Setting up an e-commerce store today is much easier than it was just 5 years ago. Back then you needed to hire a web developer or team of developers to program every aspect of an e-commerce store and this made it very expensive. Only startups with big pockets could attempt this type of build. Things have changed so much that today because of platforms that allow you to tap into the power of thousands of web developers through open-source initiatives. Today we’ll look at the two leading options that you have: WordPress and Shopify. Let’s get started.
WordPress is a free, open-source platform that has been in operation since 2003. It started as a blogging platform but quickly became the platform of choice for building websites, including e-commerce store. There are many benefits to using WordPress. Here are the top 3:
- WordPress platform is free to use and all you have to worry about is maintaining a hosting account to house your website. While there are paid applications that you can use, largely all that you need to start and maintain an e-commerce website is free.
- The most appealing thing about the WordPress platform is the ability to customize it to your specific liking from the design to the functionality. As opposed to platforms like Shopify where you have to use the available features, WordPress allows you to use functionality developed by independent developers from around the world.
- Your WordPress platform is truly yours. You are not tied to a company’s platform which may not be here tomorrow. You get to install and maintain WordPress on your own server and do what you please with it.
Shopify is a web platform that was created to specifically allow users to set up e-commerce stores. Shopify is a hosted solution, meaning that your e-commerce store is hosted on Shopify web servers as opposed to you hosting it with any one of the many web hosts such as Godaddy or Bluehost. Shopify has a number of benefits over WordPress. Here are the top 3 benefits:
- E-commerce stores on Shopify tend to run better than WordPress stores because the Shopify platform is specifically designed for e-commerce. This allows the Shopify platform to optimize its features better and also offer more of what works for the online stores.
- Since Shopify is self-hosted, you don’t have to worry about maintaining the platform or dealing with updates as you would on the WordPress platform as this is taken care of you.
- Customer support is faster with Shopify as opposed to WordPress because if you have an issue, you only have one company to deal with. On the WordPress platform, you may need to first find out who you should contact depending on the nature of your problem, then actually contact them. This will take more time in most cases.
If you’re starting out, the best news is that you’ll have an easier time setting up your e-commerce store given the many choices available. WordPress gives you the most flexibility but you may need to do the maintenance yourself. Shopify gives you a highly optimized e-commerce platform but you may have limited choices on functionality. I hope this guide has been of help to you.