ShopWired vs Shopify (2020) – Which One is Better for UK Businesses

ShopWired and Shopify are two very popular options for creating an ecommerce store in the UK, but which one is better?

ShopWired vs Shopify: What is the Difference?

Both ShopWired and Shopify are dedicated platforms for building ecommerce websites. The main difference is that ShopWired is primarily focused on the UK market and offer tools for B2C and B2C website. Shopify is a global platform, with users all around the world and its main focus is to provide a platform to build B2C ecommerce websites.

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

Pro

Pro

£29.95/m

Up to 750 Products
Up to £75k Annual Turnover
No Transaction Fees
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
Standard UK Support
15 Free Themes
2 Admin Accounts

Basic

Basic

$29.00/m

Unlimited Products
No Turnover Limit
2% Transaction Fees
Unlimited Data Storage
Free SSL Certificate
24/7 Support
9 Free 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.

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

Unfortunately though, not all of the apps are free and while many offer free plans or trails, you will need to pay to access all of the features. The apps range 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 & Customisation

ShopWired

ShopWired updated their theme selection in 2020, using their new Version 4 framework. The revised selection offers 20 free to use, mobile responsive themes, that all have an upgrade options that includes some extensions being installed for £89+vat.

If none of the standard theme selection does it for you, then you can have the ShopWired team design build a custom one for you by choosing their Pro Package at £3495 + vat or the Advanced Package at £3995+vat.

The Version 4 framework saw the introduction of ShopWired’s first live editor and it is a big improvement over the previous set up as you can now see the impact of the changes to your site immediately.

ShopWired Theme Customisation

Theme customisation as a whole in ShopWired is still quite limited though, with the main changes being the themes colours, text snippets and front page images. There are no options to change the layout of the pages, which means that it is challenging to create a truly custom looking website.

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 has a much smaller selection of free themes with only 9 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.

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.

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.

It is also very easy to find the contact details for ShopWired as their phone number and email address is clearly shown on their website and there is a live chat icon available directly in your admin dashboard.

Shopify

Shopify offer 24/7 to their users but it is not as easy to access the support options. This is because you need to go through their help centre and then perform a search in order to see the button, that leads to the page where you can contact their support team.

They do have a varied number of options, including phone, live chat, email and via twitter.

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 (London Server) and Google’s Page Speed Insights once a day for three days. So how did they do?

Average Load Time

Pingdom: 1.44 Seconds
Google Mobile: 24/100
Google Desktop: 53/100

Average Load Time

Pingdom: 1.60 Seconds
Google Mobile: 38/100
Google Desktop: 80/100

In terms of page load time, there wasn’t much between the two platforms but the ShopWired sites were more consistent with each other than the Shopify ones but both did very well and came in well under the golden 2 second mark.

For the Google tests, Shopify did perform better out of the two platforms, especially on the desktop but both could do with some improvement on their mobile performance.

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.

ShopWired vs Shopify Video

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.

Even though the set up guide is pretty poor, they do have a very good selection of videos in the Shopify Academy, that takes you through how to get your store set up. There are some useful tips and tricks in there, so it is worth a watch.

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.

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

Adding a new product on Shopify is really easy and the single page layout has a really nice workflow, with options to create digital products and product variations both easily accessible.

Shopify Add Product

When it comes to organising your products, Shopify have opted to use what their own system that they have called collections and there two modes for this. In manual mode, it works very similar to a category system. But the automatic mode uses rules that are based on product tags, it does take some getting used to using this and is definitely worth spending some time reading through the documentation.

Creating sub-collections is also not particularly straight forward as this isn’t done when you create a new category, this is instead done by editing your websites navigation menu and while it does work, it is not the most straight forward way of doing things.

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 want to make changes to the pricing, SKU code or any other field from the product, then you can select the products you want to edit from the product overview screen and then click the edit product button, which allows you to make updates in bulk.

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, managing your orders is a little more challenging, especially if you have a large number of orders. This is because printing off invoices has to be done by orders individually and cannot be done in bulk from the order overview page.

There are some things you can do in bulk, such as update order statuses, collect payments and export your orders via CSV.

Summary

ShopWired Summary

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

ShopWired Pros

• Excellent Support
• Product Management
• Theme Selection
• Order Management System
• Very Good Performance

ShopWired Cons

• Theme Customisation isn’t very good
• Having to code in extensions

4.2

Shopify Summary

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Shopify Pros

• Theme Customisation
• 24/7 Support
• Easy to use Admin Area
• The App Store
• Very Good Performance

Shopify Cons

• Transaction Fees
• Automatic Collection system is a bit complicated
• No option to bulk print invoices

4.5

Conclusion

ShopWired vs Shopify: Which One is Better?

Neither! Both are a great platform for building an Ecommerce Website but their strengths lie in different areas.

If ecommerce functionality is important to you, the product and order management systems are better on ShopWired than Shopify. Where as Shopify’s strengths lie in the theme selection and design, which is has one of the best theme customisers on the market.

So it really does come down to what is more important to you and your business, ecommerce functionality or design? 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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