Shopify vs. Wix Ecommerce – they are the two most popular online store builders in eCommerce.
I have also written a Shopify review, and a Wix Review. How do they compare to one another?
A little background first. The technology that allows you to turn your idea into a reality is incredibly advanced.
It doesn’t matter if you use a text editor to upload to Amazon cloud, host your site powered WordPress + WooCommerce or use a drag-and-drop online shop builder. It’s easier than ever to start an online store.
These are some of the most interesting examples of all-inclusive eCommerce builders. Companies such as:
There are many eCommerce store building solutions available, but none of them offer everything that you need to get your website off the ground.
This is contrary to solutions that allow you to buy, install and manage each “piece” of your website individually. This is not a good thing. It is important to consider this when choosing one of these solutions as it can have a long-term and short-term impact on your website.
It can affect your flexibility, functionality, and brand in the long-term. It can cause headaches in the short-term. However, it is not possible to choose the best or most desirable physical home or office. It’s all about your experience, goals, and circumstances.
An online store builder allows you to rent and customize an apartment in a luxurious development, instead of purchasing and owning a house. While you retain control over decor, cleaning, and other aspects of your daily life, the property owner is responsible for the infrastructure, including security and plumbing. This is crucial because convenience and control are often in direct conflict.
Shopify, Wix Ecommerce and other options such as BigCommerce and Weebly compete with WordPress (which offers the free software to create a website you own and control – see my WordPress setup guides here), all the way up to the option of typing actual HTML code in a text file.
Wix is an all-purpose website builder with online eCommerce capabilities. Shopify is an eCommerce platform.
His focus places Wix behind Shopify as an easy-to-use and advanced tool, while Shopify is behind Wix. You can quickly notice the differences with their respective free trials.
Does this make sense? It’s amazing! Let’s get into the comparison.
You can also check out my posts at:
- Shopify vs. Etsy
- Shopify vs. WordPress/WooCommerce
- Wix vs. WordPress
We will also be looking at pricing, onboarding/user experiences, design features and technical features as well as eCommerce features, marketing features and customer support.
It is difficult to compare pricing between Shopify & Wix because there are two different offers. Shopify is limited to online store owners, while Wix is open to all.
Shopify is more costly. Shopify’s cheapest plan for online stores ($29/mo) is slightly more costly than Wix’s middle tier plan ($27/mo).
Shopify’s cheapest plan has more features than Wix’s most expensive.
Shopify’s current pricing
View Wix’s current pricing
Pricing is not really about apples and oranges. It’s more like comparing the price of a motorcycle to an SUV.
The motorcycle is cheaper and can get you from A to Z faster, but it’s still a completely different experience.
It really all comes down to your needs for your project. Do you need two wheels to get you there or plenty of space and lots of features? Let’s now look at some other differences.
Other than that, Shopify’s $9/mo plan doesn’t apply since it’s more an inventory/payments software than an online store builder software.
Although you can upload products and manage them, you cannot sell them through other platforms, such as a Facebook plugin, or a button on an already existing website.
Onboarding and User Experience
No matter how simple or intuitive a piece of technology is, there will always be that moment when you wonder “what am I seeing and what should I do now?”
Onboarding refers to the process of helping you get past this point. The biggest selling point of online store builders is their near-zero learning curve. It is easy to turn a website idea into a website.
Shopify and Wix both work well, but in different ways.
Shopify offers a simple path to launch your site. The site is easy to use and comes with a guide. You can also get support from them to help you get up and running quickly.
Shopify has many other features and apps that can be a challenge. Linking your domain to your store is the most difficult hurdle.
Although it’s not difficult, it can be daunting when you mention “setting your DNS” (in fairness you don’t need to direct your domain if Shopify is used for a little more than through a 3rd-party domain registrar).
Shopify is a platform that allows for offline inventory, payments and other functions. Their website store setup is located on the second menu rather than at the top.
Wix offers a very fast sign up process to create a live website. For basic websites, their backend is quite intuitive. It can be difficult to navigate their learning curve if you need more advanced features or a clear vision.
The support emails and tours they offer are more focused on upgrading than helping you obtain the features you need.
The eCommerce features are not made for every website. It’s difficult to find information about eCommerce like inventory, taxes, shipping, etc. Shopify, however, puts these questions front and center.
Onboarding and user experience are not issues that I think either provider should be excluded. Their differences are kind of like a restaurant that has a waiter (Shopify), versus a fast-casual restaurant that has a menu and a cashier (Wix).
Shopify offers more customization and help. Wix makes it easier to see the features and place orders.
Website builders have a part of the overall value – website designers are not required.
But good design can be difficult. It matters a lot. Many people are able to spot a great-looking website, but it can be difficult to figure out how they get there. A template can be used as a foundation for your website. You can then customize it to suit your needs.
Shopify and Wix both use templates (aka “themes”) to design their websites. They have very different customization options.
Wix’s famous drag-and-drop design function is well-known. You can create any type of element and drag it to its place. Any web page can be edited by clicking and clicking. This feature was a first in the industry of website builders.
Wix doesn’t allow you to write HTML/CSS. If you need exact customization, you won’t have any luck with Wix.
Shopify doesn’t combine design and content. You can edit your page template using CSS or the Liquid editing tool .
Shopify allows you to edit HTML/CSS so you can create any design. You can create any design you like, and there are very few limitations. Shopify also offers a drag-and-drop template editor.
You can use pre-packaged themes and templates to create beautiful web designs that you can edit if you’re comfortable with HTML/CSS.
You can see the possibilities with each editor by looking at these Wix Website Example and Shopify Website Example.
Wix is easy to use and has many design features. Shopify offers full customization while still being easy to use.
These are the core characteristics of an eCommerce store:
- product database
- Shopping cart
- Check out our checkout page
- payment processor
- order database
This is it.
There is a lot more that can and should be done to an eCommerce store. You can sell via Facebook Messenger, sync with Amazon FBA, integrate with eBay and more – all while learning basic marketing principles .
For advertising products there are many options for selling: Pinterest Buyable Pins (Google Merchant), Twitter cards (and more).
Coupon codes and remarketing are available. There’s A/B testing. Inventory synchronization is possible with dropshipping platforms and vendors such as AliExpress. There’s also order synchronization with shippers such as UPS and USPS.
Not every store will need every feature. You don’t necessarily need all the features if you only sell a few T-shirts. You will need to be able to expand and grow your business.
Shopify is the best eCommerce platform, but Wix makes it easy to market your product.
Wix offers a few more advanced features than Shopify, but they are not as extensive as Shopify.
Wix recently integrated ShipStation and other big shipping apps, but they still struggle to move products from the sold status to shipping status across all apps. Shopify is an example of this.
Shopify offers more features than just their platform. They also offer a well-established app shop that includes both paid and free apps to help you expand your store with all the features you need.
This section may be unfair to Wix because they are a general web builder that also includes eCommerce. Shopify is an eCommerce platform.
It shows in the details. Consider automated sales tax collection as an example. Wix excludes this feature from their lowest tier and limits it to their higher tiers. Shopify offers it as a standard feature for all stores.
It would surprise me if Shopify didn’t win on eCommerce features.
Wix is technically more competitive with Squarespace and Weebly who are both website builders that offer core eCommerce features.
In a nutshell is a great Wix if core eCommerce features are needed in a straightforward, easy-to-use way. Shopify offers a better eCommerce solution if you need to expand your business.
Technical features refer to all web development best practices. They don’t “matter “… until it matters a lot. This includes generating clean URLs and editable metadata, allowing for page-level redirects.
Shopify is doing very well on this point – not only compared with Wix but compared with any hosted platform.
Hosted platforms have always presented a risk to web designers, developers and marketers who wanted the site’s technical aspects to be managed.
Shopify’s technical capabilities are what really makes them stand out from other hosted platforms. Although you don’t have FTP access, you can access their Liquid editor to make changes to your server.
Shopify has a strong technical foundation but they do a lot to keep their customers on the cutting edge. Shopify pays a bounty for security vulnerabilities and bugs. They can quickly roll out global SSL changes to all stores.
Shopify also has an API that Wix continues to develop. APIs are an extremely advanced feature that is often overlooked by store owners. However, APIs have big implications. Think of them as a common language that allows software to talk to other software.
This means that you can add custom features to your Shopify store if you grow. Developers can create a custom application that links any program to your Shopify store.
Wix still has a lot to learn about how pages are generated technically. Wix uses an HTML5/AJAX engine to create and deliver their pages.
The system is a lot better than their old Flash technology but is still clunky to use from a developer/designer/marketer perspective. It generates pages that can’t be rendered by bots, crawlers or software.
Wix websites have a URL structure that works, but it is not perfect. It behaves more like a gaming application than a website. Many of these issues were covered in my Wix review.
These issues aren’t major problems for DIYers who only want to sell a handful of products. They come from Wix optimizing for ease-of-use and convenience. These issues are still problems that can be a problem for growing eCommerce websites.
Wix Ecommerce as well as Shopify both have limitations as hosted platforms. Shopify, however, does more to overcome these weaknesses and capitalize on its strengths as a hosted platform.
Kevin Costner, in Field of Dreams, says that “if you build it they will come.” Unfortunately, this is not true for websites. Market your online store for everyone to notice.
Marketing features such as custom metadata, open graph information and Schema markups make it easier to market your site.
Shopify, Wix eCommerce have many marketing features. They also offer app stores that provide additional marketing tools.
There is no comparison in design and eCommerce features. Shopify offers eCommerce store owners many better (and more quality) features and a more developed app store.
Wix already has the core marketing features, but they’re still working to add advanced features like Shopify had for years ( Schema Markup is one example).
Support & Service
It is difficult to evaluate customer service and support. As I have said in many of my reviews, one customer cannot really tell if they stumbled upon a disgruntled rookie and if the company really is that bad.
There are many ways to view a company’s customer support and customer service investment.
Shopify vs. Wix: I believe Shopify is the clear winner.
Shopify offers more customer service channels (phone, chat and email), but they also have an extensive help center.
The help center does not just address technical issues but also addresses customer success issues (aka issues with making money).
Wix offers phone support as well as other support channels. However, you will have to pay an extra fee for priority support. Shopify’s knowledge base is not as extensive or comprehensive.
Comparison of Shopify and Wix Ecommerce
Shopify vs. Wix: Which one is better for your online store?
Shopify is a great tool for eCommerce stores that are growing. There is no comparison.
Shopify for Free
Wix is a great choice if you are looking for a simple store that can be customized with drag-and-drop features. It is simpler and more affordable. This would be a good option for someone who wants to create a website with a store , rather than an online shop.
Wix for Free
You can also bookmark my creating an eCommerce Marketing Strategy post.
Best of luck!
- Shopify Review
- Shopify vs. BigCommerce
- Shopify vs. Etsy
- Shopify Website Examples
- Why Shopify?
- Shopify Making Money
- Shopify Plus Review
- Shopify Pricing & Plans Explained
- What is Shopify? How does Shopify work?
- Shopify: What can you sell? (w/ Examples)