If there’s a ranking system in the ecommerce industry today, the top two contenders would, no doubt, be Shopify Plus and Magento Enterprise.
But is Shopify Plus really that great compared to Magento Enterprise? Or does it fall short in Magento’s shadow?
Magento is the leading ecommerce platform today with a market share of around 30%. Magento’s success could be attributed to certain factors, but many would claim that this is because Magento is an open source platform, allowing its customers to fully develop a website from scratch and implement virtually unlimited customizations without the hassle of the approval process from the platform’s provider.
Unfortunately, for Shopify Plus, it’s a different case.
While both caters to enterprise ecommerce merchants, the two are actually total opposites.
So what’s the big difference between Shopify Plus and Magento Enterprise?
If you’re contemplating on choosing which between the two is best suited for your enterprise ecommerce, then, this review will give you some insights on what you need to look at so you can make a better decision.
Let’s take a closer look and examine these two enterprise-ecommerce-solutions provider.
Ecommerce Website Hosting
The type of website hosting that you would choose will determine all the other components of your website store. So, in comparing your two options, you always need to start with this criteria. Otherwise, you’ll have to make compromises at the long run if you make up your mind based on a different criteria than website hosting.
Before moving forward, take note that both Magento Enterprise and Shopify Plus are cloud-based providers and are fully-hosted.
Okay, moving on, you’ll have to choose either:
- A SaaS platform or
- A PaaS platform.
What are these SaaS and PaaS platforms?
In simple terms, SaaS is short for Software as a Service. PaaS means Platform as a Service. The two have different purposes, along with their own pros and cons. Depending on what you choose, a platform’s weakness could be actually beneficial to your business needs.
Have you already built your own ecommerce website store? Or are you just starting out and want to build your own from scratch?
Choosing between a SaaS and a PaaS software would depend on your answers to those questions.
As a SaaS provider, Shopify Plus manages all the back-end and front-end systems of your website store. This means that any customizations that you want to implement would be limited to what Shopify allows. This could either be a disadvantage or an advantage for you depending on how you’d like to build your website. Shopify Plus compensates this limitation by providing a huge collection of aesthetic templates and designs, to which the platform is widely known for.
While it’s obvious that this is a limitation to what Shopify Plus can potentially offer in terms of customizations, many would still choose a SaaS platform like Shopify Plus.
Simply because, the technical aspect for both the back-end and front-end systems are taken care of and the less technical business owners would see this as an advantage – less hassle and less worry. With this, all the features and functions that you can enjoy are streamlined in the admin dashboard. You can’t go beyond this, except for integrating additional extensions and APIs for your ecommerce website store.
Magento Enterprise Edition, on the other hand, provides you with all the customizations that you want. As a PaaS platform, you can access and manage the following on your end, the back-end system:
A PaaS platform like the Magento Enterprise Edition would be your best pick if you want your hands to get wet with all the technical stuff in your back-end and front-end systems. This would be most advantageous if you want to build your ecommerce website from scratch and planning on implementing a lot of modules and customizations.
With Magento Enterprise Edition, you are free to customize your website store to your heart’s content – the sky is the limit!
Pricing and Related Expenses
Since these two platforms are totally different structures, their pricing and related expenses would also be based on different components.
For Magento, costs and related expenses would revolve on the following components:
- Implementation – This is the total cost of the website deployment, including the implementation of all the included modules for the website store. For an enterprise ecommerce website, average cost is around $325,000.
- Licensing – Magento charges a yearly fee for this, which starts at $18,000 and could go as high as $32,000 depending on how big your enterprise ecommerce website is.
- Recurring Expenses – The total cost for your recurring expenses would greatly depend on the required maintenance for your website store. For an enterprise level business, this would range from $200,000 to as high as $700,000 per year.
For Shopify Plus, however, the pricing would be quotation-based. This means that you pay for only the features and functions that you need. But, the licensing would start at $1,200 per month. Additional expenses would be for paid and premium add-ons such as:
- Website Templates or Designs
- Extensions and Other Integrations
- Website Customizations
Ease of Use
Shopify Plus has a more user-friendly set-up.
Magento Enterprise’s complex admin dashboard makes it difficult to navigate, especially for the less technical person. There’s certainly a learning curve. This is, however, brought about by Magento’s extensive features and functions that are all integrated into a centralized command system, accessible via the dashboard:
- Create new product listings.
- Organize product attributes.
- Set-up private discounts and other exclusive promotions.
- Use the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor for updating and creating contents in the landing pages.
Shopify Plus, on the other hand, simply uses the same admin panel of the lower tiered package plans. The fewer features and functions makes the admin panel more streamlined and convenient. This makes it easier to navigate through the entire set-up:
- Navigate between the limited features and functions.
- Add new products to the catalog.
- Edit and update existing product listings.
- Set-up tax and shipping details.
- Edit and update the storefront with basic and allowed changes.
Since both are enterprise level ecommerce platforms, you can expect them to have the core features and functions in order to handle and manage an enterprise level website store. Both offers:
- Virtually Unlimited Bandwidth
- Virtually Unlimited Storage
- Unlimited Sales Growth
- 0% Transaction Fees
- 99% Uptime
One important aspect that these two differs is the one-page-checkout feature. This is a very important feature that adds convenience to your customers when shopping in your website store. Shopify Plus is currently not offering this specific feature. A separate provider, called CartHook, is offering this feature for Shopify Plus owners at a price of $300 per month, as an extension integration.
Magento Enterprise Edition, fortunately, has this feature as one of its core functions.
Comparing the two, Magento Enterprise Edition has more advanced features and functions. Shopify Plus lags behind in this criteria.
So, Which Platform is Better?
The typical response would be “it depends.”
It always depends on what you need and how you need the platform.
Surely, the Magento Enterprise Edition has more features and functions compared to Shopify Plus. But, do you really need all these? Or is your business good enough and better off with the fewer features of Shopify Plus?
The cost and related expenses are also a factor, along with the type of hosting.
All these, when put together, will always depend on your requirements. In enterprise ecommerce, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. You’ll have to examine what features and functions you need the most and start your decision from there.