There are many popular options for eCommerce platforms. Three of the most widely used are Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce. In this article, we’ll give a brief overview of each, discuss some of their key features, and compare them to help you decide which is best for your business.
For each platform, we’ll cover features like:
- Whether you can obtain a domain from them directly or need to buy one from a third-party service
- Where your eCommerce site will be hosted — on their server, yours, or through a third-party provider
- Features for building websites
- How to manage content on your website
- How transactions are processed
- And the type of user support offered
At the end, we’ll wrap up by comparing Magento vs. Shopify vs. WooCommerce, giving you the insight you need to make the best choice for your business.
Let’s get started.
For the most flexibility and widest offerings of features and capabilities, Magento is the best eCommerce platform. It is best for corporations and teams that have experienced web developers who can make full use of the platform’s capabilities. Magento offers a few different versions to users with more advanced features or more affordable pricing (they even offer a free plan), depending on your needs.
- Domain: You, the user, must obtain a domain through an outside service.
- Hosting: You must host the website either on your own server or with a hosting service that’s compatible with Magento.
- Website Creation: Magento gives you a wide selection of features and capabilities for building a website. However, unless there are skilled developers on your team, you may not be able to get the full benefits of these features.
- Content Management System (CMS): Magento has a built-in CMS with available extensions for customization.
- Transactions: Choose from a wide selection of payment gateways. Shop around for services that offer the lowest transaction fees and best security features for your customers.
- User Support: If you use a free account from Magento, like Magento Open Source, you cannot submit support tickets. Magento only offers user support to paying users. However, if you choose the free account, you can reference the website’s forum and help center.
If you’re comparing Magento vs. Shopify, the most important difference is that it’s a simplified platform. Where you need experienced web developers to get the most out of Magento, Shopify is better suited to startups and small or midsize businesses where that level of talent may not be present.
Choose from three different monthly subscription tiers so you can tailor the cost and available features to your business needs.
- Domain and Hosting: For domains, you can either purchase a custom domain from another service or use a URL ending in “.myshopify.com” for free.
- Hosting: You can host your website on Shopify’s servers.
- Website Creation: You do not need to have any knowledge of coding to create a website on this platform. Instead, you build the page with content blocks in a “what you see is what you get” style.
- CMS: Link an outside CMS like WordPress.
- Transactions: Shopify has its own payment gateway, so you don’t need to use a third-party provider, but you can if you want to.
- User Support: Shopify offers user support through email, phone call, or live chat.
Where Magento requires a bit more skill in web development and Shopify is more user-friendly, WooCommerce sits right in the middle. Overall, it is the most widely used eCommerce platform. It is a bit different from the other two options mentioned in this article because it is a free plugin for WordPress. Add it to your WordPress site to get all of the basic eCommerce tools you need, including transaction processing, order management, coupon creation, and more.
- Domain: WooCommerce does not include domains, so you will need to purchase one from a third-party service.
- Hosting: You cannot host your site on WooCommerce, but you can host it on WordPress VIP. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can also use your own server or a third-party server.
- Website Creation: Website creation is handled on WordPress, which offers both free and paid themes that are compatible with the WooCommerce plugin.
- CMS: WordPress itself is a CMS, so as a plugin of WordPress, WooCommerce CMS is handled through WordPress.
- Transactions: You can use WooCommerce’s payment processing system or use a third-party service.
- User Support: Users can submit tickets for live support on any issues with extensions that were created by WooCommerce.
Which Is Best for Your Business: Magento vs. Shopify vs. WooCommerce
Now that we have a basic understanding of each eCommerce platform, let’s discuss which platform is best for which types of businesses. From there, you can decide which platform best meets your specific needs.
- Magento: For businesses with a sizable budget, experienced web developers, and experienced content managers, Magento is likely the best option for an eCommerce platform. It offers you the most flexibility to build a site that is customized to your exact specifications. It’s also the best option if the majority of revenue from the business comes from online transactions.
- Shopify: When comparing Magento vs. Shopify, Shopify is much more user-friendly for small businesses that don’t have much web development experience on the team. It’s a more all-in-one experience that makes creating and managing your online business a snap. But with that ease of use comes a lack of flexibility. You will not be able to customize the website as much as you would with Magento.
- WooCommerce: If you already created a site on WordPress or are planning to, WooCommerce is a very convenient option. As a free WordPress plugin, it’s an easy addition to your website. Like Shopify, it has its own payment processing system and offers great customer support. And while advanced extensions will cost you extra, you can also get some of the higher levels of customization that you would get with Magento. It’s a good compromise between the best features of Magento vs. Shopify.