience” have given the platform time to build up a strong community, plus plenty of free and paid extensions have been developed for you to play with.
Introducing ShopifyPre-dating Magento is Shopify. This platform has been available to the public since 2006. It was developed in 2004 as the brainchild of a frustrated businessman-come-programmer. According to co-creator, Tobias Lütke: “What used to take months in 2004, can now be done in about 20 minutes” ... and that's precisely what Shopify exists to try and do: Make building a great looking online store quick, simple and effective for all comers, especially beginners.
The Playing FieldMagento and Shopify do compete against each other – but the complication is that there are multiple versions of Magento. Perhaps the most fair comparison might have been Magento Go, intended for small businesses – the same user base that Shopify tends to attract. Magento Go is a hosted solution (you won’t need your own hosting) and comes with various “packages” to buy. Magento also has a package available for more substantial businesses – Magento Enterprise (usually reserved for major brands), but this robust platform comes with even more features straight out of the gate; it’s unquestionably the more powerful solution. Lastly, Magento offers a completely free and open source version, Magento Community. It’s a little different than the other comparisons you’ll read, but this is the version we’ll focus on. Shopify, on the other hand, is a paid solution, with beginner plans at $29/month – and the most popular plan at $79/month. While the ongoing cost is a factor, what you’re really buying is simplicity and ease of use; basic storefronts and beginners will not need the help of a dev to get up and running with Shopify, so the cost of your store is spread out over the length of the time you’re on the platform. What you gain in ease, though, you lose in power; businesses who scale up beyond the capabilities of Shopify will be looking at assuming costs again when they try to transfer to a new platform. Shopify and Magento both come with a number of identical features out-of-the-box including:
- All the tools needed for good SEO
- Good customer support and a strong, helpful community
- Easy to use interfaces with no deep technical knowledge required
- Total control over HTML and CSS
- Discount codes and coupon engines