It is estimated that by 2040, 95% of all global purchases would happen on the web. The global eCommerce market will reach a gargantuan peak of $6.5 Trillion by 2023, from its current worth of $4.2 Trillion. Now, as a business, you want a piece of that pie and what to create your website eCommerce store. Which website designing & CMS platform should you choose?
“The venerable WordPress or the astute Shopify.”
If you feel a little overwhelmed by all of it, then don’t worry as you’re not alone. The fight between Shopify and WordPress is the magnum opus of the CMS world, that baffles all!
Ergo, if this is a clash of titans, then we are the arbiters! Here is a detailed analysis of the pros & cons of both the platforms to help you select the best one for your business.
WordPress Vs. Shopify – A Website Designing Overview
It is important to first understand the fundamentals of both the eCommerce website designing platforms before we delve deeper into the comparison. Here is a brief breakdown of both the platforms to highlight what makes them special:
- What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a free to use & open-source Content Management System platform. WordPress acts as a robust base on which you can use different configurations of themes, plugins, coding, etc. to create a stellar website. The two things that make WordPress unlike any other CMS platform are unparalleled functionality & high customization.
- What is Shopify?
Shopify is a paid all-inclusive CMS platform specifically created for eCommerce websites. It has a much more rigid framework that offers smooth functionality but suffers on customization. The two things that make Shopify stand out are it’s high-level of automation and integration of a multitude of services to give a holistic user experience.
5 Parameters Of Assessment For An Ecommerce Website Designing Platforms!
Now that we have a basic understanding of both the platforms we are in a better position to make an objective analysis. To move ahead with our comparison we need to establish our parameters of assessment. Hence, here are the five things an eCommerce website designing platform should perform well in:
- Operational Cost – The cost of opening, managing, and expanding your business’s online store shouldn’t break the bank.
- Usability – Not everybody is a tech wizard, therefore a layperson should be able to decently use the platform and not just a WordPress developer.
- Payment Options – An eCommerce platform should be able to provide as many payment methods as possible.
- Plugins & Add-ons – How well can the platform handle plugins & add-ons to enhance your eCommerce store
- Scalability – The platform needs to be able to scale to match your pace of growth and meet your expansion demands.
WordPress Vs. Shopify – Which Platform Is Better For Website Designing?
Empowered with the fundamentals of both the platforms and the key performance parameters, we are now ready to rumble! We’ll make Shopify & WordPress go head-to-head to prove once and for all, which platform is better!
WordPress vs. Shopify – which platform has the edge over the other? Here we find out:
#1 Operational Costs
How much does it cost to operate these eCommerce website CMS platforms on a monthly basis? Here is a breakdown of the both the services:
In the beginning, Shopify seems to have a decently simplistic pricing structure. Their service is divided into three memberships plans that start from $29/Month for the basic to $79/Month and $299/Month for intermediate & advanced plans respectively. Each of these plans comes with the added services of basic website designing, domain name, SSL certificates, and hosting.
Great isn’t it? Well, not quite as there is more than meets the eye. You see, Shopify’s plans completely exclude the price of third-party tools & plugins that are a must. As your online store grows, the added cost will keep growing over the membership costs.
If that wasn’t enough, Shopify also charges you 2.9% + 30 Cents for using its payment gateway. If you use a third-party gateway, you’d be charged a direct 2.0% fee that comes down to 0.5% if you buy the advanced plan for $299/Month.
On WordPress, you require an eCommerce centric plugin to enable the platform to operate as an online store. One of the most popular of WordPress eCommerce plugins is WooCommerce that is free to use.
There is no upfront cost to using WordPress and WooCommerce, you’d still need a domain name, hosting, SSL certificate, etc. On average, it would cost you anywhere between $30-$299/annually
While initially, it might seem a little high when compared to the basic plan of Shopify. It must be understood that WordPress doesn’t have any hidden costs per se. For example, plenty of good to great eCommerce plugins are available for free, you can use any payment gateway you like without having to pay any extra fees. Hence, in the long run, you save a lot of money that you wouldn’t have on Shopify.
EDGE – WordPress
At the end of the day, it is you, the user, who is going to operate one of these two platforms. So, which is more usable and user-friendly, and which one is not? Let us find out from this breakdown:
Shopify is a closed platform that is fully hosted by themselves which means that Shopify exercises full control over its systems. Therefore the users don’t need to install, manage, or update any of the software or hardware. The platform also takes care of security, speed, backups, etc. all on its own.
As a user, you have very little say into all of the above matters, as everything is done for you. While this might be a bonus from the usability side, it can result in unseen issues. A lack of control also means a lack of customizability that can hamper future growth prospects.
If you are someone who is okay with losing control of his/her business’s critical elements like website security, plugin updates, etc. then Shopify offers a great, easy, and user-friendly platform!
Unlike Shopify, WordPress is not a hosted platform, which means you don’t get the same benefits. On WordPress, you need to conduct your own website designing, manage updates, store backups, and ensure site security.
While you don’t get the same easy to use features as Shopify, what you do get is control. On WordPress, you are the boss, with everything under your command. WordPress’s platform is super flexible and highly customizable that allows you to do the things your way without any extra cost.
Therefore if you are okay with learning a few new things along the way of building your online store then WordPress is the best. Not only does it offer you control, but it also offers you a wide variety of options like for example; WordPress has close to 55,000+ themes & plugins!
EDGE – Shopify
#3 Payment Options
As an eCommerce store, you must be able to offer a wide range of payment options to your customers. Having a wide variety of payment options not only makes it easier to receive payments but also enables you to reduce the number of “abandoned carts” on your website.
Shopify will charge you a direct fee of 2% of each transaction made on your website if you are using their basic plan. However, this fee can be reduced to 0.5% if you by subscribing to their advanced plans cost $299/Month.
On the payment gateway integration front, Shopify only offers its gateway called – Shopify Payments to its basic users. If buyers are using a credit card then Shopify Payments levies a charge of 2.9% + 30¢ for the basic plan. Another thing to remember is that Shopify has a limited number of approved third-party payment gateways that it can integrate with.
In sharp contrast to Shopify, WordPress completely opens the door for you when it comes to payment options. PayPal & Stripe come as defaults, but you can also integrate any third-party platform you like. WordPress offers you an extremely wide choice of payment gateway options to integrate with, even regional ones that might not be popular in international markets.
WordPress doesn’t charge you any extra fees for the transactions that take place on its platforms. The only charges you might need to pay would be the fees your payment gateways take, but nothing more. As a result, if you are a small business with an online store this makes a world of difference in your bottom-line.
EDGE – WordPress
#4 Plugin Integration
Plugins and add-ons are things that make your website pop! These tools enable you to offer a better and more comprehensive user experience to your customers. So, which one of the platforms has better plugin integration? Let’s take a look at it:
Shopify has a wide range of powerful APIs and a decently large App Store where they offer third-party themes, plugins, etc. On the Shopify App store, you have everything you would need to make your website designing process easier.
The only noticeable downside of having a fully regulated App Store is that everything you find on it is paid. Unlike WordPress where you can find both paid and free options, the only things you get on Shopify are paid.
WordPress obliterates Shopify when it comes to plugins and add-ons! On just the WordPress plugin store you have close to 55,000+ themes, plugins, add-ons, etc. These plugins and add-ons range from SEO monitors, website security, content automation, user-traffic analyzers, etc.
The best part is that a huge chunk of the Shopify store is free, allowing you to get the best quality of tools for your business without any charges. Another great thing about WordPress is that it is open-source, ergo you can hire your WordPress development services agency to create your custom solutions.
EDGE – WordPress
Growth is a fundamental goal of any business, hence preparing for it is an absolute necessity in the long run. Therefore we ask the question, which platform is better prepared to handle growth? Here is a detailed analysis:
Shopify is a fully-hosted platform that controls all its software and hardware. As a result, you don’t have to worry about site speed, security, and scalability when you grow your business. You can just upgrade your Shopify membership plan as per your needs and you’ll be fine.
Not only can their infrastructure manage your business’s growth, but it also takes away the pains of growth. No longer do you need to sweat about the hosting or security of your website as everything is automated.
Understandably WordPress isn’t the best choice for when you experience a sudden growth spurt. WordPress is a self-hosted platform that offers you freedom while taking away some perks of ease of use.
On WordPress, you will have to hire a team of dedicated professionals to manage your website, optimize your site speed, ensure your cybersecurity as you grow larger. Hiring outside talent would not only be costly but also quite cumbersome in the long run as things get more complex.
EDGE – Shopify
#6 Bonus – Troubleshooting
Running an eCommerce website might seem simple enough, but there are a million things that can go wrong. What happens when you need support to troubleshoot an error/issue? Here is how both the platforms would handle such a scenario:
As mentioned above, Shopify is a closed-system fully hosted platform. That essentially means that Shopify has total control over the software & hardware they use. Hence Shopify can provide you with 24/7 customer support via chat, phone, email, and social media. There is also a plethora of support content from guides, video tutorials, forums, etc. to help you.
As a bonus, Shopify also has a directory of Experts that you can hire to solve your issues for you. However, you must also remember that Shopify offers no support for any third-party theme or apps you may be using.
WordPress powers nearly 35% of all the websites on the web, hence there is no dearth of support availability. Not only do you have paid WordPress development services that you can use, but there is also a thriving community of who can support you free of cost.
A little bit of digging can enable you to find solutions to pretty much all general issues that surround WordPress.
While being free & open-source is a great thing, it does cost you a hassle-free support experience. If you have a very niche-specific issue that hasn’t happened before, then you’ll have a very hard time finding free support mechanisms.
As WordPress is a self-hosted platform, you don’t get any dedicated support personnel which makes finding solutions for specific problems very difficult & laborious.
EDGE – Shopify
Our Take: Which Platform Has The Edge?
Now that we reach our conclusion what’s the verdict, which is a better platform for your business? Well, the answer to that question is going to be pretty simple; “it depends on your needs”.
As you can see above, both WordPress and Shopify have their strengths and weaknesses. Shopify is the best platform for a business that doesn’t need to worry about its immediate liquidity and can throw money at the problem to solve it. WordPress on the other hand, is a far more substantial platform, as it requires you to master it and grow on your own.
So, back to the million-dollar question, who has the edge? Well, in our professional opinion WordPress is the clear winner. It allows you independent website designing and also doesn’t charge you for every little thing you do with your store.