Resources Hub » Knowledge base » Which is Better for Ecommerce: Shopify or a Custom Website?

If you’re looking to elevate your company’s online presence, you’ll need to choose how to build your ecommerce website. Many people often ask the question: “Which is better for ecommerce: Shopify or a custom website?”

Since it started in 2004, Shopify quickly rose as a leader in ecommerce platforms. The company started with two snowboarders trying to sell products online. When they couldn’t find a platform that suited their business needs, they built their own.

Shopify landing page to open ecommerce store

Source: Campaign Monitor

What is an ecommerce website?

An ecommerce website allows customers to browse and buy your products online. The website will include a payment portal, order fulfillment services, and a catalog of your products and services. The reason Shopify is so popular with online businesses is that it requires no coding experience and you can build your ecommerce website in a manner of minutes.

How much does Shopify cost?

A basic account on Shopify’s platform starts at $29 per month. There are additional fees for every transaction using online credit cards. If you choose to use Shopify Payments, you won’t pay extra for transactions. With a basic Shopify account, you can list an unlimited amount of products.

Shopify has hundreds of themes you can use for your ecommerce website. While some are free, you can pay up to $180 for a specific theme. The theme will determine the look and feel of your website, and you can also source themes from third-party developers and apply them to the Shopify platform.

Shopify is about empowering merchants since it started and prioritizes long-term value over revenue goals. – Tobias Lutke, CEO of Shopify

How much does a custom website cost?

A custom website, by comparison, will cost you a lot more to build. It can cost anywhere between $1000 and $10,000 or more, depending on which tools you’ll need. There will be costs associated with the design, build, and maintenance of the website. If you need to add order fulfillment, payment processing, and customer support, the effort required will increase the costs.

Even if you choose to use WordPress, requesting changes to a template may cost between $300 and $1000. This is an “in-between” solution to add features or change layouts of a site according to your needs. WordPress comes with its own ecommerce solution called WooCommerce. Although it’s free, some of the features only work with a paid account.

How to decide between a custom website and Shopify

The final decision depends on your business needs. If you’ll list products and services, Shopify is a great platform that allows you to start quickly. For companies that need more features on the site, it may require a professional web developer to assist.

Shopify also announced plans for building their own order fulfillment network in June of 2019. The plan aims to help qualifying merchants streamline their fulfillment processes with dedicated warehouses and distribution centers. This will lower shipping costs, ensure timely delivery, and improve the customer experience.

How to measure the success of your Shopify website

One way you can measure the success of your Shopify website is with the analytic tools they provide. You can track trends and buying habits from a central dashboard. If you connect your email marketing campaigns to your Shopify website, you can also track marketing engagement.

Campaign Monitor allows you to connect your Shopify website with your email marketing campaigns, so you can track the open, click-through, and conversion rates for every email. As you can automate campaigns using Campaign Monitor, it’ll give you insights into the success of your Shopify marketing channel.

Does it really matter?

Customers now expect companies to provide them with an ecommerce option to buy products. If you’re not already transforming your business model for ecommerce, you’ll start losing customers. To ensure you can convert and retain new customers, an ecommerce website will be essential in the future.

What now?

Setting up and managing an ecommerce website is just the beginning of running an online business. You’ll also need to create marketing channels and provide customers with engaging content.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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