Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which is the Best of eCommerce Platform?
It’s time for the ultimate showdown.
While there’s no shortage of options for retailers to choose, three are significantly more popular eCommerce platform than others:
Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce.
But how do they compare and which is the best eCommerce platform for your store? To find out, we analysed each one against the criteria we think are most important for eCommerce entrepreneurs.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Ease of Use
Magento is a powerful eCommerce platform, but it comes with a steep learning curve and is very hard to use on your own. You’ll probably have to turn to a Magento eCommerce agency for help unless you have an in-house development team. That being said, once your store is set up, the platform is easy enough for anyone to use.
It’s straightforward to get started with Shopify, mainly if you don’t sell a lot of products. Hosting, software, design, they’re all included in the package. All you need to do is sign up for an account, pick a theme and add your products. Shopify also takes care of ongoing updates, so you don’t have to worry about that, either.
If you already have experience running a WordPress site, you’ll find WooCommerce pretty easy to use. It’s fully functional out of the box eCommerce platform, and there’s even a setup wizard to help you get started.
There’s a good reason the biggest brands in the world trust Magento; it’s incredibly powerful. If you want a robust eCommerce platform that can scale with your store, Magento is a safe bet. It’s also a very secure platform. Security patches are released regularly, and there’s a wealth of security extensions.
Although it’s an all-in-one solution, Shopify is no slouch when it comes to performance. It’s fast, and it can handle a fair amount of traffic. But there’s a limit to its performance. Eventually, you’ll need to upgrade to Shopify Plus, and that comes with a hefty price hike. The good news is you don’t have to worry about security with Shopify. Updates, SSL certificates and PCI compliance, are all handled on your behalf.
WooCommerce can be hit and miss when it comes to performance. Small sites shouldn’t have a problem with the eCommerce platform. Bigger sites that stock lots of products and use lots of plugins, however, may find their site becoming slow and unresponsive.
Security, however, is very good. Like Magento, WooCommerce continuously releases security patches. If you don’t have your site set up to update automatically, you’ll have to remember to do it yourself, however.
Magento probably offers more flexibility than any other eCommerce platform on the market. That’s because it’s an open-source platform, so you aren’t boxed in by pre-designed themes or apps. If you have the right technical chops (or a talented Magento agency), then you can do pretty much anything you like with the platform.
Different products, every payment method, foreign currencies and tax rates, whatever you need your store to do, Magento can deliver. That also means it can scale with your business. If you want to expand internationally, Magento makes it easy.
Shopify is theme-based, but you can still customise your site a fair amount. For one, there are dozens of themes to choose from, and all of them can be customised using Shopify’s interface without you needing to touch the code.
Shopify also boasts a large app store, that can help you add all manner of features to your site, like live chat, currency conversions and coupons.
There’s no shortage of WordPress plugins and themes you can use to customise the look and functionality of your store. Many themes and plugins are even built specifically for the eCommerce platform. A word of warning, though. These plugins aren’t guaranteed to work with your site, and you may find they don’t work exactly the way you want.
Winner: Magento (assuming you have a team)
Magento offers a vast range of SEO options, along with built-in analytics. It’s pretty strong out of the box, too, allowing you to create SEO-friendly URLs and meta tags, optimise and resize images, and automatically generate site maps.
While Shopify isn’t poorly optimised for Google, you will need to install apps to customise a lot of features as the functionality isn’t built-in. One of the other issues with Shopify is that there’s so much you don’t control. You can’t change your hosting, edit the Robots.txt file or tweak your sitemap.
WooCommerce lies somewhere between Magento and Shopify. Several WordPress plugins will let you optimise every part of your site. The only issue with WooCommerce is the bloat that comes with the WordPress platform, which can slow down your site.
Magneto doesn’t offer customer support. But there is an enormous community of developers, store owners and amateurs ready to help. Given that opting for Magento will typically mean partnering with an eCommerce agency, you can also ask them for help.
As you’d expect from a subscription service, Shopify offers 24/7 customer support via phone, email and live chat. They should be able to solve any issue you have.
WooCommerce doesn’t have a customer support function, either but it boasts an even larger support community than Magento. The creators of the themes and plugins you use can also offer support.
Because it’s open-source, the Magento platform is entirely free to install. You’ll need to pay for your own hosting, though, and you’ll probably need to hire a developer.
Shopify stores are based on a monthly pay-as-you-go plan, with the option to create a completely free development store. The basic plan costs $29 per month, and the standard plan costs $79.
Like the WordPress platform it runs, on WooCommerce is free to install and use. You’ll already be paying for your own hosting if you have a WordPress site and you’ll probably need to pay for a couple of premium plugins to build a functioning store.
What’s the Best eCommerce Platform For You?
Different eCommerce platforms suit different types of businesses. If you’re a small startup, don’t have the technical knowledge or can’t afford to hire an agency, Shopify isn’t a bad choice.
If you already have an existing WordPress website and don’t want to transfer your entire site or start again from scratch, WooCommerce makes sense. But if you have a successful eCommerce or retail business, are serious about scaling and can afford to hire a high-quality agency, then Magento is your best bet.
Ed Currington is a freelance copywriter and content marketer for B2B tech, eCommerce and marketing companies. He specialises in long-form content.