Are you trying to choose between Webflow and Shopify? You’ve come to the right place!
Out of the two, Shopify takes the crown as the better ecommerce builder, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. Although younger, Webflow has a lot to offer, and will appeal to more design-focused users.
To help you choose, we’re going to use our many years of website building experience and put these two platforms under the microscope. We’ll zero in on what these two ecommerce giants do – and don’t do – well, arming you with everything you need to know to pick your ideal fit.
Don’t Have Time to Compare? No worries! Take our super-easy, four-question quiz and we’ll tell you exactly which ecommerce builder is the best one for you!
What type of website do you want to create?
Webflow Pros and Cons
| Excellent Creative Control |
The extensive editor and ability to code your own changes gives users near-complete creative control.
| Difficult Editor |
Webflow comes with a steep learning curve, and its tools can seem overwhelming at first.
| A Wide Range of Stunning Templates |
All of Webflow’s templates are beautifully designed.
| Limited Help and Support Options |
Webflow only offers email and phone support, making it difficult to get an immediate response from them.
| Outstanding Help Center |
Webflow University is one of the best digital help centers, and comes with tons of articles, courses, and forums to help you out.
| Basic Analytics |
Unless you’re using Google Analytics, Webflow’s inbuilt analytics are a bit lackluster.
Shopify Pros and Cons
| Good for Larger Stores |
Shopify has an excellent range of ecommerce tools that are perfect for supporting and scaling big stores.
| Big Reliance On Apps |
Shopify’s app market is a strength, but it also means that lots of features aren’t inbuilt – so you’ll need to invest in extra plugins to fill the gaps.
| Cross-Channel Selling |
Shopify allows you to integrate with social media and marketplaces for multi-channel selling.
| High Transaction Fees |
Unless you’re using Shopify Payments, you’ll need to pay a 2% transaction fee on top of other payment gateway costs.
| Huge App Store |
Shopify’s app store has over 3,000 apps to choose from to help you expand your functionality.
| More Expensive Than It Looks |
The cost of apps and transaction fees all hike your monthly price up, making it more expensive to run your store than you originally thought.
| Over 100 Payment Options |
Your customers will have a wide range of payment options, thanks to the fact Shopify supports over 100 different gateways.
| 24/7 Help and Support |
Phone, email, live chat, social media – there are tons of ways to contact Shopify if you’re having problems.
Which is Worth the Investment?
Shopify offers better value for money
When it comes to choosing your builder, the price of the plans it offers is one of the most important considerations. After all, a platform can come with all the features in the world, but that’s no good if it’s leagues outside of your budget. Here’s a quick breakdown of the ecommerce plans Webflow and Shopify offer:
|Webflow|| Standard: $29 per month |
Plus: $74 per month
Advanced: $212 per month
|Shopify|| Basic Shopify: $29 per month |
Shopify: $79 per month
Advanced Shopify: $299 per month
Although there’s a big difference in price, all three options come with a similar ecommerce offering. There are two main factors setting them apart: the number of products you can sell and the yearly sales volume.
Those on the Standard plan will only be able to sell a maximum of 500 items, and make up to $50,000 worth of sales, whereas the Plus plan supports 1,000 products, and has a sales threshold of $200,000. The Advanced package comes without an upper sales limit, meaning you can make as many sales as your heart desires. However, you won’t be able to feature more than 3,000 products on your site.
|Plan||Plan Price||Products|| Sales Volume |
|Standard||$29 per month||500|| $50,000 |
|Plus||$74 per month||1,000|| $20,000 |
|Advanced||$212 per month||3,000|| Unlimited |
In addition to this, the Standard plan only allows three staff accounts, whereas the Plus and Advanced plans support 10 and 15 accounts respectively. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you opt for the Standard plan, you’ll need to pay a 2% transaction fee, and you won’t have access to unbranded emails.
Webflow does offer a free plan, but you won’t be able to make any sales until you’ve upgraded to a paid package. There’s no 14-day limit on this ‘trial’ – meaning you can use a free account indefinitely – but you won’t be making any money from your store if you don’t make the jump!
Shopify’s plans aren’t too dissimilar from Webflow’s. They also begin at $29 per month, and range up to $299 per month for the most expensive option. There’s no free plan on offer, but Shopify does give users a 14-day free trial – though you won’t be able to set your store live until you upgrade to a premium package.
Although good for smaller stores that are just starting out, Shopify’s basic plan does come with some limitations. For example, you’ll be unable to generate store reports, and can only add two staff accounts. Additionally, you won’t be able to go global, or access discounted or special shipping discounts for companies like DHL, UPS, or USPS.
Shopify also offers over 100 different payment gateways, no matter what plan you’re on. If you choose Shopify’s own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, you won’t need to pay any transaction fees. Otherwise, you’ll pay 0.5-2% per transaction, with the cheapest plan incurring the highest fees.
Having said this, even Shopify’s most basic plan comes with an impressive list of ecommerce features that make the monthly costs worth it. There’s very little this builder doesn’t offer, and anything you can’t get, you can always add on with an app. Be careful though – adding premium apps can quickly hike up your monthly costs!
|Features||Basic Plan||Mid-Tier||Advanced Plan|
|Webflow||Abandoned Cart Recovery||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Staff Accounts||3||10|| Unlimited |
|Professional Reports||❌||❌|| ❌ |
|Transaction Fees||2%||0%|| 0% |
|In-Person POS||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Multi-Channel Integration||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Gift Cards||❌||❌|| ❌ |
|Shopify||Abandoned Cart Recovery||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Staff Accounts||2||5|| 15 |
|Professional Reports||❌||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Transaction Fees (if not using Shopify Payments)||2%||1%|| 0.5% |
|In-Person POS||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Multi-Channel Integration||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
|Gift Cards||✔️||✔️|| ✔️ |
Which Builder is Simpler to Use?
Shopify offers better value for money
Opening a new online store is an exciting undertaking, so the last thing you want is to be bogged down by a complicated and laborious ecommerce builder. Luckily, Shopify makes creating your store easy and straightforward.
Firstly, it provides a handy onboarding checklist to help you tick off all of the main tasks associated with starting an online store. This is also a great way of finding your way around the dashboard, too.
The Shopify Editors
Shopify sometimes gets an unfair rap because it uses two editors. The first controls how your store looks from the front-end. This uses a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) functionality, and allows you to move elements around in the left toolbar, as well as changing your theme layout, colors, fonts, and images.
The second looks more like a dashboard, and is dedicated to the backend of your store. Here, you have the tools to add products, build collections, create discounts, and manage your inventory, shipping, and taxes. Once you’ve got your head around this split, using Shopify is as easy as pie.
Webflow, on the other hand, is more complicated. It’s often described as a cross between a website builder and a Content Management System (CMS), which is why its expansive editor and dashboard are tailored more towards web designers and developers. Because of this, it’s not surprising that it can get a little overwhelming when you’re just starting out.
Having said this, Webflow does temper its complicated editor with an excellent five-minute tutorial. This guides you through the platform’s main tools, giving you a chance to have a go yourself, before letting you loose on your own project.
Regardless, we still don’t recommend Webflow as the first choice for beginners, or casual sellers who want to get started quickly. It requires a big time investment, and although creative enthusiasts will love the granular attention to design detail, there are easier ways to start selling online if this isn’t high on your priority list.
Further ReadingWant to find out how to use Shopify in more detail? Take a look at our How Does Shopify Work? Guide.
Which One Has Better Design Flexibility?
Webflow has better template designs and customizability
Looks aren’t everything, but they do play an important role in encouraging users to stick around and browse your online store. With that in mind, both Webflow and Shopify come with an extensive library of attractive templates to choose from.
Webflow has a choice of over 500 templates, a good chunk of which are specifically dedicated to ecommerce. Its web design background comes to the fore here, and is apparent in the slick, seamless design of all the templates on offer – there aren’t many that fall short of professional standard!
There are a number of paid and free themes to choose from, with the cost for premium templates ranging from $24 to $129. If you’re on a tighter budget, however, there are plenty of high-quality free themes to choose from, and thanks to the increased customizability of Webflow’s editor, you’ll easily be able to break out of the cookie-cutter mold and make them your own.
Although you’ll need to choose one overarching design for your Webflow theme, you can select from a number of different layouts when adding extra pages to your website. Additionally, you can choose to start completely from scratch – although we only recommend this option for designing and developing pros!
You’ll also be spoiled for choice when it comes to Shopify’s themes, although they can’t quite match up to the majesty of Webflow’s design prowess. Shopify, too, caters to a range of budgets, offering free themes as well as paid ones that can set you back as much as $180. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that the paid themes sport a much wider feature set, which is vital for businesses interested in growth.
All of Shopify’s templates look professional and feel very contemporary, but they’re also harder to customize. With Webflow, you can bend the themes every which way, but in the case of Shopify, you’re somewhat limited by the template you choose.
Although Webflow tops Shopify thanks to its stunning designs, it’s worth considering that you can’t change your template further down the line if you decide you want something a bit different. This isn’t too much of an issue, because the customization possibilities give you near-complete control over how the theme looks regardless of where you start, but it’s a lot of work. Shopify, on the other hand, allows you to switch between its templates with minimal fuss.
Which Has the Better Selling Tools?
Shopify has a much larger suite of ecommerce tools and features
If you’re specifically looking to start an online store, ecommerce features should be one of the first things you check out when making your decision. Both Shopify and Webflow come with a host of selling tools, but we’ll dig into each of them more thoroughly below so you can make sure they match your needs.
Webflow is a little more restricted. For one thing, the number of products you can sell depends on your pricing plan. The cheapest Standard plan allows up to 500 products, the Plus plan allows 1,000, and the Advanced plan can support up to 3,000 items.
In addition to this, you’ll also need to contend with limited sales volume. The only plan out of the three that doesn’t put a cap on this is the Advanced plan, whereas you’ll need to keep your sales below $50,000 on the Standard plan, and $200,000 on the Plus plan. If you’re just starting out, these restrictions shouldn’t chafe too much, but you might find yourself becoming frustrated as your store grows.
Despite this, Webflow’s inventory management is surprisingly comprehensive. It comes with inventory tracking, so your product levels will automatically update as you sell your items. In addition to this, Webflow allows you to set low quantity and out-of-stock warnings, as well as giving you the ability to add variants.
It can’t quite beat Shopify though, which comes with the most powerful inventory system out of all the ecommerce builders we tested. You’ll be able to set different prices for your variants, as well as allow customers to browse by collection, size, color, and more through the useful tagging feature.
In addition to this, you can buy and print your own shipping labels through Shopify, making it easier to get your customers’ orders in the mail and on the way. You can calculate your shipping costs, set your shipping locations, and amend your prices based on weight or destination. Simply put, Shopify does a lot to simplify one of the most complicated parts of the selling process.
This feature is more underdeveloped on Webflow. Here, you can configure manual shipping rates, but if you want the kind of shipping functionality Shopify offers as standard, you’ll need to integrate your store with a third-party app like Shippo.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with Webflow. If you want abandoned cart recovery, you’ll need a third-party integration, and usually these come with their own separate costs to add on top of your existing monthly outgoings.
It’s worth noting that to do this with Shopify, you’ll need to install various apps to complete the integration. The process is similar with Webflow. Although social media selling is baked into Webflow’s dashboard, you’ll have to use your coding skills to streamline your store with various marketplaces.
Meanwhile, Webflow doesn’t offer an app store at all. This could be because it’s aimed at more tech-savvy builders with the skills to write their desired features directly into their store’s code. If you did want to add some third-party functionality, you’d have to do it through a platform like Zapier.
Both platforms’ most expensive plans allow for up to 15 accounts – however, in order to unlock this, you’ll need to pay significantly more per month.
Which Offers More Payment Gateways and Lower Transaction Fees?
Shopify has more payment options and lower transaction fees
As a well-established ecommerce platform, Shopify has partnered with more than 100 different payment gateways, including all of the big names such as PayPal and Amazon Pay. It also has its own payment gateway, Shopify Payments.
Normally, payment gateways require you to pay a transaction fee, but if you use Shopify Payments, you won’t have to pay a single dime extra. Imagine you’re going to a concert. If you want to see the main act, you need to pay for a ticket to get in. However, Shopify Payments is like being in the VIP club, so you don’t have to pay an entry fee to see the show.
If you choose not to use Shopify Payments, you’ll need to pay a transaction fee and a commission fee.
| Plan ||Shopify Basic ($29 per month)||Shopify ($79 per month)||Advanced Shopify ($299 per month)|
| Shopify Payments Online Transaction Fees ||2.9% + 30¢ per transaction||2.6% + 30¢ per transaction||2.4% + 30¢ per transaction|
| Shopify Payments In Person Transaction Fees ||2.7% + 0¢ per transaction||2.5% + 0¢ per transaction||2.4% + 0¢ per transaction|
Like Shopify, you’ll also have to pay a transaction fee when using a payment gateway on Webflow. The choice of gateways on offer, though, is more limited. You can choose from Stripe, Apple Pay, or PayPal. You’ll need to pay a 2% fee if you’re on the Standard plan, but this drops to 0% if you select the more expensive Plus or Advanced plans.
Further ReadingWant to find out more about Shopify Payments? Take a look at our Shopify Payments Review.
Which Builder is Better For Growth and Expansion?
Shopify has a wider range of website and marketing features
It’s one thing to choose a platform and build an online store, but it’s another thing to attract traffic and start making sales. That’s where a robust set of SEO and marketing tools is vital. Below, we’ll look at how Webflow and Shopify perform in this area.
- Meta titles and descriptions
- Image alt text
- Custom URLs
- XML sitemap generation
Shopify also covers the basics, as well as offering SEO best practice tips as you upload your products. The only thing it misses is keyword support – however, in typical Shopify fashion, you can download a number of apps to help fill that gap. Some of the most popular include Smart SEO and SEO Manager, but it’s worth bearing in mind that these usually come with an extra cost attached.
In addition to this, you can also connect your store to Google Analytics if you want access to even more data. Our only complaint is that Shopify doesn’t come with any blog-specific analytics, so you might be better off with Webflow if blogging is central to your business.
Apart from this, though, Webflow has a much shallower offering. It has limited inbuilt analytics that don’t show much beyond your basic visitor count. If you want anything more detailed, you’ll need to connect your store to Google Analytics.
To unlock these features, however, you’ll need to download or integrate various apps. Webflow has around 13 social media integrations, including EmbedSocial, EmbedStories, and Twitter Share.
Shopify has a much larger offering, giving you access to Snapchat Ads, Pinterest ‘Pin It’ buttons, and multimedia apps like Video Crockpot, which allows you to create videos of your products for your social feeds.
Because it shares some CMS DNA, it’s no surprise that Webflow is an excellent option for blogs. You can click and edit straight onto the page, as well as add any extra elements you want directly into the code. To make the most of this though, you need to have a bit of techy know-how first.
Shopify has a number of email marketing apps you can take advantage of, such as Shopify Email and Sendinblue. Webflow, on the other hand, can easily be connected to Mailchimp so that you can begin building your email list and extending your reach.
Further ReadingGet your email marketing strategy on track with our 11 Email Marketing Best Practices
Which Has Better Safety and Protection Measures in Place?
Both Shopify and Webflow have excellent performance and security
Performance and security are extremely important when starting an online store, not least because your customers are going to be entering a load of their precious data in order to make their purchases. You need to be sure that you can keep it all safe.
Thankfully, both Shopify and Webflow are PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant, which means they have all the necessary measures in place to keep customers’ information secure, particularly their credit and debit card details.
In addition, both platforms provide SSL Security (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates as standard. This protects any sensitive information, encrypting it and preventing it from being poached by hackers.
Backups and updates are also taken care of, so you don’t need to do anything to make sure your security is in working order – although we do recommend carrying out manual backups of your website regularly, just in case.
Which Builder Makes it Easier to Migrate?
Shopify has a better switching process
Sometimes, we change our minds or we want to try something new. It’s the same with website builders. Maybe you’ve outgrown your current platform, or it’s just not right for you. But how easy is it to transfer your existing site to a new builder?
If you’re moving your store to Shopify, there are a few different ways to transfer your data. Firstly, you can do it manually, either by copying and pasting your content across or uploading it via a CSV file. There are limitations to this, though. You won’t be able to copy your entire page over, just your customer details and products.
Alternatively, you can use an app to do all this for you, such as Store Importer, or hire a Shopify Expert to take it all off your hands. Be warned, though, that this last option isn’t cheap!
If you want to switch your store to Webflow, the process is a bit trickier. Like Shopify, you’ll need to use CSV files, so you’ll only be able to transfer your products. That means it’ll be up to you to recreate your store’s design in the Webflow editor.
To import your products, create a new collection and then upload your CSV file. This can be time intensive, since you have to make sure your CSV is formatted correctly and matches the Webflow fields. Also note that if you have a large amount of data to move across, the import could take a while.
Which Has Better Customer Support?
Shopify has better help and support features
If this is your first time building a website, or just your first time using Webflow or Shopify, there’s a strong chance you’re going to get stuck at some point. When that happens, you want to know that you can rely on your website builder to be there to help you out.
Shopify excels in this area. It offers comprehensive support across the board, allowing its users access via a number of different channels. These include:
- 24/7 phone support
- Social media support
- 24/7 live chat support
- Community forum
- Email support
- Help center
- Video tutorials
- Advanced specialist support (Shopify Experts)
In comparison, Webflow appears fairly unimpressive. It offers email support, but users will need to wait between 24 and 48 hours for a response. There is a telephone number that you can call if you’re desperate, but it’s quite tricky to find.
That being said, we do need to take a moment to shout out Webflow’s help center, Webflow University. It offers an impressive library of tutorials and courses to help beginners get comfortable with the Webflow editor. When we were testing the platform, the University was always our first port of call, and it rarely let us down.
Webflow’s forums also cover a range of topics and are regularly active, so you know that the information in there is relatively new and therefore likely to be pretty accurate.
Webflow and Shopify are both excellent ecommerce website builders, and they each come with an awesome set of tools and features for getting your online store off the ground. Here’s a quick recap of what they offer:
| Pricing and Value for Money |
|Webflow has three plans to choose from, which all come with a good set of ecommerce features – although the cheaper plan only allows you to sell up to 500 products.||Shopify also comes with three plans at a similar price. However, its ecommerce features are more generous, allowing you to sell an unlimited number of products, and ultimately offering better value for money.|
| Ease of Use |
|Built for designers, Webflow isn’t the easiest builder to navigate. It doesn’t use drag and drop, and lots of its terminology will be unfamiliar to beginners.||Shopify’s editor is simple and straightforward. It uses two dashboards: one to control the aesthetic look of your site, and one to manage your products and inventory.|
| Template Design |
|Webflow excels when it comes to design. It provides a number of beautiful, free templates to choose from. Its editor also provides a high level of customization, so you can really tailor your site to your needs.||Shopify comes with a number of attractive templates, however you’ll only have 10 free themes to choose from. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay for a more advanced template.|
| Ecommerce Features |
|As a website builder-CMS hybrid, Webflow offers fewer selling tools than Shopify. Still, its modest offering provides the basics for small to medium-sized stores, such as inventory management and the ability to sell a variety of product types.||Shopify boasts one of the best sets of ecommerce features out there. It offers everything from flawless inventory management and shipping support to cross-channel integrations and much more.|
| Payment Options & Transaction Fees |
|Webflow supports a much smaller number of payment gateways, and the transaction fee you’ll pay will depend on your plan.||Shopify supports over 100 payment gateways, and if you choose to use Shopify Payments, you won’t have to pay any transaction fees.|
| Website and Marketing Features |
|Webflow has all the tools you need to market your website successfully, including blogging, SEO features, basic analytics, and limited integrations.||Shopify’s inbuilt analytics and expansive app store are perfect for growing your website. It also comes with good SEO tools and the ability to add a blog.|
| Performance and Security |
Winner: It’s a Tie
|Webflow is PCI-DSS compliant and comes with an SSL certificate. It also carries out regular backups and updates.||Similarly, Shopify prioritizes your store’s security, providing all of the same measures to ensure that your customers’ data is safe.|
| Switching Process |
|If you want to move your website to Webflow, you’ll need to do it manually through CSV uploads. You’ll only be able to import your products, though.||Shopify offers a number of ways to switch your website. You can do it manually using CSV files, or use an app like Store Importer. Alternatively, you can pay a Shopify Expert to do it for you.|
| Help and Support |
|Webflow only offers email and phone support, making it tricky to get quick answers. However, its Webflow University is one of the best help centers out there.||Shopify’s help and support is second to none, allowing you to contact its support team via email, phone, live chat, and social media. It has a large help center and active forums, too.|
Although Shopify comes out on top in most of our categories, that still doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for everyone.
We recommend Shopify if:
- You’re looking for a dedicated ecommerce platform
- You have a large store or a complex inventory
- You want an easy-to-use builder that doesn’t require much technical knowledge
- You want plenty of room to grow your store
On the other hand, we recommend Webflow if:
- You want to run a small or medium-sized store
- You have a blog that sits at the heart of your business
- You run a design business and make websites for clients
- Beautiful designs and creative freedom are your top priority
If you’ve reached the end of our comparison and you’re still not sure which platform is right for you, we recommend starting with our overall winner, Shopify. Not only is it a purpose-built ecommerce solution, but its extensive features will give you plenty of room to explore your business and decide what kind of store you want to run.
This is the same for Webflow. The only difference here is that Webflow has no limit on its free trial. This means that you can build a store with Webflow and never have to pay a cent for it. However, you won’t be able to sell your products or set it live without signing up for a subscription.
Webflow is slightly more complicated because it’s aimed at users with a bit of design experience under their belt, but don’t let that put you off. Its five-minute tutorial is one of the best we’ve come across, and it gives you a very comprehensive tour around the editor’s key elements.
If you do get stuck, both Shopify and Webflow come with impressive help centers that are jam-packed with top tips and how-tos. This should be your first port of call, and, in our experience, you’ll usually be able to find a solution to your problem there!