Migrating from Magento to Shopify Plus

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Why now is the time for high-growth enterprises to switch from Magento 1 to the Shopify Plus Platform

Magento (currently formerly owned by eBay) is the largest ecommerce platform in the world. Whilst the release of Magento 2 has been somewhat of an improvement, the platform simply isn’t stacking up anymore. Longstanding issues relating to security, user experience and development has understandably caused a substantial number of enterprise merchants to search elsewhere for a solution which will meet their requirements. Although the new release  has resolved a number of the issues associated with Magento 1.x, Magento 2 requires previous Magento users to basically migrate to a whole new platform. We go through a comparison of Magento with the Shopify Plus solution, and explain who can make the move.

The Gist of the ‘Gento

Magento is a legacy, but it’s certainly not legendary. It was an early mover in the ecommerce sphere, making it a popular choice and a game-changer back in the day but the first iteration of Magento has become outdated and left behind by more forward-thinking platforms. To deal with some longstanding issues (including big security breaches) Magento have been hard at work to bring us Magento 2, which does improve on the product for developers. It makes it easier to install, test and upgrade using a similar platform to its original version but there’s plenty it doesn’t do yet.


Magento is a widely-used ecommerce platform that’s been around for a long time. There are many people who are trained to use it, and the platform has a large community that contributes plenty of packages and integrations. It’s also completely customisable, and if you have a team of developers at the ready you can create a very unique website.

Magento also has a very high capacity for concurrent sales, making it a popular choice for many large enterprises.


You have to hire a large and experienced team

You need a team of experienced developers to really use Magento at all. Any basic change to text or presentation requires knowing the full architecture of the program. Because you’re building out the entire architecture yourself, you’re the one who has to deal with everything including security risks, integrating any new sales channel, integrating any upgrade or patch, predicting your load, testing your load etc. Being fully customisable means nobody has the same code, making it very difficult to do anything without a dedicated team of experts who know your custom architecture.

All the changes are for developers - not merchants

There aren’t any real improvements as far as making the platform better for merchants, nothing new surrounding marketing, automated sales or keeping pace with social selling.

They are still putting bandaids on security issues

Magento has also been criticised for major security issues and though they pull through with security patches, there are many times when Magento clients have to put their whole online store on hold until the security issues are fixed. They’ve had trouble keeping up with the times, and are slow to release upgrades and fixes.

Magento is hosted on-premises

The Magento 2.x rollout is a step in the right direction when it comes to security and functionality but it still has many fundamental flaws. It’s still clunky and like any on-premises (vs. cloud) solution, it needs to be built around your highest anticipated load. That means if you’re growing fast or if you have big changes in load throughout the year (such as flash sales or Black Friday), you don’t have the flexibility you need.

Upgrading to 2.0 isn’t easy

One of the biggest drawbacks of Magento 2 is that all of the work, time, and money you put into building your Magento 1 site? Gone. You can’t migrate your previous site, so the new rollout means re-rolling up your sleeves.

My Magento 1 Kicks Are So Last Year

For enterprises that use Magento 1 and have spent resources and time devoted to creating your own custom theme, you’re going to need to make a change. You’ve got three options:

Option One: Go Down With The Titanic

Magento 1.x has a large amount of enterprises merchants using the platform, but with the release of Magento 2.x, the platform is going to stop releasing upgrades, fixing security issues or offering customer service for current clients. You can keep your current custom site with them. But it’s only a matter of time until you’re going to have to change.

Option Two: Get On A Lifeboat With Magento 2

Magento 2.x makes some pretty big changes to their back-end, and those currently on Magento 1.x can’t migrate your existing custom theme over. That means the process of hiring developers and spending months building an architecture, testing loads and implementing your site? That’s going to have to happen again.

Option Three: Jump Ship and Migrate To Another Platform

Now might be the perfect time to see what other hosting platforms are out there. Shopify Plus is built for large merchants with an monthly income starting at US$25,000. They’re offering a limited-time introductory offer with six months free for new clients that migrate from the Magento platform.

We’ve included below a side-by-side comparison of Magento 2 and Shopify Plus for large enterprises. We’ve also gone into a little more detail about what it takes to migrate over.

Magento 2 vs. Shopify Plus - What Should I Expect From My Platform?


Magento 2

Shopify Plus


On-premises or self-managed cloud hosting

Fully managed cloud-based hosting


Open-source and prone to malware

Security burden on users

Level 1 PCI DSS compliance throughout platform -- so the security burden is on Shopify

Free SSL Certificate throughout entire shopper experience

Implementation Time

4-8 months

2-4 months


User responsibility to update core architecture

QA and load testing required for every upgrade or feature release

No upgrades, patches or point releases necessary. All new packages are available instantly through Shopify Admin, costs included


Magento allows for open-sourced customisation and code changes. This allows for full flexibility with every aspect,  but takes many more resources during development, implementation and updating because there is no stable code

A core architecture based on CSS, JavaScript and HTML.

Shopify Scripts available for extensive customisation in the language of your choice

Front-End/UX Development

In order to make any basic content or presentation changes, you need to know the full platform architecture

Themes are available for free or starting at $1

You only need to know CSS, HTML and Shopify’s intuitive templating language -- Liquid -- to easily create beautiful websites and make changes quickly.

Themes are also available to install for free, with premium themes at about $80


Magento 2.0 features improvements in caching and website speeds. Can accommodate high use, but the architecture must be built around the highest anticipated use. That means you have to self-manage a huge architecture, even if it will only be at capacity for one day a year.

Unlimited bandwidth

Up to 8,000 orders/minute

Extensive standardised APIs

Hosted with SaaS -- making flash sales and highly variable checkouts easy and flexible


A strong ecosystem helps reliability but since all of the code is custom, client sites need more attentive management

99.99% uptime and a team of dedicated engineers ensuring maximum performance

Ecosystem and Community

Magento 1.x has a huge and highly skilled developer community but that may change with the rollout of Magento 2.x which has some radical changes to the platform

350,000 current users, thousands of Shopify Experts and a growing number of industry-leading Shopify Plus Partners

Third-Party Sales Channels

No easy integration with common social sales channels

Easily integrates through the Shopify Admin with common channels such as Facebook, Amazon, Etsy and more. No custom development needed for any integration.

Payment Channels

Integrates with Paypal, Braintree, WorldPay, Authorize and CyberSource

Integrates with over 75 payment gateways, including the same ones Magento does, plus Apple Pay, BitCoin and more. Includes Shopify’s in-house payment gateway with 0% transaction fees.

App Ecosystem

Magento App store has 5000+ apps, each requiring a developer to integrate with your custom store

Large Shopify App Store with third party apps that easily integrate with your store with full turnkey compatibility, without requiring a developer.


Support for Magento 1 will soon be over

Magento 2 offers technical support, but other than that you are on your own

24/7 support for all Shopify Plus users, including launch managers, technical designers, merchant success managers and a dedicated point-of-contact


Magento is free to use and open source, but you need to pay for hosting, setup, development and maintenance which requires medium-high developer skills

Shopify is a commercial platform with monthly fees that include all hosting/upgrades/updates/security/support

0% transaction fees using Shopify Payments with no hidden costs

Six months free for new Shopify Plus clients (approx. $12,000 savings)

Migration from Magento 1.x

Need to recreate a custom architecture with private developers

Available for sites using up to 500k SKUs. See below for more details

Ready to Make the Switch?

How long will it take?

Development on Magento takes 4-8 months to fully implement, whereas building a Shopify Plus site just takes 2-4. Those with less specialised development competencies can design and manage a full Shopify website without dealing with infrastructure, hosting, networking or load testing.

For merchants, this means there’s plenty you can do yourself to improve your website (such as make changes to the layout, content and products) that you wouldn’t be able to do on Magento. It also means the money you’re spending on your website is going to full-service hosting including 24/7 support from both technical and commercial help.

Elkfox are Shopify Plus Experts; we've been helping new and existing businesses on the Shopify platform for over five years. We are more than well equipped to help you make the switch from Magento. Contact us today to find out more.