ShopWired vs Shopify – Two Ecommerce Platforms for UK Businesses

ShopWired vs Shopify Ecommerce Comparison

Choosing the right ecommerce platform is an important part of setting up an online shop but with so many companies offering great solutions, it can be hard to know which one to go with.

That is why I created a series of posts comparing the most popular ecommerce platforms that can be used by UK businesses.

In this post I am going to be looking at two very popular options, ShopWired which is a UK based platform that boasts the like of Wowcher, EDF Energy and Homeserve amongst their customers and Shopify, who power over 1 million online stores, making them the biggest ecommerce platform in the world.

So how I am going to compare the two platforms? I am going to look at the pricing, features and ease of use. If you want more information on either platform, then I will leave a link to my full reviews of both platforms.

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!

Pricing

Shopwired pro

£29.95

+ vat a Month

Upto 750 Products

Upto £75k Annual Turnover

No Transaction Fees

Unlimited Data Storage

Free SSL Certificate

Standard UK Support

19 Free Responsive Themes

2 Admin Accounts

Basic Shopify

$29

a month

Unlimited Products

No Turnover Limit

2% Transaction Fee

Unlimited Data Storage

Free SSL Certificate

24/7 Support

8 Free Responsive Themes

2 Staff Accounts

Both platforms of excellent introductory packages and there isn’t really much to pick between the two. The main two differences are that the ShopWired package is limited by turnover, while some may view this as a negative, it can be a good thing for your business. This is because as your start selling more online, you need more resources and support and you get this with the larger packages.

The second difference is that Shopify charge transaction fees if you use any payment gateway other than Shopify Payments. While this may seem like a really small fee, this can soon add up when your sales start to grow. On the larger packages, this transaction fee does drop so if your store starts to grow, you may want to consider upgrading to another package.

Free Trial

Both platforms let you try their respective platforms out free, for 14 days before you having to commit to a paid plan and I highly recommend giving them both a try so that you can see for yourself what the platforms are like to use.

To get started with either platform, just click the buttons below:

Features

So both platforms are pretty even when it comes to pricing but what about features?

For this I am going to give an overview of the main features that are available on both platforms in four main categories.

ShopWired

Out of the box, ShopWired is a very capable ecommerce platform and comes with a great selection of features to help you build an ecommerce website.

Ecommerce Tools

  • Multi-buy Offers
  • Product Extras
  • Multi-Currency
  • Product Reviews
  • Ebay Integration
  • Digital Downloads
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Reward Points

Marketing & SEO

  • Google Feed
  • MailChimp Integration
  • Discount Codes
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Create Sales
  • Social Share
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Gross Profit Report
  • Sales by Product
  • Sales by Category
  • Payment Methods
  • Sales by Month
  • Failed Searches
  • Visitors

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Stripe
  • Amazon Pay
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Barclaycard EPDQ
  • Nochex

With ShopWired, you do get to pick an choose some of the features that are available on your website as they use a combination of Apps and Extensions.

ShopWired App Selection

Their Apps are really easy to use, they are simple on click installs and can be uninstalled just as easily. The majority of the are free to use but some do incur a small monthly fee. On the larger packages, you do get all of the Apps included for free.

All of these extensions are free to use but they do need to be coded into your site, you can do this yourself if you have experience with doing this or you can pay a one off fee and the ShopWired team will do it for you.

Shopify

In its standard form, the Shopify platform offers you all the features you need in order to get your online store set up.

Ecommerce Tools

  • Dropshipping Integration
  • Flexible Shipping Rates
  • Multi-Language
  • 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
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Product Reports
  • Traffic Sources
  • Google Analytics
  • Day, Week and Monthly Reports

Payment Gateways

  • Shopify Payments
  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Amazon Pay
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay

While the standard features are very good, it is the amount of third-party apps that are available within the Shopify App store that is really impressive. With over 3000 to choose from, covering everything from ecommerce features, marketing and SEO to order and inventory management.

Due to the vast amount of Apps on offer, it really isn’t possible for me to even begin listing them here,

Shopify App Store

There is a big difference when it comes to the price of these apps, the most expensive ShopWired app is an additional £5 a month. While many Shopify apps offer free plans,

I saw some paid plans ranging from a couple of dollars a month to around the $100 a month range. Always be vigilant when installing apps as you could soon find yourself with a hefty monthly bill!

Theme Selection

ShopWired

ShopWired has a really nice selection of free themes with 19, premium mobile responsive ones to choose from. There is an additional selection of 5 paid themes that range from £29 – £69 + vat.

If none of the standard theme selection does it for you, then you can have the ShopWired team design and build a custom one for you for £1795 + vat.

Shopify

Shopify has a much smaller selection of free themes with only 8 to choose from.

But there is a far higher number of paid themes to choose from, with 64 available in the Shopify theme store and they range from $140 – $180. If none of these do it for you, then the additional 1200+ available on themeforest may better fit your business.

If you want a custom theme, then you can instruct a third party developer to do it for you and prices will vary from developer to developer.

Support

Support is one of the reasons why you would choose a hosted ecommerce platform as you have someone you can contact if you can’t figure out how to do something or something has gone wrong.

ShopWired

ShopWired offer excellent UK based support via the phone, live chat and email. While the quality is excellent, you are limited by their working hours which are 9.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Shopify

Shopify claim to offer 24/7 support, however finding out how to contact a real person at Shopify is a big of challenge! The whole help section of the website seems to either point you towards their documentation or the support forum (which is full of very knowledgeable people!). I am sure there is a way to find their contact info but it is definitely not easy to find.

Hosting & Performance

On paper, there is little to choose between the two platforms when it comes to their hosting as both offer:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Storage
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • Global Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • 99.9% Uptime

On this there should be little to no difference in the performance of a website using either of these platforms right? Well I decided to put both of these companies to the test by taking three of their customer example sites and running them through Pingdom’s speed test tool once a day for three days. So how did they do?

ShopWired Average: 1.44 Seconds

Website 1: 1.43 Seconds
Website 2: 1.12 Seconds
Website 3: 1.78 Seconds

Shopify Average: 1.60 Seconds

Website 1: 1.39 Seconds
Website 2: 2.36 Seconds
Website 3: 1.04 Seconds

There really isn’t much difference between the two when it comes to page load speed but ShopWired do just pip Shopify on this one. Both platforms averaged less than 2 second load times, which is the standard you want for an ecommerce site. Shopify did have one site that averaged just over 2 seconds, which none of the ShopWired offerings did.

The ShopWired sites were more consistent with each other, with only having a 0.66 second spread between all the sites. This is quite a bit less than Shopify’s 1.32 second spread.

Just for reference, I chose sites in the same industry with similar levels of content to help ensure that the tests were as accurate as possible.

Ease of Use

Facts and features are one thing but how easy are these platforms to use? In the second part of my comparison, I look at some of the main things that you will do on these platforms and see how the two compare.

Getting Started

ShopWired

Getting started with ShopWired is a very simple process, all you need is an email address and a password and you are ready to go. No credit card is needed to start the free trial.

Once you have signed up, you go into the ShopWired dashboard and you a greeted by a comprehensive set up guide that takes you through most of the important steps you need to do in order to get started. The only real thing missing here is setting up your Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

ShopWired Setup Tutorial

The ShopWired dashboard is also very easy to use as they have gone for a sidebar navigation menu. All the main section headings are well labelled and it won’t take you long to learn where everything is. If you do get stuck, the ShopWired team have written a really good selection of guides to take you through most of the things you will need to do.

If you do need to contact them about anything, you can easily start a live chat session directly from your dashboard, so no need to go hunting for how to speak to someone.

Shopify

Signing up to Shopify is as easy as it is with ShopWired and an email address, password and store name will get you started.

When you first log in to the Shopify dashboard, there is a short guide to help get you started but it is a little bit light and doesn’t take you through everything you need to do in order to get your Shopify store up and running. I did expect more from a platform that is aimed at people who are new to ecommerce!

Shopify Dashboard

The Shopify dashboard is really easy to navigate. The sidebar navigation menu is simply laid out with clearly labelled section titles and it doesn’t take a long time to feel familiar with where everything is.

It isn’t as easy to access the help documentation and support as it is with ShopWired because you actively have to go and find it.

Customising your Theme

ShopWired

This is the one area that really does let the ShopWired platform down as you when it comes the customisation, you are limited to being able to change your colours and the text that is used on your site.

There isn’t any option to change the layout or look of your site and while the design and quality of the themes available is excellent. This limitation is a bit of a hindrance!

However, if you know about PHP, CSS and HTML, then you can do a lot of customisation as you do have access the theme source code, meaning that you can make as many changes as you want.

Shopify

Shopify definitely offers you much more when it comes to theme customisation and they arguably have the best theme customiser in the industry!

You have near complete control over the look and feel of your site from simple things such as colours and fonts to more advanced things such as layout and content blocks. Even one of the basic free themes can easily be made to look like a premium theme.

Shopify Theme Customisation

One of the great features that the Shopify theme customiser offers is access to their stock image library, this makes it easy to add a selection of high quality images to your website. This can be really helpful, especially when you are just starting out.

As with ShopWired, you also have access to the source code of the themes so anyone with knowledge of HTML and CSS can make changes at the code level.

Adding and Managing Products

ShopWired

The complete inventory management process on ShopWired is well laid out and easy to use.

Starting with adding a new product, they have opted for a single page layout, which has a good flow from one section of the page to another. This makes it really easy to add and also edit products on your website.

ShopWired Create Product

To organise your products, ShopWired have used the tried and test category method and this allows you to create parent and sub-categories. Being able to do this, enables you to have a nice hierarchy for your products, which is not only good for SEO but also user experience.

When it comes to managing your inventory, the majority of this has to be done on a product by product basis as there is limited bulk editing but you can update stock levels using the manage stock section.

Shopify

While the process on Shopify is still good, there is one thing that make the Shopify system a little frustrating to use.

Fortunately, none of this occurs on the add product page as the single page layout is well laid out and nice to use with a nice flow from section to section.

Shopify Add Product

When it comes to organising your products, Shopify have opted to use what they call collections, which is similar to categories but offers you lots of different options and I do think that this could be confusing for people who are new to the platform. Definitely worth reading the documentation before you start using it.

To help you manage your inventory, you can use the inventory page that allows you to update stock levels in a couple of clicks. If you need to do any more editing, then this has to be done on a product by product basis.

Managing Orders

ShopWired

The order management process with ShopWired makes managing your orders very simple to do, whether you have a large or small number of orders.

From the main order management dashboard you can print off invoices via PDF or export them via CSV file, this can be done for single or multiple orders. You can also update order statuses directly from the order overview page.

All of this can also be on an order by order basis by clicking on the order and then making changes within the order summary page.

Shopify

With Shopify, it is a little more challenging, especially if you have a large number of orders to manage. This is because updating orders statuses and printing off invoices has to be done by orders individually and cannot be done from the order overview page. I would image that there is an app that will allow you to do this but you can’t in the core Shopify platform.

You can however, export all of your orders via CSV format from the main order page.

Conclusion

Both ShopWired and Shopify offer a platform that is a great choice for building an ecommerce website but there are a couple of differences that do separate the two platforms.

If design and aesthetics are very important to your website, brand and business, then Shopify does this much better than ShopWired. This is because Shopify offers you so many options when it comes to customisation.

But ShopWired is the better platform when it comes to managing your ecommerce website due to the product and order management processes. This is down to a combination of being easier to use in many ways and also being able to do much more without the use of third-party plugins.

So it really does come down to what is more important to you and your business. Either way, I would recommend giving both of these platforms a try as you might find that you like one much more than the other.

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