Are you looking for an e-commerce platform and wondering whether Shopify or Magento (Adobe Commerce) is a better fit for your business?
The answer depends on a variety of factors, including your business needs, budget, technical expertise, and others.
In this article, we’ll compare Shopify and Magento (Adobe Commerce) based on their user-friendliness, pricing, customization options, e-commerce functionalities, and much more.
To avoid any confusion, we will be referring to Magento’s open-source version instead of Adobe Commerce, which is a high-end enterprise solution comparable to Shopify Plus.
Making an informed decision about using Shopify or Magento (Adobe Commerce) is essential for supporting the growth of your e-commerce journey. So let’s dive into the details.
Shopify: Pros and Cons Summed Up
Shopify is the preferred e-commerce platform for almost 5,000,000 stores worldwide, as of early 2024. It’s a one-stop e-commerce powerhouse that equips merchants with all the tools they need to sell their tools online quickly and easily at scale.
Shopify’s biggest asset for beginner merchants is its stability and scalability. Instead of getting bogged down by technicalities and store maintenance, you get to focus on promoting and selling your products on every channel online and offline.
The reason why Shopify is much more stable than open-source platforms is that there is centralized quality control. Every piece of software in Shopify’s ecosystem is vetted to ensure it works as intended. Moreover, parts of its code are off-limits, which makes it almost impossible for you to break your store by accident.
Another great thing about Shopify is its ease of use. In fact, you don’t need to have any coding experience or technical knowledge to get your store started. Moreover, Shopify’s 24/7 customer support is one of the cornerstones of its success.
Shopify’s user-friendly admin panel is intuitive and has almost everything you need a few clicks away. You can get your store up and running in as little as a few hours.
Naturally, if you want to use Shopify to its fullest extent, it’s best to work with professional Shopify designers and developers. They can help your store look better and convert more visitors to customers.
When it comes to pricing, Shopify is transparent and easy to grasp from the get-go. It offers multiple tiers that come with powerful e-commerce features.
Each successive plan allows merchants to further enhance and customize the shopping experience of their customers, and sell, fulfill, and ship bigger volumes internationally with ease.
Even if you aren’t sure about Shopify, getting started and experimenting with it is virtually risk-free thanks to their 3-day free trial, followed by their 3 months for $1 one-time offer.
The drawback of Shopify is that it is somewhat limiting for high-end retailers seeking extremely custom functionalities to differentiate their stores. With the help of professional Shopify developers, you can leverage Shopify’s extensive API and get the most out of the platform.
Moreover, Shopify’s monthly costs may be higher than Mangeto’s if we factor in the apps you’ll need to run your store efficiently. However, many of these apps are also used on Magento. While Magento’s open-source version is technically free, you still have to factor in hosting, support, maintenance, apps, and developer costs into account.
Magento (Adobe Commerce): Pros and Cons Summed Up
Magento, which was acquired by Adobe in 2018 and renamed to Adobe Commerce in 2021, is a free open-source e-commerce platform, written in PHP.
It’s still a popular e-commerce solution and supports about 147,000 stores worldwide as of early 2024. However, it seems to have fallen off a bit in recent years, since it used to support over 160,000 stores in 2021.
Since its acquisition by Adobe, Magento has somewhat shifted from its open-source roots and pushed in the direction of serving large corporate clients. Now, Adobe Commerce is a CMS, CRM, and ERP platform all in one, while Magento 2 remains an open-source e-commerce solution.
The open-source nature of Magento means that independent contributors can write and maintain code for it. This is Magento’s greatest asset, as it allows full customization of your store’s code.
If you’ve got the coding chops, and unique business needs, and require ultimate creative freedom to meet them, Magento is a great e-commerce platform to choose from.
An open-source platform is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you can customize your store’s look, feel, and functionalities as much as you want by using themes, templates, and plugins, or by manually changing the code yourself.
On the other hand, you will need a sophisticated development skillset to set up and maintain your store, as well as your domain and hosting manually. In contrast, Shopify does this automatically.
Usually, open-source leads to a slower launch of your store and more expensive maintenance. Updates often bring instability, bugs, malfunctions, or even store breakdowns, unless you have a dedicated development team or expertise.
An important drawback of Magento is its lack of transparent pricing. While the open-source version is free to use, you still might need to use various extensions that cost you money, on top of your domain and hosting. Furthermore, you’ll have to budget for development, support, and maintenance, which can significantly increase your costs.
Moreover, Magento (Adobe Commerce) keeps its enterprise solution costs hidden, but as of 2024, it offers tiered pricing plans of around $30,000 per year.
Shopify vs. Magento (Adobe Commerce) - The Definitive Comparison
In this section, you’ll find information about specific aspects of Shopify and Magento, so you can get a better grasp of each platform’s advantages and disadvantages.
Which one is easier to use?
Shopify is hands down the easiest e-commerce platform to use from the two. From the get-go, it has all the features you need to sell and promote your products across multiple channels.
While you can get the same functionalities and more with Magento, each one will require your individual attention to set up and integrate in your store correctly.
With Shopify, you can get your store up and running in a matter of days if not hours, if you have a general idea of what you’re doing. Shopify’s intuitive admin panel makes setting up and customizing your store a simple task that requires a few clicks.
On the other hand, Magento’s open-source version requires a lot of effort from the start. You’ll need to set up your domain and hosting and select themes and plugins to give your store the exact e-commerce functionalities you want.
From processing payments to shipping orders, you’ll have to configure each step by yourself. Shopify takes care of all of that for you automatically or with a few clicks from the admin panel.
Which one costs less?
The simplest answer would be that Magento is free and Shopify isn’t, but that would be misleading.
While Magento’s open-source version is free to use, you’ll still have to pay for domain and hosting, and possibly for the help of a developer to set up and maintain your store. Moreover, you might have to pay extra to use the premium versions of some extensions, to customize your store’s functionalities exactly the way you want.
Another source of costs is payment processor fees. These are valid for all e-commerce platforms and represent a fee for processing the credit card of your customers quickly and securely.
The industry standard for payment processing fees in the US is 2.9% of the order value + 30 cents per order. However, the exact amount of these fees depends on the payment processor you use like PayPal, Stripe, or Shopify Payments, as well as the market you sell to. For example, PayPal charges 3.49% + 49 cents on checkout for sales within the US.
Another caveat with Magento’s pricing is that it offers a paid plan called Adobe Commerce. This plan is suited for larger retailers and corporations and offers an arsenal of features.
However, Adobe keeps the pricing of their plan hidden as you have to contact their sales representatives to find out its exact price. Different 3-rd party sources claim that Adobe Commerce has tiered plans that start from $20,000 per year.
Shopify’s pricing plans are more straightforward to understand and you can see them at a glance:
Each of these plans has various features that enable you to sell more in different ways. For more details about each plan, you can read up on Shopify pricing. Just keep in mind that Shopify Starter doesn’t allow you to build a standalone store, so in most cases, you’ll need at least Shopify Basic.
Moreover, Shopify uses its proprietary payment processor Shopify Payments with which it offers competitive card processing fees for the US market, and becomes better as you upgrade your plan.
However, there is an extra transaction fee when you aren’t using Shopify Payments but a third-party payment processor instead.
All of the percentages are based on the total value of your order.
If you’re curious about getting started with Shopify, they push your startup costs even lower with their 3-day free trial, followed up by a 3-month for $1 deal, so you can check Shopify out before you commit to it.
Which one has better themes and customization options?
Shopify features over 140 free and paid themes, while Magento has about 300.
However, Shopify’s themes enjoy distinct advantages such as being vetted for performance and quality from Shopify itself. In comparison, Magento’s themes are open-source, meaning that they drastically vary in quality, security, and maintenance, since there is no centralized authority to inspect them.
Shopify’s themes get seamlessly updated all the time, while updates on Magento can bring your store bugs, malfunctions, or even a complete crash.
While Shopify’s themes might be better on average, the platform itself has some built-in limitations when it comes to customization. Parts of its code are unavailable for developers to access, which adds robustness to the platform, but also limits its flexibility.
In terms of raw customization options, Magento’s open-source nature means that you can customize its code in any way you see fit. However, taking advantage of this requires a sophisticated development skillset, caution, and extra maintenance.
Which one has better Sales & Marketing Features?
Magento and Shopify both have excellent sales and marketing features. The bigger difference between the two is that Shopify comes with most of them equipped out of the box.
Even its lower plans enjoy features like abandoned cart recovery, discount codes, and multi-channel sales integrations.
Whereas with Magento, you’ll need to add these functionalities to your store manually, which requires some technical elbow grease.
In a nutshell, both Shopify and Magento allow you to:
Change shipping rates
Process payments securely
Run discounts and promotions
Create product variations and personalizations
Create and accept gift cards
Generate automatic or manual tax rates
Include cross-sell and upsell functionality
On paper, the differences between Shopify’s and Magento’s functionalities are so subtle, that they only become relevant at the large retail level.
But in reality, everything you do in Shopify is much easier, be it to customize your site’s functionality, or how your products appear, to everything else.
Which one has better Apps and Add-Ons?
Both Shopify and Magento have thousands of third-party apps that allow merchants to extend their store’s functionality. In this way, they can address virtually any issue within their business.
Shopify’s app store has over 8,000 vetted apps, dedicated to every part of the e-commerce success. Magento’s open-source plugins are also in the thousands but aren’t vetted as Shopify’s, which means that updating them can cause your store to break or they have security issues.
However, Adobe Commerce, which is Adobe’s premium e-commerce solution, also has an extensions marketplace with around 4,000 extensions, which in essence work the same way as Shopify’s apps.
Overall Shopify has more third-party apps, which are vetted, and better maintained than Magento and Adobe Commerce’s. In both platforms, the apps or extensions can be either free or paid, so you’ll have to check them out one by one.
Which one has better payment processors and transaction fees?
When it comes to payment processors and transaction fees, Magento comes out ahead due to the wider variety of payment gateways you can integrate into your store. Having this variety is especially important for international e-commerce since locally recognized payment providers help instill customer trust and improve conversions.
However, both Magento and Shopify allow you to choose from hundreds of worldwide recognized payment processors, including most of the best-known ones such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, Apple Pay, and more.
An important caveat is that Shopify has its own payment gateway called Shopify Payments. As of 2024, Shopify Payments offers very competitive card processing fees, which are even better than PayPal’s for example.
However, if you don’t use Shopify Payments, but opt to use a third-party processor, you’ll have to pay an extra transaction fee with Shopify that’s between 2% and 0.5%. The problem for some merchants is that Shopify Payments is only available in certain countries. While amazing and streamlined, it does remain exclusive to certain regions.
Magento doesn’t have separate transaction fees, but you will have to pay a fee to your payment processor for every order that passes through your website. Compared to Shopify Payments, their fees are often less competitive, but are more balanced, if you aren’t using Shopify Payments.
Which one has better Shipping & Logistics Integrations?
Both Magento and Shopify come with robust inventory management systems. Moreover, both of them allow you to add custom rules for shipment and fulfillment through third-party apps and integrations. Moreover, they can help you automatically calculate any taxes, tariffs, and shipping fees and include them in your product’s price.
Overall, Shopify’s shipping solutions are more straightforward to fulfill and manage. Its user-friendly interface and pre-built integrations make it a great choice for small to medium-sized businesses.
In contrast, Magento is somewhat better suited for larger businesses or those with specific, complex shipping requirements. Its open-source nature allows you to customize your shipment and fulfillment even more than Shopify.
Which one is better for paid advertising?
Both platforms can accommodate all of your paid advertising needs. However, Shopify comes out with better features and integrations for multichannel sales out of the box.
Selling products, promoting your store with PPC, and tracking your results is much easier with Shopify.
At every step, Shopify’s platform is built for maximum conversions, which means a greater ROI for your advertising efforts. Moreover, their checkout is the best-performing one in the world.
Furthermore, Shopify comes with free native server-side tracking that allows you to track and analyze the results of your ad campaigns on every mainstream social media channel.
Magento can match Shopify’s features, but you’ll have to add them in manually, which requires some technical expertise and is drastically more complicated than doing it with Shopify. In general, every operation on Magento ends up costing you more company resources.
Which one has better SEO options?
Magento holds an edge over Shopify when it comes to SEO. Its open-source nature allows for greater customization of SEO metadata and elements, particularly the URLs, which have to follow a specific structure on Shopify.
SEO is crucial for stores that rely on search engines like Google to get discovered by buyers. Both Magento and Shopify allow you to tweak your store’s SEO, but Shopify falls behind in a few aspects related to off-page and technical SEO.
However, there are some SEO workarounds and extensions for Shopify, if you use some third-party apps like Yoast.
Which one has better customer support?
Shopify’s support is renowned for its availability and quick support times. You can reach them 24/7 by phone, chat, email, or social media.
Magento’s open-source version doesn’t have a dedicated support team but relies on community support through forums. However, their enterprise product Adobe Commerce, does have good customer support.
Conclusion: Shopify vs. Magento (Adobe Commerce)
Overall, both Shopify and Magento are popular choices for launching your e-commerce store. However, the two are significantly different in how they allow you to do things.
Magento is an open-source platform where you can customize all of its bits, but are responsible for putting them together and maintaining them, which can be a difficult and expensive process, especially if you lack a coding background. The upside is that you get total creative freedom.
Shopify is a SaaS solution that makes creating, managing, and maintaining stores a breeze. While it is pricier than Magento’s open-source version, you get great utility from it and get to solve all of your problems with a few clicks or with the help of Shopify’s stellar customer support.
All in all, Shopify is decisively the better choice for solopreneurs and small and mid-sized businesses. However, at the enterprise level, there is an argument to be made both for Adobe Commerce and for Shopify Plus.
If you prioritize total control and flexibility and have bigger engineering teams, Magento might be better for you. If you prefer reliability, speed, ease of use, and a more set-it-and-forget-it solution, Shopify is the better alternative.
With a decade of of e-commerce experience, Preslav, CEO of Craftberry, produces informative content. His writing focuses on practical insights and strategies in the e - commerce, aimed at helping professionals and businesses in the industry.Read all from Preslav
Our Shopify Migration Case StudiesView all case studies
Let us take your business further than it has ever been.
Submit a project and schedule a free discovery