In the light of current events, adjusting to the new normal has most retailers searching ‘how to start an online store’. But the search results aren’t enough to help them get started. With competitive features offered by various eCommerce platforms, choosing the right solution for your business can be overwhelming. If you’ve been making Magento vs Shopify comparisons for days, this guide is for you.
Shopify and Magento are both strong contenders for starting an online store. But which one is better for you, completely depends on your skills, your vision for the brand and how you want to scale your online business.
So before we delve into a detailed Magento vs Shopify, let’s quickly go over the key areas you need to take into consideration while making a decision.
- Key factors to choose the right platform for starting an online store
- Success story of how The Label Life migrates from Magento to Shopify
- Magento vs Shopify - Which ecommerce platform should you choose?
- How to migrate from Magento to Shopify
- People also asked (frequently asked questions)
Key factors to choose the right platform for starting an online store
eCommerce is a competitive space. While starting an online store will help you reach your customers faster, there is always also going to be competition for their attention. That’s why you need to choose an eCommerce platform that enables your business to succeed.
The ease of setting up and starting an online store
The only way to sustain a changing market and appeal to evolving consumer behavior is to take your business online as soon as possible. The longer you take to set up your online store, the more market share your brand loses.
That’s why the number one consideration while making a Magento vs Shopify comparison, is the ease of setting up an online store. If the eCommerce platform makes you dependent on external agencies, outsourcing help or spending time reading endless how-to guides to learn a bit of coding, it’s not easy.
Shopify offers an intuitive interface that is easy-to-use for even a non-technical user. You need absolutely no technical or coding experience to start an online store on the platform. The drag and drop website builder gets your brand up and running in no time!
Additionally, the platform also offers a number of elements that you can move around to customize your homepage, product page, cart page and other pages to create a look and feel that is exclusive to your brand.
On the other hand, getting started with Magento involves a pretty steep learning curve. You’ll need to learn a few technical terms and also learn to code a little. In comparison to the Shopify drag-and-drop interface, the Magento Content Management System (CMS) is less user-friendly.
The tools and ability to offer an immersive shopping experience
As your online store grows, you’re going to need it to serve different functionalities. For example, once you establish a good customer base, you would want to display product reviews and testimonials on the store.
Similarly, if you open an online fashion store, you’re going to want to create multiple size guides for different products. If you’re selling jewelry, you would want to find a way to let shoppers try them on virtually.
Now you can’t possibly build out every solution you shoppers need. It’s not just time-consuming but requires a whole new level of technical knowledge as well. That’s where the eCommerce platform you choose should offer an extensive toolkit that you could implement solutions out of.
Shopify has its own App Store with more than 4400+ free and paid apps for merchants. Right from apps that enable them to showcase reviews on the store, to those that can help automate email and SMS campaigns, set up loyalty programs, localize the store language for and more. You can check them all out here.
All you need to do is install the app you need and the rest is pretty much similar to Shopify’s drag-and-drop interface. With most apps, you don’t even need to have any technical expertise. In some of those that do, the Shopify app partners remain proactive to help you get started or achieve the customization you need.
So what you’re looking at is a huge toolkit that has everything you need to acquire more customers, keep them engaged on and off your store, boost customer retention and loyalty, drive more sales and increase repeat purchases. There’s something for everything you need to grow your business.
If you’re doing a Magento vs Shopify comparison, you’ll notice that Magento too has a huge range of free and paid extensions. But if you’re looking at customizing a certain aspect, you’re going to need technical support from the extension builder or outsource the task to an agency.
The possibility to scale and grow your online business
Once you have your store set up and start to accept orders, you’re going to need the flexibility to grow your business. Be it in terms of the number of locations your store can deliver to or the basic functionalities like the number of product pages you need to set up to accommodate an ever-growing inventory.
Shopify is a hosted platform. It takes care of all the hosting you will need while growing your online store or opening sub-stores to cater to a wider market. That’s why starting an online store on Shopify is often associated with the ease of scaling - you can upscale or downscale based on what you’re selling and what the market needs, without worrying if your store will be able to handle the changes.
On the other hand, Magento is a self-hosted platform. So when you start your online store on Magento, you will have to sort out the hosting service you take on your own. This also means that every time you plan to grow or downscale your business, you’ll end up having to solve your hosting requirements beforehand.
So apart from a good eCommerce platform, you’ll also end up wanting to look for a good hosting service provider. This means an additional investment of time in just scaling your online store’s capabilities and offerings.
The cost of the eCommerce platform to start an online store
Continuing on our point above, since Shopify is hosted, all the hosting costs are included within your monthly plan. There’s no extra effort of paying separate bills or bearing additional fees to start an online store on Shopify.
Since Magento is self-hosted, you’re going to have to look for a hosting service provider. This adds an additional cost of hosting on top of your monthly billing for using their eCommerce platform.
On Shopify, you can control a lot of your expenses by making choices that suit the resources available to you. For example, if you’re starting an online clothing store, you can choose to set up the storefront with a free theme. But if you have the resources, you can also explore the Shopify Themes market to find something that is more customizable or matches your branding.
The same holds true for the Shopify apps you use on your store to make it more engaging for shoppers.
Simply put, the pricing or the cost of setting up your online store on Shopify is completely in your hands.
What’s more? Shopify has even curated some of the best deals and discounts from industry-leading partners in warehousing, delivery, marketing and more, in a back-to-business model for new retailers.
You can check it out here to save more than 1 Lakh INR in setting up an online store!
Now when you compare Magento vs Shopify, the costs will be seemingly high for using Magento. You’re going to have to pay for the domain, the hosting you take from another service provider, the multiple extensions you use, and more, separately.
So apart from a lot of costs getting added to your monthly bills, you’ll also end up spending a lot of time dealing with payments from different places. And when you’re starting an online store, you want your spends to remain in-check.
The support offered to enable your growth
When you’re starting an online store and you’re new to eCommerce platforms, you’re bound to hit roadblocks. At that moment, you would want access to some support that will help you get things out of the way so you can set up an online store as quickly as possible.
Shopify offers great customer support. There's 24/7 help via phone, live chat and email for the smallest of concerns, doubts or roadblocks you may face. The team’s focus remains on being able to help retailers understand their platform better and help them set up an online store in just days.
There’s also an extensive library of quick guides in both text and video format that you can use as step-by-steps to set up your online store. You can also choose to post your questions in the Shopify forum to get answers from the team or reach out to Shopify experts who have partnered with them, to help you get set up.
Now when you do a Magento vs Shopify comparison, you will notice that Magento does not have as proactive a support team. They do have a pretty extensive library of user guides and an active forum, but finding a quick solution to something can be tricky. There’s no 24/7 support that you can take advantage of either, leaving you waiting for an answer for hours.
Success story: The Label Life migrates from Magento to Shopify
The Label Life, is India’s first D2C brand known for its elevated lifestyle essentials that are styled by industry experts and celebrities like Sussanne Khan, Malaika Arora and Bipasha Basu, for the urban Indian woman.
The brand started out their online journey on Magento. But as they scaled both in terms of the products included in their catalog and the number of visitors coming onto their store, the brand started to face some challenges with the ecommerce platform.
The challenges faced on Magento
As highlighted by the brand and their migration partner, EcomEthos, the most frequent problems experienced included:
- Reporting discrepancies and misread data - Magento CMS insights and Google Analytics displayed different data, making it harder for the brand to collate actionables and insights.
- Ability to add new features at scale - As the online store traffic grew, the brand faced trouble in scaling functionalities offered to visitors without disrupting the remaining site experience.
- Technical glitches - It took the brand days to solve technical issues on the storefront, which compromised the experience they offered to their site visitors. To be able to tackle the same, the brand had to hire and manage a full-time tech team, adding to their operational costs.
- Compromised store security - Magento required the brand to install third-party plugins and apps to set up certain features; making them more prone to hacking.
Why The Label Life chose Shopify
Evaluating the features required to run the storefront seamlessly and cater to both their current as well as future needs, EcomEthos decided to migrate the brand from Magento to Shopify for the following reasons:
- Agility: With Shopify, Ecom Ethos saw massive scope for improvement and bug fixes. The platform allows stores to experiment with features and other elements in a much faster way with the help of plug and play apps.
- Cost: Shopify is a hosted platform, while Magento is a self-hosted one; which means cutting down on the costs of buying a domain and hosting the site.
- Lean tech resources: Shopify’s extensive training material, guides and a supportive community of experts removed the need to hire full-time resources to maintain the website.
- Smooth front end + back end: Development and maintenance are a regular part of running an online store. With Shopify, Ecom Ethos was able to enable seamless operations on the frontend and backend, without causing lags.
- Team coordination: The dedicated workflows and processes on Shopify helped the brand’s team to collaborate and solve problems on the go as they scaled their online business.
Results of Magento to Shopify migration
- Since Shopify is a self-sufficient platform, the agency as well as the brand did not feel the need to hire a full-time tech team for development and maintenance purposes. This helped them save on operational costs that could be used on marketing and advertising fronts to grow the business further.
- The brand experienced a 99% uptime even during traffic spikes, helping them deliver a seamless shopping experience to visitors.
- Better store security as Shopify is hosted and the apps required to set up conversion and marketing functionalities on the site, and plug-play official solutions.
- Apps like Launchpad and Search Filter app made their existing features and USPs extremely easy and pliable.
- Improved browsing experience that further reinforced the brand’s USP of being trendy and effortless.
- Shopify's flow to automate operations made things 3x efficient for in-house teams.
- Increased conversions and sales owing to the ability to innovate and personalize online shopping journeys to deliver immersive experiences.
- In-depth reporting gives the brand better visibility and insights into which products perform better in their target market, helping them strategize better.
- Faster scaling with Shopify’s agility has helped the brand add more depth to their storefront and experiment with features on-the-go, leading to an overall success.
Shopify gave us just that, while aiding our lean team structure. From security, stability and slick performance, Shopify was the perfect lockdown move for us at TheLabelLife.com.”
Magento vs Shopify - Which eCommerce platform should you choose?
In conclusion, Shopify is a more user-friendly eCommerce platform than Magento. With easy access to support, eCommerce experts and app partners, you’ll be able to take your business online much faster.
As compared to Shopify, Magento might result in becoming more of a project that takes you weeks or maybe months to complete. It entirely depends on the availability of resources and the partners you choose in addition to the platform to help you set up your store.
Here’s another testimonial from a brand that chose to migrate from Magento to Shopify to scale their business faster:
Looking for Indian brands that are using Shopify for their storefront? Here are some of the success stories you’d love to read about:
- From local to global: 5 things to learn from the growth story of Aachho
- Phool takes their lifestyle and wellness brand online with Shopify
- How Heads Up For Tails started their online pet supply store on Shopify
- How Fabuliv is winning hearts by taking Indian craftsmanship online
How to migrate from Magento to Shopify?
If you already have a store on Magento and would like to move to Shopify for easy scaling, here are the steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Configure your basic administrative settings
Before you actually move all your data, make sure you complete a few administrative steps to lay a strong foundation for your migration.
- Review the ecommerce store migration considerations to ensure a smooth migration
- Complete the initial setup to ensure your store settings are up to date (store address, email address, and other settings)
- Know where to manage your account so that you can access admin information like billing
- Add staff to your Shopify store admin dashboard (this may include the Shopify experts you hire for migration)
Step 2: Import your store's content and data to Shopify
When you migrate to Shopify, you need to ensure you’re migrating all your content - products, blog pages, customer data, order data and similar. Take a look at what you’d like to carry forward to the new platform.
- Copy and paste content from your Magento store
- Use existing migration apps from the Shopify App store
- Transfer data manually using CSV files (this option can migrate customers and products only, and does not include customer passwords)
Step 3: Organize your products after migration
Once you have migrated your data from Magento to Shopify, follow these steps to ensure everything is in place:
- Check your product details to ensure your product descriptions, images, videos, variants metadata is in place
- Create a collection to organize your products into categories and make them easier for your customers to find on your Shopify store
- Get familiar with product inventory and transfers to keep track of the products that are available on your store
Step 4: Make your website look great
The next step is to make your storefront look good. This is where Shopify themes and templates come in.
- You can add a free theme from your Shopify store admin > Themes
- You can buy a paid theme from the Theme Store as well for a more premium look
- You can hire Shopify experts to customize a theme as per your branding
Step 5: Set up your domain
When you’re setting up a store on Shopify, you can choose to either buy a new domain or transfer the existing domain on Magento.
Step 6: Set up your shipping
Before you go live with your Shopify store, you will need to set up your shipping. To learn more about shipping and fulfillment works, please read this guide first.
After that, you can follow these steps in your Shopify admin:
- Add your shipping address to get accurate shipping rates based on the location of your business
- Create shipping zones to enable shipping to different regions, states, and countries you want to sell to
- Set up shipping rates for the shipping zones that you've created to include in cart totals
- Find a shipping partner that suits all your requirements
Step 7: Configure your taxes
As an online business in India, you will require setting up GST on your Shopify store. This involves setting up e-invoicing in your store admin.
Please read this guide carefully to configure your taxes: How to get GST invoices for your Shopify store
Step 8: Set up a payment provider
Make sure you know what payment modes your customers prefer to use when making a purchase before setting them up. Here are some resources to learn more about payments in India:
- Shopify support payment gateways in India
- Different payment methods on Shopify and how to set them up
- The importance of offering cash on delivery on your Shopify store
Step 9: Set up redirect URLs
Now that you’re ready to take orders on your Shopify store, you need to ensure that the right redirects are set up from your Magento site. Read this how-to to set up redirects to get traffic on your new store.
Remember you can always reach out to a Shopify expert to migrate your store from Magento to Shopify.
If you don’t have an online store yet, and are exploring platforms, sign up for a free trial on Shopify today!
People also asked
Is Magento similar to Shopify?
From the standpoint of their functionality, the two are similar. But Shopify is built keeping in mind the requirements of an ecommerce platform, while Magento offers a generic set of features for anyone who wants to set up a website. So if you’re an online business, Shopify offers you better capabilities to set up a storefront.
Is Shopify better than Magento 2?
While Magento 2 is a refined version of Magento, it is still more complex to set up when compared with Shopify. You will require a certain level of technical expertise to be able to tap into its capabilities of design and development, which may end up costing you more on the resources front. Shopify’s interface is much easier to use, making handling your storefront a more hands-on experience, and the learning curve is simpler too.
Why migrate from Magento to Shopify?
Shopify gives you the ability to manage your storefront from both design and content perspective in a much better way. Its easy-to-use interface makes it easier to set up new pages as you scale your online business, and keep your front-end elements and integrations well-optimized.
How do I migrate from Magento to Shopify?
Migrating from Magento to Shopify can take upto a few weeks of time. You need to take a back up of your Magento store data, sign up on Shopify, import all the data from the previous platform, review the data you’re moving and then follow the steps to design and develop a storefront for your new Shopify store to present the data to consumers. A good idea is to seek help from Shopify experts for seamless migration; this will also ensure that you don’t lose data in transition.
Is Magento cheaper than Shopify?
If you’re starting an online store or are on a budget constraint, we would recommend Shopify. Shopify’s pricing is well-suited for beginners and lets you scale as your business grows. It also comes inclusive of the costs of hosting, so you don’t have to pay overheads as you would on Magento. Magento also requires investing in a team that can manage design, development and maintenance of your site.