When it comes to choosing an e-commerce platform for your website, you must find the most appropriate option for your needs out of the vast number of platforms that are available. Fortunately for the mid-market, the pool is narrowed down to just a few options - two of which standout the most: Magento Enterprise Edition and Shopify Plus. On the one hand, Magento is the dominant player for mid and large size enterprises with their latest version Magento 2. On the other hand, Shopify has been famous amongst smaller businesses but are now bringing Shopify Plus to the table, designed with mid-size enterprises in mind.
We have picked and compared some key aspects of the two platforms that are relevant to enterprise level businesses, including Security, Marketing, Omnichannel, Customization and Content. While both are popular e-commerce platforms, they each go about things differently. With this comparison, we hope to help you to decide which is the right platform for your project.
A Magento storefront
A Shopify storefront
Web security should be one of the main considerations when it comes to deciding on which platform to use. With money being involved, this is of the utmost importance for both you and your customers. Customers want to know that your e-commerce website is safe, and that they can trust your security to keep their sensitive information confidential. However, your users also want a quick and simple online shopping solution.
PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is the most well known payment security standard that requires by the credit card associations in order for merchant to process card payment. Both Magento and Shopify has their own approach to help merchants achieve PCI compliance.
Since Magento’s open source platform is deployed on premises with many variations and versions, Magento offers a Secure Payment Bridge solution, which is separate from the core Magento Enterprise platform. Only the application has to be compliant with the PCI DSS, rather than the whole platform, meaning you can update to a newer version of Magento Enterprise without affecting the compliance of the Secure Payment Bridge.
If you choose the Shopify Plus solution, your site will be hosted on the Cloud by Shopify, and so security is standardized across the whole system - all of which is also PCI DSS compliant.
Based on a software as a service (Saas) model, Shopify host your store on their servers, putting much of the security burden on them, meaning that you won’t need to configure your own security for your store, as with Magento. Shopify Plus takes care of various compliance assessments and risk management, making sure your site is secure and regularly updated without the need for you to manage regular security checks for your site.
Handling updates and security patches is a down side for merchants who are using Magento, as they have to rely on their technology partners or IT team to handle them. Although Magento regularly release security updates and patches to ensure it is always caught up with the latest changes and security threats, the security of the website depends heavily on the merchant to implement them on time. If you keep your website fully patched in a timely manner, then you should not be vulnerable to intrusion.
Marketing is a large part of e-commerce. Especially in the online world, an e-commerce site can’t survive without staying connected with other selling channels, social media, email marketing, and search engines. Each platform has different strengths when it comes to support for those channels.
Having the advantage of being an open and highly customizable platform, Magento offers a lot more flexibility with SEO for merchants. You can easily set up and make use of hreflang, structured data, control over dynamic pages, redirect management, control over the robots.txt file and canonical URL, amongst other things. Updating meta-descriptions, URLs, and headers is also quick, with each being easily accessible for you to change.
Shopify automates many of the SEO features such as generating sitemaps and canonical URL tags. As with Magento, meta tags and meta descriptions are easily edited in Shopify Plus to ensure everything is optimized for search engines. Shopify Plus does support some features to be managed manually like canonical URLs and control over robots.txt, but it’s not as flexible as in Magento.
Social media is another important tool for marketers, having great potential for accessing large audiences. Shopify is well known for its social media capabilities. It offers deep social media integration with popular social media websites such as Facebook and Pinterest, so you can display your products and let your customers purchase them directly while they browsing on their social media account.
Magento merchants can also expand their selling capabilities via social media with use of the right modules. However, it will be more difficult to achieve for Magento and not as deeply integrated as in Shopify.
Both platforms can integrate with email marketing tools and marketing automation services fairly easily, thanks to a variety of extensions available for both Magento and Shopify.
Omnichannel is the next big step towards enhancing the customer experience, with many popular brands looking to launch their own omnichannel strategy.
Shopify has a strong focus on providing out of the box features that enable merchants to build an omnichannel strategy. With an aggressive sales channel focus, Shopify Plus is able to integrate with a number of popular websites, including social media. Customers can then purchase products directly from the website, without the need to visit your website. Shopify also offer an out of the box POS system which can be used for merchants to sell in brick and mortar stores too.
Magento can be very flexible when it comes to creating omnichannel experiences for your customers. It allows merchants to create single customer views, which is an important tool for designing and creating meaningful customer journeys with brands. Magento Commerce Order Management offers a unified product inventory which helps increase productivity and efficiency of order fulfillment. The combination of customer and inventory data acts as the backbone for omnichannel in Magento. On top of that, the rich collection of Magento marketplace extensions, together with the highly customizability of open source platform, allows merchants to design their own unique omnichannel experiences.
Both platforms are not only focusing on connecting channels to enable omnichannel experiences but also putting effort into refining each channel, especially mobile. Shopify Plus and Magento 2 fully support responsive themes, optimizing content for each device. Shopify even goes further by providing an App SDK which allows merchants to integrate Shopify shopping into their existing native mobile app or develop a custom mobile commerce app.
For e-commerce, there is a variety of different information and content that needs to be presented on the website, including product descriptions, product reviews, related products, homepage banners, and product photos. Depending on the amount of products you plan to sell, this could potentially mean long publishing processes.
Magento makes this potentially stressful process that bit simpler. Using an intuitive content publishing process, the platform makes it quick to implement custom product attributes for your products and upload images in bulk, to allow customers to choose the size or color that they want. Magento also comes with many intuitive features to provide store managers better control over the content publishing including a visual merchandiser, which lets you drag and drop products and preview a web page before it is published to make sure it looks perfect before it goes live.
Some e-commerce businesses require a higher ability of control for displaying and delivering highly targeted products, in order to improve customer experience on their site. This is where Magento really pulls its weight as an open source platform, as it can integrate with Adobe Experience Manager. Famous for powerful content management and the Adobe Marketing Cloud, together, AEM and Magento provide complete, dynamic and experience-driven commerce while also leveraging on Magento’s powerful commerce engine.
Shopify Plus has its own approach to help merchants deliver engaging content. There are also other ways in which the platform helps you manage your content. Shopify optimizes images by changing the size and dimensions to fit with the scenario, so whether they are seen on desktop or mobile, or whether they are used as a thumbnail or on the product detail page, the image is changed for maximum efficiency. Again, as a fully cloud hosted solution, Shopify will carry the burden of the servers, while providing an intuitive back-end system. As such, you can focus on making your content as interesting and engaging as possible.
Your website is a reflection of your brand, and so it is important to offer users a unique and personalized experience to entice them to return and convert into customers.
Having enormous customizability, Magento offers complete freedom for merchants to build and manipulate new functions while designing their website how they see fit. Merchants are able to edit even the core modules, meaning they can fundamentally alter the design and functionality of the store to work with their needs. Both the front-end and back-end systems can be customized. While in the front-end you can manipulate the product view and catalogue, the analytics and reporting can also be changed to reflect what you find important and what you need to know for your store.
Extensions available through the marketplace can also help to customize the platform to fit more specifically with you and your customers needs. If there is nothing in the marketplace to your liking, you also have the option to build your own extension.
Shopify is a closed platform where you can’t touch the core, and so you will likely depend on the app store to add function or new design to your site. Thanks to its large app store, Shopify Plus offers a high level of customizability. Shopify does allow merchants to customize via the admin panel, though its Liquid programming language makes difficult to find proficient developers and even then, you can only touch the front end of the site.
Magento is good choice for any business looking for a highly customizable and powerful platform to host their website, especially those at a mid-size enterprise level. Shopify Plus meanwhile boasts an intuitive design that is quick and simple to develop, it doesn’t require a high level of IT knowledge, while helping merchants get to the market fast. Though the intuitive design sacrifices some level of customizability, it can make the whole package seem very appealing.
Both Magento and Shopify Plus platforms cover all areas like omnichannel and marketing as well as security and content management, although they have different approach to those areas. Despite both platforms having mid-size enterprises as the common targeted market, deciding on which platform is suitable for you depends on your need and situation.
Get in touch with us today for a free Magento and Shopify Plus consultation.