When it comes to hosted website builders, two of the biggest names in the industry are Shopify and Wix. Combined, they powers millions of websites worldwide and occupy two of the top three spots of most popular websites builders here in the UK.
But, which one is better for building an ecommerce website?
Well that is what I am going to compare in this comparison and I am going to break it down into two parts. In the first, I will look at the pricing and features that both platforms offer and in the second, I will look at how easy these two platforms are to use.
Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you sign up to services via a link in this post, I do receive a small commission. BUT and I cannot stress this enough, in no way does this influence my review of either platform, if I don’t like something then I will say so!
To make this comparison as fair as possible, I have chosen the plans that are the closest in terms of pricing across the two platforms and this puts Shopify’s basic package up against the Wix VIP package.
No Turnover Limit
2% Transaction Fees
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
8 Free Themes
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fees
50gb Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
86 Free Themes
There really isn’t much to choose between these two packages, the only real difference is the 2% transaction charge that you get with Shopify.
Both platforms offer a free 14 day trial of their paid plans and neither require you to give over any payment information before taking out the trial.
With Wix though, you do get the option of keeping a site on their free package but you can’t accept order via the Wix Stores app. You will also have to use a .wixsite.com domain name.
As two of the biggest website builders in the world, you would expect them to both come with a good range of features, but what do you get exactly?
As Shopify was designed primarily as an ecommerce platform, it is not surprising that the majority of their features are aimed at ecommerce. Even with the basic package, you get a large range of features built in to the platform as standard and as you move on to the larger packages, you do get more features.
- Dropshipping Integration
- Flexible Shipping Rates
- Product Reviews
- Digital Products
- Gift Vouchers
- Shopify Management App
Marketing & SEO
- Google Adwords Credit
- Sell on Facebook
- Discount Codes
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- Auto Generated Sitemap
- Social Share
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Product Reports
- Traffic Sources
- Google Analytics
- Day, Week and Monthly Reports
- Shopify Payments
- PayPal Express Checkout
- Amazon Pay
Shopify App Store
If the standard features of the Shopify platform aren’t enough for you, then you do have access to the Shopify App Store, which has over 3,000 apps that have been made by the Shopify team or third-party developers that add a variety of different functionality to your store.
Unfortunately, not all of these apps are free to use, many come with a free trial or plan but to get access to all the features, you will need to use a paid plan and if you are not careful, this can make Shopify quite expensive.
As Wix was originally a website builder and the ability to sell on the platform comes in the form of the Wix Stores app, this adds a checkout and product pages to your Wix website. Combined, Wix and the Wix Stores app offer the following features:
- Sell Physical & Digital Products
- Discount Coupons
- Create Promo Video
- Live Chat
Marketing & SEO
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Custom Meta Data
- Send via Email Campaign
- Share Product to Social Media
- Sell via Facebook and Instagram
- Conversion Rate
- Purchase Funnel
- Top Email Campaign
- Wix Payments
With all Wix packages, you also get access to the Wix App Market, which has a variety of apps that are made not only by the Wix team but also third-party developers. While not as big of a selection as you get with Shopify, there is still a good range to choose from.
While the majority of these apps will have some form of free plan, to get all of the features of the third-party developed apps, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan on top of your existing Wix package.
One of the things that really does let the Wix platform down is the poor selection of payment gateways on offer and there are no additional ones available in the App Market.
Shopify has a very good selection of themes, although not many of them are free! Within the Shopify theme store, you get 8 free themes and over 60 paid themes that range from $140 – £180.
You can also buy themes from outside of Shopify to use on the platform and a search on themeforest returns over 1,200 results, so there is a great selection of themes out there.
Wix has a larger selection of free themes with 86 themes that designed specifically for building an online store and it is not clear if any other of the Wix templates will work?
There are also a few third-party developers who have premium Wix themes that you can buy but the selection is much smaller than that of Shopify.
One of the reasons why people choose a hosted platform such as Shopify or Wix is that they get help and support to run their website. But how good is either platforms offering?
Shopify offer all of their users 24/7 access to their support team but it is not completely straightforward to contact them. This is because you need to go in to the Shopify help centre and perform a search query in order for the button that allows you to contact the support team to appear.
Once you do get through to this page, there are a variety of options such as phone, email and live chat. There is also a community support forum that is a great source of information and is frequented by members of the Shopify support team and also some very knowledgeable users.
The Wix VIP plan gives you access to better support than the other Wix plans. This includes priority response to your email tickets and VIP phone support, which means that your call gets first priority between 6am and 5pm pacific standard time (2pm – 1am gmt).
While this all does sound great, contacting Wix support isn’t the easiest thing to do as their help centre will more than likely refer you to a help article, rather than providing you with Wix’s contact info and it does take some searching in order to find out how to actually contact them.
Hosting & Performance
Shopify and Wix take a very different approach when it comes advertising their hosting information. Shopify are very upfront and provide the following information:
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Storage
- PCI Compliant Servers
- Free SSL Certificate
- 99.98% Uptime
- Blazing Fast Servers
Wix on the other hand are quite secretive when it comes to their hosting setup and after some digging, the only things that I could find are, that they include a free SSL certificate, have 99.9% uptime and 50gb storage.
This doesn’t stop me putting both platforms to the test! And to do this, I took three of their customer example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s speed tool using their London, UK server. I did this once a day for three days to get a nice spread of data, so how did they do?
Average Load Time
Website 1: 1.39 Seconds
Website 2: 2.36 Seconds
Website 3: 1.04 Seconds
Average Load Time
Website 1: 5.88 Seconds
Website 2: 7.48 Seconds
Website 3: 5.52 Seconds
As you can see, it is not even close between the two platforms. Shopify’s average came in under the golden 2 second window and not only did they return good scores but they felt quick when you went on to the sites.
I am not sure what is going on with Wix’s hosting, especially when you install the Wix Stores app as the performance is pretty shocking. An average load time of over 6 seconds will not only impact your websites rankings but also your customers user experience as you can visually see how slow they load.
The Wix sites were also very inconsistent and some tests had up to 2.5 second differences over the three tests.
Ease of Use
Now I do know that ease of use is subjective to the person using the site so the following is just my opinion and should only be used as a guide.
Shopify has a really simple sign up process, all you need is your email address, create a password and a name for your online store. Once you have entered this, Shopify will ask you what stage your business is at and also what industry you are in, so that it knows the best information to give to you when you get started.
Once you have completed the sign up process, you will be taken to the Shopify dashboard and be greeted by a short set up guide. This set up guide is a bit lacking in comparison to other platforms but the team at Shopify have created a series of videos in their academy that shows you more in-depth how to get your site set up.
It is worth watching this video series as there is some good information in there, along with some handy tips.
The Shopify dashboard itself is very well designed and has an almost minimalistic feel to it but every section of your site is easy to access from the sidebar navigation menu. And it doesn’t take long to learn where everything is within the dashboard as all of the headings are clearly labelled.
As Wix offers a free plan for life, it gives two ways in which you can try out the Wix VIP plan. This first is to sign up to a free Wix account and then go into the premium subscription section of the settings and upgrade your account. Alternatively, you can go to the pricing section of Wix and select the VIP and sign up through there.
Either way, getting started with Wix is very easy and once you have completed the sign up process, which only requires an email address and a password. You will be able to sign in to your dashboard and on your first sign in you will be asked if you want to set your site up using the new ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) or the classic editor.
With the new ADI tool, you will be asked a few simple questions and then Wix will build a basic website based on these answers. This can also include installing apps such as Wix Stores.
When you have completed the ADI set up, you will be taken to your dashboard and will be greeted by one of the most comprehensive set up guides that I have come across and includes steps such as setting up your online store to getting started with marketing your site. The amount of steps in the set up guide will depend on which apps you chose to be installed when you went through the ADI.
The Wix dashboard is easy to use but is a bit more cluttered than the Shopify one. The headings are clearly labelled and it doesn’t take long to get used to navigating your way around.
Customising your Theme
One of Shopify’s trump cards has always been their theme customisation, this is because they have one of the best tools on the market.
Within the Shopify customiser, there is lots that you can do to customise your theme. This is because of the section system they use, that allows you to add and remove sections from pages such as your homepage. There is a mix of ecommerce related ones such as featured products to content sections for images and text.
This gives you the flexibility to make your site look exactly how you want it. You can also change your themes colours and fonts, along with setting up your sites social media integration. There are also some options for customising your product and category pages.
Editing the sections is all done in the sidebar, not directly on the page but as soon as you make any changes, it will give you a live preview of what it will look like on your site.
The only thing that lets the Shopify theme customiser down, is that you can use the sections on your sites pages as they are limited to a pretty basic text editor.
Wix are just showing off when it comes to customising your theme as they have two different tools that you can use.
The first is the new ADI tool and it is as good as, if not better than Shopify’s customisation tool. This is because it works off a very similar section based builder and there is a large number of sections to choose from, ranging from ecommerce specific to content related sections such as images, text and videos.
What sets this apart from the Shopify tool, is that you can use these sections on every page of your site, not just the homepage. This allows you to have custom information pages such as about us and even custom product and category pages.
To add even more customisation to your site, most of these sections will have multiple different layout options. It is also very easy to edit existing sections as you just need to hover your mouse over them and it will show options for manage, design and settings, click on whichever button you want to change and it will show you the relevant options.
If you want to take even more control over your site, then you can use the classic editor. This allows you to make minor changes to your layout such as moving something slightly off-centre or making the margin at the top of a section smaller.
It is very easy to spend a long time in the classic editor as you can make both major and minor changes to your site. But one of the main features of the classic editor is that you can easily install and configure apps directly on to your site, this is the best way to do it, especially if the app has design elements to it, such as Wix stores.
Adding and Managing Stock
Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and for me there are three main areas to this and they are:
- Adding products
- Organising your Products
- Managing your inventory
Shopify have gone for a single page layout for their add new product page and as with the Shopify dashboard, it has quite a minimalistic feel but all of the important sections are there and this makes it very easy to add a new product.
One of the things that is a little different with Shopify, is organising your products as they have developed their own collection system. In the manual mode, this works in a very similar way to a traditional category system but the automatic mode uses rules based off product tags and to get this working effectively, it is worth reading through the Shopify documentation.
Creating sub-collections is also not completely straightforward, as this has be done when you are editing/creating your sites navigation menu, not in the collections creation or edit page.
Managing your inventory is made easier in Shopify as they have created an inventory page, which allows you to quickly update your stock inventory. If you need to edit anything other than this such as the title or price, then you will need to go back in and edit the product.
The add new product page in Wix is very similar to Shopify, in terms of being a very simple, single page layout. What is slightly different, is that you pick whether you want to add a digital or physical product before you are taken to the add new product page.
One thing that is good with the Wix Add Product page is that there are options to promote your product directly from the page, this allows you to start marketing your new products instantly.
In another similarity to Shopify, Wix also uses collections but they work the same as a traditional category system. Adding a new category is very simple but one of the negatives is that you cannot create sub-collections, this can make organising a large variety of products quite challenging.
The Wix platform is very limited when it comes to managing inventory as there is nothing you can do from the product overview page. Any edits such as stock quantity or price, needs to be done on a product by product basis and once again, this isn’t great if you have a large inventory.
Shopify is quite limited when it comes to managing your orders as you can’t print off order invoices or packing slips directly from the order overview page. Instead, this has to be done on an order by order basis, which could get tedious if you have a large number of orders.
But you can update order statuses, collect payments and export your order information via CSV format in bulk.
Wix – Unfortunately, I was unable to test the Wix order management system out as it wouldn’t allow me to create a test order. If I do get to try this out, obviously I will come back and update this post.
• Theme Customisation
• 24/7 Support
• Easy to use Admin Area
• The App Store
• Very Good Performance
• Transaction Fees
• Automatic Collection system is a bit complicated
• No option to bulk print invoices
• ADI set up
• ADI theme customisation
• Dashboard set up guides
• Wix App Market
• Add/edit product page
• Hidden support contact details
• Poor Performance
• Limited payment gateway options
• Slow loading times within the dashboard
• Lack of sub-categories
Shopify vs Wix – Which on is better for an Ecommerce Website?
There is only one winner out of these two platforms and that is Shopify, it is a better complete package than Wix and is geared more towards building an ecommerce website.
Wix has one very good feature, which is their ADI tool but the rest of platform just doesn’t back this up, such as the very poor performance and limited payment gateway options . In comparison to Shopify is strong in many areas and there isn’t any major negatives.
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