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Ecommerce platform guide

Weebly vs. Shopify—Which Is Best for Your Online Store?

Weebly vs. Shopify—Which Is Best for Your Online Store?
Ilze Elizabete Strazda

By Ilze Elizabete Strazda

14 min read

Let us guess . . . you’re thinking about starting a clothing brand, but you’re not quite sure where to begin. As it happens, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll talk about one of the first and most important steps of building your online store: choosing your ecommerce platform.

No two ecommerce platforms are the same—they all offer different features and cater to slightly different online businesses. It can seem a bit confusing or overwhelming at first, so to help you, we’ve put together a comprehensive comparison of two popular ecommerce platforms: Weebly and Shopify.

First, we’ll go over the big picture and see what kind of online stores suit each platform the best. Then, we’ll take an in-depth look at the ecommerce features each platform offers and talk about everything you need to know before you start working with these website builders.

Remember, whether you’re planning to do dropshipping or create your custom clothing store to sell custom t-shirts or custom hoodies with a print-on-demand supplier, researching your platform of choice is crucial. So, without further ado, let’s get into our comparison.

Weebly vs. Shopify at a glance

Weebly and Shopify are both popular platforms, but what kind of businesses does each platform work better for? Let’s take a quick look before we dive into the details.

Who is Weebly best for?

Founded in 2007, Weebly is a web development and ecommerce site that allows anyone to create their own website. You don’t need any tech knowledge to build a website on Weebly—its powerful and easy-to-use website builder makes this ecommerce platform accessible to everyone.

a woman holding a plate of foodSource: Weebly

Weebly is best for people who are on a budget and want total customization and design freedom. Because Weebly offers more pricing options than, let’s say, Shopify, you can build a solid, professional-looking ecommerce store without spending a ton of money.

Read also: Weebly vs. Squarespace 2024: Which Website Builder Is Best?

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Who is Shopify best for?

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. With millions of users worldwide, Shopify is the platform for businesses of all sizes—it doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out or already own a successful online business.

a globe with many different brandsSource: Shopify

Shopify is best for people who are serious about building a robust online business. Shopify pricing is a bit steeper than many other platforms, so you have to take that into account when deciding on your budget.

But it’s not like you’re paying for nothing. This ecommerce platform will give you strong design, selling, and marketing features that you won’t really find anywhere else.

Read also: Shopify vs. WooCommerce—Which Is Best for Your Online Store?

Weebly vs. Shopify: an in-depth comparison

When choosing your ecommerce platform, it’s important to know what kind of online store you want to build. Do you want a robust ecommerce business with a large product catalog? Or maybe you’re an artist and just want to have a simple online store?

Knowing what exactly you need from a platform will make the decision much easier. With that in mind, let’s go through some of the main things you need to consider when choosing your platform.

Costs

One of the first things you’ll probably want to know is how much this website builder will cost.

While running an ecommerce business doesn’t require as much upfront investment as starting an in-person business, you can’t build a successful online store from nothing. So let’s compare the costs that come with running a Weebly vs. Shopify store.

Weebly

Weebly offers 5 subscription plans. One of these is a free plan, which gives you access to very basic ecommerce features. The other 4 are paid subscription plans—Personal, Professional, Performance, and Premium, priced at $10, $12, $26, and $72 a month if you pay annually.

If you choose a monthly subscription, you’ll have to pay a bit more, with the prices rising to $13, $16, $29, and $79, respectively.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Weebly

The free plan is a good option if you want to play around and experiment with Weebly. It offers very limited tools, like free SSL security, a shopping cart and checkout functionality, and 500 MB of storage. You’ll also have access to a few marketing features like Instagram integration and SEO tools.

Keep in mind that with the free plan, your website will come with Square branding because Weebly is part of the Square product suite. If you want to remove the branding, you’ll have to choose the Professional, Performance, or Premium plan. 

If you choose the paid plans, additional improved ecommerce capabilities include unlimited storage, better analytics tools, and more customization options. You’ll be able to have your custom domain and use custom branding elements, like your own fonts and a store icon.

Shopify

Shopify offers 3 plans—the Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. For new Shopify users, all Shopify plans come at a reduced price of $1 for the first 3 months after a 3-day free trial. After that, the Shopify Basic plan is $29, the Shopify plan is $79, and the Advanced Shopify plan is $299.

a screenshot of a shopify pageSource: Shopify

The Basic Shopify plan offers a full-featured online store with all ecommerce necessities, including hosting and SSL certificates. All Shopify beginners are given a Shopify-branded free domain. If you want to use your custom domain name, you can either purchase it with Shopify or use one you already own.

With the Basic Shopify plan, you’ll also have access to a wide range of ecommerce features, like marketing, analytics, and inventory management tools.

The Shopify and Advanced plans come with increased quality and features. However, if you’re still at the beginner stage of your ecommerce journey, we recommend sticking with the Basic plan before moving up to the more advanced Shopify plans. You can learn more about the different features each plan offers here.

Weebly vs. Shopify: who’s the winner?

In our view, Shopify takes this round. Even with the Basic Shopify plan, you’ll get access to robust and diverse ecommerce features, so Shopify pricing is sure to give you more bang for your buck.

A big plus for Weebly is that it offers a free plan, which Shopify doesn’t. However, if you’re looking to set up your small business, you’ll quickly find the Weebly free plan very limiting.

Ease of use

For ecommerce beginners, it’s important that their platform of choice is easy to use and doesn’t take forever to set up.

Let’s have a look at how beginner-friendly these platforms are and how easy it is to get started with each.

Weebly

If you’re a Weebly beginner, the first steps you take will be very important. When signing up, you’ll be greeted by this page (see below), where you’re asked what kind of website you’d like to create.

a screenshot of a web pageSource: Weebly

If you want to build your online business, you’d go with the first option, right?

Well, not exactly. Square Online, a product of Weebly’s parent company Square, isn’t exactly the same as Weebly but a different product with different pricing plans and features. If you want to use Weebly, go with Weebly Websites. Don’t worry—you can still build a store with it.

From there on, you can choose a website template from Weebly’s library of free themes. Once you’ve picked your template, you’re taken to the website editor, where you’ll also get to set your domain name.

a screenshot of a web browserSource: Weebly

You can either purchase your custom domain name (yourshop.com) or go with a Weebly-branded free domain name (yourshop.weebly.com). After you’ve selected a domain name, you can start editing your website.

a woman standing in front of treesSource: Weebly

Weebly has an easy-to-use, intuitive drag-and-drop website builder that new online store owners will appreciate. While it may take a while to get used to it, setting up your website with Weebly is a very quick process.

Shopify

Shopify is well-known for being beginner-friendly. However, it’ll take a bit longer to set up your site than with Weebly.

When you sign up, you’ll first have to answer a few questions about the kind of store you’d like to build and what kind of products you’re planning to sell.

After that, you’ll be taken to your Shopify dashboard. From here, you can access the Setup guide and finish the onboarding process for your online store.

a screenshot of a computerSource: Shopify

Unlike Weebly, which immediately takes you to design your website, Shopify focuses more on the ecommerce aspects of the Shopify platform. The first step you’re asked to do is add your first products to your store.

If you plan to sell print-on-demand products with Printful, you’ll first have to connect your Printful account to your Shopify store. You can learn more about the Printful and Shopify integration here. If you feel like a step-by-step tutorial would be useful, we have that too!

preview play-button

After you’ve added your first products, you can choose a domain name, set shipping rates, set up Shopify’s payment processing system, Shopify Payments, as well as customize your store’s website in the Shopify editor.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Shopify

Keep in mind that while you’re still on your free trial, your Shopify store will be locked with a password, and only you’ll be able to see it. To remove the password, you have to choose one of the paid subscription plans.

Weebly vs. Shopify: who’s the winner?

Comparing Weebly and Shopify in terms of ease of use, we found Weebly much easier to learn as a new user. Sure, the tools you have on the Weebly editor are a bit less diverse than Shopify’s features, but Weebly’s onboarding process is quicker, plus the interface and navigation bar are simpler and feel less crowded.

That being said, this round of Weebly vs. Shopify was a close call. Shopify offers a more thorough onboarding process than Weebly, which means there’s a bit more support if you get stuck at some point.

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Design and customization tools

An attractive, easy-to-navigate website design can help your store appear more professional and trustworthy. Make sure that the platform you choose has plenty of advanced features when it comes to design and customization.

Let’s look at the design and customization features Weebly and Shopify offer.

Weebly

Weebly offers around 60 themes, all of which are free of charge. Weebly themes are grouped into 7 categories: Online Store, Business, Portfolio, Personal, Event, Blog, and Other.

The Weebly website builder isn’t solely a platform for online business—it’s also good for people who are just looking to build personal websites with some ecommerce capabilities.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Weebly

If you want to use a custom theme, you can also import your own by going to the Theme section in your website editor. You’ll be taken to the Weebly theme gallery. Click Import theme in the upper right corner, and a pop-up window will appear, where you’ll be able to select and upload the theme of your choice.

a screenshot of a custom themeSource: Weebly

Weebly themes are great and professional-looking, but they are quite minimalistic and simple. If you want an ecommerce store that gives your customers a real visual feast, you’ll have to look for custom themes.

Shopify

Shopify, on the other hand, will give you way more options on its Shopify Theme Store. The good news: all themes Shopify offers are built for ecommerce and are continuously updated for new features, design upgrades, and bug fixes. You’re sure to find very fresh, modern designs in this vast library.

a screenshot of a computerSource: Shopify

The bad news: Shopify only offers 12 free themes. Most Shopify themes are paid, ranging in price from $140 to $400.

That’s a steep price for website design. But here’s the thing: it’s a payment you’ll make once, and you won’t have to think about it again. You can use a free Shopify theme, especially if you’re a beginner. But if you see that your store is taking off, it’s worth investing in a theme that’ll make your store stand out.

Weebly vs. Shopify: who’s the winner?

This is a tough one. At the end of the day, everything depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re on a budget and need a good quality, professional-looking theme, Weebly is definitely the best option for you.

However, if you’re planning to go all in and build an online business that stands out from the crowd, you’d be better off with Shopify themes.

This round of Weebly vs. Shopify is officially a draw.

Apps and integrations

Another important thing to consider is the apps and integrations you’ll be able to access with each platform. A platform’s app store will give you valuable additional tools, like third-party integrations or analytics, customer support, and marketing features that’ll make running your business easier.

Both the Weebly App Center and the Shopify App Store offer amazing extra ecommerce features and tools, but which one is better?

Weebly

Weebly offers a strong app store, the Weebly App Center, with more than 400 apps. It also has a good selection of free apps, with around 60 apps being free of charge.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Weebly

Weebly apps cover all the basics small businesses would need—you get access to additional marketing features, SEO tools, and more. Weebly offers integration with Printful, too. If you plan to sell with Printful, you’ll find valuable info here on how to connect your ecommerce store to your Printful account.

Shopify

The Shopify App Store is one of the strongest on the market—it comes with an astonishing number of 8,000 apps, covering all aspects of running a store.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Shopify

Shopify’s App Store also has a wider selection of free apps, with well over 1,000 apps being free of charge. Many others have free plans available or free trials you can try.

Weebly vs. Shopify: who’s the winner?

This Weebly and Shopify comparison is a no-brainer. The Shopify App Store offers far more options for both paid and free apps, and it offers more third-party integrations. While Shopify apps tend to be a bit more expensive than Weebly’s, there are more than enough free options. Small businesses with a tight budget will still be able to access everything they need on Shopify.

Payment processing

To rack in those online sales, you need a platform that allows your customers a quick, easy, and safe way to pay for your products.

Let’s look at what kind of payment processing gateways you’ll be able to use with Weebly and Shopify.

Weebly

Weebly offers 3 payment gateways for ecommerce transactions: PayPal, Stripe, and Square’s own payment system, Square Payments.

a screenshot of a computerSource: Weebly

You can enable up to two payment processing systems at the same time. PayPal can be set up anytime if you’ve upgraded to one of Weebly’s premium pricing plans, but you’ll have to choose between Square Payments and Stripe if you want to add a second payment system.

Square Payments will allow your customers to use Square Gift Cards on your ecommerce store, which can be a good marketing feature. Stripe, however, enables Apple Pay and Google Pay, which will make it easier for many customers to check out. Plus, Square Payments is only available in certain locations, whereas Stripe is for online stores with an international audience.

Both payment gateways accept all major credit cards and have the same transaction fees. So, it’s down to your preference.

Shopify

Shopify offers its own payment processing system, Shopify Payments, and more than 100 third-party payment gateways, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal.

a hand with a watch on a tableSource: Shopify

If you choose a third-party payment processing system, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay an additional third-party transaction fee. With the Shopify Basic plan, this fee is 2%; as you upgrade your Shopify plan, this fee is reduced.

You can avoid this fee altogether by using Shopify Payments. Take a look here to learn more and find out what kind of online stores are eligible for Shopify’s payment gateway.

Weebly vs. Shopify: who’s the winner?

We’ll have to give this one to Shopify because this ecommerce platform offers more payment options. Weebly, with its 3 payment gateways, somewhat limits the possibilities of what kind of payments you can accept.

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Support

Even the most perfectly planned out website will eventually run into problems. That’s why the website builder you choose must have a good support system to help you solve any issues quickly.

Let’s see what kind of support you can get on Weebly and Shopify.

Weebly

Weebly has several channels for support. It offers live chat and phone chat from Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, and gives you access to the Square Seller community, where you can search for answers to all your questions.

There’s also the Help Center, and you can reach out to Weebly on social media, too. 24/7 phone support is also available, however, only if you’re subscribed to Weebly’s Premium plan.

Shopify

Shopify offers plenty of support to its users. You can access Shopify support by live chat, email, social media, or 24/7 phone support.

However, Shopify will encourage you to search for answers first, either on its Help Center or Seller community forum.

a screenshot of a phoneSource: Shopify

If you find yourself struggling with a specific aspect of your online store, for example, if you need professional help with website design, you can hire a Shopify expert. These Shopify-vetted professionals can help you with all aspects of building a store, like design, marketing, development, and content writing.

a person standing in front of a white backgroundSource: Shopify

Weebly vs. Shopify: who’s the winner?

In our view, Shopify takes this round of Weebly vs. Shopify. Small businesses need all the help they can get, and Shopify does provide multiple support options and diverse channels. In addition, Shopify’s tutorials and support materials are also helpful and well-thought-out.

Weebly vs. Shopify: which one to choose?

We’ll give you a real lawyer’s answer: it depends. Both Shopify and Weebly are great platforms, fit for different users.

If your business plan involves a large product catalog and multichannel sales, then Shopify features will be able to support that. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a customizable website that’s easier to set up and doesn’t eat up a large chunk of your budget, you’d be much better off with Weebly.

At the end of the day, which website builder you’ll choose comes down to what you’re looking for. That’s why it’s important to set your expectations and have an idea of what kind of business you’re looking to build.

If you need any extra materials on building and supporting your business, make sure to keep up with our blog—we’ll bring you all the best business trends, tips, and tricks. If you’re looking for tutorials, check out our YouTube channel.

Now, enough talking, it’s time to start selling. Good luck on your ecommerce journey!  

Read next: Wix vs. Shopify: Choosing the Right Platform for Your Online Store

author

By Ilze Elizabete Strazda on Apr 9, 2024

Ilze Elizabete Strazda

Guest author

Ilze Elizabete is a freelance writer with a background in law and international relations. In her free time, Ilze is an avid reader and painter.

Ilze Elizabete is a freelance writer with a background in law and international relations. In her free time, Ilze is an avid reader and painter.