If you’re ready to create an online store, it’s important you choose the right platform to build it with. The online store builder you choose must come with all the right features so you can merchandise with no hassle and turn a profit.
And for that, Shopify and WordPress are two of the most popular platforms on the market for building an online store.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform that allows you to start, grow, and manage your online business from one dashboard. The platform gives you the opportunity to do everything from customizing your store to adding products, and even creating marketing campaigns to grow your customer base.
With it, you simply choose a plan and assign a domain to your store - no need for a hosting provider.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is more than just an eCommerce platform. The website software allows you to create anything from a simple blog to a service page, and of course, an online store.
However, there are two options when it comes to WordPress. You can either go for a hosted plan from WordPress.com or opt for the self-hosted WordPress.org option which gives you far more creative freedom and would be cheaper.
The setup is slightly more complex and involves installing a plugin like WooCommerce to turn it into an online shop. You’ll also have to choose and pay for a hosting provider as well as a domain name to get started.
However, despite these technicalities, it is far cheaper to go for the self-hosted option via WordPress.org.
Shopify vs WordPress: Main Features
When choosing a platform for an online store, there are several universal features you should consider. Comparing the website appearance and design capabilities as well as pricing and ease of use will help you choose the best platform for your e-shop.
Number and Quality of Templates - WordPress Has Thousands
When it comes to choosing the best eCommerce platform to build your store, being able to personalize it is extremely important. The truth is, all online store builders come with a variety of high-quality templates to choose from. That said, while there are free ones available, many do come at an added cost.
Every Shopify store comes with a choice of 60 paid themes and 10 free ones, with more and more of them being added by designers every year.
You can filter themes based on the number of products they allow you to add to your store, the layout style, as well as the industry you operate in. Furthermore, the platform allows you to filter themes based on your marketing requirements too. You can also get a theme professionally designed for your store and upload it from your dashboard.
With WordPress eCommerce, the process is slightly different. The platform has more than 10,000 themes on offer, many of which are free.
However, approximately 1,000 of them are designed for eCommerce. Not only this, there are thousands of independent designers out there creating their own themes and selling them separately. Better yet, uploading a theme to your WordPress site is extremely simple and can be done in just a few clicks.
Overall, Shopify has great quality. But WordPress has so many templates, and so much more freedom - it all comes down to what you prefer the most.
Ease of Use - Can't Beat Shopify
There is no doubt that Shopify is much easier to use than WordPress.
This is because Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that allows you to do everything from designing your store to tracking your inventory and orders from one simple to use dashboard.
Furthermore, the initial landing page takes you through the most important aspects of your site to get you set up as quickly as possible. This includes selecting a theme and customizing it, assigning a domain to your site, as well as adding products to your shop.
While Shopify is easier to get started with, if you already have a WordPress account, it may be worth sticking to it. With a simple plugin like WooCommerce, you can turn your website into an affluent eCommerce platform.
On WordPress, you might have to download an additional plugin for most features you need on your site.
Want to do better SEO? Plugin. Optimizing images? Plugin. Social media buttons? Plugin again. While on Shopify, most of the stuff is already made available, on WordPress you have to set everything up yourself.
That being said, WooCommerce already includes quite a list of basic features you’ll need for your store. Some of these include a shopping cart, creating online payment portals, offering coupons, and designing product catalogs. So you're getting something to start with.
Pricing Plans - WordPress is Free
A big difference between Shopify and WordPress is the way the platform’s price their services. Shopify comes with a 14-day free trial for you to get started with.
Once this is complete, you can choose from three different plans. These include the ‘Basic Shopify’ for $29 a month, the ‘Shopify’ plan for $79 a month, and the ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan which costs $299 a month.
Every plan comes with abandoned shopping cart recovery, manual creation of orders, a free SSL certificate, and discount codes.
These also include a minimum of two team accounts, unlimited product listings, and full customer service from Shopify. You also have the option to sell products with various other sales channels from your Shopify account.
The ‘Shopify’ account allows you to offer gift cards and create professional reports so you can keep track of your progress. The ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan comes with an advanced report builder as well as the option to have freight rates calculated by third parties.
Each plan comes with different transaction fees with the most basic one having the highest and these getting lower the more advanced the plan you go for.
WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin, on the other hand, is completely free to use. However, you will have to pay for hosting.
Luckily, there are thousands of hosting providers to choose from, some of which include Hostinger, A2 Hosting, and Bluehost, for example. There are also dozens of WooCommerce extensions, both free and paid. These range from just under $50 to almost $200 depending on the one you go for.
Shopify Vs WordPress: Shopify Is Simply Simpler
Overall, when it comes to choosing between Shopify vs WordPress, I recommend you go for Shopify for your online store builder.
While it doesn’t have quite the same selection of templates and themes to choose from, it is much easier to use. The platform is dedicated to eCommerce and, therefore, is a more comprehensive solution that will meet your selling needs, no matter what's your product.
Furthermore, Shopify is hosted - meaning you won’t have to pay any extra fees but your monthly subscription. Yes, this can add up to more in the long run, but you’ll also save an enormous amount of time setting up your store.
But while Shopify is a fantastic platform, WordPress is a great alternative for those of you who have already paid for your hosting and domain. It’s also a great option if you need to design a specific and tailor-made site for your shop. And if you're really short on money, this could be a good budget pick.
Last but not least, you do have the option to integrate Shopify with WordPress.
Shopify now provides a way to embed products into a WordPress store by creating a ‘Buy Now’ button.
While this may be a great solution for some, I recommend you use WooCommerce if you decide to go for a WordPress store as it allows for a much more comprehensive eCommerce site.
Overall - all is down to you, your goals, and your budget. Hope this article has helped you choose!