So you’ve had a look into the various ways of getting your eCommerce website up and running, and have whittled it down to two options: Shopify and WordPress. It’s a choice between two excellent solutions, but ones that will appeal to slightly different site owners. This post is to see which one you identify as, so you can make the choice with a more solid foundation.
Shopify and WordPress are two quite different concepts, but they do overlap in that they can both be used for setting up an online shop front.
Shopify is what’s known as software as a service, or SaaS. That means you pay a subscription fee and Shopify will host your site, provide add-ons and upgrades, deal with payments and have a customer service team to help you through issues. All you need to do is set up your shop and keep it updated with your products.
WordPress started out as a simple blogging platform, but has grown into a versatile content management system that powers hundreds of thousands of websites, including sites for household name companies. The eCommerce functionality is added to the basic platform through a plugin called WooCommerce. WordPress.com does have a SaaS setup, but WordPress.org is the open-source version that users install on their own servers, and maintain themselves. This latter one is the commonest for eCommerce companies.
It’s impossible to say one is better than the other, because as eCommerce solutions, they both do their job perfectly well. However, it’s likely that one or the other will be better for you, depending on your experience and your need for flexibility.
If you’re setting up your first eCommerce store, and don’t have any experience in hosting your own site or even basic coding, and you want to run everything yourself without third-party assistance, Shopify is probably the way to go. It’s popular among brick and mortar shop owners who want to set up an online arm, or makers who want to sell their products online. It needs the minimum of technical input, and you can be up and running in hours. That’s not to say you can’t grow a Shopify site to a decent size – you certainly can – but stores do outgrow the platform and there are more cost-efficient solutions for larger sites, as you’ll still have to pay for hosting as well as a percentage of sales.
With WordPress, you’re running the whole shop, assuming you’re not using WordPress.com. You’ll be in charge of themes, plugins, hosting, troubleshooting, payments and everything else that goes with it. However, you won’t be paying a percentage of your sales to another company – after paying for your running costs, all your profits are yours.
In truth, a lack of technical knowledge doesn’t have to be a bar to using WordPress. First, it’s quite easy to pick up – your hosting company will almost certainly have a simple install function. And there’s a wealth of downloadable themes to choose from, both free and paid.
When you do need technical help, whether that’s with designing plugins, maintaining security, installing themes or keeping the site optimised and running like a dream, you can always call on professional WordPress developers. Whether you form an ongoing support partnership or just use their skills as and when, it’s a great solution if you want the power and efficiency of WordPress but you don’t have the back end skills.
We’d love to help you out with your store – just get in touch to find out how inexpensive it can be.