Shopify vs Magento: Why we had to change our eCommerce platform of choice from Magento to Shopify.
What we did before Shopify8 years ago, my previous agency specialised on the Magento platform. Magento could do everything. We would have worked with Magento for a period of 3 years, the largest of which had an internal budget of AUD$250,000. These were decent sized implementations, not basic theme setup.Magento was the obvious choice for our eCommerce development work.
- It was widely supported
- It has a number of plugins and additions
- It was heavily customisable
How we got bitten by MagentoIt is relatively common in digital development agencies that projects run over budget. It’s one of the biggest problems with fixed cost engagements. The agency killerThis project was an agency destroyer. The project budget went into 6 figures, but the actual budget came out to be 3 times that.When I said internally our budget was $250,000, that was not what the client paid. The project was 150% over budget. $150,000 over budget.The project was an agency killer.Moving the project through the agency vacuumed up our billable time, restricting cash that we needed to come through the organisation.It was only through later maneuvering that we were able to prevent this collapsing of the organisation. Normal budgetsBeyond this project, there was a range of other Magento projects we worked on. We struggled to get any of these projects close to a reasonable project budget.The problem we found was the dual-edged sword of Magento
- We could do anything we wanted
- Anything we wanted to do took time
And then? What led to the change to Shopify?My previous company stopped doing Magento builds, and I moved to another organisation.Like I said before, there were a few really strong opportunities to perform eCommerce. We dabbled a with a handful of WooCommerce projects as compliments to existing WordPress projects we were, but nothing serious with the exception of a major bespoke eCommerce solution.We considered eCommerce to be a gap in our service offering.It was a chance interaction with Cameron Parker that put Shopify in the spotlight for us.Cameron helped to build up Black Milk as a highly successful fashion brand locally, I was dying to do work for them.He suggested that given the quality of our work that we would do well if we were to check out Shopify.I had already heard of Shopify, as one of many names.I checked out the Shopify agency database and couldn’t find anything that didn't look great. So figured we would introduce Shopify as our eCommerce solution.
Why Shopify makes senseThe Agency PerspectiveIt’s been 3 years since we first started development for Shopify. And when compared to Magento, it’s been a significantly better ride for us.E-commerce makes a chunky part of our revenue, roughly 66% of our gross turn over. Three years ago, this was 0%. Financially, it’s been a smart move. We have one of the most developed Shopify portfolios in our local market.In that time we have learned a few things about Shopify.Shopify sacrifices the open-ended customisability that Magento offers.
- There is definitely the Shopify way of doing things. This can be a hard thing for some customers to let go of, specifically the checkout. However, Shopify is very vested in the success of its check out that it has more money than pretty much anyone to research the most ideal structures for its checkout.
- Scoping is critical to the success of projects. If you promise the client a feature or capability that is not possible, then you will be a problem. Also, you will need to manage the expectation of what certain features can do. This is ideally what you need to do in normal projects, but if you are reliant on plugins, then you need to push the client to understand the boundaries of the system they will be getting.
- As an agency, Shopify have staff that are available to help with difficulties and keep you across practice and new developments of the system
- The learning curve for Shopify is completely manageable. Our developers have no issue getting their head around the liquid system.
- We are able to focus more on the polish of the system rather than the mechanics of it.
- Vastly reduced server headaches.
- Shopify Announces Big Benefits for Australian Merchants at Unite 2018
- The future of eCommerce – Shopify’s perspective from Unite 2018
- Shopify Unite – What is it? And why we flew halfway around the world to go (as an Agency)
- Make the website about the marketing and sales of the website, rather than its technical management and troubleshooting
- Reduced development footprint for website changes
- Exceptionally large number of plugins for functionality and system integrations
- Will scale with your business from a boutique operator to a $100 million turn over easily
Bottom LineFrom an agency perspective. Shopify projects hit their budgets, and it has seen a dramatic growth in our e-commerce based revenue.From a client perspective, Shopify provides a reliable and cost-effective solution to online commerce. Tell us what you think! If you would like to talk to us about this article, drop us a line on [email protected].
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