Choosing Between Magento and Shopify to Power Your Ecommerce Website

Eric Pong
shopify vs magento2 - Floship

Starting up an online businesses is vastly easier than it was just a few years ago:

Where once the technical complexities meant that plenty of expertise and funding was required, now there are many software packages available that make setting up an ecommerce website, if not a simple matter, then at least within realistic reach.

Two of the most popular brands of such software are Magento and Shopify.

Floship Supports Magento & Shopify

Floship makes fulfillment easy for online sellers, with easy to install connectors for your Shopify or Magento store:
More about Floship’s Ecommerce Fulfillment

While both are powerful and can achieve many of the same results, there are several notable differences between them which make them suitable for different uses. Here are some of the main points of contrast between the two.

Software License

Shopify is a closed, proprietary system, while Magento is open source.
What does this mean?
In effect, if you use Shopify you are limited to the features the company provides for you, but with Magento, there is a large international community of independent developers working on useful extensions and modifications.
This means that Magento is capable of a far wider range of functions than Shopify.

Complexity or Ease of Use

The flip-side of this is that getting to grips with Magento can be a more complicated process.
With Shopify, your installation will have standard specifications which the company’s support services will understand and will be able to troubleshoot for you.
With Magento, each customer’s set-up is potentially very different, and so ironing out problems can be harder. As in many areas, flexibility and power comes at the expense of a little simplicity.

Paid & Free

Shopify costs start around $29 a month for a standard license, see below:

shopify pricing
Shopify Monthly Fees (November 2016)

Magento, being open source, is free of charge.

Find out how to Automate your Magento Order Fulfillment process with the Magento + Floship Integration here!

However, as mentioned above, the increased complexity of Magento can mean expert help will often be required along the way, and this will cost:

cost of magento integrations
Though essentially free, there are features and more you can buy on the Magento Marketplace to customize your store.

Growth and Scalability

Shopify is limited to one storefront per license, whereas a single Magento installation can deal with many different sites all controlled from a single control panel.
Also, the catalog functions on Shopify are a little limited, with products being sorted by a tagging system.
In contrast, Magento allows setting up of unlimited categories and subcategories to order products logically. Both of these features mean that Magento scales much more effectively, and will keep pace with your business as it grows.

Hosting Considerations

All Shopify stores are hosted on the software company’s own servers, while Magento stores can be placed on any suitable host.

Both of these options have advantages and disadvantages:

With Shopify’s in-house hosting, installation and configuration is taken care of, and support is easily available. The downside is that you are completely reliant on Shopify for keeping your store up and running.
Magento allows you to choose your own hosting service, so you have greater control over its quality, reliability, and price level. Nonetheless, it’s important to choose a host that specifically offers Magento hosting to ensure that there are as few technical issues as possible.

So which solution to choose?

For an entry-level e-commerce business with a small to medium range of sales volume, Shopify offers an excellent way to get online and get selling with the minimum of fuss.
For larger operations with more extensive catalogs, multiple stores, and complicated customization requirements, Magento is probably the better and more future-proof choice for a growing business.

Find out how to Automate your Shopify Order Fulfillment process with the Shopify + Floship Integration here!

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