If you’re setting up an e-commerce business, there are several platforms you can use to build your website. WordPress and Shopify are two of the most popular. They both have excellent reputations as e-commerce platforms. But there are some important differences to be aware of when comparing WordPress vs Shopify, so you can pick the right one for you.
In this article, we’ll compare the two e-commerce giants to help you decide which one to use when starting your online business. First, let’s take a closer look at WordPress.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the best website building platforms available. It’s ideal for setting up an e-commerce business, or any website for that matter. Thanks to this versatility, more than 40% of all websites on the internet were built using WordPress!
WordPress allows you to set up a website, blog, or e-commerce business without needing to know or understand any complex programming. It has an intuitive interface that uses simple blocks to insert text, images, media, or shopping features.
The platform has a large selection of both free and paid themes and styles to choose from. So, no matter what you’re planning, you’ll be able to create the perfect site for your business.
What Are the Benefits of WordPress?
The 9 benefits of WordPress are:
- Free and paid options
- Highly customisable themes
- Superb plugins
- You can sell any kind of product or service
- Device compatibility
- Functional extensions
- Impactful SEO
- Trusted security
- Multiple payment options
How Is Shopify Different From WordPress?
Shopify is a purpose-built e-commerce platform that allows businesses to set up online stores and point of sale (POS) systems using ready-made templates and features. With Shopify, you can quickly set up an online store, sell your products on social media, or sell your goods in person using the Shopify POS app.
Shopify is a great platform for people who have no web design experience nor the budget to outsource the process to a professional. The site is very easy to use, and you don’t need your own website to start selling online with a Shopify store.
Shopify operates in more than 170 countries and hosts more than 1 million unique users. Shopify is a great way to expand your existing business, set up a new store, sell your own merchandise, and reach a huge new customer base. There’s plenty of themes to choose from so you can personalise your store to suit your business branding and profile.
What Can You Sell on Shopify?
You can sell a huge range of products and services on Shopify. This means that the highly versatile platform is a good choice for many budding entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running quickly. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you can sell on Shopify:
- Physical products, such as items that you dropship to customers, handmade products, and print on demand merchandise
- Digital products, including e-books, audio and music downloads, and online courses
- Consultations and personalised services, such as interior design, life coaching, and business consultations
- Memberships, subscriptions, and other “member-only” content, like newsletter memberships
- Tickets for events such as workshops or art exhibitions
- Classes and tutorials, such as online yoga classes
- Rental services including props, clothes, or DIY tools
What Are the Benefits of Shopify?
The 6 benefits of Shopify are:
- Excellent pre-designed themes
- Fast loading times
- Solid security
- Specialised app store
- Customised domains available
- Powerful analytics
Can Shopify Be Used With WordPress?
Shopify can be used with WordPress using various plugins, or you can copy and paste code corresponding to your shopify store directly onto your WordPress site. However, you’re better off choosing one option, as each has its own strengths that make them better standalone options.
To understand these strengths, let’s dive deeper into each of these two platforms.
WordPress vs Shopify – Why Use WordPress?
Aside from creating blogs and other personal websites, you can also use your WordPress site to sell all kinds of products or services. WordPress also gives you the flexibility to set up a blog and other content to run alongside your shopping features. This flexibility can help you increase your sales. It also gives customers an insight into your business ethos, practices, and unique selling points. These are all useful things to highlight in the competitive online market!
1. Free and Paid Options
WooCommerce, WordPress’ basic e-commerce plugin, is open-source and free to use (although you need to pay for some of the extensions). This has made it one of the most popular online store features for startups and new businesses. And if you have coding skills, you can adapt the plugin to better suit your business needs.
2. Highly Customisable Themes
WordPress offers more than 10,000 customisable themes. So, you’re bound to find the right one for your website! The themes cover every type of functionality that you might need, from blogs to e-commerce sites.
You can also customise the layout of your page with separate headers, footers, media content, and store features. In fact, it’s hard to find a website building platform that outperforms WordPress in terms of customisation and ease of use.
3. Superb Plugins
With over 50,000 unique plugins, WordPress offers every type of functionality necessary for your e-commerce site. These plugins can help streamline online sales, inventory management, and day-to-day operations.
WooCommerce is the basic e-commerce plugin, but there are plenty of others to integrate with your website. For example, other useful plugins include MailChimp, for email marketing campaigns, and Yoast SEO, which can help you improve your site’s search engine rankings.
4. You Can Sell Any Kind of Product or Service
WordPress’ e-commerce features allow you to sell any type of product or service under the sun! You can sell digital products, such as e-books, online courses, or software solutions. You can also sell physical products using dropshipping, print-on-demand services, or items you deliver directly to your customers.
5. Device Compatibility
With 60% of customers using mobile phones to shop online, your website must be fully compatible with all types of devices, including phones, tablets, and laptops. Fortunately, WordPress ensures your website loads smoothly and responsively on any device.
6. Functional Extensions
WordPress has an excellent range of extensions, both free and paid, which you can use to improve your online business processes and increase sales. You can add unique product pages, a separate checkout window, shopping carts, and a search feature for your website.
7. Impactful SEO
WordPress’ SEO features help you maximise your online reach. Integrating SEO functionality with your site’s dashboard makes it easy to manage your marketing strategies while staying on the site. You can also add other SEO extensions that focus on different aspects of ranking online to further optimise your marketing. This can help you show up on SERPs, and get more organic traffic to your website.
8. Trusted Security
WordPress and its plugins are carefully designed to meet the challenges of modern hackers, malware, and other security issues facing online businesses. Their team of experts stays up to date with emerging issues and handles transaction security to keep you, your customers, and your business safe. Frequent security updates also guarantee your business is kept secure long into the future.
9. Multiple Payment Options
WordPress facilitates all major forms of payment including credit cards, PayPal, and Stripe. This gives you the flexibility to receive payments using your preferred method. WooCommerce also provides you with geolocation support so you can accept payments in multiple currencies from around the world. This is an important feature to maximise your sales, particularly for sites selling digital products or services.
WordPress – The Overall Verdict
It’s hard to fault the WordPress platform! With endless customisation options and an incredible selection of themes, there’s no limit to the ways you can design your e-commerce website.
When it comes to e-commerce, WordPress offers the perfect plugins, extensions, and features to deliver a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience for your customers. It also makes it easy to manage your stock, sales, and accounting in the dashboard. However, it will take a fair bit of work and getting used to if you plan to make an e-commerce website with WordPress. Given the sheer volume of possibilities, it can seem overwhelming for some.
So, let’s now consider Shopify, to see how it compares.
WordPress vs Shopify – Why Use Shopify?
1. Excellent Themes
Shopify offers a good selection of themes. These range from free to paid options that start at around $150. Shopify’s themes are compatible with mobile devices, which means that your Shopify site automatically adapts when viewed on a phone or tablet.
The themes are very well-designed, so you’ll be able to find something that fits your brand’s image and is in line with your marketing strategies.
2. Fast Loading Times
If a customer has to wait for more than three seconds for a website to load, they’ll likely click away to look for another option. This means that if your site isn’t loading within this time, you’ll lose a lot of potential business! Fortunately, the loading times on Shopify are excellent and your customers won’t have to wait more than a second or two to view your online shop. This is thanks to the Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and caching systems Shopify uses.
3. Solid Security
When people are buying and selling online, they need to be confident that their personal details and transactions are safe. Shopify takes security very seriously and hires a team of cybersecurity professionals to make sure your store and your customers remain safe and secure.
4. Specialised App Store
Shopify offers its own apps and plugins to help you run your e-commerce business without requiring any coding knowledge. With both free and paid options, this helps keep your business startup costs down while giving you the flexibility to upgrade to paid options as your site grows. The apps and plugins streamline your e-commerce business, making tasks such as handling inventory, shipping, and your own accounting less of a headache.
5. Customised Domains Available
By signing up to Shopify, you’ll get your own custom domain name for your store. This is very useful for your business branding and identity. With a custom domain name, your web address looks more trustworthy and gives potential customers the confidence to click through your link to the store.
6. Powerful Analytics
Shopify provides excellent built-in analytics features. These allow you to understand your customers’ behaviour, keep track of sales in your store, and stay on top of your stock and merchandise.
You can also use the analytics features to check the rate at which customers are returning to your store, the total sales that you’re making on your site, and even the average value of an individual purchase. With this information, you can adjust your site and marketing techniques to maximise your sales.
Shopify – The Overall Verdict
Shopify is a well-designed platform and a good option for e-commerce beginners. The platform is easy to use and has a good, highly intuitive interface.
However, the Shopify platform has some limitations. Firstly, you’ll have to pay fees, starting at around $30 a month. If you don’t use the built-in Shopify payments service, you’ll also have to pay transaction fees for using Stripe or PayPal.
The customisation capabilities on the platform are also limited compared to other e-commerce options. Some Shopify users have complained that the site can be quite hard to modify beyond very basic adjustments to the site’s appearance.
But when we compare Shopify vs WordPress, which one truly comes out on top?
WordPress vs Shopify – Which Is Right for You?
Both platforms have their advantages. But deciding whether WordPress or Shopify is best for you depends on the kind of e-commerce site you want to build.
Shopify is a good platform for e-commerce beginners, with a streamlined interface that is easy and intuitive to use. However, the costs of the service are a little high and the lack of customisation on the site means that it’s harder for your store to stand out from the competition.
On the other hand, WordPress has practically unlimited customisation options. This allows you to create a brand and website that better reflects your business. The capability to run a blog or other content alongside the store also allows you to create a much stronger connection with your customer base. You will of course need to take care of your own domain name and hosting solution, if you don’t use one of WordPress’ plans.
If you’re looking for a basic, no-hassle e-commerce site then Shopify provides you with fantastic usability without any technical complications. But if you want to create a more extensive website that incorporates a sales platform, then you’ll be far better served by WordPress.
Check out our other website builder comparisons below:
If you liked this comparison of WordPress vs Shopify, and want to learn more about website creation in general, check out our other articles on the Sophical Blog!