Should You Use WordPress or Shopify for Your E-Commerce Site?

You’ve probably heard of WordPress if you’re familiar with website hosting. WordPress is the CMS (content management system) that drives hosts about 40% of all websites. It’s a powerful and versatile, user-friendly website platform, which is why WordPress is used to build so many powers in such a significant number of sites worldwide.

WordPress is often praised for its advanced blog content categorization capabilities and its versatility. However, it’s rarely seen as a go-to for marketing e-commerce sites, although it does meet the qualifications to be considered as such. Why? E-Commerce isn’t precisely built into WordPress by default like other website platforms, including Shopify and BigCommerce. You must add a WordPress plugin, like WooCommerce or WP EasyCart, to set up e-commerce functionality, such as product pages, a shopping cart and checkout page, and payment, tax, and shipping functions. So, can you use WordPress for e-commerce sites? Yes, absolutely. Should you use WordPress for all e-commerce sites? No. Below, we’ll dive into which CMS platform is right for your e-commerce site.

Should You Use WordPress for Your E-Commerce Site?

WordPress is not the most obvious choice for an e-commerce store, especially compared to platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce Squarespace. However, don’t count it out! Here are a few reasons you might consider WordPress for an e-commerce site:

  • You already have a WordPress site: If you already have a WordPress site, adding e-commerce functionality through a plugin like WooCommerce can be a convenient add-on option without rebuilding your entire site on a different platform.
  • You want more flexibility than other e-commerce platforms offer: WordPress is an open-source platform with a large developer community. It is a flexible platform that can be customized to suit your specific needs. With limitless various plugins and themes, you can add any feature you can imagine different features to your e-commerce site without extensive coding. Other e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, are considered closed-source platforms, meaning the only plugins available to you are ones offered in Shopify’s app library, which is more limited.
  • You want to save on costs: Building an e-commerce site from scratch can be expensive, but some e-commerce platforms charge a fee for every transaction made on your website, eating into your profits. WordPress, on the other hand, is a cost-effective solution for building an e-commerce site as it has many free and paid plugins and themes that can be used with no additional transaction fees built into the platform itself.
  • You want to integrate your e-commerce site with your content site: If you have a content-based site that you want to integrate with your e-commerce site, WordPress can be an excellent option.

When NOT to Use WordPress for Your E-Commerce Site

While there are plenty of cases where you should consider WordPress for your e-commerce site, there are reasons why you shouldn’t. Here are a few reasons NOT to use WordPress for e-commerce:

  • The site’s primary function is e-commerce: Platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce were built specifically for e-commerce, which means that it is tailored to meet the needs of an online retailer. Default, out-of-the-box features, and functionality often include things like inventory management, abandoned cart recovery, and tax and shipping calculators. While WordPress has plugins to do all these functions, it can take a lot of managing several plugins to get the job done right.
  • Ease of admin use is of utmost importance: Shopify is known for being more user-friendly and easier to set up than WordPress for beginners. Within an hour, you can have your Shopify store set up and running, whereas WordPress requires a bit more technical expertise to configure as an e-commerce site.
  • You want customer support: Since WordPress is an open-source tool, there needs to be a central customer support line to answer your questions. WordPress developers rely on support forums and help from a paid plugin and theme developers for troubleshooting and customizations. Other e-commerce platforms, like Shopify and BigCommerce, on the other hand, offer built-in 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat to help you through issues.
  • You want built-in hosting, payment gateways, security, and maintenance: On platforms like Shopify, hosting, security, and maintenance are built in. There are also options for built-in payment gateways, allowing you to get your e-commerce site up and running immediately without needing a third-party payment gateway like Paypal or Stripe.
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