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    Last Updated | September 16, 2021

    What is Shopify vs a Custom Website?

    The dynamically changing world of today is highly dependent on technology, and newly developed technological advancements are seen happening around us every other day. Even during the pandemic, when the whole world was in a state of lockdown, online stores and businesses were still running, and more and more people were dependent on the internet and online purchasing than ever before. This shows that the eCommerce business was a hit last year, and again, right now, everyone is looking towards eCommerce to purchase items that are not physically accessible.

    For example, for a business owner in UAE many options are available as platforms to start their online business, or even to take their physical store online, one of their main choices being Shopify UAE. Shopify, today, is one of the biggest and most commonly used online website platforms that help people jumpstart their business online, and provides all the features and tools required by the owner, including pre-conceived themes and multiple other designing options.

    Though Shopify is seen as more stringent when it comes to building a store because it has templates that are already made, they offer similar features and tools to their users, which are included in their pricing packages, and depend on what the customer chooses. On the other hand, custom websites are more flexible; they are made from scratch by the business owner themselves and are highly specific to your store and your business.

    Why do we need to compare a custom website vs Shopify?

    Shopify is one of the most commonly used platforms for online businesses, and many people prefer to work on it for the features it provides, and its ease of use. It is especially preferred by newcomers on the online store system, and they like the fact that there are pre-offered themes, and they do not have to design anything themselves.

    In comparison to this, some people, especially the ones who are familiar with online businesses and how to go about them, prefer to use the custom website option, because they want the freedom to design their own website, theme, tools, etc. Therefore, even though there is not a direct comparison between both these options, their use is often based on the kind of online store the business requires, and how much work they want to conduct themselves or want already available.

    Shopify vs Custom Website Functionality

    Shopify is known for its easy-to-use and smooth functionality, which makes it usable for both, beginners and experts, and they can easily build their online store on this eCommerce platform. If the owner knows exactly what they need, that is great, but even if the owner is initially a little confused and does not know where to start, Shopify provides them all the solutions and pre-determined options that the user can choose from, and then go on from there. Also, initially, a non-tech person can hire someone to run Shopify store for them. There are people who offer freelance service in this niche and will readily help them.

    When it comes to building your own custom website, the business owner himself needs to build the website from scratch, so they have no pre-determined choices. In this case, the owner needs to know exactly what they need and require for their website and should know the different features and tools that would help them grow bigger. This process can be complicated for beginners, and some designers may also not be able to deliver perfectly what the owner wants until everything is clear-cut.

    It is undeniable that starting your business with Shopify is far more straightforward than building a store by yourself. It’s designed for everyone, from eCommerce experts to total beginners. After filling in your email address, a password for your account and a store name to get started, Shopify will take you to an initial configuration.

    Normally, the very first step you should take before creating your own website is to find out what you need for your store. However, right after creating an account, Shopify will ask you some questions about your trading’s purposes and then give you some suggestions to make your store fully functional. The main page shows the shortcuts to adding a domain, customize your theme, and add products.

    In the picture above, you can easily see that the dashboard is pretty clear and simple with categories consisting of corresponding sub-sections for easy navigation.

    If you create your own online store with a self-hosted solution, you will need a web developer and to seek out hosting and domain services like Bluehost or GoDaddy. The most important thing is, having a custom website means that you must have experience with coding and technical knowledge to build your store. Otherwise, passing the job to a skillful developer or a team is an optimal solution that can help you with the website setup.

    Furthermore, to manage your own store, you should consider setting up a CMS for managing your blog and website. Plus, it is highly recommended that you may need to install a plugin with eCommerce functionalities to customize your e-store.

    Let’s take WordPress as an example. The merchants usually use this platform to create their site and integrate with WooCommerce (a WordPress plugin) to get the full package of eCommerce features.

    In short, for those who are not familiar with coding and technical knowledge, Shopify is definitely a perfect choice. If you want to challenge yourself with coding, then building a website from scratch may bring your vision to life.

    Shopify versus custom website Design

    The design features that Shopify offers are highly convenient and some are already pre-designed, so the users just need to choose which ones suit their business. The main aim of designing a website is to attract maximum inflow and provide customers with an experience they would appreciate, in which regard; Shopify provides you options that are responsive and attractive.

    Custom websites, in comparison, are very customizable, and the store owner can easily design their website according to what they want. The custom websites can be designed in such a way that they can develop along with the growth of the business and can evolve with the success of the business. Therefore, the design of the custom website is preferred by people who have a growth mindset.

    Folio3 Shopify App Design Agency is a company that helps develop and design online websites for an array of different kinds of businesses. The Folio3 Shopify Website Designs Company are experts of the Shopify eCommerce platform and know all the design features so that people can hire the best for their business success.

    Shopify or custom website Themes

    The Shopify eCommerce platform has pre-designed and built-in templates of the themes, that are already available for the users to choose from, so if you are a beginner, these templates can get you jumpstarted immediately. Shopify has around 73 themes to offer, from which, a few are free, and only some need to be paid to use, with prices varying between $140 and $180.

    When it comes to custom websites, we know that the store owner needs to get their own creativity going and design their own themes, without any prior templates available, which can be good for professional designers who know their field well, but for beginners, this can be a difficult task. Though, even if you are a designing expert, the costs of the themes and everything related are to be borne by the owner himself, which can be costly as well.

    Shopify and custom website Development Time

    Since Shopify is a known eCommerce platform and is in business for so many years, now developing a web store on Shopify is very easy, and hardly takes much time, having your store up and running in no time. The development time is only limited to how long the owner takes to choose a theme and upload their products, so very little downtime, especially if you take up the services of the Folio3 Custom Shopify Website Development Services.

    On the other hand, custom websites can take much longer and even days to start functioning properly, depending on how much knowledge the user has about developing a website. From finding a hosting platform, all the way to start selling, the store owner has to take care of every step himself, which can be confusing, time-consuming and will definitely take a while to settle down.

    Shopify vs Custom Website Features

    Shopify offers its customers multiple features, as it is an eCommerce platform on its own. The features include fraud analysis, gateways for payments and payment providers, management of products with their descriptions, titles, images, etc. and many other features that the platform has inbuilt and can offer its clients. One thing that Folio3 Shopify Maintenance Services can help within this regard is the overall maintenance of your features and system.

    When it comes to features in custom-built websites, it is a difficult task to anticipate which features will be available and which will not be, because all tools and features need to be either brought in from other platforms, or the host, and some may even have to be paid for, which means that costs can rise much high. From payment gateways, all the way to other extensions, everything needs to be brought in by different resources, coding needs to be in place, and even a developer may need to be hired in some cases, which can be both, costly and time-consuming.

    Shopify vs custom website Payment Gateways and Fees

    Shopify has its own Shopify Payments department, which takes care of all the payments made to Shopify. Some big names in the payments gateways list that Shopify accepts payments from including PayPal, Apple Pay, Stripe, Amazon Pay, etc., providing enough gateways to its clients that would make their payment attainment easier. If the client wants to use any other payment provider, they can still do so but have to pay bare minimum fees, somewhere around $2, or maybe more.

    The custom website is the owner’s own brainchild and needs to be self-developed through a developer. As already mentioned, functions and features also need to be added by the user themselves, which means, any payment gateway or provider that the client prefers can be added, but the owner has to pay the gateway provider to come on board, and then they may also have to charge their customers a fee for each payment, meaning that this can be a costly feature to add and use.

    Shopify vs custom website Budget and Pricing

    Shopify has a pricing model that is built on different tiers, and within each tier, different features and tools are added as you pay more. The four pricing levels that Shopify provides are as follows:

    Shopify Plan Pricing
    Shopify Lite $9 / month
    Basic Shopify $29 / month
    Shopify $79 / month
    Advanced Shopify $299 / month

    When we talk about a custom website and the fact that the owner is adding every bit of feature themselves, the pricing is not on a monthly basis, rather, it is more of a one-time cost, which can be highly expensive as well. Depending upon which host the website owner has chosen, which payment gateways the owner has added, how many staff accounts they have, how many customizations and additions they’ve made, the costs for all of that gets added into the total pricing, and that is the cost the business owner has to pay to start their business. And as it is already known, the more customizations are made to a website, the higher the price goes.

    Shopify vs custom website Marketing Tools

    Since Shopify has been around in the market for much over a decade now, their wide array of marketing tools are enough for the client to put to use in order to market their products. From installed applications to providing discounts by spinning a virtual wheel, and many other deals and offers, Shopify clients are sure to attract many customers with the built-in tools and do not even need outside integrations in this regard.

    For the store owners who have built their own custom website, getting marketing tools is fairly easy, but they all need to be integrated from third-party resources, and a lot of research needs to be conducted first to see which marketing tools will best profit the business. The right kinds of marketing tools, if found, can take your business towards success, but one wrong decision can affect the overall performance of the store.

    Shopify vs custom website SEO

    The users of Shopify already know that they are working on one of the largest eCommerce platforms that exist, and search engine optimization comes as a given with it, and the store owners can be sure that their store will receive all the optimized benefits of all the different search engines that they require.

    Custom website store owners and/or developers need to optimize their search engine feature themselves and need to ensure that they are available to display on all search engines as per requirements, or the clicks and footfall on their website will not reach the desired numbers.

    Shopify vs custom website for dropshipping

    Shopify shipping methods are easy to use and take advantage of, as they have free shipping, or mostly have a flat shipping rate that is mostly within the affordable range. Moreover, they have the drop-shipping feature to offer their clients as well, where the clients do not have to keep their own stocks but can sell them from different parts of the world.

    The custom website store owners have to work out their shipping companies themselves, have to also pay them, and they can choose whether to charge their customers for the shipping or not. They can also add the drop-shipping feature to their website, but that would mean the user themselves have to conduct deals with different warehouse owners, etc., making the job even tougher.

    Shopify vs custom website Customer Help and Technical Support

    Shopify users and customers get state-of-the-art technical help and customer support that is available 24/7 via phone call, messaging live chat, and other ways of communication as well. There is also the option of getting help in different languages for all Shopify users, except the ones who have opted for the Basic Shopify. Video tutorials and community forums are also available for any peer-to-peer help that the users may need.

    For the custom websites that are made from the beginning on their own, the customer help and technical support is mostly gained from Google, video tutorials available on YouTube, any forums or blogs having similar information, etc., but it is more research-based and there is no pool of representatives available 24/7 for help.

    Shopify vs custom website Integration

    Shopify has its own app store, so any extensions or plugins that are required can easily be accessed from there by the store owners. In addition, Shopify also supports multiple third-party integrations in apps, so the owner can also integrate anything from outside the Shopify platform.

    When we consider custom websites in this regard, there is a lot of skepticism involved, because the store owner may not know which third-party integrations are legit and which are fraud, and thus, they need to do a lot of prior research before setting up integrations. Moreover, the custom websites have no app store or database of their own, so they need to integrate everything from outside and from multiple different sources, which can make things very complicated for them.

    Shopify vs custom website Sales features

    Shopify clients are lucky they are using this platform as they already have a wide range of in-built sales features and users do not have to look outside the platform for anything. Sales features such as abandoned cart recovery, calculating shipping prices for different customers, identification of top buyers are repeat purchasers, Shopify POS, and many others are always available for the clients.

    For custom website owners, sales features are an important aspect of the business, but since they are not working with any specific platform and have tailor-made stores, they have to integrate these sales features from other parties, and have to see which features are the best so as to make the best investments and not put their money to waste.

    Shopify vs custom website Inventory Management

    Inventory management is something that the Shopify platform already has within, so the client does not need to be worried about the inventory. Shopify itself will keep a check on the inventory, send an alert when a product is low in stock, or if any product is overstocked so that the inventory is enough to feed the customers with what they want and not have extra stock.

    The custom website developers or owners can also integrate an application into their system that would keep a check on the inventory. Outsider apps that are integrated will also work in a similar way as the Shopify feature, alerting the client when any product is understocked or overstocked, and keep a balanced inventory to not hurt the business in any way.

    Shopify vs custom website Mobile Responsiveness

    Most of the themes that Shopify offers its clients are highly mobile responsive, and can easily be accessed through mobile devices. Shopify also now has its own mobile application for Android and iOS users, making it even easier to access from anywhere and everywhere. These themes also have the capability to change according to the device they are being accessed from and adjust themselves to avoid slowing down the device.

    The custom-made websites, if made using heavier formats of designing and themes, may be heavy on the device they are being accessed from, slowing them down multi-folds. This is why, the store owner or the developer who is working on a custom website needs to know which host, which theme and which design best suits all sorts of devices, and with a little more money, the owner can also invest in a mobile application if necessary.

    Shopify vs custom website Application Integrations

    Shopify allows the users and merchants to have a fully functional online store, with all the marketing, financial, SEO and other plugins and applications in place, which makes Shopify a wholesome choice for the client, as it provides all eCommerce solutions possible. Additionally, if the client wants more reach, Shopify also is open to integration with many social media applications, such as Facebook, or even Amazon, so the client can be sure of the results.

    Talking about custom websites, their owners can also be open to integrations with social media sites, but they will have to pay extra to get the upper hand, and their reach might not be able to reach their goals like Shopify might be able to gain. Also, the developer or owner will also have to first research and analyze well which kind of applications would they most benefit from and then go onto the integration phase, because they may also backfire if the wrong decisions are made.

    • Final Thoughts

    Shopify and custom websites are both solutions to different eCommerce problems, and the final decision of which one to use actually depends on the online store owner, and the kind of requirements they have, or what their business needs may be.

    For example, Shopify can be used for beginners, who do not have to worry about anything and all the tools and features are available for their use within the Shopify platform itself.

    Though, if your business has very specific needs, it has a need to target a very tailored and niche market or it has a one of its kind special product that needs to be launched in the market, then the pre-determined options of Shopify cannot help, and the custom website option will suit you best.

    Platforms such as Shopify are best for clients who want a site made immediately, with as much less input as possible from their side. They want a website up and running in no time, so this is their best bet, and Shopify is the best solution for them.

    Thus, rather than picking which is better and which is not, the comparison between Shopify and custom websites is actually to show that they provide eCommerce solutions to very different kinds of clients, and cater to different markets altogether.

    FAQs:

    Selling on a custom website vs Amazon vs Shopify: which one is cost-effective for an eCommerce Business?

    The most cost-effective way to sell for an eCommerce business is through Shopify, because they provide complete transparency in all sorts of transactions, and their pricing plans are also cheaper than Amazon, and one of the sales features of Shopify is also its integration with Amazon, making Shopify the best way to conduct maximum sales.

    Custom website vs Amazon vs Etsy vs Shopify: which one is best for eCommerce Business?

    Shopify is again, the best option out of all of these to start working with for an eCommerce business. Not only is Shopify more cost-effective and transparent, their level of flexibility and scalability, and ease of use also make it the best choice for any eCommerce business to function their online store.

    Is a custom website free?

    Making a custom website can be free only if the business owner can find free theme templates, and stick to integrating only free apps, but once you need a host for your website, you need to pay. You will also have to pay to gain an SSL certificate, for the security of your website, and for integrating some marketing and sales features, too, so a custom website is not free at all.

    Does a custom website work with Shopify?

    Any custom website can be migrated onto Shopify in a short amount of time, and Folio3 Shopify Migration Services are experts in doing so if the client requires it. If the client wants to get some extensions or plugins from Shopify into their own custom website, they can also do so by paying the price of it, but a custom website and Shopify store cannot work together side by side on the same client’s business and online store, one or the other has to be chosen.

    Shopify vs custom website used items: which is best?

    Shopify is the best option, because it is highly cost-effective, and caters to beginners plus expert level developers. Though custom websites and used items have higher flexibility and can be completely customized, the features and tools that Shopify offers in all of its plans in a certain price are in-built, will cost a lot for the clients if they choose custom-designed websites. This is why Shopify vs custom websites are not an appropriate comparison here.

    Does a custom website integrate with Shopify?

    Many of the Shopify tools and features are available for integration, but at a cost, so custom website owners can easily integrate those into their systems as third-party integrations. If any Shopify integrations are required, Folio3 Shopify Integration Services are available to help you anytime.

    Does Folio3 create Custom Websites on Magento?

    Yes. Folio3 is a renowned Magento development company, offers custom website development in Magento including integration, migration, extension development, support as well as multi vendor website development.


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    About

    Folio3, a Software Powerhouse established in 2005, is one of the leading eCommerce solution providers for SMBs and Fortune 500. The Company has expertise in diverse industries such as Animal Care, Retail, Automotive, Food and Agriculture, and Health care. From ecommerce store design and development to full-scale ERP deployment and integration, Folio3 has done it all.