So, you’ve finally decided to launch your ecommerce business, eh?
We guess this is where we congratulate you for undertaking this colossal step… or is it?
Not to scare you off, but the real struggle is about to begin, starting with which ecommerce platform you should choose to build and manage your website.
Would it be Shopify?
Or perhaps you’re inclined toward Magento?
WooCommerce also sounds like a strong contender.
Before you fry your brain thinking about them, let us tell you that each is packed with outstanding features providing many benefits. At the same time, you can’t ignore the d-word (disadvantages).
We’ve discussed that and much more in our blog. Now, all that remains is that you read it until the end, so it’s easier to decide which platform is best for your business.
Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce – A Brief History
In 2004, Tobias Lutke, Scott Lake, and Daniel Weinand wanted to launch an online store to sell snowboarding equipment. They had no platform that could’ve helped with that. So, the trio took matters into their own hands and established Shopify.
Two years later – in 2006 – Shopify was on every tech article’s ‘One of the Most Successful Startups of the Year’ list. The platform was so successful that, in 2015, Amazon closed its webstore and recommended customers to use Shopify.
Fast forward to 2023; Shopify has more than 3 million active users. Some top companies, including Wikipedia and Tesla Motors, are among them.
Unlike Shopify, Magento didn’t have a smooth sailing. During the first few years of its launch, the platform continued swapping one buyer for another.
Launched in 2007 by Varien, Magento was sold to eBay in 2011; in 2016, Permira bought it before finally selling the plugin to Adobe in 2018. Since then, however, Magento has remained with Adobe and powers over 700K websites alone in the US, including Time Out, Coca-Cola, Ford, and Olympus.
This continued selling and buying of Magneto had one silver lining, though. The platform went through several revisions and upgrades, which contributed to improving its overall performance.
Some might argue that WooCommerce doesn’t belong on the list. After all, it’s not precisely a content management system (CMS) but an open-source WordPress plugin.
But considering around 810 million websites use WordPress, it’s only fair to include WooCommerce in our list.
WooCommerce was made available in 2011, quickly becoming popular due to its simplicity and customizable features. A few of the leading brands whose websites are built on the platform include The Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health, and Spectator Shop.
Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce – The Features
With the basic information out of the way, let’s dig deeper into the three platforms features:
1. User Experience
Whether you’ve just established your online business or have been running one for decades, Shopify treats everyone equally. By that, we mean that the platform is quite simple to use. You can set up and operate your store within minutes. And that’s because, with other open-source platforms, you’ll have to purchase a host and upload the source code to your server; Shopify doesn’t require any of this.
If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend against Magento. Before you call this review biased, know that Magento is intended for intermediate to experienced web developers. Although the platform offers many guides and tutorials, they’re primarily for veterans, not non-tech-savvy individuals. So, if you choose Magento for your ecommerce store, you’ll have to outsource your website’s setup and management to another team.
If Shopify is a user-friendly platform and Magento is not, you can call WooCommerce the perfect blend of both. If you have basic knowledge of WordPress, figuring out how to use the plugin won’t be challenging. But those with no or limited knowledge of WordPress will require training, even more so if you’re not a coding expert. Once installed, however, WooCommerce is relatively simple to wrap your head around.
Shopify handles the security itself in the background. The business-customer interactions are encrypted via SSL Certificates. So, the credit card information users enter remain confidential and protected. That’s one of the primary reasons merchants worldwide deem Shopify a reliable platform.
In terms of security, Magento isn’t far behind Shopify. Being the first platform to prioritize data protection, Magento offers users enhanced security by sending almost regular updates. Moreover, Magento has extensions that help limit or block threats, scan files, and strengthen passwords.
WooCommerce is a private-hosted plugin. So, you’ll be responsible for managing its security. That includes making your website payment card industry (PCI) compliant, for which you’ll have to follow 12 steps. Because of these rigorous standards, WooCommerce’s security lags behind Shopify and Magento.
3. SEO Optimization
Like other departments, Shopify excels in SEO. You can edit meta titles and descriptions and share images, both factors helping you rank higher on SERPs. That said, the Robots.txt file and Sitemap are not editable on Shopify, which might leave a sour taste in your mouth.
When it comes to SEO optimization, Magento is the clear winner. Considered one of the most powerful platforms in terms of SEO, it offers excellent extensions to help guarantee a high SERP ranking. Magento makes it easy for search engines to analyze your website structure.
WooCommerce has all WordPress’s SEO capabilities, which is saying a lot, considering the latter allows you to edit and create content. This way, you can ensure your website grabs one of the top spots in SERPs. WooCommerce also allows you to optimize your product pages.
4. Themes and Templates
Experienced and proficient designers create Shopify’s themes. That’s why they’re not only visually stunning but functional as well. And that’s not all. In addition to the free themes, there are premium themes that require a certain fee. This way, Shopify caters to both – newly launched businesses and successful corporations.
Like Shopify, Magento offers free and premium themes. The price for the former can be up to $499. And thanks to the platform’s open-source nature, you can customize the templates. We highly recommend doing this because having a unique website is one of the most effective ways of gaining a competitive edge.
Any theme that works on WordPress should work on WooCommerce. It also allows you to customize the platform’s plugins, themes, extensions, and coding. Apart from WordPress, WooCommerce features templates made by third parties. Exploring them will be wise if you don’t find a suitable option among WooCommerce’s existing choices.
5. Payment Gateways
Not only is Shopify compatible with major payment alternatives, but the platform also has its own Shopify Payments. If you’re based outside the US, Shopify Payments would be especially beneficial because it can accept payments in various currencies.
Customers can make payments on Magento-powered websites via PayPal, Braintree, and Authorize.Net. While you can integrate other payment gateways, it can cost up to a few thousand dollars. So, if you’ve budget issues, Magento might not be right.
Two popular payment platforms WooCommerce uses to process transactions are PayPal and Stripe. Apart from these two, WooCommerce has its exclusive payment store; it’s free to download and use without any monthly costs.
6. Plugins and Extensions
Shopify has over two thousand apps in its store, making it a platform with one of the largest app stores. You can explore them by categories so it’s easier to find the software you want. They even have a ‘Staff’s Pick’ section about their favorite apps.
Since Magento is for experienced web developers, it’s only fair that it offers a comprehensive range of extensions. Fortunately, it does, with over 6000 extensions for different categories, including accounting, marketing, sales, and more.
As of writing this blog, WooCommerce has over 400 plugins and extensions to help you increase your website’s functionality, among other things. And you can also integrate third-party extensions into WooCommerce.
7. Support and Community
You can reach Shopify’s customer support representatives anytime you want. They’re available on phone, email, and instant messages. Apart from that, the platform also has a community-based forum for developers and users.
While Magento doesn’t have a 24/7 message option, its customer service is reliable nonetheless. It has a community comprising expert merchants from all over the world who are available if you need help figuring out the platform.
Like Magento, WooCommerce has a community-based platform consisting of experienced developers. Additionally, there are other helpful resources, like tutorials and reference materials, that provide valuable guidance.
8. Mobile Responsiveness
All three platforms are mobile-friendly. Meaning, you can create an online website that users can access from just about every device. That said, the level of customization and flexibility vary.
And the Winner Is…
Business owners are the ultimate winners because they’ve got so many ecommerce solutions to choose from. So, to summarize:
- Shopify would be ideal if you’ve just established your online business and growth is one of your primary objectives.
- Magento would be suitable if you run a big firm and you’re not limited by budgetary constraints.
- WooCommerce would be the best choice if your company belongs to the ‘small to medium’ business category.
Wondering where Design Genious fits in here?
After gaining a comprehensive understanding of your business objective, goals, and resources, we choose one of these platforms to build a robust, secure, and easy-to-navigate website for you.