If that sounds like you, and you’re unsure which platform will best suit your business, never fear. We’re going to break both SaaS platforms down so that you can evaluate which (if either) will work for you.
But, before comparing these platforms in more detail, let’s quickly see the main differences between Shopify and Weebly.
Weebly vs Shopify: Key Differences and Similarities
First off, Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce platform. By this, we mean it’s explicitly designed to help you develop, manage, and launch an online store.
In contrast, Weebly is a generic website builder that comes with optional eCommerce functions. As such, where online selling features are concerned, Weebly isn’t as powerful. However, it’s much simpler to get up and running with.
As you can see, there’s somewhat of a trade-off. So the main question we’re posing is, which platform is better, based on the specific needs of your online business?
With that in mind, here are the core similarities and differences between the two.
- Shopify boasts a vast array of sales and marketing features. In contrast, as Weebly isn’t as dedicated to eCommerce, it shows in the limited features it offers.
- Shopify doesn’t provide a free plan, whereas Weebly does.
- Shopify is suited to growing businesses, including enterprises. Whereas Weebly’s best suited to first-time sellers or those operating on a much smaller scale.
- Shopify comes with a steeper learning curve in comparison to Weebly.
- Both Weebly and Shopify allow you to sell physical and digital products online.
- Weebly and Shopify are both SaaS platforms with a similar pricing structure. Weebly is, however, cheaper.
- The drag-and-drop editors on both platforms make it easy for you to customize your store.
- You kickstart Shopify’s and Weebly’s design process by selecting and using a template.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is arguably the leading eCommerce platform on the market. Everything about it is explicitly designed to help you craft, manage, and scale your online store. In fact, anyone serious about selling online might not find a better platform than Shopify. Today, over 1 million stores share that sentiment, impressive, right?
Shopify comes with over 70 tailored eCommerce templates and many specialized sales features, including nearly everything you need to set your e-store up for success. On top of that, Shopify’s expansive app store allows you to add more functionality should you need it.
What Is Weebly?
Weebly is a website builder, first and foremost. It’s an easy-to-use, intuitive tool that provides everything you need to get a site up and running within minutes.
It comes with an eCommerce functionality on some of its plans, so you don’t have to invest in an online store straight away. Instead, you can design and launch your website and start selling whenever you’re ready to upgrade your subscription to sell online.
Weebly is, therefore, an excellent choice for those operating on a smaller scale.
Weebly vs Shopify: Their Core Features Compared
This is where we get into the meat of things. As we’ve already said, Shopify offers a vast set of eCommerce features to help you grow your store. In comparison, the cheaper and simpler Weebly might come out lacking. But let’s take a look at exactly how their core features compare.
Design and Customizability
Weebly keeps its design features simple yet effective. Overall, its themes are more basic and limited in comparison to Shopify. Still, each template is professionally designed and sports a modern feel. These templates make it easy to create a polished looking online store that also works great on mobile.
There are 15 official themes available for online stores. These are well executed and look great, but ultimately Weebly offers way less choice than Shopify. That said, you can source eCommerce templates from third-parties to broaden your choice — but, of course, there’s no guarantee the coding will be 100% compatible with Weebly’s platform.
However, when it comes to ease of customization, Weebly is back in the ring. It’s incredibly easy to create standalone product pages for each item. On top of that, editing themes is intuitive. You can breathe your brand into each and every aspect of your site. It’s also easy to swap themes later down the line, should you want to shake things up in the future.
Shopify starts strong in the arena of design and customizability. There are over 70 mobile-friendly store themes to choose from. These are varied and unique, so, in theory, they should provide something for everyone. Shopify also allows you to browse themes by industry, which comes in handy for finding the best template for your niche.
Some Shopify themes are free, whereas others come at a premium, starting from $140. Alternatively, you can opt to use a theme created by a third-party.
That said, once your store starts to generate money, investing in a paid theme could be an excellent idea. It’s easy to change themes, so this isn’t too much hassle either.
However, as we’ve already alluded to, personalizing your theme is a little more challenging than Weebly. But, considering how many features Shopify offers, we would still class Shopify as ‘intuitive’ overall. Even if you’re no tech genius, it’s still relatively easy to add a stylish look to your store and customize it for your brand.
Design and Customizability – Winner: Shopify
We have to give it to Shopify. The eCommerce giant simply has more themes to offer and design features to boot. This is worth the slightly steeper learning curve.
Weebly, in comparison to Shopify, doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles, and as such, might leave you feeling a tad restricted when your online store starts to grow.
The basics, however, are all present. For the price tag, Weebly performs well where eCommerce features are concerned.
It comes with a fully integrated shopping cart on its higher pricing plans, meaning your customers won’t have to leave your website when they make a purchase.
Weebly also provides you with inventory management features and tracking. Additionally, it calculates your shipping costs and taxes for you (which you can modify), and digital goods are saleable with Weebly’s cheapest paid-for plan.
When it comes to analytics and payment gateways, however, Weebly is somewhat lacking. You can only connect with Stripe, Square, and PayPal Express. Not to mention, PayPal only becomes available with the most expensive plan. The same goes for unlocking advanced eCommerce insights.
With everything said thus far, it comes as no surprise that Shopify provides some of the best eCommerce features amidst software of its kind. Shopify is a fully outfitted eCommerce platform, providing a vast set of handy tools at your fingertips. This is one reason why it’s one of the best options for rapidly growing stores and larger businesses.
We’d take a long time covering every feature in detail, but here are some of Shopify’s most significant eCommerce functionalities.
First of all, Shopify allows you to accept over 100 payment methods, including PayPal and all major credit cards (across a variety of currencies). Needless to say, this trumps Weebly’s payment options by far.
Shopify also automatically calculates your taxes and shipping rates and permits you to offer free shipping.
It’s also at the top of the eCommerce food chain when it comes to reports and analytics. You can generate all kinds of reports to gain valuable insight into your customers. More specifically, you can learn where they came from and how they found your store. Whereas product reports empower you to analyze your growth and see where you’re performing best.
All of Shopify’s reporting and analytics tools are available via an intuitive dashboard, and each report is easy to export.
Running your store is also made straightforward with Shopify’s customer profiles, accounts, and groups. You can manage your store on the go with the Shopify app, integrate with fulfillment centers, offer refunds, sell dropshipping products, and customize automated emails.
When it comes to products and inventory, you won’t be disappointed either. You can manage your entire inventory via Shopify’s dashboard and integrate your point of sale solution.
Organize products by category, type, season, and product variations. You can also sell digital products from your online store and support video and 3D graphics for even more advanced product displays.
eCommerce Features – Winner: Shopify
This will come as no surprise; the sheer breadth of eCommerce features Shopify has to offer secures its winning place for this round.
Now, let’s delve into how Shopify and Weebly’s marketing features compare.
Weebly offers similar features to Shopify, but on a smaller scale. You can send abandoned cart emails on Weebly’s most expensive plan.
However, you can access coupon creation from the get-go and request product reviews. Weebly also assists in lead capture in the form of pop-up notifications and integrates with your Instagram feed.
Shopify has several nifty features you can use to promote your store. For one, you can use coupons, discounts, and gift cards to incentivize your customer to buy more.
You can also integrate your store with various social media platforms and enable social selling. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest are all included.
Shopify stores are fully SEO optimized, and you can encourage buyers to leave SEO-friendly product reviews on your product pages.
What’s more, Shopify lets you customize and automate your emails — most notably, your transactional and abandoned cart emails.
Marketing Features – Winner: Shopify
Overall, Weebly’s marketing features are a little more clunky, but you aren’t left with nothing. It goes without saying that Shopify has Weebly beat on all aspects of eCommerce and marketing.
Weebly vs Shopify: Ease of Use
How easy are Weebly and Shopify to get to grips with? Let’s find out.
Weebly’s drag-and-drop editor is exceptionally intuitive. You literally grab the website element you want to use and drop it wherever you want it to feature.
Its interface is also incredibly sleek. You’re not bombarded with features or faced with complicated jargon, so if this is your first time using a website builder, you shouldn’t feel too overwhelmed. On top of that, there are plenty of visual cues to guide you through the customization process.
The only criticism is that Weebly doesn’t have an undo button or offer any keyboard shortcuts.
Although Shopify has more features to offer than Weebly, the platform is still simple to use.
That said, its sheer volume of features can be a tad overwhelming for newbies, and as such, comes with a slightly steeper learning curve than Weebly.
Ease of Use – Winner: Weebly
Weebly wins this round. While both of these website builders are easy-to-use, Weebly is easier to get going with from the offset.
Weebly vs Shopify: App Stores
Weebly’s App Store might surprise you with its versatility. The app center features a clean and modern layout, which makes finding the plugins you need easy.
While Weebly itself focuses on simplicity, the app center allows you to expand your site considerably. Every app can be added with just the click of a button, and each app fully integrates with Weebly’s infrastructure. So, there’s no need to touch any code yourself.
The apps are divided into categories, including eCommerce and communications. Similar to Shopify, some apps are free, and others come with a price tag.
Here are some examples of what the app center enables you to do:
- Adding a forum to your site
- Offering multi-language web pages
- Integrating with dropshipping suppliers
- Accessing more in-depth analytics
- Adding contact forms
- Integrating with social media
Shopify’s App Store is one of the best out there. There are over 1,200 apps to choose from, which cover everything from social media integrations to making taxes easier. The range of apps is nearly limitless, with something available to support any aspect of your business.
Rather than just adding new and fancy features, Shopify’s apps can also save you time by automating your more mundane and repetitive tasks. For instance, you can add professional contact forms, display your store in different currencies, and much more. Some of the apps are free, whereas others, like Weebly’s, come with a monthly fee.
App Stores – Winner: Shopify
We have to say, both Weebly and Shopify perform well when it comes to offering additional functionality. But in the end, Shopify’s 1,200+ apps are difficult to beat. On top of that, Shopify is the clear developer favorite for the majority of third-party integrations.
Weebly vs Shopify: Pricing
It’s inevitable — let’s talk about price. If you’re going to invest in an eCommerce platform, you’ll want to ensure the monthly cost is affordable. Beyond that, value for money is an integral part of the debate.
Let’s jump right in.
Weebly is an affordable option for anyone just starting out with eCommerce. For starters, it’s a cheaper alternative to Shopify, as we’re about to see.
First of all, Weebly offers a free-forever plan. This is intended for basic use and comes with a shopping cart, basic selling features, and you can list an unlimited number of items. You also get access to coupons, automatic tax calculation, Square gift cards, item badges, and inventory management features.
Now, let’s take a look at the paid-for plans.
The Personal Plan charges you $9 a month ($6 a month with annual billing). Here, you can connect your site with a custom domain and start selling digital goods.
The Professional Plan sets you back $16 a month ($12 a month when paid annually) and removes ads from your site. In terms of eCommerce, this plan unlocks the ‘Shipping Calculator’ and unlimited storage.
Finally, the Performance Plan costs $29 a month ($26 a month when paid yearly), which adds item reviews and abandoned cart emails into the mix. You can also print shipping labels and start accepting customer payments via PayPal. Furthermore, you gain access to advanced eCommerce insights and priority customer support.
Considering Shopify’s vast set of features, it’s not surprising that the prices we’re about to look at are a fair bit higher than Weebly’s.
Shopify offers three monthly pricing plans, and unfortunately, there isn’t a free tier available. However, if you sign up for one or two years at once, you can knock 10 or 20% off your bill. It’s also worth noting before you get started, a 14-day free trial is also available.
Basic Shopify is available for $29 a month. This plan is packed full of features you need to get started with eCommerce selling. Most notably, you get access to features that enable you to design, launch, and manage your online store. Plus, you can sell an unlimited number of products. On top of that, you also get access to discounts, coupons, gift cards, and social selling features. Plus, you benefit from Shopify’s fast and reliable checkout, and you can create up to two staff accounts and connect with up to four physical locations.
The next plan is simply titled Shopify. For $79 a month, this allows you to grow your business further. You can now register up to five staff accounts and add five physical locations. Professional reports become available to you as well, and you benefit from better shipping rates.
Already established and scaling businesses will be looking towards the Advanced Shopify plan for $299 a month. This price might seem hefty, but it packs a punch. Advanced Shopify comes with 15 staff accounts and up to eight locations. You also get access to improved analytics with an advanced report builder. Furthermore, you can take advantage of third-party calculated shipping rates and integrate your own shipping accounts. You also get the best shipping discount — up to 76% from DHL Express, UPS, or USPS.
While we’re on the subject of pricing, we also need to discuss transaction rates. That’s right, Shopify charges you for each customer payment you receive unless you use Shopify Payments.
Transactions processed using a third-party payment gateway are charged 2% on the Basic plan, 1% on the next tier up, and 0.5% on the Advanced package.
Online credit card rates come with a standard charge of 2.9% + 30 cents on the Basic plan, which lowers to 2.4% + 30 cents on the Advanced program.
Pricing – Winner: It Depends
Ultimately, Weebly is a cheap (or even free) option if you want to safely dip your toes into the eCommerce waters.
Whereas Shopify offers far more features on its Basic plan alone and demonstrates its expertise at eCommerce at every level.
Suppose you were looking towards Weebly’s Performance plan. In that case, it makes sense to instead invest in Shopify’s Basic program, as you’ll still walk away with more features.
If we consider ROI, we believe Shopify will ultimately grow your business faster and make the money you spend more worthwhile.
Weebly vs Shopify: Customer Support
Anything that concerns itself with money can be a topic of some doubt and concern. That’s why it is crucial to have excellent customer support available whenever you need it. So, let’s compare Weebly vs Shopify’s customer support.
Weebly doesn’t offer as much customer support as we would like to see from an eCommerce provider. To receive phone support, you have to upgrade to either their Pro or Business plan. Also, Weebly’s support team is only available from 6 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday, and 8 am to 5 pm on weekends.
However, since Weebly is so easy to use, you may not need quite as much support as you might with Shopify.
It’s worth noting, Weebly’s customer support is still highly praised. There’s also a wealth of online self-help guides and documentation if you would prefer to tackle whatever problem you’re facing yourself.
Shopify offers support through a varied set of channels. You can engage with their customer service reps via live chat, Twitter, email, or over the phone. From the Basic plan upwards, you gain access to 24/7 support.
This is invaluable if you’re just getting started and have plenty of questions. Shopify’s support team is available to help you set up your store as effectively as possible, so don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
Beyond general support, Shopify also offers the help of its experts to help with onboarding. The internet is of one mind about this: Shopify’s support is excellent. They’re responsive and helpful.
Customer Support – Winner: Shopify
When it comes to customer support, Shopify emerges as a clear winner. Their service is available all day and night and can assist you in whatever way is most convenient for you. Their team goes above and beyond when it comes to providing top-notch service. Weebly’s support is decent, but it’s simply not as in-depth or available.
Weebly vs Shopify: Pros and Cons
Sometimes a simple comparison of the drawbacks and benefits makes it easiest to decide which platform best suits your circumstances. So without further ado, here are Weebly and Shopify’s pros and cons.
- Weebly is incredibly easy to use.
- You don’t have to focus on eCommerce from the outset. You can start your website and make a choice to sell products later on.
- Weebly is very affordable, especially for merchants just starting out.
- Their website templates are modern and well-designed. You can also easily change your theme at a later date.
- Weebly doesn’t charge transaction fees.
- Weebly’s range of eCommerce tools is much more limited than Shopify’s.
- Weebly doesn’t allow you to make complex changes to your store within its editor.
- Weebly is slower to introduce new tools to its features list.
- You get access to an expansive set of sales and marketing features designed to grow a successful eCommerce store.
- Shopify is a highly scalable solution.
- There are over 1,200 apps in Shopify’s marketplace to flexibly expand your store’s functionality.
- You get access to first-rate customer support.
- There are over 70 mobile-responsive themes to choose from.
- Unlike Weebly, Shopify charges a transaction fee (unless you use Shopify Payments).
- Costs can mount, especially for small businesses or first-time sellers using premium themes and plugins.
- There’s a slight learning curve to using Shopify and navigating all its features.
Final Verdict – Winner: Shopify
If you’ve read along this far, you’ll have learned plenty about the features Shopify and Weebly each have to offer.
At first glance, it’s evident that anyone serious about their eCommerce store, in the long run, should consider Shopify as the more professional choice.
With an expansive kit of tools for selling, marketing, and managing your store, your business can scale indefinitely. Shopify comes with a steeper price tag, but ultimately it provides you with everything you need to grow your profits far beyond this.
However, that doesn’t mean Weebly doesn’t have its place. Suppose you’re considering selling online for the first time, and you’re unsure whether this endeavor is for you. In that case, Weebly is a much safer choice.
For a lower price overall, you can get started selling products online using an incredibly intuitive editor. With Weebly, you can test the waters without worrying about overly sophisticated features, which may seem overwhelming for a newbie.
Why not sign up for Weebly and Shopify’s free trials and see for yourself? In the comments below, let us know what your experience with these eCommerce platforms has been and whether you would recommend them to a friend. Speak soon!