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The LAB | February 25, 2021

Shopify vs WordPress: Which Platform Should You Pick

A battle of E-Commerce solution Giants. A proverbial Godzilla vs Kong of building e-commerce sites. For startup companies looking to start. WordPress arguably the radioactive giant lizard of the two. The Alpha Kaiju (giant monster for non-nerds) of the two. WordPress has been here for a lot longer than its sparring partner (since 2003 compared to the other camp’s 2006 launch) more versatile and a bit bigger of the two. While Shopify is the giant Monke (yes it’s the correct spelling for this meme usage) of the two battling titans.  Shopify is more specialised and an all in one option. Both of them are formidable choices.

Now the question is… Which one is a better fit for your business? Were here to help you shed a light on that. Let’s start with Shopify.

Shopify

What is Shopify? Basically Shopify is an application that’s been designed specifically for online sellers / merchants/ entrepreneurs to build and operate their own online store spaces where the seller can offer both physical and or digital wares.

The great thing about Shopify is that even novices can design their own online stores since they offer a range of templates and customisation options to get your business site on brand.

Since Shopify is an “all in one” shop everything is hosted in the company’s servers. Web hosting or installing any kind of software is something you shouldn’t worry about since the platform is designed to run out of the box.

Shopify is a subscription service. This means you personally don’t own a copy of the software and you pay a monthly fee to use it. All your data runs on the cloud. SO you can access it anywhere. At the same time you are fully dependent on Shopify’s servers. That can be a pro and a con depending on how hands on you are / want to be with the digital side of your business.

Benefits of Using Shopify

  1. Easy to Setup: Since it’s an all in one shop, setting up in Shopify is easy. It’s basically a complete solution for those who want a quick and painless way to start their digital store. Coding knowhow is not necessary to build and run the store. The user interface is intuitive and user-friendly enough for the casual user that it is very compelling feature for startups.
  2. Appealing Template Styling: Shopify offers professional-grade templates. You can get access to these templates so you can easily create visually appealing digital stores. If you have coding experience and or have access to a web design and dev team, they can create or modify an existing template for your shop to have a unique look.
  3. Adapt with Apps: You can customise your app with third party apps and plugins. Due to the popularity of the platform you can add any number of extra features you might need to your store and User interface.
  4. Security: With money, personal and financial information on the line, security for you and your customer is of upmost importance. Since Shopify is an all in one service they take care of that aspect of your business as well.
  5. Performance: Since everything is hosted by Shopify you can expect fast loading speeds, excellent Mobile speeds, SEO, customer support and easy payments. Definitely a one stop shot for e-commerce

Disadvantage of Shopify

  1. Monthly Fees. All the Time. For Everything: Shopify is a subscription service we know that. But what you might not know is that the third party apps you add on to your basic Shopify account also tacks on their own monthly subscription fee on top of what Shopify already charges. In the long run Shopify will get gradually more expensive compared to a self-hosted service like WordPress,
  2. Less Customizable, less unique: Unless you go full on from the ground up website with a dev team, you will be at the mercy of their template choices. I’m not saying it’s bad, in fact they are good and looks professional, but if I picked a theme because it looks good then most likely someone else will definitely think its look good. Just like some people dislike twinning in their outfits, having someone using the exact same website look kind of detracts from the unique personality of your business. As for customisability, Shopify is less customisable, some of it’s functions cannot be modified. For people who like full control of their site and loves to tweak and tinker with them it will definitely be a turnoff.
  3. Lifespan: Remember My Space, Multiply and Friendster? Yeah the biggest things in social media at that time? Where are they now? Platforms come and go. That is the same with Shopify. Yes they are a very convenient all in one platform. But what if they fold or restructure. What happens then? If you want to move your store and data to a different platform… It will not be a smooth transition. Shopify is an excellent way to grow with but it would be wise to think ahead.

 

WordPress

The elder statesman of the two. WordPress has been around since 2003. The thing is before we start going deeper we need to be more specific because there are two versions of WordPress. They are Hosted WordPress and Self-Hosted WordPress

Hosted WordPress is basically like Shopify, a service where you pay a monthly fee, so no need to discuss that further.

Self-Hosted WordPress – is what we’ll be doing a more in depth discussion here today. Self-Hosted WordPress is a software you get directly from wordpress.org. You install it to your own server and since its open source so you can tweak it to perfectly suit to your needs.

 

Benefits of using WordPress

  1. Free – It’s free. Did I mention it’s free because it is… Free, that is. Currently the most popular CMS (content management system) because it can be installed quickly and pretty much without hassle.
  2. Customisation – Plugins and customisation are the name of the game for WordPress. From converting the website itself into a full-on Ecommerce store with WooCommerce or adding different features you can potentially find more plugins in WordPress than Shopify. Aside from the plugins, you can tinker with the themes to make it your own. Here’s the catch you might need coding knowledge or access to a developer to fully appreciate the flexibility of the software.
  3. Extensions and Features galore – From built in analytics, SEO, geo tagging and data loss prevention WordPress is not lacking in built-in features but if it’s not enough and you want more functionality and you have access to devs or have coding knowledge yourself then you can add additional functionality with extensions. This is the selling point for WordPress. When in the hands of someone knowledgeable you can do wonders with it.

Disadvantages of WordPress

  1. Natively not an Ecommerce platform – WordPress is not naturally an ecommerce platform. Plugins like Woocommerce transforms it so with that, it might lack some of the features a dedicated ecommerce platform might have.
  2. Project overheads will increase – WooCommerce and WordPress is free. That’s good but the additional extensions, themes and ecommerce features might want to incorporate into your store might not be. Thus costs will increase along with functionality. This will also include the cost of hiring a WordPress developers to help you run and maintain the website.
  3. Frequent Updates – With ecommerce sites updates are a real pain in the backside. But they are a necessary evil. Sometimes an update will render your site inaccessible to major browsers. Some might have conflicts with your plugins or extensions. It can be a real headache sometimes so some people just don’t bother and just go for other platforms.

It’s a Big Choice

If you plan on building a digital store. You need to weigh your options. Do you go with an all in one service like Shopify or do you want a more custom site, with WordPress. Both have pros and cons. Still confused? Honestly for professional use and for the long haul we prefer using WordPress since you are in control of your data and all the aspects of your site.

You have invested a ton of your time and energy in building up your business. Maybe it’s time to also invest in the digital side of it. From Web design to formulating and implementing a Digital Marketing strategy, we specialise in removing the stress and frustration small companies face when navigating the online world. Click here to learn more on what services we can be of service to you.

Contact us and we can probably shed more light on what you and your company needs.

 

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