Cost-Effective E-Commerce Solutions: Shopify (Pro, Plus) vs. Custom-Built

UNITEDCODE
12 min readDec 15, 2023

Getting Around E-Commerce Platforms

Have you ever faced the challenge of deciding on the best e-commerce platform for your business in today’s complex world? With so many options at your disposal, it is critical to comprehend what each platform offers and how it fits into your overall business goals. Shopify is a popular platform known for its user-friendly interface and robust features.

Given the abundance of options available, choosing the best e-commerce platform for your company can be a hard nut to crack. Due to its wealth of features and intuitive interface, Shopify is a well-liked choice among all the competitors. As we delve deeper into this domain, it is critical to understand Shopify’s prominence in the e-commerce landscape. This preference is supported by strong data that highlights the importance of Shopify, especially in the US.

Shopify, the market leader in e-commerce software in the United States, will power approximately 28% of websites with e-commerce functionality in the United States by June 2023. Its dominance over competitors such as Squarespace, WooCommerce, and Wix has positioned Shopify as the market’s most important player. Shopify had a 29% market share in September 2021, demonstrating its growing influence in the American market.
Clients from the Americas create a sizable portion of Shopify-hosted online stores. According to Builtwith.com’s estimate of the 4.7+ million online stores, the United States is home to 61% of all Shopify stores, or 2,900,911 stores.

The majority of Shopify stores are headquartered in the United States. With 51,394 stores, Europe accounts for roughly 17% of Shopify’s market.

Between March 2020 and January 2022, Shopify stores increased by 201.53%. This data emphasizes Shopify’s growing popularity and success in the e-commerce sector.

Overview of Shopify’s Standard Features

Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce tool that enables businesses to launch, grow, and manage their online store. It provides various standard features, making it a popular choice for many companies. This prominent e-commerce platform powers more than 4.36 million websites globally. Shopify’s sales figures since launch have exceeded $700 billion, proving the usefulness of its basic features.

To begin, Shopify offers a lot of customizable themes, allowing the design of the store to match the brand image. These themes are responsive, which means they automatically adjust to different screen sizes, providing an optimal viewing experience for customers on any device.

Secondly, Shopify provides a free SSL certificate and a safe shopping cart. This guarantees the security of your customers’ data throughout transactions. Your customers will have flexibility during checkout because the platform supports more than 100 different payment gateways, including well-known ones like PayPal and Stripe.
Thirdly, Shopify offers SEO tools to improve your store’s position in search engine rankings. Along with automatically generated sitemaps, this includes editable URLs, title tags, and meta descriptions. These SEO tools allow you to draw in more natural traffic and improve your store’s visibility.

Additionally, Shopify offers thorough analytics and reporting capabilities. These let you monitor your store’s performance, follow sales patterns, and learn more about your patrons’ behavior. This data can be extremely helpful when deciding to expand the business.

Finally, Shopify provides customer service around the clock. This implies that you are always welcome to contact their support staff with any questions or problems you may encounter.
Even though these standard features are impressive, businesses with more specialized needs might need more sophisticated solutions. Shopify Pro and Plus fill that need by offering additional features to expanding companies.

Enhancements in Shopify Pro and Plus: When to Upgrade and Why

As of January 2023, around 21,164 sites use Shopify Plus.

Shopify Pro: A Step Up

Like a supercharged version of the standard Shopify, Pro is also called Shopify Advanced. It keeps all the standard features and adds a few more to give businesses an advantage. Shopify Pro’s sophisticated report builder is one of its best features. With the help of this tool, companies can design unique reports that offer a more in-depth analysis of their internal processes and clientele.

Shopify Pro’s third-party calculated shipping rates are yet another noteworthy feature. Thanks to this feature, businesses can improve the overall customer experience by offering accurate and up-to-date shipping rates at checkout.

Shopify Plus: The Ultimate E-commerce Solution

For large businesses and retailers with high sales volume, Shopify Plus is the ideal e-commerce solution. Along with a few extra particular advantages, it provides all the features of Shopify Pro. The ability to utilize Shopify’s Wholesale Channel is one of these advantages. Businesses can reach more wholesale clients by using this feature to set up a different, password-protected wholesale store.

Shopify Plus provides sophisticated APIs for unique integrations, granting companies additional authority over their store. Furthermore, businesses receive dedicated support from the Shopify Plus team, ensuring they receive the assistance they require when they require it.

When to Upgrade?

The decision to upgrade to Shopify Pro or Plus is based on your company’s needs and growth plans. If your business is rapidly expanding and you require more advanced features, or if you intend to go into wholesale, upgrading to Shopify Pro or Plus may be a worthwhile investment. However, the higher monthly fees associated with these premium versions must be considered.

UNITEDCODE: Your Partner in Custom Software Development

While Shopify Pro and Plus have more features, they may not meet the needs of all businesses. This is where UNITEDCODE enters the picture. UNITEDCODE offers an innovative yet affordable approach to providing high-quality custom software development. So, if you’re considering a custom-built e-commerce site, UNITEDCODE has got you covered.

Custom-Built Websites: What Entails a Fully Customized E-Commerce Site

While platforms like Shopify provide a vast number of features and benefits, there are times when businesses may require a more customized solution. This is where custom-made e-commerce websites come into play.

A custom-built e-commerce website is designed and developed specifically for your company. It is created from the ground up, with no pre-made templates or themes. This enables complete customization and gives you full control over all aspects of your website.

The Freedom of Customization

One of the primary benefits of a custom-built website is the ability to customize it. Unlike Shopify, where you are limited to the platform’s features and design options, a custom-built website can be designed and developed to meet your exact specifications. This means you can design a one-of-a-kind user experience that is entirely consistent with your brand.

Tailored Functionality

Another advantage of a custom-built website is the ability to incorporate tailored functionality. A custom-built website can accommodate a specific payment gateway, a unique product display feature, or a complex shipping calculator. This level of customization can frequently result in improved site performance and a better user experience.

Scalability and Flexibility

Custom-built websites also provide greater scalability and flexibility. Your website can be easily modified and expanded as your company grows. This is especially beneficial for companies with aggressive growth plans.

SEO and Digital Marketing

Custom-built websites frequently have superior SEO and digital marketing capabilities. This is because they can be built with SEO best practices in mind and easily integrated with various digital marketing tools.

Cost Analysis: Shopify vs. Custom-Built Websites

Cost is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding between Shopify and a custom-built website. We will compare the expenses of the two options in this section so you can make an informed choice.

Initial Setup Costs

Setting up a Shopify store is relatively straightforward. The Basic Shopify plan starts at $29 per month, and the Advanced Shopify plan costs $299 monthly. The monthly cost of Shopify Plus, which is intended for large businesses and high-volume retailers, is approximately $2000. These fees cover access to several features, such as sales channels, an online store, and more.

However, the initial setup costs for a custom-built website can differ significantly based on your unique needs. The price of web development, hosting, domain registration, and design are all included in this. Custom websites can cost more upfront than Shopify, but they are one-time investments that can pay off in the long run.

Maintenance and Update Costs

You do not have to worry about extra maintenance costs because Shopify’s monthly fee covers hosting, security, and regular updates. Nevertheless, you might have to pay extra for third-party services, themes, and apps.
Website maintenance costs, such as hosting, security updates, and website modifications, must be considered if you have a custom-built website. Although these expenses may increase, you will have complete control over your website.

Scaling Costs

As your company expands, you might have to purchase additional apps and services or upgrade your Shopify plan, raising your expenses. But this might be a wise investment given Shopify’s scalability and user-friendliness.

Your particular needs will determine the cost of scaling a custom-built website. You may need to hire a development team or invest additional server resources to add new features or functionality. However, the flexibility that is available with a custom-built website can be precisely adjusted to meet your company’s unique growth requirements.

Delivering efficient and reasonably priced development teams for e-commerce solutions is our mission at UNITEDCODE. Our distinct method of bringing together the skills of bright individuals, groups, and companies from all over the world, all of which are overseen by our knowledgeable team.

Functionality and Flexibility: Shopify vs. Custom-Built Websites

Both Shopify and custom websites have advantages in terms of functionality and adaptability. We will delve deeper into these topics in this section.

Built-in Features of Shopify

With so many features included right out of the box, Shopify is a powerful e-commerce platform. These include an easy-to-use interface, a safe shopping cart, SEO tools, and additional features. To give your store more functionality, Shopify also provides many apps you can install. These apps cover many topics, including customer reviews, inventory management, social media integration, and email marketing.

The built-in features of Shopify are pretty comprehensive, but they are not infinite. You might require certain elements for your business that Shopify does not provide or that can only be implemented with a paid app.

The Customizability of Websites Designed from the Ground Up

Conversely, custom-built websites provide virtually limitless customization options. These websites can be designed and developed with any functionality your business needs because they are created from the ground up. Unique product display elements, intricate shipping calculators, or particular payment gateways are a few examples.

Greater design flexibility is another benefit of custom-built websites. An entirely custom-built webpage can be created to your exact specifications, offering a distinctive user experience consistent with your brand, unlike Shopify, where you are restricted to the themes provided by the platform — albeit they are customizable.

It is crucial to remember that although custom-built websites have more customization options, their development also takes more time and money.

Ease of Use: Shopify vs. Custom-Built Websites

Ease of use is a critical consideration in e-commerce store management. It impacts both the user experience and the effectiveness of store management and upkeep. Let us contrast how simple it is to use custom websites with Shopify.

Shopify: User-Friendly Interface

The user-friendly interface of Shopify is well-known. It is meant to be simple and intuitive, even for people with little to no technical experience. With Shopify, every procedure is simple, from establishing your store to adding products and handling orders.

Additionally, Shopify offers round-the-clock customer service, a sizable resource library, and tutorials to help you make the most of the platform. It is a fantastic choice for entrepreneurs who wish to run their stores independently.

Websites Built to Order: Personalized User Experience

The user experience on custom-built websites, however, is more individualized. Since these websites are built from scratch, they can be designed as simple or complex as needed.

However, the development team’s abilities primarily determine a custom-built website’s usability. Even non-technical users should find maintaining and updating a well-designed custom website simple.

If using a custom-built website is something you are considering, read our post about why developing a business app is essential.

Making the Right Choice for Your Business: Shopify vs. Custom-Built Websites

Selecting between a custom-built website and Shopify is an important choice that can affect the success of your business. Your business’s size, type, budget, and long-term objectives are just a few variables that will determine which option is best.

Considerations Based on Business Size and Type

Shopify can be a remarkable option for startups or small businesses on a tight budget. Its user-friendly interface makes it simple for business owners to manage their stores independently and provides a range of features at a comparatively low cost.

However, a custom-built website might be better if you manage a larger company or have unique needs that Shopify’s features cannot fulfill. A custom-built website gives you more flexibility and can be precisely tailored to your needs, even though the initial investment is higher.

Long-Term Business Impacts

When deciding, it’s also essential to consider the long-term impacts on your business. While Shopify’s monthly fees might seem affordable initially, the costs can increase over time, especially if you need to upgrade your plan or pay for additional apps.

A custom-built website requires a considerable upfront investment, but it can be a more cost-effective solution in the long run. Plus, it offers greater scalability, which is crucial for businesses with ambitious growth plans.

How can UNITEDCODE help improve your e-commerce solution?

All of your Shopify needs can be met at one location with UnitedCode. UNITEDCODE’s team of professionals serves companies of all sizes and can handle anything from Shopify design and development to Shopify Plus development.

Choosing UNITEDCODE to develop your Shopify solution can significantly increase your profits for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Customization: With UNITEDCODE’s ability to develop custom software, your Shopify store can be made to fit your unique set of requirements. This degree of personalization can enhance user experience, boost sales, and increase site performance.
  • Quality: UNITEDCODE is revolutionizing software development by bringing together bright individuals and whole development teams from around the globe under their management. This guarantees that the product you receive is of the highest caliber, having been designed by some of the most brilliant minds in the business.
  • Cost-Effective: A custom-built Shopify store may require a more significant initial investment than a standard Shopify store, but it may be a more economical option over time. A platform’s features do not constrain you and you have complete control over your website. This implies that as your company expands, you can scale and modify your website without paying more money.
  • Reliability: UNITEDCODE handles all contract and delivery management between clients and developers. This ensures promises are kept, deadlines are met, and projects are completed on time and within budget. You can trust UNITEDCODE to complete your project successfully.
  • Support: When managing and maintaining your website, you are not alone with UNITEDCODE. They provide ongoing support and maintenance so you can focus on running your business.

Finally, selecting UNITEDCODE for your Shopify solution is an investment in your company’s future. With their custom software development services, you can create a Shopify store that meets your current needs and grows and adapts with your business, resulting in increased profits.

Conclusion

Your company’s online success can be significantly impacted by selecting the best e-commerce solution, which is a crucial choice. Whether you choose Shopify or a custom-built website ultimately comes down to your long-term objectives, budget, and unique business requirements.

Shopify is an excellent option for startups and small businesses because of its intuitive interface and abundance of built-in features. It provides a quick and reasonably priced solution for opening an online store. But as your company expands and your requirements grow more intricate, you may find Shopify’s features limited.

A website that is specially designed, however, presents countless options. With its flexibility, you can create an online store that is distinct from the competition and perfectly fits your brand.

In conclusion, when it comes to e-commerce, there is not a single solution that works for everyone. Understanding your company’s needs and making an educated choice is crucial. Your e-commerce platform is merely a tool, so consider whether you go with Shopify or a custom-designed website. Your online store’s profitability largely depends on your offerings, ability to satisfy customers, and marketing strategies. So, choose wisely, and here’s to your e-commerce success!

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UNITEDCODE

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