Weebly vs Shopify – simplicity or top features?
Weebly and Shopify are both platforms, focused on eCommerce. And while Shopify does its best to focus on larger business, Weebly is there to appeal to the personal users looking for a simple way to sell online.
It's impossible to deny just how massive and influential Shopify is to the eCommerce platform market. Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform in the world, uniting thousands of businesses – some of them absolutely massive.
Everything about it is meant to maximize your sales and marketing efforts. And on top of that, there's a solid website editor, allowing you to make a lovely, optimized storefront to sell from.
Meanwhile, Weebly was always known to be a website builder first, and everything else second. However, after getting acquired by the Square payment gateway, it's started shifting its focus, becoming more and more an eCommerce platform, than ever before
But which of these options is better for you? Due to the nature of how written content works, I don't know who you are, or what your goals and experiences are. But I can show what I myself have learned – so you can draw your own informed conclusions.
For this Weebly vs Shopify comparison, I signed up for the platforms and made my own test sites.
So, carry on reading – to see my full experiences when checking out the pricing, ease of use, selling online, various business features, and overall performance for both of these solutions.
Or take the easy way out (no one's blaming you!) and click here to read my full conclusion. Or see the links on the table below to go directly to the parts that you care about the most.
|Pricing||No free plan, plans start at $29/month||Free plan available, eCommerce plans start at $12 a month|
|Ease of Use||One simple way to make a website||Pretty easy to use drag-and-drop editor|
|Templates||9 free templates, 64 premium templates, and a massive third-party market||60+ free templates, covering 7 main niches|
|eCommerce||Powerful built-in features for all types of users||Solid baked-in features, good for beginners|
|Business Features||A solid list of in-house and third-party features||Simple, focused more on in-house options|
|Performance||A very similar, solid, real life performance||Solid real life performance|
Pricing – two different worlds
Both Weebly and Shopify have several different plans, suited for different types of users. In this post, we'll be focusing heavier on the plans that include eCommerce features: to make it more of a Weebly eCommerce vs Shopify eCommerce comparison.
Weebly includes a free plan, as well as four premium ones. Three of the premium plans include eCommerce capabilities, and they cost from $12 to $38 a month.
Obviously, all Shopify plans include eCommerce: and they're a lot more expensive, ranging from $29 to $299 a month.
But before we draw judgement from that, let's have a lot at these plans in more detail:
These are all the plans available on Weebly:
|Free||Website on Weebly's subdomain, Weebly ads displayed, 500MB storage|
|Connect ($5/month)||Can connect your own domain, free SSL security, basic marketing features|
|Pro ($12/month)||Weebly ads removed, unlimited storage, advanced site-building features, eCommerce (25 items, 3% transaction fee)|
|Business ($25/month)||All eCommerce features (unlimited items, no transaction fee), advanced eCommerce insights|
|Business Plus ($38/month)||All features above, plus real-time shipping calculator, and abandoned cart emails|
However, these prices are only valid if you pay for a year in advance.
If you wish to pay monthly, the prices for Weebly plans will increase – from $5, $12, $25, and $38 a month, to $8, $18, $35, and $46 a month.
Now – I can't really recommend Weebly's free and Connect plans. And not because of the fact they have no eCommerce (although, on a Weebly vs Shopify comparison, it's a pretty big deal). It's because of really massive plan limitations.
The free plan will include very small storage and will keep your website on Weebly's own subdomain. Meanwhile, the Connect plan will let you connect your own domain. But the storage limitations will stay.
This lovely watermark will be displayed on both free and the Connect websites, too:
But there are still three premium plans that will remove all these limitations – and let you sell online as well. Let's have a look at them.
This plan cost $12 a month, and is a pretty good option for small business websites.
- Unlimited storage
- No Weebly ads
- Full Weebly site building features, including memberships, site search, and HD video
- eCommerce functionality – with an additional 3% transaction fee.
Honestly though, I can't recommend using this plan for an online store. That's down to the additional transaction fee. On top of having to pay for a payment gateway, you'll also leave a chunk of your proceedings directly to Weebly, for doing absolutely nothing.
And giving money away for no reason isn't exactly "good business".
However, I still find the plan to be suitable for businesses who don't wish to sell online. It's a fairly-priced plan with no ads, full website building features, and even membership capabilities. Still, steer clear from it if you wish to accept online payments.
The Business plan will set you back $25 a month – and it's definitely a much more suitable option for selling online. How so? Well, just take a look at the available features:
- No additional transaction fees for eCommerce
- Extra eCommerce features, such as item options and review, coupon codes, gift cards, etc.
- Additional eCommerce statistics.
Yep, you guessed it – this plan upgrades from the expensive and rudimentary tools offered by the Pro plan, and goes a step further. Gone are the extra transaction fees!
There are also additional analytics, and several other tools that make selling through Weebly a genuinely better experience.
Business Plus plan
The Business Plus plans costs more than the previous two plans combined. At $38 a month, it expands further on the eCommerce options, offering things such as:
- Real-time shipping calculator
- Abandoned cart emails and recovery
Yep – that's it! To be fair to Weebly though, for serious online sales, both of these features are more than worth the extra $13 a month. The shipping calculator lets your visitors select the best shipping option available, and the abandoned cart recovery is a good way to make back some of the lost sales.
Don't forget that you'll also need to pay for your payment gateway. Weebly's options for Stripe, Square, and PayPal Express all cost 2.9%+30¢.
Shopify offers only 3 premium plans: and there is no option for a free plan. That being said, there's a 14-day free trial for any of the plans, that you can use to test our Shopify's features.
Speaking of features, let's have a look at what each of the plans will get you.
|Basic Shopify ($29/month)||Provides all the essential elements for creating a new online store and charges a 2.9%+30¢ transaction fee.|
|Shopify ($79/month)||More staff accounts, professional reports, international pricing, more shipping options, and lower (2.6%+30¢) transaction fee.|
|Advanced Shopify ($299/month)||Third-party calculated shipping rates, up to 15 staff accounts, and an even lower (2.4%+30¢) transaction fee.|
Let's compare their features one by one:
Despite being called Basic, this plan includes a lot of advanced features. You can set up multiple staff member accounts, and assign the stock to several warehouse locations for easier management. There will also be other eCommerce features, such as:
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Discount codes
- Gift card creation
- Multilanguage website features
- Point-of-sale capabilities, letting you accept payments in-person
As for the transaction fees, it's slightly more complicated: Shopify will only charge you a 2.9%+30¢ transaction fee for using Shopify Payments and include no additional transaction fees.
However, if you use a different payment gateway, you'll have to pay a transaction fee for it, plus give 2% extra to Shopify itself.
That sounds (and is) a little bit expensive. However, Shopify offers more eCommerce features than Weebly, even on the entry plan. For instance, abandoned cart recovery is available here for $29 a month. Weebly charges $38.
The midlevel Shopify plan costs $79 a month. But that price increase might turn out to be a pretty good deal. The transaction fees are reduced to 2.6% + 30¢, and the Shopify fee for using a different payment gateway is cut in half to 1%.
There are some additional eCommerce features, too:
- Options for increased/decreased pricing for international locales
- Discounts for shipping via DHL, USPS, or UPS
- An increase to 5 staff accounts, and 5 warehouses.
The best thing about this plan is the further reduction of the transaction fees. Shopify Payments fees are reduced to 2.4% + 30¢. And the fee for using a different payment gateway is reduced to a mere 0.5%. But while the fees decrease, the eCommerce features increase:
- International pricing now can be set for each item individually
- Custom third-party shipping rates at checkout
- Advanced analytics, and report builder
- A further increase to 15 staff accounts, and 8 warehouse locations
When choosing which plan to pick, make sure to count everything yourself: the transaction fees, the payment gateway fees, and the monthly fee for a platform. Compare everything by the final figure.
For instance, let's set up a hypothetical situation in which you sell 1000 items a month, averaging $100 a purchase: a pretty big business. If so, your final Shopify fees will look like this:
- Shopify Basic – $3,200 in fees (total = $3279/month)
- Shopify – $2,900 in fees (total = $2979/month)
- Shopify Advanced – $2,700 in fees (total = $2,999/month)
As you can see, in this situation Shopify Advanced and Shopify cost virtually the same – but the "cheapest" Shopify Basic plan is actually the most expensive one!
Weebly tries to offer better value for small businesses, while Shopify aims to please the larger businesses. That being said, Shopify's cheapest Basic plan offers comparable prices and features to Weebly's top eCommerce plans.
Weebly vs Shopify – a case study
But of course – what is price, if you don't know what you're getting for it? So, in this part of the Weebly vs Shopify comparison, I'll be showing you my experiences of using the two platforms.
Here, I'll describe my entire experience of building a site with Weebly and Shopify: starting with the setup and the onboarding process, going all the way through building and designing my site, to editing the most intricate little details about my online store.
These were my final results. This one's for Weebly:
And this one's for the Shopify eCommerce platform:
And here are my first-hand experiences:
Ease of use – freedom or simplicity?
- Weebly offers a simple interface, focusing on picking out a preferred website template and making edits to it
- Shopify focuses less on a website, and more on an online store, offering fewer website editing options
- At the end of the day, both platforms are easy to use, but Shopify is a better option for inexperienced website designers
By design, both Weebly and Shopify are meant to be the platforms making difficult things easy. So, here's how I did when trying to set up an online tore with each of the platforms:
Immediately after signing up for an account, Weebly has asked me the all-important question.
This screen is actually very important. As Square, Weebly's parent company uses this opportunity to promote their own product. If you wish to use Weebly, select the Weebly Websites option. And don't pay too much attention to what the image there is saying: you can make an online store through Weebly.
Once that was sorted, I was sent to pick out a template of my choice.
And finally, once all was said and done, I was transported to the website editor.
This editor included everything I could do, regarding the edits of my website. There are several individual elements on the side, as well as a few pre-made sections, that looked like this:
Weebly is a drag-and-drop builder, meaning that you put each element whenever you please. Well – there's a grid you'll need to work with, but there's still a massive amount of freedom that you're given.
Overall, I found the editor to be pretty easy to use, with one little caveat: there wasn't all that much that I could do. There weren't all that many elements to pick from, and while I could mix and match them to my preferences, I was limited by the platform's capabilities.
In a way, it felt like Weebly didn't want me to mess everything up. In that regard, I praise them for a job well done. But I do wish that my freedom actually made me...free, you know?
Once I left the editor, the dashboard offered me a lovely setup list, covering the very basics of starting an online store.
But once that was said and done, everything became....menacingly minimalist.
On the left, there were all the things related to managing my business. A lot of these options were focused strictly on eCommerce – such as editing the items and orders or managing the fulfillment. You can tell that this platform focuses heavily on eCommerce. There's no separate app or a confusing dashboard required to manage and sell the items: I bet that the beginner users will love that.
Overall, I found Weebly rather easy to use. But I was disappointed with website editing features being seemingly sacrificed for the sake of simplicity.
Shopify has started by onboarding process by doing a small interview. Once I registered to the platform, it wanted to hear all about my future business.
Then, a bunch of personal details (a.k.a my billing information), I was sent straight to the Shopify dashboard.
The dashboard, similar to Weebly's includes all the main information required to run an eCommerce store, plus adds a quick setup guide right in the center. The steps and the added information can differ, depending on the answers to the questionnaire. For instance, beginner users will also be given quick access to Shopify's extensive list of guides and tutorials.
Overall, I liked this approach a bit more than I liked Weebly's. There are more to do, and I felt that there was more guidance – something very important if you're a new entrepreneur, stuck in a platform you never used before.
One thing that's very different when comparing Weebly vs Shopify, is how both platforms approach the website editing. While Weebly offers a certain illusion of freedom, Shopify gives no such illusions.
The website editor is simple, and offers very limited design freedom.
Instead of giving several different elements to mix and match, Shopify offers sections fulfilling a certain purpose.
There are sections for displaying products, text, images, testimonials and more. Each of them comes with its own specific elements, that you can then change.
If that's no enough, you can always try your hand at creating your own custom sections: but the number of available elements will be severely limited.
For all in-depth editing stuff – you can do it, as well. Shopify grants code editing access. But of course, this isn't the option for beginners. It's more reserved for power users.
Which option did I like more?
Well, it depends – Weebly is easy to use, and grants more editing freedom. But it's not as extensive as it certainly could be.
Meanwhile, Shopify goes function over form and tries to simplify everything. I like this approach. You're not given much freedom, but there are plenty of elements to make a beautiful, functional online shop. I'll take extensive options for displaying my products over dragging and dropping a paragraph of text any day of the week.
Both platforms are easy to use, but Shopify is just a little bit easier – and it manages to offer a better online stores building experience as well.
Templates – free vs. premium
- Weebly has around 60 templates to choose from. They're free and separated into several different niches.
- Shopify has around 70 templates. Only 9 are free – others will cost around $100-200 a pop.
- There are numerous third-party templates available for Shopify. They're much cheaper and massively expand on Shopify's own options.
A good template is an excellent starting point for building your online store – especially if you're not exactly the world's leading website design superstar. This is where I compare Weebly vs Shopify in terms of their templates.
Weebly's 60 templates are separated into 7 different topics.
Depending on the goals, you can use different themes for online stores, business, portfolios, personal website, events, and blogging.
Some of them are repeated across different categories, so there’s not much to go around with. Still, it cannot be denied that these look modern and stylish. Plus, they’re free of charge.
Overall, the themes are rather minimalist: but they do look good, when replaced with some high-quality media of your own.
Shopify has 73 themes. Which sounds good!
Only 9 are free. Which sounds bad!
That being said, the free option are actually good. They're smart, modern, and as you'd expect from Shopify – focused entirely on increasing your sales figures.
But of course, mix the lackluster theme selection with Shopify's dazzling popularity, and you'll see the problem: a website built with any of these templates will look very similar to thousands of others.
If that's a worry to you, you'll need to open your wallet nice and wide. Shopify's premium theme store includes several excellent themes: like this one, inspired heavily by Amazon.
And this one, focusing heavily on a clean, mobile-friendly interface.
Or alternatively, you can go online and find for Shopify templates there.
You see, Shopify allows you to use your own themes, and there's a massive community of creators making their own options. And while Shopify's own themes will set you back around $100-200, the third-party options can cost several times less than that.
And overall, with all this, Shopify manages to be more varied than Weebly. While Weebly has 60 themes, with only a handful of them focused on eCommerce, Shopify has a massive library of eCommerce-centered themes, different in their layouts, styles, and price points.
Weebly is a good option if you're on a budget. That being said, Shopify's excellent first and third-party selections knock it out of the park – there's much more to see and choose from.
eCommerce – two different worlds
- Weebly tries to make online selling as simple as possible. And it does a pretty good job at that.
- Shopify is fully focused on eCommerce – it has a massive variety of selling and management tools, perfect for businesses of all sizes.
We know that both Weebly and Shopify are eCommerce ready. The question is, just how ready are they against each other?
Well, Shopify is the king here: including excellent features left and right. The real question here is to see whether Weebly can serve as a capable replacement for everything Shopify can do.
Basic eCommerce features
Shopify offers a pretty simple product adding and management interface.
You'll be able to use the main Shopify dashboard to manage all things about your online business, i.e. things such as abandoned cart recovery, where you can see who has left your site with a cart full of items and no purchase – so you can try to bring them back.
Or discount codes, where you can set up various custom discount codes of all types and purposes.
Weebly's item management interface is quite simple and minimalist as well.
This is where you can set up and manage some of the core eCommerce features as well.
And the editor is where the products can be added: there will be a total of 4 different layouts.
It's certainly a more minimalist approach than Shopify. Comparing Weebly and Shopify, Shopify offers a more intricate eCommerce solution. You can edit more about your products, you are given the freedom to arrange and set everything up to your preference.
Meanwhile, Weebly tries to simplify everything as much as possible. Sadly, for more serious companies, that might just end up not being enough.
Shopify's payment solution is called Shopify Payments – and it lets to sell in 10 major international currencies. This option has a transaction fee ranging from 2.4% + 30¢, to 2.9% + 30¢, depending on your plan.
Sadly, this payment platform doesn't work all across the world. Even some of the EU countries are not available, leaving the vendors from many locations with no access to it.
Luckily, for pretty much anyone out there, Shopify has access to over 100 alternative payment gateways. Just remember than when using them, you'll also need to pay Shopify 0.5% to 2%, based on the plan that you're using.
Weebly, meanwhile, offers access to Stripe, Square, and PayPal Express. Stripe is meant for worldwide selling, PayPal Express is more suited for donations, while Square combines Weebly with various features of their own, such as point-on-sale and instantly accepting credit cards.
All of these gateways will charge a 2.9% + 30¢ fee, on all plans.
If Shopify Payments is available on your locale, it's an excellent option that will get cheaper as you grow. If not, Weebly's options are better suited for you.
Shopify lets to easily manage the shipping rates and accepted locations throughout its interface. There will also be discounts provided, depending on the plan that you pick. Shopify fully integrates DHL, UPS, and US/Canada postal services.
There's even a calculator that will let you see how much shipping to a specific location will cost.
Weebly follows a fairly similar pattern: however, on the Pro plan, you'll only be able to set up flat shipping rates. One price per one location.
If you upgrade to the $38/month Business Plus plan, you can also connect your DHL or USPS accounts to get special shipping rates, and enable a real time shipping calculator, letting your customers pick out from several custom-priced options.
Weebly vs. Shopify – other business features
- Shopify has a bigger app store, giving it a lot of great marketing features.
- Weebly focuses on in-house capabilities a little bit more.
Selling is only half the battle: here's how Weebly vs Shopify compare when it comes to other business features.
Weebly focuses heavily on email marketing: and it does a very good job there. The marketing suite, called Weebly Promote includes several email marketing features.
I especially loved the feature in which the platform itself offered me what kind of letters should I send out to my visitors.
For instance, I had options like "announce a new item!", or "send out a holiday email!".
The email maker is pretty intuitive, and looks very similar to the Weebly site editor. There are also several elements, suited specifically for newsletters. And ironically, I liked the email editor more than I liked the site editor.
You can also build these emails to be sent out automatically, after the visitor does a specific action: like signs up for your newsletter, or makes a purchase.
Sadly, the stock version of Weebly Promote is very limited, letting to set up only 2 campaigns and send out 500 emails per month. In order to see what it really can do, you need to sign up for a premium version – it costs anywhere from $8 to $75 a month.
Shopify has a decent suite of marketing features, too. I enjoyed the Campaigns feature, that helps you set up campaigns for specific goals, combining email and social media marketing.
As for the email editing itself, there are over 20 templates available, covering various themes and topics.
The experience of editing the emails is also quite similar to the experience of editing the site. You simply get to choose for a few relevant options, adjust the color scheme, and...that's it!
For Shopify users, 2,500 emails a month are free. Then, there's a $1 fee for an extra 1,000 emails sent out.
Overall, price-wise, Shopify wins here. Features-wise, Shopify wins...again.
Weebly offers an online store of just under 400 apps – 38 of those are marked as "Essential".
As the numbers pretty much reveal, you're not getting a massive list of options. That being said, I was rather impressed with the ones that were available. Free, premium, and freemium options for all things business were available.
However, Shopify's app store goes even further. With over 6,000 options, it handsomely covers all the business-related niches, such as store design, sales, customer support, productivity, and finance management.
For instance, there are 1,300 apps, focused purely on marketing. That's three times more than Weebly has TOTAL.
And really, there are some good ones. Going from selling digital goods better than the stock Shopify option...
To a Shopify-owned option for dropshipping.
Yes – the app marketplace is Shopify's top strength. It has everything that Wix can offer, and then several times more.
Overall, Shopify offers more extensive business features. Weebly covers the basics quite well – but Shopify has that, and then a little bit more on top.
Performance – very similar results
- Both platforms return very similar performance results.
- Weebly looks a little bit better on final figures, but Shopify loads the top portion of the website a little bit faster.
- Overall, both platforms suit the modern industry standards.
For the final Weebly vs Shopify comparison, let's compare the performance results of these platforms. To test them, I used GTMetrix – it's a platform that measures overall site and platform optimization.
This is how the Weebly website did:
And here is Shopify:
And actually, the results here are incredibly similar. Weebly site loads in 2.6s, compared to Shopify's 3.7 seconds.
Shopify claws one back by taking around 1.5 seconds to display the main portion of the website – Weebly takes around 2.
Overall, it means that both of the platforms can load the website in around 3 seconds, which is Google's recommended threshold for modern, well-optimized websites.
I call this a draw: no platform is significantly better than the other in terms of performance.
Weebly vs. Shopify – conclusion
Overall, both of the platforms are fairly good.
|Pricing||Free plan available, eCommerce plans start at $12 a month||No free plan, plans start at $29/month|
|Ease of Use||Pretty easy to use drag-and-drop editor||One simple way to make a website|
|Templates||60+ free templates, covering 7 main niches||9 free templates, 64 premium templates, and a massive third-party market|
|eCommerce||Solid baked-in features, good for beginners||Powerful built-in features for all types of users|
|Business Features||Simple, focused more on in-house options||A solid list of in-house and third-party features|
|Performance||Solid real life performance||A very similar, solid, real life performance|
Weebly is a fairly solid option for beginner users, looking for a simple way to sell online. Everything's nice and straightforward, and making a fully functioning store takes less than an hour.
However, I'm a bit disappointed in some of Weebly's website builder pedigree being gone. Despite offering pre-made templates, and a fully customizable drag-and-drop editor, Weebly doesn't let you take full advantage of it all. There aren't enough themes, there aren't enough elements. Weebly's secret weapon doesn't fire as loud as it should.
Meanwhile, Shopify is certainly a more advanced option: and that is also reflected in the platform's pricing. It's a more expensive pick than Weebly, there are no two ways about it.
That being said, it offers better eCommerce and marketing solutions. And while the editing is a bit more limited, with a lot of excellent, eCommerce-centered themes, no one will have an issue while building an excellent online store.
Overall, there's only one conclusion to draw:
Weebly tries to mimic Shopify's successful model. In that, it sacrificed some its best website design features. Go for the real thing – it's a bit more expensive, but with all the available features, they pay back for themselves.
More Weebly comparisons for you to check out
More Shopify comparisons you might want to read
Weebly vs Shopify FAQs
Which is better: Weebly or Shopify?
Shopify is a better option for building an online store, while Weebly is better for regular websites.
What is difference between Weebly and Shopify?
Weebly is a drag-and-drop website builder that includes some eCommerce features. Shopify is an eCommerce platform, which allows you to make a website – but without any drag-and-drop features.
Which is cheaper: Weebly or Shopify?
Weebly is cheaper, but not by as much as it may appear. The 0% transaction fee eCommerce plan on Weebly cots $25 a month, while Shopify starts at $29 a month.
Can you migrate Weebly website to Shopify?
You can migrate your domain, and also move your products and orders using the CSV export/import function. However, you can’t migrate your site’s design.