Which eCommerce Shopify V Magento

It’s important when setting up an eCommerce store that you choose the right platform for your business, what works for someone isn’t necessarily the right choice for the other. To add in another layer of complication you also need to estimate how your business might progress as future functionality you may require can determine the decision-making process.

“What might be a pro for one might be a con for another – someone said somewhere”

I’m going to go through at a high level an analysis of Shopify and Magento that will answer some of the questions you need to ask before moving forward.


As of 2018 Shopify is more commonly used in Australasia than Magento, as you can see from the breakdown below, however, this depends where you are in the world; Magento is far more popular in Europe and Asia.



 The relevance here is the availability of assistance from third party businesses; it will be far easier to find help with Shopify than Magento.  Having personally worked with Magento since their launch I can certainly testify to the scarcity of good quality Magento providers in New Zealand.

Fundamentally, Shopify and Magento are very different. Shopify is a proprietary based platform whereas Magento is Open Source. What does that mean?

Shopify is a subscription-based service, where you pay a monthly “rental” fee, you own the design and the content but not the software.

“proprietary software - Proprietary software also known as "Closed Source Software" is non-free computer software for which the software's publisher or another person retains intellectual property rights—usually copyright of the source code”

Magento is Open source meaning its completely free to own, you have access to the code to do with as you wish.  

Look at your business

The most important tip I can offer is to look at your own business and look at its strengths and weaknesses. What can you do in-house, and what would you need support in?

For example, if you don’t have in-house skills to manage coding, setting up and maintaining web hosting and security you will either require a digital agency to take care of this for you (which makes Magento not quite so free) or you use a hosted platform like Shopify.

Scenario A

You’re a business that offers a complicated range of products, this will require a lot of customization. As you are already tech based you have someone in-house that can handle the coding and maintenance of the website. Due to the level of customization they decide to go with Magento 2.

Scenerio B

You are a toy store that would like to offer toys online, you have no real experience using eCommerce, after doing some research you choose Shopify as you hear that there is no coding required and the interface is much more user friendly.

Something else you need to take into consideration.

Fundamentally, you want an ecommerce shop that is easy to use and enables a person to buy and checkout with ease.

What you also need to do is to be able to market the website to get and retain traffic. You need to decide what functionality that is and how easy it is to include in either platform. This will give you an understanding of which platform will work best for you.

The bottom line

Historically I have built, designed and maintained Magento websites since the first release in 2007. When it first came out it revolutionised the industry and allowed the small business to use a free platform with features that were then only available in expensive proprietary based platforms.

In 2015, it then released version two and things started to get more complicated. It became more difficult to use for non-technical users, security updates became more frequent and more difficult to install.

This meant I was spending more time maintaining the website (along with the associated costs and time involved) than marketing them and there is the problem.

The key here is to really look at your own business. At Pixelweb, we offer free, no obligation business consultations, so you can pick our brains and come to a decision. Give us a call now on 021 265 2206 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.