Drupal Commerce vs. Magento vs. Shopify

Triple commerce battle: Drupal Commerce vs. Magento vs. Shopify. How should you choose the best for your store?

Fidel Chaves
11 min read

What is Commerce?

E-commerce or electronic commerce is a regular part of most people’s lives today, and it has been evolving since 1971, way before the widespread adoption of the Internet. Nowadays, it’s so widespread that we choose to drop the e-, it’s all commerce. These services rely upon several technologies and software advancement, as it happens with many complex systems nowadays. It is not about a single tool but a combination of many. In any case, we will be discussing different options to set up your commerce. Let’s take a look at the main options: Drupal commerce vs. Magento vs. Shopify.

 

Scarce resources and limited budgets are two variables that SMEs face during the emergence or update of their digital business. Choosing the right Commerce platform, therefore, is decisive. Is it necessary to customize your online store? Which payment methods do you need to offer? Can the business scale rapidly? These are just some of the questions to answer before making any decisions. Clarifying the business goals should be a priority to later face the wide range of platforms available on the market.

 

For ease of reading and clarity, we will present three different comparisons and look at some examples of commerce stores. Consider that the following information applies for B2B, B2C, and C2C sales.

Drupal Commerce vs. Magento

If you are in search of a digital channel to sell and manage store orders, secure payment integrations, track payments, ship products, and promote your brand, you are in the right spot. Let’s review the information of Drupal Commerce and Magento when planning to set up or upgrade your online business with a high-quality personalized eCommerce framework.

Drupal: pros and cons

As we’ve talked about before, Drupal is one of the most popular Content Management Systems out there, with over one million websites using it around the globe. Accordingly, Drupal Commerce is a Drupal-native framework used to build Commerce websites and applications.

 

In line with Drupal philosophy, Drupal Commerce is open source. That created a large community of senior developers keeping it up-to-date and adding functionalities by the hour, making it a cost-effective solution. Also, following the project standards, it provides an enterprise-grade Commerce platform that complies with security and privacy policies.

 

Drupal Commerce is highly customizable and extensible thanks to features that integrate third-party solutions and provide users with commerce functionality: product display, order acceptance, invoicing, payment tracking, linking to shopping carts, payment integration, and shipping.

 

But what about Magento?

Magento: pros and cons

Even if it is not our first choice, Magento is a powerful platform dedicated to Commerce. It is also open source, which makes it possible to integrate with third-party solutions and keeps it in line with our business FOSS philosophy. Magento Open Source is free and widely used by Commerce stores worldwide.

 

Its downside? The Enterprise edition can be costly as you will need to hire developers to customize the site, especially if you want to provide content. You may argue that Drupal also requires a dedicated developer or development team, but it does not necessarily imply the need to pay for a special edition.

 

What's more, Magento does not offer templates, making it necessary to hire a front-end developer to create a website that stands out from competitors. Also, in the marketing department, Drupal beats Magento at SEO performance.

 

Finally, Magento was recently acquired by Adobe. You probably know how they leverage Software as a Service (SaaS). Go check our open-source tool kit for creators where we discuss this very topic.

Magento vs. Shopify: Which is better for your Commerce

We’ll leave Drupal aside for a moment and focus on Shopify and Magento, two titans of the Commerce universe. They offer different concepts for stores with quite distinct profiles and requirements so they deserve their own segment.

Shopify, the all-in-one solution

Shopify is an all-in-one solution because it is a complete platform that includes all the services needed by an online store: hosting (no dedicated hosting is required), updates, and security, among others. With a monthly subscription, users have only to upload the products to their store and start selling—with a monthly subscription.

 

Because it is easy to use and has good external tech support, Shopify presents as the best option for small or beginner stores. While this platform is not oriented to those in need of high customization for their business, it does offer a wide range of options. In the Shopify Theme Store, there are many themes available. These include the color palette, images for specific products and pages, layouts for newsletter subscriptions, and editing of the navigation bar.

 

Themes are very accessible and easy to implement. If the goal is to set the site apart from the generic Shopify styles, you need to switch to Shopify Plus, which provides full-customization options for the different screens—with an added price to that monthly subscription.

Magento, the self-hosted option for scaling

Magento is free and open-source software whose self-hosted classification entails that the store owner is responsible for hiring the hosting service. At first, the owner will need to count on a partner with advanced web development and programming skills to set up the store.

 

Magento is a powerful tool for large Commerce stores or businesses that want to scale rapidly. Magento can offer a wide range of solutions for personalization and getting a wide operating area. Not long ago, Magento integrated with Adobe, so now it also includes products such as Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics, and Adobe Sensei to add functionalities to any store.

 

The open-source community of developers also provides many solutions and extensions as constant improvements for the platform. Currently, Magento has no less than 5,000 applications and add-ons available to be used.

 

In Magento, the advanced editing options allow for better integration between the shopping cart and payment methods, a more intuitive display of the product carousels, the creation of blocks for selling supplementary products, a footer with added functionalities (such as newsletter subscription), and so on.

Shopify vs. Magento, the costs

Let’s discuss numbers.

 

Shopify allows users to register for a 14-day free trial version. If that covers enough, then there is Shopify Lite, the basic plan starting at US$ 9 per month, followed by Basic Shopify at US$ 29, Shopify at US$ 79, and Advanced Shopify at US$ 299. There are no transaction fees if the platform's payment method is used. Otherwise, the initial fee is 2% for the Lite plan.

 

In Magento, there are some costs to consider to set up the store: for hosting and domain, for security (SSL certificates), and, above all, for programming and development. Although these expenses may end up being higher, they need to be planned for at the initial business stage for any Commerce that has the growth potential to amortize them.

Shopify vs. Drupal

Drupal and Shopify. We have seen some of the advantages of using Shopify: personalization, Commerce features, flexibility, technical support, community guidance, and general ease of use. We have also discussed some disadvantages, such as the transaction fees that Shopify implies and its limitations by not being open-source.

 

When looking at this, it becomes easy for us to advocate for Drupal. In this case, Drupal Commerce presents itself as a more flexible tool for online transactions and comes around as the most complete overall. Why is that?

 

Drupal allows for international transactions, letting you sell worldwide with the full support of local language, tax regulations, and currency. It also provides complete design freedom and extensibility due to its integrated third-party solutions and customizable themes featuring CSS and HTML support.

 

As with other open-source software with an active community, Drupal Commerce is constantly updating its features. Drupal also gives a lot of control over the system, making it possible to create a site according to the user's needs.

 

Just remember, tools like Drupal are a double-edged sword. We love them because we know how to use them, but they can be complex for beginners or people without coding knowledge. Luckily you can always learn or ask us.

Examples of Drupal Commerce stores

Designed to be fully customizable, Drupal Commerce integrates with every open-source API included in the Drupal catalog, boosting the potential of services provided in any online store. For these stores, it is an additional benefit: nobody knows how far a business can scale. The capacity to grow with the business sets this platform at the forefront in terms of flexibility.

 

The open-source community that provides permanent insight to improve Drupal also contributes to enhancing its security parameters. Also, the fact that Drupal Commerce does not use plugins—as WordPress does, for instance— makes it a more stable system. It also has an optimal social network integration or the capacity to integrate more than 70 payment methods in different languages and currencies.

 

If you want to jumpstart your Drupal Commerce site you might want to watch Matt Glaman’s talk, Getting Started with Drupal Commerce. I’ve watched it, and it provides an excellent overview with a specialist eye.

 

We’ve talked about Drupal's qualities as an ideal platform for Commerce. You might think we are boasting when we present it as a powerful content framework that can scale to suit any business size. We will look at some examples of Drupal Commerce stores that prove our point.

 

Without further ado, let’s review the most outstanding examples of Drupal Commerce stores.

Guerlain, with a scent of Drupal

The leading French perfumes and cosmetics company founded in 1928 chose to use Drupal Commerce for its online store. On the site, users can browse through Guerlain's catalog, where each product has a page with a description, zoomed-in images, physical store locations, and social media sharing buttons.

QDOS, an example of good design

A UK-based eCommerce store, QDOS is dedicated to marketing top-quality and design cell phone accessories. It exemplifies a Commerce store with a neat design and user-friendliness, perfect to suit a massive, high-demand market. It accepts payments in different currencies such as EUR, GBP, and USD, and it also allows users to register with their Facebook account.

Fooda, integrated with APIs

This American food service company offers a menu for companies and office buildings. Their website was built with Drupal Commerce and uses Bootstrap as an interface framework. It also incorporates third-party APIs, such as Hubspot's marketing automation tool, and other analytics tools such as Crazy Egg, Optimizely, Google Analytics, and so on.

Urbany's, eCommerce trends

This Swiss fashion accessories store has a very eye-catching site that is top-level in the business. It also offers smooth content navigation, including a payment platform to enhance customer shopping experience. The site uses Bootstrap as a front-end framework. It integrates tools such as Google Analytics and Matomo and payment platforms: Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, American Express, and the like.

Olsson & Gerthel, stylish furniture online

This digital store offers furniture with an avant-garde style. Based in Sweden, it has been acknowledged worldwide because of its talented designers. Its website, built with Drupal, enables filtering products by several features customers may be looking for. It also offers a live chat (Zendesk Chat).

Pam Kerr, a cart with exclusive jewelry

Pam Kerr Designs, based in New Zealand, uses Drupal Commerce to showcase its latest jewelry collections. The renowned brand has also chosen this platform to give an online welcome to their exclusive customers. The site integrates Stripe: offering several options such as PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. It has rock-solid support in terms of security, consistent with the products they market.

Toan Nguyen, high-quality images

Even the famous landscape photographer Toan Nguyen uses Drupal to share his landscape snapshots, which are true works of art in high resolution. The site's efficiency is evident as soon as the online journey begins, owing to its fast loading and smooth navigation.

 

At Awkbit, we are big fans of Drupal services, and Drupal Commerce is not the exception: multi-language, flexibility, and sturdiness, Drupal can get them all. Drupal Commerce provides a tailored structure that will help you boost your Commerce engagement and conversions, promoting your brand and providing an excellent user experience.

 

Do you want to increase your digital sales and boost your web presence with Drupal Commerce? Do you need a custom store for your business?

Reach Out!

Sources & further reading