According to Shopify, eCommerce sales are set to reach an amazing $5 trillion by 2021. If you’re looking to get a piece of that pie, you’ll be happy to know that it’s pretty simple to set up an eCommerce store of your own. However, the question remains, WordPress vs Shopify, which one should you choose?
WordPress and Shopify are both goliaths in the website-builder game. Each platform has powerful features and millions of users worldwide. You can use either of them to set up your eCommerce website, but they each offer different benefits, all of which should be considered.
This comprehensive guide will help you make your decision.
Shopify vs WordPress: Are They Actually Different?
There are some key differences between these two platforms that you need to take note of.
Shopify: A Brief Review
Shopify is a simple web application that was specifically designed for business owners and merchants. The main function of the platform is to help sellers build and launch their online stores with ease and efficiency. There are additional features that you can add such as a blog but the platform’s primary focus is eCommerce. Shopify stores are easy to set up because there is a wide range of templates to choose from, all of which can be customized.
Overall, the platform makes it possible to start an eCommerce site without design or technical skills. If you do have some coding skills, you can customize your store even further by editing the CSS and HTML.
Shopify is a hosted solution, which means you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of time and money on software or hosting. The entire platform runs smoothly on Shopify’s servers.
The platform is also a SaaS (software as a service) tool. You don’t need to download or buy the software. Instead, you just have to pay a monthly fee to use it. It also runs on the cloud, which means you will be able to access your store from anywhere in the world.
WordPress: A Brief Review
Let’s learn more about WordPress. There are two versions of WordPress: hosted and self-hosted. The hosted version works in a similar way to Shopify. It is a SaaS tool that you have to pay a monthly fee for. Through this, you get to access all sorts of helpful features that allow you to maintain and build a website. WordPress isn’t a one-stop-shop solution for beginners like Shopify is though. You will have to use other third-party apps and tools like Woocommerce and Ecwid to start selling online.
The self-hosted version of WordPress needs to be downloaded. You can then install it on your domain and build your online store from there. The self-hosted version of WordPress is open-source, which means the code is freely available. This gives you the option to fully customize your website by editing the code.
WordPress is a very flexible tool but there’s a chance you might require the help of a developer to get started. Even though WordPress is free, there’s also a chance you might need to pay for a theme and plugins to get the functionality you want. You will also need to pay for hosting and domain registration.
Both platforms can be used to set up a fully-functional online store, but there are some key differences. The platform that you choose will depend on your needs, preferences, and experience.
To help you make your decision, let’s also look at why online retailers prefer one website builder over the other.
Shopify: Why Online Retailers Love It
Here are some of the reasons why online retailers love and prefer the Shopify platform.
Easy to Use and Set-Up
This website builder is a quick, easy, no-fuss platform. People who want a complete solution but don’t want to deal with the technicalities that come with hosting and development will love this tool. You will be able to use the hosting and software features right away and the admin interface is both user-friendly and intuitive. If you already have an existing domain, linking it to Shopify is a breeze. Once you click on the Domains menu, you will see an option to connect an existing domain. Don’t have a domain? You can easily register one via the Shopify platform.
Create Visually Appealing Websites
The Shopify platform has many professional templates that you can use to create an elegant and unique website. Developers and designers will be able to create a store with exceptional UX and rich UI. Not all Shopify themes are free though. In fact, free themes are few and far between. When compared to WordPress, their premium themes tend to be a lot pricier.
Shopify has many customization features that you can use too. Online sellers can add different functionalities and features to enhance the value of their products and the customer experience. The same applies to Shopify’s apps – not all are free. However, when compared to the themes, there is a lot wider selection of free apps that you can use.
Reliability and Security
Shopify also offers users plenty of services that can increase reliability and security for their customers. Online stores handle a lot of personal, confidential, and crucial information pertaining to their customers, business, and finances. Keeping all this information secure is a crucial consideration.
Reliability is also vital since online stores always need to be available 24/7.When your store hardly ever malfunctions, your customers automatically trust you more and you generate more sales. The Shopify platform offers enhanced reliability and security because all sites are hosted on their servers.
Good Loading Speeds
Shopify is a global hosted solution that uses optimized software and hardware. The platform is known for its efficient loading speeds, which is highly appealing considering how impatient online users are. Websites that’s don’t load in 3 seconds or less are seen as slow, so speed is important.
Marketing and Branding Tools
Shopify also has marketing features that online store owners can take advantage of. Even the basic version of Shopify comes with SEO features and powerful eCommerce analytics. You can also access other marketing tools such as discount coupons, custom gift cards, email marketing, and more, all of which can help you boost sales. Shopify even gives you the ability to create logos and signs for your online business.
The mobile responsiveness of any eCommerce store will directly impact its profits. Fortunately, Shopify is completely mobile-friendly, so you won’t lose out on potential customers. You can even get Android and iPhone apps that will help you better manage your store.
Exceptional Customer Support
Online retailers can also take advantage of Shopify’s round-the-clock customer support. You can check in with the experts via phone, email, or live chat at any time to make sure your store is always up and running smoothly.
Integrating reliable and secure payment gateways is a common issue among online store owners. Buyers prefer to have multiple payment options. When you use Shopify to host your online store, buyers can choose from several different payment options based on their location.
Even after your store is up and running, you still need to optimize it on a continuous basis. SEO is vital for online stores because it places your brand in front of more customers. Fortunately, Shopify does have SEO capabilities that make site optimization easier, ensuring you’re attracting the right target audience.
Shopify has three pricing tiers that you can choose from.
- Basic Shopify: $29
- Shopify: $79
- Shopify Plus: $299
For beginners, who don’t have a huge budget, the basic Shopify version works really well. However, if you plan on growing your store and require more advanced features, you will need to pay a bit more every month. There is also a free trial available should you want to try before you buy.
Why Choose Shopify?
- Very easy to use
- Includes branding and marketing functionality
- User-friendly interface with a range of capabilities
- Visually appealing results
WordPress: Why Online Retailers Love It
WordPress stands strong against the competition. In fact, 67% of all websites are running on the WordPress platform. Here are a few reasons why online retailers love WordPress.
Design Flexibility and Customization
WordPress used to be a simple blogging platform before it became a go-to website builder for millions. Now, you can manage and create any type of website you want. There are thousands of amazing themes that you can use to create eCommerce stores.
WordPress gives you complete control over your website and its functionality. You can also easily combine your online store with other elements such as portfolios, blogs, and corporate pages to strengthen it. Plus, if you have coding knowledge, there are no limits to the customization capabilities.
Variety of Themes, Tools, and Plugins
Along with choosing a unique theme, there are also thousands of tools and plugins that can be used to enhance the functionality of your site. Plus, you can install the plugins in a few easy clicks, which is handy.
Unlike Shopify, you don’t even need a basic budget to start benefiting from WordPress’s advanced functionality. However, there is a bit of a learning curve that you should be mindful of. Once you have a handle on how the platform works, it’s very easy to add advanced features to your site that customers will love.
Keep in mind that you might need to pay for some plugins if you want to take advantage of all the features.
When you’re developing an online store on WordPress, Woocommerce is by far the most popular plugin choice. Not only is it free but it gives you full access to a wide array of eCommerce functionality. You may need to pay for specific features though but the free version includes most of what you’ll need. As an added bonus, Woocommerce is also known for its exceptional customer support.
Easy to Use
WordPress does have a user-friendly interface. However, you will need to spend some time learning how to use the platform, particularly if you have no prior technical knowledge.
While beginners will be able to use this software, coders and designers will absolutely love the freedom it allows. You can show off your best coding skills by creating a multi-faceted eCommerce store that drives sales.
If you already have an exiting website, migrating it to the WordPress platform is possible and easier than you might think. However, it can be a bit of a technical challenge if you’re unfamiliar with coding and navigating your hosting cPanel. Even if you do require the assistance of a developer, it is possible to migrate your existing website.
Why Choose WordPress?
- It’s absolutely free
- The software is open-source
- Works well with both mobile and desktop devices
- Unlimited customization options
- Easy to use and install
- Intuitive interface once you know how to navigate it
- Ideal for people with websites that are already hosted on WordPress
If you’re still feeling unsure about which website builder to choose, start by analyzing your skills. If you have coding and design skills, you will be able to create a killer online store using WordPress.
On the other hand, if you’re new to the world of eCommerce and coding, Shopify might be a better choice. It has many built-in features that you can use to create a fully-functioning online store. With Shopify it’s easy to get up and running very quickly.
A lot of people that already have WordPress consider moving to a shopify store, but this isn’t completely necessary.
If you already have a wordpress website, all you’ll need to do is install Woocommerce and launch the online store as part of your existing site. It will be cheaper and quicker to add eCommerce functionality your existing site and simply increase your SEO and marketing efforts.
If you don’t have a website yet, or don’t have the skills to build one, go for Shopify. This ready-to-use tool is all you need to start selling online.
To show you how easy it is to build a Shopify store, I’ve put together the video below so you can look over my should whilst i do it.