There are many modern and robust ecommerce platforms available in the market today. For example Magento, Shopify, Opencart, Woocommerce etc. But when it comes to selling Contact Lenses or Prescription Eyewear online, all these platform turns out to be little insufficient. Though we have been using almost all of these platforms since long but selecting the best ecommerce platform for building Contact Lenses or Eye Glasses website, has always been a very difficult question to answer. In this article we will evaluate the two most popular platforms for building Online Contact Lens Store : Shopify and Magento. I hope after reading the article, you will be able to make the right decision.
Ease of Use
As Shopify is a SaaS (software as a Service) solution so it is fully hosted by Shopify and hence it is very easy to setup your online store. Infact you can create & publish your store in just few minutes. On the other hand Magento community edition requires you to download, install, setup and configure everything manually before you can actually start using your store. You need to have technical skills in order to install and setup Magento 2.x platform. Upto this stage, it looks that Shopify is the winner here. But lets now talk about adding and managing products i.e Contact Lenses or Eye glasses.
The most important requirement of selling Contact Lenses or Prescription Eyewear is the ability to accept values for Power, Cylinder, Axis, Base curve and Diameter for both the eyes – left and right. You should be able to display two products – one for each eye and should be able to accept custom values for each.
To meet this requirement, Shopify provides the ability to create variants but there is a limit to number of variants and number of options you can have in your store. You can not have more than 100 variants for any product. But if you are into Contact Lens business you know that there are thousands of combinations in contact lenses. Similarly, you can not have more than three options for any product. So, we are not sure how values for Power, Cylinder, Axis, Base curve and Diameter can be accepted in Shopify and that too for both the eyes! Unless you use some third party paid apps which increases the limit of variants and options.
On the other hand in Magento community edition, you can create unlimited options and variants without using any third party plugins. There is an option to create configurable products so accepting values for Power, Cylinder, Axis, Base curve and Diameter can be very easy. You can also create group product to show two different products for accepting left and right eye values. And if everything fails then there are quick & easy Contact Lens Magento extension to get you started quickly and launch your Online Contact Lens Store.
Look & Feel / Templates
Now-a-days the look & feel of your online store decides how many customers are going to buy from you. Even if you got a great product but if your store is badly designed then you won’t get sales! So, site design matters a lot for your online Contact Lens store.
Magento and Shopify both offer many free and paid themes. Though Shopify offers some of the most professional looking themes in the market but if you want to tweak them a lot for selling Contact Lenses then they are not your cup of tea. On the other hand, Magento offers many open source themes which you can modify as per your needs to support selling Eye Glasses. Also, Magento has large number of templates available which you can get for free.
Extendibility & Scalability
Shopify is mainly suited for small and medium sized stores, when you want to start quickly with limited products and standard features. But if you are planning a large-scale store with ability to have thousands of products and customized features then Magento is the best solution for you. Magento is mostly preferred for its flexibility, additional extensions and integration with other third party platforms which helps in extending the functionality and reducing the development costs. There are many Contact Lenses selling extensions available for Magento 1 and Magento 2 platforms. Whereas Shopify does not have a very large selection of apps and add-ons. Though it offers more than 100 different apps & add-ons but it is still quite less than what Magento community enjoys.
Price is the most important factor in deciding the most suitable ecommerce platform for your Contact Lens selling store. Shopify is a paid solution for which you need to pay a monthly fee. While Magento Community edition is a free open-source software. Shopify also charges transaction fee for each transaction at your store. Whereas Magento community is completely free of charge and only require a server for hosting the your online Contact Lens store. It has many free plugins for accepting credit card at your store.
It is said that Shopify provides better User Experience than Magento. It has fast loading pages and checkout process which helps in more sales & conversions. It also has mobile-ready pages which again helps the customers to buy from their mobile devices easily. But with the new and improved Magento 2 platform, all the User Experience issues in the previous versions of Magento 1 has been removed. The platform has now introduced a very compact two-step checkout process with ability to check out as Guest. Also, if you are missing one-page check out then you can use affordable one page check out extension for Magento2. There are plenty of free mobile-ready themes available which can make your store mobile optimized. The speed of rendering product pages and cart has also been drastically improved in Magento 2 version.
SEO & Marketing
Publishing your Online Contact Lens Store alone will not get you customers. It needs to be Search Engine optimized to get ranked in search engines. It is said that Magento is better for search engines as you get opportunity to add meta tags, keywords, image alts, optimized page URLs and can write content pages too. Shopify also supports Search Engine optimization but being hosted platform it sometimes lacks control.
For marketing, Magento provides you many free extensions to convert visitors into customers. For example Matix which offers Exit Popups, Deal Bar and FOMO notifications – all for free. However, Shopify do have many marketing addons but all good ones are paid.
When deciding between Shopify and Magento for building Online Contact Lens Store, you should consider things like number of products, growth plans and your budget. If you want to sell very limited products with fixed options then Shopify would be the best. But if you want to sell unlimited variety of products with unlimited variants & options then Magento 2 is the best option for you. Magento can be customized as per your own requirements and can be extended anytime by using many free and premium extensions.