When looking for a new eCommerce platform, retailers, merchants and enterprises will have several options to choose from. In many cases, the decision commonly comes down to two main services with their own strengths and capabilities, leaving you with the question: Magento or Shopify?
Any new website should be thought of as a lasting tool that assists your business moving forward; a long-lasting investment rather than simply a one-off project. This is where Magento – in particular Magento Commerce – can provide a robust and scalable solution, as opposed to a simpler and often cheaper alternative.
Shopify can be quite a tempting choice for merchants on the face of it, as it includes easy-to-use templates and offers plans that are generally less expensive.
While this may be a suitable solution for smaller retailers and simple transactions, it’s not necessarily the ideal platform for long-term scalability and growth.
For larger enterprises, wholesalers dealing with bulk orders and merchants with specialist products, Magento Commerce comes with many advanced B2C and B2B features as standard. What’s more, the platform has the capacity and flexibility for greater customisation and integration options, opening up a whole host of possibilities.
Here we look at some the key aspects of these eCommerce platforms and discover how each one fares to meet your specific needs.
In the past, Shopify’s easy use drag-and-drop templates have made it a desirable choice for managing on-page content, products and categories. By comparison, Magento’s largely HTML-based approach felt a little more alienating for the typical eCommerce manager.
With the latest version of Magento Commerce, however, back-end user experience has been radically overhauled to make life much easier for merchants. Features like Page Builder and visual merchandising offer user-friendly drag-and-drop tools, whilst category and product management are more intuitive than ever.
Overall, Shopify comfortably satisfies the basic requirements of retail consumers buying individual products online, but capabilities beyond that are fairly limited. When it comes to more advanced features like setting multiple tax rates, international pricing and shipping and B2B trade ordering and accounts, Magento Commerce is much more suited to the task.
A basic Shopify implementation can be customised with developer support, but this is often a difficult task. The platform utilises the development language, Liquid, whilst Magento operates using the more widely common framework, PHP. To make complex changes to the Shopify system would involve finding a developer with significant knowledge and experience of Liquid, which is generally a bit harder than sourcing a team with wide-ranging PHP expertise.
Magento’s PHP code base has allowed a much wider community of developers to effectively work with the platform. Whether you choose the Open Source version or purchase a Commerce licence, there is a larger pool of talent available to carry out more complex customisations, whilst innovative extensions and add-ons are made available thanks to additional specialist Magento developers.
With more options available for variable products, omni-channel order management and integrations with additional systems, Magento Commerce has the capacity to facilitate any large-scale project or business with ambitious long-term aspirations.
One of the key advantages of Magento Commerce is that the platform is totally flexible and scalable to meet rising demands over several years. With such a long shelf life, it reduces the need for businesses to seek out new solutions a year or two down the line.
Speed-to-market is important so it’s natural to want to choose a platform with the shortest development and implementation time. Your eCommerce website ideally needs to be thought of as a long-lasting tool, rather than just a quick fix to get selling online right away.
Whilst a new Magento implementation generally doesn’t take as long as it used to, it can still be tempting to go for the simpler, cheaper and often quicker solution offered by Shopify. The compromise with Magento Commerce, however, is that the platform will allow you to reap considerable benefits well into the future. In essence, go through short term pain for long term gain.
Just as the speed of the implementation process can be an attractive factor, a lower price tag is likely to tempt enterprises towards Shopify. Magento can generally set you back a bit more financially, but it’s important to factor in additional and recurring costs of customisations and subscriptions to get an idea of the true cost of your investment.
Both Shopify and Magento Commerce licences come with subscription fees, either monthly or annually. On top of the monthly charge, however, Shopify commonly takes a cut of the action per sale you make. With a Magento Commerce licence, there’s only one annual fee – no commission, no hidden extras – allowing you to keep 100% of your sales profits.
Magento Commerce allows for up to 5 websites per license, compared to Shopify’s 1 site per license. Multiple sites are useful for larger enterprises with various target demographics, such as a merchant that sells direct to consumers on one site, but also sells wholesale through another site. Having these stores covered by a single licence is extremely beneficial and ultimately more cost effective.
Many large businesses may require a range of sophisticated features, like multiple stores for multi-brand merchants and the ability to seamlessly integrate with various payment gateways and third-party APIs. This is one of Shopify’s biggest weaknesses, as it lacks in support for advanced B2B elements.
On top of that, there is little or no support for many local languages or currencies, hindering merchants that have a lot of international coverage. Support for search engine optimisation and multiple shipping and payment options are also quite thin on the ground with the Shopify platform. By comparison, Magento Commerce offers many of these features straight out-of-the-box.
The conclusion? Small, independent B2C retailers could well get a satisfactory service using Shopify. However, for larger enterprises in need of a more extensive and bespoke solution, it would be necessary to look for something bigger. From B2B wholesalers and distributors to B2C marketplace providers, investing in a more complex solution like Magento Commerce can make a world of difference to your business growth.
As an official Magento Solution Partner, Klova can offer enterprise businesses a strong, all-round service with design, development and implementation at the core of what we do. Our Accelerator Packages can get you set up with a Magento Commerce store whilst aftercare allows you access to advanced technical support and guidance from the core Magento team.
For a more detailed chat on how Magento Commerce can provide your business with an advanced eCommerce solution or to request a demo of the platform, get in touch with Klova and speak to one of our solution consultants today.
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