Should I add my ecommerce to my existing website or Shopify?
This year I’ve talked with a few clients about their online store or their desire to add an ecommerce aspect to their business. They had similar questions:
- I want to add an ecommerce aspect to my business, should I do this on my existing website Squarespace or WordPress website?
- Should I build a separate Shopify website for my new products or downloads?
- Would it be best to move my entire website to Shopify?
Now I’m bringing the conversation here for you, so you can find your right answer if you are seeking to join the ecommerce game.
Adding ecommerce to your business means the need for visitors to add your products to an online cart, securely add their information and complete payments, plus provide you with a space to add the products to your website and receive and complete the submitted orders.
This is exactly what Shopify was created for — ecommerce
Because Shopify is an ecommerce powerhouse with many features to streamline the process as well as marketing, it makes sense that the question would come up if Shopify is what you should be using. Not to mention it has the draw of a drag and drop builder!
However, it is not your only option
While Shopify is a great option, especially if your game is physical products, it’s good to know it is not your only option. Especially if you have an existing website you are considering.
From Shopify this lower cost option allows you to create buy buttons to display on your existing website backed by Shopify. It’s similar to the PayPal buttons if you are familiar.
The beautiful website builder has both a basic and an advanced commerce option, both with varying features for an online store.
This blogging powerhouse is compatible with a free plugin called WooCommerce that adds powerful tools to your website for an online store. Plus, WooCommerce has a number of extensions you can purchase (a few free too) to add even more features allowing you to streamline the processes.
What to consider in choosing your fit for ecommerce
Okay, now that I threw three options in front of you (sorry about that!), let me help you narrow it down to your best choice by giving you a few things to consider.
Having two websites
- How does the thought of managing two websites make you feel?
- Looking at the financial investment of two websites, are you comfortable with it, both the monthly cost and the initial build if hiring help?
- Can you create a seamless experience going from one website to another for your visitors or will it create confusion?
It’s not a completely new idea to have a separate website for your store. Aileen Xu the creator of popular YouTube channel Lavendiare has her website on WordPress and a separate Shopify website for her Lavendaire shop. Popular car brand Tesla also has a separate website for their shop.
However If you are in camp of barely keeping up with your current website and not knowing if you could handle two, you likely want to stick with your existing website or move everything to one website that will work for you. The same consideration can be given to investing financially in one versus two websites.
- Shopify pricing
- Squarespace pricing
- WordPress & WooCommerce – free (option for paid themes and extensions)
Lastly in the debate of one website or two the brand strategist in me wants to make sure that you can create a seamless experience between the two websites. Building on two different platforms means that the two websites are likely to look a little different. It’s best if you can make it easy to navigate around and between the two. One downside to Shopify is that greater customization does require the knowledge of code or help from someone who has coding knowledge.
One website…even if its moving everything
- Can your current website give you everything you need in an ecommerce set-up or is it best to switch?
- Are you only selling a few products or are there plans to eventually have many products?
- Do your products require shipping?
- Can your website integrate with your existing payment platform?
- Similarly to having two websites, if you switch website platforms are you okay with the time and/or financial investment?
The very first thing to consider is if your current website can offer everything you would need for your online products and order fulfillment with their ecommerce options or if you may need to switch. You’ll be able to see what is included with the pricing pages previously linked.
In the same space, find out if your website, or where you may want to move, can connect to your existing payment platform to keep accounting easier. For example Shopify and Squarespace do not have native integration with Square, which also manages product inventory, while WooCommerce is able to connect to your Square account. All three will connect with PayPal and Stripe.
If you will have a large amount of products I’d recommend using Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce. Especially if your products require shipping, these two options offer more for streamlining order shipping and fulfillment as well as more expansive tools for managing products.
For those who are already on Squarespace and will have five or less products, especially digital downloads, time and investment wise it would be worth sticking to the platform. If you are more comfortable with the easy website builder and don’t mind having to put in a bit more work into product set up and order fulfillment, you may choose to stay with Squarespace.
For existing WordPress users, with WooCommerce it is an equal powerhouse to Shopify. Unless you are pivoting to ecommerce with physical products being the majority of your business, you may want to stick with WordPress. However, consider investing in a few of the extensions for streamlining shipping options if your products need to be shipped.
Please note if you do choose switch website platforms, be cautious of protecting the credibility you’ve built with your search engine optimization and make sure everything is optimized on the new website. Potentially losing the SEO you’ve built is one of the biggest downsides to moving your website.
Looking for help on deciding which website platform is best for you? Try my free quiz!
The opinion column
Personally, I believe it is best to have everything on one website. I’m a supporter of making things as simple as possible and managing everything in one space is ideal. One space is:
- Easier maintenance
- Lower overhead costs
- Less confusion for your visitors
- Less confusion for search engines
However if the way you can create the best experience for your customers is by having two websites, and maintenance and cost are not an issue for you then, yes please create that best experience.
Need help adding ecommerce to your online space?
Head to my connect page and send me a message.
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