EKM vs ShopWired vs Shopify (2021) – UK Ecommerce Comparison

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EKM, ShopWired and Shopify are three of the most popular choices for UK businesses when it comes to building an ecommerce store but which is the best option?

Well in this three way comparison, I will be comparing things like pricing, features and what they are like to use to hopefully help you make a decision as to which is the best option for you.

EKM vs ShopWired vs Shopify – What’s the Difference?

EKM and ShopWired are both UK based and focused on the UK market, both offer a fully hosted ecommerce platform, packed with features and a selection of plans for businesses of all sizes, backed up by UK based support teams. Shopify is also a fully hosted ecommerce platform but is aimed towards a global audience, with a strong focus on the US market. One main difference is that the Shopify platform is open to third-party developers who can produce apps and themes for the platform.

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Pricing

ekm logo

Monthly Cost:

  • Basic: £34.99
  • Standard: £69.99
  • Advanced: £209.99
  • Pro: £599.99
Try EKM
ShopWired Logo

Monthly Cost:

  • Pro: £29.95
  • Advanced: £59.95
  • Premium: £119.95
  • Enterprise: £199.95+
Try ShopWired
Shopify Logo

Monthly Cost:

  • Basic: $29
  • Standard: $79
  • Advanced: $299
  • Plus: $2000
Try Shopify

There isn’t a huge difference in the monthly cost of the three platforms and it depends on the level of package that you are looking at in terms of which is the cheapest and the most expensive, for example:

  • Shopify has the cheapest monthly cost on the entry level packages, especially when factoring in exchange rates from USD to GBP
  • But Shopify has the most expensive top package, even when factoring in exchange rates

There are also other factors that need to be considered, such as, both EKM and ShopWired do have annual turnover limits on their plans and you can see a breakdown of these below:

  • EKM Basic: £50k/yr
  • EKM Standard: £150k/yr
  • EKM Advanced: £1m/yr
  • EKM Pro: £1m/yr+
  • ShopWired Pro: £75k/yr
  • ShopWired Advanced: £200k/yr
  • ShopWired Premium: £500k/yr
  • ShopWired Enterprise: £500k/yr+

The basic plans from both platforms also include product limits of 500 and 750 respectively.

And what these mean are that when you hit these thresholds in a 365 day period, you are automatically moved on to the next package.

Now Shopify doesn’t include turnover limits but they do have an additional charge that you need to be aware of, which is a transaction fee and this is paid on all payments received using a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments (excluding offline payment methods) and you can see a breakdown of these charges below:

  • Shopify Basic: 2%
  • Shopify Standard: 1%
  • Shopify Advanced: 0.5%

These charges might not seem very high but just as an example, if you had a years orders totalling £50,000 where the customer had paid by PayPal, you would be paying an additional £1,000 to Shopify on top of your monthly subscription.

It should also be noted that ShopWired offer a 20% discount when their plans are purchased annually or 30% discount if purchased for 2 years. Shopify also offer a 10% discount when paid for annually or 20% discount if purchased for 2 years.

Overall, ShopWired works out the most cost effective of the three platforms, when just looking at how much it is going to cost on a monthly or annual basis.

Free Trial

All three platforms offer a free trial so that you can try them out for yourself before committing to a paid plan.

*Exclusive 28 day free trial, credit card required, contact EKM if you wish to cancel your trial

Features

Now that you know what they cost, it is time to take a quick look at what you actually get for your money.

EKM

EKM comes with a really good set of features and nearly all of them are included for free on the basic package, with only API and Trade Discounts being limited to the advanced package, there are also two paid features which are Trade Discounts and Postcode Lookup.

You can also pick and choose some of the features that are available on your store as some operate in a similar way to apps as they can be installed/uninstalled with a couple of clicks.

But what features do you actually get? Below is a summary of all the features available with EKM:

Ecommerce Tools

  • Free 03 Business Phone Number
  • Facebook Messenger for Live Chat
  • Customer Reviews
  • Related Products
  • Promo Stickers
  • Product Attributes
  • Recently Viewed Products

Marketing & SEO

  • Email Marketing built in
  • ChannelGrabber (Cross platform selling)
  • Google Tools (inc Analytics & Shopping)
  • Loyalty Points
  • Discount Manager
  • Social Share
  • WordPress Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Order Breakdown
  • Best and Worst Selling Products
  • Search Statistics
  • Web Statistics (Premium)

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • LayBuy
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Nochex
  • Barclaycard EPDQ

They also have selection of over 20 apps that integrate with third party software such as Linnworks and Royal Mail Click and Drop.

This is only a quick summary of the features, if you want to see a more detailed breakdown, then please check out my full EKM Review.

EKM Features

EKM Evolution Mode

One of the main features of EKM is their evolution mode. Which is run by the evolution team, that is made up of ecommerce specialists including designers and marketing specialists who review your store on an annual basis (monthly on the Advanced package) and make suggestions for how your site can be improved.

The best thing about the Evolution Mode is that if you approve some or all of these improvements, the team will implement them on your website free of charge.

ShopWired

ShopWired also comes with a host of features but unlike EKM, not all these are free to use for all users.

This is because some of the features available come in the form of apps, with some being paid options but they are reasonably priced with the trade discounts being the most expensive at £10/m. As you move up through the packages, more of these these apps are included with your subscription and they are all included with the Premium package.

Below is a summary of the features that are included with ShopWired:

Ecommerce Tools

  • Multi-buy Offers
  • Product Extras
  • Multi-Currency
  • Product Reviews
  • Ebay Integration
  • Digital Downloads
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Reward Points

Marketing & SEO

  • Google Feed
  • MailChimp Integration
  • Discount Codes
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Create Sales
  • Social Share
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Gross Profit Report
  • Sales by Product
  • Sales by Category
  • Payment Methods
  • Sales by Month
  • Failed Searches
  • Visitors

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Stripe
  • Amazon Pay
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay
  • Barclaycard EPDQ
  • Nochex

There is also a downside with some of the apps as they require being coded into your store and while some of these like Google ReCaptcha are very simple to do, others are more difficult as they require custom CSS and unless you know what you are doing with CSS, you will have to pay a one-off fee the ShopWired for them to do it for you.

If you would like to see a full breakdown of the features available on ShopWired, then check out my full ShopWired Review.

ShopWired App Selection

Shopify

As the market leader in the world of hosted ecommerce, it is expected that Shopify comes with a good set of features as standard.

And the offering is pretty good, as you can see below:

Ecommerce Tools

  • Dropshipping Integration
  • Flexible Shipping Rates
  • Multi-Language
  • Product Reviews
  • Gift Vouchers
  • Shopify Management App

Marketing & SEO

  • Google Adwords Credit
  • Sell on Facebook
  • Discount Codes
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Auto Generated Sitemap
  • Social Share
  • Blog
  • Custom Meta Data
  • SEO Friendly URL’s

Reporting

  • Product Reports
  • Traffic Sources
  • Google Analytics
  • Day, Week and Monthly Reports

Payment Gateways

  • Shopify Payments
  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Amazon Pay
  • Klarna
  • Worldpay
  • Sagepay

For a more detailed overview of the standard features available on Shopify, then check my Full Shopify Review.

The standard features are pretty good but if you require additional features, you are going to want to visit the app store, which has over 3,000 to choose from, covering everything from ecommerce features, marketing and SEO to order and inventory management.

Now while having this many apps is great (if not a little overwhelming), they do come with a drawback and that is that you may have to pay to use some of these.

Many do offer free plans or free trials but if you want access to all the features that app has to offer, then you are going to need to pay and this is because most of these apps are made by third-party developers and the cost of these apps can range from a couple of dollars a month to $100/m+, so you need to be vigilant when installing apps as you could soon find yourself with a hefty monthly bill!

Shopify App Store

Theme Selection & Customisation

EKM

In 2021, EKM released a new update to the way themes are customised on the platform and it is most definitely a move in the right direction as the new set up gives you much more control over the look and feel of your site.

As of writing this post, there is only 1 theme that supports the new set up but hopefully there will be more rolled out in the future.

EKM New Themes

The main change with the new theme set up is that not only have all the design options been put under the design section, but there is also much more you can do when it comes to design as you can:

  • Add, remove and reorganise the sections of your homepage
  • Edit content including images and text within these sections
  • Quickly and easily change theme fonts and colours

This is a big improvement over the previous set up, which can still be accessed by using one of the older themes but there are still some small improvements that would make it a lot better, such as:

  1. Being able to set a custom navigation menu
  2. Fully customisable sidebars
EKM New Theme Customiser

But the changes are still a welcome improvement. You can also opt for the team at EKM to create a custom theme for your for £1999.99 + vat.

ShopWired

In 2020, ShopWired updated their theme selection as they are using a new platform on which their themes are built, which they have called Version 4. The new selection totals 20, free to use, mobile responsive themes, with an upgradeable version, that comes with some extensions installed for £89+vat.

If you want, you can have a bespoke theme made for you by the ShopWired design team, there are two options to choose from. The Pro design packages costs £3495 + vat and the Advanced is £3995+vat.

ShopWired Themes

With the addition of the version 4 theme, also comes a new live customizer. This new features has improved the theme customisation experience within ShopWired.

But the amount of control you have over the look and feel of your site is still quite limited but includes the ability to change the colours of the site, the text snippets placed around the theme and the images that appear on the homepage.

ShopWired Theme Customisation

When it comes to the layout of the theme, there aren’t any options such as being able to change the sections that appear on your site, these are set by the theme.

You can control your link lists, these are lists of links to your chosen pages in terms of what is in them and where on the theme they are placed. Another thing that I do find a little strange is that the amount of customisation you can do does vary from theme to theme.

Shopify

When it comes to theme selection, in the Shopify theme store, there are a selection of 9 free themes and over 60 paid options that range from $140 to $180 but with Shopify being open to third-party developers, there are many more available outside of the Shopify ecosystem with over 1,200 options available on themeforest alone.

While the theme selection is very good, one of the main selling points of Shopify was the customisation and one of the reasons why Shopify became so successful as their theme customiser was way ahead of the competition in terms of usability.

Shopify Theme Customizer

This was because you can easily re-arrange the existing sections of the Shopify homepage but also choose from a good selection of additional sections to help you make a completely custom page. Unfortunately this page builder doesn’t currently extend to other pages on your site.

There are also plenty of other options in the customizer, including being able to change fonts, colours and also edit the code of the theme, which can be very useful if you know CSS and also the Liquid language that Shopify uses.

This tool is still very good and along with being able to create custom navigation menu’s, does give it an edge over the new offering from EKM.

Support

Support is one of the things that all three platforms do really well not only in terms of being able to contact them but also the quality of the support as well.

EKM

Support is one of the areas where EKM have invested a lot of time and energy, to provide you with:

  • A 30 minute welcome call to help you get set up on the platform
  • Multiple contact options including phone, live chat and email
  • Support time of 8am – 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday
  • Dedicated account manager (6 months of Standard package, full time on Advanced and Pro)

It is also very easy to contact the EKM support team as there is a live chat icon in your dashboard along with their phone number and support pin and this is all included on top of the Evolution mode.

ShopWired

The support offerings from ShopWired aren’t quite as good as those from EKM, but still includes:

  • Welcome email, which can be directly replied to
  • Live chat and email support between 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday
  • Emergency Support on Saturday

Currently due to the situation with pandemic, phone support is not available but may return in the future.

Contacting ShopWired is also very easy as the contact options are available directly in the admin dashboard.

Shopify

Shopify is the only platform out of the three to offer 24/7 support to all of its users, no matter which plan they are on and it can be accessed via different mediums such as live chat, email and over the phone.

One of the main issues with Shopify support is that it is quite challenging actually contacting them as you need to know how to navigate the help section in order to find these options.

Dedicated support is only available when you are a Shopify Plus customer, all of the standard packages offer the same level of support.

One useful area within Shopify is their customer support forum, which can be a great source of knowledge and a good place to as non-urgent questions.

Hosting & Performance

On paper, there is little to choose between the there platforms when it comes to their hosting as both offer:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • 99.9% Uptime

But I want to know how they perform in the real world, not just how good they say their hosting is. So I put them to the test, I took five of their customer example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s Speed Test Tool (London Server) and Google’s Page Speed Insights, once a day for five days and you can see the average results below:

ekm logo
  • Pingdom: 1.12 Seconds
  • Google Mobile: 55/100
  • Google Desktop: 83/100
ShopWired Logo
  • Pingdom: 1.17 Seconds
  • Google Mobile: 42/100
  • Google Desktop: 81/100
Shopify Logo
  • Pingdom: 1.14 Seconds
  • Google Mobile: 41/100
  • Google Desktop: 84/100

Talk about close!

There really isn’t much to choose between these three platforms, with EKM only really gaining any kind of advantage of their rivals in the mobile scores but all three performed really well.

If you want to see how these three platforms compare to all of their competition, then check out my full fastest ecommerce platforms comparison.

Ease of Use

When it comes to features and performance, there really isn’t much to choose between the three platforms. But how easy are they to use?

Getting Started

EKM

Signing up to the EKM platform is pretty easy, although they do have one additional (arguably unnecessary) step over that the other two platforms don’t and that is that you need to provide your credit or debit card details before you can begin your trial.

Once you have completed the sign up process, you will be taken through to the EKM admin dashboard and on your first sign in, you will be greeted by EKM’s set up guide. This is a pretty comprehensive guide that takes you through nearly all of the steps required to get an ecommerce store up and running.

The only thing that is missing is to set up your pages such as privacy policy and terms and conditions, while not part of the set up guides, EKM do have templates for both of these that can easily edited to fit your business.

As I mentioned above in the support section, you do also get an introductory phone call from one of the EKM team, who will help you go through the set up process and also answer any questions that you may have about the platform.

The admin dashboard is slightly different from much of the competition as they have opted for a top navigation menu, rather than the traditional sidebar.

All of the sections of the dashboard are clearly labelled and with the new theme has also seen one of the sections relabelled from Shop to Products, which has helped more clearly define what each section is for.

ShopWired

ShopWired make it really easy for you to get started with their platform, simply fill out their start trial page with your email address, name and business name and you are good to go.

Shopwired Set-up Tutorial

Once you have signed up to the trial, you are taken to their dashboard homepage and on your first sign in, you are greeted by their set up tutorial that you can follow to help get your online shop up and running.

This is one of the better setup guides I have used and covers nearly everything you need to do to make your site ready to go live but as with EKM, a prompt to set up your Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions is missing. But they do have template documents for both of these pages that you can easily edit to help make sure that your site is legal.

ShopWired have opted for a more traditional sidebar navigation menu, with clearly labelled section headings and this makes it very easy to navigate around the admin area.

Shopify

Signing up to Shopify is a bit easier as you only need to give your email address, your shop name and create a password to get started.

Once you have completed to sign up process, you will be greeted by a set up guide but it doesn’t contain that many steps and misses out on quite a few of the important things you need to do in order to get up and running.

Shopify Dashboard

Fortunately, they do have a very good video series in the form of the Shopify Academy that will take you through setting up your online store. There are also some useful hints and tips in these videos.

The main Shopify dashboard is very well laid out and easy to navigate around as the main sidebar navigation menu is clearly labelled and all of the headings and sections are clearly defined as to what they do. This make it very easy to learn where everything is and the uncluttered layout is also aesthetically pleasing.

Adding and Managing Stock

Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and for me there are three main areas to this and they are:

  • Adding products
  • Organising your Products
  • Managing your inventory

EKM

When it comes to managing your inventory, the new changes to EKM have definitely simplified the process as it is now clearly defined that the products section is for well, your products.

Creating a new product is pretty simple as you just need to click on the Add Product button in the top right hand corner an a pop up will appear like in the image below:

EKM Create New Product

This pop up includes all multiple sections to allow you to create a product listings, including things like variations. If there was one thing that could be better, it would be that the pop up fills more of the page, so that there is more room to work.

Creating product categories is very similar to creating a new product as it a appears from a pop up when you click the Add Category button but the pop up contains fewer options but one important one, is the ability to create both parent and child categories.

Things, however aren’t as good when it comes the managing your inventory and this is an area that I feel still needs to be improved within EKM as to edit a product using the standard EKM process, requires:

  1. Going into the Products section of your dashboard
  2. Navigating around a version of the front end of your site to find the product
  3. Clicking edit so that the pop up appears and you can change whatever you need to

For a small store with a few products, this won’t be too much of an issue (even if it is inefficient) but with a large inventory, this just won’t work.

Fortunately, EKM have created a feature called the Advanced Inventory Manager and this allows you to bulk edit products along with being able to create new products and categories. The only downside of this feature is that you need to go into the features section of the dashboard to access it.

In my opinion, they should just replace the products section of the dashboard with the Advanced Inventory Manager as it would just improve the complete flow and efficiency of the dashboard.

ShopWired

The inventory management process is somewhat easier on ShopWired as all the options are contained under the Products section of the dashboard.

The process for adding a new product is extremely simple as you just go to Products → Add New Product and then you are presented with a very well laid out add new product page, which is very easy to work through as everything is on one single page

ShopWired-Create-Product

Adding a new category is a similar affair and as with EKM, you can create both parent and child categories, which enables you to create a very nice hierarchy for your products to fit into.

I do feel that managing your inventory could be somewhat improved as the current bulk editor only allows you to update stock quantities and from the product overview page you can only quickly update whether the product is available or not from a checkbox.

If you want to make any other changes to your listing, then you need to go in and edit the product listing. This is a shame as adding some more bulk edit options to the bulk editor would make ShopWired easier to use when it comes to managing your inventory.

Shopify

Inventory management in Shopify is pretty good but it’s not without it’s quirks!

Creating a new product is very simple as Shopify have gone for a single page layout for their add product page and it has a logical flow from section to section.

Shopify Add New Product Page

Organising your products is where the quirks start to show as Shopify have developed their own collections system and it takes a little bit of time to learn how these work as there are two options:

  1. Manual Collections – these are very similar to traditional categories as products are manually added
  2. Automated Collections – these are more complicated as they are based on rules such as using product tags or prices to sort which product goes into which collection

When you know how to use them effectively, the Automated Collections can be very useful but if you don’t then you can end up with products being displayed all over the place.

Another quirk with Shopify is that you cannot create sub-collections and need to use a work around with the navigation menu to try and create sub-collections.

Managing your inventory is a much more simple affair though as from the main product overview page, you can select the products you want to edit and open the editor which allows you to change pretty much anything on the listing and you can filter out what you want to be displayed in the editor.

Shopify Bulk Editor

There is also a separate inventory editor that works in a very similar way to the main bulk editor but most people will probably just use one or the other.

Managing Orders

EKM

EKM has a very good order management system and it allows users to manage orders either in bulk or individually and from the order overview menu, you can update order statuses and print invoices. There are 4 different templates that can be printed and these all line up with packing slips that can bought directly from EKM.

If you want to export your order information, you will need to install the Import/Export System feature.

ShopWired

ShopWired also has a very good order management system and the interface is very clean and easy to use. From the main order overview menu, you can print off order invoices, update statuses and export your orders. This can be done in bulk or on an order by order basis.

Shopify

The order management system in Shopify isn’t the best as standard as you can only print off packing slips, if you want to print invoices or any other paperwork, you will need to install an order printer app to make it more useable.

While being able to print off order information isn’t great in Shopify, they do have some useful bulk management features including being able to change order statuses, capture payments and export order information.

Conclusion

So which one is the best option?

Honestly, there isn’t one as none of the three a clearly better than the others and they all have their pros and cons (as you will have seen throughout the comparison).

The simple fact is that only you can decide which one is the best for for you and your business and that is why the best advice I can give is to try all three of them out and see which one you prefer and you will probably find that you prefer using one over the others.

Fortunately, they all offer free trials and you can take them out by simply clicking on any of the links below: