Shopify is known as an easy-to-use e-commerce solution with many outstanding features hosted by the solution itself, while Spree is one of the free e-commerce platforms that allows you to create and manage your online store.
2020 could be a really changing year for the e-commerce industry in the world. We have seen a very good turning point in online retail over the past year. With the peak at BFCM weekend for Shopify merchants, there was a phenomenal $ 5.1 billion in global sales over the famous four-day sales period – that’s 76% up from 2019. Born after Shopify, can Spree beat Shopify or not? Let’s get started!
Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, this article will help you analyze those. Let’s see which platform is most suitable for your website.
For more interests, let’s take a look at some other Shopify comparisons to broaden your choices:
What are Shopify and Spree?
Shopify is a complete eCommerce platform that helps people set up their own online store and sell products across multiple channels. Starting a Shopify store is as easy as signing up for an account and modifying existing templates. Basically, Shopify acts as a website builder. This Shopify-centric anchor provides a graphical user interface (GUI) – a way of building a website. Furthermore, Holding nearly 20% of the market share, Shopify is currently leading the ranking of top e-commerce websites, including top 10k sites, Top 100k sites, Top 1M sites, and the entire website.
On the other hand, Spree is an open-source e-commerce system, built on top of the Ruby on Rails framework. Compact user interface, easy to use, intuitive admin manager with simple operation. Detailed documentation and manuals, helping to minimize errors encountered during installation and use. Unfortunately, Spree as a latecomer, is clearly lagging and losing to Shopify in all segments of its market share.
Shopify has become so well known in e-commerce platforms, so it’s no wonder one of the leading platforms in most countries, even the most demanding ones like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and 157 other countries. Meanwhile, Spree cannot get a lead over Shopify which has outstanding features and ease of use in any country.
Up to now, there are about 337,317 websites using Shopify, while only about 3,267 websites use the Spree as an e-commerce platform. With such a large difference, Is there a possibility that Spree could overtake Shopify?
|Shopify||– Supports over 100 payment processors worldwide
– Great site performance
– Helpful add-ons for store expansion (over 1500 units)
– The simplest to use admin panel
– The storefront is designed beautifully and professionally
– No additional coding knowledge is required.
|– Customize the theme in Shopify own PHP language called “Liquid” which required you to know to program
– Advanced features for a higher price
– Shopify charges a transaction fee per sale if you’re not using Shopify Payment
– Shopify themes don’t contain microdata (a feature that optimally structures data for search engines)
|Spree||– Ideal store can be created with fully customization
– Comprehensive support package plus Ruby on Rails community offers solid and reliable support
– The backend admin system is fast, flexible and powerful
|– There are not many themes available yet
– In some cases, some “common” functionality may require custom development.
– Coding and programming skills are required
Shopify vs Spree: Pricing
Shopify offers 5 plan packages suitable for each type of customer, including 3 standard plans, 1 plan for individuals who sell via Facebook or do not need too many features and the final plan is for large businesses:
- Shopify Lite: $9 per month
- Basic Shopify: $29 per month
- Shopify: $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify: $299 per month
- Shopify Plus: $2000+ per month
The 3 standard plan packages including Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify all allow you to sell an unlimited number of products with e-commerce support features such as the ability to sell digital products, unlimited file storage, website and blog, multichannel sales, abandoned shopping cart recovery,… With a higher plan, Shopify will offer additional special support features like personal reports, professional reports, fraud analysis, gift cards,…
The Shopify Lite plan is aimed at people who want to sell products on their own existing website. This plan allows you to add a buy button to existing product pages, accept credit cards from anywhere through the point of sale (POS) app, and accept Shopify payment gateway. However, it does not include any hosting services, domain names, store builders, or any other key tools you need to create a website.
Finally, the Shopify Plus plan is aimed at premium, enterprise-grade customers with high transaction volumes. It includes a wide range of tools and features designed to streamline the e-commerce experience and is backed by an infrastructure that can handle a large number of orders per day. Contact Shopify’s support for details on this plan.
NOTE: When using a third-party payment gateway for credit card processing, Shopify charges a percentage-based transaction fee for each order. This rate is highest in the lowest price plan and decreases as the package level up. If you use Shopify Payment as your credit card processor, there are no transaction fees on any plans.
Spree is an open-source software that allows you to download it completely free. However, with some features, you need to pay a monthly fee such as hosting, security, and a merchant account among others. Plus, it also has no license or transaction costs per order.
Shopify vs Spree: Ease of use
Shopify’s dashboard makes it easy to see all of your store’s homepage and front-end elements in one place. From here, you can configure your store settings, view orders, and customer information, add/ remove/ modify products, and design your website. More advanced users can go into customization detail every aspect of their website by accessing CSS and HTML files.
Besides, Shopify offers free and premium themes, so you’ll be sure to find a theme that best suits your business. Even after choosing a theme, a few additional styling options are available to give your website a unique look. Using familiar drag and drop technology, the homepage can be easily redesigned. You just have to drag it to the desired position.
Instructions are simple and straightforward, using familiar icons and drag-and-drop technology. If you need more help or information, you can easily get assistance.
Spree targets professional web developers or individuals with a good understanding of programming. You will find it easy to use if you have skills like UNIX/LINUX, SQL, HTML/CSS, Ruby on rails. If not, you will have many difficulties in the process of building your website, consider this carefully.
Once you get into the running of the Spree, you will find its admin interface is simple and easy to manage. The main display bar includes: orders, returns, products, reports, promotions, users, and configurations.
However, the website speed will depend a lot on the machine you are using.
Shopify vs Spree: Features & Functionality
Shopify offers plenty of free and premium themes, so you’ll be sure to find one that best suits your business. Shopify offers industry-specific templates like lifestyle, food, beverage, sports, electronics, technology,… So it fits most websites and has better range of use in many website categories. This helps Shopify be appreciated in optimizing the user experience. Even after choosing a theme, a few additional styling options are available to give your website a unique look. In the dashboard, the fonts and colors for major web page elements can be changed with just a few clicks. However, advanced customization will require coding knowledge, but it does allow for an even more customized interface between pages.
Spree comes with a number of templates for you to choose from. In terms of website categories, with the smaller number of websites mentioned above, Spree hasn’t surpassed Shopify in any category of websites yet.
However, all these templates can be customized and tailored to suit the business of each store. You can even make the whole change to create your own unique looks.
Product and order management
Shopify offers a number of outstanding product-related features such as:
- Cart Abandoned: Recover missing sales by automatically emailing the prefilled cart link and customized message to the customer who didn’t complete their purchase.
- Downloadable Products: Customers can order and download digital products right from your online store.
- Product Image: The feature that helps Shopify dominate is the ability to assign an image to a specific product option (e.g. color), which then becomes the standout image of the product when selected by the customer.
- Import/Export: You can easily import or export products and customer information using a CSV file or one of Shopify’s import/export applications.
Spree also has several similar product management features to Shopify. Options like creating, editing, and even copying existing products or deleting products from the store are built into the Spree. This is especially handy with similar products. Also, you can add a detailed description of the goods.
Below is a quick breakdown highlighting all of Spree’s order features:
- Order processing: This Spree feature allows users to perform basic checkout operations such as inserting shipping information, ensuring enough stock to execute transactions, or the option to process and manually modify orders…
- Search: You can use the search bar to track the status of your orders. Also, filtering purchases by date, status, or customer name also makes managing your store easier.
- Return: You can process returned orders easily and quickly with this feature.
- Inventory settings: Spree offers a powerful inventory management system that allows you to use basic management functions for logistics, including multi-warehouse linking.
- Taxation: Spree offers fabulous tools to help handle taxes. You can convert and manage tax and shipping settings for the location where you want your business to be.
Shopify currently offers marketing solutions on social media, email, and in particular improving SEO. For SEO, Shopify uses customizable H1, title, and meta tags for each page and product on your website. Alternatively, you can customize the preview as you want it to appear in search engine results.
Not only optimizing SEO, but Spree also provides solutions for many other marketing plans such as A/B testing, email marketing, big data, upselling, referral marketing, and also features that improve the user experience like client reviews or live chat,… Plus, Spree allows you to sell omnichannel including website, wholesale, retail, mobile, and VIP guided sales.
Shopify enriches your experience and your customers with a variety of third-party apps that seamlessly integrate with your store. Web Pages created with the Shopify page builder are also hosted on their web servers. To complete the roundup, Shopify has add-on apps that help e-commerce websites run. This gives them the necessary additional functionality, such as payment processing, inventory management, shopping cart feature, delivery handling, etc. These apps can add features like marketing, social media, and customer service, among others.
With over 1,200 extensions ranging from dropshipping features to SEO,…Shopify hasn’t been surpassed by Spree, which is an open-source platform.
Spree Commerce used to offer a standalone service called Wombat, integrated with a wide variety of SaaS solutions. This feature is no longer active (stopped working in 2015). However, there are several extensions built by the open-source community and available for free. There is also an API available that can be used to build custom extensions.
Shopify has a variety of payment options for you to receive money from your customers. They have their own method called Shopify Payment (powered by Stripe).
The problem you will be charged 2% for each successful order, when paying through a 3rd party payment gateway. This is a sizable fee, if compared to other payment gateways.
The credit card rate will be from 2.9%+ 30cents for the Basic plan, and the higher the plan, the lower percentage.
Spree allows users to use multiple payment gateways, so you can edit any form of payment with no transaction fees. Spree’s payment methods include:
- Credit and debit cards: 144 supported payment gateways
- Country-specific payments
- Fast Checkout Support: PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay.
- Installment payments (combined with Afterpay): offer installment plans for customers.
Depending on your plan, there are several types of analytics reports that Shopify can create. These reports provide important insights into what products are selling (and which products are not), where visitors are coming from and how they found your online store, and integrate information to create an effective marketing plan. Google Analytics is also easily integrated into your store.
On the other hand, reporting tools are not a strong point for Spree. However, it still provides you with simple reports and allows you to integrate your website with Google Analytics, which helps you to track traffic, research insights, and other marketing models.
Both Shopify and Spree platforms allow your customers to buy gift cards with whatever amount you have set up. Cards are generated with a unique code and sent to the client instantly via email. Plus, store owners can create coupons that discount a specific amount or percentage, free shipping,…
Shopify vs Spree: Customer support
While Shopify is intuitive enough to get you started right away, there are a number of options available when you need help. Watch Shopify’s video tutorials or find quick answers by typing questions in the search field and scrolling through the results. Support is also available via chat (24/7), Twitter, email, or phone.
Also, there are discussion forums and an “E-commerce University” with free tools and resources to help grow, launch, and build your business successfully.
One of the drawbacks of using open source software is that you have to do your research with little support from the platform. Of course, there are user and developer guides, along with people on the web who might be ready to help if you get stuck.
However, the Spree offers great support called the Slack chats. Through the app, store owners can reach out and chat with other business people, and it’s available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. This can be a great resource if you need some help or simply make friends with other individuals in your niche.
Why should you choose Shopify?
Shopify is truly a leading e-commerce solution. Using Shopify, store owners can create a professional, clean, and responsive website quickly without any coding or programming knowledge. Products can be added through the terminal or by importing an existing product database. Tax and delivery settings are easily configured to help you run a website quickly. The terminal is easy to navigate and assistance is available immediately.
You should use Shopify if:
- You are new and want to build a website quickly
- You don’t know any programming skills.
- You are a dropshipping business. Shopify comes with dedicated solutions for this form.
Why should you choose Spree?
Spree is built on Ruby on Rails framework – a framework commonly used in web application design that has the advantage of helping developers to easily customize and upgrade systems flexibly and quickly. Also, Spree has built-in scalability, which means that when the number of users visiting your website is increasing, your store will easily be upgraded, changed accordingly, saving money and time.
Spree is the right choice for individuals and businesses looking for a flexible, fast, and affordable e-commerce hosting solution. However, it may require user to have programming knowledge or hire a web developer to implement your website.
In short, you should use Spree if:
- You want to upgrade your online store quickly with the Ruby on Rails framework.
- You want to avoid paying extra fees.
- You want to customize and manage the store the way you want it.
- You want to optimize website loading speed