Weebly vs Shopify: 5 things to consider

Unless you’ve mastered HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and a laundry list of other web development tools, building an e-commerce website requires a website builder. Of the site-building services that provide e-commerce functionality, Weebly and Shopify are two of the top names.

Both give entrepreneurs the ability to build an e-store from the ground up without hiring developers. But they approach the task from very different directions. If you’re currently weighing the two options — Weebly vs Shopify — check out the comparison points below. They might help make your decision easier.

1. Weebly lets you build a website and add a store later; Shopify starts with the e-store

Weebly is a general-purpose site builder; the e-store is optional. Shopify was built for e-commerce sites, so it emphasizes inventory lists and order-management tools.

Why does this matter? Some businesses sell products almost as an afterthought. Think of online magazines and review sites with merchandise stores — the content is the product, but sales from the branded store can help supplement ad revenue.

Jeremy Owens, who has used both platforms and is now chief marketing officer for grill review site Seriously Smoked, says, “Undoubtedly, Shopify is the best e-commerce store website builder out there, so all of its features help users create a site conducive for selling. I recommend using Weebly first, however, so you can create content for your website and then add e-commerce functions later on.”

2. Shopify provides a lot more e-commerce features than Weebly

Shopify’s narrow focus produces a wide range of e-commerce tools and features that you won’t find on Weebly. For example

  • Shopify supports dozens of payment providers, from Adyen to Worldpay. Without special integrations, Weebly offers three: Square, Stripe, and — with the most expensive plan only — PayPal.
  • Shopify’s built-in analytics platform tracks more granular data than Weebly’s. Shopify generates reports on sales, profit margins, visitor behavior, and more. It also lets you build your own reports from scratch.
  • You can create multiple staff accounts for your Shopify e-store, controlling access levels for different users.

These features help to explain why large and growing e-commerce operations often choose Shopify over Weebly.

3. Weebly’s site editor is more intuitive for most users

If Shopify’s strength is that you can do more with it, Weebly’s strength is that it’s easier to use. Weebly is a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) editor. When you make an edit on the page, you see the results immediately.

Shopify’s site editor isn’t exactly complicated, but it’s not WYSIWYG. You don’t see what your shoppers will see until you hit the View your store link.

Rosie Florence, founder of the luxury personalized jewelry brand Florence London, happily runs her e-store through Weebly. She finds it easier to use than Shopify.

“I have also used Shopify, which is a great platform but more expensive than Weebly, and the designs are not as flexible,” Florence says. “I think you need to be slightly more tech savvy to make a brilliant website with Shopify than you do with Weebly.”

4. Shopify is more expensive than Weebly

Even with the free plan, Weebly lets you build an e-store into your site. Options are limited — and the Weebly branding remains — but it can be done. Shopify gives users a 90-day free trial but doesn’t offer any free plans.

Basic Shopify costs $29 per month, but many growing businesses need the features included in the Shopify plan, which is $79 per month. Advanced Shopify will cost you $299 per month. Compare the plans here.

Aside from its free offering, Weebly plans include Personal for $6 per month, Professional for $12 per month, and Performance for $26 per month. Compare Weebly plans here.

5. Weebly is great for new and small sellers, while Shopify has more to offer established businesses

Despite the fact that they both achieve the same goal — publishing an online store — it helps to think of Weebly and Shopify as the inverse of each other. Weebly is a website builder with e-commerce capabilities. Shopify is an e-store builder with web page capabilities.

Generally speaking, smaller businesses and sole proprietors gravitate toward Weebly because it’s easier to use and more affordable. Larger companies with big product lists and growing teams may prefer Shopify, which doubles down on marketing, analytics, and inventory tools. So when you’re deciding on Weebly vs Shopify, it’s a good idea to consider your business goals first.

This article is originally published on Jul 31, 2020 , and updated on Aug 04, 2020
Grew into his computer desk. Learned to code as a child, never looked away. Occasional socializing while hiking or biking.

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