ShopWired Review (2021) – A Good UK Alternative to Shopify?

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ShopWired Review

What is ShopWired?

ShopWired is a UK based, fully hosted ecommerce platform that is focused on the UK market.

Since launching in 2013, it has gone on to become one of the most popular options for UK ecommerce businesses, helping over 8,500 websites launch, including big names such as Wowcher and EDF Energy.

But is ShopWired any good? Well that is what I am going to be looking at in this review as well as seeing if it is a good alternative to Shopify for UK Businesses?

Pricing
Features
Ease of Use
Theme Selection & Customisation
Store Management
Support
Hosting & Performance

Total out of 5

4.2

14 Day Free Trial, No Credit Card Required

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ShopWired Pricing

It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting out or are an established business looking to grow their online presence, ShopWired have a package that will suit your needs.

Pro

Pro

£29.95/m

Up to 750 Products
Up to £75k Annual Turnover
No Transaction Fee
Free SSL Certificate
Standard UK Support
20 Free Themes
2 Admin Accounts

Advanced

Advanced

£59.95/m

Unlimited Products
Up to £200k Annual Turnover
No Transaction Fee
Free SSL Certificate
Standard UK Support
20 Free Themes
5 Admin Accounts
Advanced Reports
B2B Features

Premium

Premium

£119.95/m

Unlimited Products
Up to £500k Annual Turnover
No Transaction Fee
Free SSL Certificate
Priority UK Support
20 Free Themes
15 Admin Accounts
Advanced Reports
B2B Features
All Apps Free

ShopWired offer three main packages for their platform, starting with the Pro plan at £29.95/m + vat and this is perfect for people just getting started.

All of ShopWired’s packages are turnover limited, meaning that when you hit these limits in a calendar year, you will automatically be moved on to the next package. Moving up to the larger packages, not only increases your annual turnover limit but also includes additional features such as free apps.

If you are a big businesses and the plans shown aren’t suitable for you, the ShopWired offer an Enterprise package that starts from £149.95 + vat a month. This is a more tailored solution so that is designed to fit your businesses requirements.

Customer Reviews

Before I get full on into my review, I thought I would take a look at what some of ShopWired’s existing customers thought of the platform. For this I look on Trustpilot, Facebook and Google.

Trustpilot Logo

4.9 out of 5

FaceBook Logo

5 out of 5

Google Logo

3.2 out of 5

ShopWired Features

The ShopWired platform offers their users a lot of different features to help you start, build and grow an ecommerce business. Some of these features are built in to the platform and some can be installed by way of Apps or Extensions.

Apps are single click installation (and removal) to help you quickly and easily add functionality to your store. Extensions are features that you can add to your site but they need to be coded in, you can do this yourself if you are comfortable doing this or you can pay a one off fee and the ShopWired team will do it for you.

ShopWired App Selection

Ecommerce Tools

  • Multi Buy Offers – create discounts such as buy one get one free or three for the price of two
  • Product Extras – Up sell related products directly in your basket
  • Multi-Currency – sell internationally by displaying your pricing in US Dollar or Euros at the click of a button
  • Product Reviews – let previous customers leave reviews on your products
  • Ebay Integration – manage your Ebay store from your ShopWired dashboard
  • Digital Downloads – gives you the flexibility to sell digital products and/or physical products
  • DropWired – dropship directly from AliExpress in your ShopWired dashboard

ShopWired Marketing and SEO

Having a good selection of tools and features to market your site is extremely important when it comes to ecommerce and the ShopWired platform offers a great selection, including:

Marketing

  • Google Feed – easily submit your product inventory to Google Shopping
  • MailChimp Integration – create and grow an email marketing list with the help of MailChimp
  • Gift Vouchers – sell gift vouchers for your online store
  • Reward Points – build repeat business by offering customers reward points on every order
  • Abandoned Cart – automatically send emails to customers who abandon their carts to encourage them to complete the purchase
  • Create Sales – offer a percentage discount off a selection of products
  • Discount Codes – create discount codes for marketing campaigns or special offers
  • Social Share – let your visitors and customers share your products on their social media accounts
  • Back in Stock Notifications – let customers request notifications for products when they are back in stock

SEO

  • Blog – create content on your ShopWired store, great for SEO
  • Custom Meta Data – set custom meta data for all of your products such as title, description and keywords
  • SEO Friendly URLs – automatically generated URLs that are search engine friendly, can also be edited
  • Sitemap – automatically generated sitemap that can be submitted to search engines

Reporting and Analytics

You want to see how well your ecommerce store is performing and ShopWired offer a very comprehensive set of reporting features to really let you analyse your business, including:

  • Gross Profit Report – use product cost price to generate a gross profit report on sales for a selected period
  • Sales by Product
  • Sales by Category
  • Payment Methods
  • Sales by Month
  • Failed Searches – see what your customers were searching for but didn’t find
  • Visitors – break down of your sites visitors, including conversion rates and pages viewed
ShopWired Reports

ShopWired Payment Gateways

ShopWired offer a very good selection of payment gateways for UK businesses to use on their stores, including:

  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Stripe
  • Amazon Pay
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Barclaycard EPDQ
  • Nochex
  • Payment Sense
  • Elavon

If you are using a payment gateway that isn’t listed amongst the ones that ShopWired integrate with, you can contact the support team and they will look into whether or not they can make it work for you.

Do ShopWired charge transaction fees?

No, unlike some other platforms, ShopWired do not charge any transactions fees.

ShopWired Shipping Options

All delivery rates are set manually within the ShopWired platform but there are many different options that can be offered, such as:

  • Different delivery zones, for example UK, Europe and America and all will have separate pricing
  • Set delivery methods by price or weight, such as free delivery if you spend £XX amount
  • Set a default rate for zone
  • Can offer click and collect, which is a great option if you have a store front or warehouse

ShopWired also offer Apps for Royal Mail Click and Drop, which produces a CSV file which is set up for click and drop and Shipstation, which automatically feeds order information through to the Shipstation platform which helps speed up the order management process.

ShopWired B2B Features

While the ShopWired platform is great for B2C ecommerce, it really stands out from the crowd when it comes to its B2B features. All of the B2B features are included as standard in the Advanced Package and they include:

  • Bulk Discounts – offer your customers a percentage or fixed price discount when ordering in bulk
  • Quotation System – customers can request quotes for items, which can then be sent via email with a link to pay
  • Trade Accounts – offers a lot of options including:
    • Application for trade accounts, which can be approved manually or automatically
    • Different pricing for trade customers, can be done individually or by assigning groups
    • Trade only products and/or categories
    • Restrict trade accounts to offline payments such as bank transfer or cheque
  • Credit Accounts – allow customers to checkout and and then charge them on account
  • VAT – display prices with or without VAT

These are all features that can be used with all of the other features mentioned above and it is one of the most comprehensive list of B2B features that I have seen with an ecommerce platform.

How easy is ShopWired to use?

The ShopWired admin dashboard is easy to use as they have opted for a main sidebar navigation menu and all sections and sub-sections are clearly labelled, making it easy to move between the different sections of the dashboard.

Additional headings may be added to the standard menu, depending on what apps are installed on the site.

New users are greeted by a short set up guide to help get their store up and running by prompting them to go through the following steps.

  • Setting up Business Info (address, contact details, VAT settings)
  • How to create a new Category
  • How to create a new Product
  • How to set up your Checkout (payment methods & delivery rates)
  • Selecting a theme for your site
  • How to go live (link your domain name)
ShopWired Setup Tutorial

ShopWired’s set up guide is one of the more complete that I have used but it is missing one step that is important to UK based stores, which is to set up their Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions. It would be a nice section to see added but ShopWired do have template documents for both of these pages that you can easily edit to help make sure that your site is legal.

ShopWired Theme Selection & Customisation

In 2020, ShopWired updated their theme selection as they are using a new platform on which their themes are built, which they have called Version 4. The new selection totals 20, free to use, mobile responsive themes, with an upgradeable version, that comes with some extensions installed for £89+vat.

If you want, you can have a bespoke theme made for you by the ShopWired design team, there are two options to choose from. The Pro design packages costs £3495 + vat and the Advanced is £3995+vat.

ShopWired Theme Selection

With the addition of the version 4 theme, also comes a new live customizer. This new features has improved the theme customisation experience within ShopWired.

But the amount of control you have over the look and feel of your site is still quite limited but includes the ability to change the colours of the site, the text snippets placed around the theme and the images that appear on the homepage.

ShopWired Theme Customisation

When it comes to the layout of the theme, there aren’t any options such as being able to change the sections that appear on your site, these are set by the theme.

You can control your link lists, these are lists of links to your chosen pages in terms of what is in them and where on the theme they are placed. Another thing that I do find a little strange is that the amount of customisation you can do does vary from theme to theme.

ShopWired Review Video

ShopWired Store Management

Inventory Management

Good inventory management is an important part of running an ecommerce website and three basic areas that I look at when reviewing platforms are:

  • How easy is it to create a new product
  • How easy is it to organise your products
  • How easy is it to update/edit your inventory

Adding a new product in ShopWired is very simple as they have gone for a single page layout for their add new product page. The flow of the page makes it very easy to use and all of the important sections such as name, description, images and pricing are all fixed sections, with all optional sections such as variations and related being expandable sections at the bottom of the page.

ShopWired Create Product

Organising your products is also very simple as they have opted for the traditional category system and you can create multi layered categories as the platform allows for parent and child categories, meaning that you can easily create a very good hierarchy for your products.

When it comes to managing your inventory, ShopWired does offer a bulk editing tool but this is limited to just updating stock levels. If you need to make any additional changes to your products such as pricing or category, this needs to be done on a product by product basis.

One useful option that they have on the product overview page is that you can quickly change the product status from active to inactive with the click of a checkbox.

Order Management

ShopWired has a very good order management system that allows you to efficiently and effectively manage your orders directly from the admin dashboard.

From the main order overview page, you can bulk select orders and then choose to either print them directly from your dashboard or export them via CSV format, you can also bulk update the order statuses.

ShopWired Order Management

You can also update and edit individual orders by clicking on the selected order and this brings up all of the information for that chosen order and there are options to edit delivery and order information, which is useful. You can also print and downloads order from the order view/edit page.

ShopWired also have options for order/shipping management with third party companies such as Royal Mail Click and Drop and Shipstation, both of which can be accessed by installing the relevant app.

ShopWired Support

ShopWired offer really good support, when I ran a shop on the platform all of my queries were answered quickly and efficiently. They also have a relatively small team so you would often deal with the same person again and again, which is nice.

While they don’t offer 24/7 support, they will reply to you as soon as they can. You can contact ShopWired support on the phone and live chat during normal business hours which are 9am to  7pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 5pm on a Saturday or email them at any time.

ShopWired Web Hosting and Performance

Ecommerce stores are very resource heavy, this means they need to hosted on very good servers and ShopWired opted for some of the best in the world. They chose to use the Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is definitely enterprise level and is the host of choice for many big businesses such as Pinterest and Adobe. But what do you get?

  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited File Storage
  • PCI Level 1 Compliant Servers
  • Global Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • 99.99% Uptime
  • Continuous back-ups
  • And most important Blazing Fast Servers

Sounds great doesn’t it? Well yes it does but I don’t like to take companies on their word, so I put them to the test.

For this, I took five of their customer example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s speed test tool (London Server) and Google Page Speed Insights to see how well they performed. To get a good selection of data I ran the three sites through the tool, once a day for three days and you can see the results of the three websites below.

Average Load Time:

Average Load Time:

1.17 sec
Google Logo

Mobile Score (Avg):

42/100
Google Logo

Desktop Score (Avg):

81/100

ShopWired’s upgrade to the Version 4 framework has seen a quite an improvement in performance, especially with the Google scores, with some mobile scores being up to three times better than the testing done on the previous framework.

Load times have also reduced on the new Version 4 and they weren’t exactly poor previously, so this upgrade has definitely been beneficial for the platform.

If you want to see how well ShopWired performed against their competition, then check out my Fastest Ecommerce Platforms post.

Conclusion

ShopWired Review

Paul

Pricing
Features
Ease of Use
Theme Selection & Customisation
Store Management
Support
Hosting & Performance

Summary

Is ShopWired any good?

Yes, ShopWired is a very good option for building an ecommerce store. The platform is easy to use, offers a lot of very good features, has very good performance and is all backed up by UK based support.

The are only two real things that let the platform down and that is the poor theme customisation and the extensions that need to be coded in but other than that, it is overall a very good option for UK based businesses.

The Good:

• Comprehensive tutorial
• Good selection of high quality, free responsive themes
• SSL Certificate included
• Product management is well designed and easy to use
• Order management process is really good
• Good, consistent page load speeds
• AliExpress integration for Dropshippers
• B2B features

The Not so Good:

• Theme customisation doesn’t give you enough control over the look of your site
• Having to code in Extensions, doesn’t make them easy to use

4.2

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