Choosing between Adobe Commerce or Shopify isn’t easy. Both consistently rank among the most popular ecommerce platforms. Yet, when it comes to running an online store, they differ in several key ways.
Shopify is an easy-to-use, hosted solution suitable for all ecommerce stores, but you must pay for the service. Adobe Commerce is an open-source platform that’s free to install and allows you to choose from a range of additional features, but it requires web hosting.
Learn which ecommerce platform is best for your online business. Read our Best Website Builder Review for more information.
Adobe Commerce vs. Shopify
If you plan to start an online store, you’ll face a range of options for your ecommerce platform. Here, we've compared and contrasted ease of use, included features, pricing, customer support, analytics tools, templates, and other extensions.
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Ease of Use
You’ll need at least some coding skills in order to build an online store with Adobe Commerce’s user interface. If you find the learning curve too steep, you can hire a developer to build your store. But, Adobe Commerce offers greater flexibility because it provides more customization options.
Adobe Commerce isn’t a hosted platform so you must source your own website hosting. Before you start building your online store, you also must install Adobe Commerce and complete any needed configurations.
Adobe Commerce allows you to install extensions that’ll integrate Facebook, Instagram, and eBay with your online store, but you must pay for them. Its inventory system also has some powerful, built-in features that provide total revenue reports, total visitor counts, and bulk product imports from a database.
This platform also enables you to create a unique checkout for your online store, set discounts by a percentage or a fixed price, and add an abandoned cart recovery feature.
As a self-hosted platform, Adobe Commerce is free to install. After installation, your costs will include web hosting fees paid to your hosting provider, security fees, extension purchases, and theme purchases. Depending on which extensions and themes you use, you may have a low or high monthly cost to use Adobe Commerce.
Adobe Commerce users also must register their domain names with a domain registrar and pay an annual registration fee. Adobe Commerce offers a customized plan called Enterprise for large businesses with pricing based on a company’s specific needs.
Adobe Commerce makes it easy to accept online payments because it supports more than 150 payment gateways. Many of these target large businesses, such as Worldpay. You also can install and integrate Stripe, Square, or another payment processing app from the Adobe Commerce Marketplace.
In addition, Adobe Commerce allows you to sell directly through Amazon so you can reach more customers while still using your inventory on Adobe Commerce.
The only transaction fees you pay when using Adobe Commerce are those charged by the payment gateway provider.
Adobe Commerce lacks a dedicated support service beyond what you receive from your web hosting provider. Most hosting providers do, however, configure their servers to maximize Adobe Commerce’s performance.
This community-based platform does offer some very informative guides created by other Adobe Commerce developers, including step-by-step guides for building your online store.
SEO and Marketing Tools
Adobe Commerce offers useful SEO guides as well as several built-in features that help users excel at SEO. For example, the platform allows you to edit image alt tags and customize URLs to make it easy for online search engines to find your online store’s web pages.
Users must install most marketing tools as extensions from the Adobe Commerce Marketplace, and some require technical knowledge to provide specific features. For example, you’ll need to install an extension like Remarkety if you want to run email campaigns on the Adobe Commerce platform.
Adobe Commerce offers ready-made store themes, which are easy to use and start at around $100, as well as custom themes, which are more expensive and require some coding.
Apps and Plugins
With Adobe Commerce, you can install extensions, apps, and plugins to add extra functionality to your online store. Of the more than 5,000 available extensions, nearly half are free. If you want to integrate your store with Facebook, that will cost $199.
You can find extensions, apps, and plugins for just about anything you wish to add to your online store, including these popular options:
- Amasty Multiple Coupons: This adds custom discount coupons to encourage repeat purchases.
- Product Pre-Order: This automatically emails customers with new products.
Adobe Commerce also enables you to customize your blogging functionality so it stands out from your competitors.
Ease of Use
With Shopify, you get everything on one platform. Its website builder uses drag-and-drop functionality, allowing you to customize your online store with all the basic features. It also has a “wizard” mode to assist beginners.
Because the Shopify platform includes web hosting, you don’t need to choose a separate web host for your online store.
Shopify has some impressive sales features, including a built-in capability that enables your online store to sell on multiple channels. With Shopify, you won’t pay anything extra to sell your products on Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
This platform allows you to sell both digital and physical products. It also saves you the hassle of finding a courier service to deliver your products because it already has partnerships with DHL, Canada Post, the U.S. Postal Service, and UPS.
In addition, Shopify’s abandoned cart recovery feature allows you to recover potential customers by sending them an email reminder about their abandoned cart.
As a hosted platform, Shopify covers all hosting costs within your monthly plan. It has three plan tiers from which to choose with fixed monthly rates:
- Basic Shopify plan: $29 per month
- Shopify plan: $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify plan: $299 per month
Shopify also includes a free secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate with all plans, doesn’t charge any bandwidth usage fees, and offers a 14-day, free trial period.
You may opt to buy a specific theme on Shopify, but you’ll find plenty of free themes to work with as well.
Shopify offers free transaction fees to sellers that use its proprietary payment processor, Shopify Payments. But, users must still pay the regular credit card processing fees.
If you decide to use a different payment processor, Shopify will charge additional fees according to your Shopify plan.
- Basic Shopify plan: 2 percent
- Shopify plan: 1 percent
- Advanced Shopify plan: 0.5 percent
With more than 100 different payment gateways from which to choose, Shopify gives users many popular options like PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and Stripe.
To learn more about Shopify pricing, be sure to check out our Shopify Pricing and Plans guide.
Shopify offers many support options through various channels, including 24/7 phone support, live chat, social media messaging, video tutorials, and advanced specialist support.
SEO and Marketing Tools
While Shopify users must rely more on apps to support their SEO efforts, they can make basic changes like editing image alt tags and page titles within the platform.
Shopify enables users to advertise directly on multichannel platforms. It also supports sites in various languages: up to two languages with its mid-range Shopify plan and five with its Advanced Shopify plan. In addition, you can use a variety of third-party integrations for email campaigns with Constant Contact, Seguno, and others.
Shopify offers 10 free themes as well as 64 premium (paid) themes, starting at $140. It’s easy to customize Shopify themes because you can tailor your chosen template. Specifically, you can add new pages, integrate social media feeds, change colors, as well as move and resize individual elements.
All Shopify themes are mobile-responsive so they look great on smartphones and tablets.
Apps and Plugins
The Shopify app store features more than 1,200 free and premium apps and plugins to help you improve your email marketing, social media advertising, and shipping. Shopify carefully vets each featured app and plugin to ensure you can safely install them on your ecommerce site.
Some of the most popular options include:
- Analytics Buddy: This free app provides useful insights from Google Analytics on your dashboard.
- Trust Hero: This free app displays security badges on your site to encourage customers to finalize their orders.
- Trackr Order Tracking: This premium app (from $9 per month) automatically sends tracking updates to your customers about their orders.
The Shopify platform also includes an integrated, easy-to-use blogging function, but it doesn’t offer as much customization as you’ll find with Adobe Commerce.
Our Pick for Best Website Builder: Shopify
We chose Shopify as the overall winner as the ecommerce platform meets the needs of most business owners looking to sell online. However, your specific business requirements should, ultimately, help you decide which of these ecommerce platforms will best meet your needs.
Shopify’s exceptional ease of use — even for beginners — and extensive customer support strongly influenced our decision. Shopify also includes web hosting and themes that feature a mobile-responsive design.
Get Started With Shopify
Shopify has the tools to help most any online store succeed. See what Shopify can do for your ecommerce store, click the button below to begin a free trial.