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5 minutes read

Magento Versus Shopify – Which Is Right for Your Retail Business?

by Alvaro Insignares
5 minutes read

The world was taken by surprise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies are now struggling to survive. Businesses have a pressing need to migrate their businesses to digital platforms. This digital transformation was going to happen sooner or later, but due to the current situation, it has taken a speed few might have imagined.

Magento and Shopify are 2 of the most popular eCommerce platforms. A lot of people have difficulties deciding which one is the right choice for their business. In this post, I will highlight the differences between each platform so that you can make an informed decision as to which platform is the best option for your retail web app.

5 Key Factors When Choosing a Platform

It’s helpful to look at the numbers before diving into the details about what each platform can and cannot do. After all, things like the number of users in each platform allow us to draw better conclusions. So, let’s go ahead and analyze them:

  • Users: Magento has 250,000 users and Shopify has 600,000 users.
  • Apps and Add-ons: Magento has 5,000 add-ons and Shopify has 2,400.
  • Available themes: Magento has 12 themes and Shopify has over 100.
  • Theme costs: Magento’s themes run $0-$499 and Shopify’s themes are $0-$180.
  • Monthly costs: Magento costs $0 per month (using the free version) and Shopify plans start from $29/month.

Shopify Pros and Cons

Now let’s look at some pros and cons of Shopify to get a better understanding of their platform.


  • Themes are optimized for mobile.
  • Extend your site’s functionality through their app store.
  • Really easy to use.
  • 24/7 support.


  • Only 10 of their themes are free.
  • If you don’t use their payment processor, they charge a fee per sale.

Magento Pros and Cons

Now let’s dive into Magento to see if they’re the right fit for your business.


  • Has a comprehensive support platform.
  • Flexible customization.
  • It offers a free version.


  • Requires knowing some code.
  • It takes time to get familiar and to launch.
  • Although free, users still need to pay for things like domain, hosting and add-ons.

Which Platform Should I Choose?

After analyzing the pros and cons of Magento and Shopify it can still be hard to decide which one to choose. Let’s consider a few more key functionalities.  

Coding: For a lot of users, it comes down to coding knowledge. If you are a beginner, then Shopify is definitely the right choice. If you’re hiring a developer or are a coder, then Magento should still be in the running.

Cost: When it comes to cost, Magento seems like it’s the least pricey choice, but considering all the “extras” you need to pay for, it can get pricey fast. Things like domains and apps can rack up a hefty bill. Not to mention, if you’re not a coder, you’ll need to hire a developer. Shopify is more up-front with costs.

Ease of use: When it comes to ease of use, Shopify is very beginner-friendly. You can create your entire platform without any coding knowledge. Magento requires code knowledge to operate but if you do know code or are planning on hiring someone who does, Magento has more customizable functionality than Shopify does.

Adding apps: With Shopify you have to add apps to your online store in order to improve functionality; however, too many apps can slow your site. With Magento you have a lot more room to add functionality to the site without slowing it down.

Products: With Shopify you can add as many products as you want without compromising the speed of your website. With Magento, too many products can affect the loading speed of products on the site.

Payment: Shopify steers users to use their payment gateway and charges $0 in transaction fees. Magento supports fewer payment options than Shopify does but they can be added on as third-party add-ons.

Premium themes: Both platforms offer free themes but when it comes to upgrading a theme, Magento is cheaper than Shopify. Shopify’s upgraded themes start at $80 while Magento’s are $1.

Multi-lingual support: Shopify doesn’t offer multi-lingual support, but you can add an app for this. Magento offers multilingual support for their platform.

Moving Forward

Deciding on matters related to the digital transformation of your business can be tough. However, when we look at both apps, the decision usually comes down to coding knowledge. If you are doing your eCommerce platform yourself and don’t know much about coding, Shopify is definitely the way to go. If you’re looking for more customizations on your platform, both alternatives offer adequate levels of customization.

Because Shopify is easy to use, a lot of small businesses are inclined to choose it to host their eCommerce business. Mid-size and larger brands tend to choose Magento, but Shopify also has its large company alternative called Shopify Plus, and it has been gaining a lot of traction.

No matter your industry, at Koombea we recommend working with Shopify, in particular Shopify Plus. As a Shopify Plus partner we’ve been helping businesses large and small to create unique eCommerce experiences for their customers. We believe that, in the long term, Shopify is more convenient due to the overall features it offers, but especially if you plan to manage high volume transactions or don’t have coding knowledge.  

Do you need help building your business site with Shopify? Do you need a retail web app that aligns with your business goals? Then don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

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