WordPress and Shopify: both industry heavyweights, and both offering unique features for those wishing to run an e-commerce website. For many people just starting, choosing between WordPress and Shopify is one of the first business decisions to make. Doing so is no easy task, with both platforms offering distinct advantages and, in some sense, catering to different segments of the e-commerce marketplace.
To a large extent, Shopify is aimed at those without advanced skills in web development. The platform is set up so that e-commerce stores can be created quickly, easily, and without any coding knowledge. WordPress, however, is aimed at people with a broad spectrum of web development skills, but tending towards those with at least some level of coding knowledge. While users can get away with creating a fully functioning WordPress blog without touching any underlying code, complex customizations – or, indeed, adding e-commerce functionality – will require either navigating a learning curve or bringing in outside help.
The good news is that it is possible to combine all the advantages of both WordPress and Shopify into one neat package – and you could even save money doing so in the process.
The Best of Both Worlds
Shopify and WordPress are both independent, standalone platforms. Each comes with its own learning curve and set of costs. Why, then, would someone wish to combine two different platforms into one? As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons why integrating Shopify with WordPress truly can give you the best of both worlds: all the advantages of both platforms with none of the disadvantages.
WordPress Lacks Built-In eCommerce
Strictly speaking, it’s not possible to run an e-commerce website from WordPress alone. When setting up your store, you will inevitably have to choose an e-commerce plug-in to provide a shopping cart and payment processing functionality to your WordPress site. WooCommerce is the most popular and well-known, while there are other alternatives available.
While WooCommerce is a free plug-in, it lacks any real functionality until premium add-ons are purchased and configured. When this reality is considered, the idea of integrating Shopify with WordPress is comparable to installing the WooCommerce plug-in and premium add-ons to bring the same level of e-commerce functionality to your WordPress site.
The Ease of Shopify
Put simply, Shopify is easier to use than WordPress itself, and certainly much easier to navigate than other WordPress e-commerce solutions like WooCommerce. It is this ease-of-use that is one of the main drawcards of Shopify as an e-commerce platform. The user interface is intuitive to navigate, displaying all the information you could need in a glance. When you integrate Shopify with WordPress, you’ll still have access to that beautiful Shopify dashboard.
Shopify includes a 256-bit SSL certificate, obviating the need for you to provide a standalone SSL certificate for your WordPress site. This means that all of your customer orders and payment details remain safe while checking out. Additionally, Shopify features level I PCI compliant credit card processing, to further protect your customer’s valuable information.
Since a WordPress site requires WooCommerce or another similar plug-in to become an e-commerce site, it is important to consider the respective costs associated with setting up an e-commerce site. As mentioned above, while WooCommerce technically is a free plug-in, it lacks any real functionality without the purchase of add-ins – and these don’t run cheap. For example, the ability to process payments by credit card could cost $79 per year, while a one-page checkout add-in will cost another $79 each year. Want to give your shoppers the ability to create a wish list? That’s another $79 per year. Once you start adding up the costs of running WooCommerce, you’ll see that they can quickly add up.
On the other hand, only the most basic Shopify plan – Shopify Lite – is required when integrating Shopify with WordPress. At $9 per month ($108 per year for comparison) it becomes clear that there are savings to be made when choosing Shopify over WooCommerce.
How To Integrate Shopify with WordPress
Official WordPress Plug-in and Buy Buttons
If you go back to early 2017, the process of integrating Shopify with WordPress was made much easier via the official WordPress Shopify plug-in. However, in late 2017 all support for this plug-in was discontinued. Instead, it was suggested that web developers use the Buy Button feature to embed Shopify products into WordPress sites. While this is a workable solution for some people, it fell short in some major ways.
WP Shopify is a free WordPress plug-in that manages to do what the manual Buy Button failed to do – import Shopify products without using iFrames. The free plug-in overcomes some of the customization limitations of Shopify by including a range of templates, actions, and filters to customize your e-commerce site to your liking. It also includes a range of SEO friendly features to help keep your site competitive in search engine results.
There is also a paid Pro version of the plug-in which provides additional features and functionality.
Shopify Connect for WooCommerce
The Shopify Connect for WooCommerce plug-in works quite differently to the WP Shopify plug-in. If you’re already using WooCommerce or are familiar with its interface and used to its configuration options, this free plug-in allows you to import Shopify products directly into the WooCommerce account associated with your WordPress site. This option may suit someone who, for example, has an existing WordPress site with WooCommerce and purchases another related Shopify site. This plug-in will allow you to integrate all products onto your WordPress site, while still keeping your Shopify site as a smaller subset of products.
For a new website, however, it would seem more intuitive to leave WooCommerce out of the equation altogether and simply integrate Shopify directly with WordPress.
*By taking advantage of one of the above plug-ins – or, for smaller sites with a limited number of products, by manually adding Buy Button to your WordPress site – you can truly have the best of both worlds. For more information on integrating Shopify with a new or existing WordPress site, or for any other WordPress related questions, feel free to contact us today.