To Shopify or not to Shopify, that is the question

I had a really nice meeting with a potential client a week ago. I was hoping to sell her on the concept of a WordPress based e-commerce site – that might still happen but she seemed pretty set on setting up her store on Shopify.

To Shopify or not to Shopify that is the question

I’d heard of Shopify but hadn’t really ever competed head-to-head against them before so as a service to her and to satisfy my own curiosity I scoured the ‘net and came up with this list of pros and cons for Shopify and a WordPress based e-commerce site:

Shopify Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Fast to set up your own ecommerce store, 100+ templates ready to goMonthly fee – most popular program currently charges $79/month, forever, whether you sell anything or nothing
Flexibility – store plus apps to cover all the basesTransaction fee over & on top of credit card fees
24/7 supportApps carry additional charges
Strong ecommerce backboneUses proprietary software:
Cannot be coded in the same way as a regular website
Is not portable – cannot be moved to other host
Takes care of all ecommerce issues; shipping, taxes, inventory etcIntended for do-it-yourself operation – Shopify experts are available to build sites within Shopify for additional fees
Widely used by start-ups and some established brandsLimited blogging function – not good for building content
More than 243,000 users
Fee covers hosting

WordPress Pros & Cons

ProsCons
World’s most popular content management system, more than 60 million sites worldwide so very well supportedNot best for big ecommerce stores (~10,000+ items)
Stable ecommerce plugins (WooCommerce is installed on 1 million sites) Potential security issues generally mitigated by updating and maintaining site
Simple to use for site ownerSupport dependent on many factors (in-house or external, premium or free, etc.)
Built for content management and bloggingRequires hosting (monthly or yearly fee), hosting fees are generally low to start but can reach significant amounts if site sales grow
SEO friendlyOptional maintenance programs
Portable
Once site is built there’s no on-going payment required unless using a payment plan

I know this is neither exhaustive or particularly “scientific” but I presented it to my potential client with the hope that she’ll enter into whatever she decides with a clearer idea of the whole picture. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with Shopify.

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