Webflow E-Commerce vs. Shopify

Hey Webflow Community,

I’ve been using Webflow for quite a while now, but haven’t ever used it for e-commerce. I’ve always used Shopify for anything on that front and am quite familiar with it at this point. I’m considering a new store and wanted to get thoughts from the community on pros and cons between the two. I’m assuming that based on how long Shopify has been around and how it is a dedicated platform for e-commerce that it is more fully fleshed out with more robust features?

I’m hoping someone with extensive experience with each might be able to shed some light and provide a recommendation? I have a strong technical background from HTML, CSS, JavaScript to back-end API work - so no issues in deciding there, it’s more about the features and limitations of each and I guess how much custom work you have to do to get them into a similar state.

:webflow_heart:

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@sam-g - Without you providing a list of project requirements for a specific project it’s a tough question to answer. I don’t like limitations so Webflow’s implementation does not fit mine.

…if you aren’t based in the US, Canada, the EU or Australia, then you not only don’t get taxes automatically calculated, you can’t even set a custom tax rate. For many (without having to implement a work-around) this makes Webflow E-Commerce essentially unusable.

As Jeff says, it depends on your specific needs. But often it comes down to 2 or 3 that will make the decision for you, so here are some of the key points.

UI design support;

  • Webflow obviously gives you maximum designer-level support, and this is the ace in their hand. However there are some like Foxy who are script-based, and mostly integrate on top of your custom Webflow design.
  • Shopify, etc. give you some design control, but if you’re picky, you’ll usually find yourself in CSS and scripts soon to make things look/behave the way you want.

Overall I’m fairly impressed with the final integrated result I can achieve in simple hybrid sites. Here’s an example of Webflow + Shopify. Click add to cart to see the integrated Shopify cart.

Global design;

  • In NO WAY is Shopify perfect, but it’s pretty decent, and has a lot of dev hours under its belt, with the market share to prove it. International tax support, shipping calculators, etc- the gooey bits should be pretty well evolved.
  • Webflow is the new kid on the block, with an impressive first fight, but has a long way to reach superstardom.

Memberships

  • Do you need your users to be able to log in again, and reorder? Shopify has it.
  • Webflow, maybe, once Memberships leaves BETA.

Order fulfillment support;

  • Shopify has a full capture-to-shipping tracking system built in. That’s particularly nice if you want e.g. a logistics company or a drop shipping company to handle fulfillment for you.
  • Webflow, I don’t believe it offers much there; order capture but not tracking through to fulfillment. As far as I’m aware, it doesn’t really support external logins for logistics companies; you’d likely use an external system with webhooks, or give them an editor login (?).

Cost;
Shopify has a cheap entry tier, particularly when you’re not running a store.

Payment forms:

  • I actually can’t speak much to this, but if you hae specific forms of payment you need to be able to support like invoices and Pay-Later, Shopify can do it. Some of my clients require that.
  • Webflow… please check, if this is a requirement for you.

Hey @sam-g great question. Webflow is working hard to build up its platform and has made a lot of progress. While it may not solve all issues currently, depending on your business it may work really well and give you much more design flexibility than Shopify.

We’ve built a lot of functions to help add functionality to your stores, too. Abandoned cart recovery, reviews, simple subscription options, affiliate tracking, etc.

Here to help in case this would add any needed functions to your site if you pull the trigger on Webflow.

Hi @sam-g.
Josh with Foxy here. You might look into our seamless Webflow integration: https://foxy.io/webflow

  • Manage products with Webflow CMS
  • Sell any type of product (shippable, digital, donations, subscriptions, services, etc.)
  • 100+ gateway integrations
  • Multi-lingual
  • Multi-currency
  • Discounts and coupons
  • Powerful tax functionality
  • Powerful shipping functionality
  • Sell and accept gift cards
  • Embed a customer portal
  • Unlimited free trial
  • Zapier and Make integration
  • Monto integration

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need help getting started: hello@foxy.io

Thanks,
Josh

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It amazes me that Webflow still don’t have these features built in yet, and that you have to go elsewhere and pay another $20/mo for them. It makes you wonder. Have Webflow not yet developed these features because they’re making agreements with people running services like Monto? Or are Monto just happy to take the risk that Webflow won’t develop these features any time soon?

As was mentioned here on forum many times, WF is NOT e-commerce platform and never will be, dot.

Right. Then why do Webflow offer e-commerce, if it’s not an e-commerce platform?

That’s the right question. :wink:

And what’s the answer to it?

I do not know but my suggestion is that WF trying to bite a bit of market pie. You can get into picture when you browse this forum about this topic and after decide if WF is right tool for you to use it for e-commerce or not.

Thanks for all the feedback, definitely going to stick with Shopify for the time being. Unfortunately I don’t think I can wait for Webflow to add core features to a product that’s been out for years…

The idea of building a shop in Webflow sounded like fun, but I’m well aware of the limitations with the basic site builder, which can usually be overcome with custom code. It’s too much to risk when it comes to e-commerce in my opinion.

Maybe in a few years…

Basically Webflow and Shopify are different systems, with different priorities.
I think of it like this-

( Hey what do you think of my first Figma diagram? When devs get arty… )

Webflow excels at the UI designer experience and capability, but is relatively weak in other areas, like server-side dev support, UX features like CMS-populated autocompletes, and is has no 3rd component support or marketplace [ like Wordpress, Squarespace, Shopify, WIX do ).

So you can build the BEST-looking UIs, but you’re left to your own devices on wiring up actual functionality.

Shopify goes the opposite route. They’re very app-centric, where they provide excellent e-commerce support ( not perfect, but very solid ). But it doesn’t offer much in the way of “design” support. You choose a theme, and configure it. If you want it to work differently, you crack open the theme, setup a shopify dev environment, learn the structure, code in Liquid, etc. It’s a good design overall, but unless you’re happy swimming in source code, you’ll drown.

Pros invest the time to understand these differences so they can choose the right tool for the job. Maybe it’s both… design your layout in Webflow, and then turn it into a Shopify theme. Or build your site in Webflow, and integrate Shopify’s buy now button.

The challenge is, most real-world e-commerce projects seem to have requirements that look like this;

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The most notable CON for me are the fees. It costs more to sell products on Webflow which is a deal breaker for all my clients who need their already narrow margins.

Hey All,

The answers in here have been fantastic.

I’m curious what people think about building a Shopify Theme in Webflow using Udesly?

Hey @JoeMillion the Webflow team are working super hard to build out a lot of functions. Developing functional software (that doesn’t have tons of bugs etc.) is super time intensive though! And there are tons of use cases for each major function that are hard to anticipate in one system. That’s why the app ecosystem helps extend functionality on all major platforms. Shopify, WordPress, etc… And, no – Webflow doesn’t get any kickbacks from us. :slight_smile: We all just help each other out by building together.

Imagine not having the below basic features, and now imagine those have been missing for years.

  • You can’t partially refund customer orders. You have to fully refund it if a single item in a large order is missing or is broken.
  • Webflow doesn’t automatically generate invoices for customer orders.
  • Doesn’t support major payment gateways (like iDeal in the Netherlands) which are already supported by their Stripe integration.

When I built our family business’ website in WF after discovering it 4 years ago, I was telling our team “just be patient, of course such basic features would soon be added.”

Now I regret my decision, but it is so much hassle for us to move to Shopify at this point.