ShopWired vs Shopify (2021) – Which One is Better for UK Businesses

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ShopWired and Shopify are two very popular options for creating an ecommerce store in the UK, but which one is better?

ShopWired vs Shopify: What is the Difference?

Both ShopWired and Shopify are dedicated platforms for building ecommerce websites. The main difference is that ShopWired is primarily focused on the UK market and offer tools for B2C and B2C website. Shopify is a global platform, with users all around the world and its main focus is to provide a platform to build B2C ecommerce websites.

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Pricing

Pro

Pro: £29.95/m (£75k*)
Advanced: £59.95/m (£200k*)
Premium: £119.95/m (£500k*)
Enterprise: From £149.95/m (£500k+*)

*Annual Turnover Limit

Basic

Basic: $29/m (2%^)
Standard: $79/m (1%^)
Advanced: $299/m (0.5%^)
Plus: From $2,000/m

^Transaction Fee, only applicable when using third party payment gateways

Both platforms offer a selection of 4 packages for their users, well, Shopify offer 5 but Shopify Lite doesn’t include a website builder, so I didn’t include it in this comparison.

One thing that should be noted is that all of ShopWired’s packages are +VAT, so if you are not VAT registered, you will be paying an additional 20% on top of the prices stated above. Shopify is also billed in USD and this means that when you factor in the conversion rate for USD to GBP, the Shopify Basic and Standard packages do work out cheaper the the ShopWired Pro and Advanced ones.

On the largest standard packages, ShopWired does work out considerably cheaper as Shopify does jump in price a lot between the Standard and Advanced packages.

Both platforms work on different pricing strategies as ShopWired have opted for annual turnover limits and this means that when you hit these limits, you will automatically be moved on to the next plan.

Shopify on the other hand, don’t have any turnover limits, instead they charge an additional transaction fee on any payment received outside of the Shopify Payments gateway. This reduces as you move on to the larger packages but it is up to you as to which package you want to be on, which does give you more control.

Free Trial

Both platforms let you try their respective platforms out free:

ShopWired offers a 14 Day Free Trial, with no credit required.

Shopify also offer a 14 Day Free Trial and also don’t require a credit card.

Winner: Draw

There is no clear winner when it comes to pricing as the pricing strategy of both platforms has its pros and cons.

Features

So both platforms are pretty even when it comes to pricing but what about features?

For this I am going to give an overview of the main features that are available on both platforms in four main categories.

ShopWired

Out of the box, ShopWired is a very capable ecommerce platform and comes with a great selection of features to help you build an ecommerce website.

Ecommerce Tools

  • Multi-buy Offers
  • Product Extras
  • Multi-Currency
  • Product Reviews
  • Ebay Integration
  • Digital Downloads
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Reward Points

Marketing & SEO

  • Google Feed
  • MailChimp Integration
  • Discount Codes
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Create Sales
  • Social Share
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Gross Profit Report
  • Sales by Product
  • Sales by Category
  • Payment Methods
  • Sales by Month
  • Failed Searches
  • Visitors

Payment Gateways

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

With ShopWired, you do get to pick an choose some of the features that are available on your website as they use a combination of Apps and Extensions.

ShopWired App Selection

Their Apps are really easy to use, they are simple on click installs and can be uninstalled just as easily. The majority of the are free to use but some do incur a small monthly fee. On the larger packages, you do get all of the Apps included for free.

All of these extensions are free to use but they do need to be coded into your site, you can do this yourself if you have experience with doing this or you can pay a one off fee and the ShopWired team will do it for you.

Shopify

In its standard form, the Shopify platform offers you all the features you need in order to get your online store set up.

Ecommerce Tools

  • Dropshipping Integration
  • Flexible Shipping Rates
  • Multi-Language
  • Product Reviews
  • Digital Products
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Shopify Management App

Marketing & SEO

  • Google Adwords Credit
  • Sell on Facebook
  • Discount Codes
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Auto Generated Sitemap
  • Social Share
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Product Reports
  • Traffic Sources
  • Google Analytics
  • Day, Week and Monthly Reports

Payment Gateways

  • Shopify Payments
  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Amazon Pay
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay

While the standard features are very good, it is the amount of third-party apps that are available within the Shopify App store that is really impressive. With over 3000 to choose from, covering everything from ecommerce features, marketing and SEO to order and inventory management.

Due to the vast amount of Apps on offer, it really isn’t possible for me to even begin listing them here.

Shopify App Store

Unfortunately though, not all of the apps are free and while many offer free plans or trails, you will need to pay to access all of the features. The apps range from a couple of dollars a month to around the $100 a month range. Always be vigilant when installing apps as you could soon find yourself with a hefty monthly bill!

Winner: Shopify

In terms of standard features, there isn’t much to choose between the two platforms but the difference maker here is the Shopify App Store, in terms of hosted ecommerce platforms, the amount of additional feature and integrations apps do give it the victory.

Ease of Use

Facts and features are one thing but how easy are these platforms to use?

ShopWired

ShopWired is a very easy platform to use as the main admin dashboard is very well laid out. A large component of this is the main navigation menu and ShopWired have opted for a sidebar menu that is not only well labelled when it comes to headings and sub-headings but also easy to move from one section to another.

I do feel that some of these headings could be combined or moved into other sections so that the number of headings is reduced, this would remove the need to scroll through the menu when some apps are installed that add additional headings.

ShopWired Setup Tutorial

New users to the ShopWired platform do get a short but comprehensive set up tutorial just like the one in the image above.

This contains many of the important aspects from setting up your products to adding payment and shipping options, the only thing missing from this tutorial is a prompt to set up your sites legal pages such as Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, especially as they are requirements for UK businesses.

Shopify

Shopify is also very easy to use and in many ways the admin dashboard is similar to that of ShopWired in that they both have a clearly labelled sidebar navigation menu.

But the Shopify dashboard is slightly easier to navigate around as the navigation menu has fewer headings and is also a bit more condensed, which does make it easier to move use. There is also a minimalistic feel to the Shopify dashboard that makes it look very clean and uncluttered, which does add something to it.

Shopify Admin Dashboard

New users to Shopify get a very short set up guide when they first sign up and it is a bit on the light side!

This is because it doesn’t contain everything you need to do in order to get your store up and running as things like setting up shipping options or linking your domain are missing, Shopify have done something to remedy this in their Shopify Compass.

This is effectively Shopify’s online training academy as they have a very helpful video tutorial that goes much more in-depth to help you get started properly and it is very much worth going through this video tutorial if you are brand new to Shopify.

Winner: Shopify

This one was very close and I was tempted to call it a draw but the Shopify dashboard is slightly easier to use and the video tutorial is very good for new users, so Shopify does just take the win here.

Theme Selection & Customisation

ShopWired

ShopWired updated their theme selection in 2020, using their new Version 4 framework. The revised selection offers 20 free to use, mobile responsive themes, that all have an upgrade options that includes some extensions being installed for £89+vat.

If none of the standard theme selection does it for you, then you can have the ShopWired team design build a custom one for you by choosing their Pro Package at £3495 + vat or the Advanced Package at £3995+vat.

The Version 4 framework saw the introduction of ShopWired’s first live editor and it is a big improvement over the previous set up as you can now see the impact of the changes to your site immediately.

ShopWired Theme Customisation

Theme customisation as a whole in ShopWired is still quite limited though, with the main changes being the themes colours, text snippets and front page images. There are no options to change the layout of the pages, which means that it is challenging to create a truly custom looking website.

However, if you know about PHP, CSS and HTML, then you can do a lot of customisation as you do have access the theme source code, meaning that you can make as many changes as you want.

Shopify

Shopify has a much smaller selection of free themes with only 9 to choose from.

But there is a far higher number of paid themes to choose from, with 64 available in the Shopify theme store and they range from $140 – $180. If none of these do it for you, then the additional 1200+ available on themeforest may better fit your business.

If you want a custom theme, then you can instruct a third party developer to do it for you and prices will vary from developer to developer.

Shopify definitely offers you much more when it comes to theme customisation and they arguably have the best theme customiser in the industry!

You have near complete control over the look and feel of your site from simple things such as colours and fonts to more advanced things such as layout and content blocks. Even one of the basic free themes can easily be made to look like a premium theme.

Shopify Theme Customisation

One of the great features that the Shopify theme customiser offers is access to their stock image library, this makes it easy to add a selection of high quality images to your website. This can be really helpful, especially when you are just starting out.

As with ShopWired, you also have access to the source code of the themes so anyone with knowledge of HTML and CSS can make changes at the code level.

Winner: Shopify

While ShopWired’s version 4 framework is definitely a move in the right direction, Shopify just offers much more in terms of theme customisation. There is also a much bigger choice of themes as well.

ShopWired vs Shopify Video

Store Management

Adding and Managing Products

ShopWired

The complete inventory management process on ShopWired is well laid out and easy to use.

Starting with adding a new product, they have opted for a single page layout, which has a good flow from one section of the page to another. This makes it really easy to add and also edit products on your website.

ShopWired Create Product

To organise your products, ShopWired have used the tried and test category method and this allows you to create parent and sub-categories. Being able to do this, enables you to have a nice hierarchy for your products, which is not only good for SEO but also user experience.

When it comes to managing your inventory, the majority of this has to be done on a product by product basis as there is limited bulk editing but you can update stock levels using the manage stock section.

Shopify

Adding a new product on Shopify is really easy and the single page layout has a really nice workflow, with options to create digital products and product variations both easily accessible.

Shopify Add New Product Page

When it comes to organising your products, Shopify have opted to use what their own system that they have called collections and there two modes for this. In manual mode, it works very similar to a category system. But the automatic mode uses rules that are based on product tags, it does take some getting used to using this and is definitely worth spending some time reading through the documentation.

Creating sub-collections is also not particularly straight forward as this isn’t done when you create a new category, this is instead done by editing your websites navigation menu and while it does work, it is not the most straight forward way of doing things.

To help you manage your inventory, you can use the inventory page that allows you to update stock levels in a couple of clicks. If you want to make changes to the pricing, SKU code or any other field from the product, then you can select the products you want to edit from the product overview screen and then click the edit product button, which allows you to make updates in bulk.

Managing Orders

ShopWired

The order management process with ShopWired makes managing your orders very simple to do, whether you have a large or small number of orders.

From the main order management dashboard you can print off invoices via PDF or export them via CSV file, this can be done for single or multiple orders. You can also update order statuses directly from the order overview page.

All of this can also be on an order by order basis by clicking on the order and then making changes within the order summary page.

Shopify

Order management is one of the few areas where Shopify isn’t very good as standard, this is because some pretty basic features are missing from the order management page. You can print off very basic packing slips but if you want to print off an order invoice, this requires and app and the free one from Shopify isn’t the most reliable.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do in bulk, such as update order statuses, collect payments and export your orders via CSV.

Winner: Draw

Both are good but in different ways and they very much cancel each other out. ShopWired’s order management is very good as standard, where as Shopify does require additional apps but Shopify’s bulk editor does make managing your inventory easier. So it is another draw.

Support

Support is one of the reasons why you would choose a hosted ecommerce platform as you have someone you can contact if you can’t figure out how to do something or something has gone wrong.

ShopWired

ShopWired offer a variety of different support options such as over the phone, via live chat and email support tickets, ShopWired have also made it very easy to contact their support team as they have included a live chat icon in the admin dashboard and other contact information can be easily found in their help centre.

ShopWired don’t offer 24/7 support but do cover UK business hours by offering support between the hours of 9am – 7pm Monday to Friday and 11am – 5pm Saturday. The ShopWired support team are also quick to respond to queries submitted outside of their support hours and are usually very helpful.

Shopify

Shopify offers all of its users 24/7 support and it is available via multiple mediums including phone, live chat, email and via twitter.

This all sounds great but actually accessing Shopify support is a bit of a challenge as you have to know how to navigate the help area to find the options listed above. If you don’t know how to do this, then you will just be pointed to a help article based on your query.

One other thing with Shopify is that the quality of support that you get can range from very helpful to not helpful depending on the support agent you get, which unfortunately is par for the course with big companies.

Winner: ShopWired

While it doesn’t offer the 24/7 support that Shopify does, I have found the ShopWired support to be better and being UK based support team are very tuned into the UK market, which is another added benefit.

Hosting & Performance

On paper, there is little to choose between the two platforms when it comes to their hosting as both offer:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Storage
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • Global Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • 99.9% Uptime

On this there should be little to no difference in the performance of a website using either of these platforms right? Well I decided to put both of these companies to the test by taking five of their customer example sites and running them through Pingdom’s speed test tool (London Server) and Google’s Page Speed Insights once a day for three days. So how did they do?

Average Load Time

Pingdom: 1.17 Seconds
Google Mobile: 42/100
Google Desktop: 81/100

Average Load Time

Pingdom: 1.14 Seconds
Google Mobile: 41/100
Google Desktop: 84/100

I’m not sure ShopWired and Shopify could be closer in terms of performance if they tried!

Load times were both were very impressive, averaging just over the 1 second mark across the 15 tests. Mobile scores were a little bit on the low side for both but still puts both of them towards the top of the carts in my Fastest Ecommerce Platform testing. Desktop scores were both respectable.

The testing did show how much of an improvement ShopWired’s version 4 framework is over the old one as the previous framework did struggle in the Google tests.

Winner: Draw

They were neck and neck on all of the tests, so only fair for this one to be a draw.

Conclusion

Winner: Shopify

This really was a close comparison but Shopify does just edge it and other than the Theme Selection and Customisation, there wasn’t any major differences between the two platforms.

If ShopWired improved in this area, then this could easily be a draw overall BUT I still think that ShopWired is a great option for UK businesses and it is definitely worth trying both of them out to see which one you prefer.

14 Day Free ShopWired Trial

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