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Magento vs. Shopify; Which Ecommerce Platform Is Better?

See how we contrast two popular ecommerce solutions, Magento and Shopify. Which is right for your ecommerce platform?

Categories:  Magento
4 min read
The right ecommerce platform can make all the difference between business success and a store that never quite takes off with customers. The market is saturated with ecommerce platforms promising big things. It can be quite a challenge to decide which system will work for you. When you are looking at ecommerce platforms, both Magento and Shopify are likely to come up. Each of these systems is well known and popular with web retailers, though for different reasons. By looking at factors like ease of use and installation, cost, and customizability, you’ll be able to determine if one of these platforms is the best one for your own web store.

Ease of Installation

Magento is an ecommerce platform that requires a bit of technical skill to take advantage of all of its features. Installation of this platform can be done two ways, one of which requires that tech knowledge. You can manually install Magento, giving you complete control over setup, or you can choose a web host with a one click Magento install option. Shopify has built itself on being easy to use, and that starts with installation. The store structure is in place, and you just have to fine tune it to your specifications. This is done through an online wizard that takes you through options to create an initial setup that works for you. This ease of installation gives you less control over the overall platform, which is why we think that Magento has the edge over Shopify at this stage.

Ease of Use

These two ecommerce platforms greatly diverge in ease of use. In deciding which is right for you, you’ll have to decide just how much control you want over your web store. Magento is a system that requires skill, as previously mentioned. Without experience in development, coding, and design, you may find yourself struggling to use this system to its full potential. Another option is, of course, to hire out these aspects of running your web store. In this regard, Magento may be better for larger companies, or those with the skill and/or time to dedicate to taking advantage of its incredibly powerful features. Shopify is easy to use from the start, because all of the stores running on it are very similar. You won’t get a lot of originality with this system, but if you’d rather have something basic than something very customizable, Shopify could be an option.

Search Engine Friendliness

You cannot go wrong with Magento if you want your platform to be search engine friendly. This ecommerce platform has SEO features that cannot be found in any other system. From basic SEO keywords to in depth analytics, Magento has all you need to take full control of your search engine optimization strategy. Shopify has built in SEO features that are automated, although you can adjust things like target keywords and URLs. This is fairly simple SEO and easy to use for those who want the basics, but does not go into as much depth as Magento.

Integration Ecosystem

Magento integrates with countless systems and platforms, from social media to payment options. If you need integration, you’ll find it with this ecommerce platform. Shopify is built to integrate well with social media, and some major options like MailChimp and Google. Much of the integration, however, has to be purchased through the Shopify app store.

Cost to Maintain

Magento and Shopify diverge in a big way when it comes to payment. Magento is free to download, as an open source ecommerce platform. The cost will come in through hosting fees, or the much larger cost to run an enterprise version of the system, if you have the need for it. Shopify costs money to run initially. With various plans for different levels of service, you will need to pay for certain modules from the app store if you require them for functionality.


Magento is, hands down, one of the most customizable ecommerce platforms out there, so if customizability is what you want, you’ll find it with this system. You can make Magento look, act, and feel however you’d like, integrating it seamlessly with branding and design decisions you have made for your company’s physical spaces and materials as well as for its web presence. Shopify stores are all structured the same. There is some customizability to be had in theming and modules. While you can make some custom choices, it will still be based on the Shopify structure, however, so it will not feel as unique as a store built on Magento. As businesses grow, more and more see the value of customization to increase brand recognition, develop trust, and improve conversions. Magento will fulfill all your needs, today and tomorrow. It has the power to help your business thrive.
Magento Shopify
Easy of Installation One-click features are available depending on host. Developers are recommended to use the platform to the fullest. 4/5 Very simple to set up through the Shopify site, which takes you through a setup guide. 5/5
Ease of Use Setting up should be taken care of by professionals. Using the system afterwards is straightforward. 4/5 Easy to use because it has fewer options and features — simple, but basic. 4/5
Search Engine Friendly Extremely SEO-friendly! 5/5 SEO friendly, if a bit basic. 4/5
Integration Ecosystem Simple and straightforward integration with most major players. 4/5 Integrates with social media well, but other integrations will cost money through the app store. 3/5
Cost to Maintain Initially free, plus the cost of hosting. Many features are built in. Businesses can pay for extensions and developers to install them as the business grows. 4/5 Plans at different price points, plus the cost of add-on modules. 3/5
Customizability Highly customizable, especially for those with the skills, or with the budget to pay someone for customization. 5/5 Customizable to a degree, but all built on the same basic structure. 3/5
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted Self-hosted — more work, but more freedom. Hosted through Shopify; less work but less freedom.
Target Market Large businesses with high-volume stores and agencies managing multiple stores. Easy to target customers through social media; various payment gateways can be an attractive prospect for online shoppers.
Looking for an experienced web design agency that can develop an ecommerce website that is search engine friendly and easy to manage for your business? Contact our award-winning ecommerce website developers and ecommerce marketing professionals in Raleigh, NC at 919-341-8901 or schedule a complimentary consultation and website review.

About The Author:
Richard Horvath

Richard Horvath is the founder of TheeDigital, a Raleigh based award-winning web design and digital marketing agency. He is proud of his team and the results that they provide to their clients.

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