Time’s almost up for support for Magento 1, and with that end-of-life for the platform many will be looking ahead to what’s next for their ecommerce brands. The migration/replatforming process can seem daunting, and you want to make sure you pick not only the right platform for your brand as it stands now, but one that will continue to support your growth for years to come.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Shopify - we’re Plus Partners after all! Our alignment with Shopify comes with sound reasoning, and we truly believe that for the ecommerce businesses we deal with it’s the best option. We’re going to go through the different features of Shopify Plus, followed up by a quick rundown of what Magento 2 offers and let you be the judge of which is better for your business.
Partners, Apps, and Resources
The Partner network for Shopify Plus is pretty vast encompassing a number of talented, enthusiastic developers, marketers, designers, and more from around the world. This means you’ve got access to a whole host of different experts to help you successfully design and launch a Shopify store. It’s split into a couple of categories:
These are the agencies - like us! - that’ll kickstart your Shopify Plus journey. You’ve got every kind of expert you could ever need at your fingertips. Brand Strategy, Marketing, SEO, Optimization, Design, Development, the list goes on.
Certified App Partners
And these are the partners that’ll take your store to the next level. Personalization, Inventory Management, Automation, Reviews, Payments, and more. Everything you’ll need to create a flawless ecommerce experience.
The Shopify App Store features over 1500 unique apps, and Plus gives you access to exclusive apps designed to improve your store’s customer experience. Think of a way you want to improve your store whether that’s your checkout, or reviews, or customer support, and we guarantee there’s an app for it. Here are a couple of our favorites:
Gorgias takes the legwork out of customer support, that allows your customer service team to manage support across a multitude of channels easily from one place.
Thinking about getting into subscriptions or setting up recurring payments for popular products? ReCharge has you covered. The app makes it easy to manage inventory forecasting, cut-off dates, and more.
Integrating apps into your site is also pretty straightforward, Shopify’s “plug and play” approach to Apps mean you can find and integrate the apps you need to improve your store with ease.
Your Shopify journey doesn’t just end at migration and apps, far from it. Shopify also offers a huge archive of resources that’ll enrich your experience on the platform, offer insight into business growth tactics, and teach you new ways to improve your store. These resources include:
- Blogs - they also have dedicated blog sites for Plus and Partners for additional insights.
- In-depth Guides on everything from Email Marketing to Customer Retention
- Free tools to help you navigate the little things like Shipping Labels and Terms & Conditions
There’s also the Shopify Academy which gives you access to experienced entrepreneurs offering free workshops, on-demand courses, and a community of like-minded individuals to share knowledge with.
For merchants with a larger annual revenue, Plus gives you a little bit extra though with a dedicated merchant success manager at Shopify who will offer advice and priority support whenever you need it. You’ll also always have dedicated support via email specifically with customer support representatives trained to work with enterprise brands like yours. Want to know a bit more about the support you get with Plus? We’ve got a whole other blog that digs a little more into some of the benefits.
Scalability & Efficiency
Shopify Plus was built to scale. That sounds obvious or like some kind of marketing tagline, but it’s true! Many big brands like Obey, Gymshark, and more rely on Shopify Plus because of its scalability, and Shopify is always looking at new ways to help and improve their platform for merchants.
Two of the most beneficial features of Plus in terms of scalability are unlimited bandwidth and multi-channel sales. When we say Unlimited, we mean it - no matter how much traffic your site gets because of those big launches and seasonal sales, your Shopify store will be up and running ready for your customers. Multi-channel sales allow you to sell to your customers regardless of where they are - Wholesale vs B2C, mobile vs desktop, online vs brick-and-mortar...wherever!
Scaling up of course comes at a cost. The cost of Plus compared to other platforms is pretty reasonable given the wealth of features you get access to, starting at around $2000 per month. And because Shopify is designed to be easy to use, you’re looking at much lower costs to make changes to your store with Apps and customizations.
In terms of efficiency, Shopify estimates that most businesses can migrate to Plus within about 3-4 months depending on the complexity of the project and what’s required. That’s record time compared to other platforms where migration could take as long as 6-12 months. Additionally, Apps, customizations and integrations take much less time to implement so you can continue adapting your store as you grow.
So how does Magento 2 compare against all this? Let’s take it category by category:
Magento also offers access to a network of partners. Solutions Partners will help you with Digital Strategy, Implementation, Customization etc., Technology Partners help with extensions - the Magento version of Apps - and Community Insiders are individual developers or small developer groups. You’ll want an ongoing partner or in-house development team to ensure your Magento store is continuously updated, including installing security updates, as this is not an automatic process.
This is the equivalent to Shopify’s Apps. In the Magento Marketplace you can browse extensions to apps or services to customize your store’s experience. However, these are rarely as easily implemented as Shopify’s Apps as Magento in general requires a bit more in-depth tech knowledge and you’ll need someone to go in and alter your site’s code to get it looking just right. They also require a bit more quality testing as extensions can sometimes mess with customizations; this additional time testing will cost more as a result.
Scalability & EfficiencyMagento 2 is also of course built to scale with stores as they grow, but this does come at a cost in both time and money. Replatforming to Magento 2 takes about double the time as migrating to Shopify Plus, and costs about double as well given the length of time required and the more specialist technical knowledge required. License fees overall are a little lower on Magento 2, but these don’t include hosting costs so over a 3 year period, ownership on Magento 2 costs roughly 50% more than on Shopify Plus.
So if you want a TL;DR version of all that, let’s put it this way: Shopify Plus makes it easier than ever to grow your ecommerce business with tools, resources, and features that are designed to scale with you. It’s quicker to migrate, cheaper to adapt, and simple to manage. If you’re looking at what you could do to take your brand to the next level, there’s no question that Shopify Plus is your perfect partner for success.
Looking for some additional insight on replatforming? Check out this article from Shopify Plus.