A Guide to Magento vs Shopify B2B Ecommerce platforms

By Melissa |  Nov 13, 2018 (5 min read)

Ecommerce | Magento | Web Development

The latest statistics show that the ecommerce is growing in the B2B sector, and a lot of business owners have questions about which B2B ecommerce platform is best suited for their business.

One of the biggest questions is between the do-it-yourself platforms such as Shopify, Woocommerce and BigCommerce versus the custom-built platforms.

Often it comes down to the volume of sales. For companies with more than a million in revenue each year, they will usually consider investing in a full custom platform such as Magento (now owned by Adobe), or Hybris (owned by SAP) or Salesforce Cloud.

Here are the main considerations for choosing Shopify vs Magento, two of the most popular B2B ecommerce software platforms.


One big difference between the two platforms is that Magento is self-hosted while Shopify is a hosted platform.

On Shopify, all hosting costs are included within your monthly plan with no extra effort or expense required from you.

Magento, on the other hand, is a self-hosted platform. If you choose Magento, you’ll have to sort out your own hosting service. Depending on the volume of traffic you are expecting this can become an expensive option. However, you also get to choose the type of server that works best for you.

Total Cost

When considering the total cost of ownership for B2B ecommerce, it is a different world than smaller scale ecommerce stores. Shopify has a lot of appeal due to the low cost of entry, but then again Magento Open Source is free to get started with.

If you look at upgrading to Magento Commerce edition, you will be looking at fees around $15,000 or more per year.

This does not include development costs or server fees, but it is a lower entry point than Hybris, or other enterprise ecommerce platforms.

Shopify also offers B2B solutions with the Shopify Plus product. Here is where you start to see the fees grow. There is a minimum monthly license fee of $2,000 and a maximum monthly fee of $40,000. So although Shopify appears cheaper in the beginning, depending upon the scale of the business it can spike quickly.


Shopify has top-down support, meaning that the company itself will deliver updates to you as they are created. Your site software will improve immediately as the updates are delivered.

Magento, in contrast, follows the open-source model whereby all updates are made available to the public and can be implemented as the individual website chooses to.

This means that Magento may require continual developer support throughout the lifespan of the website. These extra support costs should be factored into the initial and ongoing costs of running on the platform.

Developer Availability

Magento has one of the biggest community of developers of any of the major platforms, due to the fact it is coded in PHP. Ecommerce agencies are well versed in Magento 2 and there are a lot of Certified Magento Developers to choose from.

Shopify also has a strong developer community although it is hard to understand how many Shopify agencies there are at present.

SEO Performance

When it comes to SEO performance, both Shopify and Magento offer pretty similar functionalities.

An ecommerce store built on either platform is able to be indexed and ranked by Google and other search engines. This means that Shopify and Magento stores both have good potential to rank highly in SERPs.

If you want to add a blog to your page (which is great for SEO) you can add a WordPress blog via a plugin on Magento, and Shopify has its own blog editor.

Add-ons and Functionality

Both Shopify and Magento have extensive app stores where you can find everything from marketing apps to accounting and finance extensions to take your ecommerce store to the next level. Shopify currently has over 2500 apps available, while the Magento Marketplace has over 4000.

Many of these apps are one-click add-ons that can broaden the functionality of the store, similar to apps that you can add to a smartphone.

Magento vs. Shopify Plus Usage Statistics in 2018

Shopify currently hosts over 500,000 stores, with approximately 2500 Shopify Plus stores currently up and running. Magento hosts approximately 250,000 stores worldwide, depending upon which source you choose.

What Works Best Your Business?

There are many pros and cons to owning any kind of ecommerce software platform, and there are many dedicated followers of both Shopify and Magento.

Generally speaking, the ecommerce platform chosen for supporting a business will depend on how well it integrates and supports the business itself.

As a general rule, it’s easy to see that Magento provides a great deal of flexibility and opportunity for customization. Shopify, on the other hand, offers a great selection of themes that can be a great starting point for any company.

Experience Driven Commerce

Magento Shopify
  • This flexible, open platform allows you to quickly bring to market the innovative, differentiated experiences that your customers demand.
  • Shopify experiences are built using a standard set of templates. This limits your ability to innovate, making your store look like every other Shopify merchant.
  • Pre-integrated modules from technology providers activate with a single click (e.g. payments, tax, shipping). You can choose from over 3,600 extensions in the Magento Marketplace.
  • While some elements can be changed, certain Shopify experiences cannot be customized (e.g. the most important part: checkout.)
  • A large network of partners and developers provide additional resources to further your innovation, and help you create commerce magic.
  • Limited Extensibility and integrations with 3rd party solutions.
  • Shopify has a much smaller network of partners and developers with limited global support.

Plan for Future Growth, Today

Magento Shopify
  • This flexible, endlessly customizable platform does not limit what features and functions you can add in the future. Merchants retain full control over their Magento environment.
  • Many successful merchants often quickly outgrow Shopify’s basic plans and are then forced to upgrade to more expensive Shopify Plus plans.
  • The Magento Marketplace provides over 3,600 high quality, vetted extensions to quickly add and expand store capabilities, often with just one click.
  • Features required by large and growing companies—such as order management, complex product catalogs, subsite functionality, etc.—are not supported.
  • Magento integrates with a wide variety of third-party solutions (e.g. marketing automation), allowing you to integrate other digital tools to further enhance the customer experience.
  • Few large, global companies use Shopify
  • Whether you sell to businesses (B2B), direct-to-consumer (B2C), or both, Magento is engineered to support your commerce needs. Start with one channel and expand into the other without re-platforming or adding another niche commerce platform.
  • Shopify was engineered for B2C, and not B2B, so their templates and apps are not capable of handling the complexity of B2B transactions and workflows.

Delivering and Managing Your Commerce Experience

Magento Shopify
  • Merchants can quickly deploy and manage multiple sites, in multiple languages, accept multiple local payment methods, and interface with many global shipping providers, all under a single Magento instance and accompanying license.
  • While Shopify announced expanded support for multiple languages, currencies, and localized payment methods, each instance can only support one language and currency. Multi-country or multi-brand merchants must purchase costly additional licenses for each country or brand.
  • The Magento worldwide community of 60,000 developers and over 300 Solution Partners are constantly producing new, innovative solutions to further enhance Magento-powered sites.
  • For aspects of their experience that can be customized, Shopify uses a proprietary coding language that has limited developer support. This makes finding developers to assist with projects and maintain sites much more difficult and costly.
  • Easily add on capabilities via the large Magento Marketplace, with high quality, vetted extensions that enable merchants to quickly add and expand store capabilities, often with one click [over 3,600+ extensions available covering a wide variety of use cases and capabilities].
  • Shopify’s smaller app marketplace means less coverage of use cases, requiring more custom coding and added costs.
  • The flexibility of Magento allows merchants to roll out their commerce experiences in phases and continually evolve their experiences over time.
  • Shopify has limits on product attributes and catalog size, limiting its ability to service merchants with large and complex product sets or unique selling requirements (e.g. configurable goods).

Performance Considerations

Magento Shopify
  • Global cloud infrastructure and services ensures 99.99% operational uptime and scalability no matter where customers are located. You can deploy your sites wherever your business operates. Magento Commerce runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Shopify’s multi-tenant architecture means that peak demand on one merchant’s store can degrade the performance of other Shopify stores, meaning yours.
  • Merchants retain total control over their Magento environments. Optimizations and integrations can be tailored to the specific needs and business goals of individual stores/ branded sites.
  • Shopify throttles the data exchanged between its core app and add-ons apps, which could significantly slow your site performance during high traffic periods, degrading the overall customer experience.
  • Powerful business user tools help larger, more complex stores save time and improve business agility.
  • Shopify’s technology stack is locked down, leaving the merchant with no way to monitor, manage, or optimize site performance.
  • Magento powers 315,000 sites around the world with support and representation in all major geographies. Magento powers 70 of the top 500 companies on the Internet Retailer Top B2C eCommerce 500 list and 40 of the top 300 B2B customers on the Internet Retailer B2B eCommerce 300 list.
  • Shopify powers 10 of the Internet Retailer Top 500 companies.

Getting the Right Assistance When You Need It

Magento Shopify
  • A large global community of Solution Partners offers a vast range of design and implementation services with expertise in a wide variety of verticals, segments, and geographies. They’re ready and willing to help you no matter what stage you are on in your digital commerce journey.
  • Shopify has just a small partner community, located mainly within North America, with less experience in implementing commerce experiences and providing merchant services.
  • With more than 260,000 developers worldwide, you can easily find resources to help with projects of all sizes.
  • Shopify’s use of the proprietary Liquid language leaves a limited pool of developers equipped to help on projects.

Source: Magento

If you are seeking an experienced certified Magento or Shopify developer, then Brandastic can help you. Brandastic is an Orange County-based certified Magento Developer. We can help you with the decision-making process and the development of your Magento ecommerce store. Contact us today to get started growing your business.

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