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Improve your Craft CMS skills

Craft CMS Vs Shopify - Which Is Better?

10 min read
Craft CMS Vs Shopify

Choosing the right platform is crucial for building a successful online presence. This in-depth comparison of Craft CMS and Shopify will help you determine the best solution for your specific needs. Weigh the pros and cons of these two popular platforms across key factors like features, scalability, and pricing. Gain the insights required to make an informed decision when selecting a CMS or ecommerce solution for your website or store.

For customizable content sites, Craft CMS is better with its flexible content modelling and templating. For ecommerce sites, Shopify is superior with its purpose-built storefront capabilities, 6,000+ apps, built-in payment processing, and exceptional uptime and speed. Overall, Craft excels for content while Shopify dominates for online sales.

Platform Overviews

What is Craft CMS?

Craft CMS is a flexible, user-friendly content management system (CMS) that is optimized for building customized sites and managing content.

At its core, Craft allows you to create a custom field and content architecture to match the needs of your site. You can create custom content types, fields, and taxonomies to manage any type of content. For example, you can create a "News" content type with custom fields for the article title, subtitle, author, post date, categories, hero image etc.

This flexible modelling of content makes it easy to build sites with diverse content needs. Craft also has an intuitive control panel that makes it easy for non-developers to manage content.

Overall, Craft provides a customizable framework and tools required to build a content-rich website - it handles content modeling, editing interfaces and delivers content via APIs/templates. This makes it well-suited for sites like blogs, documentation portals, educational sites and other content-heavy use cases.

Craft CMS Key Features

Some of the major features and capabilities of Craft CMS include:

  • Intuitive Admin UI: Craft has a user-friendly control panel that allows you to easily manage content, users, assets, fields, and more. The admin interface is fast, flexible and purpose-built for content editors.

  • Custom Fields & Sections: You can create custom fields and content sections to capture any type of content needed for your site. This includes things like titles, images, tables, videos, relationships and more.

  • Frontend Content APIs: Craft exposes all content via APIs and templating languages like Twig. This makes it easy for developers to output content on the frontend.

  • Plugin Ecosystem: There are hundreds of free and paid plugins that extend Craft's functionality. Plugins provide things like SEO tools, performance enhancements, integrations and more.

  • Multi-Site Support: Craft CMS can manage multiple sites from a single control panel. You can share or isolate content, users, fields and other elements between sites.

  • Developer-Friendly APIs: Craft has robust APIs for managing content, users, assets and more from custom apps and scripts. This makes it very extensible.

  • Scalable Cloud Hosting: Craft can be hosted on managed cloud platforms like Craft CMS Cloud for easy scalability. It also supports major databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQL Server.

Craft provides powerful and flexible tools for modeling, managing, and delivering content to build customized sites.

Craft CMS Use Cases

Craft CMS is intended for sites with diverse and complex content needs that require a custom or flexible architecture. Some examples of sites well-suited for Craft include:

  • Blogs & Editorial Sites: Craft is great for building blog sites. It provides tools for managing blog posts, categories, authors, SEO, comments and more out of the box.

  • Knowledge & Docs Portals: Craft's flexible content modeling allows you to easily create structured docs with tables of content, versions, nested sections and more.

  • Educational Sites: Craft's custom fields and sections enable you to model complex content like courses, lessons, instructors and dynamically relate content.

  • Marketing Websites: Craft provides SEO tools, flexible templating and content APIs perfect for marketing sites that need to manage diverse content.

  • Government & Non-Profit Websites: Craft has multi-site management, custom fields and hierarchical structures suited for large government, university and nonprofit sites.

  • Web Applications: Craft's content APIs integrate well with web and mobile apps that need content capabilities.

Craft CMS caters to organizations with complex or custom content needs that want an open and flexible CMS solution. It's well suited for content-heavy sites.

What is Shopify

Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform designed for starting and managing an online retail business. It provides all the tools and capabilities required to build and operate an online store.

At its core, Shopify enables merchants to easily create an online storefront, showcase products, accept orders and process payments. It handles the full ecommerce operations like shopping carts, checkout flows, shipping and transactions.

Beyond just online store capabilities, Shopify also provides tools for managing customers, inventory, payouts, reporting and more. The platform also offers flexibility to extend functionality via an app store.

Overall, Shopify aims to make selling online and starting an ecommerce business fast and easy. It handles the technical complexities while giving merchants complete control of their brand, products and customers.

Shopify Key Features

Some of the major features and capabilities of Shopify include:

  • Online Store Builder: Shopify provides themes and templates to easily build a stunning online storefront and customize it.

  • Sales Channels: Sell across multiple sales channels including web, mobile, social media, online marketplaces, brick-and-mortar and POP retail.

  • Payments & Shipping: Shopify has built-in payment processing, shipping labels, and carriers like UPS and FedEx to manage orders.

  • Inventory Management: Automatically track and manage inventory across sales channels and locations. Get notifications for low inventory.

  • Reporting: Detailed reports provide insight into sales, customers, growth metrics, marketing ROI and more.

  • App Store: Shopify has an app store with thousands of apps to extend functionality like marketing, accounting, analytics and more.

  • Discount & Promo Tools: Create and manage discounts, coupons and promo codes to run marketing campaigns and sales.

Shopify provides a robust set of ecommerce features to start and manage an online retail business easily.

Shopify Use Cases

Shopify caters to entrepreneurs, small businesses, designers, brands and enterprises looking to sell online. Some examples include:

  • Online Retail Stores: Shopify is a go-to platform for launching a standalone online retail store and selling products directly via an online storefront.

  • Brick-and-Mortar Retail: Shopify enables traditional brick-and-mortar retail shops to easily build an online store as an added sales channel.

  • Dropshipping Businesses: Shopify's integration with suppliers and logistics networks make it popular for starting dropshipping businesses.

  • Private Label Brands: Entrepreneurs use Shopify to launch their own private label brands and showcase their products online.

  • Pop-Up & Flash Sales: Shopify tools for discounts, inventory tracking and payments help pop-up and flash sale businesses.

  • B2B eCommerce: Shopify Plus caters to B2B companies with capabilities like advanced user permissions, bulk orders and price lists.

Shopify is suited for any business looking to establish an online sales presence quickly and easily. It scales from small businesses to large enterprises.

Еase of Use

Learning Curves

Both Craft CMS and Shopify aim to provide an intuitive user experience, but their learning curves can vary depending on the user's technical proficiency.

For beginners with minimal technical expertise, Shopify typically has a gentler initial learning curve. Its admin interface uses simple, easy-to-understand terminology and provides automated setup wizards that guide users. The platform is purpose-built for ecommerce so even first-time users can quickly grasp core concepts like products, collections, and orders. Shopify also has a thriving community that creates extensive learning resources.

Craft CMS provides greater flexibility and customization potential, but this does add some initial complexity for utter beginners. Creating custom fields, sections, and taxonomies requires learning Craft-specific concepts. The control panel exposes advanced configuration options that newcomers may find overwhelming. However, the admin UI uses clear language and provides guidance throughout. Resources like official and community documentation help shorten the learning curve.

For developers and technical users, Craft CMS offers a more intuitive experience. Its modular concepts like fields, sections, and entries will feel familiar to those with previous CMS experience. The UI controls and settings align to common development paradigms like REST APIs, JSON, and templating languages. Overall, Craft embraces technical conventions that developers will recognize. Shopify uses simpler abstractions better suited for less technical users.

Both platforms offer features to simplify the editorial experience for content editors. Shopify and Craft provide interfaces tailored for managing and publishing content that limit exposure to technical complexity.

In summary, Shopify offers the easiest ramp up for total beginners, while Craft provides more familiarity for technical users. But both platforms scale well, providing tools catered to users of all skill levels.

Admin Interfaces

The Craft CMS and Shopify admin interfaces take different approaches, each optimized for their primary use cases.

The Craft admin prioritizes flexibility and exposing advanced configuration options. The interface groups related settings into expandable collapsible sections. For example, custom fields, entries, and categories for a "News" section are grouped logically. This provides visibility into the custom content model. While advanced at first glance, the UI surfaces key info upfront while allowing users to dig deeper.

In contrast, Shopify defaults to a highly simplified admin experience focused exclusively on key ecommerce tasks like managing products, orders, and customers. Advanced configuration lives hidden behind secondary menus. This creates a clean, approachable interface. Shopify also uses colorful icons, charts, and UI elements to provide visual cues.

Both admin interfaces allow extensive customization itself. Craft offers a utility bar where users can rearrange, add, or remove elements. Shopify enables users to rename, add, or delete menu sections.

When managing content, Craft provides robust tools optimized for diverse content. Shopify adopts a commerce-centric approach with streamlined product and inventory management.

For cross-platform usage, Craft provides native mobile apps for iOS and Android. Shopify offers a mobile-optimized web interface but no dedicated mobile apps.

Craft exposes advanced options but uses clear organization, while Shopify prioritizes simplicity and clarity. Both are highly customizable to user preferences.

Customization Options

Craft CMS provides excellent customization capabilities to tailor experiences thanks to its modular architecture. Developers can leverage hundreds of plugins and deep integration options to add advanced functionality to sites.

Shopify also enables customization, but takes a different approach. Shopify relies on an app ecosystem that layers on top of a tightly integrated core platform. Users can mix and match apps to achieve custom configurations without core platform changes.

For templating, Craft provides complete control over frontend templates using Twig markup. Developers can build fully custom site and theme design and logic. Shopify uses Liquid markup that exposes customizable template structures while restricting some advanced logic for security.

Craft allows custom fields, sections, taxonomies, etc to create custom content models. While Shopify has more rigid content structures optimized for commerce.

Both platforms allow tweaking configuration settings like image sizes, URLs, menus, etc. But Craft generally offers lower-level configuration access.

For branding, Craft allows complete UI customization to create white-labeled experiences. Shopify enables logo, color, and styling changes but retains its core interface elements.

In terms of integration, Craft exposes REST APIs allowing extensive integration capabilities with other apps and platforms. Shopify also has a robust API but not as low-level as Craft.

So in summary, Craft CMS provides excellent high-level customization capabilities for developers, while Shopify focuses more on user customization via apps and settings. Both platforms are highly customizable depending on the use case.

Features and Functionality

Content and Asset Management

Craft CMS provides robust capabilities for building fully customized content experiences. It enables creating custom content types, fields, taxonomies, authoring interfaces and more. Developers have full control over content modeling and frontend delivery.

In contrast, Shopify is not a headless CMS. It has streamlined content capabilities purpose-built for commerce. Shopify offers simplified interfaces for managing blog posts, pages, navigation menus and file uploads. The structures are pre-defined and optimized for retail sites.

For authoring, Craft enables creating custom interfaces tailored to content creators using its field builder and draft/revision capabilities. Shopify provides basic WYSIWYG editors for core content entities.

Craft offers native support for multi-site content sharing and publishing workflows. Shopify publishing centers on a single ecommerce site.

For media management, Craft provides robust digital asset management with custom fields, tags and organization capabilities. Shopify offers a simplified media library focused on products and blogs.

Both platforms support SEO capabilities like metadata management. But Craft provides greater extensibility for advanced features.

So in summary, Craft is built as a fully customizable CMS enabling complete content flexibility. Shopify offers streamlined content tools purpose-built for ecommerce sites.

Commerce and Sales Features

As an ecommerce platform, Shopify offers a very robust set of commerce capabilities out of the box. This includes tools for products, inventory, shipping, payments, taxes, discounts, orders and more.

Craft CMS is a headless CMS lacking integrated ecommerce features. However, there are hundreds of ecommerce plugins like Craft Commerce, Google Shop Manager, and Cartwerk that add ecommerce functionality.

For products, Shopify enables creating and managing products with details like variants, pricing, media, etc. Craft entries can mimic products but require custom development. Shopify also automates product publishing across sales channels.

Shopify has built-in support for payments, shipping carriers, and order workflows. Craft requires integrating third-party services via plugins.

Both platforms support discount capabilities like coupons and promotions to drive sales. But

Shopify is tailored for commerce use cases with more advanced reporting.

Shopify provides extensive order, customer and inventory management tools accessible from a central dashboard. Craft offers some customer management functionally but no native inventory or fulfilment capabilities.

Shopify is a purpose-built ecommerce platform that provides significantly more robust commerce functionality out of the box compared to Craft.

Reporting and Analytics

Shopify provides custom reporting capabilities tuned for ecommerce insights. It offers report builder tools to create custom reports on sales, customers, growth metrics and more. Users can filter and segment reports as needed.

Disadvantages of Craft CMS – lacks built-in reporting features aside from basic content insights like edit histories.

Developers would need to create custom analytics tools leveraging the APIs. There are plugins that augment reporting.

Both platforms support integrating third-party analytics tools. Shopify and Craft allow configuring Google Analytics for detailed site insights and integrating business intelligence tools via APIs.

Shopify provides an analytics dashboard surfaces key metrics and charts for one-click insights into the business. Craft analytics would need to be custom developed.

For sales and order reporting, Shopify enables monitoring sales across channels, tracking fulfillment, identifying best-sellers, and more. Craft does not provide sales reports out of the box.

In terms of performance, Shopify provides page load speed insights, UX reports, and other metrics to optimize conversions. Craft requires integrating separate tools.

So in summary, Shopify offers significantly more extensive and purpose-built reporting and analytics capabilities compared to Craft CMS. But Craft enables fully custom reporting solutions.

Design and Themes

Theme Marketplaces

Both Craft CMS and Shopify provide access to large theme marketplaces with options for free and paid premium themes.

The Shopify Theme Store offers over 6,000+ themes ranging from free to $180+. It has themes tailored for diverse industries and business types beyond just standard ecommerce. Popular premium themes like Debut, Brooklyn, and Express see widespread use.

The Craft Plugin Store has over 500+ Craft CMS themes from independent developers and studios like Mister Green, TopShelfThemes, and Viget. Pricing ranges from free to $200+ for complex premium themes. There are themes optimized for blogs, magazines, docs sites and more.

For customization, Shopify themes allow editing colors, fonts, layouts and design via the UI but code access is constrained for security. Craft provides full developer access to theme code using common web dev languages and frameworks.

Both platforms have active communities of designers and developers that create themes, providing plenty of quality options. Overall, the two marketplaces are comparable in their size, selection, quality, and pricing.

Customization Capabilities

Craft CMS provides extensive customization capabilities for designers and developers to build fully custom themes. It supports using languages like Twig, Vue, React and Sass. You get complete control over templates and frontend logic.

Shopify also provides customization options but within guardrails. Shopify themes use Liquid markup and a theme editor for modifying templates and styles through the UI. But direct access to source code is constrained to protect core platform integrity. The customization strikes a balance between flexibility and security.

For branding, Craft enables fully white-labeled themes without any leftover CMS traces visible to users. Shopify allows branding and styling customization but retains some core interface elements.

Crafts developer-centric approach gives designers more advanced tools but also requires more technical expertise. Shopify opts for user-friendly customization accessible to less technical users.

Both platforms support mobile-optimized, responsive themes out of the box. Craft requires building this support natively, while Shopify themes handle responsiveness automatically.

In summary, Craft provides full control over themes for advanced customization, while Shopify takes a more guided, secure approach to modifications.

SEO Optimization

Shopify and Craft CMS both provide SEO capabilities but take slightly different approaches.

The default Shopify themes handle SEO best practices out of the box like compressed resources, optimized metadata, proper semantics and valid markup. This provides robust SEO without configuration. Shopify also offers an SEO app for advanced optimization.

Craft requires more manual optimization as themes will vary. But it provides SEO utilities like metadata management, slug control, sitemap support, and link/image optimization. There are also plugins for advanced functionality.

For page speed, Shopify automatically optimizes storefront performance. Craft gives flexibility but developers will need to manually address page weight, caching, minification etc.

Shopify’s hosted platform also guarantees fast, secure page loads compared to self-hosted Craft sites.

Both systems provide SEO schema markup support for things like product data. They integrate analytics tools like Google Analytics.

Overall, Shopify delivers excellent SEO capabilities out of the box with its themes and managed hosting. Craft is more flexible but requires manual optimization by developers.

Developer Resources

APIs and SDKs

Both Craft CMS and Shopify provide developer APIs and SDKs to enable custom integrations and extensions.

Craft offers a robust REST API that exposes all platform capabilities and content. Developers get full access to core Craft models and schemas. The API enables building custom frontends, headless integrations, and more. There are official client libraries for PHP, Node, Python and more.

Shopify also has a REST API and SDKs for accessing commerce capabilities. The API provides access to products, customers, orders and more. Shopify uses GraphQL for flexible queries. There are SDKs for languages like Node, Python, and .NET.

The Craft API provides low-level control, while the Shopify API focuses on commerce-centric resources. Both use developer-friendly JSON payloads.

For authentication, Craft and Shopify use API keys allowing various permission scopes. Craft offers JWT tokens while Shopify uses OAuth flows.

Overall, both provide developer-friendly APIs for core platform integration and customization. Craft provides more open-ended access compared to Shopify's more commerce-focused API capabilities.

Documentation and Support

Both Shopify and Craft CMS provide extensive developer documentation, guides, and resources to support building on their platforms.

Craft's developer docs offer detailed references, tutorials, and explanations covering topics like templating, plugins, API usage, and customization. There are also informal community resources.

Shopify's developer hub provides docs covering core concepts, app development, store customization, best practices and more. There are also detailed API references.

For support, Craft offers developer-focused support options including email, forums and paid tiers. Shopify provides technical account management resources for agencies and app partners.

Shopify has a broader reach, so its community support resources like Stack Overflow are more developed. But both maintain lively communities and discussion forums.

Overall, both platforms provide deep docs and resources focused on their respective disciplines - Craft for open customization and Shopify for commerce-driven development.

App Development

Shopify and Craft CMS both support custom app development to extend platform capabilities.

The Shopify App Store boasts over 6,000 apps covering everything from marketing to accounting. Shopify provides SDKs and resources focused on building commerce-driven apps. Apps can hook into Shopify APIs and data.

Craft also offers a plugin store where developers can sell addons and integrations. Craft enables full control over plugins and frontend extensions using its developer SDK.

For distribution, Shopify provides app management capabilities within its centralized app store. Craft developers handle distribution independently.

Shopify offers additional monetization options like recurring revenue share. Craft developers generally charge one-time purchases.

In terms of reach, Shopify's larger ecosystem provides greater potential exposure for distribution compared to Craft's audience of CMS developers.

Both platforms enable building highly customized solutions tailored to specific business needs. Shopify is optimized for ecommerce and retail apps, while Craft supports more open-ended customization.


Backup and Redundancy

Craft CMS and Shopify take different approaches to backups and redundancy in line with their technology architectures.

For self-hosted Craft installs, developers are responsible for configuring server backups. Craft recommends regular database and file system backups managed externally. Some hosts provide built-in backup capabilities. Craft offers plugins to automate backups as well.

Shopify is a fully managed SaaS platform. Live production data is backed up to multiple redundant server clusters to prevent loss. Disaster recovery protections are built-in without merchant effort.

In terms of redundancy, Shopify provides high availability across its global CDN and data centers. Craft's redundancy depends on the hosting provider's infrastructure.

Shopify also handles things like server OS and software updates seamlessly in the background. Craft site admins and hosts manage updates manually.

Shopify’s managed cloud architecture provides automated redundancy and disaster recovery built-in. Craft gives developers flexibility and control for configuring customized backup solutions.

Security Features

Both Shopify and Craft CMS provide robust security capabilities tuned to their architectures.

Shopify is secured as a managed service. It provides complete firewall protection, OS-level security patching, DDoS mitigation, and SSL by default. Shopify undergoes regular external security audits.

For Craft, security responsibilities fall more on developers. Self-hosted sites will need to configure firewalls, SSL certificates, and protective middleware like mod_security for Apache. Server security is a shared responsibility.

In terms of encryption, Shopify encrypts all data both in transit and at rest. Sensitive credentials are encrypted using sophisticated algorithms. Craft requires configuring encryption protocols externally.

For authentication, Craft enables SSO, 2FA, and captcha protection features. Shopify has native support for SSO and fraud analysis capabilities.

Craft gives developers more security control but also responsibility. Shopify's managed infrastructure automates many processes. Both platforms allow extending security via plugins and tools.

Compliance and Certifications

When it comes to compliance, Shopify maintains extensive security and data privacy certifications given the scale of commerce it facilitates.

Shopify is SOC 1/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402, SOC 2 and SOC 3 certified. It adheres to PCI DSS compliance and maintains ISO 27001 compliance for its data centers. Shopify also meets GDPR and Privacy Shield framework requirements for data privacy.

For Craft, compliance responsibility extends to developers building on the platform. As an open-source CMS, Craft itself does not carry formal certifications but enables building compliant sites.

Self-hosted Craft sites would need to implement controls and protections to achieve standards like PCI DSS for ecommerce. The flexibility allows customized compliance approaches.

Shopify provides extensive compliance assurance out of the box while Craft enables developers to build compliant sites tailored to their industry and location.

Support and Documentation

Documentation and Resources

Both Craft CMS and Shopify provide extensive official documentation and learning resources for their users.

Craft offers detailed documentation covering topics like installation, configuration, development, templating, and APIs. There are helpful tutorials on common tasks. Documentation scales from beginners to advanced developers.

Shopify also has thorough documentation organized by user types - store owners, designers, and developers. There are guides for setting up stores, managing products, customizing themes, developing apps, and more.

In addition to official docs, both platforms have active community blogs, videos, courses, and other resources created by users. Shopify's large user base results in even more informal learning content.

Overall, Craft and Shopify documentation is comparable - covering platform capabilities in detail. Shopify caters more to less technical users like store owners, while Craft goes deep for developers.

Community Support

As open source software, Craft CMS has cultivated an active community forum where users and developers help each other. Frequent questions see detailed responses from advanced practitioners. The forums have 100K+ members.

Shopify also maintains busy community forums where merchants and designers share advice and tips. The large user base results in activity across niche interests like dropshipping, SEO, and conversion optimization.

In addition to official forums, practitioners from both platforms are active across channels like Stack Overflow and Reddit. There are also Slack groups and Discord channels for real-time chat.

The Shopify community extends beyond its core software to the ecosystems of stores, apps, themes, and partners. But Craft also has engaged proponents who eagerly assist newcomers. Both maintain helpful communities.

Direct Support

For direct support, Craft CMS offers friendly and responsive priority support via email for paying clients. Free users can access the community forums. There are also paid premier support options.

Shopify provides 24/7 email and chat support to all merchants. Users have access to account managers to assist with specialized store needs. Shopify Plus enterprise plans assign dedicated account representatives.

Phone support is available for bigger Craft CMS clients. Shopify provides 24/7 phone support for all merchants.

As SaaS platforms, Shopify can provide more self-service options like help centers. But Craft users praise the platform's dedicated support responsiveness.

Shopify's scale enables greater direct support accessibility, while Craft prioritizes specialized support for paying clients. Both receive positive reviews of support quality.

Mobile Apps

App Capabilities

Both Craft CMS and Shopify offer official mobile apps to manage and access key platform capabilities on the go.

The Craft CMS app provides an intuitive way to edit and approve content from your phone or tablet. You can browse entries, edit fields, manage assets, and moderate comments. Everything syncs in real-time with the web dashboard.

The Shopify app enables monitoring and managing your store from anywhere. You can view sales reports, track orders, process refunds, receive push notifications for sales and messages, and more. The app provides mobile access to critical commerce capabilities.

In terms of feature parity, the Shopify mobile experience aims for 1:1 management capabilities with its web admin. The Craft app focuses on essential content editing tools rather than full admin mirroring.

Both apps require free user accounts for the respective platforms. While useful for basic management, larger workflow processes still benefit from the fuller web dashboards.

Ease of Use

The Craft CMS and Shopify mobile apps both receive praise for their intuitive, user-friendly interfaces that translate complex web controls into streamlined mobile experiences.

The Craft app prioritizes quick content entry and editing using clean menus, uncluttered layouts, and responsive controls. Reviews mention the app's speed and ease of on-the-go content updates.

The Shopify app displays key metrics prominently while keeping advanced controls tucked away but accessible. The focused design surfaces core tasks related to tracking sales and orders. Shopify reviews mention convenience and timesavings.

In terms of UI conventions, both apps adhere to respective platform branding for a consistent experience across web and mobile. They balance simplicity with depth.

However, the Craft app's content editing focus results in greater complexity compared to Shopify's emphasis on surface-level data insights. But overall both provide intuitive mobile experiences.

App Ratings

Both the Craft CMS and Shopify mobile apps enjoy positive ratings and reviews, reflecting their capabilities for managing web platforms on the go.

The Craft app has a 4.6/5 rating on iOS based on 220+ reviews, with high praise for its design and utility managing content from mobile devices. The Android version has a 4/5 rating.

The Shopify app earns a 4.8/5 rating with over 100,000+ reviews on the Apple Store. It stands as one of the highest rated business apps. The Android rating is 4.5/5 with over 500,000 reviews.

Positive Craft app reviews mention the convenience of mobile content editing, while Shopify reviews highlight the sales visibility and order tracking. Criticisms focus on occasional sync issues.

In terms of total downloads, Shopify's broader user base gives it over 10 million installs compared to Craft's over 100,000. But both maintain ratings among the top apps in their categories.

Both Craft and Shopify mobile apps achieve their aim of delivering convenient management capabilities with highly rated, intuitive user experiences. Shopify's app reaches more users overall, but both are beloved by their respective communities.

Pricing and Plans

Plan Options

Craft CMS and Shopify both offer tiered pricing plans scaled for different customer needs.

Craft CMS pricing comes in 3 self-hosted license tiers - Personal, Pro and Enterprise. Personal supports basic sites starting at $299 per site. Pro adds multi-site and user benefits at $899 per site. Enterprise caters to large businesses with custom pricing.

Shopify pricing has 4 tiers. Basic supports initial stores at $29/month. Shopify charges additional transaction fees starting at 2.9%. Shopify Advanced adds gift cards and shipping discounts for $79/month. Unlimited provides advanced reporting from $299/month. Shopify Plus scales for enterprise.

In terms of structure, Craft licenses provide unrestricted access to core features while Shopify tiers limit capabilities like number of products. But Shopify’s predictable subscriptions simplify billing.

Both offer discounts for non-profits and educational institutions. Overall the two provide flexible options to scale from individuals up through large businesses.

Cost Considerations

For Craft CMS, the main costs involve one-time license purchases plus optional annual support fees starting at $299 per year. Servers, maintenance, and upgrades incur additional charges.

Shopify simplifies costs with monthly subscriptions covering core software access, hosting fees, security, and support. But variable transaction fees apply for payment processing and shipping.

In terms of add-ons, Craft CMS offers premium plugins, themes, and modules for purchase. Shopify charges for premium themes, apps, and other extensions.

Shopify highlights predictable flat monthly costs. But Craft licenses enable avoiding ongoing fees after initial purchase. Upfront Craft costs are higher but overall TCO can scale attractive for mid-size sites.

Both platforms offer discounted student developer licenses to lower barriers to entry. For non-profits, Craft provides free licenses while Shopify offers discounted rates.

Free Trials

Craft CMS provides a free solo developer trial for testing. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial of Shopify Basic with full functionality.

The Craft trial allows building a development site with full admin access but limits publishing capabilities. It is suited for site prototyping and testing before purchasing a license.

Shopify's 2-week free trial enables setting up a live production store, adding products, customizing themes, processing test orders and more. Users can experience full platform capabilities risk-free.

For converting to paid plans, Craft encourages bulk license purchases to negotiate discounts. Shopify subscriptions smoothly transition at the end of the trial.

In summary, Shopify's free trial provides more functionality for robust testing, while Craft focuses the trial on development and prototyping use cases.

Scalability and Performance

Enterprise Readiness

Both Craft CMS and Shopify can scale to support large enterprise-level sites, but Shopify specializes in high-traffic commerce use cases.

Shopify is purpose-built to scale large shopping volumes across its global cloud infrastructure. Large brands like Gymshark, Allbirds, and Pepsi leverage Shopify Plus for enterprise ecommerce. Shopify handles security, redundancy, and optimizations so merchants can focus on sales.

As a flexible CMS, Craft can scale to large sites but requires more hands-on optimization. Craft sites like Ikea and Chipotle demonstrate large-scale success. But developers must configure caching, CDNs, load balancing, and customized content architectures.

For security, Shopify’s default enterprise protections exceed common CMS needs. Craft gives developers flexibility to tune security to specific requirements.

In terms of support, Shopify Plus offers dedicated enterprise-grade assistance. Craft offers high-touch support through custom contracts.

Shopify excels at pre-optimized scalability for high-volume commerce. But Craft enables fully customized solutions tailored to specific enterprise requirements.

Page Speed

Shopify provides exceptional page speed out of the box, while Craft CMS sites require more optimization for optimal performance.

Shopify builds sites on a managed CDN optimized for commerce, with standard pages loading under 1 second. Images, scripts, and styles are auto-optimized. Shopify handles details like compression, minification, and caching.

Craft sites rely on developer implementations for performance optimizations. But Craft offers flexible templating and content management that requires tuning for efficiency. Optimized Craft sites can achieve fast page loads.

For benchmarks, Shopify sites average Lighthouse Performance scores of 90+ for mobile and desktop. Craft sites vary more but well-optimized implementations can reach 80+ averages.

In terms of core impact, a 1 second improvement in page loads can improve conversion rates by 7%. Shopify focuses on baked-in speed, while Craft offers ultimate control over custom optimizations.

Uptime and Reliability

Shopify deploys an enterprise cloud architecture to guarantee highly reliable uptime exceeding common CMS hosting capabilities.

Shopify commits to 99.98% uptime availability across its global cloud infrastructure. Redundant servers, seamless failovers, and non-stop monitoring provide 24/7 reliability.

As a self-hosted platform, Craft CMS uptime depends on server providers. Standard web hosts average 99% uptime, falling below Shopify. But top-tier cloud hosting like AWS can match Shopify's availability.

For DDoS resilience, Shopify can absorb and filter out up to 800Gbps of malicious traffic with no merchant impact. Craft’s DDoS resilience relies on host-level protection.

Shopify offers industry-leading uptime and redundancy commitments perfect for mission-critical commerce. Craft enables custom reliability configurations based on hosting.

Shape April 2022 HR 202
Andy Golpys
- Author

Andy has scaled multiple businesses and is a big believer in Craft CMS as a tool that benefits both Designer, Developer and Client. 

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