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Aldrich Heinz Alvarez
Aldrich Heinz Alvarez

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Why You Should Drop Shopify for Medusa, An Open Source Alternative

Shopify is a hosted ecommerce platform that allows businesses to create online stores. Shopify is easy to use and has a lot of features, which is why it is so popular. However, it also has limitations for both businesses and developers that make it a hassle to work with as time passes.

Medusa is an open source headless commerce platform that is built on top of Node.js. Medusa is open source and is completely free to use. It has a growing community due to its simple architecture and extendibility.

This article explores some reasons why you should consider switching from Shopify to Medusa for your ecommerce stack.

Open Source Solutions are The Future

Enterprise solutions like Shopify take care of setting up the tech stack of businesses, which makes them appealing for people just getting started with ecommerce without developer resources. However, businesses soon enough realize that this limits them as they have no control or ownership of their stack. They have no freedom in choosing what services or infrastructure they want to use.

Open source solutions offer a great number of advantages for businesses, the most notable of which is the ability to completely own their tech stack. Businesses can have full access to the software and make any changes or additions that they want to it without having to wait for permission from the original developer. This lets businesses tailor the software exactly to their needs, making it a perfect fit for their business.

Open source solutions are often developed by large communities of developers, who are constantly working on adding new features and improving the software. This gives businesses a great advantage as their software is being constantly battle-tested and improved by a large community, rather than having to do it all manually with a smaller team.

This also means that businesses and their development teams can get help and support from the community whenever necessary. Medusa, for instance, has a Discord server where anyone can get help from the community and the core team of Medusa almost instantly.

More Customization Capabilities

Shopify has a lot of out-of-the-box features and is a beginner-friendly platform that people without technical knowledge can easily navigate. Shopify is a powerful platform but businesses often have specific use cases to cater to or need a tailored ecommerce experience. This leads businesses and developers to employ hacky workarounds which causes additional hassles and issues with time.

Medusa, on the other hand, is perfect for customization because its architecture is designed to be flexible and extendable. Medusa can easily be modified or customized specifically to suit each use case. For example, Medusa has a component-based structure that makes it easier to change one part of the structure without inferring with the rest, etc.

Because it is open source, developers can easily change Medusa’s core as they wish and build storefronts or admin panels on top of it using Medusa’s API.

Create Storefronts Tailored for Businesses

Storefronts are important for ecommerce businesses as they establish the brand’s identity and provide an interface for their customers to purchase their products.

There are a lot of Shopify themes and templates that provide businesses with limited customization capabilities. However, those customization capabilities are not enough for businesses to create a completely tailored experience based on their business. This becomes more of an issue when businesses offer custom products with a different purchase experience.

Headless commerce alternatives like Medusa, on the other hand, decouple the frontend from the backend. Developers have full freedom to customize the functionalities and design of the storefront or use whatever frontend framework they prefer without affecting the backend. All they need is to interact with the backend using REST APIs.

You can utilize these storefronts with your Medusa server: one built with Next.js, one built with Gatsby and another built with You can also create your storefront with the framework of your choice just by connecting to Medusa’s REST APIs. Your frontend development will be faster since updates to the frontend may be done without impacting the backend.

Better Developer Experience

Developers working with Shopify often end up building a whole suite of custom applications running on the side of Shopify to enable customizations. This makes it difficult to maintain over time and leads to high technical debt.

Compared to other headless ecommerce platforms which have complex infrastructures, Medusa’s architecture is simpler and easier. Everything, including its core engine and all the plugins, integrations, and third-party services runs in a single Node JS server making it easier for developers to incorporate plugins without using connectors and translation layers.

Additionally, businesses can rely on one developer to maintain Medusa because of how simple it is. The storefront, admin panel, and the backend all use JavaScript and Typescript. This makes it easy to switch between working on one or the other.

Also, As the frontend and the backend are decoupled, you don’t need developers who are skilled in both the frontend and backend. You can have one for each.

Medusa's architecture

Moreover, Medusa provides excellent developer resources including rich documentation, a CLI that automates the redundant tasks developers face, and a React hooks library and a JavaScript client to easily interact with the backend while building a storefront for Medusa.

Developers can also report any issues they find while using Medusa, suggest new features, or open pull requests (PR) to fix issues they find on the GitHub repository.

Additionally, if developers run into any issues while using Medusa, they can get assistance from Medusa’s core team and community on their Discord server.

Multi-Currency Support

Multi-currency support is an essential feature that businesses can benefit a lot from in their ecommerce stores. It should allow them to sell in multiple currencies and have complete control over the pricing of products in different currencies.

Shopify only offers multi-currency support if you use Shopify Payments, which is just available in 17 countries. So, if your store is operating in a country that is not on the list of supported countries, the multi-currency feature would not work.

Even if a business can use Shopify’s multi-currency feature, they are not capable of managing the prices of products per currency unless they use the Advanced plan.

Businesses using Shopify often resort to creating multiple stores to manage the different currencies. However, that leads to a lot of manual work and human errors as they need to manage products, orders, and configurations in different stores.

With Medusa, businesses can choose an unlimited number of regions that they want to sell in, select what countries are a part of a region, what currency is used for each region, and set the price of a product for each currency all from one place.

This removes any limitation imposed on businesses and developers and the need for additional, redundant work. You can still manage all your products, orders, and store configuration from one place while supporting multiple currencies.

Suggested Read: How Medusa Resolves Shopify's Multi-Currency Issues

Omnichannel Support

Omnichannel support, in short, means a unified experience across channels. For example, a user can browse and purchase products with a similar experience whether they’re on the website or the mobile app.

Shopify does not support an omnichannel strategy. Businesses that want to utilize omnichannel will either need Shopify Apps, which can weigh down a store the more you have, or use Shopify Plus, which can introduce issues if they’re moving from an existing Shopify store.

In contrast, Medusa's headless and abstract architecture is designed to support any type of channel or device. You can connect any type of channel, such as websites or apps, to your Medusa server. Customers will have a consistent experience and brand identity no matter what channel they use.

Additionally, Medusa provides an order management system (OMS) that is designed to manage all of your orders in one place, regardless of the channel that they were placed on. You can fulfill, ship, return, and swap orders all from the Medusa admin.

Migrating from Shopify to Medusa in 10 minutes

A lot of businesses stick with the platform they use because moving from one platform to another is hard. However, if you’re interested in migrating from Shopify to Medusa, you can do that in 10 minutes using our plugin!

You can check out this tutorial to learn how you can quickly migrate from Shopify to Medusa.


There are many reasons to consider Medusa over Shopify. While Shopify offers a lot of features and is easy to use, it is not as customizable or flexible as Medusa.

Medusa provides developers and businesses with a simple architecture and extendibility with a lot of features. If you are looking for a headless ecommerce platform that is customizable and developer-friendly, Medusa is the platform for you.

You can get started with Medusa in minutes using the quickstart guide.

Should you have any issues or questions related to Medusa, then feel free to reach out to the Medusa team via Discord.

Top comments (3)

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Medusa seems to be picking up a lot of traction and popularity lately. Going to put it on my list to try out.

aldrichalvarez profile image
Aldrich Heinz Alvarez

Yeah exactly!

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

The fact that its free gives it a huge advantage over Shopify.