We have divided our conversation into categories and there is one category per blog post. Today’s topic focuses on each of the platforms’ e-commerce solutions. (Links to previous posts in this series can be found at the bottom of this one.)
A Note About E-Commerce
No matter which solution is used, it’s important to make sure a SSL certificate option is included. SSL stands for secure socket layer and provides secure communication between a browser and a website. This protects an online store from the responsibility of storing a buyer’s credit card information and from the legal ramifications if fraud or robbery occurs. There are also third party credit card processing companies that may be necessary to implement into the process as well. But you can also use PayPal as a solution in many cases.
Another important layer to an e-commerce solution is shipping. The shipping cost is often the most important criteria that affects a person’s buying decision. Just ask the Amazon Prime member who rarely pays a dime for shipping. So deciding on the shipping solution chosen for the online store and how much is charged for shipping items is an essential component.
WordPress vs. Wix
What are the advantages and disadvantages with e-commerce on these platforms?
WordPress: There are many quality e-commerce plugins that work with the WordPress platform. Some of the more popular ones are Shopify, iThemes Exchange and Shopp. We prefer to use WooCommerce for our e-commerce sites; but the others are all reliable plugins too. WordPress also offers many child themes that are designed primarily to be used for e-commerce solutions.
WordPress offers a lot of shipping plugin options as well. There are too many to list but if you use WooCommerce, this is a good place to start.
A big advantage that WordPress has with e-commerce is that it allows for the capability to add SEO (search engine optimization) key words and phrases to each product in the online store. This feature helps individual products in the store be more visible in search results.
Wix: Much like we described in our previous post about overall design features, Wix’s online store has a lot of design freedom. It’s easy to customize and pretty much any look you can dream up can be achieved on this platform. So if you want a lot of freedom in designing your online store, Wix is a good choice.
Wix has a lot of the same setup functionality choices as WordPress when it comes to SSL certificates and third party credit card processing companies. We have found that Stripe works well with Wix sites.
However, Wix has one major downfall and that’s with its shipping option. Most of us have ordered something online and had it shipped to our home. Most of the time there is a shipping charge added to the cost of the item based on weight, geography and perhaps even a state sales tax. While Wix allows you to enter a shipping charge for an item, its current functionality doesn’t account for an order of multiple items.
Suppose that your online Wix store sells books and you set a $2.99 shipping charge for a book. A buyer visits your site and selects three books, adds it to their cart (where the shipping charge occurs) and purchases the books for shipment. You would think that Wix would adjust the shipping charge to be $2.99 for each book for a total of $8.97 for shipping; but it doesn’t. No matter how many books are purchased, it only charges $2.99 per order.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, shipping plays a major role in purchasing decisions. While a smaller shipping charge might be an incentive to purchase for the buyer, the online store owner is still going to pay more for shipping three books than just one book. The store owner will lose money at this game unless they increase the cost of each book to make up for the shipping. But then the owner might still lose business because their cost per book will then be higher than their competitor’s prices.
So what’s your better e-commerce option?
How We Can Help: We can help you analyze your e-commerce needs to see which platform will work best for you. We can assess your products, help you create detailed descriptions with quality SEO and even help you with product images. (Trust us, every product you sell needs an image!)
Overall Recommendation: Online stores aren’t free to run. There is definitely some cost involved with purchasing the plugins and there is usually a percentage cost associated with each sale. And of course there are shipping costs.
You might also be wondering why you can’t just sell your products on a larger big-box store such as Amazon. You absolutely can but large sites like Amazon will take a much larger percentage of your sales than you would see if you ran your own store on Wix or WordPress. You’d have to sell 10 times or maybe even 20 times the volume of products on Amazon to make up the difference.
So assuming you decide to run your own online store, we recommend a WordPress platform. While the freedom of design is very attractive with the Wix option, its shipping functionality limitations are just too big of a problem to overcome. If Wix comes out with a solution to its shipping problem, we might rethink our position.
Previous posts in this series
- Part 1 on user interfaces
- Part 2 on frameworks and themes
- Part 3 on hosting and domains
- Part 4 on overall design
Our next WordPress vs. Wix blog post will focus on mobile functionality, capabilities and design.
Want to learn more about e-commerce on WordPress or Wix?
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