The biggest question when setting up an eCommerce store is whether to host it yourself or make use of an eCommerce platform. For ease of setup and maintenance of the shop, you may decide to go with the eCommerce platform option. You then have to choose between several solutions available on the market.
Among the most popular options for entrepreneurs are Magento and Shopify. These shopping carts provide simple setup, flexibility and support. They also have distinct differences that leave you with a challenge regarding which to choose. The following comparison between the eCommerce solutions will, hopefully, help you choose the option that fits you best.
Major Differences Between Shopify and Magento
Shopify launched in 2006 and has since then grown to over 100,000 users. A wide variety of businesses, ranging from small online shops to massive Amazon-like stores, use the platform. Shopify has created three editions of the platform to suit the varying needs of different eCommerce stores.
Shopify Basic, the cheapest plan at $29 per month, works best for independent entrepreneurs and small businesses. It gives you the freedom to stock up on an unlimited number of products, gives you a maximum storage of 1GB, provides 24-hour support and has an engine to generate customer discount codes. You have to pay a 2 percent fee on every sale in addition to the monthly subscription.
At $79 a month, Shopify Professional is suited for medium-sized businesses. It incurs a reduced per-sale transaction fee of 1 percent, provides storage of 4GB, and allows you to create promotions and gift cards.
Shopify Unlimited is pricier at $179 per month. It provides unlimited storage, an unlimited number of store products, no transaction fees and various other advanced features. This edition is best for large businesses.
In addition to all of the above, there is a much more advanced edition, Shopify Plus. This edition works best for huge enterprises that register millions in revenue and handle a large volume of sales. It costs $995 a month. In addition to the functions provided by the other editions, it gives businesses higher flexibility, more hands-on support, much more power and more detailed analytics.
It is important to note that Shopify hosts all editions provided. There is no option for self-hosting.
Magento launched in 2008. In contrast to Shopify, which is fully commercial, Magento is more of an open-source platform. The basic version, Magento Go, costs $15 a month. This makes it a more budget-friendly alternative to Shopify Basic. Magento Go is suited for small businesses that do not want to self-host and need a simple, quick eCommerce store setup and maintenance.
Magento Community is a more developer-focused edition. Businesses that need a high level of flexibility and heavy customization will find this edition more to their liking. Support from the company is limited on this plan. You have to rely on a community of fellow entrepreneurs and developers for your questions and concerns.
Finally, there is Magento Enterprise. It focuses on large businesses that need customization, flexibility and strong support. With this edition, you can take advantage of detailed analytics and reports that help you understand customer behavior.
Which One Wins?
There is no one option that is the ultimate best. The choice you make depends on your budget, size of store, availability of technical knowledge and preferences.
Shopify provides ease of setup and maintenance, but it falls a bit behind in terms of control and customization. Magento, on the other hand, is highly customizable but may require more skill and effort in setup and maintenance.