Comparing Shopify vs. WordPress is important to eCommerce businesses because their online store is arguably their most important asset. Getting your eCommerce website right can make a major difference in your business’s overall longevity and success. The tools you use to create your online store must be carefully selected.
With that in mind, let’s carefully consider Shopify and WordPress. In this post, we’ll look at the different aspects of each of these website building tools, compare their eCommerce features, and see if we can determine which platform is the best for eCommerce websites.
Shopify Vs. WordPress: An Overview
Before we begin to compare these two popular eCommerce website options, let’s get a clearer understanding of each platform. Shopify is an eCommerce platform. It was built solely to help retail merchants set up online stores and launch them. Shopify makes it easy for anyone to create an eCommerce website. It comes with a variety of different plugin tools and website themes for users to choose from.
WordPress was initially developed as a blog platform but has evolved significantly since its initial launch. It is important to note that there are two main options with WordPress, self-hosted and hosted. Hosted WordPress is like Shopify because it can be used by people with little to no technical experience to create a website.
Self-hosted WordPress refers to the open-source software that can be installed on any web server to create just about any type of website imaginable, depending on the skill level of the web developer using it.
In this comparison post, we will be comparing Shopify to both hosted and self-hosted versions of WordPress. However, we will clearly distinguish between the two WordPress options when comparisons are made between features.
Comparing Shopify and WordPress
Determining whether to use Shopify or WordPress for your eCommerce store can be a difficult decision. In some cases, a Shopify store might be a better choice than a WordPress website. The important thing to remember is that both Shopify and WordPress are proven solutions. You need to determine which one best aligns with the needs of your eCommerce website.
Points of interest that we will compare and contrast include:
- Ease of use
- eCommerce features
Ease of Use
One of the key facets of your eCommerce website will be how easy it is for you to use and manage. Unless you plan to hire an eCommerce specialist or web developer full-time to manage your website, you will need to be able to take care of certain things such as managing inventory, adding or removing pages from your website, and optimizing your web content.
Shopify has a simple, straightforward interface and dashboard that makes managing common tasks and creating an eCommerce store easy. Users can view all of the facets of their eCommerce website in one place on the Shopify dashboard. Hosted WordPress websites are very similar to the capabilities offered by Shopify. However, additional plugins may be required to achieve some of the same eCommerce features.
You don’t have to be a technical expert to create good-looking websites with Shopify or hosted WordPress plans. Self-hosted WordPress websites are considerably more difficult to create without any technical app development experience. However, once the website is created, it can be configured so that a non-technical user can simply manage the important aspects like adding products, content, etc.
An important part of Shopify and WordPress is plugins. On Shopify, plugins are referred to as apps or extensions, but they are essentially the same thing that WordPress calls plugins. Shopify has over 2,000 apps and extensions that users can add to their eCommerce site to expand its functionality.
With the help of a Shopify Plus Partner or an app developer, you can also create your own custom Shopify apps and extensions. Apps and extensions on Shopify are sometimes free to use, but others cost money and can be as expensive as 50 dollars a month.
WordPress has over 50,000 different plugins with a wide variety of functions, from SEO to security and eCommerce. Self-hosted WordPress websites have access to these plugins by default. However, if you choose a hosted WordPress site, you will have to choose a business or eCommerce subscription plan to install plugins on your website.
Shopify was built specifically for eCommerce. As a result, Shopify comes loaded with eCommerce features pre-built into the platform. This differs from WordPress. Whether you choose a hosted or self-hosted approach to your WordPress website, you will have to rely on plugins to access eCommerce features.
Luckily for WordPress sites, WooCommerce, which is a popular WordPress plugin, is able to bring most of the essential eCommerce features to any WordPress website. Shopify supports more payment options and languages, but WooCommerce still supports a large number of payment options and languages in its own right. Besides this difference, Shopify and WooCommerce are very comparable.
The look and feel of your eCommerce website are essential to your branding and marketing efforts. Being able to customize your website is an important feature of both of these platforms. Shopify and WordPress both offer pre-built themes that are mobile responsive.
Shopify themes offer more customization options for users without technical experience with HTML and CSS. If you do have a little experience with HTML and CSS, Shopify’s template language called Liquid is accessible as well, but it may take some time to get acquainted with the language.
WordPress also includes a number of themes that are both free and premium. Your customization options are a little less in-depth if you want to make changes without altering the code. Plus, if you want to alter the HTML or CSS code, you need to install the Custom CSS plugin.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress website, you have complete control over every aspect of your website. You can choose to use themes and edit the source code as much as you please, or you could create your own custom theme from scratch too. Obviously, this option offers the most customization, but it is also the most technically difficult and will require a project management team or skilled web developer.
Shopify has a very robust support team that includes phone support, live chat, and email. This can be very helpful to an eCommerce business as there is the possibility that issues with payment, shipping, etc., could always pop up and cause issues for your customers.
On the other hand, WordPress has less support available than Shopify. If you have a self-hosted WordPress website, you are on your own. If you choose a higher level subscription plan for a hosted WordPress website, you will get access to live chat and email support, but there is no phone support at any level of WordPress subscription.
The final important consideration for your business to consider is the cost of Shopify and WordPress. Shopify’s plans range from $29 a month to $299 a month for the most comprehensive plans. If you pay for your plan upfront, there are savings you can unlock, but the most you can save is 20% if you pay for two years up front.
If you don’t own your domain name, you will have to pay an annual fee of around $14 a year for your domain name. Plus, if you use Shopify Payments, you will have to pay 30 cents and 2.4 to 2.9 percent of every credit card transaction.
WordPress plans are cheaper than Shopify, but you will have to pay for additional services to get the same functionality. Hosted WordPress plans range from $4 a month to $45 a month. When you pay for a hosted WordPress site, you get a year of a domain name for free. You will also have to pay transaction fees, but this cost will vary based on the WordPress plugin you use. You might also need to pay for certain themes or plugins.
WooCommerce, for example, is free, but this is also misleading because the free version of this WordPress plugin is very basic. You will need to pay extra and install premium extensions to unlock additional shipping features like table rate shipping. This costs about $100 a year. If you want to add distance rate shipping that will cost another $80 a year. You’ll likely also want to add email marketing and other features too. While WooCommerce is free, it will cost you to upgrade to premium features.
Self-hosted WordPress websites don’t cost anything besides hosting and a domain name. Roughly $12-15 per year for the domain name and about $3-5 per month for hosting. However, this option requires a lot more technical skill. If you don’t have the technical expertise, you will have to pay a web developer to create and maintain your WordPress website. The cost of this service will vary depending on the developer you hire and the needs of your project.
Shopify and WordPress are both great options for an eCommerce website. Your business needs to weigh the abilities and costs of each platform in order to choose the one that is right for you. You can succeed with either of these options. If you need help comparing Shopify vs. WordPress and choosing the best option for your business, reach out to an app development partner.