Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Your Ecommerce Platform Comparison [2022]

Ashley Kimler
Ashley Kimler
Last updated on 
January 23, 2020
April 2, 2020
Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Your Ecommerce Platform Comparison [2022]

If you’re ready to launch or relaunch your online store and you’re trying to decide which ecommerce platform is best for you, two of the top names to consider are Magento 2 and Shopify. They both offer an impressive range of features that can make either one an excellent option depending on your needs, budget, and coding capabilities.

In this guide, we’ll cover the pros and cons of Shopify and Magento 2 and then take a closer look at both platforms across areas like user-friendliness, costs, features, and more. Here’s what you need to know to make the best decision for your ecommerce business. 

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: A quick side-by-side comparison

In a nutshell, here’s how these two ecommerce platforms stack up:

Company

Extensions & Apps

Magento: 3,518

Shopify: 7,011

Stores Powered

Magento: 182,670

Shopify: 3.75 million

Annual Sales Powered

Magento: $155 billion

Shopify: $175.4 billion

Available Marketplace Themes

Magento: 5

Shopify: 86

Theme Pricing

Magento: $0 to $499

Shopify: $0 to $350

So, which is the best ecommerce platform? Learn more about why you might prefer Magento 2 over Shopify, or vice versa. 

Magento 2 ecommerce platform overview

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform that was first launched in 2008 and was later acquired by Adobe in 2018. Magento 2 is the newest version of the platform that was released in November 2015. The updated version was designed to be faster, more user-friendly and SEO-friendly, and more accessible to developers. 

Since its 2015 release, Magento 2 has undergone regular updates, including security enhancements, architecture improvements, and newly added tools and integrations. 

Today, Magento 2 remains a popular choice with ecommerce businesses, particularly larger businesses that value the platform's broad range of customization options and its ability to integrate with enterprise systems.

Magento 2 pros

  • A massive ecosystem of apps and extensions: The Magento 2 platform offers compatibility with over 5,000 different apps and extensions, from free and low-cost extensions to complex third-party SaaS and enterprise solutions. 
  • Endless customization opportunities: Magento 2's open-source platform, combined with its broad-ranging compatibility with third-party apps, makes it easy to fully customize any ecommerce website.
  • A global platform: Magento 2 is a platform that’s used worldwide and is perfectly suited to an increasingly international market. Users can take advantage of translation and localization features and accept a variety of foreign currencies for payment, making it ideal for any business with a diverse or global market. 

Magento 2 cons

  • Time to launch: Magento 2's open-source design and the sheer number of customization options can increase the time that it takes to set up and launch a store. Adobe has made efforts over the years to improve Magento 2's ease of use, but there may still be a steep learning curve for non-technical users. Some users say the platform is challenging and time-consuming to master.  
  • Cost of ownership: The complexity of Magento 2 also comes with higher costs, both upfront and ongoing. A small starter website with basic functionalities can cost upwards of $20,000 to build, while complex websites with custom rules and systems can cost $100,000 or more to create. There are also expenses that come with maintaining a Magento 2 website. 
  • Quality assurance and maintenance requirements: Another noted drawback of Magento 2's open-source design and near limitless customization is that it creates the need for a lot of maintenance and quality assurance. Magento is known for frequently releasing security patches and new upgrades that require a degree of technical expertise to correctly implement and monitor. 

Shopify ecommerce platform overview

Shopify was launched in 2006, two years before the launch of Magento. Today, Shopify has become the most popular ecommerce solution in the U.S. and the second most popular in the world (behind WooCommerce) thanks in part to its ease of use and low cost of ownership. 

Shopify offers five different plans, from starter-level Shopify Lite to enterprise-level Shopify Plus, and has released a variety of platform-wide improvements over the years. Although the platform is more geared toward entry-level users, Shopify still offers an impressive list of features, add-ons, and customization options that make it easy to create a unique Shopify store.

Shopify pros

  • Ease of use: Shopify is an ideal platform for those who aren’t especially tech-savvy or don’t have the resources to write and maintain custom code. Shopify users can build and customize key aspects of their online stores with simple drag-and-drop commands.
  • Great customer support: Shopify provides its users with access to 24/7 customer support by email, live chat, or phone. The company has also invested in a detailed help center and discussion forum, which is especially useful since Shopify isn’t an open-source platform. It’s a great, low-maintenance option.
  • Lower upfront costs: In most cases, the initial cost of building a Shopify website is much lower than the cost of Magento 2. The range of pricing plans and feature packages offer something for everyone. Users with little to no web development experience can create an attractive and functional Shopify website on a minimal budget. (And if you do decide to hire an outside web developer to create your Shopify store, you can still expect to pay less than you would pay to create a comparable Magento 2 store.)

Shopify cons

  • Limited customization options: The simplicity of the platform, as well as the range of themes and add-ons, makes Shopify great for beginners. However, it offers little in the way of advanced customizations and development tools, especially when compared to ecommerce platforms like Magento 2. Users who want to create a highly customized website will likely find Shopify to be lacking.
  • Transaction fees: If you don’t use Shopify Payments, Shopify adds its own transaction fees on top of the transaction fees from your third-party payment processor. These fees range from 0.5% to 2% depending on the pricing plan. They can add up quickly for ecommerce stores selling a high volume of products.
  • Cost of apps: Shopify may not be the most customizable ecommerce platform, but it does offer a wide range of add-on applications. The bad news is that very few of these applications are free to download. Building and maintaining the ideal Shopify store may be more expensive than expected if the site relies on a lot of paid apps.

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Ease of use

For those with little to no coding experience, Shopify is much more user-friendly than Magento 2. With the Shopify platform, almost every aspect of your website can be altered using simple point-and-click commands. It’s also a widely used platform, so there’s plenty of tutorials, self-help resources, and customer support available if you encounter issues. 

With Magento 2, installation is a complex multistep process. You’ll likely be required to do some coding before your website is up and running or outsource it to developers. Magento 2 offers a lot more creative control and room for custom functionalities, but it makes it tough to use, especially for beginners. Once you’re on the platform, there are extensions you can download to add ease of use, like drag-and-drop content builders.

Which platform is right for you?

If you’re confident in your coding skills, have the resources to hire developers, or would like to design a completely customizable shopping experience, then Magento 2 could be the right ecommerce platform for your business.

If you’d like a user-friendly platform that allows you to build a basic yet fully functional website, or you don’t have access to development resources, then we recommend choosing Shopify.

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Monthly pricing and overall costs

Before we compare the monthly pricing of Magento 2 to the monthly pricing of Shopify, it’s important to clarify that Shopify is a hosted solution, while Magento 2 is self-hosted. 

This means that when you pay for a Shopify subscription, the cost includes your domain, web hosting services, security features, and more. The monthly cost of your Shopify plan will vary, with prices ranging from $29 per month to $299 per month for premade plans. (Shopify Lite for $9 per month doesn’t include hosting.) You’ll receive a custom quote for a Shopify Plus enterprise plan. 

By contrast, Magento 2 is free to download, but you’ll have to pay to buy and maintain your domain, host your site, and set up security protections since it isn’t a hosted platform. 

It’s also worth restating that the upfront costs of building a website with Magento 2 tend to be a lot higher than the costs of building a website using Shopify unless you’re planning to do a lot of the work in-house. 

Which platform is right for you?

In terms of recurring monthly costs, Shopify and Magento 2 are comparable. But as we’ve discussed, these aren’t the only costs you need to consider. You also need to weigh upfront costs to build your site, transaction fees, site maintenance costs, and more.

If you’ll need to hire someone to build your Magento 2 website for you, Shopify will likely be more affordable in terms of upfront costs. The best way to answer this question is to get quotes from potential Magento 2 developers and compare their upfront and ongoing costs to the available Shopify plans.  

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Payment processing and transaction fees

Magento 2 doesn’t charge transaction fees, so you’ll only need to worry about your payment processor’s transaction fees. These vary widely based on your industry type, business age, customer payment method (credit card, debit card, ACH payment, etc), transaction volume, and more. 

If you exclusively use Shopify Payments, the platform’s built-in payment processor, online transaction fees will range from 2.4% + $0.30 per transaction to 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. If you use a third-party processor instead, Shopify still charges a transaction fee. It ranges from 0.5% per transaction to 2% per transaction depending on your Shopify plan.

When it comes to payment gateways, Shopify supports over 100 different payment gateways, including Paypal, Stripe, Square, and Apple Pay. Magento 2 supports over 150 payment gateways, though most of these gateways are geared toward large businesses. With Magento 2, you’re also able to install any third-party payment processor you like from their marketplace.

Which platform is right for you?

Shopify and Magento 2 both offer a wide selection of payment gateways. However, Magento 2 gets the nod here since it supports a broader range of payment gateways, enables you to discover and try out other payment gateways through its marketplace, and doesn’t impose transaction fees. 

With Shopify, you’ll be required to pay a fee on every transaction unless you use Shopify Payments as your only payment processor. Shopify Payments prohibits many kinds of products and services, so it’s somewhat limiting compared to other payment processing options. 

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Extensions and apps

Magento 2 and Shopify both offer a wealth of apps, add-ons, and plugins to choose from within their marketplaces. The Magento Marketplace currently offers 3,518 free and paid extensions, while the Shopify App Store has 7,011 free and paid apps.

Both platforms offer access to just about any app or extension that you could need, including tools designed to streamline your marketing, data analytics, inventory management, customer service, and cybersecurity efforts. These apps are submitted by businesses and independent developers and reviewed and approved by the respective platforms, so they’ll have varying degreeds of quality. 

One major way Magento 2 and Shopify apps differ is with ease of installation. Installing a Magento 2 extension is a more complex process, unlike Shopify apps which most users can get up and running with a few point-and-click commands.

Related: Our list of 40+ Shopify apps to power up your online store.

Which platform is right for you?

Shopify wins when it comes to the sheer number of apps and accessibility, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically the better option. The best ecommerce platform is simply the one that provides the functionality your team needs and can support from a technical perspective. 

If you prefer apps with a quick-and-easy installation process, Shopify is a great choice. If you have development resources or you’re prioritizing customization, Magento 2 will work well. 

Check out our review of the best Magento 2 extensions for every area of an ecommerce business. 

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Customization

As an open-source platform, Magento 2 offers far more customization options than Shopify, whether it’s the look and feel of your site, your product categorization, or something more granular. 

Magento is written using the PHP programming language and hosts product documentation on GitHub for convenient coding, collaboration, and feedback. You’re able to create any number of custom features and functionalities for your website — so long as you have the right coding capabilities.

With Shopify, built-in customization options are available but slightly limited. There’s a variety of tools for customizing your products, discounts, shopping cart, checkout process, payments, and store branding. There are also apps and add-ons you can leverage to go deeper. 

Which platform is right for you?

Shopify just can't compete with the customization options offered by an open-source platform such as Magento 2.

If you’re wanting to build a relatively straightforward and basic ecommerce store, then Shopify is an adequate solution. If you’re wanting to build a store with a high degree of customization, Magento 2 is the better choice. 

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Store themes

Magento 2 and Shopify both enable you to choose from eye-catching themes that will serve as the starting template for your website's design. With Shopify, you can tap into 10 free and 70 paid themes, with the paid themes ranging from $150 to $350. You can also use Shopify’s theme editor to tailor each style to your preferences. 

Magento 2 currently offers just five different themes in its marketplace, although some include multiple styles. Only one package is free to use, while the other options cost as much as $499. Most of the paid templates have positive reviews, responsive designs for different devices, and a collection of useful features and extensions.

Which platform is right for you?

Shopify’s large selection of free and paid themes makes it the clear winner if you’re looking for both creative freedom and unique designs for your ecommerce store. Not only do they offer more free themes, but their paid themes are more affordable than Magento 2’s paid options.

Need help choosing a great Shopify theme? We analyzed 13,191 Shopify stores and handpicked the 26 most popular Shopify themes for you. 

That said, it’s worth remembering that Magento 2 gives you the freedom to build and use a truly custom theme, either with your skills or the help of a theme developer. 

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Marketing and sales tools

One of the most important things to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform is the sales and marketing tools that it includes.

With Shopify, you can look forward to sales tools such as multichannel selling through Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram; abandoned shopping cart recovery features; and live chat via Shopify Inbox. Magento 2 offers many of these same sales tools, including multichannel selling and abandoned cart recovery, as well as features that allow you to create a customized checkout process.

When it comes to marketing tools, Shopify offers standard features, such as the ability to create email campaigns through third-party integrations and advertise and sell directly on social media platforms. Magento 2 offers this functionality in a more roundabout way — most marketing tools will need to be purchased and downloaded from the Magento Marketplace rather than coming built-in. 

Which platform is right for you?

Shopify gets the nod here because it offers more sales and marketing tools that come pre-included with its plans compared to Magento 2 which requires more installation and configuring. However, both platforms have thousands of high-quality extensions you can use to enhance your sales and marketing toolkit to the fullest, so it’s hard to lose out here.  

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Search engine optimization options

Even the most polished ecommerce store or product line won’t drive sales if customers can’t find it. For this very reason, ecommerce success and search engine optimization (SEO) go hand in hand. 

Having an SEO-friendly website means your web pages and products are properly categorized, searchable, and easy to understand for both humans and bots. Done well, your pages will rank higher in web searches, making it easier for your target audience to discover your products or services. 

This is an area where Magento 2 performs especially well. Beyond the high degree of customization, Magento 2 includes a number of SEO guides and prompts designed to help you optimize your website as it’s being built. You can also easily perform key SEO tasks such as optimizing sitemaps; creating accurate page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs; and adding relevant product keywords. 

Shopify comes with similar SEO functionality, albeit less control over your site as a whole. You can easily edit and improve your site structure, from sitemaps and descriptive text to store navigation options. For more on Shopify SEO, read our blog. 

Another win for both platforms is that they offer themes that come with helpful SEO tools, such as Rich Snippet and page title suggestions, as well as SEO-focused apps and extensions. 

Which platform is right for you?

Here, Magento 2 edges out Shopify. Magento includes a wide range of SEO features and tools that don’t have to be purchased and installed separately. The SEO guides and prompts provided by Magento 2 can serve as an especially valuable source of instruction as you go about launching your site.

Magento 2 vs. Shopify: Customer support

When technical issues with your ecommerce website arise, you want fast, reliable, and knowledgeable assistance. How each platform provides that assistance is very different. 

With a Shopify plan, you can look forward to 24/7 email, live chat, or phone support. In addition to these live customer support channels, Shopify also offers plenty of user guides and video tutorials, as well as a community forum, within its help center.

Because it’s tailored to a more technical customer base, Magento 2 offers limited customer support options. The company only lets customers submit a support ticket or call them via the sales department for their region. There are extended options for enterprise customers. Certain site themes also include tech support. 

This would seem to make it a clear win for Shopify in the customer support category. But Magento 2 also offers exceptionally detailed user guides and technical resources, as well as a robust and experienced community to help make up for the lack of live support. 

Which platform is right for you?

If you value the ability to contact a live customer support representative at any time, Shopify provides exactly that. 

With that said, we don't want to discount the quality of Magento 2's self-service resources and supportive community, which can walk users through tried-and-true solutions to common or niche problems. 

Comparison recap

Let's start by saying that Magento 2 and Shopify are both excellent ecommerce platforms with large communities of passionate users. Each one offers unique benefits and drawbacks, making the Magento vs. Shopify decision ultimately a matter of personal priorities and preferences. Here’s a quick review: 

  • Ease of use: One of Shopify’s biggest advantages is its user-friendliness. You can create an attractive, fully functional website in no time without needing to write code. Magento 2 sacrifices some ease of use for more flexibility and customization.  
  • Monthly pricing and overall costs: Magento 2 is free to download but will likely be the more expensive option because many businesses opt to hire developers to build and maintain their sites. Magento 2’s monthly pricing will depend on how you manage your site, while Shopify’s pricing is more predictable. 
  • Payment processing and transaction fees: Magento 2 allows you to use your preferred payment processor and doesn’t enforce extra fees. Shopify charges transaction fees of 0.5% to 2% if you don’t use Shopify Payments exclusively, but you can still choose from a variety of payment providers. 
  • Extensions and apps: Shopify offers nearly double the number of apps and extensions that Magento 2 does, and they’re easier to install. However, both platforms offer helpful sales, marketing, data, and administrative extensions. 
  • Customization: As an open-source platform, Magento 2 is the clear winner for merchants that want full control over their ecommerce store. That said, Shopify does offer some customization tools for users and developers of all skill levels. 
  • Store themes: Shopify gives you more variety and affordability when it comes to themes. However, Magento 2 offers the ability to create truly customized themes for your website if you have the right coding know-how.
  • Marketing and sales tools: Magento 2 and Shopify both offer an impressive selection of sales and marketing tools, but Shopify includes more of these tools right out of the box with each plan. 
  • Search engine optimization options: Magento 2 provides a better selection of pre-included SEO features and suggestions than Shopify. Both platforms give you access to SEO extensions and provide educational resources.  
  • Customer support: Lastly, Shopify offers 24/7 email, live chat, and phone options while Magento 2 is limited to ticket submissions and less responsive phone options. However, the quality of Magento 2's user guides and its active community forums may be enough for tech-savvy users. 

To summarize: Magento 2 is a platform that’s largely geared toward large and established online sellers looking to create a more advanced and customized ecommerce store. Shopify is geared toward ecommerce sellers who don’t need a ton of advanced functionality or don’t have the skills or desire to create their website from scratch. 

Give your ecommerce customers the customer support they demand with Gorgias

At Gorgias, we provide high-quality helpdesk tools that allow you to create an exceptional customer experience whether you prefer a Magento 2 or Shopify store. Automate your common support tasks, detect your customer’s intent, and prioritize tickets and responses based on customer needs.

To learn more about how our Magento 2 applications or our Shopify applications optimize your users’ experience, sign up for a free trial.

Try Gorgias for Free
Brought to you by
The customer service platform built for ecommerce brands

Join the 

10,064

+ ecommerce
brands that use Gorgias
every day

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Get a live demo

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

Get the latest ecommerce tips for growing your business and invites to industry-leading events, right to your inbox.
Thank you! You should have received an email 🎉
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.