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Do you want to make an aesthetic e-commerce website that makes everything available on the tip for the user? But don’t know how to make a website?
Well, tech advancement brings so many options to make an aesthetic website without knowing much about coding. Say thanks to Shopify, WordPress, and many other website-building platforms for bringing drag-and-drop functionality.
These website builders enable and unlock your full potential to launch your idea and take your sales and business revenue to the next level. However, choosing the right platform is important to boost your business, especially in eCommerce.
Table of Contents
Why is eCommerce on Trend?
The global e-commerce sales are expected to reach $5.55 trillion in 2022 and $8.1 trillion by 2026. People are constantly moving towards smart purchases from home, and that’s why eCommerce has become a trend.
The online shopping craze among Gen-Z is spreading, and businesses are looking for some appealing websites.
So, let’s check out the best e-commerce platforms in 2023: WordPress and Shopify.
Our Top Choice of Selling Platform
Before we get into the nitty gritty details of Shopify vs. WordPress for selling products online, we wanted to give you the winner!
Due to it’s built in eCommerce capabilities, payment processing, web hosting, and ease of set-up as well as pricing, we recommend Shopify as the best eCommerce website builder. It is an all-in-one solution for online stores and trusted by many eCommerce sellers.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a website builder platform that allows you to build your own online store where you can sell products.
It is an out-of-the-box solution and users do not need coding knowledge, design expertise or knowledge about creating a website.
Everything is easy to set up. Website security, hosting, payment gateways and payment processing are all included in one solution for your online business.
Unlike WordPress, web hosting is included with your Shopify store.
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Start an eCommerce Store
Shopify: You can easily and affordably start your own online business!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is actually a content management system. It also allows you to build websites and publish content. There are two versions of WordPress, a self-hosted one which is WordPress.org and a free version at wordpress.com.
The wordpress.com version is not suggested for building a website or blog however as you won’t have a clean url or as much ability to customize your site.
The best way to get started with a WordPress site is to sign up for a web hosting provider like Blue Host or WP Engine. They will host your site and automatically install the WordPress software. The cost of web hosting plans ranges from $4.95 a month to $35 a month.
If you are creating an store website to sell products, WP Engine has a built-in WooCommerce platform that helps you build it with the eCommerce features you need.
WordPress is a very flexible platform (as long as you don’t use the free wordpress.com version.)
You can customize your site, but eCommerce, selling capabilities is not built into it the way it is in Shopify. You will have to purchase plugins and eCommerce integrations.
Managed WordPress Hosting
WP Engine: Fast speed & free premium themes. WPE3FREE for 3 months free!
Which eCommerce Platform is Best: WordPress or Shopify?
Multiple factors are required to be considered while choosing the right platform. Ease of use, cost, security, functionality and features, and others are just a few of them.
These play an important role in deciding the right platform for you. So, let’s embrace each of them to conclude who will win this battle for the best eCommerce platform.
Shopify vs. WordPress Quick Glance
When it comes to building an online store, there are two main contenders: Shopify and WordPress. Both platforms offer a wide range of features and benefits, but they also have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
Shopify is a dedicated e-commerce platform, which means that it’s designed specifically for businesses that want to sell products online. It is known for its ease of use, its extensive range of features, and its reliable performance.
WordPress is a more general-purpose content management system (CMS). It is most commonly used for blogs and content publishing but it can also be used to create e-commerce websites with the help of plugins like WooCommerce.
WordPress is known for its flexibility, its large community of developers, and its wide range of themes and plugins.
Now, let’s look at both website builders from various angles.
Comparing Shopify and WordPress at a glance:
|Ease of use
|Wide range of built-in features
|More flexible and customizable, but requires plugins
|Monthly subscription fee
|Free, but requires hosting and domain name
|Community support, but no official support from WordPress
Shopify: Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce platforms developed to manage and fulfill online sales, market products, and build relationships with customers.
It was designed specifically for building online stores and is an all-in-one solution for everything needed to create an eCommerce website.
WordPress: WordPress is quite big compared to Shopify because it is an open-source content management platform. It is widely used and powers over 35 million websites.
It was not specifically built to be an online selling platform however as Shopify was. But, it is highly flexible and customizable with many free and paid plugins you can add.
Functionality & Features
Shopify: It is an end-to-end eCommerce solution. No hassle to manage your orders—let the dashboard present you with everything on the tip.
You can print shipping labels, track packages, and payment options, manage communication with customers, and a lot more. And, Shopify’s mobile app makes in person transactions easy.
WordPress: WordPress requires plugins to add e-commerce functionality. There are a wide range of WordPress plugins available, including WooCommerce, which is a popular and feature-rich e-commerce plugin.
Shopify: Shopify wins the customer support battle as they have 24/7 phone support and live chat. So if at anytime you have an issue with your store, you can get the help you need. Members of the Shopify Plus plan will get their own dedicated merchant account manager.
WordPress: WordPress does not have built in customer support. They have a forum with tons of questions and answers from users that are helpful and a library of tutorials.
However, whatever hosting provider you are using will likely provide support to you for certain aspects of your website. I use WPX and their customer service is amazing. They have helped me a lot.
And, if you pay for a premium design them for your site those usually come with support around the use of the theme.
Safety & Security
Shopify: The most required feature of the era is cybersecurity. Shopify provides payment card industry (PCI) compliance by default so you can be assured of secure payment processing. Also, if you’re hosting your asset and taking a domain name from Shopify, you are entitled to the TLS certificate for security.
Shopify has a team of security experts who monitor Shopify sites for threats and respond to them. The platform also offers an SSL certificate, two-factor authentication, and PCI compliance.
WordPress: WordPress is a good option for businesses that need more flexible and customizable security in e-commerce solutions. It offers many plugins like iThemes Security, Sucuri Security, etc., along with the provision of an SSL certificate that can help protect your site.
Both platforms offer enhanced security and safety for your website, but Shopify’s features are built-in whereas you will need to add third-party plugins to a WordPress website to make sure it is safe.
In this Shopify vs WordPress category, Shopify is just a little easier to use.
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Pricing Comparison: How Much Does it Cost to Use WordPress vs. Shopify?
Shopify plans run from $9 a month to $299 for more advanced plans. The Shopify starter plan is just $9 a month plus 5% transaction fees for Shopify payments.
I don’t recommend the starter plan as it is pretty basic and allows you to sell at events and through social media. It is for if you already have an existing site outside of Shopify, it doesn’t give you a stand-alone online store.
The basic online store Shopify plan is $39 a month and the most popular option for online stores. There is also a Shopify plan for small businesses which is the next step up and costs $105 per month.
The advanced plan for medium to large businesses is $399 a month and Shopify Plus which is for enterprise customers starts at $2,000 a month.
In addition to the monthly plan, if you don’t use Shopify Payments which is their proprietary payment gateway, you will have to pay 0.5%-2% in transaction fees when someone purchases an item. But that is only if you are using a third party payment provider.
As the monthly price increases, the credit card and transaction fees you pay decrease, so if you have higher volume of sales it may be more beneficial to have the higher-priced plans.
But if you are just starting out, the Basic plan is enough. Shopify offers a 3-day free trial, and savings of up to 20% when you sign up for a longer contract.
The price of their plans runs from $3.95 per month for the basic to $35 a month, depending on what option you choose. The less expensive plans are called “shared hosting.”
But, for a business like what you are trying to build, you may want to opt for a more expensive “managed WordPress hosting” like what WP Engine or Kinsta offer. Those usually cost around $30 a month, so not terrible and in line with Shopify pricing plans.
Managed WordPress plans will give you better speed, performance and customer support.
In addition, you will need to purchase a design theme for your site (unless you opt for a free one that may not be exactly what you want.) And, you will need to buy plugins to give your site certain features, including eCommerce.
In order to make your WordPress site e-Commerce capable, you will need to pay for ecommerce integration with an eCommerce plugin like WooCommerce or Ecwid. This can cost as much as $170 per year.
You will likely need 4-5 plugins for site functionality that you need which will cost anywhere from $100-$150.
Plus, you will need to purchase your domain (url) unless you opt for a web host provider like Blue Host that includes that for free. The cost of a domain is around $15.
|Cost (varies depending on choices)
|$3.95 – $35 per month
|$170 per year
Shopify vs WordPress on pricing is better because everything is included in the monthly plan cost. You won’t need to purchase additional plugins, a maintenance service plan, or eCommerce integration.
Ease of Use Comparison: Which Selling Platform is Easier to Use?
In the Shopify vs. WordPress for ease-of-use category, Shopify is a clear winner! So, if you are looking for a fast and easy to set up for your online store, opt for Shopify. But, here are the in-depth details one each:
Is Shopify Easy to Use?
Yes, Shopify is very easy to use and setting up your online store with this platform is fast and relatively pain-less.
Shopify is generally considered to be the easiest platform to use, especially for beginners. It is a hosted platform, which means that Shopify takes care of all the technical aspects of running your website, such as hosting, security, and updates. This allows you to focus on building and running your online store.
You won’t need any coding knowledge and you can do everything form the Shopify dashboard. You can add products with images and description as well as set pricing.
One of the best features of the Shopify dashboard is that it comes Shopify Magic, an AI tool built-in that can help generate your product descriptions! Talk about easy, it will literally help write your store listings for you.
The interface of the Shopify platform is very intuitive and user-friendly. You won’t need a lot of learning time to use it, unlike WordPress which does require a learning curve.
It is also easy to set up shipping details, taxes, and your store pages from the dashboard. Shopify enables you to ship printing labels and even choose brand colors. eCommerce features are integrated into the Shopify platform.
Shopify also offers you the ability to improve SEO, set up sales channels like social media and manage marketing.
WordPress Ease of Use
WordPress has evolved over the years to be more user-friendly. There are some drag and drop themes and website builders you can leverage from within the platform.
And may customizations and features can be added to your site with plugins. You will need an eCommerce plugin right off the bat to create an online store where you can sell products. WooCommerce, Big Commerce and Ecwid are 3 well-known eCommerce plugins.
But, this is all more time-consuming and will need some knowledge from you. For instance, you will have to learn how to install the plugins and then you will have to set up the plugins. Learning how to use WordPress takes some time and effort. (I know this as my website is a WordPress site!)
Overall, WordPress is a more complex platform to use, especially if you are not familiar with WordPress or coding. However, there are many resources available to help you learn to use it, including tutorials, documentation, and support forums.
WordPress has a centralized dashboard for you to use like Shopify, but it has a lot of tools, functions and abilities that can be overwhelming and requires some learning to use.
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Shopify eCommerce Features
Shopify was created as an eCommerce website builder with all the functionality for selling products built into the solution.
And everything you need from shipping, to taxes, to payment processing and marketing is included in this off-the-shelf solution.
One major selling point (pun intended) is that you can connect and sell products across multiple channels. You can quickly and easily connect to social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok. In addition, you can also connect to major selling channels like Amazon.
It is fast and easy to sell in multiple places and channels directly from your Shopify dashboard, allowing you to expand your online sales. And you can also use Shopify to sell products in person at events or in a retail store.
Another nice eCommerce feature is that you can create unique discount codes for your customers to use in checkout. Shopify also has an abandoned cart feature that will send email reminders to customers who leave their shopping cart without checking out.
Shopify also has many drop shipping options for set-up. You can leverage this Shopify dropshipping starter kit to get started.
With so many built-in selling features, Shopify is one of the best eCommerce platforms you can choose.
WordPress eCommerce Capabilities
WordPress sites do not come with eCommerce integration the way Shopify does. You will need to install an eCommerce plugin to your WordPress site for eCommerce capabilities.
However, because WordPress is so flexible and has so many customization options, there may be more choices with WordPress for eCommerce customization.
But, you will need to spend time and work installing third party plugins and setting up the capabilities you need. We’ve already mentioned the need for a WordPress plugin to add eCommerce functionality to your website. Plus, you will need to pay for these plugins.
WordPress Plugin Choices for eCommerce Features
- Big Commerce
One nice thing about WP Engine as a WordPress host for your site is that they have an integrated WooCommerce platform available for you to build your online store.
For building an eCommerce website, in the Shopify vs. WordPress battle, Shopify is a clear winner since all the features you need are built into the platform.
Design Themes & Templates
It lets you set up your store faster than any other builder and is one of the best ecommerce platforms for ease of set-up. Once logged in, you will have 150+ pre-built cool colors, themes, and designs to work with.
There are 12 free themes available and 150 premium, paid themes for your Shopify store. The cost of a paid theme ranges from $150-$390 but they come with variants within the theme, giving you even more options.
Click here to see Shopify themes. Shopify also provides you with a lot of customer support and help with setting up your Shopify theme if you need it.
There are also some third party theme providers out there like Shoptimized and Theme Forest with even more options.
Offering over 60,000 themes, WordPress believes in drag-and-drop and customization. If you’re comfortable installing a theme and then working to customize it and add plugins, then WordPress can be a great option for creating a unique and customized e-commerce website.
WordPress definitely has far more options on design themes than Shopify. And, there are many free versions as well as premium, paid themes.
If you opt for one of the paid WordPress themes, you will get more customer support from the theme provider. Elegant Themes is an excellent provider of WordPress themes.
Studio Press also has a ton of WordPress themes and you can get them all for free is you sign up with the web hosting provider WP Engine.
Clearly, WordPress wins the theme battle when it comes to options. However, you will need to spend more time with set up and customization of these themes.
SEO in WordPress vs. Shopify
Search engine optimization is how you get your website to rank higher in Google search results. It is the single most important thing you can do to increase your website traffic. And, in turn, your revenue.
WordPress offers you a lot of capabilities when it comes to improving site SEO. For example, site speed and performance is an important search engine optimization factor and with WordPress you can choose a web hosting company like WP Engine or WPX that is known for fast load times.
You can also do a lot in WordPress to improve your on-page SEO such as meta descriptions and image alt tags. You need to make sure though that when you choose an eCommerce plugin, you choose one that has built in SEO features like these.
Shopify however, also has some strong SEO capabilities. It provides you with the ability to edit alt tags on images and meta descriptions.
And, it provides a site speed report so you can see how fast your Shopify site is loading. Plus, Yoast SEO which is one of the best WordPress plugins for improving SEO is now actually available for use on Shopify!
Most importantly, Shopify sites can be built in such a way that they meet Google’s new “Core Web Vitals.” These are a really important metric by which Google measures your site and ranks it higher.
When it comes to SEO, WordPress is the winner since there is so much control and customization capabilities included. But, Shopify still offers really robust search engine optimization capabilities and they seem to be continuously improving this.
Marketing Tools Compared
Shopify Marketing Features
Shopify now has an email marketing program called Shopify Email that is included in the platform. Store owners can set up email marketing to their customers. You can send email newsletters, abandoned cart reminders and discount codes. And, there are 41 e-newsletter templates available.
But best of all, you get to send up to 10,000 emails for free as part of your Shopify plan, making it much cheaper vs. WordPress where you will have to pay for an add-on email service.
Shopify has built-in social media links from your store as well.
WordPress Marketing Features
WordPress does not have integrated email functionality and you will have to pay for a 3rd party service like Constant Contact or ConvertKit to get that set up.
Mailchimp is a free email service you can use but it is only free up to a certain amount of subscribers. If your online store is doing well and you have a lot of customers, you can expect to pay around $25 or more a month for an email marketing program.
This shows again that Shopify is the cheaper option vs. WordPress. However, when it comes to marketing tools, WordPress has far more options than Shopify and a better set-up for Google Ads integration.
One super important part of running an eCommerce business is being able to take payments in multiple forms.
The last thing you want is to lose a sale because you don’t offer someone their prefferred method of payment!
One of the benefits of Shopify is that it supports more than 100 payment gateways and options! That is a lot and you can assured that pretty much all your bases are covered. Plus, you don’t have to do anything to set that up.
These include all major credit cards, PayPal, Stripe and Apple Pay just to name a few. Shopify also has a proprietary payment processing called “Shopify Payments.” If you use that, you won’t pay additional transaction fees.
However, with the other payment types you may pay from 0.5%-2% in transaction fees depending on which Shopify Plan you are on.
In contrast, WordPress requires those eCommerce plugins we mentioned in order for your website to be able to process payments. But, the advantage of WordPress over Shopify in this category is that you won’t pay any transaction fees.
Flexibility and Customization
You might be wondering which of the two platforms is more flexible. WordPress is actually more flexible. You can make just about any change or add any feature that you want to.
There are thousands of plugins, templates and integrations available for WordPress that will allow you to customize and change your site.
Of course, it may take more of your time to do this, and you will have to learn how to set these items up. There are actually almost 60,000 WordPress plugins available! That is a crazy amount.
In addition, the platform itself is open source. Which means you can change coding and your website, but may need to pay a web designer for that type of work.
On the other hand, Shopify does have about 8,000 apps available that integrate with your store and add features and capabilities. And, you can have access to the CSS code if you want it, so technically you can make changes with that just like with WordPress.
Pros and Cons of Shopify and WordPress
Each selling platform has its pluses and minuses. Here is a list of the pros and cons of WordPress vs. Shopify.
- No special knowledge or coding abilities needed to use the platform
- Intuitive and user-friendly dashboard
- No additional fees needed for plugins or integrations outside of the monthly plan
- All-in-one solution: shipping, payment gateways and processing, marketing and promotions, hosting, security and more all included
- Created with built-in eCommerce functionality, specifically for starting an eCommerce store
- Changing the design theme of your store is not simple and requires reformatting content
- You must use Shopify Payments if you want to avoid transaction fees
- Setting up fields for unusual items like messages or inscriptions on products is not as easy to do
- Over 60,000 design themes to choose from
- Lots of online education and support available for WordPress since it is so widely used
- More customization options and flexibility vs. Shopify
- Much harder and more time-consuming to learn how to use
- Does not have eCommerce functionality built-in, you must add an integration to create an eCommerce site
- You will have to purchase needed items individually such as web hosting, security and eCommerce plugins
- More expensive than Shopify
Alternatives to WordPress and Shopify
There are actually a lot of website builders and eCommerce platforms out there now. Here are some alternatives:
Squarespace is another all-in-on, easy to use solution for creating a website. It is excellent for beginners, however it does not have a lot of choices for customization compared to Shopify or WordPress.
Site123 is an easy way to set up a website, including an online store. It has built in eCommerce functionality. However, like WordPress, you may need to install plugins for additional customizations.
Shopify vs. WordPress Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Shopify and WordPress?
Shopify is a website builder. It is an online tool that allows just about anyone, with little-to-no web design knowledge to create their own website. They just have to pay a monthly fee to use it.
Shopify was created specifically with eCommerce tools and functionality integrated for so you can easily sell products online.
WordPress on the other hand is a content management system for publishing content. And, you can use it to create a website.
It comes in two forms, wordpress.com which is free but limited, and wordpress.org which requires self hosting (with a web host provider) but gives you the ability to have a custom domain and a customized website.
What is cheaper, Shopify or WordPress?
Overall, Shopify is cheaper than WordPress. While the monthly plan costs are similar to what you will pay for web hosting of a WordPress site, the Shopify plans come with many built-in features already in place that with WordPress will require separate plugin purchases.
Shopify already has eCommerce features and functionality in the solution but with WordPress you will have to purchase and set up that separately from your monthly plan.
Do you have to pay for hosting with Shopify?
You don’t have to pay for separate web hosting with Shopify. It is included in the monthly plan price you choose. In contrast, with a WordPress site you will need to pay for a monthly plan to host your site with a hosting provider. However, that monthly plan includes the WordPress dashboard.
Can Shopify and WordPress be used together?
You can actually use WordPress and Shopify together for your store. There is a Shopify plugin you can install on your WordPress site. It is $9 a month to use the plugin.
What is the Best Web Host Provider for WordPress?
For beginners just starting out that are looking for a budget-friendly option, Blue Host is an excellent choice for hosting. However, for an online business that needs speed, performance and support we recommend opting for one of the managed WordPress providers like WP Engine or Kinsta.
What Type of User is Shopify vs WordPress For?
Shopify is for users that don’t have web development or design skills but still want to do it themselves without hiring a web developer.
Shopify is for someone who doesn’t have a large budget but wants to get an online store up and running quickly, an all-in-one solution. You should not choose Shopify however if you want something other than an eCommerce site.
WordPress on the other hand is for someone who doesn’t mind getting their hands a little dirty and being more involved with the set up process. It is for someone who either already knows how to use WordPress, or is a bit more tech-savvy.
You still don’t need coding knowledge to use WordPress however, it is pretty easy in some cases to use and set-up, but will certainly require more time and effort than setting up a Shopify store will. It can require some configuration, especially for an eCommerce integration.
But, if you want more control of your site and the ability to customize it, then WordPress is a better option for you.
Reasons to use Shopify vs. WordPress?
As we’ve mentioned, if you are looking for a straightforward out-of-the box total eCommerce solution then choose Shopify to start your online business.
If you don’t have the time to spend learning how to use a platform like WordPress and just want to get quickly set up with a way to sell products that doesn’t require a lot of web maintenance Shopify is the best bet.
Shopify gives you everything you need right out of the box, you won’t need to add features or functions yourself.
What is Easier to Use: Shopify or WordPress?
If you are looking for a solution that is the easiest to use for your online business then you should opt for Shopify. It requires less learning to use it than WordPress.
Shopify includes all the eCommerce features you need in one solution and doesn’t require as much work or knowledge as WordPress. It is also faster to set up your site on Shopify.
Is it Better to Use WordPress or Shopify?
The answer to this question depends on your preferences and needs. If you want to start an eCommerce business and you want an easy-to-setup, out-of-the-box solution you should choose Shopify.
It was built for eCommerce and includes all the features you want in one place. However, if you have some knowledge on how to use WordPress or don’t mind learning and you want more control and customization of your website then opt for WordPress.
How many people use Shopify and WordPress?
WordPress is definitely the more widely-used for web design and publishing. It currently powers over 34 million websites, however it isn’t clear how many of those are ecommerce sites. It has been around for a really long time vs. Shopify which is newer.
Shopify is only used by around 4.6 million websites, but those are eCommerce sites. And, the Shopify platform is relatively new. But, it is one of the best ecommerce website builders and very popular. There are many successful Shopify stores out there!
Final Verdict: Shopify or WordPress?
So, the discussion has cleared up some thoughts on WordPress and Shopify. Both platforms have the unique potential to host an entire website. It makes you available on the digital platform to reach a wider audience. But if you want to choose, which is the right pick for your eCommerce store?
Shopify is a good platform for you if you want to host an eCommerce store. It enables and brings multiple functionalities to you at a reasonable cost. In terms of cost and ease of use, Shopify wins the race and leads the game.
Also, certain specific requirements push you towards WordPress. Choosing WordPress is not a bad decision. It also unlocks its full potential with unlimited plugins.
So, choosing the right platform is based on your specific requirements and trends. Shopify is the best and leading platform. So, start your e-commerce journey to get the most out of it.
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