Shopify and WordPress are undoubtedly two of the top platforms available for building your website.
When it comes to choosing what is best for your business, consider which selling points of each platform is going to benefit your site the most.
Our team at Kwd have taken a look at Shopify vs WordPress to identify what their strengths and weaknesses are; and how their different offerings can benefit different website and business needs.
This comparison is designed to help you choose what platform is going to be the best for your business and website.
We’ve looked at the differences between the two in terms of pros and cons, prices, themes and templates, ecommerce tools, and marketing and SEO features.
First, some clarification on what differentiates the two platforms:
Shopify Vs WordPress: What are the main differences between the two?
Shopify is a simple to use, all tools inclusive online store for ecommerce providers. It hosts your ecommerce site as well as providing you with all the things you need to make your store functional.
It’s the most logical option for people who don’t have much experience with the technical side of managing websites; being a fully hosted site with 24/7 support if you do run into problems.
Shopify is designed for ecommerce sites, so its features cater to this purpose.
With very little or no technical knowledge, you can build a fully functional ecommerce website via Shopify – paying a relatively small monthly amount to keep your site live.
The amount you pay per month depends on which plan you choose – more on that later.
WordPress, on the other hand, is an open-source platform, so you have to host your site yourself.
You can use it to build your own website, using coding and / or plugins to enhance and customise your site the way you want it. For this reason, WordPress is easier to use if you have some technical knowledge and/or coding ability.
WordPress is originally a blogging platform, so it’s not primarily designed for ecommerce like Shopify is, and doesn’t have the same degree of in-built ecommerce tools.
You can use it very effectively for ecommerce though, with the use of plugins like WooCommerce. Both WordPress and WooCommerce are free to use, though will involve added costs.
WordPress.org offers more advanced features, so we at Kwd are going to be comparing this version of the platform throughout the rest of this article.
Shopify: Pros and Cons
- Coding and technical experience is not needed for Shopify. Virtually anyone can use Shopify right off the bat – technical knowledge is not required to navigate or manage it, as it’s very easy for newcomers to use.
- Because it is designed specifically for ecommerce, all the sales features you need are built into the system.
- Hosting and security costs are not externally paid – you only have to pay a small fee to keep your site live.
- Changing your theme is complicated and a hassle, requiring complete reformatting of all your content
- Not quite as easy to design as other platforms, with no drag and drop capabilities.
- You need to pay more for transactions that are not made through Shopify Payments. These will cost you around 0.5% – 2% for each transaction.
WordPress: Pros and Cons
- You can do a lot more with WordPress – there is greater flexibility in its features. WordPress is a much better platform if you want to customise your site to a high degree.
- Its editor function is slightly easier to use than Shopify – utilising editable blocks that you can drag and drop.
- WordPress is one of the oldest and most popular platforms out there – so there’s a wealth of resources and info online from other users that you can access.
- To get the most out of WordPress, you may need some technical knowledge.
- Though its ‘free-to-use’ there are necessary added costs – and these can climb up
- You need to source your own security, web hosting and create your own domain name.
Shopify Vs WordPress: Prices
You can try out Shopify with a free 14-day trial. There are three pricing plans:
- Shopify Basic
- Shopify Advanced
Pricing ranges from $29 per month – $299 per month. Anything you would need to build your site will be provided in these plans.
WordPress, in comparison, is a free to use platform. However, as we’ve noted, there are additional costs you’ll need to pay for a professional website.
The fact that it’s free can seem to be a big selling point, however set up and maintenance costs could build up to be more than you might think.
You’ll have to consider the cost for:
- Hosting: Between $5 – $100 monthly.
- Themes. There are free, very basic options; but for better templates, you’ll have to pay more. You also have to pay to alter your chosen template, and for a custom design, you could be looking at paying thousands.
- Plug-ins. WooCommerce is free (which is definitely a bonus). However other plug-ins could set you back a fair amount (potentially a few hundred dollars). There can also be monthly costs.
Costs for the above can build up. Whereas with Shopify’s pricing plan, costs are transparent and you know what you’re paying provides you with all the features you need.
Shopify Vs WordPress: Themes & Templates
These are how you layout your website, and are super important to the overall look and feel of your site. Usability is also important here, as is screen responsiveness.
Shopify has a pretty good range to choose from, starting with 10 free templates and over 60 that are paid (these will cost you $140 USD upwards.)
WordPress definitely has a lot more themes for selection – over 1,000 just for ecommerce alone.
There are also templates provided by plugins and developers available – but we recommend going with a WordPress designed theme if you can.
The reason being that these are more likely to be screen responsive, and less likely to glitch or crash from updates.
If you know coding or have a coder available to you, you can pretty much make your WordPress site look however you want – and this is a big plus.
Shopify Vs WordPress: Ecommerce Features
If your site is going to be an ecommerce site, you need to compare the ecommerce features of the two platforms.
Your ecommerce tools and features are what you use to help you sell whatever it is that you are selling on your site. So they’re going to be a super important factor in any ecommerce site.
The main difference between Shopify and WordPress in this regard is that Shopify provides you with ecommerce tools; whereas with WordPress, you’ll have to use plug-ins.
Shopify Ecommerce Tools:
As we’ve noted in our pricing section, Shopify offers three pricing plans – and all of these are without limits as to how many products you can sell.
Shipping, product inventory and analytic features are all included too. You can opt for more advanced features by buying them in the Shopify store.
Super useful ecommerce tools Shopify offers include:
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- Discount Codes
- Multi-Channel Integration
WordPress Ecommerce Tools:
WordPress, as we’ve noted, doesn’t actually include ecommerce features. However, everything you need can be accessed via plugins.
It’s one of the most commonly used plugins for ecommerce on WordPress, and is built by the same company.
Using WooCommerce, you can:
- Sell any amount of products
- Write blogs
- Have customers leave reviews and ratings for products
- Sort and filter products
You can also use Ecwid plug-in for WordPress, which will allow the following:
- Saving of products
- Checkouts as a guest
- Calculate shipping
- Language translation
Shopify Vs WordPress: Marketing & SEO Tools
Shopify Marketing / SEO:
You can easily connect your Shopify store with Facebook and Instagram stores on Shopify – making selling on social media much more accessible.
This platform also helps you keep contacted with customers with abandoned cart recovery emails and order confirmation emails.
However if you want to take your email marketing further, you have to use third party tools.
Integrating with Mailchimp for example, will require an integration tool.
Shopify makes SEO pretty simple, offering the option to edit titles, descriptions, metadata, URL and site structure.
WordPress Marketing / SEO:
In terms of social media, there’s also a massive amount of plugins to choose from when it comes to integrating your social.
WordPress also doesn’t offer direct integration with email marketing, but there is a much larger range of plugins available for this feature.
There’s also a lot more marketing and analytic plugins available in the WordPress library that can be used to enhance your marketing efforts.
For WordPress SEO, you’ll also require a plugin. Yoast SEO is the most commonly used and generally the best. This can be downloaded for free and upgraded to the advanced version for $69 USD.
Kwd Final Verdict: Shopify Vs WordPress
Both Shopify and WordPress are, in Kwd’s opinion, the strongest platforms available online.
There’s definitely more opportunity with WordPress, although it may take a slightly higher budget and more technical knowledge / learning to get there.
Shopify is the overall winner in terms of ecommerce thanks to its ease of use for newcomers, and in-built ecommerce tools. However, for a platform that can allow you to do it all (with or without ecommerce), WordPress offers more capability then Shopify.
Both are generally strong across the board; however some benefits may be of more use to you, depending on your business type, goals and budget.
What Is Best For Your Business?
What is best for your business depends on which of the factors we’ve listed are most important to the success of your site.
If you have relatively little (or no) technical knowledge and are looking to build an ecommerce site, we at Kwd recommend you go with Shopify.
This platform is undoubtedly the best option for those who don’t code and are looking for a pretty straight-forward online store.
If you have experience coding (or are keen to learn, or work with a coder), WordPress is probably the way to go. This platform offers far more options when it comes to customising your site.
It has a much greater wealth of resources and info, and there’s a huge library of plug-ins available which can enable you to enhance your site further.
All in all, both platforms are excellently designed and offer their own benefits. Choosing what is best for your business will differ with each business, each website.
What platform do you think is best for your business, and why? Let us know in the comments.