Best Online Store Option For YOU?
I've used Magento Go and Shopify. I've also used other Content Management Systems when I managed an Ecom team (for 7 years) including home grown and Magento enterprise.
If you want to start an online store which platform should you use? Let's look at a feature by feature comparison:
Easy To Use - Winner Shopify
Plugin / Add On Development - Winner Magento Go
Email Integration - Tie (both work well with MailChip et al)
SEO - Magento Go if you KNOW SEO, Shopify if you don't
Promotion - Magento Go if you KNOW ecom, Shopify if you don't
Manage SKUs - Tie
up to about 50,000 after than NEITHER (you've outgrown OPP Other People's Platform if you have more than 50,000 unique stock keeping units SKUs).
Cart - backend Magento Go
(can do more with logic so ASSUMES you know how to create business rule promotions) frontend (what customer sees) Shopify.
Templates - Tie
Pretzel Logic - Magento Go
(winning this is not a good thing since it means the platform has its own language YOU must learn or things go bump in the night. Magento Go is willing to be confusing and a pain to add POWER, but 95% will never use that power so if you have a small, fun store steer clear).
Cross Sale / UpSale
Slight nod to Magento Go again assumes you know ECOM well and cross merchandising is not intuitive but is powerful.
Overall Winner - Shopify
For most readers of this post Shopify is the best choice.
Magento Go honorable mention
for a specialized niche group that need powerful business rule based promotion, have between 30k to 50k SKUs and don't mind learning a new language to get the backend power they need. If you don't know your crosssale (what you do on a product page to move customers to more profitable or popular choices) or upsale (what you do in the car to build Average Order Value (AOV) then use SHOPIFY.
Great post Marty!