As you start looking for a platform to build your ecommerce store on, it doesn’t take long before you realize that there’s a strong competition between two particular platforms in this realm: Shopify vs. WordPress. Shopify is well-known as an easy-to-use ecommerce platform, while WordPress is recognized as one of the most user-friendly yet versatile open source content management systems (CMS) around.
Let’s compare Shopify vs. WordPress: That way, you can get a better idea of which ecommerce platform is a better fit for your business’s needs.
Ecommerce Platform vs. Open Source CMS
As noted, the primary difference between Shopify and WordPress is that one’s an ecommerce platform, while the other is an open-source CMS. An ecommerce platform serves more as a SaaS (or software as a service), making it easy for merchants to create their online shop without writing code. While open-source software provides the opportunity for anyone to contribute to or distribute WordPress code, making it accessible and flexible for merchants around the globe.
For further clarfication, Shopify is essentially an out-of-the-box website builder and a great option for less technical users who need an ecommerce store as quickly as possible. WordPress, on the other hand, requires you to install a third-party ecommerce plugin, such as WooCommerce (or even Shopify), to create your online store. While this means development will take longer, your WordPress site will also have the freedom to be more highly-customized.
The Cost & Protocol of Getting Started
Whether you choose an ecommerce platform or a CMS will also likely influence who will build your site, as well as how much you’ll pay for it. With the website builder, like Shopify, you likely won’t need the help of a web developer—you will most likely build your site yourself. As a subscription-based SaaS, you’ll pay for access to this tool each month, anywhere between $29 to $299 per month (around $348~ to $3,588~ per year), depending on the plan you choose.
In contrast to Shopify, as open-source software, WordPress is technically free. If you are tech-savvy, you can build your WordPress ecommerce site yourself, and at a minimum, you’ll need to pay for hosting, which can cost as little as $5 a month. If you need the help of a WordPress developer, however, expect to spend anywhere from a hundred to thousands of dollars on development alone.
Payment Gateways & Transaction Fees
With an ecommerce store, payment gateways plays a significant role in determining how easily your customers will be able to purchase your products. With Shopify, you have access to a variety of payment gateway integrations, from PayPal to AmazonPay, depending on your country of origin. Unfortunately, Shopify charges transaction fees with each sale, which can add up quickly when you sell many products.
While Shopify is sure to earn their share from your sales, WordPress doesn’t charge transaction fees per purchase. Like Shopify, WordPress also provides the opportunity to utilize a wide variety of third-party plugins, such as the aforementioned PayPal or AmazonPay. You, or your WordPress developer, will simply need to install an individual plugin for each payment gateway of choice.
Themes for Your Ecommerce Store
Like payment gateway, the appearance of your site is also critical. In fact, 85% of a web visitor’s first impressions of a site are related to its web design (BigEyeDeers). With this in mind, the appearance of your ecommerce store will play a significant role in its level of success. Thankfully, both Shopify and WordPress have your back in this department.
Shopify offers you 71 themes to choose from, 10 free and 60 paid options. WordPress takes this to the next level, however, with over 1,000 ecommerce themes to choose from—it should be noted that not all are safe to use, as these are all contributions from the WordPress community. In either case, if you’re not satisfied with what the platform has to offer, you can purchase themes from third-parties or have a web designer create a custom theme for you.
Ensuring Your Store is Seen: SEO
Even with a great theme in place, it won’t matter much unless users actually find your site, which can be achieved with the help of search engine optimization (SEO). While it’s important to note that optimizing your site for search requires you to properly optimize your content for the best results, your platform of choice can certainly help you do so.
Shopify comes with several built-in SEO features, such as the standard ability to add meta descriptions and alt tags, create XML sitemaps, and generate 301 redirects. You can also download additional plugins to further bolster your SEO efforts, but content-editing plugins (such as Yoast SEO) are not available.
WordPress, on the other hand, is heavily dependent on the ecommerce store you choose, whether it be WooCommerce or to Shopify itself. This will significantly influence what built-in features, like those noted above, will be included in with ecommerce store. You also have the flexibility to install SEO plugins to further augment your SEO efforts, such as these 7 WordPress SEO plugins.
On-Going Support & Security Updates
Once your site is up and running, you’ll likely become concerned with how you’ll continue maintaining your site, from ensuring that your site has all the latest security updates and bug fixes. Shopify simplifies this process by automatically providing updates. Moreover, if you have questions or concerns about how to keep your site up-to-date, you can visit the Shopify Help Center or call them any time, 24/7.
While WordPress has WordPress Support for users to turn to, and support forums run by the WordPress community, ensuring that your WordPress site is well maintained and up-to-date can be a bit more tricky. If you have the technical know-how, turning to the WordPress community should provide you with the information you need; otherwise, you may need to hire a WordPress developer to ensure your site’s security stays up to par, for instance.
What’s the Final Verdict: Shopify or WordPress?
In the competition between Shopify vs. WordPress, which platform is better really depends on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if the person who will be working the most on your ecommerce store will be less technically-inclined, Shopify may be the best option. In contrast, if your ecommerce store calls for further customization and flexibility than Shopify allows, you might consider WordPress.
If your online business’s are unique, it may be time to consider investing in custom WordPress development. With the help of a custom WordPress developer, you can get your hands on a site that’s tailor-made to meet your business’ needs. Plus, with custom development, you can put an end to the debate between Shopify vs. WordPress, and take advantage of WordPress and Shopify by installing the Shopify plugin in your WordPress site.