Today’s battle between three giants in the field of ecommerce will be fought on a few different fronts. Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify will compete on the basis of price, ease of use, and other important factors. Will there be a clear winner? Or will it end in a stalemate that will see the rivalry grow ever stronger in the years to come? Stay tuned to find out.
When it comes down to flexibility and scalability, Magento is clearly the winner out of the three. The Community Edition (CE) is open-source, which means that anyone can create apps and plugins which add functionality to an online store. Because of this, there are more apps available for Magento, which consist of a mix of free and paid add-ons.
There is an old saying that goes something like this: “With great power comes great responsibility.” These are words to live by if you intend to use Magento CE as your ecommerce solution. You have the power to do just about anything you want to do, and add an almost unlimited number of items to your store, but you will also be responsible for the setup. For this reason, most users will hire a professional Magento developer or even a whole team of them just to get the ball rolling. If this sounds like too much of a cost for your business then you may need to consider other options. If you fancy tackling it yourself, here is a great tutorial I found.
Price: Magento CE is, in theory, free to use. In reality though, you will most likely need to hire outside help in order to setup and maintain the software.
Conclusion: Magento CE is the leading choice for large businesses that need complete control over their ecommerce software. This often comes at an added cost in terms of time it takes to setup, or hiring an outside team of professionals to maintain it, depending on the exact needs of the business. You are also responsible for hosting it yourself.
This particular ecommerce solution is quite a bit different to both Magento and Shopify. It is so different, in fact, that it is only included in this comparison because so many people assume it should be here. WooCommerce is built to integrate in to WordPress – the most popular content management system to date – so that is definitely something to consider. If you don’t want to use WordPress, then this is not for you.
WooCommerce and WordPress are both free. But, while it’s free to download and install these pieces of software, you will probably end up paying for some extras such as a theme and various extensions. You will also need to find somewhere to host them. Several web hosts have packages aimed at these two pieces of software working together, or you can use your favorite hosting provider.
It comes with the PayPal payment gateway by default, allowing you to accept credit cards and PayPal account balances. Also by default you can accept cash on delivery, and Bank Account Clearing System (BACS), otherwise known as a wire transfer, which allows you to take offline orders. If you need a gateway other than what is standard, you can use one of the extensions available.
Price: Free. But you’ll probably need to buy an appropriate theme and some extensions.
Conclusion: WooCommerce is great for people who have experience with WordPress and would like to stick with what they know. It is also good for those who like to have more of a framework to build on, compared to what you get with Magento CE.
As an all-inclusive, hosted and fully manged service, Shopify is much easier to use than Magento CE without the need to hire outside help. This is true of both the setup and ongoing maintenance of the website. So, while it may seem at first that Magento CE is cheaper – because it’s free – those savings will almost surely be eaten up by the need to pay someone to do the work.
There are no added transaction fees if you use Shopify’s own payment gateway. If you use a different gateway, transaction fees range from 2% on the cheapest plan, down to 0.5% on the most expensive plan. Compared to Magento CE, Shopify makes it easier to get started without having to seek out and implement other payment gateways.
Price: 14 day free trial. Monthly rates ranging from $29 to $299. As the price goes up, the credit card rates and transaction fees go down. All packages include unlimited file storage and number of products. Gift cards and abandoned cart recovery are not available at the $29 price point.
Conclusion: Shopify is a good choice for those who value ease of use over endless options for customization. Most users and experts agree: Shopify is easier to setup and maintain when compared to Magento, although that comes at a cost to some high-end functionality.
Unfortunately, as you can see, there is no big victory for any of these three competitors. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each one can be seen as a great choice depending on the individual needs of a business.