Shopify Plus ecommerce platform Blue Stout

Why Shopify Plus is More Efficient than Magento Enterprise (And 3 Ways It Can Get You to 8-Figure Revenue)

by Jenna Compton
July 21, 2016

Here at Blue Stout, we’re seeing more and more enterprise-level brands make the switch to Shopify Plus.

Bombas Socks left Magento for it.

Stowaway Cosmetics left Spree Commerce for it.

Is Shopify Plus really that good of a platform choice? Or is it just a trend?

One of the most common doubts customers have about Shopify Plus is how it stacks up to the most popular enterprise platform choice, Magento.

The most important part about addressing this concern is to make sure you’re looking at it in context.

That’s what this article is all about.

This post will answer a question we hear a lot: “Can Shopify Plus deliver a better online store than Magento?”

The short answer is: yes.

So if that’s all you wanted to take away from this article, there you have it.  But, I want to give you some specifics around that “yes” so that you and your team can weigh the “replatforming decision” through an informed discussion.

Since your ecommerce platform is the foundation of your business you want it to be the best, but you also don’t want to fork out unnecessary resources that could be supplementing other profitable initiatives for your business.

Should we pay a dev to fix this shopping cart bug?

Or let our customers deal with the bug and use that budget to build a custom holiday coupon for next month instead?

Or do both, but go over budget for the quarter leaving us short for the next?

I’m not saying that Shopify Plus is bug-free. What I’m trying to illustrate is the decision fatigue that can come from operating on an inefficient ecommerce platform solution.

So let’s look at why Shopify Plus is actually a more efficient enterprise solution.

Dedicated Hosting & Site Security is Included with Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus hosting better than Magento

If your site is built on Magento Enterprise, hosting is not included in your annual fee. You are on your own to find a hosting solution which can cost upwards of $4,500/mo. for multiple, dedicated servers. (Of course, this number also depends on how big your store is and how many resources it requires.)

On the other hand, Magento recently released a “cloud” version of the platform, but only if you’ve upgraded to Magento 2. Many Magento sites did not upgrade to Magento 2, though, because it’s just not a viable solution. So you can technically have a hosted version of Magento, but only if you’re running version 2.0.5.

Magento Enterprise is also known for being a very heavy platform to host. It has a lot of code, requires a lot of resources, and getting it to run quickly requires extra optimization.

Since Magento is so heavy, most sites use Varnish and Turpentine, two Magento extensions which require you to reconfigure your server in order to improve performance and scalability. (source)

On top of making sure the performance is up-to-speed, you also have to think about your site’s security. With Magento, PCI compliance falls on your shoulders.

That means you need to determine what level of PCI compliance your store requires, then make sure your hosting provider has an environment that meets your security needs.

All of this is adding up to a lot of work, a lot of manpower, and a lot of hours.

Shopify Plus security SSL PCI compliance

[image source]

Shopify Plus is so much easier.

They set it all up for you. You don’t have to figure out any of the details. Hosting is included in your fee. And all of their sites are, by default, Level 1 PCI compliant. They do annual on-site compliance assessments and continuous risk management, too, so you don’t even have to worry about figuring out those details or maintaining a regular assessment of your site.

That’s a lot of time saved just from the get-go.

Shopify Plus is the more cost-effective solution in terms of hosting because of the value received from the features of their hosting solution. For the fee you’ll pay, their hosting offer is top-tier.

With Magento, you’ll end up spending quite a bit of time just lining up your hosting ducks. And that’s billable time. Not to mention that now you’re involved with an additional service provider, which will require management.

Having your store on a hosted platform is also better when it comes to streamlining your customer experience but I’ll talk about that further down in the “customizations” section.

Third-Party Integrations Aren’t a Pain

One of the best things about Magento is their extension marketplace. It’s where you’ll find all of the apps that make your store function like a custom online store should.

But Magento apps are not exactly turnkey solutions. Meaning, the majority of them take a little  bit (or a lot) of coding to get up and running. If you have a dev agency, then setting up these apps to run with your store is going to cost you.

Shopify Plus app store

[image source]

Shopify Plus apps are much easier to set up. This super-detailed case study from William Harris of his experience migrating Dollar Hobbyz, an ecommerce site doing over 3,000 transactions per month, from Magento to Shopify Plus. In it, he tells exactly how easy Shopify Plus apps are to use in comparison to Magento:

Harris goes on to say that while he did have to fork out in order to get his custom search function running exactly how he wanted, he was able to install Zopim chat, Zendesk support, Signifyd fraud protection, and LuckyOrange heatmaps all without the help of a developer.

Why is this so great?

First, you eliminate your dependence on your development team. So if you need an app installed for your marketing person to use, he/she should be able to set it up on their own.

Second, you free up these resources for other more important things. Even though an app install may seem like a relatively “small” task, they can quickly turn expensive in Magento.

If the extension conflicts with your module, installing the extension (app) will need heavy customization. Something that should be “small” can quickly multiply to cost you thousands of dollars in development hours.

[This is where your “small app integration” dollars could be going...(source)]

[This is where your “small app integration” dollars could be going…(source)]

So having cleaner, turnkey apps will give you back these “thousands of dollars” to utilize somewhere else.

Maintaining your site is now more efficient, and you don’t need as much focus on backend development.

Shopify Plus Allows You to Consistently Maintain a Quality Customer Experience

Speaking of backend development…ever experienced a bug in your Magento store?

Cue the customer complaints. Cue the headaches. Cue the stress and frenzy to fix the problem.

Resolving a bug tends to go something like this:

  1. Customer complaint notifies you of a problem (potential software fault)
  2. Immediately get dev team on a reconnaissance mission
  3. Team finds 2 or 3 potential causes
  4. Team needs to test all use cases for those 2-3 possibilities
  5. Team finally finds the culprit and gets started correcting course
  6. Site experiences downtime while fix is deployed
  7. Fix is live and requires testing
  8. Test: if problem is found, go back to Step 3 and repeat
  9. If it works, high-five your devs then pay their hourly rate multiplied by all of the above hours
  10. Complain about Magento and wonder if there is a more efficient solution

Forrester research claims that “In the 21st century, successful companies will rise and fall based on their software.

So putting constant bandaids on your Magento bugs is not an option if you want to scale.

The reason that Magento extensions are less stable is because there isn’t a very high standard placed on the quality.

That’s where Shopify Plus wins. Unstable integrations between third-party vendors (like you’ll find more of with Magento) lead to costly inefficiencies, which poorly represent your brand and frustrate your customers.

From the beginning, Shopify Plus has prioritized quality and maintained a high standard on what apps they approve to be available to their customers. By holding all the apps to a high standard, this keeps out anything that will have excessive bugs or faults.

You Don’t Have to Compromise Flexibility or Manageability with Shopify Plus Scripts Customizations

Shopify Plus Scripts

When you can’t find the app you need in the Shopify Plus or Magento marketplaces, that means you have to go custom – build your own to fit your needs.

Previously, Shopify Plus clients didn’t have much access to deep customization because Shopify Plus is a hosted platform which didn’t allow FTP or database access. All changes developers wanted to make had to go through the front end or through the API.

Not anymore! Shopify Plus has recently released Scripts, which frees up developers to write their own customizations. Shopify Scripts allows developers to ‘enter’ Shopify’s servers and create their own customizations.

By utilizing custom scripts you can greatly reduce the time and costs associated with building your customizations, and balance the needs of your business with those of your customers. Scripts gives you advanced custom functionality without compromising flexibility or maintainability.

That means any customization you build with scripts will run on the server and integrate with the platform in a seamless way. Because Scripts run within Shopify’s environment (unlike apps), they also have the advantage of achieving tasks without resorting to workarounds that can lead to even larger headaches elsewhere. (source)

Building out customizations in Magento is less efficient because you have no standard of code. You can hire a developer to build a customization for you, but since you are running everything on your own server, there’s no one to tell you: “hey, that code isn’t the best”.

So even if your customization is implemented and working just fine now, it could very well begin acting up when you have a spike in traffic or a rare/specific use case from a customer.

Shopify Plus’ hosting and server setup ensures you don’t have to worry about those problems – even with your custom developments. Removing the extra level of IT maintenance is another way that Shopify Plus is a more efficient platform solution for enterprise-level companies.

Migrating Your Magento Store Is FREE (For Now & With a 2 Year Contract)

So now we’ve made the case of why Shopify Plus pricing is well worth it, but there’s a bit of icing on the cake: they’ll migrate your Magento store over to their platform right now for FREE.

The caveat is you have to sign a two year contract.

The reason that could be a problem is many companies don’t like being “locked into” a vendor. If Shopify Plus decides to change something with their software, you’re locked in. You are subject to their idea of what is best.

Fortunately, they have a great track record of building a wonderful product that keeps the most important needs of their clients in mind, so that eases your risk a bit.

You can check out their store migration offer and details here.

If you’re still on the fence about migrating your store to Shopify Plus, we get it. A store migration is a very expensive and demanding initiative.

So our CEO has set aside some times for folks who’d like to find out if a switch could be right for them. Click below to schedule a free 45-minute strategy session:

FREE Strategy Session CTA

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Jenna Compton Jenna is our Director of Marketing and provides regular contributions to the blog. When she's not reading about business, she can be found running, drinking good coffee, and fiddling with projects.