With the rise of online shopping, an e-commerce store is a necessity for every business. But with all the possible choices out there, picking one platform for your store can be overwhelming. We are here to help! In today’s article, we’ll look at two big competitors: Magento and Shopware. Both are open-source platforms that have an established reputation on the market, offering reliable and flexible solutions for any type of business.
Having first-hand experience with both, we’ll talk about the main differences between the platforms and what they may mean to an end-user like you.
Let’s get started!
If you work in e-commerce, we probably don’t need to tell you what Magento is. After being founded in 2008, Magento has been one of the main players in the e-commerce field for years, and it is not likely to change any time soon. Renowned for its scalability and flexibility, it’s so popular due to its ability to handle big amounts of data and traffic.
According to BuiltWith, it has 12% of the global eCommerce market share and powers over 250,000 online stores.
A lot of world’s leading businesses use Magento, including Ford, Land Rover, Christian Louboutin, and ASUS.
Shopware is technically an older platform, founded in 2000. But only in recent years has it started getting more prominent as an alternative to the more complex Magento.
Shopware is currently one of the leading platforms in German-speaking markets: more than 40,000 websites are running on it, with almost 35,000 of them located in Germany. The platform also has a growing European user base. More and more customers switch to Shopware because of how intuitive it is.
Magento is an open-source platform, so it’s technically free to use. However, certain advanced features are only available in the paid version. Here is a more in-depth look into different versions of Magento:
Magento Open Source: free to install, but there will be additional fees for the hosting, domain, security. Also, consider the price of development, if you are outsourcing it. This is a good option if you are just starting, and don’t need any advanced features. But be aware that you may need them later on as your shop grows.
Adobe Commerce (previously Magento Commerce, Magento Cloud Commerce): Originally there were two paid plans, but after Adobe acquired Magento in 2018, they merged into one, Adobe Commerce. The exact price breakdown of this plan isn’t available to the public, as it depends on company size and annual gross revenue. That said, their licensing fees start at $24,000 per year. With that, you get all benefits of Adobe Commerce, including:
Shopware is a bit more flexible in its pricing than Magento. There are three main plans:
Shopware Starting Edition: Suited for smaller companies that want to start selling their products quickly, this edition has no monthly fee. But as with Magento, there are added costs. You also have to use Shopware provided hosting, which may not be ideal for website performance. This version is optimal if you want to test-start your business with a small number of products.
Shopware Professional Edition: a midrange version that starts at €199.00 per month, or €2,495.00 per year if you pay upfront. This plan offers more advanced features like self-hosting, additional sales channels, multi-currency and multi-language support, multishop functionality, extended CMS functions, and others.
Enterprise Edition: Suitable for big companies with complex business models, this plan is optimized for maximum scalability and starts from €2,495.00 per month or €39,995.00 per year. For this price, you get your personal Key Account Manager with 24/7 emergency support, functionalities for advanced B2B (like quotation management, sales representative functions), unlimited staging environments, and many other advanced features.
The best option price-wise is heavily dependent on the size of your business. Shopware is a more flexible option, thus making it a better fit for small and middle-sized businesses. But when it comes to enterprises, Magento’s advanced features make it worth its price.
When it comes to e-commerce platforms, you need to be able to understand how to use them. This includes both the original setting up process and any day-to-day activities: adding new products, applying promotions. Ideally, your chosen platform should be intuitive to use with both.
Magento is very feature-rich, but this comes at the expense of ease of use. A large amount of settings can be quite difficult to understand at a first glance. The daily operations are easy to learn: Magento 2 improved the UI and introduced a new user-friendly Admin Panel. But the initial setup process can still be confusing. That’s why we recommend hiring a developer, as this process is not very user-friendly for someone without prior experience.
Shopware is more intuitively understandable than Magento. The platform offers drag-and-drop and double-click features, and a visual editor which makes it more beginner-friendly. However, this transparency can be achieved only because it doesn’t have the same array of settings Magento does. Also, even though you can set the shop up yourself, if you need a lot of customization you may want to outsource the development as well.
When it comes to day-to-day activities, both platforms are good.
If you are not planning to outsource your e-commerce store development, Shopware is easier to understand. However, if you are going to use a developer, we’d suggest sticking to Magento, as it offers more customization.
No matter how good your store is, it doesn’t matter if your customers can’t find it. That’s why the platform you choose should perform well by SEO metrics.
Both Shopware and Magento have features dedicated to optimizing your store’s search engine performance, but they have different approaches.
Shopware automated a lot of SEO settings, so you don’t have to figure them out on your own. But, if you prefer to set everything up manually, there’s an option for that too. Shopware also offers a lot of SEO plugins (both free and paid) to customize even further.
As for marketing, Shopware has a unique feature called Storytelling: After clicking on any featured image, a customer will get a collection of items related to it. This approach increases engagement and creates an immersive buying experience.
It can help your marketing department with running promotional campaigns and gives them the ability to promote several products with just one image.
Magento has a lot of SEO settings enabled automatically without a need for plugins. This includes product and pages metadata, image optimization, canonical tags, ability to edit robots.txt, etc. And the release of Magento 2 gave us even more SEO features. However, the approach is less automated than Shopware’s, and you would need to set everything up yourself. It’s well worth it, as based on our research, between Shopware and Magento, it’s Magento that gets top scores in SEO.
As for marketing features, Magento has several. We’ve already touched upon the fact that with a paid subscription you get access to Adobe Marketing Cloud, but that’s not everything. Some other marketing features include services to maintain relationships with buyers: coupon codes and export options for them, reward points, closed promotional sales, customer segmentation, etc.
As with Shopware, there are a lot of Marketing and SEO plugins, so you can fully customize all marketing-related settings.
Both Shopware and Magento are optimized for good search engine performance, and with the addition of plugins you can set everything up even more to your liking.
Shopware is an option for someone that wants quicker installation, as most things are already set up automatically. That said, if you want to devote some of your time to SEO, we’d suggest Magento – it shows better results with search engines, and has some in-depth settings.
As for marketing features, both of the platforms offer industry basics and have some unique options. Look at specific lists of marketing-related settings each of the platforms has, and decide for yourself which ones would you want to use.
Your e-commerce shop needs to reflect your business vision, and sometimes that means out-of-the-box solutions won’t work. That’s why the platform you choose should be able to adapt to your needs, whatever they are.
Usually, adding custom functionality means using a 3rd party extension. Both platforms allow users to develop their own plugins and distribute them. As a result, there are thousands of different modules and extensions available. So, let’s look at the solutions each platform offers.
As we’ve already mentioned, Shopware is popular in German-speaking countries. That’s why a lot of solutions offered are for the problems, only stores in these countries would have. For example, if you want to integrate a certain payment system on your website. If this payment isn’t used in Germany, there’s a pretty high chance there won’t be any solutions for it. In cases like this, you can always contact a development agency for a custom extension development, but that’s going to be more expensive.
Also, some of the extensions are only available in German.
Other than that, currently, there are thousands of apps and themes on the Shopware store, with prices ranging from free to € 7,990.00. There are solutions for all possible areas, from analytics to the checkout process.
Magento Extensions store, named Magento Marketplace, also has thousands of solutions. There are free plugins, and paid options are from $40 to $10,000, and sometimes even higher.
There’s one thing to keep in mind: many Magento 1 modules aren’t compatible with Magento 2. If you are going to use Magento 2 this isn’t a very big problem, as most extensions have Magento 2 versions. However, if you have a store running on original Magento you may have a problem because a lot of newer solutions won’t be available to you.
Both platforms are greatly customizable. There are ready-made extensions for every possible problem you may have, and if for whatever reason there aren’t, you can always hire a developer to make one for you.
There are some drawbacks with both platforms to be aware of, but they are minor and in general, can be easily solved.
The community aspect is extremely important for an e-commerce platform since you want to get an answer to any technical problem as quickly as possible.
As Shopware and Magento are open-source, there are communities built around both, with companies themselves cultivating them.
There is also traditional customer support, but it’s only available to those using paid plans.
Shopware’s customer support has a monthly fee. This means you can expect a high level of service and prompt replies. And if you have an enterprise plan, you get a personal manager, which makes contact with Shopware even more convenient.
As for the community aspect, Shopware has an academy with regular live trainings and webinars. Developers can become Shopware certified through the testing the company provides.
Shopware also has a community forum to discuss any issues or suggestions. The most active part of the forum is in German, there are almost five times more topics in German than in English. If you are planning to take an active part in the development, be aware of the potential language barrier.
Adobe Commerce customer support is very reliable but available only to paying customers. If you are using an open-source version of Magento, you can ask any questions on a dedicated forum. The forum Magento offers is more active than Shopware’s, especially in English, so you should find any information you need.
They also have blogs, masterclasses, user guides, as well as courses that provide a certification at the end of them.
If we talk about customer support for paid plans, both options are good.
For those using open-source versions of the platforms, we suggest going with Magento. There are around 150,00 certified Magento developers, compared to Shopware’s 40,000. It makes sense, since Magento is a worldwide platform, and Shopware is predominantly German. Still, if you are not from a German-speaking country, chances are Magento will be more suitable.
Both Shopware and Magento are excellent platforms to make an online store on. They are both highly reliable, secure, and fully customizable, so you can’t go wrong with any decision.
However, Shopware is a bit more suited for a smaller business that’s just starting out. The development price is cheaper, the interface is more intuitive, and a lot of functions are automated.
On the other hand, Magento is great for a bigger company or one that plans to scale up. It takes a bit more time to set everything up, but the result is a highly customized store prepared for a high number of clients.
Another thing to keep in mind is your location. Shopware has a mainly German userbase, so it’s slightly less fitting for clients from non-German-speaking countries.
If you still aren’t sure what to choose, no problem! Just contact us, and we’ll help you make the best decision for your business.