Which eCommerce system is for you? Shopify vs WooCommerce vs Magento

Let’s start with finding out a little bit more about the three eCommerce giants before we start picking them apart.


The open source eCommerce platform was released in March 2008. Known for its reliability and freedom, it has cemented its place as one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. The platform is trusted by names such as Ford, Nike and Liverpool F.C who’s sites are all built using Magento.


The Canadian-based platform, Shopify, differs from Magento as it is a proprietary eCommerce platform rather than open source. Shopify is known worldwide for helping businesses thanks to its focus on social sales and optimised mobile shopping. With the integration of sales through social channels, Shopify has always kept up with the ever changing digital world, ecommerce trends and consumer behaviour.


The open source, free WordPress plugin, WooCommerce is a platform we all know and love. Its wide range of plugins and tools allows users to build a platform suited to their customer’s needs. Furthermore, with extra plugins, WooCommerce can become a multi-vendor ecommerce store.

Design and Customisation

WooCommerce is a plugin created by the developers from WooThemes to integrate seamlessly into WordPress. The platform simply offers you the means to sell products online. The design part, comes from your wordpress theme, it is just a plug in after all. There is really no stopping you when it comes to WooCommerce, that’s the beauty! You just have to put the hours in.

Use any WordPress theme that you like, WooCommerce has been built to work seemlessely with most themes.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then WooThemes have got you covered.  Woo’s online store called Storefront (free) provides you with a super streamlined and efficient theme. Giving your site all of the important elements you’ll need for an eCommerce store.

What about the others?

Shopify is a great option for the more minimal and less advanced stores. However, when it comes to more intricate sites you should really be looking at a platform like Magento. Don’t worry we’ll get to that.

If your site doesn’t require any overly technique features or specific coding then Shopify could be for you. The platform comes with a great ease of use and its compatibility with mobile sites is second to none. However, as said before, Shopify themes are proprietary which means they don’t give the user a huge range of customisation. Without the ability to customise a great deal beyond the layout and theme, there is the potential problem of Shopify users not being able to design a site that compliments their store branding.

Finally, Magento is the best for the more technically skilled designers amongst us, who’s aim to create completely bespoke sites, full of features. Magento is an e-commerce platform written in PHP, available as both an open-source and commercially licensed service.

A large perk for users when working with Magento is that every aspect of the platform can be controlled by the user. Complete control is something a business owner may value, setting this platform apart from any of the competition.

All of the platforms offer many free and premium themes. Themes for all platforms are responsive, meaning they are great for all screen sizes and devices. It is essential in today’s world to ensure your online store is compatible across several devices. You don’t want to lose customers because your site doesn’t work for them!

Bonus tip: If you’re looking to find a quick solution to your eCommerce needs then the latest download of Magento 2 includes a new drag and drop editor we can all benefit from using.

But how can eCommerce help you?

Each platform mentioned has its own advantages and could possibly be everything you are looking for in an eCommerce platform. For instance, although Shopify relies heavily on plugins, it really sets itself apart from the crowd thanks to its endless opportunities. For completely free, Shopify offers its users Unlimited products, Unlimited file storage and a free SSL certificate. It really helps its users to achieve their goals by giving them access to everything they could need.

Although, Magento’s results don’t lie. It is so popular, that is has been searched on Google more times than the word “Ecommerce” itself.  Worldwide, there is currently 240,000 active eCommerce sites powered by Magento, including sites such as Nike and Ford. If these giants can rely on Magento for a completely bespoke platform designed through coding and a wide range of tools then we can too.

Now onto WooCommerce. The only downfall to WooCommerce in this aspect is that you have to be a wordpress user to reap the rewards the team over at WooThemes are offering. WooCommerce goes head to head with these other giants but unless it is good enough to entice you over to wordpress you are let down by its exclusivity.

A lot of users argue that Shopify is the way forward when it comes to eCommerce sites as it provides of blend of everything its competitors can offer but also its own features to stand out from the crowd. It’s quicker to set up and includes a website-building tool to design your site’s image, what more could you ask for.

Who’s got you covered?

If your site is dealing with transactions and customer details then website security is essential. It is up there with the most important things any online business needs. Unfortunately, not everything is sorted for you and several steps need to be taken by the developer. Surprisingly, most users feel securing their website is something they don’t know how to do. This is where customer support comes in or forums for the open source platforms. Experts can give you advice on the best practice when securing your site.

62% of Magento sites are reported to have at least one ongoing security issue at any time. This can be any problem from outdated software, to a lack of the latest security patches. Luckily, this isn’t as bad as it seems. Of course with Magento being the leading platform for eCommerce sites it makes sense that most reported issues come from Magento sites.

Don’t strike Magento off just yet. More users means more chance of their being issues. Furthermore, most reported security breaches are avoidable website security issues or admin errors, not the direct fault of Magento.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce also find it difficult to provide a completely 100% secure platform because with today’s constant advances in technology it is impossible to secure every version of software on every device! It is always better to hire an expert to develop and host your site as their know how and hosting will provide a layer of security others would be without.

How to get your eCommerce site to the top.

You need traffic and you need customers, you’re using these platforms to develop an eCommerce website after all.

44% of purchases begin with a simple online search. This report means there is potential to grow your business online and cement yourself as a customer favourite. SEO or search engine optimisation helps the right customers find your website and allows them to find what they’re looking for. By using SEO to advertise your products via Google and other search engines you may beat your competitors when looking to secure new customers.

Magento may be renowned for its SEO advantages but relies heavily on the users understanding of SEO tools such as Meta Tags & URL Slugs. On the other hand, Shopify provides users with help sections and step by step tutorials on how to further optimise their site. Whether this be through structure or changes to this content.

In our opinion, no one beats WooCommerce when it comes to SEO. With the advantage of being a wordpress plugin in, WooCommerce can be couples up with plugins such as Yoast SEO. Plugins such as Yoast provide you with a details dashboard which provides feedback on your contents SEO score and its readability using a traffic light system. It also provides you with a template in which to use when writing your Meta tags and Keywords. Thanks to Yoast, the user receives a streamlined approach to SEO whilst maintaining great results.

Who wins?

Here at Python, our team uses all 3 platforms, as each client requires a different result. Each platform has its pros and Cons and it really comes down to what it is you need.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to website design. Decide what you customers need, find which platform provides this and get going.

However, even as experts we understand it is not as easy as it sounds, thats why we are always on hand to help. If you would like to find out more about eCommerce sites or how we can help you then feel free to get in touch. The best way to reach us is at [email protected] Likewise, find out what else you can do to help you your company grow at www.wearepython.com


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