We get asked on a regular basis, what’s better for my ecommerce business, Shopify or Magento?

Of course, the answer isn’t a simple one or the other, it entirely depends on your circumstances, however the purpose of this document is to help you be able to make choose between these heavyweight platforms based on your business needs both for now and the future.

Boxing Gloves


A hosted platform which with a monthly fee to use. Simple to design, upload and configure without any design or technical expertise


An open source platform which is free to use but requires coding experience to be able to configure



  • The key benefit of Shopify is that as it is a SaaS platform (Software as a Service). This means it is a hosted platform which is both quick and easy to get started.

  • Shopify supports multi-channel retailing with the ability to integrate online, offline and social shopping

  • There are plenty of optimized templates which with some adjustment, which can be branded to your brand’s look and feel – and they all automatically optimize for different screen sizes

  • There is a large App Store which will allow you to extend the functionality of your site

  • The checkout process adheres to best-practice and is ‘out of the box’ ready to go

  • Choice of delivery partners;
    German consumers put a high emphasis on efficient delivery systems. It is common practice for retailers to display a selection of their partnered carriers on-site and allow consumers to select their favoured one. This is a relative rarity in the UK.


  • As a customer you are limited to Shopify’s development program.
    If you wanted to introduce a specific feature or functionality, if it is not part of the Shopify suite, it can’t be introduced making it almost impossible to customise the solution to your specific needs
  • Some features (apps) are an additional monthly cost which can quickly mount up. Their integration will also become increasingly complicated

  • Adjusting themes so they are ‘just so’ is difficult without some coding experience

  • As a customer you do not own the codebase and therefore can be at risk of Shopify discontinuing or changing features at their own discretion

  • As well as a monthly fee, you are also charged a transaction fee per sale



  • The key benefit of Magento is that it is a modular open source platform. This means that the website can be easily customised to the needs of each business

  • Magento has thousands of extensions and integrations available meaning there is unlikely to be a feature or functionality that hasn’t already been developed thus speeding up the time of delivery

  • The modular aspect of Magento allows the platform to grow with your business

  • Magento is built with the flexibility to easily switch on multiple stores, currencies, languages and inventories as an out of the box solution

  • Like Shopify, there is a wide choice of responsive themes to choose from – or you can create your own unique template


  • You will need a development team to help configure your site

  • As the website will most likely need to be delivered by a development team, the initial cost and time to set up is usually more expensive than a SaaS option – there is however a broad and passionate Magento development community around the world

  • Hosting is not included as part of the development costs and you will still have a monthly hosting fee to pay for once the site has been developed

  • The CMS options for managing rich content on site is less than intuitive- that said Magento is now owned by Adobe and they are actively investing in continually improving the CMS engine


This isn’t a simple question of which is better, more, which is most suited to your needs.

Shopify would probably be a better solution if:

You want to get started as quickly as possible

You are just starting out in ecommerce or are using a website builder such as Wix or Squarespace and want a more powerful site

You like the convenience of an all-in-one monthly payment system

Magento is the better choice if:

You have the ambition to create a big brand with large online revenues
You are considering a development program that flexes based on your business and customer needs
You are prepared to invest time and money into your site


We were explaining the difference between the two platforms to a potential client who didn’t come from a technical background. After a pause for thought, he said…


Car park

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