Shopify Vs WordPress: Which is Best Platform for Your Website?

August 3rd, 2020

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If you’re launching an online business, you might be wondering which platform is better, Shopify or WordPress. 

They are both great platforms, and each has their own unique set of strengths.

I’m a huge fan of Shopify for reasons I will describe below, but the WooCommerce plug-in for WordPress makes it incredibly easy to set up your online store and has some unique features that make it a great option for some businesses. 

As a business owner, it’s important to consider all aspects of your business and your needs before choosing the platform.

When you understand the benefits of each platform, you can make a more informed decision to see which one will align more closely with your needs.

It can be a lot of work to switch platforms, so you want to get it right the first time.

I’ll break down some of the differences so you can decide which is best for your business.

What’s the difference between WordPress & Shopify?

Shopify is an e-commerce platform designed specifically for online shops. WordPress was primarily designed for content websites (blogs). 

Shopify is a dedicated e-commerce platform, whereas WordPress has many uses and can be customized accordingly.

Because Shopify was built for the purpose of selling, it has an extensive inventory platform system.

On the other hand, WordPress needs a shared hosting and plugin like WooCommerce to start selling. 

WordPress is a great platform for content-heavy websites, as this is what it was designed to do.

When you consider the process of building your website, the Shopify platform is very easy learn, and it’s great for beginners.

You can buy your domain and hosting all in the click of a button when you sign up for Shopify. To use WordPress, you need to buy a domain and set up a hosting account.

You then need to install a plug-in like WooCommerce before you can sell anything.  

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Pros and cons of Shopify vs. WordPress

Each platform has their own set of pros and cons.

Some of these may not matter much to you based on your business model and experience level. Others may be a dealbreaker.

We’ll start with Shopify:

Pros of Shopify:

  • It’s easy to set up and an all-in-one solution. Great for beginners.
  • You can begin selling online almost immediately, quick set-up.
  • Excellent customer support.
  • Templates are attractive and mobile-friendly.
  • Great for drop-shipping.
  • Can display your products in multiple currencies.
  • Multi-language applications.
  • Built-in SEO.

Cons of Shopify:

  • No drag and drop function when editing pages.
  • Product-images do not have automatic cropping feature (you must use the same aspect ratios across all products to have the same size product images).
  • Limited to 3 product options per item.
  • Adding custom fields can become burdensome and complicated.
  • If you change your theme, you must reformat all your content.

WordPress, when using the WooCommerce plug-in, has an entirely different set of strengths.

Because these two platforms were designed for different purposes their pros and cons are quite different.

Pro’s of WordPress

  • Fully customizable, especially if you are experienced.
  • Easy block-editing feature.
  • Plug-ins: WordPress offers many plug-ins that can help with building your website.

Cons of WordPress:

  • Not as user-friendly for beginners.
  • Difficult to offer multi-currency check-out.
  • Security vulnerabilities.
  • Must purchase domain and hosting separately, more time consuming.
  • No built-in SEO functionality (but can download apps for this purpose).
  • Can become expensive.
Shopify vs WordPress: More Pros than Cons – Winner:

Shopify is the winner with a long list of pros and limited drawbacks. Shopify is great for beginners and you can have your store up and running in minutes.

Shopify has some great features that are easy to implement, such as multi-currency check-out. Additionally, with Shopify, you have access to a 24/7 customer support team.  

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Set-Up Time

Shopify is easy to set-up. You can set up your store in under 20 minutes.  I love Shopify because it’s an all-in-one design.

You can buy your domain directly through Shopify, and hosting is provided through the platform.  WordPress takes longer.

Because you must buy your hosting separately, the initial set up is more time consuming. You then need to install a plug-in like WooCommerce begin setting up your store.

By most estimates, it would take at least a few hours to get a very basic WordPress site up and running.

Shopify vs WordPress: Set Up Time – Winner:

I literally got set up with various product pages, legal pages and an amazing landing page within a day with Shopify. So, if you’re short on time and want to start selling quickly – Shopify is the clear winner.

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Themes

Themes are available for both Shopify and WordPress and they will help customize the look, feel and customer experience of your website. 

There are hundreds of Shopify themes that range in price from free to $180+.

WordPress on the other hand, has thousands of options. 

One thing to note, is the quality of WordPress themes range significantly. 

This means you will have to spend a lot of time researching each one to ensure it has the basic sales features you need for your site.

Shopify vs WordPress: Themes – Winner:

Due to the fact WordPress offers significantly more themes and more options to customize them, it’s the winner of this category.

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Onsite Payment Options

Your payment processing system is an important part of the customer journey and can also affect your bottom line.

Shopify has its own payment gateway, which doesn’t charge an additional transaction fee.

More importantly, it allows your customers to check-out in their currency of choice.

Shopify also provides you with access to 100 other payment gateways, including PayPal, Square, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay.

With WordPress, the payment gateway is dependent on which plug-in you choose. 

WooCommerce covers most major gateways. You won’t be charged any additional fees on top of the plug-in’s regular transaction fee.

Shopify vs WordPress: Payment Options – Winner:

Because Shopify has its own payment gateway and provides you access to 100 different payment processing systems, it is the winner of this category.

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Customer support

One of the major benefits to Shopify is their comprehensive customer support system. If you’re new to the world of e-commerce, this is huge.  

I can say from personal experience that their customer service is amazing – its 24/7 and available by phone, e-mail, and live chat.

WordPress does not have a customer support option.

There are forums you can go through to try and find help, but this can be overwhelming, and you may not even get the answers you are looking for.

Shopify vs WordPress: Customer Support – Winner:

The winner in this category is Shopify.

Their customer support makes your life easier and provides a 24/7 support system if something goes wrong with your site.

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How much do they cost?

WordPress itself costs nothing.

For the basic plan you won’t have to pay anything to sign up. However, you will have to pay for hosting separately.

This can range from $5 all the way up to $100+. 

To turn your WordPress site into a viable e-commerce store, you will need to pay for plug-ins and customization.

Those can cost from $50-$500 and up. If you use WooCommerce, it is a free plug-in which is an added bonus.

However, you will still have to implement your own customizations which add up.

WordPress can often seem like the cheaper option at first, but the plug-ins and customizations add up quickly.  

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, after that you sign-up for one of 3 payment plans.  The basic plan is around $29/month.

The middle of the line plan costs $79.00/month and the advanced plan costs $299/month.

WordPress can be a cheaper option if you don’t customize it and choose mostly free plug-ins, but in most circumstances, the costs add up quickly.

Shopify vs WordPress: Cost – Winner:

Shopify is the winner in this category because the fees are clear, up-front and in the end, will save you money as there are fewer extras you have to pay for.

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When to use WordPress and when to use Shopify

WordPress and WooCommerce make the most sense if you’re a content heavy site.

For example, if you are a blog owner that will be writing a lot of digital content daily – WordPress is a great option for you. 

Additionally, if you are experienced with web design and can comfortably navigate some coding, WordPress and WooCommerce are more suitable because you have full control over the customization of your site.

For a beginner, Shopify makes the most sense. It is easy to navigate, less expensive, and you can launch your store quickly. 

Shopify Vs WordPress: Which one is best? – Final Thoughts

shopify vs wordpress

Shopify is great for small businesses that have limited budget because tracking your expenses is simplified. It also wins on ease of use and customer support.

On the other hand, WordPress is great because of its variety of customizable themes. I’m hosting this blog on a WordPress site using Namehero and DIVI theme.

When it comes to blogging there is no competition, in my opinion.

However when I am setting up a new online store, I always go to Shopify. There is just so much available to me in the form of support, apps and overall experience for the customer.

Picking the right platform is the first step to launching your store and it is such an exciting time!

My advice to you is to do your research thoroughly, take your time, and consider all your options before you make the leap.

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