Shopify or Magento?

5 reasons why Shopify Plus is better than Magento for D2C e‑commerce businesses

5 reasons why Shopify Plus is better than Magento for D2C

Seb Harris

5 minute read30 Nov 2021

Current trends show Magento is losing customers to Shopify Plus. Even despite the upgrade to Magento 2 online businesses still flock to Shopify Plus for stores that are easier to maintain, cheaper to build, cheaper to run and provide the best possible experience for their customers.

Here we’ll explain why Shopify Plus is better than Magento for D2C e-commerce businesses.


Current trends show Magento is losing customers to Shopify Plus.

Price will always be a huge factor when choosing an e-commerce platform. At their baseline there is very little between Shopify Plus and Magento. The former comes in at $24.000 a year and the latter at $22.000. 

But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Magento has numerous unavoidable ‘hidden costs’ so don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s the cheaper option. To explain, we must first point out that Shopify Plus is an SaaS (or, software as a service) platform, whereas Magento is a PaaS (platform as a service). The difference may appear subtle but the ramifications are huge.

Magento is just a platform to build an e-commerce store. That means there’s no hosting included in your package, no licensing, no nothing. On top of the $22k Magento users must also find and pay for their own hosting service, the bare minimum of which is $100 a month (although for larger businesses this will be significantly more). 

Choosing the cheapest hosting service could end badly. Surge periods, flash sales, Black Friday, all of these bring intense periods of site visits which can end in calamitous downtime if the hosting isn’t up to scratch. As an SaaS solution, Shopify Plus asks none of this from its users. Everything is ready in place from the word go.

Another option is to go for Magento Commerce Cloud, Magento’s self-hosted all-in-one package, but that comes in at an additional $500 a month, taking the cost well beyond Shopify Plus.

And even if you choose this option, you will still have to factor in money for maintenance and upkeep. Magento stores require a lot, and we mean a lot, of maintenance. The platform’s updates aren’t automatically compatible with Magento stores so with each one users must employ skilled developers to integrate them into the store. 

Effectively Magento store owners need round the clock developers working on their store to keep it up to date and running smoothly. We’ve seen estimates that maintenance costs of a Magento store come in around $5.000 a month. Others estimate it to be more. Maintenance costs for a Shopify Plus store? $0.

Section recap

Magento is by far the more expensive platform. Shopify Plus asks for $2.000 a month and gives you everything you need to build, run and maintain a store. Magento comes full of hidden costs that very quickly ramp the price up, whilst simultaneously providing less and asking you to do more work. No brainer.


Without listing all of the things each platform can do, the thing to take note here again refers to Shopify as an SaaS and Magento as a PaaS. Shopify comes ready to go with everything you could possibly want to run an e-commerce store. Magento is an empty shell that you have to fill with additional integrations from 3rd party sources.

Whether you want a blog feature, unlimited bandwidth, a POS system, SEO best practices including metadata, built-in security, dropshipping and countless other features, all are included as standard with a Shopify Plus package and can easily be added to a store. 

Magento users must find and integrate 3rd party services for each of the above listed features and any other required feature. 

Section recap

The functionality of the two platforms is technically very similar, the only difference being it all comes as standard with Shopify Plus but Magento users must source and integrate from 3rd parties.

Ease of use

This brings us nicely to ease of use. For identical reasons to the previous section, Shopify Plus stores are far easier to build and run than Magento.

As mentioned, Shopify Plus is an SaaS platform that has everything necessary to run a successful store right out of the box. Magento requires a lot of time and work securing hosting, running maintenance and integrating updates.

Shopify is a ‘future-proofed’ platform, meaning all updates come readily compatible with Shopify stores. Developers aren’t necessary for updates to successfully integrate into a store, both lowering costs and removing potential headaches of running an e-commerce store.

Furthermore, nearly anyone can build a Shopify store. Okay, to build the absolute best of the best you’ll need to hire some developers, but at heart you can have more control over your own store on Shopify. Magento is a very difficult and involved platform to run which requires specific knowledge for all tasks.

Section recap

SaaS vs PaaS. Which is easier to use? Which requires less work, less maintenance and can be set up with even the most basic knowledge of computers and coding? SaaS every day.


The beauty of Shopify is no matter how large your business, no matter which payment plan you’re on, no matter whether you sell 1 product a month or 100,000 products a month, everything remains the same. The platform functionality on both back-end and front-end is identical whether you’re running a stripped back store with only 2 products or a huge multinational selling across numerous markets. 

This makes scaling up (and down) a dream. When your business is ready to move up to the next level, your Shopify store is ready to go with you. And if you make the move to Shopify Plus but need to return down to Advanced, it’s also no issue.

For Magento, scaling is more problematic. Stores must be modified, reviewed, and in some cases even rebuilt, if they’re to scale up for more customers, more markets and more products. Scaling should be a time of celebration, not additional hard work. But it’s difficult to get excited when your Magento store needs so much attention for your business to make a step up.

Section recap

Shopify is a platform with scalability in the forefront of its mind at all times. For Magento, it’s more of an afterthought.


Shopify Plus stores are far easier to build and run than Magento.

Magento used to have the upper hand on this one. Despite needing a team of developers, Magento always held an advantage over Shopify for its pure customisability. But not any more.

At the 2021 Unite conference, Shopify announced their long-awaited Sections Everywhere update. Without going into the details here, the update lets users build their stores in any which way they like (yes, they can place sections absolutely everywhere). Previously this was (almost) impossible but now Shopify Plus stores are the most customisable on the market.

Section recap

Magento held an advantage, Shopify endeavoured to nullify it with a brand new update.

Final thoughts

Shopify Plus is the superior platform for running a D2C e-commerce business. Cheaper, with more in-built features, easier to build, easier to maintain, the comparisons are stark. There is an argument that Magento is better for B2B businesses because it can run multiple catalogues through the same store, but this is an uninteresting feature to D2C businesses.

If you’re on Magento and are having second thoughts, don’t panic. The switch from Magento to Shopify is easily done. In fact Shopify guarantee that a migration from another platform takes no more than 90 days. We’ve performed countless migrations with an absolute minimum of downtime and the safe transfer of all store data. If you’d like to talk more about moving from Magento to  Shopify Plus, get in touch with us here and a member of our team will get back to you right away.

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