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July 21, 2022

There’s a lot to consider and many decisions to make when opening an online store. Selling physical products vs. digital products. Creating content on TikTok vs. creating content on Instagram. You may also be considering WordPress vs. Shopify, and which option is best for your business.

You know your business. Before you choose WordPress or Shopify, get to know them a little too.

Comparing WordPress vs. Shopify

Comparing all the bells and whistles of WordPress and Shopify can help you choose a platform for your ecommerce business. Each platform has unique features.

WordPress

WordPress allows you to create an online store, but you can also run a multi-contributor blog, online forums, and video channels. This flexibility means you can create tons of content to bring your customers to you.

You can sell your products directly from your blog posts, and if you already have a WordPress website, you can turn it into a store in the time it takes to add a plugin and your products.

And because WordPress has so many options for content, you can add affiliate links to your content. That means, in addition to selling your products, you can also make a commission for mentioning products from other stores.

WordPress won’t limit the type of products you can sell either. You can sell digital items customers download or physical products you ship to them. You can also create a dropshipping store, where you rely on other vendors or print-on-demand suppliers to ship the products. And if you’d like to create an e-course, you can sell access to a course or a membership.

If your customers are mostly local, you can take bookings for local services online, deposits, or pre-sale payments. You can also market an event. WordPress allows you to take reservations and sell tickets online or via download.

Nexcess offers managed WordPress hosting to help you run your site. WordPress is a great platform for many different businesses. But as a business owner, here’s what you need to know upfront:

  • Pricing. WordPress is free, and so are many of the best ecommerce plugins. But, you will have to pay for site hosting, your theme, and some plugins. You can start a WordPress store for just the cost of hosting at first, but most sellers need paid plugins and themes to help them run and scale their business.
  • Customizations. WordPress offers seemingly infinite theme options, with many ready-to-install ecommerce themes. And you can customize many of these themes without learning to code.
  • Transaction Fees. Most WordPress ecommerce plugins don’t charge a transaction fee. That means payment processors like PayPal and Stripe will charge any payment fees.
  • Payment Methods. Your payment options will depend on the plugin you choose. Some only support PayPal, while others offer Stripe and Square functionality. WooCommerce allows more than 100 payment gateway options.
  • Data Ownership. Any content you put on your site is up to you, meaning as long as your content doesn’t go against your web host’s policies, you’re good to go. You can also collect data about your users, provided you disclose that on your site and follow GDPR guidelines.

Shopify

Shopify is a platform for businesses to build and launch their online stores. Depending on the type of business you have, you can customize your Shopify store to your needs, and you can sell physical and digital products. It also has dropshipping capabilities and integrates with a print-on-demand supplier.

Shopify does make it easy to start your online store. There’s a built-in payment processor and a built-in shipping label printing feature. You can keep inventory and your product information all in one place with easy-to-use management tools.

You’re also not limited to just selling from your site. Shopify offers multichannel marketplace selling on Amazon and eBay, and you can sell on Facebook Shops and Instagram. There are also some built-in marketing tools for Facebook ads, email marketing, and abandoned cart recovery. Plus, if you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can use Shopify as your in-house point-of-sale system.

There’s even 24/7 customer service to help troubleshoot issues you may encounter. But with all that, it’s essential to know the cost and customization options.

  • Pricing. There are five Shopify plans that range from $9 up to about $2,000 a month. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial option as well.
  • Customizations. Shopify offers many professionally-designed themes that work for mobile, tablet, or desktop. You can also purchase templates from third-party designers like Shoptimized and Theme Forest, but Shopify doesn’t have nearly as many theme options as WordPress.
  • Transaction Fees. Shopify offers its own payment processor, but if you don’t use it, you’ll pay an added fee per sale, anywhere from 0.5% to 2%, depending on which Shopify plan you have. And if you want to use the in-store point-of-sale option, you must use Shopify Payments.
  • Payment Methods. You can offer the option to use processors like PayPal, but Shopify will penalize you with a per-transaction fee, as mentioned above.
  • Data Ownership. Shopify can remove content or potentially your whole site if they think you posted something that conflicts with their acceptable use policies. And while you can export product data from your Shopify store, you can’t easily download your pages or blog posts. If you wanted to have them, you’d have to copy and paste that content manually.

Using WordPress for Ecommerce

It’s easy to see that WordPress gives you more freedom and ownership over your ecommerce store than Shopify does. Plus, you don’t have to worry about monthly subscription or transaction fees. And the best way to run your ecommerce store from your WordPress site is by using the WooCommerce plugin.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an easy-to-use free plugin, and it’s what makes your website and ecommerce store. It’s the most popular ecommerce plugin available for WordPress, and you can set it up and configure it yourself if you want, usually in less than an hour. And no matter what theme you use for your WordPress site, you can use WooCommerce. So regardless of what you sell or how your business adapts to your customer needs and the market, WooCommerce can help you.

Ready to Get Started With WooCommerce?

If you’re ready to launch your ecommerce store or migrate your current online store to a WooCommerce site, we can help. Our StoreBuilder allows you to create a customized WordPress store with intuitive design features and live expert support. And our fully managed WooCommerce hosting plans can keep your data secure while allowing you to scale your business. StoreBuilder and managed WooCommerce hosting give you the support and structure you need to build your business quickly and easily.

Lindsey Miller
Lindsey Miller

Lindsey Miller knows WordPress inside and out. She has been working with WordPress since 2010 when she started her first WordPress blog. Since then she has attended WordCamps all over the world and had the honor of speaking at many WordCamps and other WordPress events such as WooSesh and WordFest. She is currently the owner of Content Journey, a content marketing agency that focuses on increasing organic website traffic for their clients through SEO and blogging.