Shopify vs WordPress For E-commerce

Historically there has been a big difference between Shopify and other hosted solutions and WordPress when it comes to e-commerce. With WordPress it was up to you to install your own SSL certificates and worry about PCI compliance. Then you try to find and assemble a bunch of different WordPress plugins to get all the features you need for your store while hoping that all the plugins work properly together and all the different plugin authors keep their plugins up to date. Cart66 Cloud solves these problems letting you harness all the power of WordPress to design your store while giving you a rock solid, secure, e-commerce platform that includes everything you need in one easy to use package.

Comparing Shopify vs WordPress

WordPress users love the unmatched power of working with WordPress. With thousands of themes, and tens of thousands of plugins virtually anything you can think of, from SEO tools to image galleries, can easily be added to your web site. This flexibility is awesome for things like SEO tools, image galleries, slide shows, connecting with social media, and managing your site’s content. But e-commerce involves complicated and technical things like SSL certificates, PCI compliance requirements, and payment gateways which quickly become overwhelming and frustrating.

Shopify is much more limited in terms of available themes and add-ons. For example, while WordPress has thousands of themes you can use, Shopify has about 100. But users love the simplicity of being able to set up an online store with all the features they need without having to configure a bunch of complicated settings. Shopify displays the testimonials of several people who switched from WordPress to Shopify and the common complaint is that WordPress is just too hard to set up because the developer has to find and assemble so many different plugins just to get the basic e-commerce features working.

WordPress gives you unmatched power to customize your store but leaves it up to you to know how to deal with all the technical and security issues surrounding e-commerce.

Shopify makes the e-commerce aspect of setting up your store easy by giving you a hosted solution that includes all your basic e-commerce needs out of the box, but you give up a ton of flexibility in terms of the themes and add-ons that are available to you.

Cart66 Cloud gives you the best of both worlds – like Shopify for WordPress. It’s like combining Shopify with WordPress. You host your own WordPress site, use any themes you want, use any plugins you want, and let Cart66 take care of all the e-commerce and security. You don’t even need your own SSL certificate.

Shopify vs Cart66 Feature Comparison

Both Shopify and Cart66 offer a secure, PCI compliant, all-in-one e-commerce solution for your online store. Both systems allow you to sell physical and digital products, but Cart66 comes with a built-in recurring billing engine and the ability to sell memberships, subscriptions, and offer payment plans.

Hosting

Shopify is an all-in-one fully hosted e-commerce solution. That means they bundle in their own web hosting with their service. With Cart66 you have the option of either hosting your own WordPress site, or if you’d prefer, Cart66 can host your WordPress site too.

CMS and Blogging

Both Shopify and WordPress include a built-in content management system (CMS) and blogging platform. You can let the numbers speak for themselves as to which one is better. WordPress powers almost 20% of all the websites on the internet. With all those people running their sites on WordPress, you will find that WordPress is very secure, easy to use, and powerful enough to do virtually anything you can think of.

Physical Products and Digital Products

Both Shopify and Cart66 allow you to sell products that you ship and digital products. Both systems include features for shipping rates, taxes, coupons, product variations, and other standard e-commerce features. Shopify also includes inventory tracking for products which is a planned feature, but not yet available in Cart66.

Payment Gateways

Shopify and Cart66 both offer a large number of Payment Gateways for accepting credit card payments online. Shopify offers over 70 payment gateways and Cart66 supports over 50 payment gateways. Both platforms have a very wide range of supported gateways, so you should not have any trouble finding a payment gateway to accept credit card payments.

Memberships and Subscriptions – Recurring Billing

Cart66 let’s you sell memberships and subscriptions and Shopify does not. Cart66 includes a built-in recurring billing engine so you can sell all sorts of subscriptions for products, services, or even access to premium content on your website.

Subscriptions are very profitable types of products. The most expensive thing to do in e-commerce is acquire a new customer. So if you can keep and continue to service the customers you already have and, at the same time win new customers, you will have a growing and profitable business – much more so than focussing on new customers alone.

Many people don’t think about selling subscriptions because it seems too hard to get set up. With Cart66 you can sell a subscription as easily as you can sell a t-shirt or an MP3. It is super easy to set up and works with all of the supported gateways. You do not need to subscribe to any add-on services with your payment gateway. Also, since all your customer data is stored in your Cart66 account (and not your payment gateway) you are free to switch payment gateways at any time!

With Cart66 Cloud you get everything you need to sell memberships and restrict access to certain content on your website. A customer can have as many concurrent subscriptions as they want. You can protect access to any page, post, section of a page, or even entire categories of posts.

Here are some ideas of memberships and subscriptions you can easily sell with Cart66 Cloud:

  • Membership access to content on your website
    • Online courses
    • Tutorials
    • Members only / Fan club
    • Wholesale / discounted products
  • Subscriptions for services
    • Web hosting
    • Lawn care
    • Legal services
    • Consulting retainers
  • Subscriptions for products
    • Vitamins
    • Printer ink, paper
    • Soaps, lotions, shampoo

Online Courses – Drip Content

Cart66 Cloud allows you to restrict access to certain material on your website and you can delay access to the content for a certain number of days. For example, you could set up a series of lessons and release a new lesson once per week. The first lesson might be available immediately upon purchasing the subscription, then the next lesson would be available 7 days (one week later). The third lesson becomes available once the customer has owned the subscription for 14 days, and so on until all the content was available. The release schedule is specific to each individual customer.

Timed Customer Follow-up Emails

In the same way that you can gradually release access to your site’s content, you can send timed follow-up emails to your customers based on what product was purchased. Send an email 3 days after the sale to make sure your customer is happy with the product and maybe include a coupon for a discount on the next purchase.

Payment Plans

Subscriptions can have a fixed number of payments. So you can sell an expensive, $200 item in smaller installments such as 4 payments of $50 each.

Comparing The Communities

There are developers who specialize in building sites on Shopify. But, with WordPress powering almost 20% of all websites on the internet the WordPress community is vastly larger. Also, if you want to learn more about WordPress you can easily find a WordCamp or a WordPress Meetup Group in your area. You will find the WordPress community is not only very large, it is also very easy to get involved. WordCamps and meetups are for anybody wanting to do anything with WordPress – not at all just for developers. At WordCamps you’ll meet other small business owners, writers, artists, musicians, photographers, entrepreneurs, etc. And talk about everything from social media marketing to e-commerce security. When it comes to communities and getting access to people eager to help each other, WordPress wins – hands down.

Conclusion

Both Shopify and Cart66 provide a secure all-in-one solution for your online store. WordPress provides a much broader range of plugins and themes, has a much bigger community of both users and developers than Shopify does. You can easily get connected with the WordPress community by going to WordCamps and WordPress Meetup Groups in your local area.

Both Shopify and Cart66 allow you to sell physical products and digital products. Cart66 also comes with the ability to sell memberships, subscriptions, and payment plans with built-in recurring billing engine and content restriction capabilities.

If you were thinking e-commerce with WordPress was to hard to implement or too unreliable, give Cart66 a try because it gives you a secure, all-in-one e-commerce platform similar to Shopify plus all the power and flexibility of WordPress.

5 comments

  1. Elliot Birch says:

    Have you thought about adding in a way to put certain RSS feeds behind the subscription pay wall? We currently use Blubrry and Wishlist in combination to switch peoples WordPress User Roles to a certain value so they have access to premium podcast RSS feeds. Would that be something you could do, or do now?

    • cart66 says:

      The pages/posts/post categories that require memberships to access are removed from your public WordPress RSS feed. In other words, the content restriction does apply to the RSS feeds. I’m interested in getting your thoughts on whether or not we’ve already got the features your looking for. The restrictions are not based on WordPress user roles though, it’s based on what subscriptions (or memberships) the customer owns and if those subscriptions are in good standing.

      • Elliot Birch says:

        Ah that’s a good way to handle it. Part of what we like with Blubrry (What we use for our podcasts) is that it allows us to add multiple podcast feeds (we have a free feed, a HQ feed and a SQ feed which are both for our members) and posts can have multiple files attached to them which relate to the different feeds.

        For example, we release our weekly show as one post. We include our free show file for the free feed, and our two paid shows which members can choose to access. The paid ones are locked off through Blubrry (it has a premium option which only allows a certain role to access). Wishlist actually doesn’t handle any of that for us (except for controlling if they are subscribed or not and boosting them to the role we want), which we kinda wish it did.

        What Blubrry does well is handle podcast feeds, we would obviously prefer a plugin that does it all so we could get rid of Blubrry but at the moment nothing does what we want perfectly.

        There were a few other issues where the enclosures of the premium feeds weren’t being locked off for people who weren’t logged in to their subscription and we had to find work arounds for that in order to solve that issue. Not ideal.

        I hope this gives you an understanding of what we do and how we do it!

        It would be awesome if you had a look at Blubrry and checked out how it works and how it handles premium feeds. If you could add something like that into your system it would make it incredibly powerful for podcasters, instead of just relying on Category feeds.

  2. HealCam says:

    I think you should consider providing WP blogs with ability to charge for guest posts. That can be done either as a single time purchase (for a single guest post) or as a recurring payment (i.e. monthly charge for unlimited or predetermined number of guest posts per month). The purchaser makes a payment, and then is redirected to WP where he can write a post.

    Guests posts is a growing industry for a number of reasons: SEO manipulation, old fashioned PR, promotional activities, contests with multiple participants (such as writing contests), etc etc.

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