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Shopify Versus GoDaddy for Ecommerce

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Steve Norman
Shopify Versus GoDaddy for Ecommerce

Ecommerce is a booming industry these days. More than 21% of the world population shops online, and to cater to this huge pool of buyers, there are between 12 to 24 million eCommerce sites globally. These numbers are increasing by leaps and bounds, and if you too are trying to break into this industry, there is no better time than now.

Building an eCommerce website has never been easier. There are a lot of platforms to choose from – from easy-to-use drag and drop website builders to highly-customizable platforms.

With so many options, it gets difficult to figure out which platform will work best for you. Accordingly, we will be comparing two eCommerce website builder platforms – Shopify and GoDaddy (also known as GoCentral).

Comparing the Features

Shopify is the 2nd biggest e-commerce platform with more than 20% share of the market. It is a complete end-to-end solution that gives you everything you need to grow your online store.

GoDaddy, on the other hand, is the largest domain registrar globally. In addition, they also provide hosting and eCommerce website builder platforms (known as GoCentral). You can build stores in a matter of minutes by employing the ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence).

Both platforms have a few common characteristics and some contrasting features.

From a birds-eye perspective, it is safe to say that if you’re looking to build a huge online store, Shopify is the right choice. However, if it is a smaller store with lesser functionalities, GoCentral is a better option.

To help you understand better, here’s a feature-wise comparison of what each of these platforms offers.

Ease of Use

Both platforms have done an outstanding job when it comes to ease of use. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easier for users to build online stores quickly and easily.

Nonetheless, there are some distinct features that these platforms offer.

For instance, GoDaddy helps you build websites in a matter of minutes with the use of ADI, but it limits your creative freedom. You will find it difficult to customize brand elements and other attributes.

On the other hand, Shopify is extremely customizable. You can modify or amend themes and other elements as per the store’s unique requirements.

Product Database

Shopify maintains all of the products on a MYSQL database. On the frontend, it allows sellers to add and update information (availability, price, variants, and more) from the Admin Panel. You can either add one product at a time or bulk import lists of products.

In addition to these, you can also add or manage products using the built-in POS and barcode scanner.

You can even edit the search engine preview of products as needed.

GoDaddy gives you two options to add products in your store – add one product at a time, and import a CSV spreadsheet.

Under the Admin Panel, it has a product screen that users can use to add a new product or make changes to information about related products.

Shopping Cart

2 out of 3 users leave their shopping cart midway. That is when Shopify’s abandoned cart recovery feature helps store owners retain the bounced customer.

With this feature, you’ll be able to interact with those users who had previously added items to the cart but never placed an order.

It allows you to send automated emails with an offer/discount code or just a reminder, assuming they had signed in to your store. It is easy to use a feature, however, it is extremely limited.

Although the platform doesn’t allow you to set custom rules or triggers, you can build sequences and segregated lists using other extensions from the store. However, this feature is only available if you subscribe to the high-tier plans.

GoDaddy too has an abandoned cart recovery feature, but it isn’t as robust as its competitor. We can’t blame them for this as they are not a dedicated eCommerce platform, but just a website builder.

They offer this feature under Marketing, but it doesn’t provide much in terms of customization. You will be able to set-up a few email templates with offers and define the trigger (time limit). It is difficult to segregate lists and run targeted campaigns.

Order Database

Whenever a customer places an order on your store on Shopify, the details are added to your customer database.

If customers sign-up on your store, they have the option to add their address and other details for easier checkout (the builder uses autofill to make the order process easier). It maintains the database of customer’s orders, cancelations, the current status of orders, etc. You can view them using the Customers screen on the Admin panel.

Moreover, embedded functionalities even enable you to export and import the order and customer lists, and manage the status of the orders as you fulfill them.

Furthermore, there are a lot of additional extensions designed to help you better manage your customers and their orders.

GoDaddy offers a limited order database. You can review and change the status of the orders from the Sales menu. The limited flexibility is fine for smaller stores, but it can be a major concern for larger stores with a wider array of products.

Onboarding and UX

When it comes to onboarding and UX, both platforms have done good (in different ways). Shopify has maintained its lesser-clicks style, and everything from signup to launching your online store is easy and quick.

They have designed a pretty straightforward screen and have ample tutorials to walk you through the process.

Although the interface is easy to navigate, it has a lot of additional features, technical settings, and app options that can get extremely confusing.

By comparison, GoDaddy does the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is answer a few questions, and it will build an online store for you. Once done, you will be able to customize the site as you deem fit.

Although it takes just a few minutes to go live with a new store, it has extremely limited customization options.

Shipping

There isn’t any other platform that offers as much flexibility with shipping as Shopify. From setting up customized delivery rates to 3rd party plugins and integrations, store owners get access to everything they need to ensure their customers receive the orders on time.

You will be able to define the shipping rates by region, weight, and quantity.

GoCentral offers you two ways of adding shipping methods and charges – (a) for all products in your catalog, (b) for individual products. You will need to define the weight and dimensions as these will be used to calculate the rates.

Unfortunately, you have to do a lot of fine-tuning to get the rates correct.

Our Verdict: Although Shopify has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, GoDaddy’s ADI makes it extremely easy to build a full-fledged store by answering just a few questions. Both are perfect in their own ways when it comes to UX and onboarding.

If you’re looking for more customization and online help, Shopify is the better option as it has a better order management system. Plus, it allows you to add extensions to manage customer data and orders easily.

Templates

Be it themes or marketing templates, Shopify has a better library of both and offers more flexibility and customization options.

Though it features a huge list of options, only a few are free. If you have the budget, you can opt for paid themes from the store. Alternatively, you can use one of the available templates and customize it as required. Or, you can even get an online store exclusively developed by professionals.

They have made it extremely easy to customize themes.

Unfortunately, GoDaddy has a limited number of themes to choose from, and all are rather simple. You won’t be able to create a fancy website using these options.

Our Verdict: If you’re looking for greater flexibility and customization, Shopify is the right choice. If you need a basic online store with minimal features, GoDaddy fits the requirement.

Tools

What differentiates the best eCommerce builders from the rest? It is the tools and extensions that they offer to make e-commerce marketing easier.

Out of all the platforms, Shopify has some extensive marketing features that make it extremely easy for store owners to scale their business.

It allows you to reach your target audience by using content marketing, social media, and SEO. You can boost the store traffic using the built-in blog feature. The SEO feature allows you to edit meta descriptions, title tags, and product details for higher visibility on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It has a blend of 4 important features that every eCommerce needs – marketing, campaign management, automation, and reporting.

You can promote the products using online marketing campaigns like Google Smart Shopping, Facebook and Instagram ads.

You’ll even be able to assign tasks and receive tips and updates from your personal assistant, Kit. This feature allows you to drive sales, boost awareness, and email customers automatically. With extensive marketing dashboards, you will be able to avoid guesswork and run better campaigns over time.

Moreover, you’ll have access to marketing dashboard reports that allow you to track everything across every channel, from one single screen.

GoDaddy also features a few built-in tools that get the job done, however, it is not as powerful as that of other ecommerce website builders. GoCentral has the Websites + Marketing feature that gives store owners access to SEO, social integration, and email marketing.

GoDaddy Insight presents the website with clear, tailor-made action plans so you can excel. You'll receive feedback for you and your company, from social media activity to online reviews. It allows you to handle most of the marketing tasks from the same screen including sending out email marketing updates and maintaining the company accounts on Facebook, Twitter and more.

Better still, you can accomplish all of this from any internet-connected device.

Our Verdict: GoDaddy has some neat features that are beneficial for small stores, but limitations on marketing capabilities. It is good in its own way, but doesn’t stand a chance with Shopify, which dominates this feature as it is an ecommerce only platform. 

Design Flexibility

GoDaddy has limited themes and it doesn’t allow much room for customization. The available themes and designs are extremely basic. The website builder doesn’t allow you to add 3rd party extensions or tools, which makes it difficult for store owners to implement new ideas or flashy designs.

On the other hand, Shopify is highly customizable. You can edit each and every aspect of your website. If the Free themes don’t suit your requirement, you can buy the paid themes or even get a custom store developed by the experts.

To top it all, it allows seamless integration with 3rd party tools to increase a store’s functionality.

Our Verdict: GoDaddy uses ADI to build you a website, hence there isn’t much room for creativity. It is an ideal choice if you want to get started quickly.

However, if you’re looking to carve a niche website for your brand, Shopify is the way to go.

Performance

Both platforms offer top-notch performance for your online store. GoDaddy has its data center in Phoenix, Arizona, and its performance is based on your needs. They have multiple plans to choose from depending on email processing power, speed, storage, and other resources.

To offer a great customer experience, they have been continuously improving the efficiency of their applications and facilities. With 1-click installations for standard web apps, you can get your website up and running quickly.

The company's 24/7 security monitoring and DDoS protection allows you to make sure that your site is online, loading fast, and hacker-free. Considering the cost and benefits, this is undoubtedly one of the best deals.

Shopify focuses on eCommerce and has its data center in Ontario, Canada. It is fast and features spectacular uptime. Additionally, it allows you to further optimize the themes and images for maintaining a quicker load time. You can choose from a lot of themes that score above 80 on Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

If you think the store loads slow, you can even merge javascript and stylesheet files to a single file and enhance your store performance. To top it all, you will also get a PCI-compliant interface and a free SSL for added security.                                                  

Our Verdict: Both are good when it comes to performance and speed. But, if you are looking to further optimize the website, you won’t be able to get enough flexibility with GoDaddy.

On the other hand, you will even be able to merge CSS and JS files to a singular file using Shopify. Talk about numbers, and Shopify (99.98%) has better uptime.

Pricing

A head-to-head comparison between either platform is difficult as both are very contrasting products. This is mainly because one is an eCommerce only platform, while the other is a domain registrar, hosting service, and website builder solution.

Shopify offers you a 14-day free trial before you commit to a paid plan. The Basic Plan starts at $29 per month whereas the highest-tier plan costs $299 per month and grants you all the advanced features you need to scale your online store. For many small businesses, the pricing might seem a bit high.

However, this per month price tag seamlessly transforms into an unrivaled suite of apps designed specifically to optimize eCommerce services.

In addition to the three core plans, you can also get a custom quote for another tailor-made plan known as Shopify Plus.

In an apples-to-apples comparison, you’ll see that their lowest plans are more feature-rich than GoDaddy’s highest-tier plans. That being said, it is also important to note that the prices are cheap compared to other service providers.

Their plans start as low as $10 per month and unlike the competition, you’ll receive a 1-month free trial for all the plans.

Additionally, the lower-priced plans only deliver basic features whereas advanced features like Premium DNS management, DudaMobile, Website Accelerator, SSL certificate and more are only available with the Ultimate Plan. Nonetheless, they aim to optimize the website aspect of its offering while maintaining a moderate price point with resources such as on-the-go design, search engine optimization (SEO), and mobile-friendly app templates from day one.

Our Verdict: The basic features of Shopify explain its substantial price point for those interested in building a long-term online business platform without much need for extra consideration.

Yet, GoDaddy may still be a worthwhile option for price-conscious business owners, particularly if you're just beginning to experiment with online sales.

Hosting

GoDaddy comes with a free domain name for all new users, which isn't particularly surprising because the platform is one of the internet's biggest domain registrars. Due to the nature of its hosting business alongside the bustling domain registrar operations, it offers options for virtual and dedicated servers as well.

The company makes the upgrade process as streamlined as possible, so you shouldn't shy away from scaling your site as your business needs grow given the platform will scale alongside your business.

Shopify has a free subdomain on MyShopify.com, and that's pretty much it. It won't offer you the same degree of robustness in terms of technological capabilities compared to other web hosts, but the company's eCommerce apps are on point.  

One notable difference is that the former is a dedicated hosting provider, while the latter is a shared hosting platform (similar to most eCommerce only platforms).

Our Verdict: GoDaddy wins the hosting feature. They have great uptime, lightning-fast loading times, and a free domain name. You will also get a money-back guarantee for 30 days.

Security

When running an online store, security is one of the most important factors to consider. Shopify, for instance, has established itself amongst the best SaaS platforms.

Under e-commerce security, the top 5 factors to consider are – (a) Customer Data, (b) Financial Data (credit cards, transactions, etc.), (c) Fraud Protection, (d) SSL, and (e) Admin Security.

It complies with PCI level 1 for the processing of credit cards, indicating the highest standards of compliance. You don’t have to pay a penny for this feature.

Customer data is maintained securely within the ecosystem, but you need to be cautious of the unofficial 3rd party applications and extensions. It also has an excellent system for fraud prevention to flag potentially fraudulent orders so you can review them manually before processing.

Though you will get pre-built SSL with your online store on GoDaddy at no additional cost, the cost of SSL certificates can go much higher after the 1st year.

Moreover, every other feature such as Website Backup and Security will cost you extra. 

Our Verdict: Shopify is more secure than any other eCommerce platform in the market. It has everything – PCI compliance, SSL, Fraud Prevention, and more built directly into their plans. 

Payment Options

GoDaddy supports three core payment options, PayPal, Square, and Stripe. More importantly, however, the platform does not yet support payments from digital wallets, meaning you might lose out on some customers.

The amount you pay for credit card transactions is directly related to the payment gateway itself, and you are paid at a standard rate of 2.2%+ $0.30 per fee on average.

In comparison, you’ll gain access to a lot of options with Shopify. It allows you to integrate almost every type of payment gateway in your store.

You can use their in-built payment system without paying any transaction fees, or any third-party app but with a fee on every transaction. Cards, digital wallets, crypto – there’s no limit. You can even sell in different currencies across the globe.

The transaction charges vary by their plans and range around 2.4% to 2.9% + $0.30 (fixed fee) for each transaction.

Our Verdict: Both are unique in their own ways. With Shopify, you have the option to integrate over 15 gateways, but there’s a transaction fee involved. On the other hand, with GoDaddy, you get limited options, but you won’t pay transaction fees (just the standard card processing fee). 

Customer Service

Shopify provides 24/7 phone and live chat support, and customers have access to social media and email support as well. Furthermore, customers also have links to a website that can assist you with any problems you might encounter, meaning you’re never left alone to solve problems on your own.

GoDaddy also has on-phone and live-chat platforms 24/7 help. Additionally, its dedicated Twitter account is quick to respond to queries.

For users comfortable finding their own answers, access to a base of knowledge where they can find necessary information is valuable. However, the support center has more of an upselling vibe than actually solving problems.

Our Verdict: The clear winner is Shopify as they provide more support options, forums, and extensive tutorials compared to the other option. 

Our Pick

If you’re looking to set-up a full-fledged eCommerce store, there is no better option than Shopify. It gives you everything you need to grow your store from a single user interface. If you want a basic online store with limited features, then GoDaddy is a perfect choice.

The prices are another point to consider, and sure, GoDaddy has lower prices. However, it also means more limited functionalities.

An eCommerce store built on GoDaddy simply won’t be able to compete with a store built on an eCommerce only platform.

That being said, the final decision rests on you. Make sure you take into consideration your long-term goals and marketing plans before you commit to an eCommerce platform.