We are living in the golden age of the creator economy; it’s never been easier to start an online business and make money online. From being an influencer to running an Amazon business to selling your services to running an online business–there are countless ways to monetize yourself. One of the tools that has empowered innumerable startups and creators to move fast and make a splash online has been Webflow (and if you’re new here, it’s one of our favorite tools). Naturally, the rise of Webflow & Ecommerce seems to go hand in hand in the new digital era where we can make money online fast and simple.
Webflow is one of our favorite tools because it allows anyone to build a beautiful, dynamic website without knowing code. You can build quicker than ever, and get back to doing what you do best. It’s been used by millions so far, and is continuing to grow.
At Slam, we help creators, startups, nonprofits, and enterprises build incredible digital experiences on Webflow to grow their audiences and win online. We're Webflow experts that have pushed the boundaries of the platform. We’ve used Webflow to run a national level upskilling contest, design a sliding scale paywall to view an indie film, and create resource hubs at scale for tech startups.
Webflow introduced ecommerce with its 2018 beta and has slowly been adding more features to make it a real player in the game. But the question is, can Webflow compete with the legacy top dogs like Shopify and WooCommerce? And, more importantly, is it the best platform for your next online store?
Webflow for Ecommerce 101
Since Webflow is a newer player in the ecommerce space compared to Shopify, WooCommerce, and Squarespace, many people have questions about the features and functionality of the platform. We get asked a lot of questions around what it can and can’t do.
Let’s dive into the most important ones to help you get started!
Does Webflow Support Ecommerce?
Yes – Webflow natively supports ecommerce. This is a great option for anyone who already has a website on Webflow and wants to launch a simple online store.
You can get Webflow’s standard ecommerce plan for $29/mo billed annually (or $348 for the year). They also have plans that scale up as your needs change.
What Are the Main Webflow Ecommerce Features?
The biggest question: what can you do with Webflow’s ecommerce offerings?
The best thing about Webflow’s ecommerce offering is actually that the backend is the same as the normal Webflow Designer. We’ve written a ton comparing it to other platforms, like Webflow VS WordPress for example. The same great advantages to Webflow apply here. To save you some time, here are some of our favorite features:
- Easy-to-use drag-and-drop designer to help you build without code quickly
- Powerful CMS to power your blog, product catalog, and more dynamic content throughout your site
- Optimized for SEO from the start — produces clean code and gives you lots of granular controls to rank #1
- Easy-to-use editor for other members of your team that need to only update content (or, in the ecommerce case, see orders and update products!)
- Powerful API and integrations — including Zapier to connect to most tools in your stack
Of course, building an online store is a lot different than building a standard marketing site for your startup. Making the right decision with your ecommerce platform is important to nail early since it will be integral to how you scale your brand.
The biggest advantage to Webflow over a tool like Shopify or WooCommerce is the design freedom. Most Shopify stores are template based, which can be great if you want to get started quickly. Webflow also has templates, but where it differentiates itself is how easy it is to edit the style of your site without code. A lot of times, customizing your Shopify site means hiring a developer. This puts you at the crossroads of spending lots of time and money to get the design you want, or using the same template as everyone else.
In addition to the basic design of the site, you can also customize the checkout experience in Webflow. This is both great and something to watch out for. Shopify forces you to use the default Shopify Payments checkout experience, which is industry standard and designed for conversion. Webflow allows you to make something unique, but by doing this you should consider all of the best practices and conversion-driven design principles Shopify has designed with for years.
Webflow, like a lot of platforms, does have transactional emails (order confirmation, shipping updates, etc.) built in. However, you do have to upgrade to the Plus plan or higher to remove Webflow branding. On Shopify, branding is removed from all tiers.
Payments is another huge part of picking your ecommerce provider. Webflow, like many other platforms, uses Stripe as a payment processor by default. Out of the box, you can accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Paypal in addition to standard credit card payments. However, Webflow is more limited in comparison to Shopify’s wide-array of payment gateways. This allows for a better experience in many other countries that use different payment platforms. You are also limited in the other common ecommerce store management items, like gift cards for example.
Since Webflow isn’t as specialized or established as other players, there are several features that are missing from Webflow’s offering. These include:
- Robust inventory management across locations and stores (there is a basic inventory management option)
- POS system integration to take orders inside of brick and mortar retail locations
- Huge array of plug-and-play apps and integrations (there are some, as we’ll discuss in the next section)
- Mobile app for managing your store on the go
- Advanced shipping options
Some of these are a dealbreaker for some online stores. However, your needs may vary based on the type of ecommerce store you’re building.
What Are the Primary Webflow Ecommerce Integrations?
One of the reasons we love Webflow as a CMS is all of its integrations. Ecommerce sites have access to all of the same integrations that standard sites have access to. However, anyone that has run an online store knows that ecommerce integrations are often different from those of a startup.
Let’s explore the options we have for integrating Webflow with the rest of the tools in your ecommerce stack!
There are two main routes for integrating your Webflow site today:
- Zapier — A third party automation tool, this can connect your site to other tools in your stack via actions that happen on your site (i.e. form post, purchase, etc.).
- Webflow Apps — This is a relatively new feature that Webflow introduced at the end of 2022. Using Webflow’s App Marketplace, you can add additional functionality to your site.
Zapier is a great, simple automation tool for a lot of tasks. We use it on our site for a lot of basic actions. The easiest way to explain how Zapier works is to think of it in terms of “if this, then that”. Take our newsletter subscription forms, for example. We have a zap set up for when someone submits the form on Webflow (a trigger) to add them to our list on our ESP ConvertKit (an action).
Some other examples of Zaps you can create for ecommerce could be:
- Get a text when you get a new order
- Track the order automatically in Quickbooks
- Fulfill orders with Shippo
- Send a message to a Slack channel when you get a new order
This gets you really far, especially when you consider how wide the Zapier library of apps is. However, Zapier bills per task (each time a zap is run) which means this can add up quickly.
Webflow Apps are a newer idea in the world of Webflow, but they’re worth considering if you already use these services in your stack. There aren’t a ton out there right now as the marketplace is still new, but currently you can try:
- Alloy Automation — automation stack specifically designed for ecommerce sites
- Printful — drop shipping store mangagement within Webflow
- Revidflow — reviews within Webflow on products
- Monto — abandoned cart recovery, reviews, subscriptions, and affiliates
The last piece to mention as an integration for Webflow in terms of ecommerce is Memberstack. Memberstack is less of a traditional ecommerce tool; it’s actually a membership plugin. However, with Stripe built in, you can (and we do) use Memberstack to drive revenue through gated content, subscriptions, paywalls, and courses. This will take a bit more creative thinking to get going, but Memberstack is a great building block for a lot of projects.
Frankly, Webflow doesn’t offer as robust of an ecommerce offering as more specialized or legacy offerings. Hearing from folks who run online stores and subscription businesses, we often hear that it doesn’t stack up to something like Shopify or Woocommerce.
HOWEVER — if you’re considering Webflow and Shopify, there is a way you can get the best of both worlds. Keep reading and see for yourself…
Is Webflow Good for Ecommerce?
Hopefully, you’re not expecting a yes or no answer here…
Webflow is a great ecommerce option for some people. Making the decision to use Webflow as an ecommerce platform over other tools really comes down to what you’re looking to accomplish with your online store.
Our high-level take: Webflow’s ecommerce offering is great for smaller online stores who have little complexity, want lots of control over the design, and are primarily selling in the US and Europe.
One key thing to consider is there are different types of ecommerce businesses operating today. Most of the experiences we’ve discussed thus far are for your standard D2C (direct to consumer) ecommerce businesses. However, we should also consider business models like:
- Online marketplaces
In a lot of these use cases, Webflow (along with other plugins) actually proves to be a versatile solution. By using Memberstack as a plugin on top of Webflow, you can build lots of custom experiences tailored to your ecommerce business model. For example, you can utilize Webflow and Memberstack for a subscription based business, like a blog with paid content. We’ve also seen Webflow used to create job boards with user-generated content, online marketplaces, and more.
In 2022, we partnered with QUIET films to build a digital experience for their documentary film, The Death of My Two Fathers. We used a combination of no-code tools to build a digital screening experience with a “choose your own pricing” paywall, a limited screening window to create a sense of urgency, and a digital curriculum for users to participate in. We were able to achieve this by combining tools like:
- Webflow (CMS plan VS ecommerce)
- Memberstack (with Stripe payments)
- GeoTargetly (The film is only screenable outside of the US)
This took a bit of problem solving, multiple tools, and integrating them all together. However, it shows how versatile Webflow as a platform can be for digital experiences and ecommerce options beyond the standard D2C store.
When Should You Use Ecommerce on Webflow?
For all of the D2C stores out there, this is for you. Webflow as an ecommerce platform fits a specific niche, but if you match the niche it can transform your business.
Webflow Ecommerce is a great option for online stores that :
- Are design-focused
- Have a smaller product catalog
- Are relatively tech savvy
- Want to create the perfect workflow with your tools
- Are planning on only selling in the US or Europe
- The rest of your website outside of the store is a priority (i.e. blog)
However, you might want to consider Shopify or another option if:
- Your product catalog is extensive
- You want to run your entire business from the platform, including POS in person
- You want to sell using a different payment gateway
- Inventory management across locations is important
- You need access to Shopify’s app marketplace
In the end, both are really great platforms for ecommerce businesses. Shopify is more established and a great choice for a ton of D2C brands looking to sell at scale. Webflow is a great option for the DIY, agile, design-focused brands that want a more comprehensive website instead of a simple store.
Use Webflow to Build Ecommerce Sites
One of the best parts about designing digital stores in Webflow is that it’s the same Webflow Designer used on traditional sites. You get a ton of customization in an easy-to-use canvas that works for both experienced developers and people just learning the platform.
We’ve detailed the ins and outs of the Webflow Designer in our Webflow VS WordPress post.
One of the other great value adds with Webflow is their Webflow University platform. Webflow has created high-quality, approachable documentation and video tutorials for anyone to get started quickly and design the site of their dreams, no matter what their experience level is.
Design in Webflow: Integrate in Shopify
Fair warning: this is not a “plug and play” solution. We recommend you contact a developer (or us 😉) if you’re interested in this as a solution.
If you didn’t already know, you’re able to export your website as HTML, CSS, and JS from Webflow to host outside of the platform’s servers. This is great for a wide range of use cases.
On Shopify, you are also able to customize your site with HTML, CSS, and JS. This is how most custom Shopify templates are designed.
It’s not plug and play by any means, but you are able to use the code export from Webflow within your Shopify site. This allows you to design in no-code on Webflow, and, when you’re ready to move your design to Shopify, to host your store on their platform. It’s not a dynamic link between the projects, and could become cumbersome if you’re looking to make edits to your site regularly. However, this is an interesting approach for those who know they need Shopify’s backend but want the design freedom of Webflow.
Slam is happy to partner with any ecommerce businesses that want to build something custom in Webflow for Shopify. Get in touch with us to see how we can transform your online store!
For those looking to try this on your own, we recommend checking out:
Your Partners for Ecommerce, Webflow, No-code, and Beyond
Whether you’re dreaming up a new online subscription business, selling a product you make by hand, or have digital templates you’re looking to monetize, it’s never been a better time to build an ecommerce business. At Slam, we’ve helped countless businesses big and small build incredible online experiences and make more money online.
Contact us today, and we can build something incredible together! Don’t need a website, but want to level up other areas of your ecommerce business? Check out our products and resources on SEO, Webflow, design, social media, and more.