Which Ecommerce Platform – Shopify vs Magento vs Woocommerce

shopify vs magento vs woocommerce

The age old question that must get asked across the web hundreds of times every week, which ecommerce platform should I go for ? Should I go for Shopify or Magento or Woocommerce? Well I’m about to help you work out which. If you’re looking for a quick summary of which each is suit for and the advantages and disadvantages then head to this part.

Why am I just comparing Shopify vs Magento vs Woocommerce, well it’s because these are in my opinion the top 3 for ecommerce entrepreneurs they are also the most popular options. There are platforms like bigcommerce and Wix but these offer less flexibility and I feel these aren’t the best options, I also have personal experience with these 3 and so making a comparison is more suitable.

What each platform is suited for


ShopifyShopify – Great for people starting out

Currently powering over 175,000 stores around the world Shopify is a serious option when it comes to your ecommerce platform

  1. Everything is managed for you including hosting, your domain name & setting them up. You can get a site up and running in a few minutes with no programinng skills required
  2. You can launch a store in a few  minutes without any programming skills.
  3. Best for sites with 1-500+ products although you can have unlimited products on all but the starter plan (which limits you to 25)
  4. Easy to customise, there are 100’s of responsive themes, which can be installed with the click of a few buttons.
  5. Payments gateways such as stripe and paypal are available straight away
  6. There are tons of “apps/extensions” which can be purchased which can save you money.
  7. Fast and easy to use intuitive backend, makes admin and day to day tasks a breeze
  8. Comes with many features such as adding coupons, cross selling and much more out of the box
  9. You’ll find it’s SEO ready, there are a few steps you need to follow but generally it’s a nice platform that Google likes
  10. You can add Wordpress so you can build a beautiful blog to work alongside your ecommerce store

Advantages: + Easy to use + No web design/coding skills required + Everything is managed  + All sorts of extensions to meet your needs + Easy to customise   + Free trial available

Disadvantages: – Can be expensive when you start adding extensions  – Tied to there hosting and monthly charges  – Transaction fees per order

Overall it’s a fantastic platform and one I regularly advise people to go with, for those who lack coding skills (like myself) or access to a team then it’s a great option. Make sure you take advantage of the 14 day free trial here.

Magento – Free & Powerful

MagentoOne of the most powerful platforms for your store, over 200,000 stores around the world use it and it allows for thousands of products and a near unlimited customisation.

  1. One of the only open source ecommerce platforms around, this means it’s free but you require hosting (note it requires a good hosting company who specialise in hosting Magento sites)
  2. Add as many products & categories as you like, ideal for large businesses who have thousands of SKU’s (products)
  3. A wide range of themes can be bought and installed to create beautiful looking websites
  4. It does require either coding skills, access to a developer/team or for you to be prepared to pay for changes
  5. You can use any payment gateway with modules that can be added. Paypal is a default payment system already set up
  6. Many bulk actions which allow you to download information from the site
  7. Once optimised correctly it can be incredibly powerful and does well in terms of SEO
  8. It also features modules and extensions such as WordPress so you can expand the functions of the standard Magento install

Advantages: + Free  + Ideal for stores with large numbers of products + Customise any aspect  + Thousands of themes available

Disadvantages: – Requires a decent hosting to host it on  – Coding skills or access to a programmers needed in order to customise it  – Not the most straight forward backend

Overall it’s a option that I personally use on some of my biggest stores (one’s with over 500 products) and it is very powerful, it’ll take you a while to get to grips with it and it does require you to use a developer to make changes to it’s design or to fix any issues you may have.

Woocommerce – Free & Powerful

WoocommerceBased on the popular WordPress platform this plugin turns this blogging platform into an ecommerce one, it’s a great option if you already run a WordPress site but also if you want to add a large blogging side to your site.

  1. A great open source add on the ever popular WordPress platform, it’s also free to use.
  2. You’ll still need hosting and a domain name to get it working
  3. Perfect for those who like the content management system (CMS) of WordPress
  4. Able to hold any number of products and categories but does lack a few features that larger sites may need
  5. There are a large number of themes and plugins available, however many aren’t free so the costs can increase quite quickly
  6. Installation is easy, no coding skills are required just as long as you can follow steps
  7. Most of the most popular payment providers can be accepted
  8. There are various default features which are very useful such as discount codes/coupons as well as easy to install plugins that work with woocommerce
  9. In terms of SEO it is liked by search engines, as it has the WordPress CMS it’s easy to add great content which Google and others love

Advantages:  + Free & Open Source  + Easy to customise with themes and plugins  + Great if you love the WordPress platform

Disadvantages: – Not great for large number of products  – Many plugins you may need cost money  – The best themes cost money  – You’ll require hosting and a domain name

Overall if you’re looking for an easy way to sell products on an existing WordPress site or you want an easy and free solution where you’re not tied down to monthly payments then this is a great choice. You can easily customise it with free and paid themes. Not the best option if you are wanting to sell lots of products.

Which one to go for


In very basic terms:

Shopify is extremely easy to use as well as powerful, great for starters as well as big ecommerce businesses, it’s also great value. Get a Free 14 day trial of Shopify here.

Magento is the most powerful, ideal for those wanting to build a large professional ecommerce store but requires technical skills.

Woocommerce is very flexible, free and easy to customise, good for those wanting an ecommerce as a side business to a blog.

Which one to go for based on your business:

  • Small site selling 1-10 products – Shopify (Woocommerce is also another option)
  • Site planning to sell 10-50 products – Shopify again
  • Site selling 50-100 products & you have technical/coding knowledge – Magento
  • Site selling 50-100 products & you have no technical knowledge – Shopify
  • Your run a blog and want to start selling items too – Woocommerce
  • You want an easy to handle site to sell your items, very much click and go – Shopify
  • You plan to sell items with lots of variables e.g a set of furniture, with options for colour, material, size – Magento
  • You want your users to be able to quickly buy something from your current blog – Woocommerce
  • You already have hosting and a domain and want a quick hassle free ecommerce platform – Woocommerce
  • You don’t have hosting and want an ecommerce site up in the next hour – Shopify

Don’t forget you can take advantage of the Free 14 day trial of Shopify here. Feel free to ask any questions below, tell me what your plan is and what you want to sell and I’ll recommend you the most suitable for your ecommerce store.

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  • Nice write up Max. Used WooCommerce before with a store with approx 60 products in and did the job well. But the day job sees me overseeing a Magento Enterprise store with over 15,000 products and its amazing. Now that magento has been sold (along with other parts of eBay’s enterprise business), the future looks very bright for the platform. A great extension for both Enterprise and Community edition is the M2EPro, which allows you to list your inventory on eBay and receive the orders into Magento’s admin. It’s free and well worth installing.

    Look forward to more posts soon!

    • Thanks Justin, Hadn’t heard of this extension! Will def check it out!

    • Agreed, M2EPro was the main reason we chose Magento, so we could more easily add eBay as a selling channel. A useful feature of M2EPro is that prices can be set differently from your website. Typically we use this to sell at a higher price on eBay, to reflect the higher order processing costs. The best prices are on our website :-)

  • For me what it really comes down is whether you are looking to sell just a few products or a large number of products, as well as which platforms offers the features you want for a reasonable price. It’s also worth mentioning the Shopify and Bigcommerce are best for those stores that plan on scaling up quick, since they provide the functionality to really handle large amounts of traffic and turn your site into something special.