Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce are the most commonly used Shopping Carts World Wide. Which is best and which one is suited to your business?

Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce

Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce put together account for more than 2.75 million eCommerce websites on the internet. WooCommerce accounts for 25%, Shopify 20% and Magento 10%. The remaining 45% use more than 500 other types of eCommerce frameworks which are not discussed here.

The following breakdown is based on our experience with all three platforms since they were first released and is designed to give you a good understanding of which one is best for your business. We use them all. Read on to compare Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce

Number 1: WordPress & WooCommerce

At the top of the list WooCommerce is there for a reason. WooCommerce has been around the longest (2011) and is an Open Source Framework. Open Source Frameworks allows the user to do anything that they like with it. There are no limitations to customising, modifying how it works and using it for purposes that may steer away from the traditional shopping cart. WooCommerce is a plugin which is installed into WordPress. Due to it being a plugin many website owners don’t take it as seriously as they should as WordPress was traditionally a blogging tool.

Being Open Source both WordPress and WooCommerce are free to use. There are no monthly fees, no licensing or up front purchase fees. WordPress and WooCommerce are supported by thousands of plugin developers which allows you to turn both into anything that you like. The combination of both provides the website owner the ability to build a shopping cart which can also take bookings, sell tickets, coupons vouchers, products, services, product makers such as business card makers and tee shirt designers. There is no limitation to what you can do. At the time of writing this article there were more than 50,000 plugins, both free and paid ready for you to download and install.

Due to using WordPress as the main framework, system updates are delivered straight to your store. Once a security or version update is available the website owner clicks few buttons and all updates are done. There will also be a new feature with WordPress 5.5 where updates can all be done automatically.

Many question how many products WooCommerce can handle. With a few tweaks and a good hosting account, skies  are the limit. We have seen shops with more than 100,000 products, handling thousands of transactions per minute. If any doubt read on here: What is the maximum WooCommerce can handle?

WooCommerce has built its reputation based on being an easy to use, stable solution for business owners. They do not advertise and have mainly relied on creating a good product that everyone can use.

As of being search engine friendly, WordPress on its own is built for creating content that Google loves. Most websites that sell products should have an active campaign that evolves around creating content that relates to their products or services. Matt Cutts from Google discusses WordPress as being the best content management system available. Matt Cutts from Google on WordPress & SEO.  Website owners have the option of installing a free plugin (YoastSEO) which analyses every page and product on your website and provides a full list of recommendations on what should be done to optimise for best SEO results. Yoast is highly regarded in the industry and continue to release plugin updates that revolve around the latest Google algorithms.

WordPress / WooCommerce Advantages
  • Most scalable eCommerce framework available
  • Grows with your business with no on-going additional costs
  • Availability of more than 50,000 plugins, free and paid
  • Availability of more than 30,000 themes, free and paid
  • WordPress/WooCommerce can last a lifetime with little management
  • No licensing or upfront purchase fees
  • Open Source Framework (No Limitations)
  • Fully customisable framework
  • Easy to install and setup, may require developer for assistance
  • Most website designers can work with it
  • Cost is low to mid range, depending on your requirements
  • Plugin customisation costs are reasonable
  • Preferred by Google & with YoastSEO plugin easier to optimise
  • Thousands of tutorials available, written and video
  • Very little on-going costs other than hosting and web developer help
WordPress / WooCommerce Disadvantages
  • Requires website hosting account and SSL Certificate
  • Requires owner to action security and version updates
  • Customisation requires developer though this is the same for all 3 frameworks discussed in this topic
  • No support through WordPress/WooCommerce, rely on your web developer for support
  • Upfront investment in setting up store
Who Is WooCommerce Suited To?

We find that WooCommerce is suited to all businesses small or large as it can be setup to sell a few products or tens of thousands. Most third party services will have a plugin that works in with the framework. It can be setup to synchronise other stores such as eBay and Amazon and also links in with most bookkeeping systems. Installation and setup is easy though for the non technical user will require the services of a website designer or developer so a budget will be required. Budget will depend on what you want done, if using a pre-purhcased them, setup costs can be quite low. If you have your own design in mind then allow more of a budget as the template will need to be designed and created before you get to start setting up the website.

Number 2: Shopify

Second in the list is Shopify launched in June 2006 . Shopify is a proprietary based shopping system. This means that you are paying Shopify to use their in-house built shopping cart which is installed on their servers. They do not allow you to download a copy to use nor will they allow you to make any changes to the way it works. The shopping cart is already setup and just requires for you to setup an account, choose a plan that suits you and you are ready to start setting up your store. You will have the option to choose from a list of pre-designed themes,  setup payment methods, freight and products. Once setup a few changes are done so that your website is launched for all to see.

Over the past three years Shopify have advertised heavily and they promote their product as being easy to use and setup which it is. Someone with a mid range of technical knowledge can setup an account and through the use or their tutorials start setting up a store to sell products with. Options to use their in-house payment gateways are there to use and as long as you don’t have any complex freight requirements.

Shopify being proprietary based they also encourage all of their plugin developers to do the same. Anything that Shopify does not do out of the box will require a plugin to be installed. Plugin prices vary though instead of having the option to install a free plugin or purchasing one with an upfront fee, Shopify plugins are paid by the month. If you download a plugin that calculates complex delivery charges you will pay to use the plugin on a monthly basis. Although this does increase your monthly costs we should also keep in mind that you are paying the plugin developer to keep investing into the plugin so that it is as secure as possible and has the latest features.

Shopify offer around 1800 plugins and there is something there to do almost anything that you need. Compared with WooCommerce at 50,000 plugins we do see a good range of plugins and have not been restricted with the options that they have available. If for some reason the plugin needs to be customised as it dosent do exactly what you want, expect to pay a hefty sum to make any changes. Keep in mind that both Shopify and all plugins are sold as they are and plugin changes can cost more than building a new website.

Due to being a propitiatory based system there is no need for you to run security or version updates. This is all done in the background and not the responsibility of the website owner. Shopfy do this for you which is what makes it a preferred option to some. Not having to worry about updating the website.

Shopify out of the box offers you the option to setup SEO as per their framework. This on its own does not help the website owner to optimise for certain keywords though there are many paid plugins that take SEO option further though as of today we have not used one that is as good as YoastSEO for WooCommerce.

With Shopify there is no limitation to how many products you can setup. They advertise “Unlimited” though you will find that a website that has 10 products compared to one with 10,000 will have different requirements. This dramatically effects the monthly costs. Their base package starts at $29.00 USD per month. If you are looking for the option to setup Gift Cards or need more advanced reports the price jumps to $79.00 USD per month. They also have a $299.00 per month package which allows you to integrate shipping in with your local freight carrier. Shopify Plus being their enterprise solution starts at $2000.00 per month though this is for the high end business that sells thousands of products per day.

Shopify Advantages
  • Easy to get started, easy to setup and start selling
  • No website hosting required, comes with your plan
  • No need to update security or version updates, they do this for you
  • SSL Certifictes are included in your monthly plan
  • Allows creation of customised themes by developer
  • Grows with your business but at a sizable cost
  • Online chat support though Shopify
  • Thousands of tutorials available, written and video
  • Little up front costs
Shopify Disadvantages
  • Not as many plugins available, currently 1800
  • Plugins cost per month, increasing your monthly expenses
  • Anything that the basic plan does not do requires plan upgrade at higher cost
  • Limited customisation options unless you invest in getting a plugin created
  • Only 8 free themes, rest are paid ranging from $80 – $150 USD
  • Charge monthly transaction fees on top of subscription fees
  • Difference between Basic and Advanced package $200 per month
  • Ongoing costs rise dramatically as your business grows
  • Extension customisation or development costs excessive
Who Is Shopify Suited To?

As with WooCommerce, Shopify is also suited to all businesses small or large as they can be setup to sell a few products or tens of thousands. Third party services also have a plugin that works in with Shopify which allows you to synchronise your website with other stores such as eBay and Amazon.

Setup and installation is the easiest compared with WooCommerce and Magento as the shopping cart is there ready for you to use and the 8 themes that they offer are installed by clicking a few buttons.

Anything that is too technical will still require the services of a website designer or developer so if you don’t intend on just using what they offer a budget will be required. Budget will depend on what you want done, if using a pre-purhcased theme, setup costs can be quite low. If you have your own design in mind then allow more of a budget as the template will need to be designed and created before you get to start setting up the website.

The main drawback with Shopify is the cost, it might seem great at first as you can be up and running selling a products within a few weeks for $29.00 USD per month though anything that you don’t like will need to be added on or changed at a cost. To keep costs down be happy with what they offer and work with the package that you signed up for. SEO options are very limited which can effect business in the long run.

Number 3: Magento

At number 3 Magento was first released in 2008 and is one of the Adobe Group of Companies. Classified as the leading eCommerce framework and used a majority of high end websites. Magento has recently revamped their eCommerce platform and introduced Magento 2 which has moved them into a class of their own. With the right hosting environment Magento can support 100 or 500,000 products and thousands of transactions per hour. This a major benefit because you can scale smoothly in the background with no interference to the end user. Magento has a  community of more than 8,000 specialised certified developers and 6000 contributors which makes it the most supported platform.

Similar to WooCommerce, Magento is an open source platform so there are no limitations to what you can do and there are no monthly subscription fees. Magento allows you to modify its code, edit the checkout, customise templates with no limitations and develop any functionality exactly the way you want. Magento offers API’s for most third-party integrations such as CRM, Bookkeeping systems, inventory management control and much more.

Magento offers a full range of SEO options and with the inclusion of a few paid plugins you can optimise the website to achieve high ranking results. Out of the box SEO is limited though the plugins used make it one of the best shopping carts to opimise.

Magento Advantages
  • Highly scalable, customisable eCommerce framework
  • Grows with your business with on-going development costs
  • Availability of more than 15,000 plugins, free and paid
  • Availability of more than 5,000 themes, free and paid
  • Magento can last a lifetime with on-going management
  • No licensing or upfront purchase fees
  • Open Source Framework (No Limitations)
  • Thousands of tutorials available, written and video
  • Abundance of out-of-the-box features to operate your business
  • Setup multiple stores, warehouses, numerous locations, different languages
  • Supported by a large community of certified developers
  • Option to setup multi-stores, warehouses, languages and currencies
Magento  Disadvantages
  • Requires larger website hosting account starting at $500 per year
  • Requires Magento developer to install version and security updates
  • All modifications and customisation requires highly experienced developer
  • Not all developers understand the framework, requires Magento developer
  • Initial setup costs are considered as high end
  • Installation, setup and development can take some time
  • Plugin customisation costs are mid to high
Who Is Magento Suited To?

Magento can also be suited for most businesses though it is classified as a feature rich high end shopping cart. Compared with WooCommerce and Shopify it is the best though due to the costs involved with setup, development and customisation it does limit its use to businesses that have a high budget for initial setup and on-going costs.

Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce Summary

No matter how small or large your business is, all three shopping carts can be used though it’s important to choose the right one before you start so that you are not rebuilding your store 12 months down the track.

  • WooCommerce is voted at #1 by us and business owners due to long term costs, scale ability and  ease of use though it does require a website developer to help manage which comes at a cost.
  • Shopify, due to large advertising campaigns they are now at now at #2 though it is a good shopping cart for those that don’t want to know about hosting, SSL, website updates and other technical jargon though it will come with long term ongoing costs.
  • Magento 2 at #3 is the leading feature rich shopping cart though it is mainly used by high end website owners so if you have a few products to sell consider WooCommerce or Shopify.

We trust that this article has helped you to decide on which is best for your business, if you require more information on Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce please contact us for more information. General Enquiries