For small to medium-sized business owners and entrepreneurs looking to start their own business, e-commerce solutions are a common need for your business. Depending on the nature of the business, you may be in need of a particular online sales platform. If you have a subscription-based model, CrateJoy is something you should familiarize yourself with. If you are looking for a robust sales platform to sell your products, Shopify has some great offerings- as well as a subscription offering. There are a number of options in this realm, but these two options, CrateJoy and Shopify are some of the biggest names out there. Here are a few key factors to consider before we compare each, and highlight the pros and cons of each- as there are some important considerations to make yourself aware of before jumping into one platform over the other.
Key Factor #1. What you are Selling
You need to sell a wide variety of products, and unlimited products, even on a subscription basis. It will be important to know your approach before moving forward with either solution, as each platform has its unique benefits for each side. Do your customers tend to purchase the same items, in a set frequency- for example- every 3 weeks- something that they continue to use, run out of, and need to re-order? Your products are widely varied and purchased at random times. Do they purchase at random or do they purchase on a subscription basis? How important is the emphasis on the subscription basis?
Key Factor #2. Shipping Options
You need to integrate with various shipping carriers and drop shipping companies. One of these solutions allows this and the other allows you to ship with ease on a subscription basis using a subscription box-ship option- think Dollar Shave Club or any other offering that sends you the same thing on a set frequency.
Key Factor #3. SEO – Search Engine Optimization
You need a solution that is easy to maintain and is SEO friendly – right out of the box. You don’t need or want to spend a ton of time getting the site in front of a lot of eyes. One platform has a user base that is 30,000 users strong, and the database of listings is already optimized for SEO, which helps cut down on SEO maintenance costs.
Key Factor #4. Timeframe
You need a solution that is relatively easy to setup, and cost-effective/budget friendly. One platform offers ready-made templates- similar to a website theme that you purchase online, and another allows you to create a store from an existing site. Do you not have time to re-create a new website for this purpose- assuming you don’t already have one? If so- this is a key concern.
Key Factor #5. Flexibility & Security
You need a stable, secure solution. Creating your own website and store will not enable you to get going in a secure manner right away- as there will be additional work required to get you to that point. You have product customization options/needs, but don’t necessarily need the ability to offer upsell/add-on options to particular products.
Each platform has flexible customization options, but these options do vary between platforms.
Now, having the basic idea of how the things go, we can move on to discussing the pros and cons of using Shopify or CrateJoy.
Shopify is a very popular and easy to use e-commerce platform used by many developers, and even non-developers. It is easy to start working with, even if you have no development skills. It is a great stable platform for building great looking e-commerce sites that will look great on all devices. It is widely considered one of the best and most powerful e-commerce platforms of all. You can easily load unlimited products within the back-end dashboard, and also customize the look of your website.
Pros of Shopify:
✓ Shopify allows for plenty of integrations with shipping carriers, drop shipping companies and fulfillment centers. The platform allows us to use subscription plugins and have subscribers to each store
✓ Shopify has a built in mobile app to easily receive payments and manage the store, as well as plugins to manage pre-orders. If you use subscription apps, the user can view one-time purchase products and subscription based products at the same time in the account section
✓ The admin panel of Shopify allows for the use of varying design themes- similar to what you find on themeforest and other theme sites, and it even has a built in blog feature
✓ There are apps to help support the built in search functionality to enhance it and make it more favorable to the end user
✓ Shopify offers a point of sale system for transactions in physical stores
✓ It is one of the most common names in e-commerce sites that exist today. For a quick and easy solution, this surely has many benefits
✓ There is a free SSL certificate on all plans- so security will be a top priority for all
Cons of Shopify:
✓ If you are looking for vast customization options within their templates, you may wish to look elsewhere, as you would need to learn a very specific coding language to change things within the templates
✓ By default, customers cannot upload any images or files- but there are apps that allow this feature to be supported
✓ Additionally, there is a way to capture user information if someone abandons their shopping cart without making a payment–not with the basic plan, but with some of the others. So, you will need to spend more on a higher plan offering to make this happen
In- summary – Reasons to choose Shopify:
✓ You need to sell a wide variety of products- unlimited products, even on a subscription basis
✓ You need integration with shipping carriers and drop shipping companies
✓ You had physical products that people purchase at all times, in varying frequencies
✓ You need to get a site up quickly for your sales needs
✓ You need a powerful/stable and secure (SSL) solution
CrateJoy is a bit different from Shopify, in that it runs a subscription based e-commerce business for various lifestyles. This is its core purpose, and it is designed to do this, without the need for enhancement plugins to achieve this purpose. It is designed to deliver products quickly through a subscription box service to the people that order.
Pros of CrateJoy:
✓ CrateJoy will let you convert an existing website into an online store, relatively easily
✓ It offers complete solutions for your subscription business and online store needs. Its main focus, however, is subscription sales with built in modification options
✓ CrateJoy offers an easy to maintain solution that is SEO friendly- with over 30,000 users
✓ Each listing is SEO optimized
Cons of CrateJoy:
✓ Some limitations with CrateJoy are that it is more challenging to handle multiple products at once, from a categorical standpoint, and you cannot offer upsell
✓ There are limitations for adding product details, and the ability to add more details to any given product
✓ There are no options to pre-order products
✓ You can only view subscription purchases in customer account section while there is no info about one time product purchases
✓ There are no design theme options available at ThemeForest or Major Template stores except 13 basic design templates available at CJ Store. Blog or News Feature is not available in CrateJoy
✓ Customers or buyers are not able to upload any images or files i.e. during surveys, like you are able to with other CMS’s, and in this case, there is no app to assist with this functionality
✓ If a customer abandons their cart- no information is captured about them to help save the sale within CrateJoy default System. One has to use the apps like CartHook to to collect abandoned cart information whereas Shopify has that as default feature in its packages (Shopify & Advanced)
✓ Subscriptions cannot be categorized within CrateJoy
There are still a number of positives and factors/reasons to choose CrateJoy, however- if you can see through the various limitations.
In-Summary – Reasons to choose Cratejoy:
✓ Your customers tend to purchase these items in a set frequency
✓ You need to convert an existing site, rather than start fresh (for your e-commerce needs)
✓ You don’t need to offer add-ons/upsell options on the products you are selling
✓ Your customers count on quick delivery and ordering processes- and are less likely to shop a wide variety of products
✓ You need an easy to maintain, SEO friendly solution
Overall – Which do you Choose between the two?
When choosing between these two- if you need a robust multi-purpose store to sell multiple offerings, with easy back-end product management, Shopify is simply the way to go. If you need to be able to ship products quickly and regularly with a subscription-based style- such as orders that are frequently repeated on a set timeline- for example, goods that are replenished, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc, then CrateJoy is a great choice for you. Shopify does allow subscription-based purchases- but CrateJoy is naturally more suited for this, based on this being its core purpose- as you don’t need to work with extra plugins to achieve this purpose. Both options are SEO friendly, but Cratejoy optimizes their listings and gets them in front of their 30,000 strong user base, which is a great perk to cut down on SEO costs.
It will be very important to have your business model established before venturing towards one choice or the other. If you need development solutions, HTML Pro offers a full service offering around both of these platforms to help get you off the ground. For general CrateJoy web design services, visit here. For a custom design to CrateJoy Offering, visit here.
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