We’re an e-commerce agency. We’re an “SI” (Systems Integrator). We are exposed to a lot of e-commerce technology but we are serious about being experts in all of the technologies, platforms and systems that we touch on behalf of our clients.
Because we have a legacy of tackling complex system integration exercises as a part of the e-commerce setup work that we do, we have done quite a bit of work with Magento over the life of the agency and since 2013 and have been a trusted Magento Solution partner since 2016. But although we talk far less about it, we are also experts on the Shopify platform and have recently added some clients with requirements and operating models that are a good fit for the simple Software as a Service (SaaS) approach that Shopify offers.
When to Choose Shopify Over Magento?
We believe there are some pretty clear distinctions between a recommendation to go with Shopify (or Shopify Plus) as an e-commerce platform versus the very powerful and customizable Magento. As an SI, we are in the position to provide the recommendation and here are some general traits of an e-commerce business that we see best fitting with the simpler, faster Shopify approach.
Simple B2C Business
If the product offering is fairly simple (low to medium SKU count with limited product complexity) and the business model is B2C we may recommend Shopify so long as the required integrations are straightforward and the longer term plan does not require a lot of customization. Under such, Magento would provide an unnecessary degree of sophistication.
No Need to Control Evolution of the Platform
If there is no need to control the evolution of the platform – that is – the merchant can wait for new features, functions and application-level upgrades to happen when Shopify gets to them (remember Shopify runs hundreds of thousands of e-commerce stores on one giant system) and so long as the merchant can live with adding functionality through plugins and apps that are available then Shopify is a definite option.
Of course, Shopify does allow for custom development and the Accorin team have vast experience developing custom apps, scripts and integrations on Shopify, but for Merchants requiring complex customizations, Shopify likely wouldn’t be our recommended platform.
No Need for Custom Pricing Rules / Different Prices for Different Customers
Shopify has always had a robust promotion and discount engine for the basic needs of an e-commerce merchant. However, if you need different prices for different customers based upon customer relationships that are treading close to B2B, Magento is a far better solution – especially if the business is growing towards a more complex model over time.
Level and Complexity of Integrations
Merchants now certainly have the capability to integrate SaaS platforms like Shopify with hardcore business systems like ERPs and robust CRMs. In fact here at Accorin we’ve made that easier with our new RocketFlowz EAI (Enterprize Application Integration) tool.
This tool allows a merchant to establish and manage a number of complex integrations in and out of Shopify much easier than starting from scratch. However if the systems being integrated require levels of middleware or contain integration points with custom software, Magento may be a better fit.
Speed to Deployment for Simple E-Commerce
Time and again, we have established Shopify stores for merchants that need to quickly establish proof-of-concept e-commerce experiences even if they are looking at Magento or other more complex e-commerce platforms down the road.
If speed is key and the business structure is simple we definitely consider Shopify. And if over time your business develops and at some point you’re ready to graduate to Magento, we have plenty of experience in migrating from Shopify to Magento.
The Bottom Line
Although our vast experience and wealth of strategic e-commerce knowledge often tends to serve us customers with complex challenges suited to Magento, we firmly believe in matching the most appropriate platform to the business requirements. Often Shopify is an excellent solution that fits the bill for our clients. As an experienced SI, integrating in and out of these platforms, we can help you decide which platform is going to make the most sense for your business both short and long term. Contact us to chat about it!