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Shopify vs WordPress

Shopify vs WordPress - Which One is Better for Your E-commerce Business?

E-commerce Platforms

January 17, 2024Author: Preslav Nikov12 min read
Shopify vs Wordpress - which platform is better for your ecommerce store in 2024?

Choosing the right ecommerce platform is essential to start your business journey on the right foot.

Whether Shopify or WordPress is better for you depends on a variety of factors. These include your business needs, budget, technical prowess, and other project limitations.

Keep in mind, that it’s not always about how hard you row, but the boat you’re in, so making an informed decision about using Shopify vs WordPress is essential.

In this article, we’ll compare the two based on their ease of use, pricing, customization options, e-commerce functionalities, and more. So let’s dive in.

Shopify vs. WordPress: At a Glance

In this section, we’ll compare specific aspects of Shopify and WordPress directly, so you can get a better grasp of each platform’s advantages and disadvantages.

Has all the e-commerce functionalities to easily set up an online store within days.
With a technical background, you can leverage the WordPress platform to fully customize your store’s look and feel.
Each successive Shopify Plan comes with more powerful features for international selling
You can use any third-party plugin you see fit to extend your store’s functionality (often requires development skillset)
Requires zero coding knowledge to get your store started.
The WordPress software is free and open-source.
Comes at a somewhat higher price point compared to WordPress (if we don’t factor in support, maintenance, and developer costs)
On average, WordPress is cheaper than Shopify, but if you don’t have the technical expertise, you’ll have to budget for a developer, support, and maintenance as well.
Not fully customizable and flexible without coding skills.
You need to figure out your domain and web hosting solutions on your own.

Usability Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

Shopify is much easier to use than WordPress. Out of the box, it has all the features you need to start selling, without requiring any extra software. Shopify’s intuitive interface makes setting up and customizing your store a seamless experience.

You can get your Shopify store started in a matter of days, or even hours if you have a good idea of what you want and how to do it.

With Shopify, you don't need coding knowledge to manage your own e-commerce store, products, orders, and e-commerce operations.

Moreover, their customer support is available 24/7 and ready to help if you face any issues.

WordPress, on the other hand, requires a lot of elbow grease from the start. Before you even start working on your site, you need to configure your domain and hosting which can be somewhat technical.

Then, you’ll need to install themes and plugins like Woocommerce to give it e-commerce functionalities.

Afterward, you’ll have to configure your plugins to process orders and payments.

In Shopify’s case, you can just use your main admin panel and set your preferences with a few clicks and you’re good to go.

Cost of Shopify vs. WordPress

Generally speaking, WordPress is a cheaper option than Shopify. In both cases, you’ll have to pay for domain and hosting, but Shopify also has a monthly subscription which depends on your plan and includes your domain and hosting.

In essence, WordPress is free to use. Note that we’re referring to WordPress.org and not WordPress.com which has paid plans.

Here are Shopify’s paid plans at a glance:

Shopify Starter
Shopify Basic
Shopify Advanced
Shopify Plus
Paid monthly
Paid annually

Read more about Shopify Pricing in 2024.

Moreover, Shopify has extra transaction fees for each order that your store processes. These include a card processing fee and an extra transaction fee if you aren’t using Shopify payments.

In comparison, WordPress does not have direct e-commerce costs or functionalities but relies mostly on WooCommerce instead.

It’s important to understand that the card processing fee is not unique to Shopify but a universal commercial practice.

Even if you use Stripe or any other secure payment processing provider with WordPress, you'll still be charged a card processing fee.

In both cases, you’ll have to pay 2.9% + 30 cents processing fee for each transaction. However, this fee becomes lower with Shopify’s more advanced plans.

However, the extra transaction fees for not using Shopify Payments are unique to Shopify.

The exact amount of fees you pay depends on your subscription plan.

The end result is that the more products you sell, the bigger your Shopify bill becomes, and the more incentivized you are to upgrade to a higher plan.

Shopify Plan
Shopify Basic
Shopify Advanced
Transaction fee when using Shopify Payments
Transaction fee when not using Shopify Payments
Shopify Payments Card Processing Fee
2.9% + 30 cents
2.6% + 30 cents
2.4% + 30 cents

WordPress card processing fees

It’s important to know that WordPress also has processing fees, depending on the processor. Moreover, these depend on whether the sale happens inside or outside the US. Often, their fees are higher than Shopify’s.

Here's an example of Paypal's payment processing fees:

Paypal Card Processing Fee on WordPress
Sales inside the US
2.9% + 30 cents
Sales outside the US
From 3.4% + 30 cents to 4.9% + 30 cents

Design and Customization Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

At a glance, Shopify has a few hundred themes, compared to the thousands of WordPress themes available. However, having more themes doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better.

All of Shopify’s themes are vetted through a strict process, whereas WordPress themes aren’t vetted at all.

Moreover, all theme updates are inspected by Shopify to ensure they’re secure and work as intended. Usually, when WordPress themes and plugins get updated they break your store.

However, when it comes to diversity and the raw amount of options available, WordPress is a step ahead.

WordPress plugins, such as WooCommerce, offer numerous payment gateway options and various marketing tools like email marketing, social media integration, SEO capabilities, and cybersecurity features.

But taking advantage of this diversity requires caution, extra maintenance, and some technical expertise.

Both platforms have all the tools that professionals can use to fully customize your store in terms of design and custom functionalities, but WordPress is a step ahead.

Marketing and Sales Feature Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

WordPress is a content managing system (CMS) at its core, while Shopify originated as an e-commerce platform.

However, as of 2021, Shopify also has advanced CMS functionalities while retaining an edge over WordPress with regard to sales and marketing functionalities.

For example, with its many apps, Shopify allows you almost limitless opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, multi-channel promotions, visitor behavior tracking, and much more across various online marketplaces.

Shopify excels in marketing and sales functionalities, while WordPress is slightly better for content marketing.

Shopify comes with all the marketing, shipping, inventory, and analytical tools that you need built-in. Some of its most liked features include abandoned cart recovery, discount codes, and multi-channel integrations.

Note, that both Shopify and WordPress (through WooCommerce) let you:

  • Sell products

  • Change shipping rates

  • Create product variations and personalizations

  • Run discounts and promotions

  • Process payments securely

  • Create and accept gift cards

  • Generate automatic or manual tax rates

  • Include cross-sell and upsell functionality

The main difference is that everything e-commerce-related in Shopify is easier to set up, whereas WordPress requires a bit of technical expertise.

Application and Extension Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

Both WordPress and Shopify use third-party software to extend their functionality, with a WordPress site you leverage from tens of thousands of independently developed addons with varying quality.

In Shopify, you get access to the Shopify App Store, which has over 8,000 vetted apps, dedicated to e-commerce.

WordPress has more options, but Shopify’s are more robust and better maintained.

If you wish to customize your store’s functionality, in both cases you’ll need to integrate third-party plugins or apps into your store.

In both cases, they can be either free or paid, so you’ll have to check them out one by one.

Transaction Processing and Fees Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

Both WordPress and Shopify give your ecommerce store the ability to integrate hundreds of internationally recognized payment processors, including all of the most famous ones like PayPal, Stripe, Square, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay.

WordPress has an edge in the sheer amount of options that it presents.

However, Shopify also has its own payment processing gateway called Shopify Payments.

Merchants are incentivized to use Shopify Payments, as they won’t be charged a transaction fee if they do.

WordPress also doesn’t have a transaction fee.

A caveat with Shopify Payments is that it’s available only in certain countries.

Thus, many Shopify merchants are forced to pay up to 2% transaction fees, depending on their plan.

Shopify Plan
Shopify Basic
Shopify Advanced
Transaction fee when not using Shopify Payments
Shopify Card Processing Fee
2.9% + 30 cents
2.6% + 30 cents
2.4% + 30 cents

Logistics and Shipping Integration Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

Both WordPress (through WooCommerce) and Shopify provide excellent options for managing, fulfilling, and shipping orders. Setting up an ecommerce WordPress site involves integrating various plugins to achieve these functions, which can be more complex compared to Shopify.

Shopify offers integrated shipping solutions that enable you to sell and ship internationally while managing tariffs and taxes automatically. Moreover, you can set custom rules for fulfillment, shipping rates, and more with a few clicks.

With WordPress, you can get the same functions, but you’ll need a dedicated developer to correctly integrate different plugins into one coherent solution.

Overall, Shopify outclasses WordPress when it comes to shipping and logistics integrations, due to its many built-in functionalities, such as Shopify Markets, Shopify Payments, Shopify Locations, and the Shopify Fulfillment Network.

Advertising Effectiveness Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

Both WordPress and Shopify offer excellent paid advertising solutions. The major difference is that Shopify has most of them built in and ready to use from the get-go.

Shopify’s paid advertising features include built-in pixels, tracking scripts, and more, which are instrumental for tracking user behavior and the results of your PPC campaigns.

Moreover, Shopify offers a great degree of customization that boosts your conversions even more, through its App Store.

Furthermore, Shopify has the world’s best-converting store checkout, which means a higher ROI on your PPC campaigns than WordPress.

WordPress can be also augmented to include these features, but this requires some coding and playing around with plugins, which is drastically more complicated than Shopify’s solution which generally requires a few clicks.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

WordPress has an edge over Shopify with regards to SEO. While both platforms offer identical customization options for On-Page SEO, WordPress excels in Technical SEO and Off-Page SEO, which largely has to do with backend customizations.

In particular, Shopify forces you to follow a particular structure with your URLs, which in some scenarios can be a drawback. In WordPress, you are free to set URLs in any way you want.

Again, there is a difference in how the two platforms present their SEO tools to you.

Shopify has most of its SEO functionalities built-in out of the box, while WordPress requires you to select a particular theme and add a SEO plugin like Yoast SEO, which is also available for Shopify users.

Overall, the differences between the two with regard to SEO aren’t dramatic in any way.

The open-source nature of WordPress allows you to customize some SEO elements more to make them fit your SEO strategy.

Support Services Comparison: Shopify vs. WordPress

Shopify has the better customer support hands down. You can reach a customer support specialist at Shopify by phone, chat, or email 24/7. In comparison, WordPress doesn’t have a support squad.

Instead, they have a larger community that’s active on forums, provides workarounds, and helps indirectly.

Moreover, each WordPress plugin is responsible for its own customer support, which often translates into a decentralized mess.

Overall, Shopify takes the prize when it comes to customer support.

Final Assessment: Shopify vs. WordPress Comparison

Overall, both Shopify and WordPress are great choices for launching your ecommerce platform. However, the two significantly differ in their philosophy and process.

No coding skills are needed with Shopify to get started. Moreover, if you can’t solve something on your own, Shopify boasts a stellar customer support team that’s always available.

All in all, we recommend Shopify to individuals and small businesses that don’t have the resources to have developers on hand, but also to enterprise solutions that prioritize speed and marketing growth.

On the other hand, WordPress is a good choice for tech-savvy businesses that have skilled developers on hand with one-of-a-kind requirements when it comes to their storefront and e-commerce operations.

WordPress is an open-source platform which means that all of its parts are customizable. However, this comes with the drawbacks of longer and costlier development, and rather complicated technical maintenance. You will need technical expertise.

Moreover, if you experience any issues with WordPress, there is no customer support hotline. Instead, you have to sift through forums to find and implement solutions

If you’re wondering if you can migrate to Shopify for a more secure and scalable e-commerce experience, read more about our Migration to Shopify process.

See also: Shopify vs. WooCommerce comparison

Shopify trades away a bit of customizability for robustness and ease of use. While it can be pricier, it offers unparalleled utility as it predicts and solves your problems with a few clicks.

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Preslav Nikov - Shopify vs WordPress - Which E-commerce Platform is Best? article author
Preslav Nikov

With a decade of of e-commerce experience, Preslav, CEO of Craftberry, produces informative content. His writing focuses on practical insights and strategies in the e - commerce, aimed at helping professionals and businesses in the industry.

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