People looking to launch their e-commerce stores have a couple of questions and concerns. One of these questions is which is the ideal platform to use? This has narrowed down to one of the most common questions for those who intend to begin selling online.
Among the many e-commerce platforms out there, many people have considered two of the commonly used sites. Shopify and WordPress. So the topic WordPress VS Shopify has been widespread in recent past years.
The topic has been considerably discussed on online platforms, which has made it easier for people to know just which platform to consider. This guide gathers most of the opinions from other sites to make it significantly easier for you to know which to choose between Shopify and WordPress.
Difference between Shopify and WordPress
Before providing detailed information on every platform, it is vital to know the main difference between Shopify and WordPress. Shopify is an online service or tool, while WordPress is standalone software, which you will need to install. Please understand that there is more to this simple explanation and you will find out here.
There is a chance you are concerned about this topic because you are starting out in the e-commerce industry. How about you get a summary of what each platform is?
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) that comes in two versions.
While we mentioned the main difference between Shopify and WordPress, you need to know that the hosted WordPress operates just like Shopify since it is also a SaaS tool. Similar to Shopify, you pay a monthly fee to access a range of features enough to help you build and maintain your online store.
You will need e-commerce plugins to run an e-commerce store on WordPress. These third-party tools help you add e-commerce features to WordPress and run an online store. One of the most popularly used tools is WooCommerce, which why you might find people comparing Shopify and WooCommerce. Other tools you can use are Ecwid, BigCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads (EDD), Cart66 Cloud, WP eCommerce, Jigoshop eCommerce, and others.
This is the other part of WordPress that makes it so different from Shopify since it is software you have to download and install on your web server. Self-hosted WordPress is open-source, giving the code behind its design free availability and easy tweaking.
Practically, this allows one to customize websites built with WordPress to the nth degree. Should a web developer get a hold of this extremely flexible tool, they can adapt WordPress to meet the requirements of almost every web design project. The same can be achieved by installing the right plugins, and one can create a suitable e-commerce site for their store.
Installing WordPress on one’s server is free, but of course, there are hosting costs, potential plugin and development costs one might incur a domain registration fee.
Related Article: How to create a WordPress website (step by step guide)
What is Shopify?
If you’ve heard of Dropshipping, then you’ve definitely heard of Shopify. Shopify is the “go to” platform for Dropshipping.
While it is explained above that Shopify is an online tool, it will make more sense to know that it is a software as a service (SaaS) e-commerce platform specifically designed to allow sellers to create and launch their e-commerce site. The web application provides a range of templates that can be customized to suit any online business’ branding requirements to allow merchants to sell commodities.
Shopify’s design allows even amateurs with neither technical nor design skills to create an online store. You do not need to understand coding, but if you do, you can customize your online store more extensively since the platform allows users to edit the CSS and HTML of your site.
As a hosted e-commerce platform, everything runs on Shopify’s servers. This means that users do not have to buy web hosting or install software to use Shopify.
Being a SaaS tool means merchants do not own a software copy of Shopify but instead rent the service on a monthly basis to run their online store on the site. Shopify runs on the cloud, which increases convenience for users since they can access and manage their online store from anywhere using a web browser.
Since the hosted WordPress is similar to Shopify the topic Shopify VS Shopify mainly focuses on the differences between self-hosted WordPress and Shopify.
Related Article: How to make a Shopify store (step by step guide)
Consider the following points
Consider the following points when looking to understand the difference between WordPress and Shopify
WordPress vs Shopify for your e-commerce site
For those looking for a more scalable and flexible site, WordPress might be the best option for you. With WooCommerce, you get more control over your site. If you have your website running on WordPress while using the WooCommerce plugin, you do not need to combine the two platforms into one or try to move your content into a different system.
As covered earlier, WordPress requires some technical skills, and you might need an in-house IT team for you to focus on something else. Shopify on the other hand, offers an easy-to-set-up site, making it a quick efficient task. Shopify, as a provided service, also offers fantastic customer support. You can call any time any day with questions and get quick responses and solutions.
Setting Up your E-Commerce Site
It is obvious Shopify offers a more comfortable option for anyone who wants to set up an online store. One does not need to worry about things like software installation, adding e-commerce plugins, or understand coding, which brings peace of mind. You simply need to sign up, add products to the store, and you are set to sell.
With WordPress, you will need plugins, like WooCommerce, which will require you to do almost everything to set up your online store. You must create your website domain and hosting, install the software and everything needed on your server and configure the platform properly before you begin adding products to your e-commerce site. You definitely need skills here.
It is worth mentioning that once you set up WordPress, and with skilled personnel who can take care of the technical part, you can have your website running almost as immediately as you can with Shopify.
What about Payments in E-commerce Business
As a merchant, on any platform, WordPress or Shopify, you will have to pay the account provider, the payment gateway, and of course the bank but Shopify users seem to pay extra fees. Still, when it comes to running an E-Commerce website, Shopify has been found to be the cheaper option.
Continue reading to find out how much both platforms cost to run.
Which is ideal for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) WordPress or Shopify
There might be no time to discuss SEO (search engine marketing) and its impact, but it is huge, which makes SEO very important. We highly recommend reading our “beginners guide to SEO” article to help grow your online business.
WordPress seems to be the winner here, considering it allows a lot of e-commerce plugins which gives one extensive control of varying factors that affect the SEO for your e-commerce site. Shopify is still good as it will enable one to modify quite many essential components, but the control is limited, unlike with WordPress.
Think Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
WordPress flexibility also makes it beat Shopify here thanks to its versatility. You can test varying content types, specialized landing pages and even get creative with WordPress. On top of that, WordPress allows you to install CRO plugins that will increase the ability to automatically do A/B testing and other similar things.
While Shopify lets you test a couple of things for CRO, it has some limitations since its design focuses on just an e-commerce site.
Shopify fees vs WordPress fees
It is true that the software from WordPress is free, but there are things like:
- Hosting expenses starting at £8 per month
- Domain name between £2 and £20 per year
- SSL certificate from £149
- Themes which are free but more ideal ones between £1,500 to £5,000
- While WooCommerce on WordPress will be free, you might need about £25 for other plugins for things like SEO, email marketing, payment, inventory management, and dropshipping.
- If you are not skilled in IT, you will need to pay for the technical part that WordPress demands.
The platform allows new users a 14-day trial. While you are at it, you can choose between four pricing packages depending on your advanced functionality needs. What you will pay for an e-commerce site on Shopify:
- £29 per month for Basic Shopify, ideal for start-ups
- £79 per month for SMBs with five accounts with Shopify
- £299 per month for Advanced Shopify for large businesses with 15 accounts
- You can see Shopify is the cheaper option that allows one to pay a cost that suits their business, and as your e-commerce business grows, you can be able to pay the amount for the more developed business. If you need more than is explained above, you can always contact Shopify for the price of services that a big company requires. If you need advanced API, uptime or support, for a business or an enterprise, they can help.
Customer Support for WordPress and Shopify Users
It will depend on what kind of support you need for your e-commerce business, but Shopify happens to have the upper hand here since it offers 24/7 customer support via chat, phone, and email. This offers a quick response to your issues and swift solutions which you might not get with WordPress.
It is worth mentioning that WordPress is widely used which has given rise to many blogs and forums on WordPress and e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce. There are many topics that offer answers to many questions, but, you will need to search for these answers, and you might not get expert advice. So Shopify still wins on this.
Comparing the two
It might take too long to compare the two, but a summary of the comparison might be helpful depending on your e-commerce business site requirements.
Look at the following:
- Shopify is clearly easier to use platform
- Shopify offers the quicker option, saving time for other things
- WordPress is the better option for e-commerce tools and features
- Shopify customer support is better without a doubt
- WordPress has more templates than Shopify
- Shopify templates are easier to customize, are more responsive, and offer smooth performance on any device
- WordPress offers better blogging
- WordPress is better than Shopify when it comes to content management
- WordPress has an advantage when it comes to content control since that is the user’s responsibility while in Shopify, they can remove content
- WordPress offers more flexibility and provides more plugins, templates, and integrations
- Shopify arguably provides better security since that is the company’s job. For WordPress, security is entirely upon the user, and there is no guarantee they will get the best.
- WordPress is better for users looking for a multilingual option on their sites as they can use WordPress Multilingual plugin
- WordPress beats Shopify in multiple sites thanks to WordPress Multisite
- Shopify has more e-commerce focus mobile app if that is what you are looking for
It is always tricky to answer, which beats the other between WordPress and Shopify. Nevertheless, it does not mean one cannot make a decision on either of the two. Consider your requirements for your e-commerce business and that will offer a better guide. It is true to say that Shopify is designed with a significant focus on e-commerce which might make it the better option, but you have to remember WordPress is very powerful. With WordPress, you can get almost everything you need for a great e-commerce website but consider the expenses, work, and time you need to input.