From The Blog

Shopify or Magento? A Website Owner’s Guide to Understanding Which Will Work Best for You11 min read

Jan 19, 2017

We build e-commerce websites using both Shopify and Magento platforms. Here’s a helpful comparison so you can decide which platform best fits the needs of your business.

Design

Both platforms are fairly even on the options for design. The Magento Theme Marketplace has around 120 designs, while Shopify has 116 premium options and 21 free options. Magento offers more customization, but the interface is more complicated to use than that of Shopify. This is mostly an issue if you’re attempting to build your e-commerce website on your own, but with the experienced team at Mockingbird handling the platform, complexity isn’t a problem.

Growth

Shopify is meant for small- to medium-sized businesses and offers a clean, sleek, uncomplicated way to move your sales online using premade templates. Depending on your business, staying with the basics may be an advantage. For larger businesses and those that are rapidly growing, Magento offers more customization so you can go beyond the basics.

Frontend Features

Both platforms offer a responsive site with a sleek checkout, customer dashboard, gift cards, and coupon codes. With Shopify, you can integrate with Facebook and Pinterest and everything will connect to a single, simple point of sale. Magento’s built-in features include upsells and cross sells, related products, wishlists, quantity discounts, a saved shopping cart and an order status module. The customization available with Magento also allows you to include zoomable images, re-orders and product reviews. Shopify does not automatically include all of these features, but an app can often make up for the gap.

SEO Customization

While Shopify gives basic, surface-level control over SEO customization, Magento gives more control over a site’s SEO strategy.

Both feature editable meta descriptions, URLs, and title tags. Shopify includes robots.txt and sitemap.xml files and Canonical URL tags, while Magento includes a Google sitemap and a Google Content API to further customize your SEO strategy.

Inventory Management

Shopify is meant for small- to medium-sized businesses and has a very easy-to-use interface for adding inventory. It can also accommodate discounts and flash sales, as does Magento. Magento is more customizable here as in other categories. You can customize the color, sizing, and other aspects of your inventory directly in the CSV file, so it’s easier to update.

Multi-Channel Streamlining

It’s important to start with an e-commerce platform that has one inventory database that seamlessly allows you to sell products online, in stores, and across major platforms.

Shopify strives to make it as easy as possible to sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Houze, Wanelo, and Pinterest, through features like the Shopify Facebook App. However, channels outside the mainstream are not incorporated, and Shopify limits your ability to sell on Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon. Magento is more customizable, allowing you to integrate any channel you choose, as well as several POS providers.

Individual Product Shipping Rate Function

Imagine you have one product that you sell for $25 that is bulky to ship and another product that you sell for the same price, $25, but this second product is less bulky. If the bulky product costs $10 to ship, you might assume you’d be able to ship the less bulky product at a lower shipping rate, but Shopify doesn’t currently have this functionality.

Why does this matter? For businesses that are planning to ship a variety of products, it’s advantageous to have the individual product shipping rate function. For businesses whose products will all be roughly the same in size and weight, this is less important.

Apps and Extensions

Magento has more options for apps and extensions because it is the “Android” type, while Shopify is more restricted but taps into the most widely used platforms like Facebook and Pinterest more easily. The two are generally similar in this regard, but Magento offers more options for customization.

Overall, Shopify is a simpler solution to e-commerce development, while Magento is more complicated but also more customizable. That level of customization may not be necessary for every business, and Shopify serves small businesses particularly well. That said, customization can give an e-commerce website the advantage of standing out from the crowd. The individual needs of your business will determine which platform is going to be most beneficial.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about learning how to manage the platform if you team up with Mockingbird Creative. You can enjoy the benefits of a website designed exactly how you want without the drawbacks of having to figure out how to implement the design on your own. If you’re ready to launch your e-commerce project with the help of our experts, call 479.802.4954 or email hello@mockingbirdcreative.com.