Sellfy vs Shopify: Which is Best for You in 2023
Last updated: February 2, 2023
Building an online store can be a rewarding experience. But before you start building, you’ll need to decide on the best ecommerce platform to run your ecommerce business. These days, ecommerce softwares have a range of built-in marketing tools, ecommerce features, and more to help an ecommerce store like yours get off the ground. Right now, two of the popular ecommerce platforms are Sellfy and Shopify.
In this article, we’re going to compare Sellfy vs Shopify to help you decide where to build your own website.
It is important to note that Shopify is popular for online stores that are selling physical products, while Sellfy focuses more on digital products (with a touch of physical print-on-demand products). For the purposes of comparing both platforms fairly, we will focus on the functionalities relating to website building and selling digital products. So, let’s dive in.
Here’s a quick link to various sections within this article:
- Sellfy Overview
- Shopify Overview
- Sellfy vs Shopify Comparison at a glance: Which is a better alternative?
Sellfy is one of the popular ecommerce platforms that allows you to sell digital and physical products on your online store. Sellfy was founded in 2011 by Maris Dagis and Kristaps Alks in Latvia.
Sellfy Core Features
- Sell anything: Sellfy provides functionalities for users to sell both digital and physical products. You can sell any type of digital product from ebooks to videos. Or physical products via print-on-demand. You can stream videos on the platform by offering online courses or webinars. Or even offer services that charge monthly subscriptions. This complete ecommerce platform really lets you sell any type of product you’d like on your online store.
- Customizable website builder: You can customize the website of your ecommerce business in multiple ways, such as color, layout, and adding a logo. You can also automatically translate the content of your site based on your customer’s geographical location, making it great for generating international sales.
- Optimized for mobile: Most online shoppers purchase via their phone. Your Sellfy store is optimized for mobile devices to ensure a seamless experience when shopping via their phone or tablet.
- Countless marketing features: Those selling physical and digital products will enjoy marketing features that are available on your Sellfy store. You can offer discount codes, email marketing newsletters, upsell to customers, and add tracking pixels with ease.
- Embeddable: When comparing Sellfy vs Shopify, you’ll be glad to know that Sellfy offers countless embeddable features. You can embed a Buy Button, product links, product cards, store embeds, and more on your website or any other website you own. That means you don’t need to sell products on your Sellfy store alone. You can also take promote your products on other third-party websites.
- Security: This ecommerce software also allows you to sell online securely. Your ecommerce store can run payments via PayPal and Stripe. And for digital products, you can add PDF stamping and limited downloads to prevent the piracy of your products. When comparing Shopify vs Sellfy, you’ll want to do a deep dive into security features to ensure you’re selling your products as safely as possible.
Sellfy has three pricing tiers based on which plan you’re on. The Starter plan costs $29/month, Business $79/month, and Premium $159/month. If you earn more than $200,000 annually, you can even inquire about offers for high volume sellers, but the monthly costs associated with this plan aren’t made public.
Advantages of Sellfy
1. Money-back Guarantee
Sellfy proudly displays its money-back guarantee on its website to let customers know they’re the real deal. If you sign-up for Sellfy and realize this isn’t the right platform for you, you can get a full refund within 30 days of signing up or upgrading your website. That way, you can try out the platform, try to generate some sales, and see how your site performs. If you succeed, great! If you don’t, you can have the option of shutting down your Sellfy store and getting your money back.
2. Quick setup
Setting up your Sellfy store can be done quickly. In a short period of time, you’ll be able to get your site up and running. You can quickly set up your site without any web development skills so you can start selling online on day one.
Disadvantages of Sellfy
1. Limited website modules and customizability
If you’re looking to create a highly customized website, Sellfy won’t be a great fit for you as the website builder feature only provides 6 different website modules (i.e. those customizable website sections that you can drag and drop into your website – see the left hand navigation on the image above). In contrast, Shopify has over 16 website sections that provide better customizability for each section.
2. Limited types of digital products
While you are able to sell digital files or digital downloads like PDFs, ebooks, printables, and more, you won’t be able to sell other types of digital products such as online courses or coaching services. This means that you’ll need to find additional platforms to establish more income sources for your online business.
This is quite a significant disadvantage as oftentimes creators would want to bundle an online course together with a digital download like an ebook or a printable worksheet. If you’re interested in publishing these types of product bundles, check out Payhip instead.
3. Limited functionalities for memberships
While you can sell memberships/subscriptions where you get to charge your customers on a recurring basis, Sellfy does not have the right functionalities for you to be able to distribute rich content to your subscribers such as various rich media posts (polls, videos, images, announcements, scheduled posts), engagement with subscribers with post likes and comments, and membership tiers. These features are typically available on other platforms such as Payhip, Patreon, or perhaps some of the apps that are available on Shopify app store.
4. Pricing plans change based on earnings
When comparing Sellfy vs Shopify, Sellfy’s pricing plan caps lead to its downfall. For instance, if you earn more than $10,000 in annual sales you’ll need to upgrade your Starter Plan to Business. There are other ecommerce platforms that allow you to grow your ecommerce store without needing to change plans. Having to upgrade your plan when your store reaches financial milestones can be frustrating from a user experience perspective.
5. Limited integrations
Unlike Shopify, there’s no app market on Sellfy and the number of integrations available is limited. There are integrations for Google Analytics, Webhooks, Facebook, Patreon, Zapier, and Twitter.
6. No forever-free plan
This is a disadvantage that applies to both Sellfy and Shopify as both platforms do not offer a forever-free plan. If you’re a business that is starting out and have very limited funds, you may want to consider other platforms like Payhip that provides a generous free plan.
Shopify is a popular Canadian ecommerce platform for online and retail stores. You can sell both physical and digital products on the platform, but typically most people sell physical products on Shopify. This company was originally founded in 2006 by Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake in Ottawa, Ontario.
Shopify Core features
- Over 70 customizable themes: Directly on Shopify, you can purchase premium website themes. All of these themes allow for store customization and work with Shopify’s built-in store builder. You can easily customize your website using these themes to change things like color, fonts, photos, and more. You can also find a range of free themes on the platform as well. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify are popular enough to source themes outside the platform, such as on Creative Market or ThemeForest.
- Hosting is included: Shopify’s monthly subscription includes hosting, bandwidth, and storage. You won’t need to install a separate hosting provider.
- Countless Shopify Apps available: The Shopify App Store has over 6,000 apps available that you can use to customize your Shopify store in myriad ways. This app market allows you to find dropshipping apps where you can find products to sell, email marketing tools such as abandoned checkout recovery, apps for inventory management, apps for social media platforms so you can sell on social media, and more.
- Over 100 payment providers: Selling internationally on Shopify is made easy with over 100 payment providers to choose from. Depending on which country you’re based in, you’ll find common payment providers for that country. For example, in the United States, you’ll find payment options like Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and more where customers can securely enter their payment details online for secure transactions. Keep in mind, that you’ll likely need to pay transaction fees, which can vary based on the chosen provider.
- Many reports available: Getting access to data is crucial to your success as a Shopify retailer. You can find reports for analytics, finances, live view, products, inventory, marketing, and more. All of these tools can help you better understand how well your store is doing and guide you on how you can improve it.
- Unlimited products: On Shopify, you can sell an unlimited number of products on your website. That means, you can add as many products as you’d like on any plan with no limits. So, if you’re a mega online retailer with tens of thousands of products on your online store, you can add all your products and more with no caps.
- Extensive Shopify customer support: Shopify offers phone, live chat, and email support. Some support reps are even available in languages other than English. Beyond Shopify’s customer support, there is also a multitude of resources to support you as you build your online store, such as Shopify’s blog, online courses, and help docs. Anyone can access Shopify’s customer support and resources without any plans needed.
Shopify has multiple pricing tiers for your online store that you can choose from. The biggest downside to Shopify’s pricing structure is that there are no free pricing tiers available on the platform, which can be steep for a beginner just exploring the ecommerce platform. Plus, Shopify’s free trial is only three days long.
Shopify’s monthly pricing is as follows: $39/month for the Basic plan, $105/month for the Shopify plan, $399/month for the Advanced plan. Outside of these three plans, there’s also Shopify Plus which starts at $2,000/month for premium online stores and Starter which costs $7/month for selling on social and messaging apps.
Advantages of Shopify
1. Easy to setup
Shopify is a no-code ecommerce platform that makes running an online store easy for non-developers. You can install Google Analytics, add tracking pixels, set up discount codes and more without needing to know how to code using Shopify. There are countless apps that allow you to customize your site without needing any technical skills.
2. Grows with your business
Shopify is a complete ecommerce platform that you can grow into. From the side hustler selling via WhatsApp to the enterprise online store with millions of customers, you can build and run a Shopify store no matter what stage your business is in.
Various big brands such as Kylie Cosmetics, Red Bull, Gymshark, BBC, and more use Shopify as their website building platform. This is a testament to how scalable Shopify’s platform is to accommodate sellers of any size.
3. Decent customizability
In contrast to Sellfy which only provides 6 different website sections, Shopify has about 16 website sections with much more extensive customizability for each of the website sections. You’ll likely be able to create a website that can match your brand aesthetics.
4. Massive community of partners on Shopify app store
Shopify has one of the largest app stores when it comes to an eCommerce platform. Shopify app store is home to thousands of third party apps that can provide additional features to your website from marketing tools, unique website aesthetics, product sourcing tools, and more.
Disadvantages of Shopify
1. Not the best platform for selling digital products
Shopify does not have built-in features to sell digital products such as ebooks, courses, memberships, and more. When most people think of Shopify, they think of physical products. However, there are countless digital products that can be sold online.
While it is possible to sell digital products on Shopify, you’ll need to install a third-party app and those apps usually come with additional subscription fees that will add to the cost of running your business. The number of apps and products offered to digital product sellers is also quite limited. If you’re a course creator, it can be quite difficult to sell online courses on Shopify or even ebooks.
If you’re dropshipping physical goods, Shopify might be one of the best ecommerce platforms. But if you’re selling ebooks, code, images, video, courses, or any other type of digital products, you might want to look elsewhere such as Payhip.
2. Can get expensive / No forever-free plan
When you’re making thousands of dollars each month, paying $29 each month doesn’t look like a big deal. However, most online stores don’t make thousands of dollars each month. Learning how to run a successful ecommerce store takes time. Currently, there’s no free plan that allows you to test out and learn in those early first few months. Plus, as your online store starts succeeding, you’ll likely need to upgrade your plan to be able to manage your business and the costs for a growing business are steep.
This is a disadvantage that applies to both Shopify and Sellfy as both platforms do not offer a forever-free plan. You may want to consider other platforms like Payhip that provide a generous free plan if you’re just starting out and have limited funds.
Which is a better alternative?
When comparing Shopify vs Sellfy, you might be wondering if these two platforms are the best out there or if there’s actually a better alternative. Fortunately, there is. While Sellfy and Shopify are great online store builders, Payhip is another popular platform for selling both physical and digital products, but with a twist. It’s free.
Payhip offers tiered pricing plans on their site. But there’s a Free Forever plan with a 5% transaction fee that you can stay on for life, no need to upgrade. Unlike Shopify vs Sellfy, Payhip offers all of its features, unlimited products, and unlimited revenue on their free plan. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly platform, Payhip beats out the two ecommerce platforms on cost alone.
While you can sell physical products on Payhip with ease, the offering for digital goods is extensive. You can create online courses with a beautiful video player that can be securely watched without worries of piracy. You can even offer certificates to your students. If you sell ebooks, you can add PDF stamping to prevent leaks of your proprietary content online. You can even sell services on the platform through a membership program or subscription service. Neither Shopify vs Sellfy offer this level of detail to their customers.
Payhip also has powerful marketing tools. They offer many of the popular tools you can find on both Sellfy and Shopify but they also allow you to create an affiliate program or referral system so you can attract more customers from the customers you already have. For instance, a fitness coach using Payhip might get referrals from clients who achieve success.
Here are some of the most notable features on Payhip:
- Very generous free plan: Payhip’s forever-free plan gives you unlimited access to the entire platform’s features
- Unlimited product listings, unlimited customers, and unlimited revenue
- Free fully-hosted domain (you can also connect a custom domain)
- Simple drag and drop website and landing page builder with extensive customizability
- Instant payouts through Paypal and Stripe
- Automatic collection and remittance of UK & EU VAT
- Built-in eCommerce tools so you can sell a range of product types such as online courses, digital downloads, coaching, subscriptions or memberships, and physical products
- Product bundling feature. You can bundle a digital download product (e.g. ebook, printables, etc) with an online course in a single product listing
- Payhip is well-known for having a beginner-friendly and intuitive user interface. Payhip also provides a lot of guided video tutorials to ensure your success in setting up your online business
- Advanced marketing features such as referral system, affiliate program, upselling, cross-selling, coupon codes, email marketing, and more are all available on the free plan
Sellfy vs Shopify Comparison at a glance
Here’s how the platforms compare to each other:
Sellfy vs Shopify: Which should you choose in 2023
So, which is better in 2023: Shopify vs Sellfy? If you’re looking to build a small business selling digital products or some amount of print-on-demand products, it might be worth trying Sellfy. If you own a $100 million dollar online store with millions of customers, Shopify might be the option for you.
However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for platforms that come with robust features to sell various digital products, or just looking to run a profitable online store, you might choose the budget-friendly Payhip for your business. Sign up for Payhip today to make 2023 the year you build a successful online store.