Sunday, October 2, 2022

Shopify Vs Zoey – 2018 Comparison & Reviews

So this is different. Shopify Vs Zoey. Both are online eCommerce solutions, but this time we have one of the companies claiming to address a supposed deficiency in the other. Makes it easier to contrast the two, sure, but the degree by which Zoey improves upon Shopify’s scaling issues is debatable. At their core, both of these companies offer a product that allows you to set up an online store and sell products.

Zoey is a new comer to arena, having been founded in 2015, after the owners sold off Pixafy. This new firm uses a system based off Magento, and after writing some high level front end stuff, has allowed the lay person to make a fully featured eCommerce store. Considering their focus on catering to larger companies, what with their excellent scaling options, I do have to wonder why a large company is building their site themselves, rather than hiring a designer to make a bespoke site, but that is besides the point. Fundamentally, what we have here is a streamlined user-friendly Magento, with all the customization options inherent in a do it yourself eCommerce solution.

Shopify, by contrast, offer a service that is at base for the introductory business owner, with ample room to grow your company. They may be a little lacking when it comes to language integration, and their customization options are a little less robust, but they offer superb service, excellent template based site design, and an amazingly competitive price for their products. So the question now becomes, which of these two is better? Read on for the full breakdown.

Shopify Vs Zoey – Appearance, Professionalism, & Overall Look

It is imperative that you have a well designed site. If you go it your own and build everything from scratch you will discover how hard that is, unless you happen to have a degree in graphic design. Thankfully both of the solutions offered here have high quality tools that make site building easy. You pick the theme, customize it and you’re done. Let’s take a look at the options.

Zoey:

Zoey ThemesRight out of the gate you will notice how easy it is to customize a Zoey theme. They have implemented an intuitive drag and drop site builder, and integrated it with a variety of professionally designed templates. I have looked at all that they have on offer and was impressed with the aesthetics here. If you’re looking for a boutique feel they have you covered, if you are after a more robust storefront, filled with products, they can accommodate you. I would recommend you take a quick look through them yourself, it’s all crisp lines and understated colors. Lovely stuff.

When it comes to personalizing them you will not be disappointed. Their customization interface is easy to use, and packed with features, change colors, fonts, move things around, you have tremendous control over what your customers see. Add to that the fact that all of their themes are free of charge, and mobile ready, and this is a bargain. Being Mobile ready is important these days, as research shows that around a third of all purchases online take place on cell phones and tablets.

Zoey have done well in this department. The attention to detail is impressive, and the streamlining of difficult to understand concepts is commendable. There are options for custom code injection too, so overall a great start for the fledgling firm.

Shopify:

shopify-themesShopify is a powerhouse in the industry, and one of the reasons for that is their design options. Their selection of templates is far larger than Zoey’s, and they are all professionally designed. Not only that but I think it is arguable that they offer a better variety of core concepts too, i.e. a good mix of ultra-modern and amazon-esque ream of product style templates. Not all of the themes are free though, but their free designs are to the same standard as their paid designs. Paid templates run between $80 and $180, far from the most expensive I have seen from other firms.

One issue here is that while the back-end customization has a plethora of options, Shopify does not have a drag and drop editor as standard. You can inject custom CSS code into the site, to add new features, and if you must have the same level of customization options present in Zoey there is an app for that, called Shogun. The best thing about Shopify’s options, their themes tend to need little editing. Each are designed to such a high standard, by folk who know what they’re doing, that any changes made by a non-design major may have a net negative impact on the overall aesthetic. If you want to change things, the options are there.

This is a hard one to call, on one hand Shopify offer more themes and templates, while Zoey have the better overall customization options. I think that will give them a lead in another section, but as it stands here I have to call it a draw. Shopify make this whole thing easier, and they match Zoey in terms of overall look. Be sure to know your limitations when putting your site together .

Winner – Draw

Shopify Vs Zoey – Features & Integrations

There are a few things that tend to come as standard across all eCommerce solutions, good thing too as without them you’d be unlikely to sell much anything. You need SEO tools to drive traffic, you need social media integration to increase your user base and you need a blog. Thankfully both of these firms offer these, so we’ll need to look a little deeper to decide on a winner.

Zoey:

I’ve already mentioned that Zoey markets itself to larger businesses, and as such might be a little too pricey for those just entering the market. It does mean that in addition to all the regular shop functions, listing items, editing items, selling and taking payments, its basic package includes advanced features as standard. The abandoned cart recovery function is here, which is great for enticing customers back to your store. That feature is present with other options, but most companies hold it back in their more expensive packages. I’ve already mentioned their site design tools, which are some of the best on the market, and they also have a robust discount system built into the back-end.

Every site comes with the full complement of SEO tools, meta keywords and URL optimization, and a blog. A blog is a must have, as when it comes to selling online, content is king. Having a blog will do much to increase your traffic, so be sure to hire a copy writer and make the most of it. They do not charge you a transaction fee, so you can add as many payment gateways as you like, and this software is compatible with what seems like all of them.

Lastly a look at their app store, and while there is plenty to choose from there isn’t quite as much choice here as with other companies. This is based on Magento, and if you’ve looked at their app store you can understand why I might be whelmed by the options available from Zoey. I have been able to find Facebook store integration, but was a little confused by the seeming lack of any other social media integration. I’m certain it is there somewhere, considering how important it is these days, but I walked away scratching my head. They do offer built-in support for both Amazon and Ebay, which are extremely useful and not offered as standard elsewhere.

Shopify:

Shopify’s Basic package is aimed at those entering the market, so we lose a few features that are present in Zoey’s lowest priced package, but don’t let that discourage you. Present here are all the features you need to get a business going, and when you grow there are the higher level packages that match, and in some cases exceed, those offered by Zoey. You can list items, sell, apply discounts etc, and while the site editing tools from Shopify pale in comparison to those offered by Zoey, they are still useful. The SEO tools are almost identical, down to the blog, and finding social media apps to integrate is very easy. Those two things are crucial, I know I’ve said that before, and can save you a ton on marketing.

Outside of the core online features is a service unique to Shopify. The POS system. Shopify POS is an offline/online integration service that links your brick and mortar store to your online storefront. With a simple app you can track sales across your stores, manage inventory and staff and even take payments. The system is perfect for those who like to follow the festivals and conventions, and being able to accept a card payment on the go can be valuable.

Between the two of them I think it is easy to argue that Zoey offer more base features, but Shopify have more apps and integrations. When you add in the unique and useful Shopify POS then it clinches it for Shopify. Won by a hair.

Winner – Shopify

Shopify Vs Zoey – Dropshipping

I have multiple articles dedicated to the topic of dropshipping. It is one of the most internet things to come out of the eCommerce market, a way for the average person to take a bit out of the time honored tradition of selling Chinese made goods on the open market. I love the idea, the only caveat to setting up your own dropshipping store is the time consuming nature of buying, listing and verifying. These days though there are apps out for all the major eCommerce sites that make grabbing items from Alibaba et al and dropping them on your own site. Let’s take a look at the options from Zoey and Shopify.

With Shopify there are plenty of dropshipping options, but the two big ones to my mind are the Shopified App and Oberlo. I prefer Oberlo for its simplicity, focusing on the most popular site, makes it much easier to get into. Bear in mind that you will have to pay for both, but there are deals on every so often.

With Zoey there is Duoplane, an all in one solution that allows you to integrate with a wide range of manufacturer sites. Feature wise it is great, and the UI is up to snuff, but I find the price to be a little out of most folks range, especially when just starting out. It reminds me of Shopified in many ways.

Overall, while both are able to provide the service, the low cost options available with Shopify make it far more attractive from my perspective.

Winner – Shopify

Shopify Vs Zoey – Flexibility, Ease of Use, & Scalability

Finally, a section where Zoey shines. First a look at the flexibility, and while Zoey is robust in terms of listing options and app integrations, it does not have the flexibility of Shopify, who can match them in features and ease of use, but have the added benefit of being applicable to entry level users. Shopify have more themes, but Zoey offer more in-depth customization options leading to a draw on flexibility.

In terms of ease of use, running the back-end in both is simple, but with more streamlined report options, not to mention that wonderful drag and drop design interface, Zoey have the upper hand. Don’t let that dissuade you from going for Shopify, they have some wonderfully easy to use tools, and day-to-day management is arguably slightly easier to get to grips with on Shopify.

The battle of Scalability is a difficult one to call. Zoey market themselves for the larger businesses. They argue that they are filling a niche that Shopify left vacant, and while I can understand their perspective to an extent, I don’t think there is much truth to their claims. Shopify cater to the entry level store owner with their smaller packages, and they ramp up nicely for larger stores. When you hit their top package there is one more rung above it, Shopify Plus Enterprise, a bespoke Shopify experience that is custom scaled. It seems to me they have all their bases covered, and the rhetoric on the Zoey site is just that. They fail to cater to the little man, and that fundamentally hurts them.

Winner – Shopify

Shopify Vs Zoey – Cost, Pricing & Value

Zoey pricingIt’s raw figures time, and it’s here we see the differences in target market. Zoey are aiming at the already successful business market, and have priced accordingly. Their least expensive package is $89, with a 10% discount if you buy a yearly subscription. Zoey can boast some of the best customer service in the industry, but when you’re spending that much per month at base it had better come with great CS. Their next package is the Business Package at $199, and this adds HTTPS site wide, mulit-language support and various other useful features for a slightly larger business. The most expensive package is the Premier, and this starts at $599+. All in all that last one seems similar to Shopify Plus Enterprise, though the latter does not have a set price.

Where Zoey is aiming a sniper at big business, Shopify is aiming a scattergun at the world. Their lowest package is a mere $9, though this is just a buy button and does not come with a site. Their lowest real package is $29, and that gets you all you’ll need to get your business going. The more expensive packages add more and more useful features for larger business and are $79 and $179. Cheaper across the board with Shopify, and if you find yourself wanting more there is always the Enterprise service, for a bespoke Shopify experience. Though prices on that last one vary.

shopify-pricing-2016This is another section where a winner is hard to call simply because one of these firms thinks they aren’t competing. I would argue that seen as they are in the same market the very much are competing, and Zoey’s singular focus is hurting them. Shopify can cater, and do cater to all sizes of business. Simply saying they don’t isn’t much of an argument.

Winner – Shopify

2018 Update: If you want to take advantage of a no obligation, free trial of Shopify you can click here to automatically apply a free 14 day trial to your account.

Shopify Vs Zoey – Recap & Review

Shopify Pros:

  • All in one solution
  • Excellent Customer support
  • Unmatched scaling options
  • Way cheaper to run
  • Large selection of high quality themes
  • POS offline integration

Shopify Cons:

  • “Arguably” better for very large businesses
  • Multi-language support is temperamental at best.

Zoey Pros:

  • All in one solution
  • Probably the best site creation tools available
  • Excellent integrated features.
  • Good language support
  • Better high level scaling that Shopify

Zoey Cons:

  • No entry level options
  • Ludicrously expensive.

This has been a difficult comparison to draw. On one hand Zoey argues that they are filling a niche, and there is some truth to that, but it ignores options offered by Shopify. If you have found Shopify lacking in features, or feel you have out grown their service then by all means check out Zoey, they can transfer your whole site over to their service easily. You might want to look into Shopify Plus Enterprise first though. And for those just entering the market, or looking to upgrade from almost literally every other eCommerce solution, check out Shopify.

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Barry W Stanton
Irish born writer who drinks too much caffeine and reads too much Terry Pratchett. I enjoy long walks on the server and Korean cuisine.
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1 COMMENT

  1. yeh shopify is so great that if your customer doesn’t come from one of the six supported currencies, then as soon as they go to the cart it changes currency to the shops default currency and they run away, i read about 25% of all international customers abandon their cart. so i’m moving to zoey.

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