Planning to start an e-commerce store online to sell your products quickly and easily? You could consider an e-commerce shopping platform to setup your online store. For a very long time, Shopify has been a very popular e-commerce platform since it was launched. However, Weebly, a very popular website builder has also forayed into the e-commerce shopping arena. In this article, we will be comparing the two platforms, Shopify and Weebly to determine which is a better platform for e-commerce.
Shopify was launched in 2006 and soon became an e-commerce giant. Shopify also earned the reputation of being a popular niche website builder. Shopify essentially targets established business owners, who have been in the business for some time and are making money.
Weebly on the other hand was launched in 2006 as a DIY website builder for entry-levels businesses trying to make a foray into e-commerce. Weebly has created around 30 million e-commerce websites and around 40,000 online stores. Not satisfied with just allowing users to integrate their e-commerce offerings with PayPal and other payment gateways, Weebly decided to start their own e-commerce platform and launched as a competitor to Shopify.
In terms of the features, Shopify is loaded with excellent features that enable you to start your e-commerce store online very easily and quickly. Shopify offers templates and designs that are commerce-centric and user-friendly. It offers other features such as the Shopify App Store, Shopify POS (retail connection), split tenders, which enables you to accept two or more types of payments in a single transaction, barcode support, discount codes, customer profiles that are created with the new accounts automatically, multiple staff accounts, etc.
Weebly is a powerhouse that is also packed with features. It features a mobile store and checkout, product search and filtered queries, physical and digital products, various shipping options, different payment gateway choices, coupon codes, inventory management, tax control features, etc.
If you already have an online store, then you can simply import it onto the Weebly e-commerce platform. You can migrate a store very easily from other platforms like Shopify, Etsy, etc. or simply upload a CSV file directly onto the Weebly platform and set it up very quickly and easily. Weebly also allows you to modify the look and feel of your store to showcase or create a distinct and unique look for your brand.
If you want to add more features or customize your website further, you can go onto the Weebly App Center which features Weebly and 3rd party apps. You can then integrate these apps into your online store and they can help you with your social marketing, shipping, various sales, widgets, etc.
The pricing plans of Shopify begin from $29 to a maximum of $299. The plans vary on basis of the additional features offered and all the plans allow you to sell unlimited products on the platform. The credit card rates offered by Shopify are 2.9% + 30¢ online and 2.7% in person.
Shopify has an excellent selling option if you already have an existing website, for instance, a blog, WordPress site, a Tumblr blog or a Squarespace portfolio. At just $9 per month, you can add the Shopify Buy Button on your site and start selling your products via your site. This can be done very easily by just logging into your Shopify admin page, where you add the product and create a sell button for it. You can then copy and paste the specified embed code on the page wherever you want the button to appear. You can also customize the look and feel of the button according to your preference. In case you are selling several products, then you can also feature a shopping cart, which will facilitate buying multiple products at a time.
Shopify provides great options for customization, which is why it is popular among large companies.
The pricing of Weebly begins from $0 – $25 per month and this really depends on the number of products you plan to sell. There are 3 plan options available: Free, Starter and Pro that are accompanied by a 3% Weebly transaction fee, which is charged over the standard transaction fees charged by PayPal and Stripe. Weebly also offers a Business Plan that does not include the Weebly transaction fees. And, what’s more, you can get the comprehensive Weebly feature-filled e-commerce experience by subscribing to the Business Plan.
For a fairly decent online store, Weebly offers sufficient functionality and the cost of its full-feature version is $25 per month, which is a very good price, although with relatively limited features when compared to Shopify.
Features of Shopify and Weebly
Features of Shopify
- Social Media Sales: This Shopify feature allows you to buy products directly from your social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
- Over 70 payment gateway integrations
- Access to Shopify App Store
- Flexible shipping options
- Shipping label discounts available
- Gift cards
- Unlimited file storage
- Tools to prevent fraud
Features of Weebly
- Drag and drop user interface
- Member registration
- Expanded statistics
- HD audio and video player
- Password protected
Shopify vs Weebly – A Closer Look
Fees and Discount Coupons
When you use Shopify, you won’t be charged any transaction fees for any of their plans. All the Shopify plans offer the customers discount codes, which can help a lot to increase your sales.
On the other hand, Weebly charges a transaction fee of 3%, over the processing fees that are charged by any of the payment gateways including Stripe and PayPal. The transaction fees are applicable on all the plans except the Business Plan that does not have any transaction fees. Also, Weebly offers discount coupons only if you subscribe to their Business Plan.
Extensions and Apps
If you want to enhance the features of your e-commerce website, then Shopify offers many features in their App Store that can improve the functionality and design of your website. The Shopify App Store contains several free as well as paid apps that you can choose from, which are straightforward and can be easily installed, configured and used.
You can enhance and boost your online store in several ways by using these free and paid premium apps. For instance, by making use of the LimeSpot recommendation/ personalizing app, you can create recommendation boxes in your Shopify e-commerce store that displays products which the visitors to the store are most likely to buy. This can help to increase your online sales by around 40 percent. The Shopify App Store has many other useful apps that you can use, such as social apps, review apps, tracking apps, email template apps, pre-order apps, contact apps, SEO apps, etc.
Weebly on the other hand does not offer any apps to enhance your online e-commerce store and this may be a problem if you want to include any new features on your website in the future.
Search Engine Optimization
Shopify provides the option wherein you can install SEO apps that can help to boost your rankings. You can find several online shops that are powered by Shopify, whereas, Weebly sites do not rank too well on Google. This is probably the main reason why many users who require a professional, high-ranking website don’t opt for Weebly and you may not find too many notable Weebly websites easily.
Shopify offers round-the-clock customer support and their support team is available to assist you 24×7. You can contact the customer support team at Shopify via phone or live chat.
In the case of Weebly, the Free and Starter Plans offer customer service only via chat and email, whereas if you subscribe to their Pro and Business Plans, you can contact the Weebly customer support via phone, chat and email.
Which Makes the E-Commerce Site Faster?
Most of the Shopify websites are much faster when compared to Weebly sites, as Shopify has its own dedicated servers. This is an important aspect, as Google takes into account the website speed and performance when ranking sites, Also, studies show that slower sites tend to lose potential customers, as people usually don’t like to wait for websites that take a long time to load.
Which Is More User-Friendly for Beginners?
Shopify and Weebly are both extremely easy to setup and use for beginners. All you need to do is to select a theme or template and you’re all set to start.
Weebly is a WYSIWYG kind of a website builder, which allows you to build your website from scratch. You don’t really require any coding skills and can build your e-commerce website very easily by using the extremely easy to use drag and drop feature.
Shopify has a very easy-to-use website builder that allows for customizations while still keeping it stupid simple!
When it comes to the selection of themes for your e-commerce store, then Shopify is the winner hands-down in terms of the options available to you. It offers a better and a more attractive range of free as well as premium themes that can wow your customers.
On the other hand, the selection of themes offered by Weebly is quite limited and the ones on offer are quite basic and simple. It is also very difficult to find well-designed Weebly themes.
Features and Price
Shopify plans cost $29, $79 and $179, which are significantly on the higher side compared to Weebly. However, the features offered by Shopify make the price worth it. Even if you choose the lowest plan of $29, you still get fantastic features.
Weebly’s plans are much cheaper compared to Shopify. However, only Weebly’s Business Plan comes with SSL, which is very important for any online e-commerce store and ensures the privacy of your customers’ confidential data. Weebly has pricing plans for $8, $12 or $25; however, only the Business Plan allows you to sell an unlimited number of products. The other plans let you hold 25 products or less. While Weebly’s plans are much cheaper, they are not necessarily better in terms of their offerings compared to Shopify.
Which Is Better, Shopify or Weebly?
So, the question is, which is really a better option, Shopify or Weebly? This really depends on a few aspects such as your selling requirements, your budget and if you have a website already.
Weebly offers much cheaper plans; however, in terms of their features and offerings, they are pretty much restricted. The only plan from Weebly that offers the same in terms of the number of products is their Business Plan. If you have an established business that you don’t really plan on growing in terms of adding more products to your portfolio, if you’re on a budget and you’re looking for a cheap option and are not really on the lookout for a vast feature set, then you can opt for Weebly’s Pro Plan that allows you to hold up to 25 products.
Shopify is clearly the better option, as it is more flexible and is loaded with friendly features. It is a user-friendly, versatile e-commerce solution that gives you ample room to grow your business. It provides you the opportunity to rank higher on Google and earn more money. It also allows you to setup a multi-purpose website, an e-commerce platform and a platform that allows you to blog, all at a very reasonable price.
Weebly is a beginner level e-commerce platform. So, if you’re looking for a platform that is low cost and simple, and you only need to sell a few products, then Weebly is a good choice. However, if you want your shop design to be more advanced and you are looking at selling lots of products on the website and you foresee your e-commerce business growing in the future and generating massive sales, then Shopify is a more flexible option that offers you enough room to grow.
Nevertheless, that being said, setting up an e-commerce website is not without its challenges. While Weebly has many pros and cons, Shopify is not without its drawbacks, though, a lot more limited than Weebly. It is really for you as a business person to evaluate the various features, the benefits and drawbacks of each of the platforms vis-à-vis your budget and your particular business objectives and requirements before choosing one or the other.
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