Get to the bottom of what makes online businesses thrive on Shopify, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or BigCommerce.
When Covid-19 hit, people were forced to find new ways to get the products they needed. ECommerce had a giant jump in sales, going from $571 billion in 2019 to over $815 billion by 2020. And that’s just the beginning. This industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and experts say there are no signs of slowing down. The only thing you need to figure out is which platform to use. Below we will break the benefits of Shopify, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and BigCommerce to help you decide.
When you are choosing a platform, make sure you do your research before you commit. Take into account things like your budget, web design, functionality/programming, security, hosting, maintenance, integration options, inventory limits, business scalability, and support.
One of the oldest eCommerce platforms is Shopify. Interestingly, the need to sell snowboarding equipment led to the creation of Snowdevil, later to become Shopify in 2006. Coming back to 2023, Shopify has been working on its own version of a fulfillment network, notably named Shopify Fulfillment Network, to rival Amazon. Since it is a SaaS platform, all of your security, PCI compliance, and uptime loading is handled by Shopify.
- User-friendly setup
- Multiple payment options, including third-party platforms
- Supports a variety of eCommerce businesses
- If you leave the platform, the only thing you are able to take is a CSV report.
- Does not support email hosting, you will need to forward your emails through a third-party hosting extension
- Uses Liquid setup software for customization, which may limit your ability to find a web designer familiar with the software.
- Basic- $39/month ($29/month if paid annually)
- Includes basic reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, 2 staff accounts, up to a 77% shipping discount, online store, unlimited products, sales channels, free SSL certificate, 24/7 and support more.
- Shopify- $105/month ( $79/month if paid annually)
- Includes everything from the Basic plan plus, professional reports, 5 staff accounts, up to 88% shipping discount, UsPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing, and more.
- Advanced $399/month ($299/month if paid annually)
- Includes everything in the Shopify plan plus, 15 staff accounts, advanced reports, third-party calculated shipping rates, eCommerce automations, and more.
Shopify does charge payment processing fees from 2.4% + .30 (advanced plan) for online credit cards, International/Amex credit card rates starting at 3.4% + .30, in person credit/debit card fees starting at 2.4%, and third-party transaction fees if not using Shopify payments starting at .5%. (These numbers represent fees associated with the Advanced Plan)
Shopify is best for businesses whose main goal is e-commerce. With its huge number of apps that can add functionality and additional features, it provides your business with a scalable solution.
Although Squarespace was initially developed as a content based website solution (think blogs), the eCommerce addition increased its reach to include millions of users. Also a SaaS platform, Squarespace’s focus is on content creation, it includes a content management system, beautiful templates and photo editing tools that put it at the top of its class.
- Site maintenance is included
- Every site has a professional appearance with the help of beautiful templates
- Cost of hosting is included
- Marketplace for apps is small
- Not made for businesses who have large volume selling needs
- Only offers PayPal and Stripe as payment processing options and a 3% transaction fee for those on the Business plan
- Personal- $23/month $16/month when paid annually)
- Includes mobile optimized websites, free custom domain (for a year when purchased annually), 2 contributors, Squarespace AI, and more.
- Business- $33/month ($23/month when paid annually
- Includes everything in the Personal plan plus, unlimited contributors, a professional email from Google (conditions apply), customization abilities, and more.
- Commerce Basic- $36/month ($27/month when paid annually)
- Includes all features on the Business plan plus, 0% transaction fees, in-person POS, product reviews, the ability to sell on Facebook and Instagram, and more.
- Commerce Advanced- $65/month ($49/month when paid annually)
- Includes all of the features in the Commerce Basic plan plus, abandoned cart recovery, ability to sell subscriptions, free shipping for orders that meet a certain amount, commerce APIs, and more.
Squarespace is the perfect solution for businesses that want a more sophisticated and attractive online presence with the ability to sell in person, but may not be the best option for businesses whose main goal is just selling products.
Both Wix and WordPress are great options for a full website that have an online store as an option. Wix is a beginner-friendly website builder that provides thousands of templates or the option to allow Wix to create your site based on a few questions.
- Industry leading drag-and-drop website builder
- Hosting and SSL certificates are included
- Mobile optimization
- Storage limits on all plans
- Cannot switch templates after your site is live
- Customer support is not as responsive as other platforms
- Light- $16/month
- Includes 2 collaborators, 2GB storage space, free domain for 1 year, light marketing suite
- Core- $27/month
- Includes 5 collaborators 50GB storage space, basic site analytics, basic marketing suite, free domain for 1 year, accepts payments, basic eCommerce
- Business- $32/month
- Includes 10 collaborators, 100 GB storage space, standard marketing suite, free domain for 1 year, standard site analytics, accepts payments, standard eCommerce
- Business Elite
- Includes 15 collaborators, unlimited storage space, advanced marketing suite, free domain for 1 year, advanced site analytics, accepts payments, advanced eCommerce, advanced developer platform
Wix also has a free plan, which we wouldn’t recommend due to its lack of professionalism. It includes a Wix assigned domain name, wix ads on every page and favicon, only 500MB of storage, and does not accept payments or have Google analytics.
For businesses that have limited budgets but need a good range of tools for eCommerce, Wix may be right for you. But beware, because Wix uses templates, it may be harder for you to rank higher on Google.
For full control of your site, many businesses turn to WordPress. Unlike Wix, WordPress is less of a website builder and more of a content management system. It gives users a plethora of customization options with functionality and design control. It does have a learning curve, so those not familiar with coding, you may want to hire a developer.
- Highly flexible and customizable
- Vast selection of third-party plugins to add almost any feature to your site
- Thousands of themes means you can layout your site any way you want
- Site may break more easily with plugins
- Cost vary depending on hosting, plugins, and themes
- Need coding knowledge
- Personal- $9/month ($4/month when billed annually)
- Includes DNS with SSL, unlimited users, custom domain name, visitor stats, no ads
- Premium- $18/month ($8/month when billed annually)
- Includes premium themes, style customization, site activity log, ability to earn with WordAds, 4K video creation, PayPal payment processing
- Business- $40month ($25/month when billed annually)
- Includes live chat support, smart redirects, auto-updates for plugins, one-click restores, real-time backups, free staging site, SEO tools
- Commerce- $70/month ($45/month when billed annually)
- Includes unlimited products, inventory management, streamlined checkout, 0% transaction fees, custom marketing automation, referral and loyalty programs, uptime monitoring
*All plans include spam protection. When billed annually, all paid plans include a free domain for 1 year.
WordPress also offers a free version to get you started that includes themes, unlimited pages, spam protection, and other basic features. All plans come with unlimited users. WordPress also offers significantly more customization options, but note that most features need the assistance of plugins, which have the potential to break your site if you are not careful. You must also supply your own hosting. For businesses that want advanced or customized design features, WordPress may be the best option for you. Remember, there is a level of coding knowledge needed.
If you are looking for a platform similar to Shopify, consider BigCommerce. It offers lower transaction fees than Shopify with many more SEO features. It was developed for users who are also looking for a complete package. There is a small learning curve for the advanced features, and the options are not as customizable as Shopify’s, but overall, it is a great comparison.
- Offers built-in sales features
- 0% transaction fees on all plans
- Provides a scalable option for growing businesses
- Technical features make it harder to use than Shopify
- Not as compatible with other software
- Best for online-only sellers
Pricing (15 day free trial included)
- Standard- $39/month ($29/month when billed annually)
- Includes up to 3 storefronts, multiple payment gateways, single page checkout,professional reporting tools, free sitewide HTTPS and dedicated SSL
- Plus- $105/month ($79/month when billed annually)
- Includes up to 5 storefronts, ability to store credit card information, abandoned cart saver, customer groups and segmentation, and real-time shipping quotes
- Pro- $399/month ($299/month when billed annually)
- Includes up to 8 storefronts, Google customer reviews, custom product filtering, persistent cart (stores customers’ cart when they switch devices), up to 8 inventory locations
With similar features to Shopify, BigCommerce is best for large or fast-growing businesses with the intent to scale. Limits are placed on annual sales and you will be required to upgrade if you exceed these amounts.
eCommerce has no intention of slowing down, and these platforms consistently outrank their competitors. You will need to consider the bandwidth, store capabilities and functionality, payment processing, integrations if needed, cost, scalability, flexibility, and ease of use to name a few. Most of these platforms are beginner friendly, but you may benefit from custom design. As always, we recommend thoroughly researching your platform because it can mean the difference in missed opportunities or increased ROI.
Not sure which platform to use? We can help! Set up your free consultation and discover how Quartz and Clay will utilize your ecommerce platform to increase your online sales, provide solutions for system optimization, more!