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A website is a key part of many small businesses. Whether you’re using your website to sell products directly online or you’re just trying to use it as another channel for your web marketing, it’s important to have the right ecommerce platform for you.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to building a small business website and it can take time to sort through them all. Some builders are far easier to customize than others and offer users an intuitive platform to design their site to their liking.
When it comes to two specific builders, Shopify vs. GoDaddy, there are key points to understand before making a decision to use, or not use, either one. You’ll have to consider how much you’re willing to pay, the amount of themes and options you want to have access to, how important it is to you to own your domain, and more. With that, let’s dive into the details about each one.
Shopify was made to be an ecommerce site and specializes in that for their customers. This means that they offer customizable features specific to ecommerce needs. It’s used by some big name sellers like Kim Kardashian-West’s KKW line and The National Portrait Gallery.
If you’re looking for a site that will allow you to get creative with the product pages and photos Shopify might be a better option. Keep in mind, the added and more sophisticated features will cost you a bit more than something more basic though.
In addition to these features, there is also a Shopify point of sale system and allows users to list an unlimited amount of products and has unlimited bandwidth too. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages, details, and customer reviews for both options.
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GoDaddy might have the advantage of name recognition for those who are new to the ecommerce world. The two have similar capabilities and are just two of the many options to choose from. But GoDaddy made their name as a company that registered domain names.
The important thing to know about GoDaddy is that they’re a website host that allows customers to build a website with an ecommerce capability. It’s not necessarily designed to be an ecommerce site and therefore it’s a little less customizable than some of its alternatives.
Although it’s not as customizable, there are some advantages to GoDaddy like the speedy domain registration and inexpensive fees. More on the details later though.
GoDaddy has the features you need to run your ecommerce platform with them and they make it easy by being the web host for you too. They have the basics and it’s fairly easy to use because there is so little customization involved in it.
When you set up your store it comes with a standard storefront page that has four sections. These four sections are mandatory on the site and are originally titled “Home, Our Story, Contact Us, and Terms,” according to GoDaddy. You can change the title of those four and add three more, but you can never delete the original four.
With GoDaddy you’ll be able to display your database of products and track the inventory for them in the site and on mobile. You can post photos, price, description, and more to the product listings to give your customers the most information possible.
This is also part of the Online Store package and will allow you to add a shopping cart to your site where customers can purchase your products. It’s also available on mobile and users can pay using a few different third-party payment processors.
The default payment processor on the Online Store with GoDaddy is PayPal but you can opt out of it and use Square or Stripe instead if you want once you’re up and running. Choosing Stripe will also grant the capability to accept ApplePay on the devices that support it.
If you sell an actual physical product that needs shipping you can also integrate that into your store. GoDaddy offers the option to ship via USPS or UPS and you’ll have to choose whether to charge flat-rate shipping, weight-based shipping, or free shipping.
The features that come with a Shopify subscription are easier to customize than those with a GoDaddy account, as we mentioned. The site was meant to be an ecommerce platform, so it’s specifically designed for you to run your small business on it.
Shopify offers more than 60 storefront designs that were made by professional designers for small business owners to use as templates for their online storefronts. The designs can all be customized as well, which can mean that their storefront is a bit more difficult to use than GoDaddy’s.
Shopify does come with internal search engine optimization and marketing tools for social media to help you effectively advertise your products. This can be helpful for marketing your small business online. Those tools include blog capabilities, SEO tools, promotions through Google and Facebook Ads, and marketing tools that show how successful those features are.
Like GoDaddy, Shopify will help you keep track of your products and inventory on and offline. Shopify offers a dashboard that allows users to list an unlimited number of products and track all of the inventory on their dashboard. That same dashboard has information on shipping, payments, marketing, and more.
Shopify can be used for processing payments made on the ecommerce store platform directly as well as from online marketplaces and on social media or in person. They work with 100 third-party payment gateways for you to choose from. Shopify also allows you to accept major credit and debit cards as well.
These features are integrated with the shopping cart right on the platform, so it eases checkout and keeps your customer information safe and secure.
The Shopify platform allows you to keep track of your inventory across everywhere you sell, from your brick and mortar location, to your Shopify platform and social media. This means when you get an order you immediately know whether you can fill it and how soon. It also offers shipping solutions through its partners DHL, UPS, and USPS. You’ll also be able to print shipping labels yourself to speed up the process and access tracking right on your site.
To have a full online store with GoDaddy the plan costs $19.99 a month and it’s billed annually bringing the total to $239.88 a year. There’s just the one option for anyone looking for the full online store, with the necessary features like the built-in shopping care and the option to accept online payments other than PayPal.
Photo credit: GoDaddy
Shopify offers several levels of service, and if you’re not sure on them, they also offer a 14-day free trial. The least expensive option they offer is $29 a month, while it’s the most basic option they offer it still gets you plenty of services. The second tier costs $79 a month, and the most expensive option is $299 a month.
There is also a Shopify Lite plan available for $9 a month. That plan won’t let you build an online store but it will allow you to sell products on social media or embed a buy button on another site to sell your products. With the Shopify Lite plan you’ll also gain access to the overview dashboard, finance reports, customer support, one staff account, point of sale, and more.
One of the big differences in the plan is the third-party shipping calculator, and that option is only available with the most expensive option. The number of staff accounts is also a big difference between the three tiers.
Photo credit: Shopify
The Shopify payments also differ depending on which plan you choose. Online credit card processing fees vary from 2.9% for the least expensive plan to 2.4% for the most expensive plan both with an additional $.30 per transaction. In-person rates are a bit better, and the rates Shopify charges for using payment providers other than Shopify Payments are far better for the more expensive plan.
Depending on how many transactions you process each month, the more expensive plan could end up being a better deal.
GoDaddy has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Positive reviews with the BBB highlight the customer services users have gotten while using the services from GoDaddy. One user said they called the customer support line in the early morning hours and was still able to get a response and help at that time. Another user said the price was worth avoiding the headache of poor customer service that other providers might have.
The Better Business Bureau gives Shopify an A+ rating as well, so both services are tied in that respect. Customers with Shopify who left reviews on the BBB website highlighted the many helpful features the platform offers and, like GoDaddy, the good customer service.
When it comes to choosing the right ecommerce site for your small business there’s a lot to consider between GoDaddy vs. Shopify. The two offer similar options, but they have a few key differences. Choosing one might come down to how much business you’re really doing and how much flexibility you need when it comes to customizing your online store.
GoDaddy is the less expensive option and it’s easier to use in part because there’s less to customize when you set up your story. These could both be pros for some small business owners. Another pro about using GoDaddy is the customer service they provide that customers love. A con for small business owners who need a more robust online store is that GoDaddy can be difficult to customize and scale for a larger store. While it’s easy to use it is somewhat limited. It lacks image editing tools and the SEO tools are basic compared to those that its competitors offer.
Shopify offers its users far more tools for customizing their online store and it’s made to be an ecommerce platform. There are plenty of templates to choose from and customers can use it with the confidence that huge sellers, like Kylie Cosmetics, use the site to host their online stores. Shopify also works with a number of partners to provide additional app integrations and works with more than 100 payment providers.
One drawback is that Shopify is a bit more pricey than GoDaddy but the company does offer a variety of plans that range quite a bit in price to offset this con of the service. Another con is that compared to GoDaddy, setting up your store with Shopify would take a little longer.
There’s a lot to consider before choosing one. Luckily, both have free trials available to users so you can try each one out before committing to one and spending any money. If you do a free trial, though, remember to cancel whichever you don’t want to keep before the trial is up and you get charged.
Consider the size of your business, how much bandwidth, and the level of customization your online store will need. Additionally, the ease of use and how quickly you need your site up and running are also worth considering while trying out both options.