Choosing the right eCommerce provider is the first step to creating a successful online store. You need to know what you want from the beginning. Do you want maximum customization options? Can you afford a designer and programmer to work with those kinds of tools and create a truly bespoke website? What kind of design are you looking for, and what are you willing to pay in both the short and the long term to one of these providers? Should you know the answer to these questions figuring out the best fit for you is then a simple matter of research. That’s what I’m here for.
Today I’ll be looking at Shopify and GoDaddy. GoDaddy has positioned themselves well on the market as the go to guys for beginners. They offer many of the standard features at a good price, and they have excellent customer support. Shopify is one of the giants of the eCommerce industry. They have been in the business for longer, offer more features and have excellent scalability. On the surface this one may seem like a no brainer, but GoDaddy is the largest domain name registrar for a reason. Their site creation tools are second to none, but they do not focus on stores.
Which of these tools is right for you? Read on for the full comparison.
Shopify Vs GoDaddy – Appearance, Professionalism, & Overall Look
It’s the first thing your customers see, so it better look good. Finding the right theme is one of the most important aspects of your business, right up there with social media management and SEO. Thankfully when you go with an eCommerce provider like Shopify or GoDaddy the messy job of actually designing an appropriate site has been removed. You select one of their professionally designed sites, tweak it a little and you’re done. So let’s take a look at what these companies have to offer in this category.
GoDaddy are not new to the business of website design, and when it comes to setting up a site they are masters, but they are relatively new to the business of eCommerce, and it shows in the selection of themes. I inquired about their available themes that are tailor made for eCommerce and found they had just twenty five. It is true that you can edit them, but it is a little disappointing when compared to the competition. What is there is well designed, they did not skimp in that department.
GoDaddy are primarily a website building company, and it shows. There is no way to integrate a GoDaddy website with your storefront, you must create two separate sites for that. The store builder is robust enough to serve as a rudimentary general purpose website, and blog for that matter, but the options available pale in comparison to their primary business.
The major selling point here is the simplicity of it. Setting up a site is streamlined in a way to make it as beginner friendly as possible, but in doing so it strips the user of any real agency. Considering the importance of getting your store front just right, I find such a low level of customization problematic, and not conducive to a long term business strategy. In short, great for a very small first time business owner, not so great for most anyone else.
This is not a hard one to judge. Shopify prides itself on the variety on offer. They have every design ethos you can imagine, both free and premium. You can find the ultra sleek modern designs right next to the more amazon like product list templates. They have plenty of free templates on offer, all of them professionally designed, to the point where unless you fall in love with a particular paid design, you needn’t bother with them. It’s a by-product of having been in the market for as long as they have.
The more expensive themes run as high as $180, and as low as around $80. Steep prices, though not the most expensive I’ve seen in my travels. Tweaking a design is simple too. The back end tools allow for non designers to get their hands dirty, dragging and dropping background elements, a feature not yet implemented with GoDaddy at the time of writing.
All in all this is not a hard one to call. The winner is Shopify. They have more themes, more variability between themes, they offer easier and better customization and overall the better product. If you are new to the scene, and don’t intend on expansion over the long term, Godaddy may be for you, for the serious business person, Shopify is the better choice.
Winner – Shopify
Shopify Vs GoDaddy – Features & Integrations
You’re going to want get the most out of your money. That’s a given. So you’ll want the eCommerce platform that give you the most tools for the lowest price. There are a few things that seem to be universal with these platforms, adding item, customizing sales options, SEO tools and social media integration tend to come with them all, and happen to be the most important ones. Let’s see how these two services stack up against each other.
In the back end GoDaddy lacks many of the options that are available with other solutions. You cannot freely customize the layout of your theme, the drag and drop editing style is essentially industry standard at this point. Their add product options are impressive though, and remarkably easy to use. You click the button and are presented with every option imaginable, from the mundane name to the more exotic item variable with price changing. It’s a well designed system.
Your SEO tools are there, the usual meta tags and friendly URLs, but that most important tool for SEO is a paid for feature, the blog. Integrated blogging is too useful a tool for sales, it increases the content on your site, driving traffic to your store. I would not recommend anyone start a store without considering their blog. Your social media is well integrated though, with their Facebook and eBay options being particularly impressive.
Overall it has most of the tools you need, and if you are new to the online market it may have everything you need, but having to pay for a few features that are considered standard leaves a sour taste in the mouth. The service is still relatively young though, so I imagine that in time we will see more and more features added and properly integrated.
All you need and more, the Shopify Basic package comes with most of the core features you need to get you started. Every package comes with unlimited file storage and item listings, and you can have as many images per product as you like, GoDaddy limits you to nine. Listing items is simple, just fill out the form, add items and you’re away. There are more specialized options available, though they aren’t immediately apparent, a quick look through the interface is all you need to get into them.
Shopify’s SEO tools are as up to date as anyone’s, and the built in blog support is a Godsend. An oft overlooked thing is your SSL certificate, a software security protocol, which comes as standard with all the Shopify stores. They can get pretty expensive, some of them being in excess of $100/year. GoDaddy do not offer one as standard, and the customer must pay $6.99 extra per year, not a terrible price but still a price. Shopify’s most interesting feature is not offered by their competitors. Shopify POS.
Shopify POS is an offline integration tool that bridges the gap between your offline business and your online store. It allows you to track sales and manage your brick and mortar business alongside your eCommerce store. In addition you can take sales on the fly. Great for anyone expanding their brick and mortar business online or those who like to follow the conventions and festivals. It costs extra, but it’s a superb feature.
With more integrated features, and a wider selection of apps, not to mention their POS system, this section is an easy win for Shopify.
Winner – Shopify
Shopify Vs GoDaddy – Dropshipping
I have several dedicated articles that deal with dropshipping on this site, but I feel it might be a good idea to go into detail a bit here too. Basically it is the art of crafting a store front out of the disparate items that populate sites like Alibaba and Aliexpress. Doing it on your own requires meticulous set up time, arduous copying out after purchase, and getting on site holding areas for the items you buy. With dropshipping software you can buy, single or bulk, list them on your site automatically and ship them direct from the warehouse you bought them from, all with a single click. Some firms have made software that allow integration with the likes of Amazon and eBay, but honestly the utility there is limited, and the profit margins are pretty much non-existent. With Shopify there are numerous options available, with GoDaddy, there are a fair few less.
Shopify’s big two in this field are the Shopified app and Oberlo. Oberlo is my preferred option, but only due to the fact that I want a streamlined service, focusing on Aliexpress and ease of use. Oberlo is also very affordable, due to its focus, and the team behind it have done an excellent job designing the end user experience. You shouldn’t count the Shopified App out though, it has many more options in terms of site integration, if you are a power user, looking for an upgrade, and you are willing to pay the price, then Shopified might suit you better.
GoDaddy are a firm that focuses on making sites, not stores, and such their app integration leaves much to be desired. They do allow dropshipping, with their Quick cart system, but it is less easy to use than the likes of the Shopified App, or Oberlo. Adding products is not the one click experience seen in the full fledged apps on other eCommerce solutions. In saying that, it will at least get the job done, and the overall inexpense of GoDaddy as a store makes it at least doable, if not desirable.
Another no contest win for Shopify. I am unhappy with GoDaddy in general, it seems more of a cash grab than a genuine service, but I can see they are trying in some ways. The Quick Cart feature could use improvements, but as it stands right now at least you can use it, firms like Wix eschew dropshipping entirely, and it makes them less competitive in this market. Easy win for Shopify.
Winner – Shopify
Shopify Vs GoDaddy – Flexibility, Ease of Use, & Scalability
I love this section. You tend to find that one service does some things better than the other, making the contrasting a lot easier. In this case I think it’s pretty easy to argue that GoDaddy can’t quite compete with Shopify in terms of flexibility. It has fewer design options, app options, a less robust back end etc. GoDaddy, by virtue of having less to do, is easier to use, but then runs head first into the wall of scalability. I looked and I looked and I could not find package information.
It seems that as of the time of writing GoDaddy’s eCommerce solution offers just the one package. That is a little hard to believe, and I kinda hope I’m wrong about this. It means that in the long term, and let’s be honest we are all thinking in the long term when it comes to the health of our businesses, GoDaddy has no options. Shopify offer an increasing number of tools that are useful for different business sizes, as you go up the package list. GoDaddy may be intentionally overlooking this market, considering how new they are to the eCommerce game, and that’s fair enough. But that lack of visible foresight is putting them at a fairly hefty disadvantage right from the start.
The options for someone just getting into the online market, i.e. the very small business owner, are huge. Most newer eCommerce companies are specializing in that niche to grow their market share, and to be honest it’s looking a little crowded. Granted GoDaddy are a huge company, so I’m sure they are already working on new features and more packages, but for now they cannot compete with Shopify.
Winner – Shopify
Shopify Vs GoDaddy – Cost & Value
This is another easy section to gauge. GoDaddy offer a terrific service, they really do, but when they price their only package at $29.99 per month you can’t help but feel a little short changed. The features on offer leave much to be desired, and the lack of themes more so. As I’ve mentioned, the service offered by GoDaddy is great for those just entering the market, but they price they offer that service at makes me want to tell you to look elsewhere.
Shopify offer more features for a lower price, their Basic Package is $29. Granted it’s only 99c less, but the point stands that you’re getting more for less, which is kinda insane when you think about it. I mean, GoDaddy has a huge number of employees, you’d think one of them would have mentioned it. Moving up the packages with Shopify is great for Scalability, but less so for your wallet. The next package up is $79, and it comes with a few more integrated features, useful for larger businesses. Their most expensive package is $179, and again has features best suited to much larger online retailers.
I’m a little confused by this one. I don’t understand how GoDaddy can sell their eCommerce solution for so much, when it doesn’t come with a site builder, has a limited number of available themes, fewer app options and little room for scaling. I have a suspicion that I’ve missed something critical here, but considering how hard I’ve looked for it maybe I’m not the issue. Shopify has all of those things and more, easy win.
Plus you can get a free trial right now by clicking here to get the current promo.
Winner – Shopify
Shopify Vs GoDaddy – Recap & Review
- All in one solution
- Integrated blogging and other content features
- Excellent customer support
- Much better long term scaling prospects
- More customization options
- Slightly less streamlined that GoDaddy
- Back end code injection takes some setting up
- Dedicated support team
- Excellent documentation of features
- A far more streamlined set up
- Far fewer options, and what few extended options there are you must pay for.
- More expensive
- No room fro growth
- no website builder
- I could find no apps
This is a no brainer. How GoDaddy, one of the largest site building firms in the world, thought their eCommerce software was up to snuff I have no idea. It lacks so much in terms of basic features, and it leaves them competing with the likes of Etsy Pattern rather than Shopify. I hope they add more over the next few years, but until they do I have to advise you avoid them. Shopify does the same thing, and so so much more, and it does it better.
2018 Update: You can currently register for a free Shopify trial by clicking here to sign up for the deal.