Starting an E-commerce Website: Shopify or WordPress?

E-commerce Website

By 2025, the online retail market in Singapore will be worth S$7.46 billion. Recently conducted research showed that more people were opting to buy goods online because of more competitive prices and better quality. In a surprising twist, it was discovered that men were spending more money online than women.

These statistics go to show the potential of E-commerce in Singapore. Luckily many brands have discovered this and are currently working tirelessly to make the most out of the opportunity.

The beauty of E-commerce is, you don’t have to start big. Even small vendors have an equal chance. To get your Ecommerce website going, the first question you need to figure out is whether you would like to use Shopify or WordPress for the online store. This can be a make or break decision, so you need to weigh the options carefully.

Ease of use

Of course, you will need a service that is straightforward and simple to use. Both WordPress and Shopify are simple enough. But, Shopify is simpler. To get started, all you need to do is register and login to the dashboard, and you’re good to go.

WordPress, on the other hand, requires you to install it on the hosting. This can pose a challenge to most newbies. Even with multiple tutorials available, the process can be challenging and requires some time to learn.

Shopify does not require any installation and is usually ready to work in a matter of minutes. With regards to ease of use, you’re better off with Shopify.

Flexibility and Features

WordPress is the most adaptive website builder in the market and can carry a lot of weight and demand. Whether you’re looking to start an online store or a blog to share your reviews and other related news, WordPress will be able to handle your demands with ease and finesse.

It is possible to improve the e-commerce capacity of WordPress by purchasing more plugins, but this will drive up the start-up cost.

Shopify, on the other hand, is built for one purpose only. Online store creation. It does allow for the addition of a blog, but it will not have any functional value. Nonetheless, Shopify does make up for this by offering a plethora of other features like flexibility settings, discounts, payment deliveries, coupons, email marketing and abandoned cart savers. These are critical features in driving sales and are very easy to set up.


With WordPress, you will be spoilt for choice. There are thousands of theme designs that you can choose to use for your e-commerce site. There are free and premium themes which differ in prices. Customization of these templates is highly flexible, and you can change anything from the fonts, colors and even the content of sections.

Shopify is a little short-handed with regards to design. To begin with, they only have a collection of 59 templates. Even though they also have free and premium themes, the depth of choice is lacking.

However, each of the templates can be customized to add new blocks, change the footer and header and change the shopping cart among other options.

Customer Support

Customer support is going to be essential for your growing e-commerce site. On the one hand, Shopify has tech support through various platforms like live chat, email and phone assistance. There is also an active forum where you can quickly get answers to most of your queries.

WordPress, on the other hand, is not as comprehensive in its customer support. Even though it has an official forum and multiple user communities, the service does not have a centralized tech support.

Depending on what matters most to you, both WordPress and Shopify are worthy contenders when considering which of the two is best suited for your startup.

If the design is a concern, then WordPress will probably work best for you. Other than that, Shopify brings simplicity, effectiveness and an all rounded solution to any challenge that you might face as you set up your website and conduct business.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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