We’ve covered all the flavors of Magento and Shopify in the past—but this article is different.
Here, we’ll compare the premium, top-of-the-line, enterprise ecommerce platforms. In the showdown of Magento 2 vs Shopify Plus, who will come out on top?
Let’s start from the beginning by looking at what brought about the need for cloud-based enterprise ecommerce platforms, and then we’ll get into the similarities, differences, advantages, and disadvantages of both platforms.
Magento Commerce Cloud (then called Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition) was launched in April 2016. It promised to bring in a new era of ecommerce by combining Magento’s flexibility, features, architecture, and ecosystem with cloud computing.
“Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition defines the post-SaaS commerce platform era. It’s a first-of-its-kind in-market solution and a major differentiator in the broader Magento product portfolio,” said Mark Lavelle, CEO of Magento Commerce. “With this new platform running on AWS, we ensure that our merchants have the agility to respond to a rapidly changing environment, can continuously deploy innovations, easily scale to meet unexpected demand and don’t have to worry about the day-to-day management of infrastructure.”
Shopify Plus was launched in February 2014. At the time of the release, the platform propelled Shopify into a new area of enterprise ecommerce.
“Our core demographic has always been small to medium-sized businesses,” said Harley Finkelstein, Chief Platform Officer, Shopify. “With Shopify Plus, we broaden our customer base to include merchants who want a more customized product offering, without the price tag and long delivery time frames of existing enterprise offerings.”
Cloud computing has been getting tons of attention over the past decade.
You’ve heard about the cloud, but you may be confused about the concept. Is it safe? Is it as capable as an on-premise data centers? Is it worth it? And finally, what is it?
Definitions of cloud computing vary, and it was difficult to decide exactly how to word it. So, we did the next best thing — we turned to the experts.
Amazon was the first to introduce modern cloud infrastructure and defines the cloud as “…the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. Instead of buying, owning, and maintaining physical data centers and servers, you can access technology services, such as computing power, storage, and databases, on an as-needed basis from a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS).”
Magento uses AWS and Shopify is transitioning to Google Cloud.
To get a better understanding of what cloud is and what it can do, we highly recommend watching this video.
The benefits of going cloud for commerce enterprises:
|Scalability||Cloud allows merchants to increase resources automatically. For example, when you launch a marketing campaign for Black Friday, you can be sure that your cloud platform will handle the increased traffic and orders.|
Cloud also gives you the tools you need to make your store work for anyone, anywhere, on any device in the world. You can customize your “loadout” depending on your needs and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to do it.
|Cost-effectiveness||By going cloud, you spend less time concentrating on infrastructure and the technical side of things. You also spend less on equipment because everything in the cloud is virtual but at the same time — uper secured.|
An additional benefit is that you don’t pay for storage space or resources you don’t use. As Amazon says, it’s a pay-as-you-go model.
|Competitive edge||By entrusting your valuable data to the cloud, you can focus on growing your business. |
This along with the direction the high level of competition we are currently seeing, you can prioritize tasks and projects that will push you past your competitors, so you won’t be left
Now that we have gained an understanding of what cloud is and what the advantages are, let’s take a look at what Magento is offering.
When you invest in Magento Commerce Cloud, you get a complete package: an ecomemrce platform, a B2B platform, cloud hosting on AWS, 24/7 support, and every tool you can think of to make merchant and user experience seamless and unencumbered.
For a full immersion into the three main versions of Magento, we recommend reading our guide on Magento 2 Commerce vs Open Source vs Commerce Cloud.
Magento Commerce (on-premises) has more features than its free counterpart.
Those features include:
Check out the full list of features and differences in our Magento Open Source vs Magento Commerce comparison.
The easiest way to think of Commerce Cloud is a souped-up Magento Commerce. The biggest advantages of Commerce Cloud over regular Commerce are the following:
We know by now that security is a major concern and Magento does a lot to prevent vulnerabilities and patch them if they do occur.
Apart from the advanced technologies and tools, Magento Commerce Cloud has an often overlooked benefit — a shared responsibility security model.
In this model, responsibility is shared between Magento (Adobe), Amazon, and the merchant. In turn, this reduces costs for merchants and allows them to focus on their business and not the technology.
And last but not least, a comparison of the two flavors of Magento Commerce Cloud: Pro and Starter.
|Core features||All Magento 2 core featuresPayPal Onboarding ToolBusiness Intelligence||All Magento 2 core featuresPayPal Onboarding ToolBusiness IntelligenceB2B module|
|Infrastructure and deployment||Continuous cloud integration tools with unlimited usersFastly Content Delivery Network (CDN), Image Optimization (IO), and added security with generous bandwidth allowances. The Web Application Firewall (WAF) service is available on Production environments only.New Relic APM (Performance Monitoring) on 3 branches: master and 2 of your choiceBlackfire.io Enterprise (Performance Testing)Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) based Production, Staging, and development environments (4 total active environments) optimized for Magento Commerce||Continuous cloud integration tools with unlimited usersFastly Content Delivery Network (CDN), Image Optimization (IO), and added security with generous bandwidth allowances. The Web Application Firewall (WAF) service is available on Production environments only.New Relic Infrastructure on Production + APM (Performance Monitoring) on Staging and Production. Adobe-generated alert policies implement monitoring best practices to proactively notify you about application and infrastructure issues affecting site performance.Blackfire.io Enterprise (Performance Testing)Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) based Integration development environments (8 total active environments) optimized for Magento CommerceInfrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)—dedicated virtual infrastructure for Production environments and for Staging environments|
|High availability infrastructure||High availability architecture with three-server setup in the underlying Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to provide enterprise-grade reliability and availability|
|Dedicated hardware||Isolated and dedicated hardware setup in the underlying Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to provide even higher levels of reliability and availability|
|24/7 email support||24/7 monitoring and email support for the core application and the cloud infrastructure||24/7 monitoring and email support for the core application and the cloud infrastructure|
|Dedicated Technical Account Manager||Dedicated technical account management for the initial launch period, starting with your subscription until your initial site launch|
* Available for an additional fee
To save you time, here’s what makes Magento Commerce Cloud Pro the better version:
Now let’s look at what Shopify Plus has to offer its main clientele – Shopify users.
Shopify isn’t the new kid on the block. They’ve been around for a long time and what we like most about their approach is how quickly and effectively they adopt emerging technologies.
While doing research for this article, we stumbled upon a 2011 interview with Shopify COO Harley Finklestein on Practical Ecommerce, where he stated:
“I think we’ll be at a point where the entire computing experience will be done through a dummy terminal. Effectively, the actual hardware will have very little software on it and you’ll access everything through your online connection. Even if you don’t have to have the fastest computer or one that’s loaded up with the most amount of software, you’re going to be able to access everything on the cloud or on the web, whether you’re running your ecommerce store, using Google Docs, or communicating through some sort of web-based voiceover IP.”
Harley clearly has his finger on the pulse of technology, because this prediction is unfolding as we type this.
What makes Shopify Plus a good choice for existing Shopify clients, potential clients, and merchants?
Shopify Plus includes the following great features:
Info is taken from Shopify Plus Help Page.
With the internal comparisons out of the way, let’s move on to comparing Magento 2 vs Shopify Plus.
The whole point of paying the premium price tag for an enterprise-level ecommerce platform is getting the chance to take a step back and focus solely on your business.
If you have all of the underlying infrastructures in place (and secured), you worry less about the possibilities of something going wrong. And not only that, but if you factor in all of the time, money, and energy that you spend trying to upscale, optimize, and improve an existing legacy-infrastructure site — you’ll see that you actually save a decent amount of money with a cloud ecommerce platform.
Which brings us to the main point — how does Magento 2 stand up to Shopify Plus and vice-versa?
You can create as many storefronts as you want with multiple warehouses, physical and digital stores, and manage everything through a single admin panel.
Essentially, Magento is multi-store, multi-currency ready and is ideal for international merchants or merchants looking to get into international retail.
Shopify Plus does offer multi-store but it’s limited compared to what Magento has. To be more specific, you get nine expansion stores for internationalization, separate physical locations, and other related purposes.
Merchants with needs that exceed the nine-store threshold have the option of workarounds. Paul Rogers wrote a great guide on Shopify Plus limitations and workarounds.
One of the biggest selling points is the ability to customize any aspect of the platform whether it be backend, frontend, checkout, catalog, shipping, and everything and anything in between.
Shopify Plus is more customizable than other Shopify Plans but pales in comparison to the level of customization offered by Magento.
Shopify Plus allows merchants to write scripts for certain things, customize the checkout, and includes additional API calls for integrating custom apps.
Many sources state that Commerce Cloud starts at $40,000/year ($3,333 per month) and increases in price depending on your store’s Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and Average Order Value (AOV).
“Gross Merchandise Value” or “GMV” means the total value of all the Transactions processed through a Site during any given Contract Year, excluding (a) any shipping, handling, and customs costs charged to End Users; (b) any taxes Customer collects from End Users as part of any Transaction; (c) any financing charges and interest for installments charged to End Users.
“Average Order Value” or “AOV” means the quotient of (a) the GMV for any given Contract Year; (b) the number of Transactions during the same Contract Year.
Base platform fee = $2,000/month or 0.25% of your monthly Eligible Platform Transactions (whichever is higher).
“Eligible Platform Transaction” means the net value of any online or POS transactions processed through the Store(s), excluding any Imported Orders.
If we’re looking at purely the cloud infrastructure, both platforms are equally scalable — whether it’s AWS or Google Cloud, you have more or less the same capabilities (flexibility, efficiency, strategic value).
But from a business perspective, Magento is more scalable in terms of number of products, stores, currencies, and customizations.
24/7 monitoring and email support for the core application and the cloud infrastructure
(Pro Version) Dedicated technical account management for the initial launch, starting with your subscription until your initial site launch
A Launch Engineer helps your store get online faster by assisting with third-party integrations, and finding partners to work on design and development projects specifically for your business
24/7 support is standard.
Magento Cloud’s shared security responsibilities are a big plus. Magento also has a bug bounty program, security center, and free security tool. We covered other aspects of Magento security in our guide.
Shopify is no less secure than Magento as far as we know. It is fully PCI-compliant out-of-the-box. Note that unlike Magento, Shopify stores seem to be updated on a regular basis (because updating is easier than Magento).
Has tons of extensions and integrations available. However, by investing in the Commerce Cloud version, you can save money on extensions because of the out-of-the-box features
Shopify is also robust when it comes to extensions. The main difference is that Magento can be customized and integrated with anything imaginable. However, for security’s sake, Shopify may have a slight advantage because you cannot directly modify core code.
Both platforms have a multitude of options. Neither charges transaction fees. For more information on payment gateways, check out our guides here.
Shopify Plus, unlike its lower-cost counterparts, does not charge transaction fees for payments made through Shopify Payments.
This is a selection of case studies that we felt best showcase the capabilities of what Magento Commerce Cloud. You can find more case studies here.
5 Sites Into One Shopping Cart
+350% Holiday Sales (YoY)
+25% Mobile Traffic
150% UK Revenue (First 6mo)
+500% France Revenue Increase (YoY)
-20% Bounce Rate
Honestly, the best option for choosing between Shopify Plus vs Magento 2 would be to follow this flow:
The reason we distilled it down to these four actionable points is that there can be no winner in these comparisons. At the end of the day, it’s the effectiveness of your business that matters, and having the best platform is the platform will allow your business to flourish.