Shopify vs WordPress: Setting Up An E-Commerce Site

Shopify vs WooCommerce

You’re ready to launch your new website, but before you can get anything off the ground there is a big decision you need to make: which platform should you choose? 

The two front runners are arguably WordPress and Shopify, and there are compelling reasons to go with either choice. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for someone wondering how to choose between Shopify and WordPress.  It all comes down to the purpose of your website, your current level of coding and web technology experience, and several other important factors.

Read on as we compare some of the major features of Shopify and WordPress, and find out what you need to consider when choosing between Shopify and WordPress for your new website.

The Difference Between An E-Commerce Site And A Content Site

In this article, we will be focusing on the comparisons between WordPress and Shopify solely for creating an e-commerce store.  It is important to remember that e-commerce sites are a very specific type of website and only a tiny portion of the functionalities that WordPress has to offer.  While Shopify solely creates e-commerce sites, WordPress is arguably most powerful when used as a platform for a content site.

The question then becomes – when creating an e-commerce website, is it better to use Shopify, which is solely used to create e-commerce websites, or to harness the enormous power of WordPress?

Shopify

Shopify In A Nutshell

Shopify is a paid online tool with prices ranging between $29 and $299 monthly.  Shopify allows even beginner-users to build a fully functional e-commerce site without the help of a developer or web designer.  You can sell any type of physical or digital product or service from your Shopify store, including subscription and drop-shipping arrangements.  As an online tool, Shopify includes round-the-clock support.

The Benefits Of Shopify

The primary benefit of Shopify is its ease of use and fast set up process.  Shopify has bundled together many of the elements of WordPress that would need to be added separately, including an e-commerce plug-in, themes, and a payment gateway.  Your Shopify website includes hosting, which is one less thing for you to think about when setting up a new site.

Round-the-clock support is another important benefit of Shopify.  While there is a team of dedicated WordPress enthusiasts who will happily seek to answer any questions you may have, the results will always be a DIY solution that you will need to implement yourself – otherwise, you’ll need to pay a web developer to do it for you.  With Shopify, however, full support is available via live chat, email or phone, at any time, night or day.

Shopify also includes a free 14-day trial, which is basically unavailable in WordPress because you would need to set up your web hosting and install the software and plug-ins before being able to trial your new store.

When To Choose Shopify

You may like to choose Shopify if one or more of the following apply to you:

  • You don’t have any coding or web development skills and are looking to get your new e-commerce site up and running as quickly as possible.
  • You’re happy to pay an ongoing monthly fee to access round-the-clock support.
  • You’re looking to use a ready-made solution and don’t want to hire a web developer to personalize a site just for you.
  • You already have a brick and mortar store and are specifically interested in integrating your new e-commerce site with your existing physical store.

WordPress

WordPress In A Nutshell

WordPress software is free, however, to set up an e-commerce store based on WordPress you will need to pay for a domain and web hosting.  You will also need to install the WordPress software yourself or hire a web developer to do this for you. Once the basic installation has been completed, you will then need to install a theme and various plug-ins to finish setting up your site.  If you’re wanting an e-commerce site rather than just a content site, you will also need to use an e-commerce plug-in like WooCommerce to handle payments and other necessary features of an e-commerce site that don’t come standard in a typical WordPress installation.  As free software, WordPress does not come with any support per se, however, there is a very active community of web developers online who are typically happy to answer questions and provide DIY advice and support to people working with WordPress.

The Benefits Of WordPress

WordPress is infinitely more flexible than Shopify.  Almost any type of website can be created with WordPress, whereas Shopify is limited to e-commerce and basic blogging add-ons.  Many of the biggest and most popular websites in the world are run on WordPress, even though they may not appear to be so.

The ability to archive and version your content, along with exporting posts and pages according to your schedule, are other standout features of WordPress, as is the almost infinite range of premium WordPress themes and free WordPress plug-ins and tools to choose from.

If SEO is important to you (and it should be!) you’ll find the functionalities available in WordPress far exceed those offered in Shopify.  The simple ability to be able to run Yoast SEO in WordPress, which is not available in Shopify, is enough to sway many people.

When To Choose WordPress

If one or more of these considerations apply to you, you may like to choose WordPress for your new e-commerce site:

  • You’re comfortable with WordPress and have at least basic skills with coding, FTP, PHP files, and have a basic idea of how to use the WordPress Control Panel.
  • You already have a WordPress site.  Whether or not you have experience with WordPress, if you already run a WordPress site it will usually be cheaper to set up an e-commerce store as an element of your existing site, even if you need to hire a web developer to help you do this.

Shopify vs WordPress: The Right Choice For You

By following the questions and considerations above, you should have a good idea of whether Shopify or WordPress is the right choice for your new website.  If you’re still undecided, here is a very oversimplified way of looking at the problem.

  • If you already have a WordPress website, it may be simpler to use an e-commerce plug-in like WooCommerce to launch your e-commerce store as part of your existing WordPress site. 
  • If you don’t already have a website and you’re looking at setting up an e-commerce store, Shopify will be a simpler option that will see your site up and running in the shortest amount of time.

At Fuel Themes we offer full-service Shopify e-commerce development services, highly responsive and frankly beautiful WordPress themes, and are experts on all things WordPress and Shopify.  Contact us today to find out how our expertise can save you money and help you launch the perfect new website for you.


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