Choosing an eCommerce platform sucks. There’s so much information to absorb and you don’t even know what questions to ask to find the right info. People who are trying to sell you something tell you the features you need exist only to find out later that it’s made out of popsicle sticks and duct tape and won’t work for you. Combine that with the risks of making the wrong decision and, sigh, who needs that pressure?
I’m trying to make your life a bit easier so in this video and I’m going to give you 5 reasons to choose Shopify vs Magento.
I talk to a lot of merchants that have no idea the differences in the eCommerce platforms must less which one is best for them. This video series is designed for them and is not a feature comparison. We’ll give you 5 high level things that, if they apply to your business can make your decision easier. With that in mind, all of these really apply to Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento Open Source, or Magento Commerce. If anything doesn’t, I’ll be sure to mention it.
This particular article outlines 5 reasons Shopify might be better for you than Magento but this is just one in a series of platform comparisons. I’ve already given you 5 reasons to choose Magento and I’ll link you to that at the end of this article.
No one is unbiased. I have my favorite platforms. We are Magento partners but don’t do so much with Shopify. However, I’m not going to steer you wrong, either.
These are really in no particular order. Let’s get into.
- Less reliance on developer/provider:
Being a developer that owns an agency that makes money on development, this one is painful. I’m not recommending that you don’t have developers involved in your project and every decision made that affects functionality on your eCommerce site. Quite the contrary, and that’s not to get you to spend money with folks like me. You really need technical leadership that understands and can advise on the consequences of the decisions you are making and help diagnose issues that arise.However, if you don’t have technical resources or the budget to keep them regularly engaged in your project, then this is a big factor in your platform decision. I wanted to make this point by itself because so many of the merchants I talk to, especially small merchants fall into this category.The next couple of Shopify benefits are why you have less reliance on developers.
- Simplicity of adding new functionality:
Shopify has limitations around how you can customize and interact with the platform. That can be a negative depending on your needs and we discussed that a bit more in the video where we list the reasons you should choose Magento. However, those limitations have a lot of benefits.Because you can’t really add backend code to Shopify, all of the integrations and new functionality are forced to use the available APIs. This forced architecture for integrations allows non-technical users to install them simply. In many cases, a couple of buttons and a few form fields and your functionality is setup and ready to go.On Magento, you’d have to bring in your developer, have him install and test it locally, then commit it to version control and push it to a staging site for more testing. Then, it can be put into a production release and pushed to your live site and configured.I know the Magento fans out there will argue that you don’t “have to” do it this way, but it’s recommended best practices so I’ll stand by the statement.The next reason you have less reliance on developers is our number 3 reason to choose Shopify over Magento and that is:
- Less technical debt:
For those that may not be aware of the term, technical debt is basically the consequences of the technical decisions you have made with your project. How complex is it to continue to build new functionality upon? How much ongoing grooming and costs are associated with it? Basically, how expensive is this thing going to be to own?Technical debt has a profound impact on the ongoing costs associated with your site. For instance, with all versions of Magento being built on an open source codebase, you’ll have patches and updates that come out regularly that are extremely important for you to apply to keep your site secure.Every time you want to add new functionality or update the site, there is a stronger possibility that the change will conflict with your existing customization and require more extensive work.Because of the limitations they’ve placed around the platform you really don’t have anywhere near the technical debt with Shopify. That lessens the ongoing financial consequences of your poor decisions.
- Simplicity of Management for users:
Simplicity. That’s a term you have heard me use several times already in this video. It’s really what Shopify was design to be. Magento was created to have all this power and flexibility but Shopify was created for simplicity: to make it easy for merchants to get to selling without having to have access to or know anything about the underlying technology.This difference is evident in the admin console. Magento can be quite intimidating for the uninitiated. Complexity is a key ingredient for flexibility.With Shopify, it’s easier to get up and productive with less training. If you are dependent upon inexperienced labor, whether it’s seasonal help or just youthful employees, you are more likely to have turnover and to constantly need to train those employees. In that case, less training again lowers your costs and leads new employees to being productive sooner and that could be a big boost to your business.
We aren’t even talking about the price of the software. Depending on the size of your business and what version of each platform you are considering (Shopify, Shopify Plus, Magento Open Source, or Magento Commerce) the direct software costs can surprisingly be quite similar, especially if that calculation includes payment processor fees. However, the additional dependency on development and ongoing maintenance is going to make Magento have a higher total cost of ownership in most cases.Budget is a concern for everyone, no matter the size of your business. A lot of small merchants, however, fail to understand that the costs of building a site is just the beginning and it’s a living and breathing thing that needs constant feeding and grooming. Those ongoing costs are going to be a more important factor in deciding between ecommerce platforms for those merchants
Hopefully this makes your ecommerce platform decision just a little bit easier. If you want to see the counter argument and see reasons to choose Magento, then try this article: 5 reasons to choose Magento vs Shopify. If neither of these seems quite right, have a look at BigCommerce. We’ve compared BigCommerce vs Magento to help you see the advantages of each platform.