Are you currently in the process of deciding between Webflow and Shopify for your online business? If so, you've landed on the right page.
While Shopify is often regarded as the superior e-commerce builder, it may not be the perfect choice for everyone. On the other hand, Webflow, although newer, offers a unique set of features that will certainly appeal to design-oriented users.
To assist you in making an informed decision, we will thoroughly examine both platforms, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, providing you with the essential knowledge to select the one that suits your specific needs.
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Webflow has three ecommerce plans to choose from, with the cheapest Standard plan starting at $29 per month, and the most expensive Advanced plan coming in at a monthly cost of $212. Although there’s a big difference in price, all three options come with a similar ecommerce offering. There are two main factors setting them apart: the number of products you can sell and the number of CMS items.
Shopify's pricing structure closely resembles that of Webflow. The plans start at $29 per month and go up to $299 per month for the premium option. Unlike Webflow, there's no free plan, but Shopify provides a 14-day free trial. However, you can't make your online store live until you upgrade to a paid plan.
The basic plan is suitable for small stores just getting started, but it has some limitations. You can't generate store reports, and you're limited to just two staff accounts. Moreover, you can't expand internationally or access discounted shipping options.
One advantage of Shopify is its support for over 100 different payment gateways, regardless of your plan. Opting for Shopify's own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, eliminates transaction fees. Otherwise, transaction fees range from 0.5% to 2%, with the lowest-cost plan incurring the highest fees.
Even the most basic Shopify plan offers an impressive array of e-commerce features, justifying the monthly expense. It's a robust platform with extensive capabilities, and anything you can't find can often be added using apps. Be cautious, though; adding premium apps can significantly increase your monthly expenses.
Launching a new online store is an exciting endeavor, and the last thing you need is to get bogged down by a complex UI/UX design and cumbersome e-commerce builder. Fortunately, Shopify makes store creation easy and straightforward.
Shopify provides a convenient onboarding checklist that guides you through the essential tasks involved in starting an online store. This checklist is also an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the platform's dashboard.
Shopify has often been criticized for using two editors. The first one controls the appearance of your store on the front-end, using a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) functionality. This editor enables you to rearrange elements in the left toolbar, change your theme layout, colors, fonts, and images.
The second editor resembles a dashboard and is dedicated to the backend of your store. Here, you have tools to add products, build collections, create discounts, and manage your inventory, shipping, and taxes. Once you grasp this division, using Shopify becomes a breeze.
On the other hand, Webflow is more intricate. It's often described as a hybrid between a website builder and a Content Management System (CMS), tailored more toward web designers and developers. Consequently, it may feel overwhelming for beginners.
However, Webflow mitigates its complex editor with an excellent five-minute tutorial that walks you through the platform's primary tools, allowing you to experiment before embarking on your own project.
Nevertheless, we don't recommend Webflow as the first choice for beginners or casual sellers who aim to start quickly. It demands a significant time investment, and although creative enthusiasts will appreciate its attention to design details, there are easier ways to begin selling online if design isn't your top priority.
While looks aren't everything, they undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping users engaged on your online store. Both Webflow and Shopify offer a wide selection of attractive templates.
Webflow offers over 500 templates, many of which are specifically designed for e-commerce. The platform's strong background in web design is evident in the seamless and professional design of its templates. Webflow provides a range of both free and premium themes, with premium templates priced between $25 and $135. If you're on a tight budget, there are high-quality free themes available. Moreover, thanks to Webflow's highly customizable editor, you can personalize the templates to make them unique.
While you must choose one primary design for your Webflow theme, you have the flexibility to choose different layouts when adding additional pages to your website. If you're experienced, you can even build a website from scratch. However, this option is best suited for design and development professionals.
Shopify, on the other hand, also offers a variety of themes. While they may not match Webflow's design excellence, they still maintain a professional and contemporary appearance. Shopify caters to various budgets, with free themes as well as premium ones that can cost up to $180. Premium themes come with a broader feature set, making them suitable for businesses focused on growth.
Shopify templates, however, are less customizable compared to Webflow. With Webflow, you can extensively modify themes, whereas Shopify's customization is limited by the chosen template.
If you're specifically interested in starting an online store, it's crucial to examine the e-commerce features of both platforms to ensure they meet your requirements. Both Shopify and Webflow offer a range of selling tools, and we'll delve into these features in detail below.
Shopify allows users to sell an unlimited number of products and can efficiently handle a large number of product variants. This makes it well-suited for large stores requiring a sophisticated system to manage a high volume of items. The bulk product import feature simplifies the process, eliminating the need to upload products individually.
Webflow, on the other hand, has some restrictions. The number of products you can sell depends on your pricing plan. The Standard plan allows up to 500 products, the Plus plan supports 1,000, and the Advanced plan accommodates up to 3,000 items.
Additionally, Webflow imposes limitations on sales volume. The Advanced plan is the only one without sales volume caps, while the Standard plan limits your sales to $50,000, and the Plus plan restricts you to $200,000. These restrictions may not be a significant concern for beginners, but they can become frustrating as your store grows.
Despite its limitations, Webflow offers comprehensive inventory management with features such as inventory tracking, low quantity and out-of-stock warnings, and the ability to add product variants. However, Shopify surpasses Webflow with its powerful inventory system, enabling different prices for variants and helpful features like browsing by collection, size, color, and more through the tagging feature.
Both Webflow and Shopify support the sale of physical and digital products, as well as services. It's important to note that to sell digital items on Shopify, you may need to download an app, such as Digital Downloads. Webflow, on the other hand, allows you to sell digital products without the need for additional apps.
Unless you're a dropshipper, you'll require shipping tools to deliver products to your customers. Shopify excels in this area, providing discounted rates through partnerships with major carriers like USPS, DHL Express, and UPS. You can also purchase and print your own shipping labels directly through Shopify, streamlining the order fulfillment process. Additionally, you can calculate shipping costs, set shipping locations, and adjust prices based on weight or destination. Shopify simplifies one of the most complex aspects of e-commerce.
Webflow's shipping features are less developed. While you can configure manual shipping rates, achieving the level of functionality that Shopify offers requires integrating your store with a third-party app like Shippo.
Shopify includes abandoned cart recovery as a standard feature across all plans. This means you can make efforts to recover incomplete orders, regardless of your subscription level.
In contrast, Webflow does not offer abandoned cart recovery out of the box. To implement this feature, you'll need to integrate a third-party solution, often incurring additional costs on top of your monthly expenses.
Multi-Channel Selling: Both Shopify and Webflow support multi-channel selling, allowing you to expand your reach across various social media platforms and marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy.
In Shopify, integrating various channels requires installing apps to complete the process. Webflow also facilitates social media selling within its dashboard, but syncing your store with different marketplaces may require some coding skills.
Shopify boasts one of the largest app stores available, providing access to thousands of tools designed to enhance your store's functionality. These apps can significantly expand the capabilities of your online business.
In contrast, Webflow does not have an app store. This may be due to its target audience, which includes tech-savvy users who can directly implement desired features by coding. If you wish to add third-party functionality to your Webflow store, you'll need to do so through a platform like Zapier.
When it comes to staff accounts, Webflow offers a more generous allocation. The cheapest Standard plan allows for up to three different users, whereas Shopify provides only two on its basic plans. On Webflow's mid-tier plan, you can have ten users, compared to Shopify's five. However, both platforms' most expensive plans can accommodate up to 15 accounts, but these come at a higher cost.
Selecting a platform and building an online store is just the beginning. To attract traffic and generate sales, you need robust SEO and marketing tools. Let's explore how Webflow and Shopify perform in this critical area.
Webflow, being a website builder-CMS hybrid, excels in SEO. It maintains clean code that search engine crawlers can easily interpret. Additionally, Webflow offers essential SEO features, including meta titles and descriptions, image alt text, custom URLs, and XML sitemap generation.
Shopify covers the fundamentals of SEO and provides best practice tips as you upload products. However, it lacks native keyword support. You can remedy this by downloading various apps from the Shopify app store, such as Smart SEO and SEO Manager, but keep in mind that these apps often come with additional costs.
Comprehensive analytics and reporting are vital to gain insights into your store's performance and make necessary adjustments. Shopify includes its own built-in analytics tool.
Furthermore, you can connect your Shopify store to Google Analytics for even more data. However, Shopify does not offer blog-specific analytics, so if blogging is central to your business, you might consider Webflow as an alternative.
Webflow, in contrast, provides limited built-in analytics, offering basic visitor count data. For more in-depth insights, you'll need to integrate your Webflow store with Google Analytics.
Both Shopify and Webflow support social media integration, allowing you to sell on various social channels and set up Google Ads. They also enable you to use Facebook Pixel to create targeted ads and embed social feeds and icons on your website.
To unlock these features, you may need to download or integrate various apps. Webflow offers around 13 social media integrations, including EmbedSocial, EmbedStories, and Twitter Share.
Shopify provides a more extensive range of social media integrations, offering access to Snapchat Ads, Pinterest 'Pin It' buttons, and multimedia apps like Video Crockpot, which allows you to create product videos for your social feeds.
Although Shopify primarily serves as an e-commerce platform, it does include blogging functionality, although it's more limited compared to the tools offered by Webflow. With Shopify, you can display categories, comments, and an RSS feed. It also offers blog-specific SEO features. However, if blogging is central to your business, Webflow might be a better choice.
Webflow, thanks to its CMS heritage, is an excellent option for bloggers. You can easily click and edit content directly on the page and add additional elements to the code if desired. To make the most of Webflow's blogging capabilities, some technical knowledge may be necessary.
Performance and security are paramount when operating an online store, particularly because customers entrust you with their sensitive data. Both Shopify and Webflow are PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant, ensuring the necessary measures are in place to safeguard customer information, including credit and debit card details.
Additionally, both platforms provide SSL Security (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates by default, protecting sensitive information by encrypting it and preventing unauthorized access.
Regular backups and updates are handled by the platforms, ensuring your store's security remains intact. However, it's advisable to perform manual backups of your website regularly as an extra precaution.
If this is your first time building a website or using Webflow or Shopify, there's a good chance you'll encounter challenges along the way. In such cases, reliable customer support is essential. Let's compare the support options offered by both platforms.
Shopify stands out in this regard, offering comprehensive support through various channels, including:
Webflow, while competent, may appear less impressive in terms of support. It provides email support, with response times ranging from 24 to 48 hours. In urgent situations, you can find a telephone number, although it may not be readily accessible.
However, Webflow's Help Center, known as Webflow University, deserves recognition. It offers an extensive library of tutorials and courses designed to assist beginners in mastering the Webflow editor. During our testing, Webflow University proved to be a valuable resource for guidance and rarely left us disappointed.
Webflow's forums also cover a variety of topics and remain active, ensuring that the information available is relatively up-to-date and accurate.
In conclusion, both Webflow and Shopify are powerful e-commerce platforms, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The choice between them ultimately depends on your specific needs, skills, and priorities.
Shopify is a user-friendly platform that excels in handling a large volume of products and offers a robust set of e-commerce features. It provides excellent support, making it an ideal choice for beginners and established businesses looking for an efficient and reliable e-commerce solution.
On the other hand, Webflow's strength lies in its design and customization capabilities. It's well-suited for design-oriented users who value granular control over the look and feel of their online store. While it may present a steeper learning curve for beginners, Webflow's unique features and design possibilities can be a rewarding choice for those with a focus on aesthetics and creativity.
Ultimately, your decision should be based on your specific business goals and preferences. Consider your level of technical expertise, the scale of your e-commerce venture, and your design aspirations to determine which platform is the best fit for you.
Advist Global excels as a top-tier Shopify web development company and Webflow development agency. We specialize in crafting dynamic and user-friendly e-commerce solutions, offering unmatched expertise in both Shopify and Webflow to help your online business thrive. Contact us today!
Founder and CEO of Advist Global, one of India’s finest Creative Agency, started career as a photographer at the young age of 15. After completing engineering, passion for arts and experience of tech led to set the foundation of Advist Global, specializing in WEB 3 solutions, NFT arts, UX/UI and much more.