The internet has changed a lot about the way that we live our lives and do business. One of the biggest changes that it is making in the business world is the rise of e-commerce. This is where people run their business almost entirely online, meaning that they can offer excellent customer service, better prices thanks to lower overheads and streamlined business procedures.
If you are an e-commerce small business owner, due to its very nature your online shop is the most important part of your business, and it is therefore essential that your e-commerce website design is the best that it can be. Your website is like your receptionist, sales person shop and shop front all rolled into one, so you need to make sure that it not only looks great, but that it works properly. It needs to work properly for both your customers in terms of their finding, browsing and buying, but also for in terms of giving you the control and information that you need to be able to run your business properly.
A huge part of creating your e-commerce website is the platform that you use, and at the moment, most people are using either Shopify or Magento as their e-commerce platform of choice. So what are the differences between the two, and which one would be best for you when creating your e-commerce website?
Commercial vs Free
Shopify is a commercial product which you have to pay for, but with your payment you will get other benefits, whereas Magento is a free, open source software – although you will find yourself having to pay for extra things. It is unlikely that you will save yourself much money by using Magento, just that you will end up spending it in different places.
In business today, it is essential that you can sell to people all over the world. And that means having a website than can be translated into other languages. Shopify doesn’t directly offer these capabilities but there are paid apps available – or you can custom code your theme or templates. With Magento, there is a more extensive built-in multi lingual support available.
Functions of your Online Store
Both Shopify and Magento offer excellent selling online, making it as smooth a buying, selling and managing process as it can be. When it comes to online shop building, this is the most important thing. There really isn’t much to choose from in this instance.
One of the major differences between the two platforms in the website hosting. In Shopify, the hosting is provided by them and they also help in the setting up and functioning of your website. If you opt for Magento, however, you arrange and pay for your own hosting for your online business as well as setting up, configuring and installing everything that you need for your online shop, yourself. It means that you need some technical knowledge to be able to do this or to be able to work with a professional who can help you to set up your e-commerce website how you want it.
Templates and Themes
Both platforms offer good free and paid for themes and templates to give your website the look and feel that you are after. It is important that your website looks right and works properly to attract, help and keep your visitors and potential customers. They both offer responsive website design (one which works well across all devices – mobile phones, tablets, lap tops, PCs) which is extremely important for businesses to successfully compete with their rivals.
Themes which are paid for vary in price but are generally a lot cheaper with Magento.
Both platforms give you the chance to customize your site to give it the professional, yet personal look that is so important in business today. Using generic themes will make you look cheap and unprofessional, but a little tweaking here and there can make all the difference.The difference between platforms is, however, that for the less technical minded, Shopify makes it a lot easier with menus to help you to customize. Magento on the other hand offers a lot of flexibility – as long as you understand how to do it!
When it comes to the amount of products which can be stored and sold on your site, it is worth remembering that the Shoppify starter package does have limitations. Other packages and the Magento platform, however, give you unlimited options. It is worth bearing in mind that whilst a Shopify platform is hosted and managed by them, if you are using the Magento platform, you need to ensure that your host is good enough to support all of your products and not make the loading too slow.
For payment gateway options, Shopify is far ahead, offering support for 70 payment gateways, whereas with Magento, it is much fewer.
SEO and Blogging
Both platforms perform well in giving you the tools to boost your SEO (search engine optimization – attracting traffic to your website via search engines). One of the most effective SEO techniques is blogging, and whilst a blogging feature is automatic on Shopify, there is also a free blogging plug-in available for use with Magento.
Both of the platforms allow for shipping charges to be calculated – obviously and important feature on any e-commerce site.
When it comes to discount codes and special offers, Magento is far ahead of Shopify, allowing you to input various options.
When you are deciding which e-commerce platform that you want to use for your site, the decision essentially comes down to the technical ability that you have available to you. Whilst Shopify is the perfect platform for those who are starting out, more technologically savvy people may want the extra flexibility which is offered by Magento.
Another option is for businesses to appoint someone with the technical know-how to help build your e-commerce website.
If you have any questions about online e-commerce platforms, Shopify, Magento and online store design, get in touch with Studioworx either via email email@example.com, telephone +44 (0)1482 659362.