Weebly was launched in 2006, founded by CEO David Rusenko, CTO Chris Fanini, and former CPO Dan Veltri. What started as a basic website builder began to shift its focus towards its eCommerce offerings in 2016 when the company released new updates that added features to the software. By 2018, Weebly was acquired by its current parent company Square Inc., which specializes in payment processing and financial services. Weebly has recently updated its website building software to support both a legacy version and a newer version, referred to as Editor Prime. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.
Shift4Shop is a feature-rich eCommerce platform serving businesses of all sizes in a wide range of industries across the globe. Offering an unmatched free eCommerce solution, the company provides everything you need to start — and grow — your business. This turnkey eCommerce experience includes powerful tools to help businesses succeed — a robust website builder, product and order management, customer marketing tools, and more. Customers can choose from dozens of professionally designed, industry-specific templates, all of which are mobile-friendly, SEO optimized, and highly customizable.
If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for the best eCommerce platform and website builder for your own online store, then you may be tempted by Weebly’s offering of a free plan and generally cheaper prices at first glance. However, it should be noted that Weebly’s bottom two plans, Free and Connect ($8/mo), do not support any online store functionality. If you’re looking to have a shopping cart and payment processors enabled, you’ll need to upgrade to their Pro plan at $18/mo. But, even at this price point, you’re limited to 25 products and you’re going to be lacking a ton of features that are either locked behind higher plans, expensive apps or are just not available whatsoever. If you want to have access to eCommerce essentials like real-time shipping rates, customer reviews, and the ability to sell digital products, you’ll need to upgrade to the Business plan at $35/mo. If you run a dropshipping business or you want to offer subscription and recurring payment options to customers, then you’re out of luck; these features simply aren’t available to upgrade for or integrate.
On the other hand, Shift4Shop offers all of the above mentioned essential eCommerce features, and more, with all plans. Dropshipping integration, multi-channel support, reviews and ratings, subscription features, over 100 payment processors and lots more are available to you immediately. With Shift4Shop, you’re not limited by what type of business you run, how many products you have, or how many features you need access to. With tons of built-in features and hundreds of available integrations, you can build your online store and have it scale with you easily.
While Weebly may look affordable and polished, you’ll soon realize that it’s lacking a lot of substance and is ripe with restrictions and extra fees. Soon enough, you’ll be upgrading your plan just to get your checkout page off of a Weebly URL and paying extra for a domain (which is only free during your first year of an annual plan). But, URLs like product pages can’t be customized at all, regardless of how much you’re paying. If you want to customize your checkout page, or offer guest checkout to customers, then you’re out of luck there. Even order confirmation emails lack the ability to add your own store logo. None of this is a problem with Shift4Shop; essential customization and branding of your URLs, checkout, emails and more is all built-in to the platform at no extra cost to merchants.
Being able to connect with your customers is vital to eCommerce success, so having tools at your disposal to execute this should come built-in to every good eCommerce platform. Marketing automation like abandoned cart emails and upsells/cross-sells are necessary for keeping your conversion rate high, while enabling customer loyalty programs, reward points, and reviews makes your customers feel listened to and part of your online store’s community. With Weebly, features like this are either locked behind their most expensive plans, only available in separate apps, or are missing entirely from their platform. On Shift4Shop’s platform, you’ll have access to all of these features, meaning you’ll never be out of touch with your customers.
“When I chose Weebly, I was looking for an easy and affordable way to build my online store; needless to say, that’s not what I ended up with. Any advanced customizations that I wanted to make to my store were simply impossible, and the money started to rack up when I got charged transaction fees and was forced to upgrade AND pay for features that should have been included. At the end of the day, I was left with an extremely limited store that was costing me too much without letting me do enough. After looking at what Shift4Shop offers, and how much time and money I could have saved, I never looked back.”
– Former Weebly Customer
By expanding your online business to various other eCommerce channels, like Amazon, Facebook, Google Shopping and eBay, you’ll reach whole new audiences and expose your products to millions of marketplace users. However, Weebly offers no support whatsoever to integrate with these marketplaces and sync your store’s products with them – if you sell on other channels, you’ll have to update products, inventory and everything else all manually. But, with Shift4Shop, you have access to selling on all of the above channels directly from your merchant dashboard.
How do free Weebly themes stack up against free Shift4Shop themes?
Weebly offers 15 free themes specifically for eCommerce websites, as well as several others that are designed for other types of sites (such as portfolios, blogs, and events). Their free themes are slick and responsive, but they also are all extremely similar in color palette, mostly being designed with blacks and whites. Weebly relies heavily on their drag-and-drop website design feature here, but this customization aspect is extremely limited in both their Legacy and Editor Prime editors. You’ll only be able to drag and drop elements onto a grid, with Editor Prime only allowing you to move around larger content blocks with various elements. Editing CSS and HTML may sound like your go-to here, but accessing and editing their code is extremely complicated and unintuitive to work with.
Shift4Shop offers over 40 free themes for online stores that are responsive and optimized for selling products, with many tailored to specific eCommerce industries. Alternative to Weebly, all of Shift4Shop’s free themes vary in structure, color palette and overall design to give merchants a wide variety of options to choose from. Being built on Shift4Shop’s Core Template Engine and customizable with a cutting edge Theme Editor, these free themes are functional while being entirely your own. For more complex editing, HTML and CSS is easily available to edit.
Shift4Shop integrates with more payment methods than any other platform, and comes built-in with Shift4 Payments integration from the jump — all without extra transaction fees.
With Weebly, you’ll only be able to integrate with Square, Stripe and PayPal with a 2.9% + $0.30 fee per transaction on each. On some plans, you’ll have to pay an extra 3% transaction fee on top of that. Not every country even supports these payment processors, so you may be losing money as well.
Shift4Shop has an expert customer service and technical support team based in-house and ready to help your online store at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (even including holidays). You can get your questions answered and problems solved by contacting our team at any time via any of our support channels, such as phone, live chat, ticket submission, and more.
Weebly offers a good range of support options, including live chat, email, phone, blog articles and community forums; the issue arises when you have a problem outside of office hours. If your online store has a problem at a time outside of those hours, your only choice is to email support and wait. In time-sensitive situations, this is obviously an issue.