Magento VS Shopify: Which to Choose in 2024?

When you decide to jump on the eCommerce bandwagon, one of the most important decisions to make is to choose what platform to manage your store on. Why? Since the platform you choose directly defines the management costs, the number of integrations you'll need, and the complexity of scaling up. The choice won't come easy with the number of options available. But Shopify or Magento will pop up the most often. 

Shopify is a more beginner-friendly, hosted platform with a set pricing and easy drag-and-drop interface. At the same time, Magento provides more flexibility and customization options along with plenty of free integrations.

So, if you've been struggling to choose between Shopify or Magento, you're in the right place. We'll dive deeper into all vital eCommerce store features of both platforms to make the Magento vs Shopify choice easier for you.

Ready to start?

What is Magento?

Magento is a self-hosted open-source platform that was first launched in 2008 and became one of the most popular eCommerce platforms out there with over 250,000 stores operating on it. 

The variety of options and native integrations it offers is beyond the basics. It includes multiple payment gateways, shipping methods and shopping cart settings. You can also benefit from plenty of SEO features, marketing and catalogue management tools. But that's not it.  

You can deploy multiple websites, stores and store views in different languages within one backend. This and the unlimited customization opportunities make Magento the best choice for large and enterprise-level companies who want to implement complex functionalities to their websites.

Hosting: you need to host your own website with Magento, which makes it more complex to set up.

Business size: large, enterprise-level. 

Magento pros

The number of stores and world-famous brands using Magento speak for itself. Magento offers a variety of benefits for each eCommerce store. Here are the key advantages Magento is chosen over other platforms:

  • Open-source nature (highly customizable)
  • Impressible content management system
  • Large user community
  • Optimized for selling globally
  • Free plan option

Magento cons

Nonetheless, some drawbacks discourage merchants from choosing Magento:

  • Requires hosting
  • Not beginner-friendly (requires a developer)
  • Requires technical knowledge

What is Shopify?

Shopify, on the other hand, is a powerful cloud-based, hosted eCommerce platform that allows merchants to manage their stores anywhere on the web. Besides it offers an easy-to-use website builder and user-friendly interface allowing you to start, grow and manage your business without a hassle.

Shopify is a great tool to build your store and sell in different places: brick-and-mortar stores, web and in-person across multiple channels.

The variety of templates, native apps and marketing tools makes it a great option too. However, its user-friendly functionality and limited customization make it better-suited for small businesses who want a simple start.

Hosting: you don't have to worry about hosting your Shopify website since it is a hosted platform.

Business size: small, medium-size. 

Shopify pros

Similar to Magento, Shopify has a huge number of fans, because of the benefits it offers:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface
  • Range of built-in payment processors
  • No coding is required for basic stores
  • Multichannel selling - Amazon, Instagram, Facebook, eBay

Shopify cons

However, Shopify also has some drawbacks that need to be mentioned:

  • Shopify transaction fees
  • Subscription model for using apps
  • Limited inventory management options
  • Limited customisation options
  • Limited options for selling globally

Shopify vs Magento: Key Features

Both Shopify and Magento offer you plenty of useful features to manage and scale your business. However, it's still hard to tell which wins the Magento vs Shopify battle unless we dive deeper into the features. 

Ease of use

This might have already been made clear. However, let's sum it up. 

Shopify offers a clean, easy-to-use page builder and intuitive interface. So you can easily navigate the backend and access products, marketing tools and orders. Besides you can replace and drag and drop blocks to customize the page as you want. This helps to set up your basic store pretty fast.

Magento, on the other hand, has a steep learning curve which makes it hard to set up without certain technical skills. It being a self-hosted platform also doesn't make things simpler. However, the interface is pretty neat. You can easily navigate the backend and manage the tools you need.

Note: although Shopify is less complex than Magento, the built-in options are quite limited out of the box, unlike default Magento features. 

Pricing

Shopify and Magento are two completely different eCommerce platforms. So they offer different pricing models. However, the main difference is hosting. 

Shopify is a subscription-based, hosted platform that covers all the hosting matters for you. All hosting costs are included in your pricing plan with no extra fees. This is a significant leverage since you don't have to worry about security and purchasing a domain. 

As for the pricing plans, you can choose one depending on your business needs. The Basic is $39 per month, Standard — is $105/month, Advanced — is $399/month, and Plus starting at — $2000/month. 

Besides, there are card processing fees if you use Shopify payments and 2,6%-2,9% + 30 cents per transaction on payments processed through external payment gateways.  Finally, you also need to cover the price of themes and apps. 

shopify pricing

Shopify pricing plans

Although Magento also provides set pricing plans, the cost still depends on your requirements. There is a free Open Source Magento you can download and use. But note that you need to cover the web hosting, security and domain separately.

Then there are also Commerce and Commerce on Cloud options with dedicated technical support, full feature access and software maintenance. Commerce ranges from $43 000 - $189 000 while the Cloud plan is $60 000 - $247 000.  

Thus, Shopify seems more accessible for businesses at the early stage but becomes costlier with higher volumes. Magento, correspondingly has a high startup cost but low increment fees as your business scales up.

Design, themes and templates

If you want to know which is better in terms of design Shopify vs Magento, it's hard to tell, to be honest. It depends on what your requirements are. 

Shopify offers 10 free and 64 premium themes ranging from $180 to $360. Each comes with a set of options that help to change the look and feel of your store without much HTML or CSS knowledge. 

However, if you want unlimited flexibility and customization opportunities check out Magento. It also has 9 free and multiple ready-made themes for about $100. Besides, there are easy-to-use drag-and-drop page builders and plenty of options that allow you to personalized content display for different customer groups.

So, choose Shopify if you want to create a beautiful storefront without much effort, and Magento — to go beyond the standard features and extend the functionality with customization.

Apps and extensions

Whether it's Shopify or Magento, you need to integrate third-party solutions to extend the built-in features. Both platforms offer you a wide range of apps and extensions in the marketplaces —Shopify App Store and Magento Marketplace. 

shopify app store

Shopify app store

You can find tools for email marketing, sales, discounts, promotions and integration with different platforms. The only difference is, that to install the Magento extension, you need to have some technical background. Whereas in Shopify, you can easily add a new app to your store by clicking a few buttons

magento marketplace

Magento marketplace

As for the pricing, either Shopify or Magento have a lot of free and paid solutions for any budget. No problem with that.

However, when it comes to integrations, Shopify is rather limited to the number of integrations it already has. Magento, on the other hand, allows you to create any custom integration for your store workflow.

Sales

The main goal of creating an e-Commerce store is to sell products. So sales tools are one of the main reasons you can choose Magento vs Shopify or vice versa. Both platforms offer stunning features for this, but let's look at them in more detail.

Shopify benefits those looking for a multi-channel selling feature since it allows you to sell on Amazon, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest out of the box. Some other important sales features of Shopify include: 

  • Abandoned cart recovery emails 
  • Partnership with DHL Express, UPS, USPS and Canada Post
  • Easy localization for global selling
  • Shopify payments

Besides, it's important to note that you can get a POS kit with a receipt printer, barcode scanner and card reader from Shopify. 

Magento is not falling behind in this challenge. It also offers you stunning sales features, starting from the ability to manage multiple websites and inventory sources from one admin panel. Moreover, you get an automated order processing workflow and integration with 100+ payment gateways.

The other important features we'd like to highlight are: 

  • Advanced product catalogue structure and management through product attributes and categories
  • Advanced pre-built order, customer, product and sales reports
  • Flexible coupons and related product options
  • Instant checkout 
  • Abandoned cart recovery

Taking into regard the open-source nature of the platform, each of these features could be customised and improved.

Marketing

To extend your reach and market your products better you need some marketing tools. So that's the other important feature to look for in an eCommerce platform. 

Shopify covers a lot of marketing needs through built-in third-party integrations like Labiyo, Seguno Contant Contact and others. Besides, a huge bonus is you can also advertise on different platforms like Facebook and Instagram with the available tools. 

shopify email templates

Ready-made Shopify email templates

In the opposite corner, Magento provides the ability to manage and customize transactional email templates and newsletter subscribers. You can also segment your customers and provide personalized content and discounts for each. 

customizing email templates in magento 2

Customizing email templates in Magento 2

In both cases, Shopify and Magento rely on apps and extensions. So if you want to go beyond the default features you can find a tool to rely on.

SEO

Selling great products on a well-designed website you need people to discover these products. That's when you need SEO to drive organic traffic and get more eyes on you in search results. 

With no doubt, Magento is an absolute winner when it comes to eCommerce SEO. It comes with plenty of built-in features that help you manage your store SEO. The most important include: 

  • Products and categories canonical tags
  • XML Sitemap
  • URL rewrites
  • Meta tags for all store pages
  • Product rich snippets  and more

magento 2 search engine optimization section

Magento SEO section for metadata and URL on product, category, blog and CMS pages

Shopify, unfortunately, doesn't excel in SEO that much. There are some options to edit page titles and image alt tags. However, most SEO needs are still covered by SEO apps. 

Payment processing

The variety of payment methods you provide on checkout influences customers' purchasing decisions. Both platforms offer you a lot of payment integrations. However, when choosing Magento vs. Shopify, which is still better? 

Unlike Magento, Shopify provides a native payment gateway — Shopify Payments. It allows you to accept online payment without a third-party integration.

The only imposed fee in this case is the one from the credit card processor. However, if you want to use third-party payment gateways like Paypal, Amazon Pay, Braintree or Apply Pay, you need to pay fees imposed by Shopify:

  • Shopify Basic — 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction
  • Shopify — 2.6% + 30 cents per transaction
  • Shopify Advanced — 2.4% + 30 cents per transaction

shopify payment methods

Shopify payment methods configuration

Although Magento provides some default payment processors (check/money order, bank transfer, zero subtotal, purchase order), it also offers over 150 payment gateways. The fees then depend on the payment processor, Magento imposes none.

magento payment methods

The variety of payment method integrations in Magento 2

You can configure each payment gateway directly in the admin panel without installing any extensions. So Magento won this round.

Shipping

Once all order placement steps are fulfilled customers choose a shipping method. Both Shopify and Magento allow you to integrate popular shipping carriers like USPS, FedEx, DHL and UPS and manage your shipping processes seamlessly. 

Magento shipping methods

Magento shipping methods

However, Magento goes a little further. It provides some default shipping methods like flat rates, free shipping and table rates which you can configure for all or specific countries.

Reporting and analytics

To make informed decisions about your business and tweak your marketing and sales strategies you need to track a lot of data. 

Shopify comes with analytics pages with financial and product analytics available in all plans. However, sales, customs and order reports are available only in the premium plans. Besides, you can integrate Google Analytics 4 and get some insights there too. 

As for Magento, there is no limit to the data reports you get in the free plan. You get insights about abandoned carts, search terms, customers, products, orders, reviews, and more, all tailored to your business needs. At the same time, paid plans provide advanced reporting, dynamic reports and data visualization.

magento reports

Free Magento reports

Nonetheless, basic reports are more than enough. And you can easily integrate GTM and GA4 to track other important data without upgrading to a paid Magento.

Security

Еach merchant wants to ensure a secure environment for their customers. Regardless of what you choose, Shopify vs Magento, stay assured both provide strong security. 

Shopify, being a hosted platform consolidates control in the cloud infrastructure. It offers features like SSL, PCI compliance, fraud analysis and two-factor authentication.

Whereas, Magento offers all the same features along with powerful native integrations and scanning capabilities. However, it also gives developers more control over the security implementations. 

Help and support

No matter how advanced Magento vs Shopify are, when issues arise, you need to be sure you won't be left alone with them. The faster you can fix the issues and inconsistencies the sooner you get back to managing your store. 

When it comes to 24/7 customer support, Shopify gets the winning score. The dedicated team of experts are always ready to help through email and chat. Besides the Shopify Help Center has everything you might need to set up a store and configure it properly. 

Unfortunately, there is no 24/7 support for Magento Open Source. Nonetheless, you can still open support tickets, monitor their status and contact support via email.

Besides, the community-based nature of the platform offers you solutions to pretty much any issue through forums and community knowledge bases. 

In any case, you can always reach out to Shopify or Magento developers and get a custom fix.

Customization

The last but not least difference between Shopify and Magento is the customization opportunities. You might have already guessed which one has more to offer. 

Shopify does provide a lot of themes and templates to change the design of your store. However, the menu-driven method of changing basic store fonts and colours still requires someone with a solid HTML and CSS foundation.

Other than that customization is controlled within the Shopify's ecosystem since you don't have access to the core code to make changes. 

None of this applies to Magento though. The platform is open source as we've mentioned before. Again, it means endless customization and extensibility opportunities. You can customize anything in your store backend or frontend.

Besides, thousands of Magento 2 extensions almost double the amount of apps in the Shopify App Store. Each can add new features to your store or extend default Magento functionality. Customization opportunities are limitless with Magento.

Magento and Shopify Important Stats

At this point, you've probably marked some important things for you in both Magento and Shopify. However, if you still have some doubts, here are some important Magento vs Shopify stats to check.

Magento statistics

  • Magento handles transactions worth $155 billion every year.
  • People download Magento about 5,000 times a day.
  • Magento is used by over 239 000 live websites with the majority in the US.
  • Over 13,000 companies and agencies provide extensions and services for Magento websites.

Shopify statistics

  1. Shopify is used by 4.36 million websites, 62% of which are in the US.
  2. Shopify processes transactions worth $79.5 billion every year. 
  3. Sellers in over 175 countries use Shopify.
  4. Shopify merchants have over 700 million customers in 2023.

Some numbers speak volumes, don't they? Since each platform has its perks, you can find a variety of stores choosing Shopify because of the smooth start. However, Magento is still preferred by large companies.

Magento vs Shopify Summary

Now that we've discussed the similarities and differences of both Magento and Shopify you should know which suits your needs more. But let's recap it quickly one more time. 

You should go with Shopify if you're looking for a quick start and don't want to worry about any extra set-up expenses. You'll have an accessible support team at hand and the opportunity to create a unified experience across multiple channels.

Also if you want to integrate your online and offline stores, Shopify will help with that without any unnecessary integrations. 

However, if you have time and money you'd like to invest into something creative, choose Magento. You'll have total freedom to build a store you want changing every little detail till it satisfies your requirements.

It is also best if you already have a global audience, large catalogues and extensive customer databases. It handles more complex and high-volume eCommerce operations.

If your choice falls on Magento, the next step is to check our guide on how to start an eCommerce website on Magento