Should I Use Shopify or Wordpress?
This is a question so many people ask themselves when they are getting ready to start a new website. I've worked extensively with both platforms, Shopify and Wordpress, and would like to add my two cents on the pro's and con's of Shopify or Wordpress for an e-commerce website.
Why Should I use Shopify?
For me, the pro's of using Shopify would be the ease of use. However, I've had clients that needed my expertise because they weren't able to navigate Shopify easily. So I would say if you consider yourself intermediately advanced with tech, you would love working with Shopify. I also love the seamless integration with the free stock photography through Burst. Shopify makes it very easy to get your shop up and running quickly through their free templates, in-house domain management, and e-commerce platform. I am also very impressed with Shopify's shipping setup and the App Store offers some great plugins to improve your store's functionality.
However, there are some drawbacks to Shopify.
- Price can be expensive
- Blog platform is less than impressive
- Credit Card Processing fees are high
Cost of Shopify
If you work with a Shopify Partner, you don't have to start paying right away on your Shopify store until you hit 50 sales, which is a nice benefit as a startup shop. I just so happen to be a Shopify Partner and would love to talk to you more about this benefit, so feel free to reach out at any time.
However if you set it up yourself, you will need to pick a plan to start paying on after the trial period is up, which start at $35 a month and just go up from there. Not a huge cost if your store is successful and you are able to keep other operating costs low.
Not My Favorite Blog Platform
I just really love Wordpress' blogging platform. However, if you know what you're doing, Shopify's will get the job done. It's just not as cool...but Shopify's speciality is e-commerce, not blogging. There are a few plugins to improve the Shopify blogging experience and I'm sure it will continue to improve over time.
High Credit Card Processing Fees
Stripe is just expensive, plain and simple. With WooCommerce (Wordpress) you are able to shop out your payment processor through several options of payment gateways. If you sell most of your products in person, you could select the option to allow a different payment method at checkout, like Venmo. And there are other options as well with Shopify, but a lot of them penalize you with additional fees for not using Shopify's processing.
Why Should I Use Wordpress?
Wordpress.org has been around a long time and they are a really cool company. My husband has actually been a Wordpress developer for many years, which has given me an opportunity to get to know this platform really well. I've worked on probably at least a hundred Wordpress websites over the course of a decade as an admin, which means that I can do minor theme edits, blog posts, etc. I am not a programmer by any means but I can navigate the admin dashboard like a pro!
Also, Wordpress only competes with Shopify because of WooCommerce. So if you need an e-commerce store and you want to use Wordpress, you will need to install Woo. However, Wordpress/WooCommerce have almost unlimited options for payment processing. I've seen businesses save almost 50% of what Stripe would charge by utilizing WooCommerce over Shopify.
Wordpress' blogging platform kicks Shopify's blogging butt, hands down. The new Gutenberg block building integration on Wordpress allows you to do some really cool features on your blog posts.
Also, I feel like there are better free options on Wordpress for plugins. It seems like most of Shopify's plugins only offer a paid plan, whereas most of Wordpress' plugins have a free plan...but you usually almost always want to upgrade to the paid plan because of better functionality.
There are of course some disadvantages to Wordpress.
- Must be tech savvy
- Not as sexy as Shopify (I still love you WP!)
- Broken Plugins are the worst
Are you tech savvy?
If so, you have probably already messed around a little bit on Wordpress and I don't need to explain anything. If you aren't you might want to start at Wordpress.com, the more user-friendly but less customizable Wordpress option. My husband has built some amazing, 100% custom Wordpress sites for clients...and they cannot use them to save their lives. They need the functionality of the customization though so they need a lot of hand holding in order to update their sites and make changes. Which is great for business but frustrating for the user. Again, there are plugins that make the User Experience a little bit friendlier.
If you are selling, you will need to install WooCommerce as your product and store pages, which is fairly easy to do...if you are tech savvy.
Shopify has nailed the marketing and branding. Wordpress and Woo have nailed the product. I think there is a lot going on in the background and some competition is healthy because it forces companies to improve and rethink their business strategy. So I'm willing to put $5 down and bet that Wordpress/Woo/Automattic are working hard to keep up with sex appeal and release some cool new branding within the next 12 months...or maybe they are taking Craiglist's approach and keeping it old school. I could be totally wrong. Either way, I think Shopify appeal's to people who get sucked in to branding and marketing...which is a huge majority of the human population. We can be so shallow sometimes...
I Hate Broken Plugins
It's no secret that plugins break. And when they break, sites can break. Troubleshooting a broken plugin is time consuming and costly. So if you install plugins on your Wordpress/WooCommerce site, be choosy about your plugins like a millennial is about their tweets. It's not just plugins that break. Themes don't always have a very long life span either. So do some heavy research before you decide on a theme, if you are going the theme route in Wordpress.
What's the Best Solution For My E-Commerce Store?
I'd love to discuss options for you if you are having a hard time trying to decide on Shopify or Wordpress as an E-Commerce solution for your business. They both have some really great features and advantages and I can highly recommend either company. It ultimately depends on your needs and what will be best for your goals. So hit me up any time! And if you have thoughts on this subject, leave a comment so we can virtually debate this uber hot topic!
Thanks for reading,