Choosing the right eCommerce platform for your brand is a business-critical decision and one that can strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned eCommerce professional! So with a plethora of eCommerce platforms available, we've reviewed two popular options - Shopify Plus and Magento (now known as Adobe Commerce) - to help you decide which might be most suited to your brand. Let’s get started!

About Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus is Shopify’s advanced solution, specifically designed to cater to the needs of larger businesses and online retailers. It provides an impressive range of features, including a scalable infrastructure, advanced customisation options, dedicated customer support and multi-channel selling, allowing businesses to manage and grow their online shops efficiently. With its focus on scalability and flexibility, Shopify Plus helps growing businesses boost their online presence, streamline eCommerce operations, and provide an unbeatable shopping experience to customers.

About Magento (now Adobe Commerce).

Like Shopify Plus, Magento is a well-known eCommerce platform. It offers a handful of customisation options and flexibility for businesses of various sizes, but it can struggle to keep up with Shopify Plus’ evolving features. In the same way that Shopify Plus does, Magento provides a platform for online retailers to sell a wide range of products. Compared to the advanced capabilities and streamlined experience of Shopify Plus, Magento is usually somewhat lacking. Magento falls short in delivering the same level of efficiency, scalability and dedicated support for retailers. With Shopify Plus, businesses benefit from a reliable infrastructure and various marketing tools, meaning that Magento is often seen as the lesser of the two platforms.

Shopify Plus vs Magento: compare & contrast the key differences.

While both are popular eCommerce platforms, here are the key differences between Magento and Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - ease of use.

Businesses seeking a user-friendly eCommerce management system will look for ease of use, and that’s exactly what Shopify Plus provides.

While both Shopify Plus and Magento are relatively straightforward, Shopify Plus proves the superior option in this regard. Its intuitive interface uses a convenient 'drag and drop' editor, allowing for quick product and inventory modifications.

Shopify’s Online Store 2.0, released in 2022, gives merchants far more flexibility and in-house control than ever before, with sections on every page, app-powered blocks, flexible data storage, and robust developer tools. In summary, this benefits brands of all sizes as internal teams can more quickly adapt to changing business needs themselves. And, when they need developer assistance to build integrations, the work can be done far more easily.

In contrast, Magento is more complex and may require users to spend time familiarising themselves with the platform before fully exploring what it’s capable of. It’s not as easy to start using Magento and immediately feel comfortable navigating the platform, whereas Shopify Plus offers more of a ‘setup and get started’ service. Magento offers a more limited selection of themes, which might hold some businesses back.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - customisation options.

Customisation is hugely important for businesses wanting to create a unique and personalised online shop that converts at a higher rate. Both Shopify Plus and Magento offer customisation options, but they do so in different ways. Both platforms provide themes and templates, but Shopify Plus boasts a broader range of options. Nevertheless, Magento does have advanced customisation possibilities, but these are more costly, complex and time-consuming to implement and maintain.

With Shopify Plus, users have access to a vast selection of modern themes, some of which are free, and the option to create custom themes. Learn more about the merits of both with our blog post on standard versus bespoke themes.

Shopify Plus simplifies the customisation process with its 'drag and drop' functionality, enabling quick changes and updates to be made within minutes. As mentioned above, Shopify’s Online Store 2.0 also enables merchants greater in-house customisation with sections available everywhere. With Magento, a greater understanding of website design and development is needed to achieve these results.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - innovation.

Shopify Plus has the edge over Magento in the innovation department as it's a core part of the platform’s ethos. It rolls out Shopify Editions product updates twice yearly, the Summer 2023 edition showcasing over 100 product updates! Best of all, the premise behind these innovations is to expand the features and functionality available within the Shopify Plus platform, saving merchants the time and expense of using additional third parties or bespoke work.

Leading the pack with AI innovations, Shopify is introducing Sidekick (an AI commerce assistant for merchants on Shopify) and Shopify Magic (tools to reduce the time spent on manual tasks).

Last but not least, Shopify also has the much coveted fastest checkout on the planet. Shopify’s latest updates focus on the one-page checkout and checkout extensibility, all aiming to deliver easier customisation of the checkout and higher conversions which will be popular with merchants of all sizes.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - merchant support.

When it comes to customer support, having reliable assistance available is important, particularly during unexpected website issues. Shopify Plus excels in this aspect, providing excellent customer support through various channels. This includes telephone, live chat and email. Plus, users can access online tutorials and seek third-party assistance for themes and plugins. With Shopify Plus, help is always readily available, and it’s easy to find an answer to a problem or query.

Magento also offers customer support, but it is not as easily accessible as Shopify Plus. This discrepancy is largely because Shopify Plus is the preferred platform for numerous eCommerce businesses, resulting in tailored support services, which Magento does not currently have access to.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - pricing.

Price is a significant factor to consider when choosing between Shopify Plus and Magento, and it’s one of the key differences that sway businesses into choosing Shopify Plus. While both platforms have a price tag, Magento tends to be the more expensive option.

The initial design and build of a Shopify Plus store with a bespoke theme will be around £80,000, depending on the complexity of the requirements. Then on an ongoing basis, Shopify Plus offers a variety of plans starting at approximately £1,650 per month for enterprise clients. This is slightly more expensive than the standard Shopify use, but it’s still a more affordable option than most other eCommerce platforms, and it includes security, hosting, and upgrades.

In contrast, Magento design and build costs tend to be higher than Shopify Plus. Then, on an ongoing basis, Magento's enterprise plan can reach up to £17,000 per year. However, Magento users must also factor in a variety of additional costs, such as website hosting, transaction fees, and upgrades that don’t apply to Shopify Plus.

For businesses of every size, the predictable and inclusive pricing of Shopify Plus can be beneficial. It’s easy to know exactly what you will spend on a website throughout the year without any surprise costs if your business grows or your eCommerce needs change.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - scalability.

Shopify Plus offers impressive scalability options. It has been built to handle businesses already with a lot of traffic, as well as those undergoing rapid growth, making it suitable for any brand with big plans. With Shopify Plus, you can focus on growing your business without worrying about server management or performance issues.

Magento, though scalable, often requires additional investments in infrastructure and technical expertise to ensure optimal performance. It’s not as easy to scale Magento as it is to scale Shopify Plus. Simply put, Shopify Plus can handle the growing demands of large businesses without changing anything.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - international eCommerce.

For international eCommerce, both Magento and Shopify Plus offer a range of options for businesses targeting global markets. Shopify Plus is designed for global commerce, and the platform is continually releasing new functionality to help merchants sell internationally easily and efficiently from one place, like Shopify Markets and Markets Pro. This gives businesses trading worldwide an easy way to cater their offerings to different cultures, audiences and locations. While Magento offers extensive multi-language support, setting up the platform initially can be more challenging, so it’s something many businesses shy away from.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - cloud-based vs open-source platform.

One of the key differences between Magento and Shopify Plus is that Shopify is cloud-based and hosted, whereas Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform.

So, with Shopify Plus, merchants don’t have the hassle or the high cost of organising hosting and can instead focus on growing their businesses.

In contrast, Magento is an open-source platform that requires merchants to organise and manage the hosting of their eCommerce websites, adding to a growing list of things to do.

Shopify Plus vs Magento - safety and security.

Both Shopify Plus and Magento prioritise security and provide a set of features to protect businesses operating on their platforms. This is key for any eCommerce business, as security breaches could result in lost and shared customer information, including payment details.

Shopify Plus employs a secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to guarantee the protection of customer data, along with two-factor authentication and fraud protection measures. Similarly, Magento utilises SSL encryption, offers two-factor authentication, and provides fraud protection and compliance with PCI. Both platforms assure retailers that their online businesses and customers are safeguarded with advanced security measures, granting peace of mind and confidence in conducting secure transactions.

The proof is in the pudding: four fabulous Magento to Shopify Plus migrations.

As an accredited Shopify Plus partner, we’re experienced in Magento to Shopify Plus migrations, not only helping our clients have a smooth replatforming experience but also ensuring they maximise the power of Shopify. Let’s take a look at four of our Magento to Shopify Plus migration projects.

1. Magento to Shopify Plus: Bella Freud +20% conversions.

Seeking a stable platform to scale at speed, the Bella Freud team wanted to migrate from Magento to Shopify Plus. With the power of Shopify Plus and a bespoke theme from blubolt, the new site is now as original and quirky as the brand itself. “We’ve seen great results year on year, for example, +20% conversions, +13% new users and -10% bounce rate,” says Joseph O’Donnell, Marketing Manager at Bella Freud. Read more about the project.

2. Magento to Shopify Plus: LINLEY +54% conversions.

A name synonymous with time-honoured cabinet-making techniques, LINLEY, migrated from Magento to Shopify Plus to bring increased flexibility, control and scalability. Delivering a perfect marriage of form & function, the brand’s Shopify Plus site delivered +54% transactions, +59% conversion rate, and +40% average order value in its first month. Read more about the project.

3. Magento to Shopify Plus: G.H. Bass set for stability, adaptability & growth.

Premium footwear brand G.H. Bass sought a migration from Magento to Shopify Plus in order to drive growth in the UK and Europe. The new Shopify Plus site delivers speed, functionality and the ability to customise in-house, leaving G.H. Bass to focus on growth rather than fixing technical issues. Read more about the migration here.

4. Magento to Shopify Plus: Porcelain Superstore winning awards on Shopify Plus.

High-quality porcelain specialists, Porcelain Superstore, needed a Magento to Shopify Plus migration to deliver a fresh, cohesive site design that reflected their unique product range while also delivering a user-friendly and fast mobile experience. The brand’s new Shopify Plus was recognised with Honourable Mention and Mobile Excellence Certificates from Awwwards. Read more about the Magento to Shopify project here.

Conclusion: the verdict on Shopify Plus vs. Magento.

Unsurprisingly, these two successful eCommerce platforms each have their merits, and the decision depends entirely on your business requirements. Magento certainly has a range of positive selling points, particularly for businesses seeking complex customisation. For brands seeking lower overhead costs, constant innovation and in-house flexibility on a highly stable platform that can grow with them, Shopify Plus is the clear winner!

Want expert support for your Magento to Shopify Plus migration?

We're a personal and proactive Shopify Plus agency that designs, builds and optimises beautiful bespoke eCommerce solutions to help your brand grow faster. Explore our expert Shopify services and browse our client work for Shopify inspiration. Get in touch to discuss your requirements. We would love to help!

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