We’re breaking down the main pros and cons of these popular website builders to help you choose the best option for your small business or online store.
Wix is better known as a content-based website builder, while Shopify is widely used as an e-commerce platform. Actually, Shopify has an 11.8% market share in the global e-commerce segment comparing to Wix with only 5.64%. However, while they have started out differently, today both platforms are used as a content management system as well as an ecommerce solution.
Since each comes with a set of specifics, we’ve compared Wix vs Shopify in key areas to help you decide which website builder is best suited for the needs of your small business.
The key difference in this category is that Wix offers a completely free plan, while Shopify doesn’t (only a 14-day free trial). However, since the free plan with Wix has a limited set of features, it’s worth delving deeper into both platforms’ pricing plans to determine where your money would be better spent.
Wix pricing plan
The payment plans on Wix differ in storage space and bandwidth. With the free plan, you get up to 500MB of space and bandwidth. For an additional $4,50 per month, you can connect your domain, which can be a great, inexpensive option for blogging and other types of content-based websites. Heads up though, Wix doesn’t support SSL domains (only HTML).
Wix has two types of payment plans: websites and ecommerce websites. Online payment is only available with ecommerce plans, so if this is a necessary requirement for you, you should consider the business plans. If not, you can also purchase one of the less expensive website plans.
Wix website plans
- Combo plan ($8,50 per month): 2GB bandwidth limit and 3GB storage; 30 minutes of video content;
- Unlimited ($12,50 per month): unlimited bandwidth and 10 GB storage; 1 hour of video content; remove Wix ads option; $60 worth for site booster and visitor analytics apps each.
- VIP ($24,50 per month): unlimited bandwidth and 20 GB storage; 2 hours of video content; remove Wix ads; priority customer support; $60 worth for site booster and visitor analytics apps each; $50 worth for logo design.
Unlimited is the most popular plan in this category, since it provides a generous amount of storage with some additional perks. VIP plan is good for corporate websites (i.e. if you absolutely need priority in customer support), but may not worth the extra cost for small businesses or entrepreneurs.
Wix ecommerce website plans
Wix provides a choice of integrating several ecommerce tools, including PayPal, Stripe and Wix Payments. The good thing is that they all have the same transaction fees: $2.9 + $0.30. It’s also great that you can sell unlimited items with any business plan.
The key differences again come down to storage (bandwidth is unlimited with all plans) and additional useful features like label printing, dropshipping and automatic sales tax calculation.
- Business basic ($23 per month): 20GB storage, 5 hours of video.
- Business premium ($27 per month): 35GB, 10 hours of video; subscriptions and recurring payments; label printing; dropshipping for 250 products; different currencies; automated sales tax for 100 transactions per month; 1000 product reviews
- Business VIP ($49 per month): 50 GB, unlimited video; everything in business + unlimited dropshipping; automated sales tax for 500 transactions; 3000 reviews.
Here again the best option is the middle ground since it offers a range of features with capacity that’s fitting for most small businesses.
As a primarily an ecommerce platform Shopify has a much more straightforward pricing plan. There are four tiers with the key differences being related to shipping discounts and transaction fees (the more you pay in subscription the less you pay in transaction fees).
However, it’s possible to avoid credit card fees if you opt to use Shopify Payment, an integrated payment gateway. These are the Shopify pricing plans.
- Shopify Lite ($9 per month): doesn’t allow you to build a Shopify store, but rather to integrate a buy button on your existing website.
- Basic Shopify ($29 per month): 2.9% + $0.3 per transaction online; $2.7 for in-person transactions; 2 staff accounts; up to 64% shipping discount; 2% transaction fee for external payment processors.
- Shopify ($79 per month): 2.6% + $0.3 per transaction online; $2.7 for in-person transactions; 5 staff accounts; up to 72% shipping discount; 1% transaction fee for external payment processors.
- Advanced Shopify ($299 per month): 2.4% + $0.3 per transaction online; $2.7 for in-person transactions; 15 staff accounts; up to 74% shipping discount; 0.5% transaction fee for external payment processors; third-party calculated shipping rate; integration with your shipping account.
- Shopify Plus (from $2,000 per month): this is Shopify’s enterprise plan, suitable for big companies and corporations.
The basic plan and Shopify plan are suitable to small businesses and entrepreneurs (you definitely don’t need 15 staff accounts). All the paid accounts offer cool things like discount codes, gift cards, access to Shopify’s app market and POS Lite, so for a slightly bigger price than Wix, you get all sorts of useful ecommerce tools.
Another cool thing to note is that you can get POS Pro for free until 31st October 2020 (ordinarily it’s an extra $89 per month!).
Although Wix is technically cheaper, it’s hard to call a clear win on this. If you need a content management system, then it makes no sense to pay for Shopify’s specialized ecommerce features in the first place.
Admittedly, as an ecommerce website, Shopify offers quite a bit more for a slightly bigger price in the basic plans (there is just a $6 difference). However, comparing the more advanced plans, Shopify is quite a bit more expensive, so we’ll have to give this point to Wix as a much more cost-effective and fairly decent ecommerce solution.
Templates and customization
Creating a user-friendly and search engine optimized website means adjusting it to fit your business’ needs and match your clients expectations. Both website building platforms offer a range of options when it comes to customizing templates, so here’s a quick rundown of what you can do with each.
If you want a wealth of options, Wix has you covered: there are over 500 templates available, and over 60 free templates for business websites. They are also suitable for a wide range of uses, and a helpful feature is that you can search by industry. Templates are completely customizable and very easy to edit.
This great perk has a couple of downsides though. The first one is that too much creative freedom can sometimes lead you astray, especially if you’re creating a website for online selling; so be careful not to overcrowd your web design with unnecessary elements that will make the user experience difficult.
Secondly, because of the ability to edit basically anything on the templates, you might need to create two versions of your website for desktop and mobile devices. Absolute positioning, which is used by Wix means that you can place elements anywhere you like, so sometimes you may need to work on slight tweaks for everything to look good on mobile displays.
Shopify’s free template bundle includes just 9 themes, admittedly with a few variants. However, Shopify themes and templates are specifically designed for ecommerce websites, which means that you probably won’t need to adapt them significantly if you need an ecommerce website. There are also some wonderful professional themes that you can buy and they usually cost between $100 and $150.
The search option also works really well, as you are able to search templates by industry, product page layout, home page layout and navigation layout.
Wix wins this round, simply because the number of free templates available on this website builder by far exceeds Shopify’s modest selection of free themes.
Ease of use
Both of these website building platforms were created for people without any knowledge of coding languages like CSS or HTML. So whichever option you go for setting up a basic website or online store is fairly straightforward.
However, there are a few nuances that might give one of these website building platforms a slight competitive edge.
Wix is a drag-and-drop platform that prides itself on its ease of use and user-friendliness. And it’s true: creating a Wix website is extremely intuitive while allowing you a lot of creative freedom to move elements however you like them (rather than in designated areas only). It’s also one of the few website builders that allows you to animate text and other elements.
On the other hand, Wix stores are quite basic but they’re super easy to boost with tons of apps available from the Wix app market.
The other contender, Shopify definitely scores high for ease of use as well. If you’re after something that’s easy to understand and will allow you to set up a wonderful online store, Shopify is certainly a great choice for you.
However, as an ecommerce platform, Shopify is designed to help you create the perfect online store, so be warned that you might have to get used to a slightly more rigid framework when setting up. Setting up your store with Shopify usually takes several hours. That said, going through the entire process, step-by-step means that you have total control in the backend (which is not the case with Wix).
Shopify keeps the dashboard and editing interface separate so not everything is as intuitive and straightforward as a beginner might like it to be. In the long run, however, this might be helpful to ensure that your ecommerce store is a success.
Wix wins this round simply because the ease of use paired with amazing functions is tough to beat. Their online store interface, admittedly, is a bit more basic, but if you want to set up quickly and make something that looks amazing, go with Wix.
The previous sections have taken into consideration the possibility of setting up a website that’s meant to be more than an ecommerce store, however since ecommerce is a critical component for most online businesses, it’s worth examining Wix vs Shopify in that respect.
Abandoned cart recovery
This is one of the simplest and most powerful eCommerce features which allows you to send a reminder email to customers who have left items in their shopping cart and then left your website.
Both Shopify and Wix support the abandoned cart recovery feature.
When considering user-friendliness, it’s necessary to work out how your ecommerce site looks from the perspective of your end-user.
At first glance, Wix offers a seamless experience with several payment methods available including PayPal or Stripe; and most importantly credit card payments without transaction fees.
However, Shopify has a significantly larger menu of payment options, including Google and Apple Pay, and even Facebook. Another extremely useful feature is that Shopify allows for use of different currencies which can be helpful for online stores with customers worldwide.
You may have guessed that when it comes to managing your products and tracking sales, the Shopify inventory management has a far more superior set of options, including uploading multiple products, stock management tools and income reports.
That said, Wix can still be improved with various add-ons from their app store. However, this obviously requires much more work than the ready-made framework which you get with Shopify.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Shopify wins this round hands down. This doesn’t mean, however, that Wix stores are useless. On the contrary, with minor adjustments, they can be a good choice for smaller online stores and businesses.
However, in terms of scalability and functionality, Shopify is the superior e-commerce platform.
Most marketers and small business owners will agree that getting customers to the point of sale is much easier than getting them initially interested or even aware of your offer. Your website, therefore, isn’t just a platform to sell your products but also a tool to attract potential customers.
When it comes to marketing possibilities, where do our two contenders stand?
Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization will depend largely on your own efforts to make your website SEO friendly (this means using the right keywords and creating a well-designed website that customers will want to browse through).
However, website builders like Wix, Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace and WordPress all have a set of tools or plugins designed to help you create a website that drives traffic.
Both Wix and Shopify cover SEO basics like editing metadata and URLs, however, Wix does go the extra mile with keyword support.
With Wix, you get an integrated solution for your email campaigns called Wix Ascend which costs between $11 and $35 per month depending on your subscription. You can send up to 3 email campaigns per month if you don’t want to subscribe. Wix’ email marketing tool is very powerful and allows you to create great, customized emails and access to detailed insights and data.
Shopify relies heavily on third party apps like Privy and Omnisend.
Although Wix takes the lead in other marketing aspects, it does not support full integration with all social media channels. Shopify allows you to sell products via Twitter, Instagram, Amazon and eBay.
Wix wins again, and perhaps unsurprisingly, since its set of marketing features and apps are ideal for blogging websites which rely heavily on SEO driven traffic.
Analytics and apps
Tracking website visitors and their behavior is necessary if you want to improve your business and your website. Here’s what each of the contenders has to offer in terms of analytics and apps.
Google Analytics is the most powerful tool for monitoring your website performance. Wix grants you access to Google Analytics, but only with ecommerce plans.
The app market on Wix hosts over 300 different apps, however, they are not as tailor-made for ecommerce websites as is the case with Shopify’s app store.
Google Analytics access is available with all payment plans and Shopify app store is also packed with useful plugins that can help you boost online sales.
A cool recent addition to Shopify app store is an app called Shop which is designed to make the shopping experience more personal and enjoyable for buyers, including in-app recommendations and faster checkouts. Shopify also goes the extra mile when it comes to cool extras since you can now use augmented reality to present your products.
Shopify also allows you to view website visitors and behavior in real time which is especially important on busy dates like Black Friday or around Christmas. Wix has this option too, but only in the mobile view.
Shopify wins this one as a much more business-friendly solution. Also, the fact that Wix doesn’t offer access to Google Analytics with all plans is a huge drawback, especially for small business websites that aren’t primarily focused on being an ecommerce business.
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Whether you need to change something on your website or solve an issue with your ecommerce store, having a reliable support system is very important. After all, you are the responsible person in the eyes of the customer, and if you can’t provide useful and timely solutions to problems, your business will suffer.
So when it comes to customer support, who wins between Wix vs Shopify?
Wix offers support in two main ways: sending a written query (or ticket) or phone support. Both of these options are good and valid until you have a problem outside the working hours.
In this case, you’ll be asked to call back during work hours or, in case of a written query, get a response with a slight delay. To be frank, if you’re running a small online business, you may not even need 24/7 coverage, but a stellar support system gives you peace of mind that whenever a problem arises, someone will be there to help.
However, a wonderful feature that Wix has is in-editor support. If you want to make small changes to your website, it’s great getting a quick answer without a lot of back and forth. Again, it’s a testament to Wix’s suitability for blogging websites that are often changed or updated.
Perhaps because Shopify is quite clearly better suited to big online shops, their customer support system is much more agile. Shopify also offers a live chat option (which is not currently available on Wix) and 24/7 phone support.
Editor support in Shopify on the other hand, requires you to go to a separate page which can be frustrating if you just need to make a quick change on your website.
We’ll have to call this round of Wix vs Shopify a draw, since Wix takes the lead in functionality with editorial support, while Shopify has a more agile approach with their customer support.
Additionally, it’s great to note that both platforms have tons of helpful tutorials, so they are another useful resource if you’re unsure about something.
Wix vs Shopify: Which one is a better website building platform?
Taking a quick look at the results, it’s clear that Wix is an incredible inexpensive solution for inexperienced small business owners.
As a self-starter, you’ll definitely get a lot for your money in a website building platform that’s super easy to use.
That said, we cannot declare this victory without a small disclaimer. Although Wix is suitable for a much wider range of uses, as an ecommerce website Shopify reigns supreme. If your goal is to sell lots of different products, whilst getting a lot of support with things like drop shipping and tax calculation, Shopify might be the better option for you.