With the number of existing eCommerce solutions available on the market today, choosing the most suitable platform can be challenging. The choice is important, however, as it plays a big role in the success or failure of your business. This is especially true for smaller companies and startups operating with limited budgets.

eCommerce platforms allow you to build an online storefront with powerful and feature-rich dashboards. They are a vehicle for expanding your market presence because they allow you to manage sales, marketing and operations through a single channel. Every option comes with a cost, which is an important factor for every business to consider. You must weigh which features your business needs to run smoothly with the cost of such features.

Here is some insight into the costs associated with Shopify, Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce. It covers setup fees, monthly pricing, bandwidth charges, transaction fees and template/add-on costs.

1. Shopify

There are no setup fees on any of the Shopify’s plans. Depending on the service plan, the monthly pricing can range from $29 to $299. Additionally, Shopify offers a 10% discount on annual plans and a 20% discount on biannual plans when they are paid in advance. Potential users have the option to sign up and receive a 14-day free trial period (without entering their payment details).

Monthly fee range

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

Bandwidth charges
None. All Shopify plans include unlimited bandwidth.

Transaction fees
No charges will apply if Shopify’s own payment gateway is used. For other payment gateways or methods the following transaction fees will be charged:

  • Lite Plan ($9/mo.) : 2%
  • Basic Shopify Plan ($29/mo.): 2%
  • Shopify Plan ($79/mo.): 1%
  • Advanced Shopify Plan ($299/mo.): 0.5%

Template, theme and extension prices
The premium themes/templates start at $80.

2. Magento Open Source

Magento Open Source is free of charge and available for download as an open-source platform. With this version of Magento, you need to provide your own hosting. There are many hosting options to choose from, ranging from $5 to hundreds of dollars. Learn more in this web hosting comparison.

Bandwidth charges
The bandwidth charges depend on the provider you have chosen for hosting your online store.

Transaction fees
Any transaction fees depend on your payment gateway provider.

Template, theme and extension prices
The price for Magento themes is starting from $0 – $200 and above. Many stores start with a simple base time and later hire a front-end developer for customization. Be prepared, however, that this will cost you an additional 10s of thousands of dollars per year. Some extensions are available free of cost while others can cost you around $50 – $500, depending on the developing agency.

3. Magento Commerce

Sometimes referred to as Magento Enterprise, this option starts at $22,000. The Magento cloud-based version starts at $1,988.00/month according to Capterra.

Bandwidth charges
There are no bandwidth fees (surprising for the price, isn’t it?).

Transaction fees
Any transaction fees depend on your payment gateway provider.

Template, theme and extension prices
See Magento Open Source information above.

Shopify vs. Magento Open Source & Commerce: A Feature Comparison

Expanding on our previous post that discusses the most appealing features of these platforms, here is a drill-down some of the more specific uses. Understanding the features will help you determine which platform will give you the most value while meeting your eCommerce needs.

Basic online store features

Both Shopify and Magento solutions are quite powerful instruments to build up your online store. Integrated checkout, payment and shipping, a shopping cart, product pages, product listings, mobile-optimized shopping and many other basic features are present in both platforms (including Magento Commerce since it is an extended version of what the open-source option can offer at the beginning). Shopify is more intuitive and significantly easier to set up when compared to Magento. However, Magento has far more complex and advanced features built in the system.

Inventory management

You get unlimited products with every Shopify plan. Magento allows you to add all of your products, assign them to different categories, bundle and group them. You can also manage your inventory via the Magento Commerce dashboard, as well as your orders. It enables you to create product templates, track inventory, proceed with invoices, create packing slips and labels, try different business models (including digital goods and services) and many more.

However, the number of products you can actually add on your Magento store and still leverage their high performance may be limited to the capacities of your hosting provider. This certainly gives more points to Shopify as it is a hosted solution.

Shipping charges calculation

With Magento, you can gain access to full-scale shipping services via specific product add-ons that enable you to connect you to global shipping carriers, automate order shipment and logistics, and compare the shipping costs. There are a vast number of shipping cost calculators in the form of Magento extensions. With Shopify shipping, you can also get shipping discounts and competitive shipping rates (from USPS, UPS or DHL Express). Additionally, Shopify integrates well with some dropshipping tools.

Payment gateways

Compared with Shopify, Magento supports a lower number of payment gateways which can be added to your store via third-party add-ons. Shopify, on the other hand) supports more than 70 payment gateways. The only disadvantage here is that they delicately persuade users to utilize their custom built-in gateway by offering a 0% transaction fee while charging set-up fees for all external gateways.

Templates

Both Magento and Shopify platforms offer endless possibilities for customization to better suit your taste and product peculiarities. There are free templates as well as paid ones. While the Magento Open Source free themes are larger in number, the ones provided by Shopify look more stylish and modern. However, this is a matter of personal preference.

Add-ons

The apps and add-ons for Shopify serve the purpose of enhancing and expanding your store’s functionality in different ways. They enable you to work with customer support, marketing or site optimization. There are more than 100 Shopify-compatible add-ons and apps, whereas the Magento community contributes to releasing more than 5,000 extensions suitable for pretty much all tasks.

Language support

Magento offers a broader multi-lingual built-in support than Shopify. However, the third-party apps and/or add-ons are available for Shopify allowing you to create and develop multi-lingual stores. Alternatively, you can invite a developer to customize your theme by adding language support to it.

SEO

Both Magento and Shopify are considered to be among the most SEO-friendly eCommerce solutions out-of-the-box. They have powerful SEO functionality at hand, helping you drive organic traffic to your e-shop via search engines.

Customization

In terms of customization, Magento Open Source’s capabilities are as good as it gets, allowing you to do as much as you want because it has open-source code.

With Shopify, the changes to the layout (fonts, color schemes, etc.) can be applied by using a theme editor. The drop-and-drag sections also allow you to play around with your theme’s UX for better organizing the content on your website.
Advanced designers can gain access to raw CSS and HTML files on both platforms.

Blog

Shopify is famous for its easy blogging functionality, available as an integrated feature. Setting up a blog in Magento is not considered difficult, but the blog functionality is not included by default. Therefore, you would need to add a custom extension if blogging is part of your plan.

Ease of use

Whereas Shopify can be proud of its marvelous ease of use, it is not a quality bestowed upon Magento. It is one of the biggest issues of Magento Open Source. If you are not tech-savvy enough to install, develop and work on the software yourself (and do not want to hire a developer), you better not start with Magento Open Source. On the contrary, Magento Commerce’s number of integrated features can be overwhelming and confusing to use. 

If you would like to explore more eCommerce platform options for your online business, you can learn about seven alternatives in our next post