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From the TheGenieLab US - TheGenieLab Blog blog


Choosing the most suitable e-commerce platform for building, managing and maintaining an online shopping platform is very important, and can be the key to success or failure. The choice of platform also determines the skills needed to support the platform. For a smaller business with limited resources and budget, choosing the wrong platform could prove a costly mistake.

For those looking to take their business online or enhance the functionality of their existing online operation, there are a multitude of ecommerce shopping cart platforms available, and the most popular of these are Shopify and Magento.

Both platforms are well known and trusted E-commerce platforms. Today, we will be taking a look at both platforms to help you decide which of the two would be most appropriate.

We will also cover the pros and cons of Shopify and pros and cons of Magento to help you make the best choice.


Shopify is a hosted shopping cart platform which means you pay a monthly fee for Shopify to manage the server, security and backups whilst you build and run your shop on the platform.

Magento is an E-commerce platform that requires you to manage your own hosting, setup, security, maintenance and backups. It is open source so requires a skilled developer to manage it.


Both platforms offer the expected core ecommerce store features such as checkout, payment integrations, customer accounts, discount rules and the ability to extend functionality via plugins.

Payment Options

Both Shopify and Magento offer many payment gateway integration options. Businesses on Shopify have the choice of over 70 payment gateways. Magento has a slight disadvantage as they support a lower number of portals out the box. The benefit for Magento is that more gateways can be added to the store using third-party add-ons or custom development.

Plugin availability

Regarding extensions and plugins Magneto as an open source platform comes out on top. With more than 5000 apps and add-ons being developed by the Magento community. Magento plugins combine both paid apps and free apps that can be downloaded or purchased from the Magento marketplace. Shopify has much fewer apps in the Shopify App Store however their quality and ease of installation is more predictable due to the closed and controlled nature of the Shopify platform.

Themes & Design

Both Shopify and Magento have a large selection of quality themes to choose from to design your store. On both platforms you can find free and paid themes. When it comes to installing and configuring themes on Shopify and Magento, the Shopify platform is much easier to work with.

Magento themes installation can be more difficult and a developer may be required.


Both platforms perform well-regarding SEO. Improved SEO functionality means that people can easily access your store on the wide web. Shopify’s SEO advantage is that it comes pre configured while Magento offers more flexibility and control through custom development


Ease of use is generally the most thought of requirement that needs considering when choosing a platform. There is no point going through hours of frustration trying to configure your store.

User Interface

Shopify has a user-friendly interface. It is intuitive and quick to understand. For non-tech savvy users, it is the best option.

Magento’s user interface in v1 was a bit dated but they admittedly improved it with the launch of Magento 2, but there is still a gap between the two. The lack easy to use features out the box is Magento’s downfall.

Set up

Shopify allows you to get selling quickly with little effort for a basic site.

Magento, on the other hand, requires users to learn a bit of code or hire a developer Customer Support

Shopify, being a hosted platform boasts a wonderful customer support system that has a 24/7 support line (phone, email and live chat) in case you experience any difficulty. Magento doesn’t offer support so a developer is recommended to help troubleshoot through any issue.


Both platforms incur costs. It all depends on what your goals and business needs are.

Set up fee

Magento requires a skilled developer to get setup whilst Shopify can be done by a tech savvy store owner. Depending on the complexity of your business the cost may vary. Long term for a serious startup, Magento will most likely be more costly.

Monthly fee

Shopify offers

  • Lite Plan: $9
  • Basic Shopify plan: $29
  • Shopify Plan: $79
  • Advanced Shopify Plan: $299

Additionally, you could save 10% on each plan by subscribing for a full year, and 20% for subscribing for two years. Shopify offers a free 14-day trial at set up to guarantee certainty before you make monthly subscriptions. Magento monthly costs, on the other hand, are not fixed but tied to the hosting platform that you are using.

Transaction fees

Since Shopify has its own payment gateway, if you wish to use another gateway, the transaction fee payable are:

  • Lite Plan and Basic Shopify plan: 2%
  • Shopify Plan: 1%
  • Advanced Shopify Plan: 0.5%

Magneto community does not charge extra transaction fees apart from that paid to the payment gateway of your choice.

Magento pros:

  • Magento is built on the powerful Zend Framework and the platform uses open source technologies and programming languages.
  • Magento  is a great fit for most companies but it depends on your size and requirements, Magento Community Edition and Magento Enterprise  are usually are rather straightforward to set up for most companies but not for individuals looking to start an online store.
  • Have the best and most advanced features that a system of E-commerce can offer.

Magento Cons:

  • Given Magneto’s various applications, complexity and variations, setting  it up also requires that quite some time due to its complexity.
  • Being Magento, a very robust system to run properly also requires a more  robust server, large disk space and memory which is usually available in VPS, Dedicated Server or Cloud Server.

Shopify Pros:

  • Shopify offers fraud risk assessment and live chat tools as part of every package.
  • Shopify is very flexible and has all sorts of tools (Apps)  to meet your needs and to extend the functionality of your online store.
  • Easy to use is one more reason that you should choose Shopify for your  online store. Even beginners love Shopify because it has a simple store setup wizard and does not require messing around with coding.

Shopify cons:

  • Many features are only available through third-party apps.
  • a lot of the apps are not free and they charge you a monthly fee for you to use them.


Shopify is best if you need to get up and selling fast with little cost. If you need more features you have to rely on Shopify apps to extend the functionality. Adding apps to your store increases recurring monthly costs as most apps are not one off purchases. Calculating what you need for your business is essential before deciding on the platform.

Magento offers more flexibility and can be made to fit your business needs. It is not recommended if you are an individual trying out the world of ecommerce as it’s more suited to a company who can afford a dedicated magento development resource.

At TheGenieLab we specialize in Shopify and Magento development services so why not get in touch to see how we can assist you.