Magento, Shopify or WooCommerce – which is best?
Choosing the right eCommerce platform makes all the difference. It can provide a neat resolution to a number of different challenges – helping you to create and streamline a customer base, attract new customers, and start engaging the ‘sleeper’ part of your audience.
Crucially though, the choice between different eCommerce platforms isn’t always clear cut; you need to pick the one that best suits your business. So, let’s take a look at the three standout giants of eCommerce stores – Magento 2, Shopify, and WooCommerce – and what they’ve got to offer. We’ll end each one with a few thoughts from Michael Cain, our Technical Director!
As specialists in Magento 2, we’re particularly experienced with this platform here at 21Digital, and it’s not hard to see why so many of our clients choose it for their own eCommerce sites. Scalability is the standout key feature for Magento 2, and the main reason why it’s almost universally considered to be the best option for mature eCommerce businesses, or for ambitious brands – especially those who plan on selling lots of different types of products, with all the complexities that involves.
Magento 2 key features:
- Exceptionally scalable – supports large product catalogues with multiple modifications, as well as native product bundles, cross-selling and upselling modules, and so on
- Built-in selection of solid security features
- Thousands of add-ons and extensions available for you to customise your site to your exact specifications
- Equipped with built-in SEO features to help get your site ranking, including URL changes, 301 redirects, and Canonical Tags
- Multiple payment gateways supported, including PayPal, Authorize.net, Amazon Payments, and Stripe
- Flexible selection of hosting options
- Choice of two deployment options: Magento Open Source, or Adobe Commerce (formally called Magento Community, and Enterprise Edition, respectively)
But don’t forget:
- As one of the most complex and advanced eCommerce platforms available, Magento 2 is tailored to web development professionals, and it requires quite a lot of technical knowledge and competence in order to get the very most out of it
- It’s more expensive than WooCommerce and Shopify, so requires a little more investment right off the bat (but you get a lot for it!)
What Michael says:
“Quite simply, Magento 2 is one of the most complex, robust and powerful eCommerce platforms available. It can integrate comfortably with a range of business systems, from EPOS to shipping and fulfilment systems via the built-in API. It also has multi-site functionality, so it can serve the same inventory to different storefronts. The possibilities are endless!”
WooCommerce – in short
WooCommerce is one of the best choices for small businesses or micro businesses, especially those that might not have the resources required for a Magento 2 site. It’s highly economical and an excellent platform for quickly getting you up and running, although at the cost of Magento 2’s raw scalability – so from the outset, you’ll need to think not only about the size of your current inventory, but to what extent you plan to expand or branch out in future.
WooCommerce key features:
- Highly economical, and good for getting your business off the ground
- Intuitive and easy to use, with simple product listings, bulk email, multiple store inventories, analytics, marketing features, and tonnes of flexible configuration tools
- As a WordPress plugin, it’s an excellent option if you already have an existing CMS website, Basically, it works with WordPress to effectively turn your website into an online store
- As an open source platform it offers thousands of fully customisable themes, which you can tailor to your liking using either a graphic editor or custom CSS, HTML, or PHP coding
- Variety of built in SEO features
- Plenty of payment gateway options supported
But don’t forget:
- Having graphic design and coding experience will be helpful for customising your own themes
- Compared to Magento 2’s built-in features, WooCommerce may need more installations at once to be compatible with a business extension
- When choosing themes and additional features, you may need to bear in mind the upper limits of your WordPress hosting account
What Michael says:
“An incredible bolt-on to the most powerful CMS platform in the world, WooCommerce levels up the online retail experience without sacrificing that famously easy-to-use nature of WordPress. It has a powerful API too, and plenty of flexibility to cater for complex needs, from shipping to payment gateways. And of course, it’s easy to implement an SEO strategy with plugins such as the popular Yoast SEO.”
Shopify – the key summary
Highly affordable and famously easy to use, Shopify is often the go-to choice for startups and smaller eCommerce businesses, especially those who don’t necessarily need the high-level capabilities and functionality that Magento 2 offers. Shopify is the perfect option if you’re working with a strict budget, or have a relatively small product catalogue.
Shopify key features:
- Quick, easy and inexpensive platform to get a site off the ground, making it the classic option for beginner store builders
- Exceptionally low costs compared to other platforms – Shopify is even less costly to maintain than many open source platforms
- Designed specifically to be easy to use (which is ideal if you don’t have much technical experience) with a user-friendly admin interface, easy catalogue management and theme setup
- Huge choice of in-built features and capabilities available in the Shopify App Store, which offers 3000 easy-to-install apps to choose from
- There are 60 themes available, allowing you to customise the appearance of your Shopify site
- Shopify comes packaged with a range of basic SEO features, with a variety of additional options in the store
- Supports more than 70 payment gateways, including PayPal, Amazon Payments, and more
- Supports all six categories of PCI standards, and SSL encryption is also included
- Shopify is a cloud-based platform, so no hosting is necessary. Its own team handles hosting support and load balancing in-house, which means there are no performance issues
But don’t forget:
- Shopify isn’t as flexible in as many configuration options as Magento 2
- It will likely require extra investment to integrate third party solutions
What Michael says:
“Shopify is a cracking platform to get you up and running selling online. It has great scalability options and can easily integrate with marketing channels such as Google Ads and Facebook.”
Of course, these are all just the broad strokes! If you’re still narrowing down your final decision, or you need more in-depth advice on the specifics of your own eCommerce store, then feel free to get in touch with our experts right here at 21Digital. With around 20 years of web development experience to our name, you can trust us to know exactly which platform would be the perfect choice for your own eCommerce store. (And while you’re here, you might want to check out our article on how we can help you save time and money with a single platform for your eCommerce store!)
We are the lead generation and e-commerce experts, specialising in building sites on the powerful Magento 2 eCommerce platform, while also delivering award-winning digital marketing services in PPC (Google Ads) and search engine optimisation, as well as web design, web development, digital consultancy, and email marketing.
Why not give us a call today on 01254 660 560 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s talk!