ShopWired and Wix are two of the most popular options for building an ecommerce website in the UK, but which one is better?
ShopWired vs Wix – What is the Difference?
ShopWired is a website builder designed specifically for ecommerce and offers a range of plans to suit businesses of all sizes, with highly rated UK based customer support. Wix is primarily an easy website builder for businesses and individuals but offers ecommerce functionality by installing the Wix Stores app.
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Pro – £29.95/m (£75k*)
Advanced – £59.95/m (£200k*)
Premium – £119.95/m (£500k*)
Enterprise – From £149.95/m
*Annual turnover limit
Business Basic – £13/m (^20gb)
Business Unlimited – £16/m (^35gb)
Business VIP – £22/m (^50gb)
^Allocated storage space
ShopWired’s plans are very much industry standard for purpose built ecommerce platforms, with the entry level pro package costing £29.95/m, this is plus VAT, so if your business is not VAT registered, then it will cost an additional 20% on top, once your business is VAT registered, you will be able to claim this back (not financial advice!). The entry level pro package is also limited to 750 products, larger packages don’t have any product number limits.
ShopWired pricing structure is based on annual turnover limits, meaning that when you hit these limits, you are automatically moved on to the next larger package but with ShopWired, this does include more apps included with your package and better support options. They also offer custom plans for larger ecommerce business with turnovers in excess of £500k a year.
The Wix pricing plans are very generous as they don’t have any product or turnover limits and are quite a bit cheaper than ShopWired, the only limits they place on sites using their platform are allocated storage space, which is still quite generous and the Business Basic doesn’t have access to all the features that Wix has to offer.
ShopWired and Wix take a different approach when it comes to being able to test them out.
ShopWired offer a 14 day free trial and during the trial period, you can try out all of the features that the platform has to offer.
Wix on the other hand have a completely free package for life but you are limited as to the amount of features you get and the Wix stores app can only be used for testing, not on live sites.
Wix does offer a 14 day free trial for the VIP package, that lets you try everything out before committing to the paid plan but you will know whether or not you like the platform just using the free plan.
One of the main selling points of any ecommerce platform is the features that they offer for their users, so what do these two platforms offer?
As ShopWired has been designed specifically for ecommerce, it is understandable that most of the features of the platform are aimed at helping you generate sales.
- Multi-buy Offers
- Product Extras
- 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
- Custom Meta Data
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Gross Profit Report
- Sales by Product
- Sales by Category
- Payment Methods
- Sales by Month
- Failed Searches
- PayPal Express Checkout
- Amazon Pay
- Barclaycard EPDQ
Apps & Extensions
Outside of the standard features, ShopWired also offer a range of apps and extensions that can be installed to add a range of functionality.
The Apps are very easy to use as they are one click installation, amongst the apps are a combination of free and paid ones. On the larger packages, more of the paid apps are included with the monthly fee.
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.
Due to Wix being primarily a website builder, many of the features of the platform aren’t specifically designed for ecommerce but once the Wix Stores app is installed, the combination offers 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
If you want to add more functionality to your Wix website, then you can use the Wix App Marketplace that offers a wide range of apps that can add a wide variety of features and functionality. Some of these are general website builder features, while others are specifically for ecommerce.
Within the App Marketplace, there are a selection of both free and paid apps. Many of the paid apps will offer free trials or a free package but if you want all of the features, then you are going to have to pay and this is usually a monthly recurring payment.
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 autumn 2020, ShopWired rolled out their Version 4 themes and this includes a selection of 20, free to use, mobile responsive themes.
All of these themes also have an upgrade package, which includes installation and configuration of some of their extensions, which is available at £89+ vat.
With the release of the Version 4 themes came ShopWired’s first live preview tool, which is something that was lacking with the platform.
This new tools allows users to see the instant impact when they make changes to colours or text snippets within the chosen theme. While a good addition, ShopWired still lacks control over the layout of the themes.
If you want a custom theme made, you can have one made by the ShopWired team and prices start from £3495+vat.
Wix has a large selection of over 80, free to use, mobile responsive themes to choose from for building an online store with the platform but it is not clear if all of the themes they offer support the Wix Stores app?
There are also a few third-party developers who have build some premium Wix themes and the pricing very much depends on the developer.
Where Wix really shines though is when it comes to customisation as they offer two different tools!
The first and easiest to use is their ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) tool, which has been designed so that users can quickly and easily makes changes to the look and feel of their site.
This tool gives you lots of control when it comes to customisation and is arguably one of the best tools in the industry. What makes it stand out from the rest is that it can be used on every page of your site, meaning that you can create a truly custom looking website.
The second tool is their original editor and while it is a good tool, there is too much you can do in terms of customisation as it is possible to make very minor changes, which can lead to lots of time spent tweaking things and the results aren’t really worth the effort.
To install apps on a Wix site, this has to be done via the original editor but they are looking to add this feature to the ADI tool.
One of the reasons why people choose a hosted platform such as ShopWired or Wix is that they get help and support to run their website. But how good is either platforms offering?
ShopWired offers all users access to their UK based support, which is available between 9am and 7pm, Monday to Friday and between 11am and 5pm on Saturday. They also offer support through a variety of mediums including live chat, email support tickets and telephone support.
Users on the Premium package also get access to priority support and those on the Enterprise packages will get premium support and dedicated account management.
Contacting the ShopWired support team is very easy to do as there is a live chat option directly within the admin dashboard and other contact options are easily found in the help section.
On the Wix Basic and Business packages, users get the basic level of Wix support, which is limited to support tickets and a callback service, which is available 24/7 in English. Users on the VIP package, get access to priority support, which puts them to the front of queue when it comes to getting a response.
While this all does sound great, contacting Wix support is quite difficult as they have buried all of the support contact options in their help centre and unless you know where to look, you probably won’t find it and they prefer to refer you to a help article than actually provide a way to speak to someone.
Hosting & Performance
ShopWired and Wix take a very different approach when it comes to promoting their hosting information. ShopWired are very upfront and provide the following information:
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Storage
- PCI Compliant Servers
- Free SSL Certificate
- 99.9% Uptime
- 24/7 Server Monitoring
- Fast Servers
Wix on the other hand only say that they include a free SSL certificate, have 99.9% uptime and 50gb storage.
This doesn’t stop me putting both platforms to the test! And to do this, I took three of their customer example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s speed tool using their London, UK server and Google’s Page Speed Insights. I did this once a day for three days to get a nice spread of data, so how did they do?
Pingdom: 1.17 Seconds
Google (Mobile): 42/100
Google (Desktop): 81/100
Pingdom: 3.93 Seconds
Google (Mobile): 13/100
Google (Desktop): 42/100
It really isn’t close between the two platforms as ShopWired won every single test, with the biggest difference coming in the average load time.
ShopWired achieved a very good 1.17 seconds average load time and done reasonably well in the Google tests, which can very much be attributed to the version 4 framework, which helped ShopWired produce some impressive test results and puts them towards the top of the fastest ecommerce platforms charts.
Wix on the other hand had what can only be described as shocking performance and this is also noticeable when the example sites loaded as you would see individual page elements load in.
I am not sure what is going on with the Wix hosting environment but further testing did indicate that the Wix Stores app was a contributing factor to this poor performance and helped Wix to come bottom out of all the platforms tested.
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.
Getting started with ShopWired is very simple as you just need to go to the ShopWired website and the Start Your Free Trial button in the top right hand corner.
Then all you need is your email address and to create a password. Once you have done this, you are taken through to the ShopWired admin dashboard.
On the first sign in to the admin dashboard, you will be greeted by a very good start up guide, that takes you through most of the basic steps required to get an ecommerce website up and running.
One thing that many of their users comment on in their reviews is how easy ShopWired is to use and this is a sentiment that I very much agree with and was one of the reasons I actually used ShopWired for one of my ecommerce stores.
Much of this is due to the admin dashboard and main sidebar navigation menu, which has clearly labelled headings and sub-headings, although I do feel that some of these could be combined to slightly reduce the amount of headings.
The general layout of the pages is also very simple and uncluttered, which makes it easy to not only work through but also process the information that is displayed.
There are two ways 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.
Wix do offer a few tools to help get new users set up on the platform, the first is the ADI set up, which is recommended if you are just starting with Wix as this will help with some of the basic set up steps.
In the dashboard, there is also a set up guide, which initially is just for the website builder but more options are added when the Wix Stores app is installed. The set up guide is pretty comprehensive, especially if you factor in the suggested steps below the main set up guide.
If you want to contact the Wix support team, you need to do a bit of digging as you need to navigate the help centre and this makes the whole process difficult, which isn’t great for usability.
The Wix dashboard isn’t necessarily difficult to use but it does feel a bit cramped, even though there is a lot of wasted/unused space around the dashboard, which is kind of impressive in a way.
The is most evident with the navigation menu, especially with the Wix Stores app is installed and it adds a selection of options to the menu and this means that you have to scroll up and down the menu, which can make navigating around a little frustrating.
One thing that I have experienced when using Wix is that the dashboard can be slow and sometimes unresponsive, such as being stuck loading, which can be frustrating when you are trying to do something quickly on the platform. I found this to be most evident when using or moving between the dashboard and the theme customisation tools.
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
ShopWired have opted for a single page layout for their add new product page and have kept the layout nice and simple, this makes it very easy to add a new product to your site.
You can also add a variety of different options to your products using variations but also custom text fields, in which customers can enter their own message. This is great if you sell customisable or bespoke products.
Organising your inventory is also very simple as ShopWired have opted for a traditional category system in which you can create multiple category layers, which makes creating a good product hierarchy very easy to do.
To quickly and easily manage your inventory levels, ShopWired have a separate Manage Stock page, which lists all your inventory and allows you to update stock quantity without having to go in and edit the product individually. If you want to edit any other parts of your product listing, this has to be done on a product by product basis.
Wix have also opted for a single page layout for their add new product page but before going through to the page, you first need to select whether it is a digital or physical product as the two pages are slightly different but both are equally as easy to use.
The add new product page doesn’t offer as many options as ShopWired but one thing they do include with the top ecommerce plans is the ability to sell products via a subscription and it bills the customer on a schedule that you set.
Creating a good product hierarchy within Wix isn’t the easiest thing to do as they limit users to parent collections only, there is no option for sub-collections, which really limits the ability to organise your inventory within Wix.
Within the Wix system, there is no options to bulk edit your products, so everything from updating inventory levels to changing the product price has to be done on a product by product basis, which could be very frustrating if you have a very large inventory.
ShopWired – Order management within ShopWired is really good as you can manage your orders in bulk by being able to print off packing slips/invoices and update order statuses directly from the order overview page. You can manage orders on an individual basis as well as edit order information.
If you need to export your orders, this can be done by installing the CSV export app.
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.
• Good UK Based Support
• Well Designed Themes
• Easy to use Dashboard
• Selection of Ecommerce Features
• Good Performance
• Theme Customisation is limited
• Having to code in extensions
• ADI set up
• ADI theme customisation
• Dashboard set up guides
• Wix App Market
• Add/edit product page
• Hidden support contact details
• Poor Performance
• Lack of sub-categories
For building an ecommerce website, there is only one winner out of these two and that is ShopWired as it just offers a more complete package for selling online as it has more ecommerce features and much better performance.
The only real downside is the theme customisation but this is improving with every Version of their themes.
Wix isn’t a bad platform and their ADI tool is arguably the best theme customizer in the market but the lack of payment gateways and limited category creation options does limit the Wix platform, especially when it comes to building an ecommerce website and this is compounded by the bad performance of the Wix + Wix Stores app.
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