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E-commerce is not just the future of business, it’s the present. Everyone from Target and Walmart to small hardware stores, pet stores and even your local burger joint are selling their products online. Selecting the best e-commerce platform for your businesses is a top priority. Two of the most popular platforms are Shopify and Magento, and the e-commerce experts at Rivers Agency have compiled this handy guide to help you determine which platform is best for your store.

First, a little background on each service.

Shopify Overview

Shopify launched in 2006, becoming the platform of choice for many big-name companies including the New York Times, Heinz, BBC and Hasbro, and today is live on more than 500,000 sites. A Shopify website can hold an unlimited number of products and supports more than 100 payment gateways. All versions of Shopify charge a monthly fee. Versions meant for small businesses cost as low as $29 per month, while editions built for large businesses are priced as high as $2,000 per month. On top of that, Shopify charges a transaction fee between .15% and 2% depending on the version you use.

Magento Overview

Magento originally released in 2007 with a full release in 2008. The current edition, Magento 2, was released in 2015 and is now owned by Adobe. Some of the many well-known companies using Magento for their online stores are Nike, Ford, Vizio and Nestlé, and the current version of the platform is live on more than 250,000 websites. You can sell an unlimited number of products over Magento with more than 150 supported payment gateways. Magento has a free, open-source version and a more expansive commerce edition with a starting cost of $22,000 per year. Neither version charges transaction fees.

Now, let’s dive into some specifics.



Shopify offers many functions key to any e-commerce platform. Shopify uses tags and metafields to organize its products, giving the developer greater flexibility. Abandoned cart recovery, multi-channel selling and shipping methods also come built-in to the platform. Shopify also features SEO-boosting, marketing tools and a blogging functionality.


As many features that Shopify offers, it does not come close to the number of features Magento supplies. Like Shopify, Magento offers abandoned cart recovery, multi-channel selling with extensions, but expands on those features with checkout customization and multi-store management. Magento also has multiple languages built-in, a proprietary security service, B2B optimization and more.

Speed and Performance


Shopping on the Shopify platform is a very user-friendly experience with no common patterns of poor performance. Shopify lives on a hosted server, so every experience from the buyer’s perspective store-to-store will be similar in terms of speed and page performance. The speed and performance will also not be affected by the number of products on the webpage thanks to the hosted server.


Magento is a bit tricky to judge on this issue because speed and performance can vary depending on the capabilities of the shop owner. Magento requires dedicated servers, meaning the platform’s software will live and run on your hardware. Users may have an even better and quicker shopping experience than they would with a Shopify store, but could also have a much worse one if you didn’t code correctly. The more products on the store, the more optimization the platform will require.



Shopify offers its users several opportunities to customize their store and make it unique. Users have access to numerous themes with some options for customization. Shopify has a number of plug-ins for purchase too. For the most part, these are just for aesthetic changes. With Shopify being a hosted server and a drag-and-drop platform there is very little available to change about Shopify’s structure or functions.


Magento offers its users virtually unlimited opportunities for customization, giving you the chance to set yourself apart in ways only limited by your imagination. An incredibly large number of themes are available. On top of that, as an open-source platform, you can edit the codes and add as many plug-ins, extensions and attributes as you or your developer like.



Shopify has been successful in making a name for itself as one of the easiest platforms to set up and migrate into businesses. Shopify is a standard drag-and-drop developer with no-code building so most shop owners will be able to learn how to use it on their own with little to no help from an expert. Shopify also offers a 24/7 support service that Magento does not have.


One drawback of Magento is that it is not as easy to pick up and use as Shopify. The platform offers nearly limitless ways to make your business unique and fit your design while still presenting a great UI/UX, but it requires a great deal of coding knowledge. Most businesses that use Magento also seek the service of a developer when setting up their store. That said, Magento is as easy as Shopify to manage day-to-day with a dashboard for admins requiring no technical background to understand.

Magento and Shopify are two high-quality products, but they cater to different needs. If you don’t want to invest a lot of time in your e-commerce store but still have one the runs well and gets the job done, Shopify may be the right choice for you. If you are ready to take a little time and work with skilled developers for a store that looks more polished and runs better, truly giving yourself a leg up on the competition, Magento is the platform you need. You’ll also be happy to have a team of expert developers in your corner to guide you along the migration to e-commerce seamlessly and build the perfect online shop for you.

Rivers Agency, an accredited Magento Commerce Consultant via the Adobe Solutions Partner Program, helps merchants create engaging customer experiences. We help merchants optimize their site, increase effectiveness and grow their business. Our team of certified Magento experts facilitates end-to-end project implementations including assessment, strategy, design, customization, configuration, integration and optimization. Rivers Agency also serves as a trusted consultant and developer to numerous clients that use Shopify. No matter your choice of platform, we’ve got your back. Boost online sales and shrink costs with the Rivers e-commerce advantage.

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