Every business needs a website, and this is especially true when it comes to eCommerce businesses. However, deciding on which platform to use is easier said than done. With so many different options out there, Shopify and WordPress tend to stand out amongst the crowd as a result of amazing features and capabilities. But how can you choose between the two? Read on to learn about these two different platforms as well as the pros and cons to help you choose the right option.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce platform that allows online businesses to create and manage their own online store and website. In reality, Shopify is much more than that as it comes with handy business features that you can use to strengthen and grow your online venture. Shopify offers a variety of different pricing plans to meet your budget, starting at $29 a month for Basic, $79 a month for Shopify, and $299 a month for Advanced.
Pros and Cons of Selling on Shopify
In an ideal world, every platform would be perfect and have no flaws. Unfortunately, that’s just not possible, which is why it’s important to discuss both the pros and cons of selling on Shopify so that you can get a complete understanding of the platform.
Pros of selling on Shopify:
- Shopify allows you to totally customize an amazing website for your business without having to be tech-savvy or know any coding. Unlike other platforms, you have total and complete control over the design and setup of your Shopify website. That means that you can create a website that really meets your business needs -- and be able to change it as you grow.
Shopify is an all-in-one platform that offers much more than website building. For example, Shopify also hosts the website and handles the security, so you don’t have to worry about having to outsource these requirements through other platforms. Shopify also includes handy tools like inventory management, analytics, and mobile capabilities.
Shopify is diverse enough to handle the smallest businesses that are just starting out in addition to big and booming businesses. No matter your business size or budget, Shopify has solutions you can use to grow your business.
Cons of selling on Shopify:
With all its customization options, building your website on Shopify might not be as easy as it is on other platforms. It may take some time and effort in order to achieve the perfect design.
While Shopify offers pre-made themes to make the designing process easier, if you choose to change your theme at any point, you will then have to reformat all your content to fit within that new theme.
- While Shopify offers affordable pricing options, these numbers often just include the basic features. If you’re not careful, you can end up paying a lot more than you planned on paying. For example, adding on extra features will cost extra money. Using outside payment processors will also cost you extra fees of 0.5% to 2%.
- Shopify is set up in such a way that people need to search for you in order to find you. There’s no option to browse your products within a wider marketplace. As a result, you may have to invest more into marketing to increase your brand awareness and get your name out there.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is software that you download onto your computer. Before you begin, you will need to buy a domain and find a web host for your website. From there, you can get into coding and create your completely custom website or go with one of their templates.
Since WordPress on its own isn’t specifically for eCommerce, you will need to download a plugin like WooCommerce. There are other plugins that you can use to advance and complete your website.
Pros and Cons of Selling on WordPress
WordPress, although a great platform, isn’t perfect either! And in order to choose between WordPress and Shopify, you need to understand the pros and cons of each platform.
Pros of selling on WordPress:
- The basic WordPress software is available for download at no cost. You only have to pay for hosting and for premium plugins that you choose to put on your website.
- WordPress is incredibly flexible and customizable. In fact, you don’t even have to create an eCommerce store to use it. However, since that’s what you’re here for, you can also include beneficial features like content and marketing.
- SEO is optimized on WordPress thanks to plugins like Yoast and Rank math which allow you to take concrete steps to get your website to the top of the search results page.
- WordPress is ideal for things like multi-site projects or multi-language stores that require separate pages and platforms.
Cons of selling on WordPress:
- WordPress is less user-friendly due to its complexity and requires a higher level of technical expertise in order to build a quality website.
WordPress, while initially free, can get really expensive really quickly with hosting fees and the cost of premium plugins that many people use to improve and optimize their website.
WordPress isn’t a dedicated eCommerce platform, so you’re going to have to use a third-party option actually to sell things. While there are plugins within WordPress that do this, they will cost you extra money and may complicate the process.
Which eCommerce Platform Is Better to Sell on, Shopify or WordPress?
Clearly, Shopify and WordPress both have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses, so how can you determine which one would work best for your businesses? Here are some things to keep in mind as you make your decision:
If you have exactly zero technical experience and just want an easy process that will get your website up and running, Shopify may be the better option for you.
If you have technical experience and don’t mind spending some extra time on details and customization, WordPress may be the better option for you.
If you want to closely manage your costs and are on a budget, then Shopify is an ideal choice despite the fact that WordPress itself is actually free to use.
If you want 24/7 customer support and assistance to help you with any issues that come up along the way, then Shopify would be the best choice for you.
Other eCommerce Platforms to Consider
While Shopify and WordPress are both solid eCommerce platforms to conduct your online business, there may be other options out there that are better suited for your unique setup. It’s always a good idea to know all the alternatives and learn all the facts before making a decision, so here are some other eCommerce platforms you may want to consider in addition to Shopify and WordPress:
Wix: Wix is an eCommerce platform where businesses can create, host, then manage websites and online stores. Although this platform has free options, it comes with add-on features to cover many business requirements.
Weebly: Weebly is a website and eCommerce service that helps you build a professional website and features things like integrated marketing and advanced analytics to help guide you along your business journey.
Amazon: Amazon is an online marketplace where buyers can find just about anything. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and caters to millions of users every day. Sellers are able to create “Amazon Stores” to list and sell their products, and there’s also an option to have your orders actually be fulfilled by Amazon.
Jet.com: Jet.com is an online marketplace similar to Amazon. However, it’s specifically designed to provide brand-name products from the United States at lower prices than you can typically find in stores.
Magento: Magento is an eCommerce platform where businesses can create their own shoppable online stores. Similar to Shopify, this platform also comes with tons of customizable and add-on features to create a site that fits and grows with your business.
Etsy: Etsy is an online marketplace that mainly features homemade, custom-made, or vintage items (see Shopify vs Etsy here). Sellers can create a profile, list their products, and even promote their products to get more visibility.
Lastly, before even starting doing business on one of these platforms, you can seek professional legal assistance from the number of formation services and registered agents to help you in advance with what to expect.
Trusted Business Formation Services
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Deciding between WordPress and Shopify can seem like an impossible choice. After all, they are both great platforms with tons of capabilities and strong reputations. That being said, you need to consider the needs and goals of your business in order to make the right decision. We understand that this is just one decision you have to make, which is why we have covered tons of other topics on our blog to help you make all the best decisions for your business, from corporate structure to accounting software, to loans and financing -- we are always here to help guide you through every step of your business journey.