Simon Dodd, Managing Director
When speaking to new clients – especially for larger ecommerce enterprises – one of the biggest points of contention we often come across is why we focus on Magento, rather than a simpler and often cheaper alternative like Shopify.
We understand that Shopify can be quite a tempting choice for merchants on the face of it, as it includes easy-to-use templates and offers plans that are generally less expensive. However, these points don’t necessarily mean that the platform makes for a good investment in the long term.
Any new website should really be thought of as a lasting tool that assists your business moving forward, as opposed to simply a one-off project. For this reason, Magento Commerce provides a more robust and scalable solution that has greater flexibility for customisation and integration options.
Compared to Shopify’s easy-to-use drag and drop templates, it can be very easy to feel deterred by the enormity of Magento Commerce, which offers a more complex and resource-heavy system.
For many B2B merchants and those requiring a vast range of enterprise features, Magento Commerce is much more suited to the task. While Shopify has positioned itself as a viable option for B2B sales, this generally works using a repurposed version of its B2C offering.
This comfortably satisfies the basic requirements of retail consumers buying individual products online, but Shopify’s capabilities are fairly limited when it comes to the likes of trade ordering, bulk ordering or international pricing and shipping.
A basic Shopify platform can be customised, but this is often a difficult task. The platform utilises its own propriety development language, Liquid. Therefore it would be necessary to seek out a developer with proficient knowledge of this niche, platform-specific language to make any complex changes.
Magento, however, operates using the more widely common framework PHP. With a much wider community of developers available, working on innovative extensions and add-ons, it’s easier to find the right resources to carry out more complex customisations.
With more options available for variable products, omni-channel order management and integrations with additional systems, Magento Commerce has the capacity to facilitate any large scale project, as well as an impressive pool of talent capable of supporting it.
One of the key advantages of Magento Commerce is that the platform is totally flexible and scalable to meet rising demands over several years. With such a long shelf life, it reduces the need for businesses to look at new solutions a year or two down the line.
It can be tempting to go for the simpler, cheaper and quicker solution offered by Shopify, especially when it may seem like a speedy development process to ‘go live’ as soon as possible.
An ecommerce website for any business ideally needs to be thought of as a long-lasting tool rather than a quick fix to get selling online. By choosing Magento Commerce, the compromise may well be that is takes a bit longer to set up before the live launch, but the platform will allow you to reap considerable benefits well into the future.
Just as the speed of the development process can be an attractive factor, a lower price tag is likely to tempt enterprises towards Shopify. While Magento could generally set you back a bit more, it’s important to factor additional and recurring costs of customisations and subscriptions to get an idea of true costs.
By purchasing a Magento license on an annual basis, there’s no need to pay any commission to Magento whenever you make a sale. However, Shopify commonly takes a cut of the action per sale, on top of the annual subscription.
Magento Commerce allows for up to 5 sites per license, compared to Shopify Plus’ 1 site per license. Multiple sites are useful for larger enterprises with various target demographics, such as a merchant that sells direct to consumers on one site, but also sells wholesale through another site. Having these stores covered by a single licence is beneficial and more cost effective.
Industry research experts Gartner identified a few of Shopify’s key weaknesses as part of a study in 2017. These include a lack of sophisticated features required by many large businesses. Support is lacking for products with complex options, multi-stores for multi-brand merchants and the ability to seamlessly integrate with various APIs.
On top of that, there is little or no support for many local languages or currencies, which can hinder merchants that have a lot of international coverage. Support for search engine optimisation, social media or multiple shipping and payment options are also quite thin on the ground with the Shopify platform.
Small independent B2C retailers could well get a satisfactory service using this platform, but for more extensive and bespoke solutions, it would be necessary to look for something bigger. From B2B wholesalers and distributors to B2C marketplace providers, investing in a more complex solution like Magento Commerce can make a world of difference.
As an official Magento Solution Partner, Sutton Silver can offer enterprise clients a strong, all-round service with advanced technical support and guidance from the core Magento team.
For a more detailed chat on how Magento Commerce can benefit your business and provide you with a solution that fits your unique needs, get in touch with Sutton Silver on 01244 347 680 or email email@example.com and speak to one of our solution consultants today.
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