Shopify vs Magento: Choosing the Right eCommerce Platform for Your Small Business
Article by John Yee
Graphics Design by Ryan Rivera
Shopify and Magento are two of the most popular and credible eCommerce platforms today. However, if you’re a business owner planning to set up your enterprise online, then chances are you’re still unsure about which platform is the right one to use for your business.
Shopify and Magento in a Nutshell
For many small businesses, Shopify is a promising eCommerce platform. It’s easy to use, has great customer service, and its monthly subscription is an all-inclusive solution. This means you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of your website such as security and search engine optimisation. With Shopify, small business owners will have a seamless experience in managing an eCommerce website even if they don’t have enough technical knowledge to begin with.
Magento, on the other hand, is built on an open source framework that lets you have limitless control in delivering the shopping experience you want for your website. It has a large extensions marketplace that enables more features for your site and is a platform that prides on its extraordinary scalability for complex and long-term operations.
How to Choose the Right eCommerce Platform
In choosing the right eCommerce platform, it’s always best to do your research because no platform is perfect for every situation. A lot of merchants make the common mistake in picking the platform that looks good on paper but in reality, is unable to serve their needs well.
Like anything in life, it’s unwise to buy something from a brand just because it has good marketing. This is especially the case with eCommerce companies and their effective marketing strategies that could lure you into making the wrong choice without the proper research and analysis. Make sure to determine which platform ticks all of your boxes and ask the necessary questions first before making the final decision.
This article will discuss the five key factors you should take note for your online store and how Shopify and Magento will fare for each.
5 Important Factors You Should Consider for Your Online Store
A platform’s scope of scalability is essential in handling traffic, orders, and page visits without any lag. This is important for any eCommerce website for there will be an increase in traffic as your business grows. A scalable platform prevents slow loading times, error messages and frozen pages for your customers to stay on your site.
That said, Magento does a better job in providing users with the opportunity to develop a fully scalable eCommerce store. Its open source framework is designed for scalability right out of the box, which means that you can sell hundred thousands of units in your website and Magento will still work for you. If you’re one of those who wants to make significant improvements in the scale of your company, then you can trust the platform’s unquestionable capacity to grow with your business.
While Shopify is also scalable, its capacity to handle visitors is dependent on the type of plan you will be subscribed into. The bigger the plan, the higher the volume. So if you’re projecting a lot of your traffic in your online store, then it would be best to immediately upgrade from its basic plan.
Any eCommerce merchant should know that customers require a guarantee of security before purchasing an item online. And in gaining your customers’ trust, you should always make sure that your platform will have a safe environment for monetary transactions.
In the eCommerce industry, PCI compliance is the way to maintain security in online payments. With Shopify, you are automatically protected with basic security because it is a Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. They also take care of security-related issues on your site as soon as they learn about them. In fact, they even challenge and reward those who can hack into their platform for them to make it safer.
Yes, Magento provides the ability for your store to be PCI compliant. Though unlike Shopify, Magento will hold you or your hosting company responsible for ensuring that your site is safe and secure for customers. It can be a daunting task but will be well worth the investment in the long term as they allow you to apply stronger security for your online store.
If you’re choosing Magento, make sure that you are taking the necessary measures in handling your site’s security.
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Search Engine Optimisation
The success of your eCommerce website will not only rely on the appeal of your products but also on the features you use for your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It is in your site’s SEO where your business will have the ability to sustain growth in the increasingly competitive marketplace.
That said, both Shopify and Magento offer similar functionalities necessary for your search visibility. Shopify’s Editor and Magento’s Content Management System allow the easy embedding of page URLs, links, meta tags, among other standard SEO procedures.
Perhaps the key differences between the two are Shopify’s various optimisation apps and Magento’s open source system. As mentioned earlier, Magento allows full customisation that will make you utilise their wide range of features and add-ons that are beneficial for SEO.
Do take note that in considering Magento, it’s best to engage an SEO-capable web development agency that can further optimise your website in the search results.
More about best SEO practices for eCommerce here.
Technical problems are inevitable in the world of eCommerce. Software outages and server downtimes prevent your customers to access your website. And if it happens too often, chances are your site will also be flagged as unreliable by search engines.
As said by Search Engine Watch, it’s important to ask the following questions in considering the support system of an eCommerce platform:
- Are they available 24/7?
- How can I reach them?
- How many levels of support can they offer?
With Shopify, you are entitled to their 24/7 support system (email, live chat, phone) right off the bat. They also offer self-help resources and a forum where you can discuss steps in improving your website, among other topics.
Magento doesn’t offer the same kind of support because they are a self-hosted solution. As such, consulting your developer or host will be the most practical approach in dealing with your site’s technical problems. After all, they have knowledge of the specific workings of your online store.
When compared side by side, the distinction between Shopify, a SaaS (software as a service) and Magento, a self-hosted solution already makes them completely different in various key aspects. Though when it comes to real-world applications, you’ll be facing a similar approach in solving technical problems. Whereas in Shopify you simply contact their own support centre, in Magento, you contact your own support staff.
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful,” says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
True enough, generating a positive ripple effect across audiences require investment in a platform and an eCommerce website design that will deliver them the best online shopping experience whether on the desktop or on the go.
And as good user experience (UX) starts with good user interface (UI), it’s highly important for you to choose the platform that can be designed according to what you want. With Magento, there are no limitations to how you want your store to look and feel like. You can make it original and responsive to stand out from the competition. This will help customers to remember you and come back to your store every time.
Whereas Magento boasts full customisability, Shopify, on the other hand, prides on ease of use. The platform enables you to create an online store, manage products, and handle products all within a single dashboard. It’s most useful for merchants who want their site to be up and running in no time.
No matter which platform you choose, it is essential for you to tap a capable web design agency in order to achieve effective user experience for your customers. In doing so, your site will pave the way for an intuitive interface, seamless navigation, and an overall memorable shopping experience that will further let you stand out in the online sphere.
Also read: Benefits of Effective UI and UX Design.
At Verz Design, not only do we have some of the most talented eCommerce designers and developers, we also provide our clients with sustainable eCommerce solutions by offering free training sessions that come with our eCommerce packages.
Curious to know more about the right eCommerce solution for your business? Tap into our expertise by calling us at 6841 1680 or sending us an email at [email protected]!