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Magento vs Shopify: Everything Merchants Need to Know

Magento Versus Shopify, Which is Better for You?
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An ecommerce platform comparison guide.

Magento vs Shopify: it’s a choice many merchants wonder about as they seek out an ecommerce platform to support sales and revenue ambitions. Here’s a detailed look at what both platforms offer.

What are Shopify and Magento?

Shopify is a hosted ecommerce platform that provides everything online stores need. The free self-hosted Magento Open Source and the $20,000-per-year Magento Commerce are Adobe’s ecommerce platform offerings.

 Comparing Pricing and Costs: Magento Commerce vs Magento Open Source vs Shopify 

With Shopify, you can choose a monthly plan or you can pay annually to receive a discount. Shopify offers three plans ranging from $29 to $299. Higher plan tiers will unlock more features, such as reporting, international domains and pricing and reduced transaction fees from both Shopify payments and third-party payment solutions.

You don’t have to worry about hosting with Shopify, but you will still need to buy a domain name. You can do this through Shopify for about $15 a year. Shopify also includes an SSL certificate in every plan

Magento Open Source is a self-hosted platform that’s free — but with a catch. Merchants will need to find their own hosting provider. Usually, hosting will cost about $12-15 a month, and an SSL certificate from about $40 a year. Magento also has a paid version — but its $20,000 a year cost tends to rule out all but the largest ecommerce businesses. But before you write Magento off on pricing, don’t forget they don’t charge additional transaction fees, which can give Merchants more flexibility to integrate international payment gateways and third-party payment extensions. 

Which is Better?

Shopify may be best for merchants who want simpler, all-inclusive pricing. Magento may be the way to go for those who want control over hosting and transaction fee expenses and greater flexibility to scale and customize their ecommerce store.

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User Experience: Magento vs Shopify Comparison

Here’s a quick overview of what it’s like to use these platforms as a merchant.

Using Shopify as a Merchant

It’s easy to navigate Shopify’s interface, especially if tech is not your thing. You can change the attributes of your store with a ‘drag and drop’ interface. Shopify has a small number of free themes and more than 60 paid themes, so customizing your store is easy. Every theme is mobile responsive, so your store will look just as good on smartphones as it does on desktops.  Put simply, you don’t need to be a web developer to keep your Shopify store up to date. Beginners can easily change colors, pages, and product elements.

Using Magento as a Merchant

On the flipside, Magento is probably better suited to ecommerce merchants who can handle development. You will have to manage the updates and any new plugins. Beginners should steer clear. Experts, however, can customize their stores as much as they like with Magento. The look, feel and performance of your store is entirely in your hands.  Magento offers free and paid themes, which are mobile responsive, and many of the paid ones are feature-rich too.

Shopify might be best for you if your ecommerce business is in its infancy, or if you just need to start selling online ASAP. Magento, on the other hand, may help more mature online selling businesses to tailor the store experience for their customers. And when it comes to all-important ecommerce metrics like cart abandonment, the ability to fine-tune every part of your customers’ experience can really pay off.

Customer Support for Merchants

This is another key difference between Shopify and Magento Open Source.

You can contact Shopify any time by phone or through live chat. Help is typically fast. You can also ask the Shopify community questions about common issues — many have been covered before. Unlike Magento’s paid offering, Magento Open Source does not offer customer support. This means if you get stuck, you may need to ask for help in the platform’s online communities, and not from dedicated business advisors, or engineers. 

Cross-Border and International Sales

Whichever platform you choose, integrating a payments plugin that localizes checkout with the right payment options based on a customer’s location will help you reach customers and grow sales anywhere. Rapyd provides payment plugins for both Magento and Shopify to help merchants reach cross-border customers and grow their sales globally.

Which eCommerce Platform is Right for You?

There’s no easy answer — but small businesses and startups may be better served by Shopify’s beginner-friendly, fast capabilities. On the other hand, rapidly scaling ecommerce businesses and larger enterprises may soon find their need to scale and customize is better served by Magento.

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