Are you also fascinated by the e-commerce world? Have you thought about opening an online store? If so, you probably have a lot of questions. How do I begin? What tools do I need? Can I do this on my own? How much money should I budget to start? What platform should I use? etc.
The last question is one of the most important ones. There are several e-commerce platforms available. This article will lay out all the differences between the two industry MVPs Shopify and WordPress and give you 10 solid reasons for choosing each one of them.
Let’s start by detailing what each one of those platforms is and entails
Shopify is a Canadian Global multinational company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, and founded in 2006. The story says that when its founders attempted to sell snowboards online and could not find a platform that allowed them to do things their way, they went ahead and created a new one. Today, 16 years later, it has a presence in over 175 countries, employs over 7,000 people, and has a market cap of over $40 billion.
The subscription-based software platform that focuses on business and e-commerce grew immensely during the 2020 pandemic, as many entrepreneurs were abruptly forced to migrate to online sales and increase their digital presence. Part of its success is due to how simple and user-friendly it is. With a world full of people who want to offer their products and services but have little to no knowledge of coding and software development, Shopify quickly became an industry giant.
It works with a licensing model that allows customers to access it for a paid fee that ranges from about $29 to $299 a month, and a transaction fee that varies depending on the payment provider used to finalize the sale.
Shopify hosts over three million active online stores and has many renowned clients like Gymshark, Kylie Cosmetics, WholeFoods, and Tesla to name a few.
Let’s summarize some of the factors that make Shopify a great option to consider for your e-commerce.
- Free trial: Shopify gives you a FREE 14-day trial that does not even require you to input your Credit Card details.
- Fast: It allows you to create your store and start selling your goods within a few minutes.
- Easy: It makes listing your products and keeping track of inventory as easy as possible. The tools provided by the platform allow you to manage quantities of what is in stock without complicating yourself or needing an entire team to do so.
- Great Analytics: Shopify generates a wide array of reports such as total daily, monthly, and yearly sales, sessions, returning customer rate, conversion rate, sales by social source, etc.
- Integrations made easy. Shopify loves making integrations hassle-free. This allows you to offer your products not just on your website, but wherever your customers are. This can be Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
- Cloud-based. This means you can access your business from anywhere in the world, all you need is a steady internet connection. Shopify takes care of the software, server upgrades, and maintenance for you.
- Integrated payment processing. You can start collecting money from your customers without worrying about the back end of it all and without any additional plug-ins required. Shopify will allow you to receive payments from any major credit or debit card provider, PayPal, financing platforms like Affirm, smart integrations like Apple Pay, and their new development, Shopify Payments. With their platform, you are also able to sell in 133 different currencies and 20 different languages.
- Templates. There is a great number of templates available to create an online store that looks amazing. They have a few free ones and many others that can be bought for a moderate price. This allows you to have an aesthetic, professional-looking website that will instill confidence in your customers while allowing you to save money on hiring a professional designer from the get-go.
- Apps. Shopify also has an in-house App Store that provides you with over nine thousand apps you can use to connect with your audience, grow your business, analyze data, get feedback from customers, manage returns, upsell, recover abandoned shopping carts, create specifically curated pages, etc. all this without ever having to touch the code of your site (unless you want to). If you have the technical knowledge needed to fiddle with the code and experiment, Shopify is also flexible enough to allow the customization of certain aspects of your site.
- Scalability. The platform was also built to scale with you. This means they have done the homework to ensure your business can grow and that you can manage this growth without getting overwhelmed. Their CEO, Tobi Lütke, announced their biggest acquisition to date, which focuses on creating an “end-to-end logistics” platform for its millions of merchants and the new ones they hope to recruit. This new endeavor will allow them to run fulfillment networks to take care of delivery, storage, freight, product preparations, exchanges, returns, and other logistic needs.
The company even developed a service called Shopify Capital which provides you with a capital loan for business funding with minimal paperwork, no personal credit checks, and that allows you to pay it off by making deductions from your daily sales.
Now let’s get into the counterpart, what is WordPress?
WordPress is a site builder and Content Management System (CMS) that powers nearly one-third of the world’s websites. It started in 2003 as a free blogging software platform and now it helps about 100,000 new sites come online every day. It is an open-source, free website creation tool written in a programming language called PHP and MySQL. It aims to be constantly improved and transformed, so it has a large and growing community of developers, designers, and software enthusiasts that host camps aimed at teaching and that work on the core code of the platform. WordPress was designed with the intent of being available and easy to use by amateurs or professional developers.
WordPress also has some big names working with the platform. For example, the White House website is powered by WordPress, and so is the Microsoft blog and Rolling Stone’s website.
There is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. In short, WordPress.org is a self-hosted site. This allows you to take advantage of the advanced plug-ins to fully customize it. WordPress.com is great for beginners but if you plan to use it for a business you would need to acquire one of their paid plans.
The main difference is basically who is hosting your website. WordPress.com is a managed host that takes care of everything for you and WordPress.org is a self-hosted site that you and your hosting provider are responsible for. This means you will be responsible for backups, security updates, and upgrades.
WordPress has hundreds of free-to-use themes that allow you to set up shop in a few minutes and have it look professional and appealing. The platform is completely flexible and customizable and has a variety of plug-ins and possibilities that can be integrated into it. This allows you to build any type of website on WordPress, not just blogs. A plug-in called Woo Commerce is the one we recommend for starting an e-commerce website on WordPress.
Here are 10 great reasons for using WooCommerce and WordPress:
- It is Open Source. This means that there is an entire community of developers that works constantly on improving the platform at no cost to you.
- You can select one of the payment plans that best suit your needs. If you self host you will have to factor in that cost along with domains and design which can range anywhere between a total spend of $10 to $30,000. If you go with the managed host option WordPress.com offers a platform for e-commerce that starts at $45 a month.
- WordPress is easy to use and was created with the intent of being accessible to anyone, regardless of whether or not they have tech skills.
- Themes and Plug-Ins are free or moderately priced and there is an immense selection of them. This makes your site highly adaptable and allows you to save time and money on custom developers.
- You will have access to a huge and ever-growing community of enthusiasts and developers that are willing to help through articles, tutorials, blogs, camps, consultants, etc.
- WordPress is a mature platform that has been improved, refined, tested, and enhanced. This means you do not have to worry about your site glitching, crashing, or being erased.
- The E-Commerce Plug-In you select will allow you to handle things like your shopping cart and your inventory tracking. You will have access to moderately priced options and will also be able to upgrade by adding different paid features to them.
- Woo Commerce gives you the availability of charging in multiple currencies and having customers from around the world. Their robust, trusted platform will make you feel at ease with their uncompromised cybersecurity and multiple payment gateways.
- WordPress is great for SEO due to its high-quality code, semantic markup, and speed. SEO is built into it, so title tags and meta descriptions are automatically generated for your pages and posts.
- WordPress is the king of blogging. Many have tried to get to the WordPress status for blogging but have not quite made it yet. WordPress has the best blogging tools in terms of format, elegance, power, and media.
So what are the five main differences between Shopify and WordPress?
1) Ease of Use
Shopify needs cero technical skills to set up and configure. WordPress is a tad more complicated, meaning you will probably have to spend a bit more time learning through tutorials or hire someone who is a WordPress specialist to get started.
2) Templates, Plug-ins, and Apps
WordPress has a lot more to choose from. Shopify has more than 80 free and paid themes and over 2400 free and paid plug-ins. Their themes and templates are also 100% mobile responsive. Shopify also allows you to browse and explore apps right on their portal. WordPress has over 4,000 themes and templates and over 58,000 free and paid plugins and most of them are also mobile responsive.
Shopify has a top-notch, specialized analytics section that allows you to have a live view of your site, access to customer behavior, and conversion tracking. WordPress does not provide analytics on its own, meaning you would need to install a specific plug-in to provide you with that data.
4) Live Support
Shopify has an in-house customer support system that is available to you 24/7 via chat, phone call, or email. WordPress offers no support through its site but has thousands of hours’ worth of tutorials and video guides that can be easily found online. Also, Shopify will automatically take care of all the updates and optimizations that your website requires. WordPress will need you to take on more of these tasks yourself.
5) Email Hosting
Shopify does not have an email hosting feature through its platform. You would have to take care of this independently. WordPress does offer an in-house, robust solution for this called Professional Email which you can configure directly through the platform at a variety of different rates.
So when it comes to deciding which one of these platforms to use for your e-commerce the choice will depend on several factors.
First, do you already have a website? If you already have a WordPress website, it will probably be easier to begin your e-commerce endeavors by working with a plug-in like woo commerce. This will allow you to start without having to create something from scratch. If that is not the case, and you are at the very beginning of your journey, Shopify might be the best decision for you. The 14-day free trial with no credit card and the 24/7 online support are two tools that any beginner would greatly benefit from. Shopify even has an option to revive your store after it has been canceled so long as no more than 30 days have gone by.
In addition to that. You will have to factor in the following when making a decision: your budget, the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to building and optimizing your site, the size of your business, the main goal, and the technical skills you or your teammates possess. The good thing is, that you can migrate your store from Shopify to WordPress or vice versa at any given time through a relatively easy process. So there is no need to fully commit to one forever, you can change your decision depending on the evolution of your needs and wants.
To sum things up, it is safe to say that if what you are looking at creating is an e-commerce site or a drop shipping business, Shopify is your best bet. If instead you are offering your services or want to start a blog, WordPress is the way to go.
A lot of things need to be considered before starting, but this is how life works in general. You must take the time to nurture an idea before you expect it to bloom. If you manage to set up a successful online store you are looking at an average of about $1500 in revenue per week and eventually daily [and more!]. Be patient, keep going, and put in the work! You can’t enjoy an amazing cup of coffee if the beans have not been roasted beforehand and let’s admit it, once that first sip hits your soul, everything is worth it!