Shopify vs. Magento Community Edition

As someone planning to create an online store or migrate your current store to another platform in the near future, you might be considering your options. Shopify and Magento Community Edition (aka Magento) are two widely acclaimed and used ecommerce store creation and management platforms today. There are, however, some huge fundamental differences between these platforms that you should be well aware of before making a comparative evaluation of the two:

Shopify is a commercial product (that you need to pay for) while Magento Community is a free, open-source software
Shopify is a hosted solution (where your store is hosted by them) while Magento requires that you provide your own hosting, install, setup and configure everything before you can actually start creating your store – something requiring medium to high level of web development and programming skills.

Basic online store functionality…Shopify can be said to be significantly easier to setup and use as compared to Magento.

Apps and Add-ons – well over 100 apps and add-ons are available for Shopify using which you can enhance and expand the functionality of your online store in various ways. Magento, again, is at a strong advantage here, with a whooping 5000+ apps and add-ons, owing, no doubt, to the open source, community driven nature of the platform.

I just listed a few of the items discussed. There are several items Magento came out ahead of SHOP,

  • 5,000+ apps for Magento and 100’s for SHOP (I am quite sure this figure will keep rising, likely for both)
  • SHOP needs third-party/paid apps while Magento has more in-built multi-lingual support.

Their conclusion:

While both Shopify and Magento Community are fairly powerful ecommerce hosting platforms, Shopify provides greater ease of use since it is a hosted and fully managed service.

Magento, while free itself, requires you to purchase hosting and carry out all the software/system setup and installation procedures yourself – something that only fairly tech-savvy people (and not typical end-users) would be able to do.

In light of this as well as some of the points discussed above, Shopify comes out a winner as an ecommerce platform for building your online store with maximum ease of use and powerful capabilities.…

A person could argue about the value of each individual item discussed, but it seems one overwhelming positive for SHOP is ease of use during setup. I know this has been discussed in various forms, however I am beginning to think it might truly be one of the most important factors for bringing in new customers.


Since it’s free, could you use tools from Magento to help you if you’re using Shopify?

This such a no-brainer. Picture yourself as a someone who wants to make a fortune buying skin care products at Ulta or Costco and reselling them on-line at Amazon for a slightly higher price. Are you gonna want to spend months wrestling with HTML and network protocols or do you want to get that store up and running as quickly as possible in order to sell product?

I spent 30 years in IT and not once did any knowledge worker ever ask me if his information was stored in a 3rd normal form relational database. Techies think this stuff is important, and to them it is. But to a business person, the IT plumbing is totally irrelevant so long as they get the information they want, when they want it in a form that they can use.


Like I have said before, if $29 per month, or even $99 per month is an expense you even think about, then you are not really in business. Then put it into perspective the cost of hosting, and that reduces the price premium. Then take into account the cost of your time, and suddenly Shopify is cheaper.

Sounds like to me this is like a hobbyist who likes to fix up cars. He or she does it themselves because they enjoy it, not because they have to, but because it is their hobby.



Read an interesting analyst piece that specified two things about SHOP, first, Magneto has $90 billion a year in merchandise running through its sites, leaving a ton of growth for SHOP in regard.

Second, that SHOP is collecting data on its small business customers. That there is a dearth of actionable data on small businesses for those who serve small business with banking and services, and that this data may be the single most valuable thing that SHOP has and probably not valued into the stock either.

So talking about a very large TAM, including not just growing more merchants, but expanding what SHOP can monetize from its clients, including data collection.