Magento vs. Shopify Plus: Everything You Need To Know
If you’re in the ecommerce game, chances are you’ve heard of Magento. But you may not be as aware of Shopify Plus, Shopify’s enterprise offering that has been around for just a couple of years now. So here’s a little background on Shopify Plus: Shopify Plus is offers all of the benefits of Shopify, with the scalability and security of their cloud-hosted platform, but also the flexibility and customization that enterprises need in a commerce solution.
Here’s a quick run down on both platforms (at the time this article was written):
- Cloud-hosted, offering security, stability, and scalability
- User friendly, known for being the most well-designed across the board, including the admin panel, making it easy and intuitive to manage
- High level of customization, flexibility, and automation
- Quick start-up
- Dedicated support resources including launch manager and success manager
- Pricing advantage, comparatively low monthly fee and incredibly low card rates if using Shopify Payments
- Self-hosted (unless you opt for their recently launched enterprise cloud service)
- Ultimate customizability, as you build the platform from the ground up
- Steeper learning curve
- Longer start-up time
- More expensive, especially factoring costs of team to build the custom commerce solution, on top of the technology license
So how do they compare? Who is the winner?
Both Shopify Plus and Magento have their strengths. Here’s who we think wins in these categories:
Flexibility & Customization: Magento
As mentioned above, Magento is essentially fully customizable. There are no limits. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, has some limits. We haven’t found these limits to be a deal breaker… in fact, on the contrary, we have seen these limits to be healthy for companies, forcing them to assess their processes, streamline, and be more efficient. But if you truly need FULL customizability, Magento is the clear winner.
Innovation Leader: Shopify Plus
While Magento has been around for a long time and has a lot of experience, in this day and age, they are usually playing catchup. Shopify Plus is the innovation leader, being the first cloud-hosted enterprise commerce solution, constantly rolling out new and interesting features to improve users’ shopping experience.
Community: Shopify Plus
While Magento may have had a strong community of app developers in the past, it has died down considerably. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, has a vibrant community of app developers turning out apps full of useful features and add-ons so that you can get all of the customization and features that you need with a few simple app installs.
Scalability: Shopify Plus
Sure, this is store dependent. Your Magento store could be as scalable and reliable as Shopify Plus’s offering…but that’s on you. You might think Magento would be more scalable and stable because you have “more control,” but this is far from the case. Having your checkout self-hosted is generally less stable, and leaves you susceptible to hacks, server outages, and the wide array of other problems that can happen with software when you’re hosting your own store.
Cost: Shopify Plus
Both in terms of money and time, Shopify Plus is the clear winner here. The service is less expensive and it is much quicker to get up and running. It allows retailers to spend less time on the software and technology, and more time on doing what they do best…being a retail company, focusing their product and marketing.
So which one is right for you?
Magento is right for you if you:
- absolutely need ultimate flexibility (say for an eBay like marketplace or other complex ecommerce store that varies greatly from the norm)
- have deep pockets
- have a software team on hand
- don’t mind the stress of handling stability and security
Shopify Plus is right for you if you:
- are ok making some (not many) sacrifices or changes to your business to fit within Shopify Plus’s limits
- want to spend less
- want to free up more time for selling
- don’t want to deal with the scalability and security stress
We at Metacake are huge fans of Shopify Plus. That’s why we became one of Shopify’s few Shopify Plus experts. But it’s not for everyone.
We love Magento too. It is able to do some great things and is right (and necessary) for some clients.
But if you are a fast growing business, look at Shopify Plus first and see if it will do everything that you need, before taking on the task, responsibility, cost, and time of building a commerce solution from scratch through Magento or a similar platform. We find that Shopify Plus is more economical, more efficient, and meets the needs of 90% of enterprise clients.