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Shopify vs Wix: which is better to build your online store?
Choosing the right platform for your ecommerce store can be tricky. With slick marketing campaigns, long lists of features, and countless reviews to consider, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed before you even make your first sale.
That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and compared two of the most popular ecommerce platforms. Who will come out on top in the battle between Shopify vs Wix?
Last updated1 Feb 2023
Shopify and Wix are both excellent choices to start selling online. So if you’re struggling to pick between them, read on. You’ll learn:
12 key differences between Shopify and Wix
Which platform scores better across the most important criteria
Whether Shopify or Wix is the best choice for your business
The key to a successful online store? Understanding your customers
Hotjar shows you what your customers love (and what they don’t), so you can create an ecommerce experience they won’t forget
Wix vs Shopify: 12 key differences to consider
On a basic level, the major difference between Shopify and Wix is that Shopify was built specifically for building online stores, while Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder that launched an ecommerce solution in 2020. But what else do you need to think about when starting your own online store?
To help you decide what’s the better choice for your business, we’ve split our analysis into four main categories to cover everything you need to know:
Ease of use: learn about setup and support
Features: learn about performance, customization, plug-ins, customer payment options, and security
Growth: learn about marketing and SEO
Cost: learn about pricing and free trials
Let’s take a look at how Shopify and Wix perform in the most important sub-categories side-by-side. As you can see, it’s a pretty close call.
Keep reading to dive deeper into each of these so you have all the information you need to decide which platform to choose.
Ease of use
There’s a lot to do when starting an online store, and a platform that’s easy to use can make the whole process less stressful. Luckily, Shopify and Wix are both suitable for beginners, and you don’t need any special skills like coding or web design to get going. Let’s take an in-depth look at how the two compare:
1. Set up
How complicated it is to set up your store on either platform depends on different factors, like how much customization you want and how many products you’re selling. If you choose a basic template (or theme), you can get set up on Shopify in just a few hours. If you need something more complex, the same process could take a few days.
Thanks to its drag-and-drop feature, Wix has a slight edge when it comes to easy setup. Any change you make in the ‘Editor’ will look exactly the same in your final store. This makes it simple to get things looking the way you want—even if you have no technical know-how.
2. Support and learning resources
If you run into a problem with your online store (or you just want to learn how to do something new) having the right resources at your fingertips is a must.
Both Shopify and Wix offer a variety of help and support for ecommerce businesses, including:
Tutorials and guides
Email and chat support
App and plugin support
So no matter what the issue, help isn’t hard to find. For anything a little more complex, Shopify also has ‘Shopify Experts’, where you can hire freelancers or agencies to help with everything from technical issues to content marketing.
Wix offers a comparable platform called ‘Wix Marketplace’, where you can hire services for every stage of your business. These platforms may add an extra cost, but Shopify and Wix vet each and every professional to ensure you’re getting quality work and content in return for your money.
Of course, you can’t make a well-informed decision about which platform to choose without knowing what they can do. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ecommerce features Shopify and Wix boast, and what kinds of businesses they’re more suited to:
A slow, clunky website can wreak havoc on your ecommerce bounce rate, not to mention your conversions. Both Wix and Shopify offer great performance in this area, but Shopify wins in this category as the more robust and powerful ecommerce platform—it’s specifically built for online sales, with more features, tools, and integrations for ecommerce.
If you’re planning to open an online store with a more complex inventory or large number of products, this is particularly important. Nevertheless, Wix remains a great performer for more basic online stores.
💡Pro tip: once you set up your website, use Hotjar (that’s us👋), a product experience insights platform to see how customers interact with your store. With tools like Heatmaps and Recordings, you can quickly identify any issues on your site and tackle them head on.
For example, heatmaps let you see which product categories are getting the least clicks, or which CTAs (calls to action) aren’t attracting attention. By experimenting with copy and design, you can make data-backed improvements to boost your customer experience (CX) and your sales.
Hotjar’s Heatmaps tool shows you where users click, move, and scroll on your site.
The design of your ecommerce website plays a huge role in how your customers feel about and interact with it. How much freedom does each platform give you to change the look of your site?
First, let’s compare the template options that come with Shopify and Wix.
Shopify gives you 116 themes to choose from. While 11 of them are free, the rest come with a price tag ranging from $180 to $350.
Wix has over 800 templates, with 114 that are ecommerce specific. Unlike Shopify, all of Wix’s templates are free.
However, Shopify is much more flexible than Wix if you want to customize your theme, as it gives you complete access to its CSS and HTML. This gives you the freedom to change pretty much anything you want.
While Wix allows you to add CSS and HTML blocks, you can’t edit the general code or style sheets of your theme.
If you think you might want to change your theme later on, then Shopify might be the better choice for you. With Shopify, you can easily switch themes with a few clicks. With Wix, if you want to change to a new template you’ll need to rebuild your entire store.
5. Plugins and integrations
To grow your online store, at some point you’d want to integrate it with other apps and services.
Shopify offers integrations with an impressive 8,000+ apps, like Google Analytics (GA), Pinterest, and Kissmetrics, allowing you to do everything—from enabling customer reviews on your products to translating your store into different languages. For large ecommerce brands looking to scale up, Shopify is the better choice with such a huge number of plug-ins.
Wix has fewer integrations at around 500, but still offers you hundreds of options, like GA, Mailchimp, and Instagram, to meet your business needs.
For example, Hotjar’s Feedback widget lets you gather customers’ opinions as they navigate your site. Does the design make sense? Is the product photography doing its job? By getting in-context feedback from your shoppers, you can pinpoint ways to improve the customer experience.
Place a Hotjar Feedback widget on your Shopify or Wix store to find out what your customers think
6. Product and inventory
As you might expect from a dedicated ecommerce platform, Shopify has robust inventory management that can handle a lot of stock. You can upload single or multiple products, use stock management tools, and get revenue reports.
Wix is better for small online businesses, as it offers more limited inventory management and requires extra apps for additional functionality. However, it’s still suitable for up to 50,000 products—more than enough for most ecommerce businesses.
For example, say you want to start an online furniture store and have 10 suppliers whose designs you’ll sell on your site. Wix or Shopify would both be great platform options. But if you have dreams of becoming the next Wayfair or West Elm, then Shopify may be a better place to start.
Shopify and Wix offer numerous payment options to your customers, including PayPal, Stripe, and their in-house payment gateways, Shopify Payments and Wix Payments. They also offer businesses the ability to accept other forms of payments, such as bank transfers and cash on delivery, depending on the payment gateway you use.
However, Shopify offers over 100 different payment gateways, making it more flexible than Wix. For example, on Wix, your customers won’t be able to use Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, or Klarna.
Bear in mind that Shopify charges transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments, which can quickly add to your overall costs.
This is where Wix sets itself apart—it doesn’t charge transaction fees on any of its payment methods, meaning more money in your pocket.
Shopify and Wix both use SSL encryption to protect sensitive information (such as credit card details) users enter on your store, along with built-in security features like fraud analysis. They are both certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, which means that your store is automatically compliant too—and you need to be PCI compliant to accept debit and credit card payments.
Both platforms take security very seriously and have all the necessary measures in place to help you sell safely online. Ultimately, the security of your website on Wix or Shopify will also depend on how you configure and maintain it.
Even if you’re starting small, it’s good to think about how you might grow your ecommerce business in the future. How do Shopify and Wix help you market and drive conversions on your online store?
As we mentioned further up the page, Shopify and Wix have several marketing integrations to help you reach more customers. This includes:
Email marketing tools that let you send targeted email campaigns to your customers
Social media apps to help you build brand awareness on your customers’ favorite platforms
Paid ad tools that enable you to share your products with a wider audience
Affiliate programs, where you can pay commission to people who refer sales to your store, so you can encourage customer engagement and increase sales without having to spend a lot of money
That said, Shopify relies very heavily on these third-party apps for marketing.
Within the platform, Wix has some great tools to make marketing easier, like easy and intuitive blog functionality. It also recently partnered with Vimeo to create its own video editor, so you can make your own social media assets right on the platform.
You can optimize Shopify and Wix for SEO, but Shopify has the upper hand in ecommerce SEO. Here’s why:
Shopify’s clean and organized codebase makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site
Shopify has many features and tools designed to improve the SEO of your store, such as automatic sitemaps and the ability to customize page titles and meta tags
Shopify sites are fully responsive, which can help you rank higher on Google, and it has AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) available for your product pages
Shopify also has a larger app store with several SEO-related apps for all kinds of purposes
Wix also has built-in SEO features and lets you edit the meta tags, alt text, and URL slugs, but it doesn't have as many specialized ecommerce SEO tools as Shopify.
Wix has a slight edge in its keyword support and blogging features, which can help customers find your store online more easily.
How much you’ll pay to keep your online store running has a big impact on your bottom line. What sort of costs are you looking at with Shopify and Wix?
Shopify is more expensive than Wix—including start-up and running costs.
Shopify offers several pricing plans, including a basic plan that starts at $29 per month. However, if you want more advanced features such as shipping and tax calculation, you need to upgrade to one of the higher-priced plans, which can be as much as $299 per month.
On top of that, you’ll need to factor in Shopify’s transaction fees and the extra costs for adding more staff accounts to your store.
Pricing for Wix’s ecommerce plans start at $27 per month. But even their most expensive plan will only set you back $59 per month. You’ll also make a saving on your domain name, which is included in a yearly subscription, with none of those pesky transaction fees.
12. Free trials
Shopify and Wix offer users free trials for their ecommerce plans—so you can try before you buy.
Shopify offers a free trial for three days with no need to enter your credit card details. After that, you pay just $1 a month for three months on selected plans.
You can use the free version of Wix to create an online store and test it out—with no time constraints before committing to a paid plan. It's worth noting that the free trials for both platforms come with limitations, and if you want to use all the features or remove the platform's branding you’ll need to upgrade.
Choosing between Shopify and Wix: which is best for your business?
Shopify and Wix are great contenders for anyone starting an online store. The best platform for you depends on the type of store you want to open, your business needs, and how much ecommerce experience you have.
If you want to get started quickly, seek the ease of an all-in-one site builder, and don’t imagine selling a huge number of products, then Wix is a solid and affordable choice.
But if you want to scale your business and have more freedom to customize your site, then Shopify could be the way to go. As both platforms offer a free trial, why not test each and figure out which one best suits your needs?
Whichever platform you decide on, you’ll benefit from collecting user insights to understand what makes your customers tick. Tools like heatmaps, recordings, and surveys show you exactly how customers engage with your ecommerce site, what they like about it, and where you can improve. By tuning into what your customers want, you can create a high-performing online store that drives conversions on autopilot.
Add Hotjar to your ecommerce store
Hotjar’s tools are compatible with Shopify and Wix, making it easier for you to understand your customers and increase conversions
FAQs about Shopify vs. Wix
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