Gumroad vs Shopify: Where Should You Sell?

A computer screen showcasing the differences between shopify vs gumroad

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is pivotal to your business’s success. When comparing Shopify with Gumroad, or any of its alternatives, you’ll find each platform offers unique advantages for certain business types.

Both platforms have existed for over a decade, solidifying their place as trusted eCommerce partners. We’ll explore and compare the features and capabilities of each platform to help you match your business needs with the best solution.

Gumroad vs Shopify: Quick Overview

Established in 2011, Gumroad caters to creators. It offers a user-friendly platform to directly sell digital products like e-books, courses, music, and artwork to audiences. Its simplified approach streamlines transactions, eliminating the need for complex storefront setups. This enables creators to focus on developing their craft rather than dealing with technical eCommerce challenges.

Although users can sell physical products, the platform appeals especially to creators who want to monetize their work efficiently. In a nutshell, Gumroad is user-friendly, cost-effective, and quick to set up.

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Gumroad Pros

  • No monthly subscription fee
  • Easy to set up and manage
  • Integrates with existing websites
  • Allows store management from an app
  • Unique features for digital product and subscription sales
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Gumroad Cons

  • Limited site customization
  • Limited features for physical product sales

Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms used by businesses of all sizes globally. It’s known for its user-friendly interface, adaptability, and ability to scale as your business grows. While Shopify also enables the sales of digital products, it offers a more robust set of features for selling physical goods.

Shopify offers customizable storefronts, secure payment gateways, inventory management, shipping, and marketing tools. Its scalability and flexibility make it popular across various industries. The platform supports multiple sales channels, including brick-and-mortar stores, so it’s ideal for selling online and in person.

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Shopify Pros

  • A large variety of theme and design options
  • Ability to sell products online or in physical locations with Shopify Point of Sale (POS)
  • Multichannel sales
  • Extensive app integrations
  • Robust inventory management
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Shopify Cons

  • High transaction fees, especially when using third-party providers
  • No free plan
  • Difficult to switch templates

Gumroad vs Shopify: Detailed Look

Before choosing between Gumroad and Shopify, consider your business’s key requirements and future growth goals to avoid the need to switch platforms in the future. Assess the monthly fees, features included, and any extra costs, such as transaction fees, third-party add-ons, and marketing tools for running an online business.

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laptop with online store showing differences between gumroad vs shopify

Gumroad and Shopify have two entirely different pricing models. Gumroad offers only one plan type and doesn’t charge a monthly subscription fee. The structure is incredibly simple—the platform takes a 10% flat fee from every sale you make. This means they only earn when you earn.

The platform includes a free Gumroad domain name and hosting. However, you can integrate your store with your own custom domain website if you already have one. The only other fees you’ll pay are payment processing fees. Gumroad integrates with both Stripe and PayPal. The per-transaction fee will depend on the payment provider and payment type.

Gumroad’s model is incredibly appealing to small businesses. It allows you to start an eCommerce business without a large initial investment.

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Shopify Pricing

Conversely, Shopify has a much more complicated pricing structure, and it’s important to note hidden fees. The platform offers three primary plans that include your customizable eCommerce store, web hosting, and SSL certificate. However, it doesn’t include a domain name, so factor this into the cost along with your monthly subscription fee. You’ll also pay for any premium themes and third-party apps.

The cost of each plan depends on whether you decide to pay monthly or annually. Higher-tier plans include more features than lower-tier ones. The three plans are:

  • Basic Plan: $19–$25 per month, two staff access accounts, basic sales reports
  • Shopify Plan: $49–$65 per month, five staff access accounts, professional sales reports
  • Advanced Plan: $299–399 per month, 15 staff access accounts, custom report builder, third-party calculated shipping rates

Shopify enables integration with many payment gateways but adds an additional fee of 0.6% to 2% for using them. However, if you opt for Shopify Payments, the platform’s own payment processor, you’ll only pay the per-transaction fee and avoid the extra charges associated with third-party processors. Processing fees with Shopify Payments start at 2.9% + $0.30 on the bottom-tier plan and decrease as you upgrade.

Shopify also offers an enterprise-level plan called Shopify Plus. It starts at $2,300 monthly and has customized transaction fees based on sales volume. This plan requires a three-year subscription and includes features like a custom app, omnichannel commerce, and B2B eCommerce functions.

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Gumroad vs Shopify Design and Themes

Shopify and Gumroad are vastly different in terms of online store design. Both platforms allow you to easily set up an online store without technical skills or coding knowledge, but Gumroad’s approach is more simplistic.

The platform offers limited predesigned themes with basic customization options, like adding your logo and choosing a color scheme. However, there’s little more to give your store a unique design that distinguishes you from competitors. On the plus side, Gumroad is user-friendly and won’t charge additional fees for any design you choose.

Shopify offers many predesigned, customizable themes to choose from, but many of them come at an extra cost. The platform does enable more customization options, and those with development and coding knowledge can access the store’s HTML and CSS for truly detailed and unique tailoring.

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eCommerce Features

Gumroad and Shopify both include website hosting in their eCommerce offering and provide a streamlined checkout to ensure a smooth shopping experience for customers. Products can be organized and showcased in an online catalog, providing sales analytics for insightful performance data. Both platforms also offer multi-currency services, ideal for boosting international sales.

In addition to these basic features, each platform offers unique eCommerce features tailored to its user base.

Gumroad Features

Gumroad has fewer capabilities than Shopify, but it still offers some great features geared specifically for digital product sales. For instance, you can easily integrate your Gumroad storefront into an existing website or blog. This is ideal for individuals with a website wanting to sell a few products without creating an entirely new online store from scratch.

Gumroad enables you to sell subscription and membership plans to your customers that can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. The platform offers discount features and a “pay what you think it’s worth” monetization strategy. Moreover, you can access piracy prevention measures to protect your digital products.

You can sell PDF, ePub, and Mobi files without restrictions. Gumroad also allows you to create a custom license key. This is particularly useful for software sellers.

Shopify Features

Shopify offers feature-rich built-in systems like Shopify POS, Shopify Payments, and Shopify Fulfillment Network, among others. Key features include automated reminders for abandoned carts, cross-selling and upselling tools, gift cards, and customer accounts. You can also create promotions and discounts to attract customers, boost sales, and sell on channels like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.

Shopify also allows you to accept in-person POS payments at physical locations like stores, markets, events, and pop-up shops.

The platform’s inventory tracking feature lets you monitor product availability in real-time and set up stock alerts. The order management system automatically updates inventory levels across all sales channels.

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Marketing and SEO Tools

Regarding Gumroad vs Shopify’s built-in marketing tools, Shopify is ahead of the game.

Gumroad enables you to set up simple blog posts. While it provides basic search engine optimization (SEO) features like customizable URLs and meta descriptions, the platform lacks more advanced SEO capabilities. In terms of marketing, it offers basic email marketing functionalities and social media integrations but doesn’t have the same breadth of features as Shopify.

Shopify offers SEO features like customizable headlines, titles, and meta tags, which help improve organic search rankings. Its built-in email tool, Shopify Email, allows you to send up to 10,000 monthly emails for free. You can purchase additional capacity at $1 per 1,000 emails.

While you can personalize and schedule emails, advanced features like automation and customer behavior segmentation aren’t available in Shopify Email. However, Shopify’s App Store has many marketing apps covering email and social media marketing, SEO, and more. This enables you to enhance these features further and automate your marketing tasks.

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Apps and Integrations

Integrations enhance your website by connecting it with services like social media shops, SEO tools, or live chat features.

Shopify’s App Store is one of the most extensive of any eCommerce platform. It offers over 8,000 apps—everything from sales, orders, and shipment processing to marketing, dropshipping, accounting, and customer communication. This allows you to add almost any functionality to your website. Of course, many of the integrations come at an extra cost.

Although Gumroad does let you integrate with numerous third-party apps, it doesn’t have its own app store. This means you’ll need to set up an account with a tool like Zapier to connect with services such as MailChimp, ConvertKit, and Campaign Manage. In addition, Gumroad doesn’t offer much assistance in building your business and assumes more of a DIY approach.

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Gumroad vs Shopify Customer Support

Shopify and Gumroad are both user-friendly platforms, but you may still need assistance sometimes. Gumroad provides support through its help center, which has articles on different topics. There’s also a live chat option with a 24-hour response time. While phone support isn’t offered, you can contact Gumroad via social media or email.

Similarly, Shopify features a help center complete with articles, guides, and tutorials, enabling users to resolve common issues independently. Shopify offers 24/7 email and live chat support and priority support for top-tier plan users.

Which Is Best for My Business Needs: Shopify or Gumroad?

The better solution between Gumroad vs Shopify will depend on the type of products you sell and the features you prioritize.

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Small and Middle Market Businesses

Gumroad and Shopify cater to different business models. Consider the following when deciding which platform best meets your needs.

Gumroad is a good choice for businesses that:

  • Need a cost-effective eCommerce solution with little-to-no upfront investment
  • Sell digital products and subscriptions
  • Don’t require comprehensive inventory tools
  • Already have a blog or website and want to integrate a shop into their existing setup
  • Don’t require integrated shipping and fulfillment features

Shopify is an ideal choice for businesses that:

  • Want to establish a unique brand presence
  • Want to sell physical products
  • Need a scalable solution that can grow with the business
  • Require an extensive set of features and customizations
  • Want to outsource fulfillment and shipping
  • Require integrated POS options for in-person sales

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Gumroad doesn’t specifically offer an enterprise-level plan, so we recommend Shopify Plus as the preferred choice for enterprise businesses. It offers a robust suite of features designed for large-scale operations and B2B sales. It also provides dependable infrastructure, substantial traffic management, advanced security, and broad integration options to meet the high demands of enterprise-level companies.

While Shopify Plus has a hefty price tag, it offers tailored payment processing rates based on sales volume and provides priority support from a dedicated account manager.

Gumroad vs Shopify: The Final Consideration

A seller in front of a screen with eCommerce product options, trying to decide between gumroad vs shopify.

As you weigh Gumroad vs. Shopify for your eCommerce business, you should consider your needs and future goals. Gumroad excels as a user-friendly platform for selling digital products. Its simplicity and low cost make it an attractive option for individuals and small businesses. On the other hand, Shopify provides a robust and scalable solution with extensive customization options. This makes it ideal for businesses selling a wide range of product types you plan to scale.

Another key factor to consider is whether your customers can make easy payments that are suitable for them. A convenient payment method is crucial to your business’s success. The right payment processing solution can increase sales, reduce fees, and improve profitability.

PaymentCloud is a eCommerce payment service provider that integrates seamlessly with popular platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and Volusion. We offer a tailored payment processing solution with a secure payment gateway for businesses at any growth stage. We also provide fraud and chargeback protection, all within PCI compliance standards.

Improve your store’s payment processing with PaymentCloud’s merchant services. Discuss your options with us today and match your unique business needs with the right solution.

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