Selecting an ecommerce platform is a crucial decision for any online business. With numerous options available, it's essential to carefully assess the strengths and weaknesses of each platform to find the best fit for your needs.
In this article, we'll compare Shopify and Magento (Abode Commerce), two popular ecommerce platforms, and look at how they measure up against ShopWired, a top-rated, UK-based alternative ecommerce platform.
Shopify vs Magento (Adobe Commerce): Overview
Shopify is an ecommerce platform designed for merchants who want to set up an online business with ease. It’s a more ‘straight out-of-the-box’ platform that lets you get started right away with a simple website builder and user-friendly interface, Shopify provides various sales and ecommerce features and supports third-party digital tools if you wish to extend your store’s functionality.
On the other hand, Magento (now called Adobe Commerce) can be described as a more advanced and highly-customisable ecommerce platform. This open-source platform is best suited for medium to large-sized businesses that require greater control over their ecommerce store's functionality, design and scalability.
While Shopify and ShopWired are known for their ease of use and user-friendly interfaces, Adobe Commerce demands a higher level of technical expertise to fully utilise its capabilities, making it a better fit for businesses with access to development resources or the willingness to invest in professional support. The Adobe Marketplace offers 3,600 native integrations for enhancing site performance, customer service, marketing, shipping and fulfilment processes.
Due to its ease of use and more simplified customisation options, Shopify is an excellent choice for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) or solo entrepreneurs seeking a simple but effective ecommerce solution. In contrast, Adobe Commerce is more suitable for companies that want to create unique brand experiences and incorporate more complex, tailored features into their website.
In the rest of this guide, we’ll compare and contrast these two platforms. We’ll also see how they stack up against ShopWired- the UK’s top-rated ecommerce platform.
Undoubtedly, pricing plays a significant role when choosing the ideal ecommerce platform for your business. To help you make an informed decision, we've outlined the costs associated with each platform below.
Shopify provides three main pricing plans to choose from:
Monthly Fee: £25/month
Online Credit Card Rate: 2.2% + 25p
In-Person Credit Card Rate: 1.7% + 0p
Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 2.0%
Monthly Fee: £65/Month
Online Credit Card Rate: 1.7% + 25p<
In-Person Credit Card Rate: 1.6% + 0p
Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 1.0%
Monthly Fee: £344/Month
Online Credit Card Rate: 1.5% + 25p
In-Person Credit Card Rate: 1.5% + 0p
Additional Shopify Fees if NOT Using Shopify Payments: 0.5%
While Shopify's Basic plan is seemingly good value for money with plenty of features, there are some hidden costs to be aware of, as Shopify’s charges are not limited to just their monthly fees.
The first thing to consider is transaction fees, which are payable on all transactions unless you use the Shopify Payments payment gateway. With their Basic plan, these fees amount to 2% on every transaction, meaning the overall costs of using Shopify can creep up considerably. Moreover, some essential features that come standard with other platforms like ShopWired are only available on Shopify through third-party apps. These apps can be quite costly, as each carries its own monthly fee.
If Shopify’s Basic plan isn’t enough for your needs, then you may prefer selecting a higher pricing plan; either the Standard plan priced at £65/month or the Advanced plan at an impressive £344/month.
It is also worth pointing out, however, that Shopify offers the first 2 months for £1 on all pricing plans, which is a great option for letting you try before committing to a higher price.
Magento (Adobe Commerce) Pricing
Pricing for Adobe Commerce is less straightforward, with users needing to contact Adobe for pricing depending on their needs.
However, that being said, it’s a much more expensive option than Shopify, averaging at around £1,500/month.
Part of this is down to the additional costs that come with Adobe Commerce, including:
Web hosting: £10 to £30/month
Domain: £7.50 to £15/year
SSL certificate: £38 to £460/year
Web developer: Hourly rate varies depending on the developer's expertise
Transaction fees: Account for 2% to 4% per transaction for payment platforms and credit card processing charges
Additionally, there are one-time costs to bear in mind:
Themes: costs can range from £15 to £400 for a store theme; £3,800 or higher for a custom theme.
Extensions and add-ons: Free to £1,525 (in Adobe Commerce store)
ShopWired’s price plans sit in the middle of the two above. For example, ShopWired’s basic Pro plan is £34.95/month, making it a bit more expensive than Shopify’s equivalent plan, but with zero transaction fees, and with most apps available for free on the ShopWired App store, your monthly bill is less likely to creep up like it can on Shopify for additional features.
It’s also worth pointing out that ShopWired's apps have been built in-house and are supported by ShopWired's support team. This is in contrast to Shopify’s app store, where the vast majority of apps come from third party developers that Shopify's support team will offer no support on at all.
ShopWired also offers a generous saving for customers choosing to pay for a one-year, two-year or three-year subscription upfront, with a 10%, 20% or 30% discount on offer, respectively. This is a considerable saving if you know you’ll be using the platform long-term and are happy to spend the money upfront.
Both Shopify and Shopify offer free trials for a chance to try before you buy. This lets you get to grips with your chosen platform and decide whether it does everything you need. It’s never a bad idea to sign up to a few different free trials when weighing up your options, as each platform will offer something different.
Shopify currently only comes with a 3-day free trial, which does seem rather limited and won’t necessarily give you enough time to start making sales.
ShopWired’s free 14-day trial is probably a better option here, giving you enough time to learn the platform and set yourself up to start making some initial sales. ShopWired’s free trial also comes with all features and all apps included for free (even apps that are paid for on a paid subscription), making it a comprehensive experience of the ShopWired platform.
But what about Adobe Commerce?
Currently, Adobe Commerce does not come with a free-trial, mainly because it operates as more of a bespoke package once you’ve contacted Adobe and told them about your business. But with Adobe Commerce being a far more expensive option than both Shopify and ShopWired, it’s disappointing that there's no way to trial the platform.
Which ecommerce platform provides the best support?
In the competitive world of ecommerce, having a robust support system can make all the difference when choosing the right platform for your online business.
Let’s take a look at each platform's support options.
Reaching Shopify's support team can be somewhat challenging. You'll need to sift through numerous support articles and forums before making direct contact with a support representative. Accessing support from within the Shopify admin system is not available, and finding the proper channel for direct assistance may require some research.
However, once you locate the contact options for Shopify's support, they offer various 24/7 support methods, including live chat. The Shopify forums also host a helpful community that can potentially address some of your questions.
During your free trial with Shopify, you'll receive several emails offering assistance with various aspects of setting up your website. These messages include links to help guides designed to aid you in building your store. Although the emails are not tailored to your specific progress (for instance, you may receive an email about shipping rates even after you've set them up), they can still provide helpful guidance.
Magento (Adobe Commerce) Support
Adobe’s support options are a lot more complex than most other ecommerce platforms. As with Shopify, they do have a series of How-To Guides and Support Manuals for general guidance. They also have an online Forum, which is useful for connecting with other merchants and sharing tips and advice.
However, Adobe’s customer support receives mixed comments online with many finding the support to be lacklustre. It seems that most queries get automatically escalated beyond 1st line support, which delays the process and denies customers fast solutions to their problems.
Many users also report that Adobe’s support teams put most problems down to ‘customisation errors’ which isn’t always the case. These users end up having to hire private developers or sign up to one of Adobe’s Commerce Solution Partners to fix the issue. These are third-party partners with expertise in Adobe Commerce, but their services range in price and location, making this a far trickier to use and expensive alternative to Shopify’s support options.
Out of the two, we rank Shopify’s support above Adobe Commerce. But what about ShopWired?
ShopWired is a UK-based platform designed specifically for UK businesses. Our support team operates from our UK headquarters in Birmingham, offering assistance via email, live chat, or scheduled phone calls from 9AM to 10PM, Monday through Friday. Emergency and critical business support is also available on Saturdays and Sundays.
Additionally, email support is provided outside of standard business hours. To access support from the admin dashboard, simply click the "Get Support" button at the bottom of the left menu and choose your preferred contact method.
Upon registering for a ShopWired free trial, you'll receive an email from a member of our specialised onboarding team, who encourages you to reach out for any help you may need. Throughout your trial, our onboarding team will periodically check in with you to monitor your progress and assist with any challenges you may face. You can also directly contact the dedicated onboarding team with any questions or concerns during your free trial.
In all, we believe ShopWired’s support trumps all other ecommerce platforms, providing a personal and tailored experience for all of our customers.
Customer reviews offer valuable insights into the experiences and satisfaction levels of users who have tried a particular platform.
In this section, we’ll explore what customers have been saying about each platform.
Shopify currently has a very poor rating on TrustPilot with a low score of 1.4/ 5 stars and a ‘Bad’ overall score. There have been 708 reviews, indicating that lots of people have had similar experiences. As of now, Shopify is yet to claim their business on TrustPilot, meaning they don’t respond to any negative feedback.
Some common concerns among customers include issues with customer support, account suspensions without proper explanations and difficulties receiving payouts. Additionally, users have reported challenges in navigating the platform and dissatisfaction with hidden fees.
Adobe Commerce Reviews
Still referred to as Magento on Trustpilot, Adobe Commerce receives an ‘Average’ score of 3.4/ 5 stars out of 16 reviews. Again, Adobe hasn't claimed their business on Trustpilot, meaning that user reviews are left unanswered.
Trustpilot reviews for Adobe Commerce are mixed, with users praising its ability to scale businesses and establish online shops, while one negative review highlights issues with licensing fees and a poor experience with a recommended development partner. The negative review emphasises delays in launching their site, unresponsiveness from Magento and being charged for a platform they could not use.
ShopWired is the clear winner when it comes to TrustPilot reviews, with a high score of 4.8/ 5 stars from 457 reviews. ShopWired also responds to all TrustPilot reviews and provides additional feedback where necessary. Most reviews point to the helpfulness and friendliness of ShopWired’s support team, as well as the platform’s general ease of use.
G2.com is a well-known review platform in the US and other regions where Shopify and Adobe Commerce are widely utilised. Catering specifically to technology solutions such as ecommerce platforms, G2.com offers a more focused approach compared to Trustpilot.
Shopify fairs much better on G2, with an overall score of 4.4 / 5 stars from 4,298 reviews.
Adobe Commerce also sees an improved score on G2, with an overall score of 4/ 5 stars from 492 reviews.
ShopWired wins again, with a near-perfect score of 4.9/ 5 stars out of 91 reviews.
Ecommerce Platform Features
Both Shopify and ShopWired provide a comprehensive range of essential ecommerce features, letting you build an online store from scratch. To get started, you don’t need any coding or web design knowledge, simply select a template theme and start uploading your products. Along with inventory management, website hosting, order processing, customisation options and complete shopping cart and payment gateway functionality, these platforms provide everything you need.
Whilst Shopify and ShopWired let you build a store right away with little-to-no experience, Adobe Commerce, on the other hand, is recommended for experienced developers with technical know-how. It’s best suited to medium-sized and enterprise-level businesses with large websites and a budget for development. With Adobe Commerce’s thousands of extensions from the Adobe Marketplace, it is possible to customise your Adobe Commerce store to whatever you need, but you’ll either need some technical knowledge or the help of a web developer to get things working.
User Experience and Interface
Shopify's dashboard is renowned for its clean design and intuitive layout, making it relatively easy for newcomers to grasp. However, its simplicity can sometimes be limiting for those looking for in-depth customisation.
Adobe Commerce, being a more advanced platform, offers a more detailed dashboard that can initially appear overwhelming. Its complexity caters to businesses seeking granular control, but this comes with a steeper learning curve for those unfamiliar with such intricate systems.
ShopWired strikes a balance between the two, giving users a blend of simplicity and depth. New users often appreciate the platform's straightforward approach, which doesn't compromise on the richness of features. Much like Shopify, the ShopWired dashboard has all the buttons and menu options you’d expect from an ecommerce platform. But for those looking to get a bit deeper into customisation, ShopWired also lets you edit your website’s live theme file to make changes to your website’s code.
Additional Features via App Integrations
When scouting for the ideal ecommerce platform, it's crucial to look beyond just the basic features. The breadth of additional apps and integrations a platform offers can significantly amplify your store's capabilities and potential.
Let’s take a look at each platform's additional features.
Being a more extensive platform, Shopify boasts a vast selection of apps in its app store to enhance your store and streamline business processes. Although these apps are primarily developed by third parties and must meet Shopify's criteria, it's essential to exercise caution when selecting apps for your store. Some apps may not be as well-crafted as others, and a poorly designed app can cause issues with your store's data. Furthermore, if you encounter problems with a third-party app, you'll need to reach out to the app developers for assistance, as Shopify's support won't be able to help.
Shopify also offers its own suite of apps which extend your store's capabilities, such as uploading 3D product models, tackling fraud, connecting with Google Merchant Center and generating QR codes linked to your products, among others.
For those interested in dropshipping, Shopify's Oberlo app enables sourcing products from AliExpress. Explore Shopify's app store to discover their whole range of apps.
Adobe Commerce has plenty of additional APIs and extensions to use, with around 3,600 in total. However, many of these are built by third-party developers, so you should exercise caution when selecting and installing them to ensure compatibility and reliability with your store.
ShopWired offers a more modest selection of ecommerce apps, all of which are developed in-house. This eliminates the need to contact third-party providers for support or worry about apps malfunctioning and harming your store, business or brand. ShopWired’s support team are all experts on our additional apps, and are here to assist when required.
Some notable ShopWired apps include the ability to create and manage customer quotes, let customers leave reviews, add a Q&A to a product, offer subscription services, promote and manage pre-order products and integrate with major marketplaces like eBay and Etsy. ShopWired also has its own dropshipping app, DropWired, enabling you to source products and place orders directly through AliExpress. (*Browse ShopWired's apps and integrations page to discover more available apps and upcoming additions).
ShopWired’s curated selection of in-house apps provides a more streamlined and cohesive experience for users. Even though Shopify and Adobe Commerce might have thousands of apps, if they aren't well-maintained, regularly updated or if they clash with other apps, they can do more harm than good. ShopWired's emphasis on quality over quantity ensures that merchants have access to reliable tools that genuinely enhance their store's functionality without the added stress of sifting through countless options.
Overall, while the sheer volume of apps on platforms like Shopify and Adobe Commerce might seem enticing, it's essential to consider the quality, reliability and compatibility of these integrations. ShopWired's focused approach offers a balanced blend of variety and quality, ensuring apps function as required, and in the event of a hiccup, first-party support is on hand.
B2B Trade Features
Disappointingly, Shopify doesn’t come with B2B trade functionalities built-in to the platform. Instead, you’ll need to select and pay for a third-party app. The only way you’ll receive B2B wholesale options is by being a subscriber to Shopify’s enterprise-level Plus package, which is quite expensive at $2,000/ month.
One plus point of using Adobe Commerce is that it does come with built-in B2B commerce features, which means wholesalers can easily utilise features such as:
- Price negotiations and quote management
- Custom pricing and product catalogues
- Multichannel order management and sales
- Support for purchase orders and approval workflows.
It’s worth remembering though that, with the cost of Adobe Commerce being quite expensive, it may be cheaper to use another ecommerce platform and pay for B2B functionality as an additional add-on.
ShopWired provides native support for various trade and wholesale features which can be easily activated by installing the corresponding app. ShopWired's features are considered some of the best for B2B ecommerce in the UK. The trade functionality allows you to create a distinct category and product environment for your trade clients, establish unique pricing for each customer and product and implement other pricing rules such as bulk and tiered pricing.
If your business heavily engages in B2B transactions, it's worth exploring the trade accounts app during your free trial to see the extensive features it provides. After your trial ends, the app costs £10/month on the ShopWired Basic plan but is included for free with more expensive plans. As a result, offering trade features on ShopWired is more cost-effective.
Themes are essential for creating a visually appealing and functional online store. They help users recognise and gain familiarity with your brand, as well as easily navigate your website. Let’s take a look at what each platform offers in terms of themes.
Shopify offers a selection of roughly 80 themes for you to pick from, with just 10 of them available for free. The premium themes are priced between approximately $150 and $350. To help you make an informed decision, many of these paid themes provide a free trial, allowing you to experience the theme before making a purchase.
Shopify provides a user-friendly theme customisation experience through its drag-and-drop interface and live preview editor, making it easy to customise your theme to match your brand and boost conversions. You can also personalise various aspects of your selected theme, including colours, fonts and page layouts. Shopify also supports advanced customisation by default, enabling you to modify the underlying theme files to your heart's content.
Adobe Commerce has around 350 themes to choose from, but they all come at a price, ranging from $17 to $399, with an average price of around $100. Being an open-source platform, you can also build your own theme from scratch if you have the expertise.
ShopWired offers 20 fully functional ecommerce themes which are all free to use on any pricing plan. More recently, ShopWired have released their new Version 5 themes, adding a drag and drop editor that utilises sections and blocks to arrange the layout of your pages how you choose.
There are currently six Version 5 themes, with ten more coming in 2023. All of ShopWired’s themes are also responsive, meaning they’re optimised for both mobile and desktop.
SEO and Marketing Tools
In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is vital. Effective SEO and marketing tools can make the difference between a thriving online store and one that's lost in the vastness of the internet.
Shopify offers a basic set of SEO tools that allow merchants to edit meta titles, descriptions and image alt tags. They also provide a sitemap.xml for search engines. However, for more advanced SEO features or analytics, store owners often need to rely on third-party apps from the Shopify App Store.
Adobe Commerce provides a comprehensive suite of SEO tools, allowing for URL rewrites, meta information editing, and generating Google sitemaps. They also support rich snippets, which can enhance the visibility of products in search results.
ShopWired not only provides the essential tools for SEO, such as editing meta titles, descriptions, image alt tags and custom URLs, but they go a step further. Recognising the importance of expert guidance, ShopWired offers specialised SEO packages. Merchants can opt for a one-off audit where a ShopWired SEO expert evaluates their website and provides actionable recommendations. For those looking for continuous improvement, ShopWired offers monthly packages where an SEO expert provides ongoing optimisation strategies and updates. This hands-on approach ensures that ShopWired merchants have the best chance to rank higher on search engines and drive organic traffic to their stores.
In conclusion, while all three platforms offer tools to enhance SEO, ShopWired's commitment to providing both tools and expert guidance sets them apart.
Growth and scalability
The ability of an ecommerce platform to scale with a business's growth is crucial. As businesses evolve, so do their needs, and the chosen platform should be able to accommodate this growth without causing disruptions or requiring major overhauls.
Shopify is designed with scalability in mind. As businesses grow, they can easily upgrade to higher-tier plans that offer more features and capabilities. Shopify Plus, for instance, is tailored for enterprise-level businesses, offering advanced features and dedicated support. The platform's infrastructure can handle spikes in traffic, especially during sales or promotional events, ensuring that stores remain operational even during peak times.
Adobe Commerce is known for its high scalability, especially favoured by medium to large enterprises. Its open-source nature means businesses can customise and scale their operations extensively. However, this scalability comes with a caveat: as you grow, you might need more development resources and potentially higher hosting costs. Adobe Commerce Cloud, a hosted version of the platform, offers a more streamlined scalability solution but at a premium price.
ShopWired understands the growth trajectory of online businesses. ShopWired’s platform is built to ensure that as your business expands, your online store can seamlessly grow with it. With a range of plans catering to different business sizes, upgrading is straightforward. Moreover, ShopWired's in-house developed features ensure that even as you scale, you won't be forced to rely heavily on third-party apps, which can complicate operations. The unique offering of SEO packages also means that as your business grows, your online visibility can be optimised to match that growth.
In summary, while all three platforms offer growth and scalability options, the ease of scaling and the associated costs can vary. Businesses should consider not just their current needs but also their future aspirations when choosing a platform.
What is the best ecommerce platform? Shopify or Magento (Adobe Commerce) or ShopWired?
Which platform is best overall? How does ShopWired compare?
Selecting the right ecommerce platform is a crucial step in the journey of any online business. Each platform, Shopify, Adobe Commerce (Magento), and ShopWired, brings its unique strengths and challenges to the table.
Shopify shines for its user-friendly interface, making it a go-to for small to medium-sized businesses with little-to-no website experience. Its vast app store offers numerous functionalities, but users should be wary of hidden costs, transaction fees and issues with third-party apps. It's best suited for those looking for a straightforward, out-of-the-box solution.
Adobe Commerce (Magento) is a powerhouse for larger enterprises that require extensive customisation and scalability. Its open-source nature offers unparalleled flexibility, but it demands a higher level of technical expertise and can become much more expensive to use than other platforms.
ShopWired, the UK's top-rated platform, offers a balanced blend of simplicity and depth. With its in-house apps, zero transaction fees and dedicated SEO packages, it provides a comprehensive solution without the need for excessive third-party integrations. It's a solid choice for businesses of all sizes, especially those in the UK.
In conclusion, the "best" platform truly depends on your business's specific needs, technical resources and budget. Choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business is a difficult decision and we'd recommend taking out a free trial to gauge how it suits your business and its goals.
Our favourite choice and recommendation for all UK businesses will, as always, be ShopWired!