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Wix vs Shopify: A Data-Driven Comparison of eCommerce Website Builders

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Hey there! So you‘re looking to create an online store and want to know whether Wix or Shopify is better for building your ecommerce website. I‘ve done tons of research and built stores on both platforms, so let me walk you through a detailed, data-driven comparison to help you decide.

Why eCommerce is Booming

Before we dive into the platforms, let‘s briefly go over why ecommerce is exploding in popularity lately. Online shopping has been growing steadily for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic supercharged the ecommerce industry.

Just look at these statistics:

  • Global ecommerce sales grew nearly 27% in 2020, hitting $4.2 trillion [1].
  • In the US alone, ecommerce sales jumped 44% year-over-year in Q2 2020 [2].
  • The pandemic accelerated ecommerce adoption by 5+ years according to IBM [3].

It‘s clear that selling online is no longer optional – it‘s quickly becoming the dominant form of commerce. But here‘s the exciting part…

Building an online store is now easier than ever thanks to DIY website builders like Wix and Shopify that handle all the technical stuff for you. No coding needed!

These platforms empower entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into thriving ecommerce businesses on the web. Next, let‘s explore Wix and Shopify in more detail so you can determine which solution may be the best fit.

All About Wix – More Than Just Websites

Founded in 2006, Wix initially focused on building CMS-powered websites for blogs, portfolios, and info sites. The company only expanded into ecommerce features and online store capabilities later on.

Here are some key stats about Wix:

  • 200+ million users across 190 countries [4]
  • 4.5 million premium subscriptions [4]
  • 500,000+ online stores built on the platform [5]

While Wix isn‘t a purpose-built ecommerce solution, they‘ve added robust store-building tools like:

  • Drag-and-drop store editor
  • Hundreds of templates
  • Secure payment processing
  • Shipping calculators
  • Inventory management

You can use Wix to create pretty much any type of website – the flexibility goes way beyond just ecommerce shops. Blogs, portfolios, bookings sites, directories, and membership communities can all be built using Wix.

So if you need a multipurpose site that incorporates online sales as well, Wix is a great choice.

Shopify – Made for Selling Online

Unlike Wix, Shopify focused exclusively on ecommerce right from the start in 2006. The platform lets you create and manage online stores with a SaaS subscription model.

Let‘s look at some Shopify metrics:

  • 1,000,000+ businesses in 175 countries use Shopify [6]
  • $0 to $1 billion: revenue range of Shopify merchants [7]
  • Global retail ecommerce sales on Shopify grew over 80% in 2020 [8]

Shopify powers stores ranging from fledgling startups to massive enterprises like GE, Red Bull, and Allbirds.

The company builds tools tailored specifically for selling online, like:

  • Super fast onboarding wizard
  • Mobile optimized themes
  • Integrated payments and shipping
  • Robust analytics and reporting

In short, Shopify focuses 100% on helping you sell stuff online. So if you just want to launch a store without other site features, Shopify streamlines the process.

Now that we‘ve covered the basics of each platform, let‘s compare them across 7 key factors for online stores…

#1: Ease of Use

Let‘s be honest – if a platform is overly complex, you‘ll struggle to set up or manage your store. Both Wix and Shopify are designed for user-friendliness:

Wix uses an intuitive drag-and-drop editor. Simply drag elements like text, images, and buttons onto a page to build your design. Wix has a slight learning curve, but nowhere near the headaches of coding a site from scratch.

Shopify simplifies setup with a guided wizard that asks you questions then auto-configures your store. Add products, customize themes, and launch quickly thanks to the streamlined workflow.

Both platforms use simple interfaces and processes even total beginners can comfortably navigate. For most online sellers without web design expertise, Wix and Shopify are excellent choices.

When it comes to ease of use, I‘d rate this category a tie – the process is straightforward and intuitive on both platforms.

#2: Themes and Templates

Next let‘s examine the pre-made templates and themes offered by Wix vs Shopify.

Wix has over 800 templates spanning many niches, but only around 120 are tailored specifically for online stores. The rest work better for blogs, portfolios, etc.

Shopify boasts 70+ themes, almost all designed for ecommerce sites. This allows you to easily give your store a polished, professional look and feel thanks to themes handling layouts, photos, and text.

If you want a template directly optimized for selling online (rather than generic informational sites), Shopify is the better bet here.

For ecommerce, Shopify provides higher quality tailored themes.

#3: Pricing

One of the most important considerations is cost. Here‘s an overview of Wix and Shopify‘s pricing models:

Wix has a free basic plan but limits features. Their combined ecommerce and Business Basic plan starts at $27 per month. More advanced packages add capabilities like gift cards and abandoned cart recovery.

Shopify doesn‘t have a permanently free plan, only a 14-day free trial. Their Basic Shopify package starts at $29 per month. There are discounts for paying annually rather than monthly. Additional fees apply for high volume stores.

Wix offers more budget flexibility thanks to their free option. Shopify is harder to justify for unproven concepts without steady revenue.

However, Wix‘s lower plans charge commission fees on sales, while Shopify‘s standard pricing does not.

#4: Integrations and Apps

The ability to connect complementary services is vital for many online sellers. Apps and integrations expand functionality beyond the core platforms.

Wix currently provides around 250 apps focused on ecommerce. These add key capabilities like booking, email marketing, accounting, and ship station integration. Many popular apps are free or low cost.

Shopify on the other hand offers over 3,000 apps tailored to ecommerce. From payments, to shipping, to automation, their marketplace is significantly more robust. Top apps like PayPal, Stripe, and QuickBooks integrate smoothly.

There‘s no contest here – Shopify wins by a landslide in terms of ecosystem. For virtually any tool an online retailer needs, there is likely a Shopify app available.

#5: Marketing and SEO

Driving traffic to your new online store requires strong digital marketing capabilities – how do Wix and Shopify compare?

Both platforms provide basic blogging, email marketing, coupons and discounts to help you promote your shop. For advanced functionality, apps can be integrated (more options with Shopify).

Regarding SEO, Wix and Shopify allow you to customize meta tags, URLs, titles, alt text, and more. Suitable for baseline SEO needs.

For SMBs, either platform will provide sufficient marketing and optimization capabilities. Unless you need extremely advanced workflows, this category is a tie – both facilitate core marketing activities.

#6: Shipping and Order Fulfillment

Handling logistics for physical products is crucial for ecommerce success. So how do these platforms stack up?

Wix gives you general shipping options like local pickup, national, and international. However, you‘ll likely need to integrate third-party apps for label printing, tracking, and discounted rates. Inventory syncing is also separate.

Shopify has integrated order fulfillment workflows. You can natively print shipping labels, track shipments, manage inventory, and even negotiate rates with major carriers. Local pickup options are also built-in.

Shopify offers much stronger shipping functionality out of the box. Wix requires piecing together separate apps which is less efficient.

#7: Payments Processing

Securely accepting payments is fundamental for any online business.

Wix Payments provides 45+ payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Square, and popular local payment methods internationally. Availability varies based on your business location.

Shopify supports 100+ payment gateways and is certified for advanced security like PCI compliance. They cover options like Apple Pay, PayPal, and manual payments. Shopify also provides built-in fraud analysis.

While Wix covers the most common options, Shopify supports a wider array of local payment types and niche processors. This gives you more flexibility.

Key Limitations to Know

No platform is 100% perfect, so let‘s summarize some potential downsides:

Wix limitations:

  • Lower level plans charge sales commission fees
  • Primarily a website builder, ecommerce is secondary
  • Limited built-in fulfillment features
  • App ecosystem smaller than Shopify

Shopify limitations:

  • Recurring SaaS fees make it hard to experiment with unproven ideas
  • Highly customized designs are harder to build
  • Pay extra for premium templates
  • Inventory limits on lower-priced plans

To recap, here are my recommendations based on common ecommerce scenarios:

Best for Wix:

  • Budget online side hustle or small experimental store
  • Selling digital products (no shipping)
  • Complementing a content-focused website

Best for Shopify:

  • Serious brand with long-term scaling planned
  • Managing extensive physical product inventory
  • Following proven templates rather than 100% custom designs

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, Shopify is my top recommendation for most dedicated online stores given its robust features and seamless scalability.

However, Wix can still be a great fit for simpler shops or businesses with broader needs beyond just ecommerce.

Hope this detailed comparison helps provide clarity so you can select the best platform for your web store! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Sources

[1] https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/global-ecommerce-sales/
[2] https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/us-ecommerce-sales/
[3] https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/OJDVQGRY
[4] https://investors.wix.com/news-and-events/news/news-details/2021/Wix-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2020-Results/
[5] https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/website-builders/wix/
[6] https://www.shopify.com/customers
[7] https://www.shopify.com/customers/allbirds-prose-sameday-good american
[8] https://news.shopify.com/shopify-announces-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2020-financial-results

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