Online shopping has never been more popular. It’s estimated that in 2021 over 230 million people in the U.S. will spend over $469 billion shopping online—a 1.32% increase from 2020.
If you’re reading this, you likely want your piece of the pie, and you’d like to confirm you’re using the right e-commerce platform. Or perhaps you want to build a new e-commerce site and you’d like to know which is the best platform for your business. You have dozens of e-commerce platforms to choose from, which can feel overwhelming if you’re new to taking your business online. In this post, we’ll walk you through two of the most popular e-commerce options: Shopify and WordPress. Here’s what you need to know about Shopify vs WordPress so you can select the right platform for your needs.
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Shopify vs. WordPress
As we compare Shopify and WordPress, let’s start with an important premise: both are excellent platforms that can provide you with everything you need as an online retailer. That said, there are significant differences you need to be aware of before taking the plunge with one platform or the other. Let’s take a look at some key factors to consider when comparing these platforms, so you can decide which is best for you:
When it comes to pricing, both platforms can be very affordable depending on your needs. Here’s what you need to know:
Shopify has five plans to choose from, though are only three you should consider:
- Basic Plan: $29/month
- Shopify Plan: $79/ month
- Advanced Plan: $299/month
In addition to your monthly plan cost, you’ll also pay transaction fees that can be as high as 2.9% with the Basic Plan.
WordPress fees are a bit more complicated to calculate. Though many people believe that it’s a free solution, since you can get the content management system for free, getting your WordPress site live and maintained does have some costs:
- A monthly hosting fee for your website. (For example, Bluehost’s monthly fee for hosting your online store is $24.95 per month if you make a 36-month commitment).
- A domain name
- Paid plugins (recommended if you want your site to be a “cut above”)
- A premium theme (also not required, but recommended)
If you’re planning to create or update your site on your own, ease-of-use is likely a concern. Here’s what you need to know:
If there’s one word that applies to Shopify, it’s “simplicity.” Only a few steps are required to get your site off the ground, and no knowledge of website coding is required.
To create your site, you only need to:
- Link your domain
- Select the layout for your site
- Add your inventory of products
Hosting, security, and updates are all included in your monthly plan cost.
Though WordPress is known for being more flexible than Shopify, it can be more complicated to launch. You’ll need to:
- Sign up
- Link your domain to your web server
- Install WordPress on your host
- Select a theme
- Activate plugins
With WordPress, you can tweak your site to give it the unique look that sets you apart. But, if you do it yourself, you’ll need time and know-how. For that reason, many businesses that prefer a WordPress site use the services of a professional who has experience with the platform.
The heartbeat of your e-commerce site is its ability to help you sell your products online. You’ll need specific tools to manage inventory, product listings, and transactions.
Shopify E-Commerce Tools
Since Shopify only hosts e-commerce sites, you’ll pretty much find everything you need here right out of the box. Once you log in to your account, you’ll be able to manage your inventory, list products across your site, track orders, and enable customer accounts for your users to have a personalized shopping experience.
WordPress E-Commerce Tools
WordPress is essentially a blogging platform. You’ll need to add plug-ins to have e-commerce functionality. One popular e-commerce plug-in is WooCommerce, which will provide you with most of the same tools you’ll get with Shopify. With this plug-in installed, you’ll be able to add product pages, collection, pages, track orders, and adjust your product displays to fit the particular item you’re selling. There are also no transaction fees with WooCommerce, which some may view as an advantage over Shopify.
Things don’t always go as planned, so getting support is critical when something goes wrong. If your site is down or not functioning correctly, it’s probably costing you money.
- Shopify support is available via email, phone, or live chat, 24/7.
- WordPress and WooCommerce have no in-person support, though you’ll find ample documentation online to walk you through a fix to your issue.
Ready to Build Your E-Commerce Site?
As you can see, WordPress and Shopify both have a lot to offer for your business. Like any comparison, you’ll find pros and cons to both. No single solution offers the perfect e-commerce experience. To help you decide, Shopify comes with a free trial, and WordPress is free to use until it’s time to pay for hosting and plug-ins.
If you’re considering building an e-commerce site, ClickGiant can help. We’ve worked with many clients in both WordPress and Shopify and will be happy to walk you through your options in both platforms. Contact us today to request a free consultation!