Shopify vs. Custom eCommerce Solution. Financial Perspective

5 min read

In the previous article of the eCommerce series, we’ve already mentioned the primary benefits of customizable eCommerce solutions. Today we’ll dive deeper into a side-by-side comparison with Shopify, a complete platform that lets you start, grow and manage your business. Specifically, we’ll discuss the financial side of the question and find out what kind of solution would be more profitable for your business in the long run.

Shopify Overview

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create online stores and sell products or services. It provides a wide range of tools and features to help entrepreneurs easily set up and manage their online businesses, even without extensive technical knowledge or coding skills.

Shopify 1

It is considered one of the most popular platforms thanks to its ease of use, a wide variety of tools and features, reliable hosting and security, etc. Since we’ve already discovered the nature of custom eCommerce solutions, it’s time to figure out some of the key aspects of Shopify to make a comparison.

  • Store Creation. Shopify allows you to set up online stores quickly and easily. It provides a user-friendly interface and a variety of professionally designed themes. Thus, you can customize the design and layout of your stores using the built-in theme editor or by modifying the code directly.
  • Sales Channels. Shopify provides multiple sales channels to reach customers across different platforms. In addition to the online store, you can sell products on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, integrate with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and even set up physical point-of-sale (POS) systems.
  • Payment Processing. Shopify offers a built-in payment gateway called Shopify Payments, which allows you to accept credit card payments directly through your store. It also integrates with various third-party payment providers for alternative payment methods.
  • Order Management. Shopify simplifies order management with product tracking, fulfillment, and customer communication features. Users can view and manage orders, generate invoices and packing slips, print shipping labels, and send automated order status notifications.
  • Marketing and SEO. Shopify includes marketing tools to help promote and grow businesses. It offers features like discount codes, gift cards, email marketing, and integration with social media platforms. SEO features like customizable meta tags and URL structures help optimize store visibility in search engine results.
  • Security and Reliability. Shopify takes care of hosting, safety, and server maintenance. It provides secure and reliable infrastructure, including SSL certificates, data encryption, and backup systems, to protect customer data and ensure store availability.

Shopify vs. Custom Solution

Determining which option is more profitable, setting up a business on Shopify or a custom eCommerce platform, depends on various factors. Let’s make a side-by-side comparison of both.

Development and Maintenance Costs

Setting up a custom e-commerce platform typically involves higher initial development costs than starting on Shopify. Custom development requires hiring experienced developers and designers. Additionally, ongoing maintenance, updates, and server costs can add to the expenses. It’s important to mention that setting up a business on a custom eCommerce solution makes sense only for big companies with revenues of $1 million or more due to higher costs. 

Shopify’s monthly subscription fees may be lower than custom development costs, depending on the scope of requirements for a custom platform. The minimal price for a Shopify Plus account is $2000/month + 0,25% of your revenue. Also, Shopify takes a 2,5% fee from each payment via ShopifyPay. Even though you can choose a preferable payment provider, Shopify would still take processing fees, thereby receiving the same share. Thus, opting for custom eCommerce solutions saves you money on transactions since you can choose the most profitable option for your business. 

There’s also a problem with expanding your business on Shopify. If you decide to scale your business to the international level, additional costs might be related to currency conversion, localization, and international shipping.


Shopify allows you to launch your store relatively faster compared to building a custom platform from scratch. This faster time-to-market can be advantageous, especially if you’re looking to start selling quickly. Although the overall start is quicker on Shopify, implementing any custom feature will take a lot of time. Since it is out-of-box, you’ll need to file a request for any feature you’d like to add and wait for quite some time, as there are thousands of people like you who’d want to customize their stores in any way. You can’t control this process on Shopify, unlike custom solutions.

Flexibility and Customization

A custom eCommerce platform offers greater flexibility and customization options since it can be tailored to your business needs. This can be beneficial if your business requires unique features or workflows. Shopify operates within a predefined framework while offering customization options, limiting the extent of customization.

Marketing and Exposure

Shopify benefits from its established brand and marketplace presence. It offers built-in marketing and SEO features to help you promote your store. While custom platforms can achieve similar marketing results, building and optimizing these features may require more effort and investment.

As you can see, the profitability of your business depends on various factors beyond the platform itself. Even though custom eCommerce solutions are much more profitable than Shopify in the long run, it is not an option for small businesses. Also, when migrating to a custom platform from Shopify, you’ll likely have to pay both developers and Shopify since creating a new platform from scratch takes time, and you probably don’t want your business to stop during that period.

If you still need to decide whether to choose Shopify or a custom solution, please contact us. We’ll discuss your business and its objectives and help you inform this decision. Also, follow our digest to receive more useful articles about eCommerce and marketplaces!


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