Shopify and Wix are two of the most popular options for building ecommerce websites, with both claiming to be feature rich and easy to use but are these claims true and which one is better for building an ecommerce website?
That is what we will be looking at in this in-depth comparison of these two website builders.
Shopify vs Wix: What is the Difference?
Shopify is a fully hosted platform designed specifically for building ecommerce websites and is suitable for businesses of all sizes. Wix is primarily a website builder than allows users to sell products on their site using the Wix Stores app and is aimed at smaller ecommerce websites.
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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.
As you can see, Wix is quite a bit cheaper on a monthly basis and it works out even cheaper when you factor in the transaction fee that Shopify charges on all payments received outside of their own Shopify Payments payment gateway (not including offline payment methods), which vary depending on the package you are on:
- Shopify Basic: 2%
- Shopify Standard: 1%
- Shopify Advanced: 0.5%
This can make Shopify quite a bit more expensive!
The prices quoted in the tables above are if you pay monthly and the prices you may have seen on the Wix website are cheaper, this is because those prices are if you pay annually, which is something Wix does a pretty good job of hiding!
Shopify are a bit more upfront and show the monthly price but also include discount of 10% if paid for annually and 20% if paid for biennially.
Both Shopify and Wix also offer plans for larger ecommerce websites, which are the Shopify Plus package, which starts from $2,000/m and the Wix Enterprise package that starts from $500/m.
Shopify offers a 14 Day Free trial, which only requires an email address and to create a password.
Wix operates a bit differently as you sign up to a free account, which allows you to install and test the Wix Stores app but you can’t take orders through it. They do offer a 14 money back guarantee on their ecommerce plans.
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.
Theme Selection & Customisation
In November 2021, Shopify implemented their OS 2.0 system for themes and theme customization, which is designed to give users more control over the look and feel of their site.
With this update, came a selection of new themes including 4 free options and 65 paid, which range from $150 – $350.
The big change came to the customizer and while it was no slouch before, it was basically limited to the homepage but the new system has been expanded to pretty much all types of pages that you can create through Shopify.
When it comes to customization, there is lots that you can do, including:
- Adding, removing and re-organising sections
- Make changes to the header and footer
- Customize the font styles, sizes and colors
- Change colors across the theme including buttons
- Create custom templates for pages
- Live preview, so you can see changes before sending them to your live site
Overall, the new customizer is a very good improvement over the old one and is one of the best customizers on the market.
Wix has a larger selection of free themes with 86 themes that designed specifically for use with the Wix Stores App but it is unclear if all of the themes available will work. Outside of Wix, there are a few third-party developers who have produced paid for themes but the selection is much smaller than that of Shopify.
Wix are showing off a little bit when it comes to customising your theme as they have two different tools that you can use.
The first is the new ADI tool it is one of the few theme customizers available from a fully hosted platform that is better than Shopify’s one. 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.
The second option offers more layout control but is more difficult and sometimes frustrating to use as it 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.
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.
Wix aren’t exactly upfront about the support options you get with the Business Basic plan, which meant I had to do a little bit of digging and it seems that you get 24/7 call back for English speaking support but other languages is limited.
Outside of the call back support feature, there is only the option to submit a support ticket and both of these options mean that you are waiting on the Wix support team, rather than being able to make the initial contact yourself. This is one area that a lot of Wix users complain about.
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 us putting both platforms to the test! And to do this, we took five of their customer example sites and ran them through Uptrends speed tool, which not only tests load time but also their PageSpeed Insight scores.
Testing was done using Uptrends New York server on both Mobile and Desktop devices and were run once a day for three days and you can see the results below:
It is a pretty clear win for Shopify on this one as they beat Wix in all four tests!
When it comes to performance, there is still room for improvement from Shopify and load times of sub 2 seconds would be nice to see but across the board, the performance is solid and also consistent across the tests.
There are definitely some issues with the Wix hosting environment and not only is the performance poor across all categories but they were also very inconsistent.
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 feels a lot more cluttered than Shopify’s offering. The main sidebar navigation menu is well labelled but if you install a lot of apps, it can soon become full of headings, which does make it more difficult to navigate.
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.
Managing your inventory is very simple as Shopify have two very good bulk editors, the first in the main product overview page allows you to change multiple different elements of the product by using filters to choose what you want to change.
If you just want to quickly update your inventory quantity, then you can use the Inventory section of the dashboard but this offers a similar filter system to the other bulk editor, which allows you to update multiple things at the same time.
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 the only bulk editor they have is for inventory quantity, any other edits to the product need to be done by going back in and editing products individually.
Shopify is somewhat limited in its order management but you can:
- Print basic packing slips
- Export via CSV
- Update or statuses
All in bulk but if you want to print invoices, you will need to install an additional app and although Shopify have a free one, the paid ones by third party developers offer a lot more functionality.
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
• 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
Overall, Shopify does come out as a pretty clear winner as it offers a much better overall package for ecommerce websites.
While Shopify doesn’t excel in one particular area, it is good across the board and offers pretty much everything you need to set up an ecommerce website. The main downside is the cost, especially when compared to Wix but when looking at the complete offering, it beats Wix in pretty much every area.
But you don’t have to take my word for it! You can try both of these out for yourself by clicking the buttons below and taking out a trial with Shopify or starting a free account with Wix.
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