Shopify Vs a Custom Website: Which Is the Better Investment in 2022?
If you are in the business of selling, your business needs an online presence- no questions asked! To build or to buy, what’s the best way to get your e-commerce site off the ground?
The first e-commerce sale may have originated over 40 years ago when a group of Stanford University students used a pre-internet network to sell marijuana to MIT counterparts. It wasn’t until much later in 1995 when the e-commerce boom occurred and Amazon and eBay took over the web. From a billion in sales in 1996 to US$4.9 trillion in 2021, e-commerce has become a fixture in people’s lives, completely transforming how and what we buy.
For businesses looking to get in on the action, an e-commerce site is a necessary tool. Discerning users have come to expect a lot from the websites they do business with, so much so that evidence suggests that a company could be losing nearly half of its visitors based on poor design alone.
Another study surveying web developers found that over 73% of industry professionals believe that the lack of responsive web design, poor functionality, and outdated content were among the top reasons for website abandonment. With that in mind, how do you go about creating a website that will not only please users with its intuitive functionality but also wow with its design aesthetics?
There are dozens of ways to create elegant and engaging e-commerce sites, but firstly, you must decide whether you are developing a bespoke website from scratch or using an all-in-one e-commerce platform. Both have their pros and cons which we will explore in more detail.
In the Battle for Ecommerce Website Supremacy, Who Comes out on Top?
Shopify: What it is And Why People Love It
With a 32% market share, Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform in North America.
Businesses and users love Shopify’s no-nonsense design tools and out-of-the-box functionality. Unlike a custom website, which we will get into in a moment, Shopify is a one-stop SaaS e-commerce platform that provides access to everything from customizable themes to 24/7 security and free updates. In virtually no time at all, businesses can set up and launch e-commerce shops ready to sell.
Shopify comes mobile-ready which is a crucial feature for any e-commerce shop looking to get ahead in 2022. It even includes basic reporting so you can easily track and analyze your store’s performance metrics.
Despite all the built-in features, Shopify is still affordable enough to appeal to small business owners and e-commerce start-ups. Plans start at $29 a month, although to get the most from your Shopify site, you may probably want to upgrade to the $79 per month standard or even the $299 a month advanced plan.
Custom Websites: Enhanced Features and Bespoke Design
While some big-name companies sell directly to consumers with Shopify Plus enterprise-ready websites (clocking in at $2,000+ a month), many businesses find the template website structure limiting. You can always pay a web developer to customize a Shopify template, but that’s an added cost on top of the monthly fees you’re already spending.
The other option is to start from the ground up with a wholly tailored e-commerce site. Custom-built websites are designed with your business and users in mind offering fully customizable solutions with bespoke design. A custom-built website will entail a more significant upfront investment but provides the features and functionality you need now with the flexibility to evolve with your growing business.
Another point to consider is that custom web designers don’t only build great-looking websites but also build hardworking websites. While Shopify offers some basic search engine optimization features, it doesn’t provide much control over site SEO. Design professionals will have the experience and tools necessary to implement on-page and off-page SEO, helping boost your business’s exposure and earn a larger piece of the pie in online search results and rankings.
How Do You Decide if You Need a Custom Website?
Shopify is an excellent tool for businesses looking for a simple and accessible platform to launch an e-commerce shop. With over 100 free and premium templates, Shopify offers enough design customizability to satisfy most users. If not, you can always enlist the services of a web designer to help level up the basic designs.
The all-in-one functionality makes Shopify virtually painless to create and run. Hosting, updates, and security are all managed for you, and there is a wide variety of optional tools, features, and payment gateways.
A custom-built website gives you complete control over the look and feel of your e-commerce site but at a cost. The costs associated with a custom site are generally more significant than a standard Shopify site. There are hosting fees, web development fees, paid e-commerce extensions, payment processors, continued costs for maintenance, and more that need to be factored that may occur with your site.
In return, you get the power to create a custom website specifically designed for your users, optimized for unparalleled user experience (UX), infinite flexibility, and scalability to grow with your business. Web developers can also build you a site optimized for search engines.
So, Which One Is Best?
Ultimately, there is no best in the battle between custom websites and SaaS platforms like Shopify as both have scenarios where they excel.
Shopify is great for e-commerce businesses looking for an all-in-one platform with intuitive functionality, excellent support, and a lot of choice in themes and features. It’s a hassle-free service that can get your e-commerce site up and running in no time.
Custom-built websites would be most beneficial to e-commerce shops selling highly specialized or custom goods or those who feel that they may quickly outgrow Shopify’s platform. They offer freedom and features not available from out-of-the-box template websites for those with the tech knowledge budget to support them.
How Can Nirvana Help You in Setting Up Your E-Commerce Business?
Our team of talented web developers has helped countless businesses fulfill their e-commerce ambitions with beautifully designed and exceptionally functional websites. We work with businesses of all sizes from various industries to create professionally designed Shopify websites or bespoke custom-builds.
Reach out to our team today to find out how we can amplify your online success!