Shopify vs. WordPress: Which e-Commerce Platform is Better for You?
TLDR --> WordPress w/ WooCommerce = Speed & Cost
When building an e-commerce site, you must choose between two popular platforms: Shopify or WordPress. Which of these two can help you make successful online stores? While both can help you achieve that, it’s best to consider the key features to determine which can suit your business’ needs the best.
Let’s start with Shopify. Shopify is explicitly designed for e-Commerce. Online merchants typically turn to this platform to build and launch their stores. With a wide range of customizable templates, you can create your store from scratch without programming skills. Although you can still edit the HTML and CSS codes of your website for further customization, Shopify is friendly for beginners and non-programmers. You pay a monthly fee to use Shopify since the platform runs on Shopify’s servers, and you don’t own the software copy. You can manage your shop as long as you have access to a browser and the internet.
In the other corner, you have WordPress. WordPress offers you two different versions: hosted and self-hosted. Hosted WordPress works similarly to Shopify, where you pay a monthly fee to build and maintain your online store. You also have to use plugins such as WooCommerce to add e-commerce features to your site. Self-hosted WordPress requires more technical skills. Installing this software to your web server enables you to customize your website on a whole new level. Startups or businesses that employ website developers tend to opt for this option since they can build everything from the ground up. There are no limits when it comes to customization.
If you are still on the fence about whether to use Shopify or WordPress, we examine these two platforms to help you make an informed decision. Read on below.
Pros and Cons of Using Shopify
Shopify was created with e-Commerce in mind. Its templates make it easier for you to put your products online and sell them. While Woocommerce has superb templates as well, it is essentially a plugin. You are mostly left to your own devices to figure things out. You can also take advantage of Shopify’s 24/7 customer support, which is an important feature when it comes to e-Commerce.
Shopify features add ons and apps specifically designed for selling. Plus, it integrates better with more sites. Whatever email providers or product listing sites you like to use, Shopify has got your back. Another reason why online sellers prefer to use Shopify is for better credit card rates. This platform offers one of the best credit card rates in the US. You may also opt to use the built-in payment system as long as you are in one of the countries it is supported in. Shopify Payments don’t charge any transaction fees at all.
Shopify is a lot more expensive, even if it doesn’t feel like it. It might seem cheaper to start on Shopify since it only charges you a monthly fee while Woocommerce charges you for the whole year. However, if you do the calculations, you’d find that you are paying Shopify more.
Speaking of costs, integrating third-party apps into your online shop will cost you. You have to pay the third party company to integrate their app in Shopify. While these integrations seem to work better on Shopify than other platforms, expenses can still quickly pile up this way. If you are selling high-risk products in a high-risk country, it is probably not wise to use this platform. Shopify can potentially shut down your site if they deem you violating terms and conditions.
When to Use Shopify
Shopify offers you a quick, no-frills e-Commerce solution. Shopify can handle any transaction. It is perfect for people with basic to no experience with design, coding, or web development. You can quickly get your online shop up and running in no time. If you have any questions, customer support is available 24/7. If you want to boost sales in your physical store, the platform also works well when integrating online stores with offline ones.
Pros and Cons of Using WordPress
While you still have to pay a tiny bit for hosting, WordPress, and by extension, WooCommerce is a lot cheaper than paying for Shopify. WooCommerce offers more flexibility than Shopify since it is open source. If you are a capable web developer or employ one, it is easy for you to customize your store however you like. Shopify is customizable but not to the extent of WooCommerce.
Unlike Shopify, WordPress is excellent for blogging. WordPress would serve you better if you want to supplement your e-commerce site with high-impact content marketing. You can generate new content to increase your online visibility and drive traffic to your online shop.
Shopify rarely shuts down stores, but it does happen, especially in developing countries or when it comes to risky products. You don’t have to worry about getting shut down with WooCommerce.
Technical difficulties remain as one of the biggest pain points sellers have when it comes to WooCommerce. Almost every other seller has experienced their check-out not working for a couple of days. Since Woocommerce doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support like Shopify, you are left to figure things out on your own or hire someone to help. Your check out not working for a couple of minutes equals money lost.
There are a lot of built-in functions, add ons, and apps in Shopify that you can’t get in WooCommerce. If these plugins are available, chances are they wouldn’t work as well with this platform. You also have to shell out a bit more money to access features built-in on Shopify. Aside from fewer integrations and technical problems, another con for using Woocommerce is setting up a third-party payment gateway. Whether it is Stripe or Paypal, there will always be a 2.9% transaction fee.
When to Use WordPress
The main advantage of WordPress is its ability to run all kinds of websites. You can also get it for free and only pay for hosting. While some sellers might get discouraged at having to configure WordPress sites by themselves, this can also be used as an advantage. Armed with the right web developer and excellent plugins, there’s no web design too ambitious or unattainable. You can make your e-Commerce site as unique as possible to help you stand out from your competitors. WordPress is the best platform to use if you are already familiar with how it works. If you don’t feel uncomfortable with exploring web development possibilities and want to minimize your expenses as much as possible, this platform is the right choice.
When choosing between Shopify or WordPress, it ultimately boils down to your circumstances and what you want to achieve. If you expect to generate a high number of sales and are willing to pay more to ensure that everything runs smoothly, your best bet is to use Shopify. However, if you are working on a passion project and don’t necessarily expect to get a lot of sales, it would be more prudent to pick WordPress and not spend too much.
There’s no right or wrong answer. You merely have to choose what platform would work the best for your e-Commerce site.
As always, let us know if you have any questions.