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Have you ever stopped to think, “I wonder what would I say to my eCommerce admin interface if I brought it to a party?”

Likely you haven’t. We have. So we thought we’d share a playful assessment of Shopify vs Magento user interfaces.

The return on a good User Interface

This is an oldie but I think this quote from an article by Nielsen Norman Group is still incredibly relevant, “For intranets, we know that good design can double employee productivity. This estimate comes from our intranet usability testing, where people using the worst 25% of intranets required 99 hours per year to perform typical employee tasks, whereas people using the best 25% of intranets accomplished the same tasks in 51 hours per year.”

What does intranet usability have to do with eCommerce management? If someone, potentially multiple people, are going to be working with and in your website everyday, it’s useful to think of the backend interface as an intranet of sorts. A handful of people per year using an admin tool that slows you down? That lost productivity starts to add up fast.

Magento Enterprise User Interface

Magento’s user interface looks styled like a 2004 intranet. It typically has far more dropdowns, options that you will ever need, and all found across a top Nav. The UI is disorderly, like a middle age man having too much to drink too soon in the middle of the day. Some admins find that when they are onboarding new hires that they are apologizing for Magento’s user interfaces behavior, kind of like that uncle or coworker who always misbehaves at a wedding. Socially it feels like you should like the interface, because supposedly everyone is using it and its invited to all the weddings, however you don’t and wind up talking behind its back. See what I mean:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 8.26.42 AM



I would describe Shopify commerce as a late 20/early 30 something. Shopify had the advantage of hearing from the older crowd what didn’t work in the 2000s with eCommerce and has developed accordingly. Super responsible, great track record, strives to make things easy and works well with others. Plus, Shopify was smart and followed basic design principles laid out by current usability standards. The result? It’s pleasant to look at and puts you at ease as you log on. Like the best man you hope you have, Shopify gives you just what you need when you need it and never embarrasses you in clutch situations. Plus, it has great group of friends, all those 3rd Party Apps, that also have easy to use interfaces. Shopify+ manages to bring ice when you forget, be the life of the party and sticks around to help with clean up. Check it out:


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So now that you’ve heard? Who are you inviting to the party?

Given our experience working with both platforms, we are seeing an exodus of Magento customers coming to Shopify+. We use and like both platforms. We were shocked when we first started making Shopify sites that we stopped getting support request for Admin Interface training. This insight really validated the Neilsen Norman Group Article referenced above. We see clients who switch realize immediate productivity gains. Not only do companies get productivity gains, but they save money in support requests. That savings allows for more sales and marketing activities. And, our experience working with Shopify inspired us to become certified Shopify Experts.

If you found this article fun, insightful or both, contact us to talk more about your eCommerce options.

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