Shopify Plus vs Magento Enterprise
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What others have to say
We’ve been using Magento Enterprise for a few years now. When we finally decided to make the jump over to Shopify Plus, I admit I wasn’t looking forward to the huge task of replatforming, but I’m so glad we did it! Your team was really helpful and it was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Shopify Plus has been really easy to use and the set up went smoothly. We won’t be switching again anytime soon!
The main reason we chose to move our enterprise ecommerce site over to Shopify Plus from Magento Enterprise was the desire to protect our customers. We loved that Shopify Plus hosts in their own secure environment with PCI Level 1 Compliance. Since we made the switch, we’ve been sleeping a lot better knowing we’ve got the same security as the big banks!
Switching from Magento Enterprise to Shopify Plus was really a no-brainer for us. We wanted the ability to use several different apps without having to employ a developer to make sure they all ran the way we wanted them to. With Shopify Plus, it’s pretty much plug and play when it comes to apps. We can pick and choose and be up and running in minutes with full functionality… just the way we like it!
Our decision to go with Shopify Plus was supported by a few different features, but the one that really sold us was the cost savings. Shopify Plus has such great functionality built right into it, so we can do everything we want to do without incurring additional costs from paying developers to fiddle around with things until they’re just right. I can’t say the same thing about our previous platform, Magento Enterprise. The migration was totally worth it.
At Shopify Plus we’re seeing more and more enterprise-level brands make the switch from either Magento, Community or Enterprise. The number of migrations to Shopify Plus is staggering, but many brands are still nervous about about changing platforms. Looking for information online can only add to the anxiety. Quality comparisons can be hard to find… so we decided to break it down into one article and twelve topics.
There is no doubt that Magento is the king of on-premise ecommerce. Built specifically for developers, it offers tremendous flexibility and extensibility. But SaaS is changing the world, and ecommerce is no exception. Many retailers are looking for a simpler, more manageable way to manage complex customer experiences.
Shopify Plus is innovating how enterprise merchants manage and rapidly deliver commerce to consumers. It allows retailers to refocus their budgets and human capital away from costly infrastructure and development, and onto more important matters like strategy, customer engagement, social influence, and data-guided marketing.
The launch of Magento 2 represents a line in the sand. Over the next one to two years, tens of thousands of Magento 1.x clients will be faced with a tough decision: re-platform to Magento 2, or evaluate other options in the market.
If you’re considering Magento 2 or Shopify Plus, use this document as a resource. If you have questions, feel free to .
Hosting and deployment
Hosting and managed services are specialized competencies that require a great deal of care and attention. As a licensed, on-premise solution, Magento does not include either hosting or managed services with its licensing. Magento clients are required to pay a reliable hosting provider to host an architecture that can accommodate peak traffic. Beyond the additional cost, the focus on “keeping the lights on” can take your eye off your core business.
Magento also requires installation, setup and configuration. This is challenging across a distributed architecture. A significant portion of every Magento deployment is dedicated to ensuring performance and scalability rather than focusing on your core requirements.
Shopify Plus clients benefit from Shopify’s massive architecture. Shopify Plus gives high growth, high volume merchants the scalability, reliability, and flexibility they need, without all the hassles, long timelines, and expense of an on-premise solution. Many Shopify Plus clients are coming to the platform just to accommodate the massive loads associated with flash sales. These flash sales often see thousands of concurrent checkouts at peak. Migrating to Shopify Plus means never having to worry about infrastructure, hosting, networking, or load testing ever again.
Strong brands require a relationship built on trust. Clients must feel safe and secure when transacting with your brand. For this reason, security is fundamental to ecommerce. PCI Compliance is our industry’s way of verifying security standards for organizations that handle any online payments. PCI Compliance goes well beyond the software itself; it creates dependencies on how the software is managed, deployed and hosted.
While Magento provides the ability to deploy PCI Compliant storefronts, you as the vendor are responsible for ensuring that your site is safe and secure. Ensuring PCI Compliance is costly and time consuming. Since the burden of securing the data on the server is entirely yours, it creates headaches that distract you from your business.
As an open source solution, Magento is also prone to malware. Security breaches to the software itself are a regular concern. Magento is forced to play defense and regularly releases security patches throughout the year. As an example, over 10,000 Magento sites were victim to the Guruncsite malware in 2015. Google was forced to blacklist over 8,000 storefronts in the first 90 days of the breach alone. Magento has been responsive by releasing security patches when threats are identified — 10 of which have been released since January 2015. However, every security patch takes time and resources to deploy and test.
Shopify Plus is the most cost-effective platform for ensuring security. With Shopify Plus, your site will be hosted and protected as Shopify is Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. Shopify Plus also takes care of various compliance assessments and risk management, making sure your site is secure, without the need for you to manage a regular assessment of your site.
Shopify Plus provides a free site-wide SSL certificate to all clients. Most ecommerce websites use SSL encryption technology to protect a shopper’s personal information during the checkout process, but Shopify covers the entire shopping experience. Once your certificate is activated, all traffic will be redirected from HTTP to encrypted HTTPS.
Shopify Plus allows for private app development and cart scripting to accommodate unique or complex customizations. The platform can enable complex customizations without the need to understand a full application infrastructure. Shopify’s APIs are standardized and intuitive to allow developers to leverage the development language or platform of their choice for development.
Implementation times for a new Magento 2 deployment are commonly 4 to 8 months depending on the level of complexity. They also require an array of resources including, developers, architects, deployment specialists, QA resources, etc. An implementation of an on-premise ecommerce solution looks a lot like custom application development. Building out customizations in Magento is also less efficient because you have no standard of code. You can hire a developer to build out all your customizations, but all of the code is running on your own environment. It becomes your responsibility to manage and maintain changes to the core architecture. Load testing is mission critical for Magento customizations, so even if your customization is implemented and working just fine today, it may not perform well under peak performance.
Upgrades and feature releases
Magento has an aggressive development cycle for its 2.x roadmap, with plans to deploy multiple point releases and security patches in a given year. Like many on-premise solutions, new releases can pose a challenge when the platform has been extended or customized. With each release, the client must organize a true project to understand the impacts to the existing code base. Upgrades can take days or weeks depending upon the situation. In many instances, the client may need to rewrite existing customizations. QA and load testing are required for each individual release.
Shopify Plus removes the need for upgrades, patches and point releases. The platform is designed to allow retailers to consume new features as they become available. Retailers can choose to consume new capabilities via the Shopify Admin as they become live. This saves the retailer from distracting software deployments and saves the time and money associated with upgrades and patches.
Shopify Plus recently announced scripting capabilities, which frees up developers to write their own customizations. Shopify Scripts allows developers to ‘enter’ Shopify’s servers and create their own customizations to the shopping cart.
By utilizing custom scripts, you can greatly reduce the time and costs associated with building shopping cart customizations. Scripts give you advanced custom functionality without compromising flexibility or maintainability.
Shopify Plus also enables developers to build their own platform customizations in the form of private apps, which can be developed using the client’s preferred development language. An Embedded App SDK allows individual clients extensions to appear directly in the Shopify Admin.
Magento is an open source platform, and clients can access and modify all of Magento’s core modules. This provides endless freedom when designing and customizing your website, but building out customizations in Magento can be challenging without a standard of code. You can hire a developer to build a customization for you, but since you are running everything on your own server, you are on your own to manage, support, and scale any extensions or customizations. You also need to worry about how future customizations and upgrades will impact the existing code base. This can create risk and puts greater dependencies on QA and load testing.
Magento development and architectural resources can be expensive and hard to find. Many retailers require an entire team to manage customizations. This can be a distraction to your existing development teams, taking their eye off more valuable efforts that drive direct value to your consumers.
Scalability and reliability
Shopify Plus offers a fully hosted SaaS solution built to handle any level of volume allowing high-volume merchants to focus on their business, not their IT. Shopify Plus is built on the same infrastructure that supports over 400,000 Shopify merchants, ensuring that flash sales, Black Friday, or heavy daily volume can be handled with ease.
Existing clients are encountering flash sale peaks in the thousands of concurrent checkouts. Offloading concerns around scalability and performance allows you to focus time on energy on value-added pursuits such as marketing and user experience.
Both Magento Enterprise and Community have many examples of clients that operate at super high scale. In fact, Magento 2.0 is designed with scalability in mind but this scalability comes at a cost. On- premise deployments require that you architect your solution to accommodate the single highest peak in traffic. This means building out and managing an infrastructure that you may actually only use for a single day every year. Any time you roll out a change to production you risk impacting the scalability of the overall architecture.
One of Magento’s biggest strengths has always been its ecosystem. There are hundreds of Magento systems integrators and hundreds of certified developers. With almost 280,000 Magento community sites, the number of developers and architects that have worked with Magento 1.x is staggering.
But Magento 2 changes the equation a bit. The radical changes to architecture and deep technical competencies have had an impact on the community. Regardless, there is no arguing that Magento’s massive ecosystem has had a significant impact on the ecommerce landscape.
Shopify now has over 400,000 customers on its platform, and a community of thousands of Shopify Experts have grown up around the platform. To ensure that Shopify Plus can accommodate the entire needs of large retailers, Shopify Plus has created the Shopify Plus Partner program, and each partner is thoroughly vetted and represents the top agencies within their given competencies.
Magento maintains a large marketplace for extensions known as the Magento Marketplace. There, you’ll find the extensions that make your store function like a custom online store should. But Magento extensions rarely feature turnkey operation. The majority take a little bit (or a lot) of coding to get up and running. As a result, Magento extensions put added dependence on your development team. They can also conflict with your individual customizations, requiring heavy tweaks to ensure stability. Extensions should be tested with each deployment by development and QA resources.
Shopify maintains a huge library of third party apps, all of which are designed to minimize dependency on developers. The Shopify App Store offers a wide array of solutions from marketing, sales, social media, shipping, inventory and even supply chain management. Shopify’s third-party apps are available to help streamline all of your enterprise needs — without the dependency on developers and integrators.
It’s become increasingly more important to go to your customers and early adopters, instead of waiting for them to come to you. As a result, Shopify has deployed a suite of capabilities to ensure that we can enable ecommerce on any 3rd party marketing site, blog, social network, or marketplace.
Shopify’s Sales Channel SDK allows you to add commerce to any mobile app, marketplace, or website. You can connect your users to millions of products right where they are. Shopify handles the hard parts — like payments, shipping, taxes, inventory, analytics, and more.
Shopify customers can also deploy commerce capabilities to Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter immediately after starting their store — entirely from within Shopify. Other 3rd party integrations include popular communities like houzz, Ebates, and Wanelo.
Magento currently lacks integration to common social channels and marketplaces. As the number of channels expands, on-premise platforms such as Magento are going to have a hard time keeping up. Integrating with any one of these channels requires custom integration and development. In a world where retailers are increasingly leveraging more channels, managing all of these one-off integrations with Magento can become cost prohibitive.
To a build a beautiful custom site, all that is required is knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Liquid — Shopify’s intuitive templating language. Shopify also maintains an enormous library of themes which can almost entirely remove the need for any manual page development.
Managing basic content and presentation on Magento 2 requires an in- depth knowledge of the platform architecture. The skills required to develop a front-end experience on Magento 2 are much higher than they were in Magento 1.x. Magento 2 requires knowledge of its complex component architecture and directory structure, as well as knowledge of PHP and a myriad of other technologies for basic changes or customizations. Magento 2 is built for developers, and as a result, requires developers for basic changes to presentation. This not only slows the implementation time but adds lengthy development cycles when all that is required are basic changes to the user experience.
Brands focused on speed shouldn’t require a development project and testing cycle for basic content changes. As the time-to-market for brands becomes an increasing focus, on-premise platforms will have a hard time keeping up.
Shopify Themes and Liquid Templating are designed with responsive design in mind. When customers go to your store using a smartphone, its design automatically changes to use a specially designed mobile theme. The Shopify Theme Store includes over 100 free and premium professionally themes that are designed to be responsive or reactive.
Shopify also provides a Mobile App SDK which allows you to easily develop custom commerce apps or to integrate Shopify’s checkout into your existing mobile application. With just a few lines of code, you can insert native Buy Buttons or embed a responsive online store into your app.
Designing responsive experiences on Magento 2 can be difficult given the complexity of page development. Magento includes a responsive theme for all merchants, but heavy page development and QA testing are required with each responsive or mobile deployment.
Shopify Plus is committed to partnering with retailers. It offers an expert team of launch managers, technical designers, merchant success managers, and dedicated support members to ensure that your transition is smooth, fast, and painless. Dedicated Launch Managers are assigned to every deployment and serve as a technical point-of- contact for migration and development coordination. Merchant Success Managers are assigned to every Shopify Plus account post launch and exist to help you navigate the wealth of resources at your disposal. From billing to development, themes to channels, they are with you every step of the way.
Magento offers technical support, but like many on-premise solutions, you are largely on your own once you sign up for licensing. A third-partner agency or integrator is required for any ongoing expertise on the platform and your deployment.