When you’re looking at building an online store you’re going to have two basic options. You can either use an open-source platform, like Magento, or a SaaS, subscription-based model, like Shopify Plus.
These two mentioned are two of the largest and most popular eCommerce platforms in the market today, and thousands of stores around the world are built using each.
Of course, each also has benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a minute to consider some of these.
The Problems with Open-Source
While open-source platforms make it easy to access the code that constitutes the site, thereby enabling a large ecosystem of developers, there are a large number of drawbacks to managing a site built on a platform like this.
For one, users must see to their own hosting. Failing to keep to updates will also create holes in the framework that can give rise to bugs, or necessitate patches.
Building websites on a granular, page-by-page basis also takes more work and there is a heavy reliance on manual tasks and inputs from the user or administrators.
Consequently, there is a higher overall total cost of ownership associated with open-source platforms.
The Benefits of SaaS Models
SaaS models like Shopify Plus are expressly designed to scale back the intensive costs associated with building and maintaining websites built using open-source software.
They eliminate unnecessary software, such as image hosting and web servers, and provide for all necessary hosting and infrastructure.
They also manage load testing, uptime, and security, taking that off the plate of the user.
SaaS platforms like Shopify Plus also support large ecosystems and can offer retainer-based consulting services as well as access to internal architects and Shopify Plus developers.
Average Cost to Build: Shopify Plus vs. Magento
Just how much it will cost you to get a website off the ground using a Shopify Plus or Magento store depends on the scope of your operations. It also depends on the skill of your Magento designers and developers, or the experience of your team of Shopify developers.
But, with that said, it costs far less overall (on average) to build a website using Shopify Plus than it does with Magento. Averages to build a store on Shopify Plus range from $75,000 to $170,000. Compare that to $400,000 to $600,000 for Magento.
Average Time to Build
Again, averages here are going to hinge on the scope of your operations and whether or not you work with experienced Shopify Plus developers or skilled Magento developers.
That said, the average time to build a Shopify Plus store is 2 to 4 months. If you go with Magento, expect that to be substantially longer, 5 to 8 months on average.
Monthly Site Management Costs
It is also more resource intensive to manage an eCommerce website built on an open-source platform than it is to manage one built on a high-performance SaaS platform like Shopify Plus.
Total costs of ownership and management of a Shopify Plus store are much lower than those associated with Magento – as low as a third, by comparison.
Expect total costs of ownership for Shopify Plus to be in the neighborhood of $2.500 to $5,000, compared to $10,000 to $15,000 for Magento.
Working with Shopify Plus Developers to Get It Done
There is a minor caveat here. Reaping these advantages of using the Shopify Plus platform requires the insight and expertise of Shopify Plus developers. Capitalizing on Shopify Plus development services can make the difference between building a leading Shopify Plus store that offers an excellent user experience, and wasting resources.