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GoDaddy vs Shopify: Which is Best for Your Store in 2024?

Dawn Prevete Dawn PreveteWebsite Development Expert
Shopify offers all the tools and features you need to create and manage an online store, which has made it an unquestioned leader in the e-commerce space. I was surprised to find that GoDaddy offers decent e-commerce tools in its own right. But can a website builder like GoDaddy prove the better choice for some webstores?

While GoDaddy can’t match the sheer number of features Shopify offers, it’s a more affordable option. It’s also very easy to use, so you’ll get your store online fast.

Unfortunately, GoDaddy’s plan features also differ depending on your location. For example, I learned that outside the US your plan may not include SEO tools or some social media integrations. And depending on currency conversion rates and available features, plans may be cheaper or more expensive.

In contrast, you can harness the full power of Shopify regardless of your location. Shopify is easy to use, but its simplicity doesn’t come at the expense of function. You get plenty of built-in and third-party tools to help you scale quickly – just be aware that the more apps you use, the more you’ll have to pay.

After testing both platforms’ features and building online stores with each, I can confirm that Shopify is better for most e-commerce needs.

Templates

Shopify Offers More Designs, Though Not All Are Free

Shopify offers 140+ attractive, responsive themes (129 paid and 12 free) organized by industry, features, and other criteria, like design style, popularity, and price. They’re all unique looking and built for e-commerce.

Themes come pre-loaded with all the sales-focused features and tools you could ask for. This includes things like shopping carts, product pages, image/multimedia galleries, blog pages, and social media integrations. Each theme can be personalized to fit your brand using Shopify’s drag-and-drop editor. Shopify also allows you to edit the HTML and CSS of your website, offering unlimited customization.

Shopify template library filtering options
Shopify’s free themes come with 60 minutes of free design support.
Meanwhile, GoDaddy’s Online Store category offers a few dozen templates, but it would be a mistake to limit yourself to these. Many of the best designs fall under other categories like Fashion & Beauty, Professional Services, or Real Estate.

GoDaddy Online Store templates
GoDaddy’s templates are polished, free, and mobile responsive.
Once you pick your template, you can easily change color schemes, fonts, and images with the drag-and-drop editor. You can also make basic layout modifications, such as adding or editing sections like a photo gallery or menu. That said, your ability to customize GoDaddy template design is more limited than with Shopify.

The best GoDaddy templates come with useful features that can help you connect with shoppers and build your brand. like built-in shopping carts, social media integration, email marketing, blogging functionality, and SEO tools. But during my research, I learned that other GoDaddy templates leave too much of the work of designing your store up to you.

Even though GoDaddy offers more free templates, Shopify has more diverse designs. As a result, you’re more likely to find one that suits your style and aligns with your brand.

Features and Ease of Use

Both Are Easy to Use, But Shopify Has More Tools

Even though it comes with more functionality than GoDaddy, designing your Shopify store is easy, even for beginners. Its drag-and-drop editor gives you plenty of flexibility for customizing your theme. The step-by-step guide and pop-up tutorials also helped walk me through the store setup process.

I appreciated Shopify’s powerful built-in features, such as unlimited products variants and reviews. You’ll also get advanced features that allow you to filter and group customers, automate email notifications, and reach customers in their preferred language.

Shopify store settings
You can easily manage all your store settings from your Shopify dashboard.
GoDaddy’s website builder is designed with simplicity in mind. It’s best if you need a professional-looking website but don’t want to delve into customization. Where it comes up short as compared to Shopify is sales features and tools.

There are two ways to build your store. You can choose a template and use GoDaddy’s drag-and-drop editor to make it your own or have the GoDaddy AI builder design it for you. You’ll answer a series of questions about your business and website goals. Based on your responses, AI selects a suitable template, creates a color palette, and preloads the template with stock photos for your webstore.

It may take longer to set up a store on Shopify than GoDaddy but that’s because it offers more.

Apps/Integrations

Shopify’s App Market Has Everything Your Store Could Need

Shopify’s huge app store has over 8,000 apps, many of which are free. Apps are organized by use case so you can quickly find what you’re looking for, whether product sourcing, marketing and conversion, or store management.

If you want to stock your store without having to pay for inventory or handle shipping and fulfillment, Shopify offers many apps for dropshipping. You’ll find dropshippers that handle whatever type of product you want to sell – fashion, health and beauty, home goods, and more.

Shopify product sourcing apps
Shopify apps are rated by online store owners to help you choose wisely.
Instead of offering an app market like Shopify, GoDaddy has a limited selection of proprietary and third-party integrations you can use to expand your store’s functionality. Notable integrations are GoDaddy’s appointment booking and video and social media content creation tools.

Both GoDaddy and Shopify have native payment processors. But whereas Shopify also offers 100 third-party payment providers, GoDaddy has only three – Stripe, PayPal, and Square.

While Shopify charges a transaction fee if you use a third-party processor rather than Shopify Payments, GoDaddy doesn’t charge transaction fees. That can mean substantial savings for your small business.

That said, GoDaddy can’t match Shopify when it comes to add-ons that enhance your store’s shopping experience or functionality.

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E-Commerce

Shopify Offers More Robust E-Commerce Features

Given its reputation in e-commerce, it’s no surprise that Shopify comes with all the tools you need to showcase your products, manage your inventory, and grow your retail business. From the Shopify dashboard, you can manage all your store settings: payments, the checkout experience, shipping and delivery, apps, sales channels, and more.

Adding products is easily done and Shopify gives you excellent tools to present them at their best. Not only can you upload photos and videos, but you can also add GIFs and 3D modeling to give customers a more in-person experience. I love how Shopify lets shoppers zoom in on a product image, another great sales tool.

Shopify product page
The first step in setting up your Shopify store is adding products.
With GoDaddy, you’ll only be able to upload images and video to your product descriptions. While I found it simpler to add products, this has more to do with the fact you have fewer settings to personalize.

As with Shopify, you can bulk upload products and track your inventory on your desktop or mobile dashboard. But while every Shopify theme comes with a built-in shopping cart, you may have to add a shopping cart to your GoDaddy template.

Since it lacks an app store, with GoDaddy what you see is pretty much what you get. Besides its built-in tools, there are a few third-party integrations to set up payment gateways, create shipping labels, and automate tax collection. You’ll get your store online faster, but its e-commerce tools are less robust.

As for other features that can help you reach more customers and build your brand, GoDaddy and Shopify both include point of sale (POS) systems on their e-commerce plans. They also allow you to manage your online and in-person sales from your dashboard.

No matter which plan you get, I found GoDaddy can’t match Shopify’s e-commerce tools.

Marketing

Both GoDaddy and Shopify Have Excellent Built-in Marketing Tools

Marketing is a GoDaddy strength. Every plan includes GoDaddy Email Marketing, which allows you to create professional-looking emails to drive customer engagement. Using prebuilt templates, you can design and automate follow-up emails to welcome a new customer, highlight new products or special deals, or build rapport by sending special occasion greetings.

E-commerce plans also include GoDaddy Studio. This graphic design tool lets you create social media posts, videos, and other marketing content using professionally designed templates.

GoDaddy Studio social media templates
It’s easy to create graphic marketing content with GoDaddy Studio.
You can use Shopify Email to run and analyze targeted marketing campaigns and Shopify Forms to capture leads. Prebuilt templates automatically pull your store’s logo, products, and colors or design your own email or form from scratch.

Every Shopify plan also allows you to segment customers into unique groups based on behavior. uch as spending, products purchased, or whether they click on your emails. You can then target your campaigns by customer spending, products purchased, and other criteria.

While Shopify doesn’t stint on marketing features, it also doesn’t offer a content creation tool as sophistacted as GoDaddy Studio.

Pricing

GoDaddy is Cheaper, But Shopify Offers Better Value

Neither GoDaddy or Shopify offer a free plan, though both offer a free trial period, no credit card required.

GoDaddy has 2 plans for online stores. With both plans, you’ll get a 1-year discount if you pay upfront for a full year. On the other hand, Shopify has 3 plans and offers a 25% discount if you pay yearly. Shopify also gives you an alternative to its preset plans, including the option to design a custom one.

While similar in price (especially after the first year), GoDaddy can be a more affordable option, though there are tradeoffs. Shopify offers better value and more e-commerce features, especially with its entry-level plan.

Here’s What You Get for Free

GoDaddy offers a 7-15-day free trial you can use to test its e-commerce plans. Despite repeatedly asking, I couldn’t clarify how you qualify for the longer free trial, though I suspect it’s with a pricier purchase.

Comparatively, Shopify offers a shorter 3-day free trial. As an added perk, you’ll only pay $1 for the first three months of the Basic or Advanced plan when the trial period ends. However, when I contacted customer support, I also learned Shopify might agree to extend your free trial as a courtesy.

Here’s What You Get If You Pay

GoDaddy offers two pricing plans you can use to build an online store: Commerce priced at $16.99 monthly and Commerce Plus priced at $29.99 monthly.

Here’s the catch: the steep discount on yearly payments is only good for the first year. Both plans renew at higher prices: about a 70% increase for the Commerce plan and a 65% increase for Commerce Plus.

If you opt for the Commerce plan, you’ll get essential features such as SEO, marketing and booking tools, and shipping discounts. For more advanced e-commerce features like automated tax collection and abandoned cart recovery emails, you’ll have to upgrade to Commerce Plus.

Unlike GoDaddy, Shopify is completely transparent about pricing. Its Basic Plan will cost you $29.00 per month. If you choose to pay yearly, you’ll get a 25% discount. You’ll also get the first three months for just $1 per month.

The Shopify Basic plan comes with all the e-commerce tools and features most stores will need, including many GoDaddy reserves for its top tier plan. These include unlimited products, automated tax collection, abandoned cart recovery, and international market and product pricing.

If you’re just starting out and want to test the market for a product, the Shopify Starter plan allows you to sell on social media and messaging apps for just $5 per month. It also includes Shopify’s excellent inventory management tools and performance reports.

Where Shopify gets expensive is its Advanced plan ($299.00 per month). However, based on my research, the Basic plan offers superb value and functionality for most online stores.

GoDaddy Shopify
Starting Price $16.99 $29.00
Responsive Online Store Templates Yes, 40+, all free Yes, 140+, 12 free
Unlimited products No Yes, on every plan
Marketing Tools Yes Yes
Apps/Integrations Yes, limited selection Yes, 8,000 apps
Detailed Reporting Yes Yes
24/7 technical support Yes, live chat, phone, text Yes, live chat, phone, email

Support

Shopify Has More Helpful Customer Support

While both GoDaddy and Shopify offer 24/7 live chat and phone support, that’s where the similarity ends. Shopify excels at direct support, while GoDaddy comes up short (though its phone support is decent).

While I was able to access GoDaddy live chat support on a weekend, I found it difficult to get a straight answer to my questions. After 24 minutes, I gave up. My takeaway was that either the rep was poorly informed or GoDaddy isn’t transparent about its pricing and features.

GoDaddy live chat support conversation.
I got unhelpful responses to my questions, some of which were repeatedly ignored.
In light of my live chat support experience, it’s a good thing that GoDaddy has decent phone support reps who seem more knowledgeable and helpful. There’s also an active community, knowledge base, and in-app tutorials to help you with setting up and managing your store.

My experience with Shopify support was significantly better. I reached a live chat support rep in minutes and got clear and helpful responses to my questions.

Shopify live chat support interaction
Shopify support was responsive and informative.
Another thing to consider is that while Shopify offers 24/7 email, live chat, and phone support to customers around the world, GoDaddy’s 24/7 phone support is only available in certain countries. For example, you can reach support reps by phone day or night, seven days a week in the US, UK, and Australia, but in other countries operating hours vary.

GoDaddy vs. Shopify:  Which is Best for Selling Online?

Shopify is understandably viewed as the gold standard for e-commerce. Its extensive native and third-party tools are suitable for small and large stores alike. And despite offering advanced customization and functionality, it’s very beginner-friendly. While it may appear to be the more expensive option at the outset, Shopify is more cost effective in the long run when you take everything into account.

On the other hand, GoDaddy is best if you want to include an online shop as a component of your website, rather than the main focus. However, its lack of advanced e-commerce features makes it harder for small businesses to scale. You’ll also have to upgrade to get tools Shopify includes on its cheapest plan.

GoDaddy
Shopify
Templates
35+ free, mobile responsive store templates in Online Store and other categories like Fashion & Beauty
140+ responsive online store themes (12 free) organized by industry, features, popularity, price, and more.
Features & Ease of Use
Super easy builder gets a simple store online fast. More limited e-commerce features than other options
Intuitive and flexible drag-and-drop editor, extensive sales features, built-in POS, shipping, and payment tools
Apps/Plugins/Addons
Limited integrations (built-in and 3rd party), no app market
App store with 8,000+ free and paid apps organized by use case
E-Commerce
Basic e-commerce and inventory management tools, advanced features require plan upgrade
Excellent sales and inventory management features, integrated multi-channel selling
Marketing
Built-in marketing tools for automating emails and designing graphic content for social media, videos, and more
Apps and built-in tools for designing and automating targeted email and marketing campaigns to drive customer engagement
Pricing
Affordable pricing with discounted first year rates
Feature rich e-commerce plans offer great value and are suitable for small stores to enterprise scale businesses
Support
24/7 phone, live chat, text. Knowledge base, in-app tutorials, blog, and community forum. Phone hours vary depending on the country.
24/7 phone, live chat, email, and social. Knowledge base, in-app tutorials, courses, blog, and community forum.

FAQ

How are GoDaddy and Shopify different?

While Shopify provides a comprehensive platform for building and running online stores, GoDaddy is a generalized platform offering domain registration, hosting, website building, and more. It does have an e-commerce solution, but it’s not as feature-rich as Shopify’s.

Which is cheaper, GoDaddy or Shopify?

GoDaddy can be cheaper than Shopify, especially for basic plans. However, much of the savings disappears after the first year. Shopify offers more, which accounts for the slightly higher price of its entry-level plan. When you take everything into account, Shopify is better value for the price, though which is best for you will depend on your specific needs.

Which is easier to use, Shopify or GoDaddy?

GoDaddy has a very simple editor that lets you build a website quickly, but you get limited customization options and features. On the other hand, Shopify gives you more creative freedom and features, while still being beginner friendly, so you get the best of both worlds.

Is GoDaddy good for e-commerce?

GoDaddy is suitable for simple e-commerce needs, such as launching a small online store with a few products or adding a store to an existing website. If your business is primarily e-commerce and requires advanced features, Shopify will serve you better.

That said, other website builders like Wix and Squarespace, have more robust e-commerce features. If you’re still weighing your options, you may want to check out our in-depth review of the 10 best website builders in 2024.

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