shopify vs wordpress

So you've finally decided to build up a new online store or migrate the existing one. Either way - it's about time! The next step is picking up the right platform. So far, the most common market offerings for startups and SMBs are Shopify vs WordPress.

Both platforms have their strong sides and weaknesses. Instead of being caught in detail, we need to determine which complies with your needs and resources best. Let's take a look at how to leverage WordPress or Shopify for eCommerce.

Table of Contents:

  1. Shopify vs WordPress. What's the Difference?
  2. Shopify vs WordPress: How Much is Too Much?
  3. How Much Time Do You Need to Build a Store?
  4. What Should You Pay Attention to?
    1. Basic Requirements: User Friendliness, Mobile Apps and AMP
    2. Managing Content and SEO
    3. Themes and Other Key eCommerce Features
    4. Payment Options, Transaction Fees and Taxes
    5. Maintenance and Security Challenges
    6. Exploring the Extensions
    7. Customer Support
  5. eCommerce by Shopify. Pros & Cons
  6. WordPress for eCommerce. Pros & Cons
  7. Shopify vs WordPress: Wrapping Up

What is Shopify vs WordPress?

Shopify is a SaaS eCommerce platform. WordPress is two-fold: a hosted blogging platform (WordPress.com) and downloadable self-hosted software (WordPress.org.). Each software has its share of pros and cons, so to make the right decision between them, it is recommended to consider the budget and the overall business goals.

Shopify works as a website builder that everyone (i.e., people without technical skills) can build an online store. Being a SaaS platform, it comes without the hurdles of managing hosting maintenance. In simple English, you rent a cloud service on a per-user/per-month basis. This gives you straightforward access to the Shopify features and benefits online.

Have you ever heard about a WordPress store? Perhaps, not. Because WordPress is an open-source CMS (aka Content Management System). You can download a self-hosted version from WordPress.org and change the code as you like.

Hesitating which platform will suit your business best? Try a free test migration with Cart2Cart now to clear things up!

With WordPress, you can build any website, but you need an eCommerce plugin to run a store. One of the most popular is WooCommerce. The plugin creates a powerful pairing with WordPress, and it is open-source too. So you can customize it any way you want (if you have technical skills or a team). Read more in our WooCommerce review and Shopify vs WooCommerce comparison.

shopify vs wordpress

If WooCommerce to Shopify migration is on the horizon - the post How to Migrate from WooCommerce to Shopify will help you go through the switch stress-free.

Shopify vs WordPress: How Much is Too Much?

We all care about expenses and keep on looking for ways to cut back on spending without a quality loss. Starting an online store requires costs, but further maintenance may have a biting price too. Instead of burning a pile of money, you are better to calculate ahead.

Shopify offers a 14-days trial and four pricing packages. The higher the price, the more advanced functionality.

  • Basic Shopify for $29/mo
  • Shopify for $79/mo
  • Advanced Shopify for large businesses for $299/mo
  • Shopify Plus focuses on enterprises or business that need advanced API, uptime or support. Drop them a line to get a price
shopify vs wordpress

When you read: WordPress is free, hold on. You know what they say: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. You can get only software for free from WordPress.org. From there, challenge yourself with

  • the hosting costs from $8/mo
  • a domain name goes from $2-20/year
  • the SSL certificate from $149
  • the theme from free to $5K+
  • WooCommerce is free, but the other plugins (payment, SEO, email marketing, drop shipping, inventory management and the like) go from $25 each
  • possible technical issues will need developers services. The costs estimation depends on the tasks

It all comes down to that Shopify may be cheaper in comparison to running a store on WordPress. Besides, each Shopify plan includes hosting, SSL certificate, and a domain name.

Watch the video from the WebsiteToolTester with the comparison of both platforms:

Shopify vs WordPress. How Much Time Do You Need to Build a Store?

To get started with Shopify, you need to choose a plan, buy it and sign in. Naturally, you add your products, descriptions, write posts on a blog, and so on. Simply set up your store ready to "open wide" for customers online.

shopify vs wordpress

With WordPress, get ready to put a bit more effort and show a higher level of mastery. First off, you need to buy a domain, then handle a hosting question. You can host it by yourself or by third-party services. Your next step is to choose a theme, install plugins, and configure everything to make your shop go live. Unlike with Shopify, the journey with WordPress for eCommerce will be longer.

If you are going to use WooCommerce, then you will need a developer to configure and customize your software from WordPress.org.

Shopify WordPress Integration: Take Advantage of The Great Combo

Shopify vs WordPress: What Should You Pay Attention to?

Basic Requirements: User Friendliness, Mobile Apps and AMP

Overall, Shopify and WordPress (with WooCommerce) are quite comprehensible for managing. There is a left-side panel with the menu tabs on each platform, and editing/publishing options are similar. Great news for those who plan to add products or change any setting on the go. The eCommerce platforms go with mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. As for the AMP, you need to install plugins to the pages responsive either on Shopify vs WordPress.

shopify vs wordpress

Managing Content and SEO

WordPress has more advantages in content management as it stores versions of pages and posts that can be rolled back anytime. Besides, it is possible to improve the meta descriptions and URLs for getting Google or Bing crawlers' love. Yet, you should install plugins (e.g., Yoast) to your WordPress store for better SEO performance. The blogging options for WordPress are much stronger.

In its turn, Shopify offers content structuring and navigation to match the customer's search. The platform has built-in SEO features (meta titles and descriptions, headings, canonical tags, image alt text, sitemap, and others) to “find a common language” with the search engines. Also, you can add Google Analytics in the "Preferences" section on the user dashboard.

Shopify vs Shopify Plus: Comprehensive Review

Themes and Other Key eCommerce Features

Templates or themes are the basic layouts of your website. Shopify suggests over 70 themes - 10 of them are free. Another benefit is that all templates are mobile responsive.

shopify vs wordpress

Talking about WordPress, the number of themes is (roughly speaking) endless. Many of them were developed by plugins owners. These themes are of various quality, free or paid, but not all of them responsive. Either way, it would be wise to choose an eCommerce theme created by WordPress to avoid a clash after the future software update.

shopify vs wordpress

Shopify has built-in eCommerce features. WordPress can have options that are enabled by an installed plugin. Both Shopify vs WordPress support selling physical and digital goods. Now a bit more about eCommerce functions.

  • Shopify provides abandoned cart recovery, discount codes, dropshipping, integration with social media, and global marketplaces, Shopify product attributes. As for the products, you can add descriptions, pictures, set prices, manage stock, and organize products with types, vendors, or collections.

But Shopify has two kinds of limitations. The first one deals with options and variants. You can set three options (e.g., size, color, and style) and up to 100 variants. The second one is a ban on certain products type (e.g., gambling or adult content.)

  • Let’s look at WooCommerce features. You add the product's basic information: a description, an image, a price, stock, category, and tags. If you need a dropshipping option, you can install an extension. A plus is that neither WordPress nor WooCommerce set any limitations. You can also install other plugins to advance product management.

Hard to believe that WooCommerce amazes users with its diversity in terms of design? Go for more to put doubts behind. Also, check out our ecommerce engine for small business post.

Payment Options, Transaction Fees and Taxes

The multiple payment gateways play a critical role in how much sales your online store does. Shopify and WooCommerce enable the major payments: credit and debit cards, PayPal, Stripe, Square, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and others.

It is worth noting that Shopify has its payment gateway. It supports major currencies and doesn't charge a transactional fee. The vendor takes 0.5% to 2% per transaction if you use other gateways.

For WordPress, payments are available via plugins, and they don't charge you an extra fee per transaction.

Shopify vs WordPress enables you to display prices with and without taxes. What's more, the platforms can calculate the taxes depending on your location.

Shopify Payments: The In-Depth 2021 Review

Maintenance and Security Challenges

Don't lose your sleep over security. Shopify is a SaaS platform that means the vendor handles all security and updates in the background. They also inspire whitehat hackers to test their platform for breaches in security. Shopify delivers an SSL certificate and supports two steps authentication. Besides, it is PCI compliant what is vital for accepting credit card payments.

shopify vs wordpress

Things are a bit different if you chose WordPress and WooCommerce. If you download and set up WordPress by yourself, then security issues are lying on your shoulders. Another way, you can hire a third-party service to handle your WordPress eCommerce store, maintenance, and security. However, WooCommerce has no PCI compliance as a default feature.

Exploring the Extensions

The retail market keeps evolving and offers dozens of third-party extensions to advance your platform. The most popular are lead generation, SEO, analytics, email marketing, product reviews, outreach tools, multilingual capabilities, etc. Each from Shopify vs WordPress bring a handful of various paid and free plugins and extensions.

Shopify offers APIs and App Store so you can integrate third-party plugins or even create and integrate your own extension. The costs for paid apps vary and some of them even have a recurring subscription.

Wondering how to choose the best Shopify add-ons to use? Read the post about the best Shopify apps to get insightful recommendations.

WooCommerce has far more extensions and plugins due to the simpler WordPress submitting process. You can also hire a developer and create your plugin, but the customization of WooCommerce will be cheaper and faster.

Customer Support

Even if you use the most intuitive software, questions and problems may still arise. With Shopify, you can get help 24/7 via email, phone, or live chat. There is also self-service that offers customer community, video tutorials, and webinars.

Being open-source, WordPress doesn't enable dedicated customer service. Thus, there are dozens of WordPress forums and communities. It delivers free helpful stuff, but be ready to sort out the information - not all tips are useful and true.

WooCommerce provides the documentation, tutorials, guides and a user forum on its official website.

shopify vs wordpress

As for the other plugins and extensions support, you should turn to developers of those products for help.

Don't know how to choose the best eCommerce platform? Read out post to get all your questions answered!

Before you jump to any conclusions, let's check out the advantages and drawbacks of Shopify vs WordPress.

eCommerce by Shopify. Pros & Cons

shopify vs wordpress
  • requires no technical skills to setting up
  • the bulk upload and comprehensive dashboard helps to go on selling fast
  • 70+ responsive themes designed by Shopify
  • enables the basic features for selling and scaling your online business
  • supports more than 100 payment gateways and in-house gateway
  • content management offers fewer features than it is available in WordPress
  • has arbitrary limits for products types and options
  • has built-in SEO features for a store optimization and better ranking
  • the vendor handles the updates and security
  • 24/7 human support via email, chat or phone and customer forum
  • doesn’t take transaction fees only with Shopify payment

WordPress for eCommerce. Pros & Cons

shopify vs wordpress
  • more technical but delivers extensive customization
  • requires more time and efforts, plus to sell you need to install eCommerce or another eCommerce plugin
  • thousands of themes that come free or paid and the quality varies a lot
  • eCommerce plugins include main features, but you need to search for other tools to run a store efficiently
  • payment and transaction fees depend on the plugin you use
  • content management is more feature-rich
  • doesn’t impose limits on products or content
  • need to install a paid SEO plugin
  • you should keep an eye on hosting, WordPress and the plugins updates
  • you have to maintain the servers and platform or purchase the third-party service to handle these tasks
  • no human support, but lots of tips and tutorial available for free

FAQ Block

Which is better Shopify or WordPress?

If you're looking for a quick start for your business with minimum tech adjustments, it is better to use Shopify. This all-in-one platform has all the needed functionality to run a successful eCommerce business. Besides, it has a huge app store. But in case you plan to dedicate your attention to the slightest details of the e-shop and create everything from scratch, go for WordPress. But get ready to do some tech and coding activities.

Can you use Shopify with WordPress?

Absolutely. Shopify integrates with WordPress with the help of a Buy Button. All you have to do is create this button on Shopify and then embed the special code to the WordPress site.

Can migrate website from WordPress to Shopify?

Sure. You can do it either manually by exporting data from WordPress site and importing it to Shopify. Also, it is possible to hire a developer and get the job done for you. Alternatively, you can always use and automated migration service Cart2Cart and move the eCommerce records yourself with no tech experience needed.

Shopify vs WordPress: Wrapping Up

The eCommerce platform is a life-giving part of any online retail business. Let me guess: "So why should I use Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce?" has sprinkled your mind. Because these platforms are tailored to serving startups and SMBs. Each of them will help you to provide a hassle-free experience for your customers.

How to make a wise choice? Here is the last tip for today. If you already have a WordPress website, then you are better to choose WooCommerce. Yet, if you want to start an online business from scratch, it makes more sense to turn to Shopify.

Сonsidering switching your current store to Shopify or WooCommerce? Reach out Cart2Cart sales managers, who will help you choose the best migration strategy based on your needs and requirements.

Run a free Demo today to try the Cart2Cart service in action!