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Spree vs Shopify: which platform should you choose?

Spree vs Shopify Copertina

For many people in the stationary trade, having an online shop is now practically indispensable. Even for companies or private individuals who sell exclusively via the web, having their own shop is increasingly useful as an alternative to a simple website or selling on sales platforms such as Amazon and eBay. Anyone planning to set up their own online shop faces a seemingly enormous challenge from the outset: finding the right software to create, manage and maintain their e-commerce site.

In this article, we compare Shopify and Spree Commerce, two popular and valid solutions for online shops.

 

Spree Commerce

Spree Commerce is one of the largest open source software projects. It does not offer a completely ready-to-use solution, but with sufficient programming knowledge, it is possible to build a powerful online shop. The programming language used is Ruby, specifically the Ruby on Rails framework. Detailed documentation for users and developers is available on the provider's website, as well as information on the REST API. The shop system itself has a modular structure, is flexibly adaptable and has a responsive design, so that settings can be made easily and the customer can be offered a great shopping experience.

Being open source and free, Spree offers virtually unlimited benefits. With this modular platform, you can add, configure or replace as many functions as you need, so you can create your shop exactly the way you want it. On the other hand, it is not an easy task: some technical skills are required to use Spree.

For example, the system has to be installed and hosted manually. Thus, most companies using Spree either employ a dedicated IT team to manage the storefront or look for a company specialising in Spree to implement and maintain it for them. However, this is only a small hurdle, as the backend (where most of the time is spent with orders and inventory) is one of the most functional and well-designed on the market once the shop is up and running.
And this advantage is huge, especially in the long run.
 

Benefits:

  • Many extensions are available to offer numerous additional functionalities.
  • Spree Commerce is fast and flexible with a powerful backend administration module.
  • Solid and reliable support from the Ruby on Rails community.
  • Thanks to the high degree of customisation, you can create your ideal shop
  • Integrations with third-party solutions are quick and easy.

Drawbacks:

  • Technical expertise or configuration assistance required
  • Not much variety for themes

 

Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that can be used online and offline to create a website with your online shop. It is sold as a subscription service, so you do not have to put together several web development elements such as a domain name, a third-party theme and hosting. Most of the tools needed to run an online shop are included in the Shopify subscription.

Basically, Shopify is a website builder specifically for online shops. When we talk about online shops, we mean those that make online sales and process requests via a shopping cart, just like you would make a purchase on Amazon. Shopify also offers tools for in-store payment processing, so you can set up a POS system to collect payments in your shop.

No programming knowledge is required to create an online shop with Shopify; however, if necessary, you can use HTML or CSS to make changes and customise the shop. If you still need help, you can contact the Shopify experts. Shopify is PCI Level 1 certified and offers a high level of security. Shopify also guarantees 99.99% availability. It is easy to manage thanks to the clearly structured backend and the daily tasks can also be controlled from a smartphone. Products are unlimited in number and can be sorted and filtered according to different categories. 

Benefits:

  • The ease of use
  • A huge library of applications (over 1500 units)
  • A well-designed, professional shop window

Drawbacks:

  • Transaction fees charged per sale
  • Little flexibility as the code is not accessible
  • Shopify themes do not contain microdata

 

Our case studies: Duzzle and Ma+39shop

Duzzle

One of our customers with whom we have been collaborating for several years is Duzzle, which ranks among Italy's leading furniture suppliers.

Duzzle's ecommerce is developed with Spree Commerce: the platform proves to be perfect for responding to the inclusion of a versatile catalogue of products for indoor and outdoor spaces that is extremely wide-ranging and the need to offer a pleasant and engaging online shopping experience

Initially, we worked on upgrading different sections of the ecommerce, from category pages to product pages, enriching them with content and information. We then worked on the user experience with the aim of making it more rewarding by speeding up the checkout process and implementing filters as well as portal search.

Thanks to the high degree of customisation offered by Spree Commerce, we were able to easily carry out a series of product-related customisations by type, such as product cards. Thanks to the various extensions available, we were also able to carry out a series of integrations with various applications and custom functions, in particular with Scalapay, Clerk, Qapla' and Klaviyo.

 

Ma+39shop

One client we worked with on a project on Shopify is Ma+39shop, a major showroom in Los Angeles that stocks extraordinary century-old pieces by Italian masters and modern creations by contemporary talents including furniture, lighting, art and luxury goods. 

For Ma+39shop, we performed a migration from the previous domain to a new Shopify site. In particular, we created the site in Shopify by paying attention to site architecture and graphics. This allowed us to easily design a structure divided into headings, subheadings and sections of the various products with a specific graphic theme.

We then migrated the domain from WordPress to Shopify, allowing us to keep the domain name without having to change it. In parallel, we finally worked on the inventory with a migration of over a thousand products from the old site to Shopify.

 

 

Conclusions

In this article, we discussed and compared two ecommerce platforms: Spree Commerce and Shopify. We have also presented two case studies that we have worked on, sharing the various possibilities offered by each platform. Depending on your personal needs, Spree and Shopify may have specific advantages and disadvantages.

Spree Commerce is the right choice if:

  • You want to update your online shop quickly (thanks to the Ruby on Rails framework).
  • You wish to avoid paying additional charges.
  • You need a high degree of customisation.
  • You like the fact that it is easier to optimise the performance of your online shop (e.g. the loading speed of the site for users).

Shopify is the right choice if:

  • You want to open an e-commerce shop in a short time.
  • You do not want to be involved in the technical processes of your e-commerce platform.
  • Own a dropshipping business. Shopify offers dedicated solutions for a number of platforms such as Amazon or Rakuten.

 

Thinking of launching your own e-commerce business? Contact us and find out how we can help you plan a successful future for your company.