Now is a great time to open up an online store. We’re in a golden age of eCommerce.
Sure, people have already amassed fortunes through eCommerce and have been doing so for years, so why is now such a great time?
Because consumers no longer fear using their credit cards online, or feel skeptical like they used to. People are willing to buy from smaller online shops more than ever before. There’s less resistance overall, and it’s never been easier to get started, either. Thanks to platforms like Shopify and Wix, anyone can open their own online store in a matter of minutes.
You don’t need to hire developers, designers, or people to run your online store. With platforms like the two we’re about to take an in-depth look at, all you really need to do is list your products and you’re all set to start taking orders. Back in the day, you would have to setup your server, hire somebody to manage it, hire somebody to take care of security, land merchant accounts to accept credit cards, and jump through all sorts of hoops – but you don’t have to do that anymore.
This lower barrier to entry opens up the doors for anyone at all who is interested in selling their wares online. From clothing, art, rare widgets, soap and candles, skin care, to anything else you could imagine, there’s somebody out there who wants to buy what you have for sale, you’ve just got to make sure they can find you, and setting up your shop is the first step.
Comparing Shopify and Wix: Which Is Better For Your Online Store?
If you’ve spent any time looking around at how to start an online store, you’ll see both of these companies’ names coming up very often.
They are arguably the two leaders, but they do things differently, so one of them may be a better fit for you than the other. In terms of which one is the best, it really depends on your budget and what you’re looking for in terms of features. It’s okay if you have absolutely no idea yet, because we’re going to cover both of these platforms in-depth, and we’re going to enlighten you about what each of them bring to the table. In a short amount of time, you’ll have a clear understanding of what they both offer, and which one is better suited to you.
We are going to start by introducing each of them, taking a look at their key features, and then we’ll dive in and point out the differences, and why they matter. Each of these is a suitable choice, it really just depends on your needs, so let’s get right into it…
The Advantages of Shopify
Shopify is a Canadian company that was founded in 2004, and over the past decade and a half, they’ve really changed the game when it comes to setting up your own online stores. Now, they aren’t just for strictly online stores, either.
Shopify works for retail locations, too, so you can manage your inventory between the online store and a physical location, and have them work together seamlessly. It’s a huge innovation, and anyone who has tried to sync their online and offline stores in the past knows how many headaches it can cause. If you don’t have a physical retail location, that’s no problem, Shopify’s bread and butter is still to help you create and manage your online shop.
What’s really nice about Shopify is how accessible they’ve made eCommerce for regular people, it’s not just big companies who can sell things online anymore. The internet is an equalizer, and few companies exemplify that better than Shopify.
Not only that, but they help you with every step of the way. It’s not like you setup your shop and then you’re on your own, Shopify helps track inventory, helps you get your orders sent out in an efficient way, helps you receive payments, and everything else that’s involved with selling on the internet.
Their tagline is “Whether you sell online, on social media, in store, or out of the trunk of your car, Shopify has you covered,” and it couldn’t be more true! Let’s take a look at the plans that they offer, and a closer look at Shopify’s key features and benefits.
7 Benefits of Using Shopify
1. Your brand is the star of the show: Shopify makes it easy to customize your shop to suit your brand, whatever that brand may be. You can choose from tons of templates, upload your own logo, choose your favorite color scheme… and you don’t need to hire a designer for any of this.
You won’t end up with some super generic looking shop, you can tailor it to suit your business and your brand. You’ve probabally already visited many Shopify stores and not even realized they were on the Shopify platform, and that’s important becasue it lets your brand shine.
2. Mission control: Shopify’s admin dashboard gives you instant access to everything you need, from adding unlimited items, to customizing your store, to adding new sales channels, fulfilling orders, and even analytics so you can come up with a strategy based on actual cold-hard data, which eliminates the guesswork of trying to grow your business.
3. Over 600,000 businesses trust Shopify: Over half a million online stores, and growing, trust Shopify to keep them online and to keep the sales rolling in. With that much experience, you can rest assured that Shopify has seen it all – nothing is going to surprise them or catch them off guard, and they know how to handle anything from small shops to massive online marketplaces.
That type of experience is priceless in this industry, because once your store gets popular, even a day of downtime can cost you a lot. Knowing Shopify is going to be there to make sure your site is online, fast, and ready to handle your orders with no issues is incredible valuable, not just in terms of sales but also when it comes to the peace of mind of knowing that you’re in good hands.
4. Over 55 billion dollars worth of sales so far: People just like you, using Shopify for their online stores, have sold over $55 BILLION worth of products, and counting! That’s an incredible number, a massive pie, just waiting for you to hop in and grab your slice of it. That’s an average of over $90,000 sold per store on Shopify. Of course, the largest stores have a much bigger chunk than that, and the smaller stores are averaging much less, but the point is that the opportunity exists, and customers trust Shopify stores…
5. Buyer friendly: Not only do customers trust Shopify stores, they love to order from them. The reason for this is becasue Shopify makes the whole checkout process as simple as possible. After processing billions of dollars in orders, Shopify knows exactly what people are looking for when ordering online, they know what the pain points are and how to fix them, they know how to make your visitors turn into customers as effortlessly as possible. The last thing you want is a janky, difficult platform that’s going to give your customers headaches. Shopify understands this, and works tirelessly to test and improve the whole process all the time, ensuring that once somebody visits your shop and is interested in buying from you, there are no roadblocks whatsoever to change their mind.
6. Accept credit cards INSTANTLY: We’ve already talked about how easy Shopify makes the whole experience of opening your store and selling your goods, and a big part of that is thanks to Shopify Payments. Setting up payment processing used to be a huge ordeal for smaller businesses, and bigger ones alike. With Shopify Payments, you can start accepting credit cards right away, no hassle.
Here’s a look at the different plans that Shopify has to offer:
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Some businesses need more than others, so instead of charging everyone for everything, Shopify has broken things down in a way that allows you to only pay for the level of service that you need. Obviously, the needs of a small candle company that you run out of the spare bedroom to pay for a couple vacations a year are going to be different than the needs of a giant clothing warehouse selling thousands of shirts a day. Wix also has a handful of plans to choose from, but as you’ll see, their offerings are a bit more confusing, and less straightforward, especially for online stores.
All of the essential features are included with all of their plans, but the higher tier plans come with some extra things that are useful for larger-scale businesses, but if you’re smaller and can’t afford the higher price, don’t even worry – you’re still covered with absolutely everything you need. As your store grows, you can adjust your plan accordingly, it’s very easy to upgrade.
The price difference between Shopify’s basic account and their advanced account is ten-fold, and that has everything to do with the features and the rates of both accounts. We’ll start with the differences in credit card rates and transaction fees, and then we’ll take a closer look at the specific features.
Even if you don’t need the more advanced features, there’s a point where it still makes sense to upgrade to the Advanced plan. If your business is selling enough products that the lower credit card rates or transactions fees would be paying for themselves, or even saving you money, it’s really a no-brainer to upgrade. If you’re using an external payment gateway, you can pay just a quarter of the Basic rate by going with Advanced instead. If your shop isn’t doing a lot of volume yet, then it won’t have as large of an impact.
We applaud Shopify for setting up their tiers like this, it makes it easy to decide which option is best for your shop. By the time you need the Advanced features, they’re paying for themselves, but the Basic plan still has everything you need to get setup and to start selling right away.
The following table shows all of the features that are included in EVERY Shopify plan, from Basic all the way to Advanced…
Most of these are self-explanatory, like the ability to print shipping labels right from your store’s dashboard, to 24/7 support, the ability to setup your own coupon/discount codes, and the like.
The Website and Blog feature is excellent, because it gives you an opportunity to write about your products, and to share your knowledge about whatever it is that your store is selling. By sharing your knowledge and establishing yourself as an authority, people will not only turn to you for the information contained in your blog, but you’ll become a trusted source for people looking to purchase whatever it may be that you sell.
Shopify works with a number of different shipping companies to make the order fulfillment process as easy, and affordable for you, as possible – and also to ensure your customers aren’t paying exorbitant rates on shipping, which means they’ll have more money leftover to order from you!
With the shared features out of the way, now it’s time to look at what sets each Shopify plan apart from eachother…
Aside from the lowest payment processing rates, there are two features you can only get in the Advanced Shopify plan:
The advanced report builder helps you create a variety of different types of reports beyond what is accessible with the other plans, and is primarily useful for large stores with a lot of inventory and products. The other is the ability to integrate with third-party calculated shipping.
The main plan, simply called Shopify, that costs $79 per month has three features that the basic plan doesn’t have, and they’re very tempting…
The ability to sell Gift Cards can be a huge boost, especially around the holidays, and even moreso if your store sells items that are often given as gifts. The professional reports are a step down from the advanced ones, but are still more than enough for most shops to gain very helpful insights. Finally, abandoned cart recovery is a feature that can remind customers if they leave items in their cart, in order to increase your sales. There’s always a certain amount of people who will get distracted while shopping, or just save their order for later and forget about it, but abandoned cart recovery helps turn more of your browsers into actual customers.
Shopify is super easy to use, they have a ton of great looking templates, and there’s a reason they are one of the leaders… But what about Wix? We haven’t forgotten about Wix, here’s what they’ve got to offer…
Wix: Is It Worth Using Instead of Shopify?
Now that we’ve dug in deep to cover everything you need to know about Shopify, it’s time to talk about using Wix as a Shopify alternative.
Wix has 5 main plans to choose from. Wix’s cheapest plan is $5 per month, and their VIP plan is $25 per month.
Not all of Wix’s plans are suitable for online stores, however. Their $5 plan is just for a basic website, where you already have your own domain name. Your website is forced to display ads promoting Wix, and this simply isn’t a suitable option. Their $10 plan gets rid of the ads, and includes a domain name.
Quick Breakdown of Wix Plans:
Connect Domain ($5/mn): This most basic plans gives you a measly 1GB of bandwidth, 500mb storage, and the ability to connect your domain name to Wix. The big problem here is that your site is forced to display advertisemenst for Wix, even thought you’re a paying customer, and it gives off a very unprofessional look to your site. You cannot create a store on this plan, or the next couple ones.
- Combo ($10/mo): This plan is just for personal use, for example if you wanted to start a simple website or blog, but not to use it for business or a store. It does remove the Wix ads, and doubled the bandwidth to a somewhat more practical 2GB, but still lacks many key features for anyone that wants to earn money from their website. This is basically a hosting plan, that gives you access to Wix’s sitebuilder, but it’s NOT the best option for people who are looking to make a simple website and still doesn’t allow you to run a shop.
- Unlimited ($14/mo): This plan offers unlimited bandwidth, and comes with some additional bonuses like $300 worth of ad vouchers (Which have their own sets of limitations, it’s not like being handed $300 cash…), and access to some additional apps like the ability to build forms on your site. You still can’t use this plan for eCommerce, though.
- eCommerce ($17/mo): This is the first Wix plan that acts as any kind of alternative to Shopify, but it feels more like the shopping features are tacked on, rather than having an entire platform designed around them. If you’re on a very tight budget, this could be a useful option, but we’d still recommend springing for the extra $12 per month to get Shopify Basic, all things considered, as it’s a more robust platform overall, and worth the extra money.
- VIP ($25/mo): This plan means that Wix will respond to your customer support inquiries before their regular customers, it’s like a separate class of client. This isn’t entirely uncommon with hosting companies, but we do prefer when all paying customers are treated equally, even if they have less expensive plans. We would rather see everyone getting fast and effective customer support, rather than letting people skip the line. This plan also comes with a professional site review where someone from Wix will take a peek at your website and offer suggestions to improve it, which can be quite useful.
The most notable thing is that it’s not until you get up to Wix’s $17 per month plan that you’re able to open up an online store on the platform, but how does it compare to Shopify? Let’s take a look…
The Big Difference Between Wix vs. Shopify…
While both platforms have a variety of add-ons, apps, and integrations, Shopify is geared entirely towards eCommerce.
Wix, on the other hand, is catered more to websites or blogs in general, rather than being specifically created for online stores.
If you’re looking to create a blog or a website that doesn’t have a store, and you’re trying to choose between both of these options, then Wix would be the better choice to go with. However, if you’re planning to sell on your website, Shopify is generally the superior choice.
Just a sidenote: If you are thinking of using Wix to create a simple blog, or a website for your business without an online store attached, there are some better solutions that give you more control and cost less money for more features. We’ve created a guide to setting up your blog/website is just 5 minutes, and it’s definitely worth taking a look at!
Wix stands as a cheaper alternative to Shopify, but it’s one of those “you get what you pay for” situations.
Wix is still a decent platform if you’re looking to create a simple drag and drop website, and we can certainly recommend them for their ease of use, especially if you’re looking for something that’s dead-simple, for a basic static website, that you aren’t going to be tinkering with or changing often. The pros and cons of Wix vs. standard shared hosting is a whole topic for another day, but as it stands, we take Shopify over Wix for starting an online store.
Comparing Their Inventory Management
While Wix is very straightforward through and thorough, Shopify feels like a more complete, more intuitive package when it comes to adding items to your inventory and presenting them for your customers to see. It’s not difficult to add new products with either of these platforms.
Still Not Sure? Try Them Both (Free Trials)
Shopify and Wix both offer free trials, so you can take both of them for a spin before deciding.
They’re both easy to setup, so why not spend an afternoon giving them both a shot? Some people prefer Wix’s site builder to Shopify’s, even thought we prefer Shopify overall. We find that it’s easier to create GREAT looking pages with Shopify, whereas with Wix there’s more room for error.
The additional features, integrations, and completeness of Shopify gives them the edge for creating an on-line store. Wix does offer a handful of the same features, but we find the execution lacking overall.
We’ll keep an eye on both options, and as things change, we will keep this page updated so that you’re always getting the most relevant and actionable information to compare Shopify vs Wix moving forward.