Are you looking to start an online store? But feeling confused about choosing the right eCommerce platform? ie; WordPress and Shopify?
Starting an online store is way more profitable than we think. Ecommerce retail sales are estimated to reach up to $5.5 trillion in 2021 and it’ll increase way more than this in upcoming years.
As we all know that WordPress and Shopify are the two most popular eCommerce platforms. But people get confused between WordPress(WooCommerce) and Shopify.
In today’s tutorial, we’ll do an honest comparison between WordPress and Shopify in terms of eCommerce. The thoughts explained in the article aree through our personal experience.
The idea is to break down the benefits and drawbacks of each to assist you in selecting the best solution for your eCommerce store.
Here’s a simple table of contents for this detailed comparison of WordPress and Shopify:
Table of Contents
Overview: WordPress and Shopify
Before jumping into an in-depth comparison, Let’s get a quick sneak and peak at both these popular platforms.
What is WordPress?
You need to host your own site and install plugins like WooCommerce for eCommerce features. Because of its open-source nature, you can even add custom extensions if you want.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that allows you to easily create an online store, collect payments, and manage inventory all from one place.
You won’t have to worry about the technical parts of running an eCommerce site, such as web hosting, security, caching, and so on if you use Shopify.
The choice between the two platforms is totally dependent on your demands and skill level.
Key Factors to Look for in eCommerce Platform
There are some key factors or you can say the qualities that you should be looking for while choosing the best eCommerce platform.
Following are the basic ones
- Cost – The intial cost
- Ease of use — Even total beginners should be able to use it.
- Payment Methods – It should be able to accept a variety of payment methods (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, other merchant processors).
- Integrations — The number of third-party services and solutions you can use to expand your eCommerce business.
- Scalability – The platform should be able to grow with your company.
As we said, these are the very basic requirements but you can also look for other in-depth factors like shipping, inventory management, invoicing, taxes, dropshipping, etc.
Our goal is to help you choose the best platform according to your needs and skills. That being said, Let’s dive into the actual comparison between WordPress and Shopify in terms of eCommerce.
Cost: WordPress and Shopify
Cost is often an important thing, most beginners will look at. Because you might don’t wanna go higher in terms of cost while starting a new business.
Cost using WordPress
WordPress itself is a free and open-source CMS but you need to buy a hosting, domain, and an SSL certificate in order to host files, show them to the users as a site, and a secure connection.
Also, the plugin you need for eCommerce functionality is free and open-source and you can easily add custom extensions in case you want.
Usually, a domain name costs $14.99, an SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and Web hosting costs around $8.00 / month. This is not cheap, particularly when you are just starting out.
But thanks to Hostgator which is the most popular WordPress and WooCommerce Specialized Hosting, that they agreed to give the readers of WPScholor, a discount of 65% which means you can start your online store as low as $2.75/month which also includes a free domain name.
You just need to use the promo code “WPSCHOLOR60” at the time of checkout.
There are many WooCommerce plugins available for free, which will assist you in several tasks like inventory management, shipping rates calculation, and order tracking.
So, WooCommerce gives you very much flexibility to customize your store and improves the checkout page.
Hostinger Hosting Offer
You can also go with Hostinger Hosting as they agreed to give the readers of WpScholor, a discount of up to 80% which means you can get hosting as low as $1.99/month instead of $10.19/month.
Cost of Shopify
Unlike WordPress, you don’t need to worry about the hosting and SSL certificate. They make it super easy for you to start an online store.
It might be the best thing for beginners that you’ll get a 14-day free trial with Shopify and you can do a lot more things in terms of testing Shopify to identify that if it’s best for you and your business.
The basic plan costs only $29/month and you can upgrade it in the future if you want.
You don’t need to worry about the speed of the site, hosting, and SSL certificate while working with Shopify.
Moreover, if you don’t have your actual or main domain right now then you’ll get a Shopify branded subdomain like https://your-store.myshopify.com
Later you can connect your domain with the Shopify store. Usually, the domain name costs $14/year.
The basic plan does provide you with all the necessary features you need to start a successful online store. You can add unlimited products, 2 user accounts, unlimited file storage, and more.
You can also sell in up to 20 multiple languages even with the basic plan.
Another thing that affects your rates is your payments. Shopify has its own payment method, Shopify Payments, which costs 2.9 percent + 30 cents each transaction for the basic subscription.
You will be charged a flat fee of 2% per transaction if you use third-party payment gateways or your own merchant account.
However, you can reduce this fee to 0.5% by using the Advanced Shopify plan which costs $299/month.
Shopify also has two different plans, one is Shopify Lite which costs $9/month, and in this plan, you can use Shopify for in-person sales in specific regions or add buy buttons to any website.
The other plan is Shopify Plus, this plan will cost you $2000/month or even higher depending upon the business size.
In this plan, you’ll get a personalized Shopify Launch Engineer and you’ll be able to start selling in at least 3-4 months instead of 1-2 years.
This plan also gives you access to Shopify’s Liquid theme language, which gives you very much flexibility. You’ll be able to make modifications at the code level with Liquid in your toolbox, giving you more control.
Winner: WordPress (WooCommerce)
Templates and Themes
As a beginner, you’d want to use a template or a theme for the design of your site so the platform you choose should have a wide range of templates and themes and they should be easy for you to use and manage.
Templates and Themes: WordPress
To be very clear, you’ll get an unlimited number of WordPress themes including free and paid ones.
WordPress.org gives you around 9000 free WordPress themes and this number is increasing day by day because WordPress is an open-source platform and anyone can contribute to it.
There are paid themes too, which are way better than the free ones, giving you some premade structures for your site.
You can check out our guide on How to install WordPress themes?
Most of the paid themes have at least 2-3 variants, hence giving you much more designs.
There are no limits for design, you can go with the premade ones from the theme or you can even create a custom one according to your own choice.
So, you get total freedom of how your site will look like. And the best part is you don’t need to have any knowledge of code for designing the sites.
So, WordPress gives us very much freedom for design customization.
In comparison with WordPress, Shopify gives you a limited number of themes that you can use. They give you 10 free themes and 70 paid ones are available on Shopify Theme Store.
Most of the paid themes have 2-3 variants that come with the theme, hence increasing the above-mentioned numbers. You’ll be charged something between $150-$350 for the paid themes.
Although, Shopify was designed very much with non-technical users in mind, sometimes it gets hard for non-technical users to customize some stuff. And this problem is mostly with the free themes not with the paid ones.
WordPress has a lot more themes available that you can use for your site. But it makes it a bit hard to choose the best theme from such a large theme inventory.
We have gathered a list of themes that you can use for any kind of industry. Click Best WordPress Themes to read it.
In our opinion, WordPress is the winner as it has almost unlimited themes and templates available to use.
User Friendly Interface:
User Friendly Interface: WordPress
WordPress comes with a learning curve that needs more hands-on management of your website. You’ll have full control over the whole site.
WordPress interface is pretty much easy to use. There is a sidebar on the left side of the screen having all the menu items.
Upon viewing the WordPress dashboard, you’ll see a lot of options on the left side of the screen and some of the users get confused at that time thus making it less user-friendly.
But it is not as much as the users think but yeah in comparison with the Shopify dashboard you might find it hard to look for some settings.
You don’t need to know a single line of code to edit or customize anything. But, as WordPress is self-hosted so you need to install plugins like WooCommerce for eCommerce sites and Elementor Page Builder for drag and drop editor.
As far as the editing interface, it is a very simple WYSIWYG editor. But sometimes it gets a bit hard if you are using the classic editor.
WordPress doesn’t have a built-in drag-and-drop page builder or visual builder like Elementor, DIVI, and Beaver Builder to design the site. Check out the guide on the Best Drag and Drop Page Builders.
You can install the free versions from the WordPress dashboard and if you have a premium plugin you need to upload it to your site. You can check out the guide on How to install WordPress plugins to learn about installing plugins.
As I said there are several eCommerce plugins available in the market for WordPress like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Ecwid. So, you need a moment to think that which would be best for you.
User Friendly Interface: Shopify
Shopify dashboard is way more simple than WordPress. You won’t see the number of settings on the left side. It has a pretty simple dashboard explaining everything directly without scrolling down.
It is like your command center, from where you can manage everything in your store. It also gives you some prompts to make your life easier.
The Shopify editor is also very simple to understand and use. It’s a completely drag and drop customizer and you can customize any theme and page you want like product page, sales page, shop page, etc.
Adding products to Shopify is a snap. You may either add them one at a time – by uploading product images and adding descriptions, pricing, and variants – or in bulk – by importing an existing CSV file containing all of your product information.
WordPress and Shopify: Ecommerce Tools
Many readers of this review will be interested in seeing how WordPress and Shopify compare in terms of eCommerce capability.
Let’s dive into it.
Ecommerce in WordPress
As we have been discussing previously that WordPress uses a third-party tool/plugin like WooCommerce for eCommerce functionality.
With WooCommerce you’ll get the following features:
- Sell an endless amount of physical and digital products.
- Option to blog built-in
- Product ratings and reviews
- Sorting and filtering of products
When it comes to adjustments, WooCommerce is extremely accommodating. You have complete control over the platform. With over 60,000+ WordPress plugins, you may add any functionality you can think of to your website.
The major disadvantage of flexibility is that it takes more hands-on control of your website and comes with a learning curve. You’ll also need a merchant account or a similar service like Stripe or PayPal.
You have to keep your backups, update the plugins, check your security and manage the other tasks but there are plugins available that can automate some of these tasks.
WordPress does have a default feature that can automatically update the outdated plugins but sometimes it affects the load time of your site due to overload on the server.
Also, there is no drag-and-drop page-builder included in the WooCommerce. You need to install a WordPress page builder separately such as Elementor Pro or Beaver Builder, but this will increase your costs.
Do check out our guide on Best WordPress Page Builders.
Ecommerce in Shopify
When it comes to eCommerce, Shopify is one of the best and a single solution to all of the problems you can think of.
You don’t need to worry about the backups, security, compatibility issues, performance, speed, and other issues because Shopify takes care of all these things.
Also, you can sell an endless amount of products including physical and digital products, regardless of the pricing plan you are using.
All of the essential marketing, shipping, inventory, and analytics tools are included, with alternate or more complex versions available for a fee via Shopify’s app store.
Shopify has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. Inside Shopify, managing your product pages, sales, and inventory is a snap.
One of the biggest facts is that it limits your control over the design and the development tools provided by Shopify. You can use the add-ons available in their marketplace.
However, the themes and the extensions/add-ons available in Shopify’s marketplace are more than enough in order to start and grow an online store.
Shopify allows you to accept payments using different types of payment methods. Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) is its own payment system, and it also accepts all major third-party payment gateways.
Each transaction done through a third-party payment gateway is charged an additional 2% cost by Shopify. This is in addition to the payment gateway’s transaction costs.
By paying $299 per month for the Advanced Shopify plan, you can reduce the price to 0.5 percent.
There are no additional transactional fees other than the credit card costs with Shopify payments. The credit card rate is 2.9% + 30¢ USD for the basic plan, while the rates for additional programs are lower.
In terms of eCommerce, you don’t need to worry about various things if you are using Shopify and it makes your life easy.
So, definitely gonna recommend Shopify for eCommerce and dropshipping.
SEO Comparision: WordPress and Shopify
While comparing WordPress and Shopify, considering SEO is very important. Both allow you to do SEO very handily but we’ll dive in to find out which one is really good at SEO.
SEO in WordPress
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of modifying specific features of your website to improve its visibility on search engines like Google and Bing.
You won’t be surprised to hear that WordPress SEO is handled by third-party plugins.
Furthermore, you may develop SEO-friendly sitemaps and define canonical URLs to avoid duplication of content (something Google very much approves of).
WordPress is also superior when it comes to constructing clean URLs (short, simple URL structures that Google likes).
As we all know that speed of a site matters a lot in SEO rankings, and you need to check the speed using some third-party sites like Google Page Speed Insights or Pingdom to verify if your site speed is good to go.
SEO in Shopify
Obviously, you don’t need any third-party extensions for doing SEO in Shopify, like in WordPress.
You have complete control over robots.txt and XML sitemaps; using SSL is simple; updating alt tags and meta descriptions is simple.
You have full control over robots.txt, and XML sitemaps are built for you. When you alter the name of a page, 301 redirects are automatically made/suggested… It’s all quite good.
Shopify has also released a new site performance report that can help you optimize your page speed.
So, in terms of SEO, Shopify is very handy and you don’t need to tackle with the other third-party tools and sites.
Help and Support: WordPress and Shopify
WordPress and Shopify, both are very user-friendly. However, you may require assistance from time to time in order to learn how to accomplish anything new in your store.
Let’s take a look at how WordPress and Shopify handle customer service and the options they provide for getting help when you need it.
Support in WordPress
In terms of support option while talking about WordPress and Shopify, WordPress doesn’t give you any direct support.
WordPress gives you the forums or other resources from where you can get some assisstance from the other peoples, that may or may not have contributed in WordPress.
If you encounter any issues with any of your WordPress plugins or theme, you can contact the developers of the respective tool on the WordPress forum and they are responsible to assist you with the issue.
As WordPress is an open-source software so it doesn’t have any team who can support the users. It’s also free, so you won’t have to pay for good service.
There is a whole bunch of WordPress material available online, but you’ll have to filter through some “false news” to get the truly useful information.
Support in Shopify
As we already know that Shopify is a fully hosted platform, which means they have complete control over the software and are the most knowledgeable about it.
Shopify offers live chat, phone, email, and Twitter assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Shopify Help Center provides rich documentation, how-to manuals, a knowledge base, video lessons, and forums for people who want to fix things themselves.
You can hire a Shopify Expert for assistance in integrating the third-party apps and themes.
But do remember that, Shopify is not responsible for the any third-party solutions you are using.
However, the customers on the Shopify Plus plan will have access to their own merchant success manager, who will provide you with ongoing guidance.
When To Use WordPress?
You should use WordPress for your eCommerce store in the following cases
- Use WordPress if you want to have full control over your store.
- Use WordPress if you are comfortable with a learning curve.
- Use WordPress if you already have a WordPress site and want to save money by not investing in a new eCommerce platform.
- Use WordPress if you want to stay low in investment pricing.
- Use WordPress if you don’t need immediate customer service.
When To Use Shopify?
You should use Shopify for creating your online store in the following cases
- Use Shopify if you want to connect your online store to your physical store.
- Use Shopify if you need a good eCommerce platform with customer service.
- Use Shopify if you want to build your store completely hassle-free and with an infinite scalability.
Final Thoughts: WordPress and Shopify
WordPress and Shopify is a humungous battle between two web development powerhouses.
Where WordPress uses a third-party plugin like WooCommerce to tackle with eCommerce features, but gives you the full control over your site.
On the other hand, Shopify is designed to help you to create your online store quickly.
Here’s a quick overview of what we have covered in this article.
|Cost||Completely free to use but you need to spend some dollars on hosting, themes, and page builders.||A 14-day free trial and three main pricing plans which range from $29/month to $299/month.||🏆 WordPress|
|Themes||Thousands of themes to look through but they vary in quality.||There are over 80 themes to choose from, all of which are mobile responsive and designed in-house.||🏆 WordPress|
|Interface||It is simpler to use and requires little to no coding knowledge.||It is simpler to use and requires little to no coding knowledge.||Tie|
|Ecommerce||The majority of the main plugins have sufficient ecommerce features, but you may need to look for additional tools for things like security and analytics.||It includes all of the ecommerce features you’ll need to sell online and grow your business.||🏆 Shopify|
|SEO||You’ll need a third-party SEO plugin and will have to pay extra to gain access to premium features that are included with Shopify.||Built-in SEO features enable you to optimize your website and boost the rankings of your web pages.||🏆 Shopify|
|Support||There is no personal support, but there is a bounty of technical information in the WordPress forums.||Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via phone, email, and live chat. For Shopify Plus users, there is also a Help Center and advanced support.||🏆 Shopify|
FAQs About WordPress and Shopify
Following are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about WordPress and Shopify that users have asked us.
What is the difference between WordPress and Shopify?
In a nutshell, the primary distinction between Shopify and WordPress is that Shopify is an online tool/service, whereas WordPress is standalone software that must be installed manually.
Which is the best WordPress eCommerce plugin?
In general, it is determined by what you require from your online store. WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce platform.
It was created by the same company that created WordPress, has a wide range of useful features, does not charge its own transaction fees, and is completely free to use.
Are there any alternative to WordPress and Shopify?
You can use platforms like Wix, BigCommerce, Squarespace and more.
Can I use WordPress and Shopify together?
Yes. To sell on a WordPress site, you can use Shopify’s ‘Buy Button’ feature. This can be added to your website using a plugin or by adding a snippet of code to relevant pages. This feature available with the Shopify Lite plan which costs $9/month. However, it would become a bit difficult and might not provide the best user experience.
Which is the best Hosting provider for WooCommerce?
There are many dedicated WordPress hostings available online. But the best ones are Hostgator and Hostinger.
Here’s the list of the hostings you can prefer depending upon your budget
Do I need to pay separately for Shopify Hosting?
No! Hosting is handled for you by Shopify and is included in the monthly fee you pay to use the platform. This holds true for any website builder. Only self-hosted platforms, such as WordPress, require you to source your own hosting separately.
Which is more popular between WordPress and Shopify?
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform on the planet. According to Builtwith, WooCommerce is used on 27% of the top 1 million websites, with Shopify coming in at 21%.
WooCommerce is built on top of WordPress, the most popular website builder, which powers more than 42% of all websites on the internet.
Can I dropship using WordPress?
Yes. You’ll need to install a third-party plugin like Ecwid or WooCommerce to do so, but dropshipping with the platform is entirely possible.
Should I blog on Shopify or WordPress?
Both platforms allows you the blogging functionalities but WordPress is a better choice when it comes to bloggging.
It is because of clean URLs, autosaving the content and use of categories and tags in blog posts.
WordPress advantage in this area is unsurprising, because of the proven history in blogging solutions.
Which platform WordPress and Shopify is built on?
Shopify is based on the Ruby on Rails framework, which is widely used and easy to use.
While the WordPress is based on PHP and MySQL and is released under the GPLv2 licence. It is also the platform of choice for more than 43% of all websites on the internet.