WordPress vs Shopify for Your Ecommerce Store - and the Winner Is?

WordPress vs Shopify for Your Ecommerce Store – and the Winner Is?

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An ecommerce site is crucial for brand credibility and exposure, acting as a stable anchor amidst fierce competition and the evolving e-commerce landscape. So, when introducing your ecommerce business, which website builder reigns supreme? Here’s the lowdown on WordPress vs Shopify.

Let’s discover what the best ecommerce website builders are made of as WordPress and Shopify face each other head-on and compete for the top spot in this website-building tool battle.

The Ultimate Website-Building Tool PvP: WordPress vs. Shopify

Before heading straight to the showdown, we first have to introduce our star players, lay out the facts about each software, and, ultimately, familiarize ourselves with these tools. What do these website builders offer for aspiring ecommerce merchants, and how do they work?

Player 1: WordPress

closeup shot of WordPress’ interface on a laptop screen against a warm yellow-orange background

WordPress is a tough contender to beat, having been around since the early days of the internet and reportedly powering over a considerable chunk of the entire web (43%) in 2024.

Although it was originally meant for simple blog post-making in 2003, the open-source content management system has evolved and now allows users to develop any website or app regardless of complexity.

At its basic, WordPress boasts user-friendly features that appeal to budding online entrepreneurs: 

  • Countless plugins
  • Customizable interface
  • Content flexibility
  • Data security
  • Website safety,
  • and more!

Further Reading: 15 Powerful WordPress Ecommerce Plugins

Hosted WordPress

WordPress is free to download and use during the entire website creation process. However, if you plan to create a WordPress site for your online store, you may need to spend a few dollars on web hosting to launch and publish your site officially.

WordPress has partnered with web hosting services, such as BlueHost, Hostinger, and BigScoots (which powers this WordPress site), so that users can host their websites on WordPress.com servers. Hosted WordPress offers various design features and tools to help owners maintain and run their websites.

Users can choose among these pricing options depending on business size and need:

Table comparing the pricing plans of Wordpress

Self-Hosted WordPress

You can launch an online store for your brand with the self-hosted version of WordPress, WordPress.org. With WordPress.org, users can download their created website content from WordPress and upload it to their web server, giving them more freedom and flexibility to communicate their brand.

Hosting service fees and domain name charges still apply for self-hosted WordPress sites. Hosting services may cost anywhere from $3 to $50 per month, while domain name charges cost at least $18 annually.

Further Reading: The 15 Best WordPress Hosting Sites for 2024

WooCommerce

WordPress has countless resources ready for maximizing a website’s features—enter plugins. One of WordPress’ secret weapons for online sellers is WooCommerce, a plugin specifically made with ecommerce features to enhance the online selling capabilities of a website.

This ecommerce plugin seamlessly integrates with WordPress and allows users to add, edit, arrange, and manage their product listings without breaking a sweat.

Further Reading: WooCommerce vs Shopify: And the Winner Is?

Player 2: Shopify

shot of a laptop on a wooden office table with its screen showing the Shopify interface

Unlike WordPress, Shopify is a platform dedicated to online stores and caters to ecommerce merchants and customers. Shopify has over 4 million sites and is one of the primary sites for online store creation in over 170 countries.

Functionality

Shopify offers several options for users to conduct their ecommerce operations:

✅ Setting up a Shopify store
✅ Completing in-person transactions with the Shopify POS app
✅ Selling through other online sales channels like Facebook or Instagram

Because it focuses primarily on online shopping, it’s unsurprising that Shopify has exceptional ecommerce functionality and features, including integrating essential ecommerce tasks like inventory management, payment processing, and shipping.

The ecommerce platform also operates with a cloud-based system, allowing users to access their designs and sites from any connected device. Besides enhanced accessibility, the cloud-based system allows Shopify sites to accommodate tons of site visitors in anticipation of an online store’s inevitable growth.

Most importantly, Shopify is a fully hosted ecommerce platform, meaning Shopify users can create their ecommerce sites without worrying about web hosting and the additional costs that come with it. Users can also rest assured that their site data is entirely backed up and ready for recovery if things turn south.

Further Reading: 15 Powerful WordPress Ecommerce Themes to Build Your Next Online Store With

Pricing Plans

Shopify offers various pricing options to accommodate a user’s company size and business needs. Shopify has three primary pricing plans for interested customers: Basic, Shopify, and Advanced.

Table comparing the pricing plans of Shopify

The Basic plan is ideal for businesses operated by a single person and small businesses. With Basic, users can set up a Shopify store with blogging opportunities, publish unlimited product listings, add two staff accounts, and have access to basic performance reports for $25 per month.

On the other hand, the Shopify plan is ideal for growing small businesses. This plan offers everything from the Basic pricing plan with additional features, such as ecommerce task automation, access to standard performance reports, and support for five staff accounts for $65 per month.

Lastly, the Advanced plan is perfect for medium to large businesses. In addition to the features included in the previous plan, Advanced plan users can also use shipping rates from third-party apps for checkouts, collect international taxes during checkout, access advanced performance reports, and add 15 staff accounts for $399 per month. 

Alternative Solutions

Shopify also offers alternative options for users with different business needs: Shopify Starter, Shopify Lite, and Shopify Plus.

Table comparing the alternative pricing plans of Shopify

Shopify Starter is offered to online sellers entirely new to the ecommerce industry. With Starter, new merchants can set up a simple online store and continue their transactions through sales channels like social media platforms and messaging apps.

Buying the plan for $5 a month will give users access to basic performance reports, the Spotlight theme, and the Shopify Markets tools to encourage international growth.

Shopify Lite is ideal for merchants who want an online store but don’t enjoy managing it. The Lite plan supports one staff account, gives access to basic performance reports, and enables users to use the Shopify POS system to conduct in-person transactions for $29 monthly.

Shopify Plus gives users a huge advantage with support for unlimited staff accounts, an option to customize checkouts, additional store settings, support for development and expansion stores, access to advanced Shopify apps and resources, and more for $2000 per month. For these reasons, this plan is perfect for high-volume businesses. 

Further Reading: How to Ace Shopify Marketing in 2024: 5 Best Strategies to Try

Crucial Factors for Ecommerce Website-Making

The fight for the best ecommerce website builder title doesn’t stop at each tool’s introduction. For a clearer contrast, let’s continue the Shopify vs. WordPress match and delve deeper into the discussion by comparing these tools based on essential website-making factors.

Round 1 – Ease of Use

Website developers can easily create and launch their own online stores, but not every business owner is highly adept at web development. One of the most crucial features users consider when deciding on tools is how user-friendly they are, saving the non-tech savvy, first-time entrepreneurs from headaches like contacting tech support or dealing with account suspensions and drafting appeal letters

Hence, a website builder tool must be simple enough for beginners and experts alike. As you may have guessed, this category relies heavily on whether or not the website builder uses coding to design and program the site. The less coding one encounters while using the tool, the easier it will be for web dev amateurs.

Shopify rises to the occasion in this category. Shopify users don’t need to be an expert on or even be familiar with anything related to coding. They can simply design and develop a Shopify store without inputting a single code.

Meanwhile, WordPress offers users better customization options and functionality, but this comes at a price. The website creation process can be complicated for more complex websites. In addition, users would have to find hosting services for the site launch.

Shopify offers an easier and quicker site set-up for clients, making it the clear winner in this round.

Further Reading: How To Build An Ecommerce Website: A Step-by-Step Guide

Round 2 – Availability of Resources

Next, we must compare both tools depending on their available resources. Users, especially those with little to no experience and knowledge of web development and design, will greatly benefit from the availability of such resources when creating their online store.

As a hosted platform, Shopify allows users to access a wide range of resources directly within their Shopify dashboard. Some key resources available to Shopify users include:

  • An app store with a vast selection of plugins and apps
  • A theme store that offers a diverse collection of professionally designed themes tailored to different industries and aesthetics
  • Support center, which provides extensive step-by-step tutorials and guides on how to navigate the Shopify interface
  • Community forums, where an active community of users and experts can give advice, share experiences, gain insights and collaborate

On the other hand, being an open-source system, WordPress has a vast and thriving community that contributes to its availability of resources. Like Shopify, WordPress has resources, such as:

  • A plugin directory containing a vast collection of plugins with a wide range of functionalities and features
  • A theme marketplace with a vast selection of free and premium themes to customize the design and appearance of websites
  • Support forums and documentation, where users can seek help, ask questions, and find solutions to common issues
  • A developer community that offers tutorials, code snippets, and resources related to web development

WordPress also offers tools like a business name generator and a logo maker.

Both Shopify and WordPress have extensive resources available to users, but the nature of these resources differs. The choice ultimately falls on the user’s needs and preferences. Hence, for this round, it’s a tie.

Further Reading: The 19 Best WordPress Plugins for Business Blogs in 2024

Round 3 – SEO-Friendliness

Another crucial component to look into is each website builder’s SEO features and tools. Search engine optimization (SEO) allows businesses and online stores to reach their intended audience, gives brands the exposure they deserve, and skyrockets sales. 

Having efficient SEO tools for an online store will significantly contribute to a business’s growth and success, especially when used wisely. As a result, evaluating the website builder’s SEO-friendliness is essential.

WordPress offers plenty of SEO plugins and add-ons, even allowing users to use third-party SEO plugins. WordPress allows users to tweak and customize even the smallest details in their site for optimization.

On the other hand, Shopify offers built-in easy-to-use SEO tools that can help optimize a site’s URL, meta tags, images, loading speed, and more. Another advantage is that Shopify ensures your site is optimized for any device, whether on mobile or desktop.

Both WordPress and Shopify offer various helpful SEO tools for their users. However, since it has been around for much longer and was initially launched as software for blogging purposes, the SEO realm is WordPress’ domain. It wins this round by a slight margin.

Further Reading: Shopify SEO Checklist: 11+ SEO Tasks to Increase Store Sales without Paid Ads

Round 4 – Cost-Efficiency

Most importantly, users must consider the price each website builder offers and the costs of maintaining the website.

Because Shopify is a fully hosted software, it is generally a more affordable website-building option than WordPress. While WordPress is free to download, users must pay separately for premium themes, plugins, web hosting, and more before successfully launching their site.

Further Reading: 7 WordPress AI Website Builders to Experiment With

The Verdict—Shopify Wins!

We’ve listed essential features WordPress and Shopify possess and juxtaposed them to highlight their differences further. While WordPress boasts enhanced customization features, better optimization, and overall greater control over one’s website, Shopify excels in software simplicity, cost-efficiency, and ecommerce functionality.

Business owners can definitely use either of the two for ecommerce site-building. However, WordPress’ ecommerce features pale in comparison to what Shopify offers. This outcome shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Again, Shopify’s primary focus is online shopping, allowing it to create better tools and features for ecommerce sites. In contrast, ecommerce is just one of WordPress’ vast site options.

Further Reading: 15 Best Ecommerce for Small Business Platforms in 2024

A WordPress vs Shopify Rematch Soon?

shot of two women with their backs turned, designing and browsing through a website in their office

While WordPress still has a lot to catch up on when it comes to ecommerce site building, that doesn’t mean the tool is completely out of the picture for website-building tool options. It is still a worthy opponent to Shopify and other website-building software.

Its continuous updates and releases for the WooCommerce plugin tell us it’s ready for a rematch in the near future. Ready to place your bets?

Further Reading: Is WordPress or Shopify Better for SEO? 7 Important Things to Consider

Author Bio

Mohamed Aden is the Director of Operations at Seller Interactive, an Amazon Marketing Agency. He has extensive experience in eCommerce, project management, and operations management. Mohamed has managed a portfolio of 80 client accounts generating over $10 million in yearly revenue. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honours Political Science and Business Management from McMaster University. He is fluent in English and Somali. In his free time, Mohamed enjoys nature walks and other outdoor activities.

Hero photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam ✪ on Unsplash

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