If your planning to launch an e-commerce store, you’ll soon have to face a lot of decisions and the first one might be: which platform should I use?
Shopify or SHOPLINE?
You might have done your research or comparison on some eCommerce platforms already, and have a basic understanding of what they can do for you. The truth is, there’s no such thing as the “best eCommerce platform,” but the “eCommerce platform best for you.”
Choosing a platform depends on a lot of factors, we’ve done a detailed comparison between these two for you in the latter half of this article. But before we get into that, ask yourself these five questions below, to get a clearer idea of which platform works best for you and your business.
Question #1 What are your business objectives?
Do you want to run your business long-term and develop a brand? If so, having your own brand website is great for you to strengthen brand image and create the tone and ambiance for your brand. In addition, to avoid competitors in the marketplace such as Amazon, or eBay.
However, If you are looking to sell products online for just a short period, and not investing too much, then the online marketplace might be enough.
Question #2 How much time could you invest in your online business?
Before getting an online store, make sure you have prepared yourself to deal with customer complaints because it going to be time-consuming, and one of the perks of using marketplace is they have in-house customer services to address your buyers question so you don’t. However, there’s a chance that the customer service is not familiar with your product and could cause confusion to your buyers. However, with an online marketplace, you still have to plan all the marketing, website design, and promotion. All of these could cost you a lot of time. With a website built from SHOPLINE or IT design companies could save you a lot of time from storefront designing and web structure planning, but you will have to spend time on doing customer service on your own.
Question #3 Do you know how to build or design a website?
If you have no experience in web design and don’t have time to learn, then open source free eCommerce platform is not for you, because it requires a lot of manual works such as storefront design, domain setup, online shop building system, and more. There are a lot of things to be considered if you want to build your website from scratch, like hackers, information leaks, online fraud. If you’re incapable of handling these, then the marketplace, subscription-based platform and IT design companies might suits you better.
Question #4 How much is your budget?
This is a very important question to ask yourself. If you don’t have enough budget to start your business, there are economic choices like free web builders and online marketplace, these options allow you to start your business fast and inexpensive. Although some online marketplaces are free to post products but require you to pay transaction fees, monthly maintenance fees, and additional advertising costs. Once you add up these costs, it could be an impressive amount as well. So, instead of going after annual-based subscription platforms or IT design companies that charge you a lot of fee upfront, you can consider monthly-based subscription platforms, which doesn’t require a lot in the beginning and allows merchants to upgrade for advanced features.
Question #5 Who is your target audience?
Identify your target audience could also help you decide better which platform is best for you to build your business. For example, if your target audience is teen schoolgirls, starting from the Instagram shop might be a good idea. If you have a wider audience or selling a niche product, having a brand website might be a better choice to start your business. To get to know more about your customers, review your order and look for patterns of your customers.
After asking yourself these questions. If you think annual and monthly online store builders is a good choice to kick start your business, but still debating which platform to use? Check out this comparison between SHOPLINE and Shopify.
Both SHOPLINE and Shopify offer free trials and upgrade to unlock more features. Shopify’s price range from $29-$299 USD per month, while SHOPLINE ranges from $29-$148 USD per month. Check out their pricing pages and see what features you needed the most and pick your platform and plan accordingly.
1. Language Support
SHOPLINE’s service is more tailored to merchants in Asia, so our platform supports 2 languages (Chinese and English), include pages like FAQ, admin-panel, and blog articles. However, Shopify users are mostly from America and Canada. Thus, their backstage and tutorial articles are all in English.
2. Transaction Fees
SHOPLINE: No matter what plan you choose, the platform is free of charge of any transaction and handling fees.
Shopify: Transaction fees with Shopify are more complicated and here’s a breakdown of each plan.
Basic Shopify Plan: 2.9% and 30¢ per transaction
Shopify Plan: 2.6% and 30¢ per transaction
Advanced Shopify Plan: 2.4% and 30¢ per transaction
3. Marketing and Analytics Tools
SHOPLINE offers multiple marketing tools such as a coupon, limited time offer, free shipping and more. SHOPLINE is also partnered with Google to provide Shopping Ads for merchants. Shops are connected to Google Analytics for precise ad delivering. In addition, SHOPLINE supports easy installation of Google and Facebook pixels for merchants to do retargeting ads easily.
Shopify also provides a great number of marketing tools include shipping discounts, coupons, advertising tools and more. It’s important to mention that Shopify acquired a startup called Kit CRM, the company helps businesses to interact with their customers over text messages. The software also supports the merchant to send out automated emails to its customers, make Facebook ads, summarize orders in the selected period, set up discounts, give advice on marketing strategies, and help with the 404 error page, and more. The Kit CRM is priced for an additional $10 USD per month.
4. Ease of operation of admin-panel
Both Shopify and SHOPLINE offer a full-fledged platform and web structure, which means it’s harder to make changes and modifications. However, SHOPLINE allows merchants to write CSS on their own to create a fully customized storefront design.
Shopify allows merchants to write their own CSS. However, modifications on Shopify requires more development protocols to follow, if merchants don’t have experience in front-end design, making adjustments on Shopify can be challenging.
5. Customer service
SHOPLINE provides unlimited consultations and customer services to all merchants. Our customer success team will address your questions if you have one. Before merchants upgrade to a paid subscription, they can consult with the customer success team to ensure the logistics and payment gateways are successfully integrated.
Both SHOPLINE’s and Shopify’s customer services can be reached through email, online chat, and call.
6. Logistics methods and payment gateways
Shopify’s merchants are mostly based in North America, Europe. Their logistic company it works with are FedEx, UPS, USPS, and more. It also partners with Shipwire, Rakuten, Amazon to provide fulfillment alternatives.
SHOPLINE’s merchants are scattered across Asia, we offer local logistics and payment gateways accordingly. For example, in Taiwan, customers can track and receive their packages from Ezship, 7-11 & Family Mart in-store pick up, and many other logistics providers. In addition, SHOPLINE offers a lot of options for third-party payment gateways to integrate such as ECPay, PayPal, LINE Pay, and local banks. These logistics methods and payment gateways could save your customers a lot of international transaction and shipping fees. Of course, these payment methods also allow credit cards from foreign countries.
7. Types of promotion
Both of these platforms offer a lot of types of discounts and promotions, such as dollar value discount, a percentage discount, free shipping discount, or set sale prices for individual products.
Also, both platforms allow merchants to set expiration dates and generate bulk coupon codes.
8. Product upload limit
All of Shopify’s plan offers unlimited product uploads.
SHOPLINE’s basic plan offers 50 product uploads; an advanced plan offered 1,000 product uploads; with the premium plan, you get unlimited product uploads.
9. Length of Free-Trial
SHOPLINE offers a 30-days free trial while Shopify offers 14-days. Your store won’t vanish after the free-trial ended on both platforms. If you’re new to e-Commerce and need more time to get familiar with the admin-panel to plan and execute your business, with SHOPLINE’s longer free trial, you get to have more time to evaluate your business objectives and choose a plan that suits you the most.
SHOPLINE is widely used in Asia with over 150,000 brands using it. We are specialized in providing services to merchants in Asia, and our cross-border eCommerce service also supports in international shipping and payment gateways that are tailored to local markets, which made us stand out from the competition. At SHOPLINE, we also hold on-site seminars and workshops for merchants to learn and grow as a community.
From the 10 features we compared above, both allow you to build an online store with a breeze, yet offers great customer services and tools to make your business going.
However, it really depends on which market do you want to serve. SHOPLINE is a bilingual platform that allows users to operate in English and Chinese. SHOPLINE’s merchants are mostly based in Asia, it would be great for individual sellers or national companies to consider SHOPLINE if their brands are looking to expand into Asia markets. With SHOPLINE’s offices gradually growing in different cities in Asia, our team aims to offer local support to our merchants, while no other platform has been able to do this yet. On the other hand, Shopify might work for brands that want to grow and in North America and Europe markets.
Here’s a chart below for easy comparison:
|Language||Supports English & Chinese||English only|
|Transaction Fees||Free||2.4-2.9% based on the selected plan|
|Marketing||Suitable for merchants with basic digital marketing knowledge||Requires extensive resources and digital marketing experience to operate|
|Logistics & Payments||PayPay/7-11/EzShip/T-Cat/O-Pay/Tai-Shin bank/Bank Sino Pac||FedEx/UPS/USPS/PayPal/Stripe|
|Web Design||Allows customized CSS||Limited CSS customization|
|Customer Services||Email/phone/online chat/customer success consultation appointment||Email/phone/online chat|
|Discount & Promotions||Well-rounded discount options||Well-rounded discount options|
|Product Upload Limit||Based on the selected plan||Unlimited|
|Localization||Support local and online markets in Taiwan and South-East Asia||Support online markets in North America and Europe|
By the end of this comparison, hopefully, you’ll know which of these two platforms represents the best e-Commerce platform for your particular business!