Shopify vs WooCommerce vs Magento freelancers: Which do I need?
Building a successful ecommerce platform that simultaneously fulfils the needs of your users from a UX and performance perspective as well as driving conversions and sales can be a tough balance to strike. With ecommerce sales going through the roof in recent years (something that has been driven forward even more by recent events) the demand and subsequent competition in building a brilliant ecommerce store is becoming a trickier nut to crack.
When it comes to building an ecommerce website, there are many elements to consider from getting your web design right to selecting the best hosting service for your target demographic. There are three major players which power the world’s top 100,000 ecommerce websites: Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento. In this guide, we’ll delve into some details that differentiate these three main ecommerce platforms with a view to helping you decide on which platform to go for.
This will cover everything from simplicity, ease of use, flexibility, SEO friendliness, cost, security and general all round pros and cons for each. Let’s get stuck in!
Shopify is hugely popular and is currently used by over 1 million business owners worldwide. Founded in 2004 and growing exponentially in popularity, it is probably the most straightforward and streamlined platform of the big three. One of the main pluses straight off the bat is that Shopify’s hosting services includes its own CDN, automatic site backups as well as software maintenance, which the other two currently don’t.
It also allows you to take full control over the coding elements of the website allowing to you customise your store with multiple functionalities.
- Easy to install, build and maintain, particularly for beginners looking for a straight forward and easy setup
- Easy to install apps and plugins
- Very user friendly
- Hosting and SSL included in package
- Allows optimisation of key SEO elements
- Fantastic 24/7 support to all customers
- Not as flexible as the other two platforms
- Difficult to do things outside of core theme and design setup
- Fees increase quickly as Shopify versions increased
Best suited industries
- Fashion and clothing
- Cosmetics and jewellery
- Luxury goods
As you can gather, Shopify is a great all-round ecommerce platform, allowing ease of use for beginners and the option to level up for those after a more powerful ecommerce store. Having hosting and security maintenance is a great plus and Shopify’s ease of use allows you to get up and running within a matters of hours. Hire freelance Shopify developers at PeoplePerHour to get your project up and running.
Founded in 2008, Magento was acquired by Adobe in 2018 and is said to power 9% of the world’s ecommerce stores. Magento boast a free, open source software that you can use on your web hosting as well as a pricey enterprise edition which starts at $22,000. With this in mind, we’ll focus on the free “Community Edition”.
While Shopify allows ease of use and a streamlined experience, Magento may provide somewhat of a steeper learning curve that requires some degree of technical expertise. However, one of the great appeals of Magento is its ongoing releases of new platform functionalities and security updates.
- Flexible with potential to modify outside of themes and templates
- Flexible in terms of integrations and wider catalogue management
- Detailed community functionality
- Able to deal with large SKU inventories across multiple websites
- Arguably the most SEO friendly of the three, allowing a wide array of customisation
- Technical expertise required and complicated themes to implement
- Hosting not included
- Requires software updates
- Site speed performance not as quick as others
Best suited industries
- B2B retail
- Cars and automobiles
- Food and beverage
- Health and beauty
Magento may be the most complex of the main ecommerce platforms, though get it right and the results can be incredibly powerful. Those without developer expertise may struggle to get to grips with Magento so we recommend hiring a Magento developer to help you with setup and maintenance
According to the numbers, WooCommerce is the most popular of all the major ecommerce platforms, holding a 22% market share and with a current valuation of $3 billion as a company.
WooCommerce is slightly different to the both Shopify and Magento insofar as it is actually a WordPress plugin, meaning you’ll need a WordPress site to run it. WooCommerce in its vanilla state is free, though you will need to purchase premium extensions to take it to the level of an actual functioning ecommerce store. You’ll find plenty of extensions and themes within WordPress to enable you to customise your ecommerce store to your heart’s desire. This makes WooCommerce a very convenient and affordable option for merchants who don’t have the time and budget to go all out on developing an ecommerce store from scratch.
- Massive plugin options and ease of use
- Better CMS capabilities with WordPress integration
- No transaction fees
- Full control of code for manual customisations
- Overall relatively SEO friendly
- Requires hosting and a WordPress site
- Requires maintenance of plugins which can affect performance
- Will need developer support to ensure plugins work coherently
- Limited customer service support apart from ticketing system
Best suited industries
WooCommerce is certainly one of the strongest contenders for a solid ecommerce solution, particularly given its ease of use as a bolt on with any WordPress powered site. While it may lack the power potential of Magento, the ability to go all out with extensions and plugins via WordPress can make WooCommerce very appealing. If you want something that’s more flexible than Shopify but not as tough as Magento, WooCommerce could be a great option. Hire a freelance WooCommerce developer at PeoplePerHour to get started!
Having provided an overview of the three main ecommerce platforms, which one should you choose to fulfil your ecommerce goals? Obviously, it completely depends on your budget, timelines and size of the store you require, so there’s no clear cut one size fits all answer.
To provide some guidance, here’s a quick summary breakdown of how each of the big three could suit you:
- If you don’t have the technical developer nous and are looking for a quick and seamless setup, go with Shopify
- If you’ve got more of a budget and need something with a bit more oomph, go with Magento
- If you’re comfortable doing things yourself, then go with WooCommerce