Shopify Vs Gumroad Comparison: Which is really better for you?

I was sitting with a founder who runs a local farm selling strawberries, and he wanted to know which is better - Shopify versus Gumroad for his business? Should he setup his e-commerce store with Shopify or Gumroad? He had already tried building his own website, but now wanted to shift to an established platform.

In 99% of the cases, the winner for Shopify Vs Gumroad is Shopify. If you are just testing with a couple of products to sell, or if you already have an established audience, and you only want to sell a product to this specific audience, Gumroad could be easier (and faster) to setup and sell. Once you start doing well on Gumroad, you can shift to Shopify later. But if you are serious and want to setup a proper e-commerce store, go with Shopify.

Below is a table I made which compares Shopify vs Gumroad based on the most important questions which you should consider before choosing between the two. I have also setup a new store just now on Shopify, and a new store on Gumroad to compare the differences. You can find the details for this below the table.

Shopify vs Gumroad Comparison

Feature Winner
Analytics & Reports
Which has better reporting? Reports on top customers, best selling products etc
The more APIs, the more customizations possible on your store
Better for dropshipping
Which is better for setting up a dropshipping store?
Better for e-commerce
Which is better for setting up an e-commerce store?
Better for digital products
Which is better for selling digital products?
Better for physical products
Which is better for selling phycial products?
Better for memberships
Which is better for selling memberships?
Better for newsletters
Which is better for selling newsletters?
Which has a better blogging platform?
Cheaper Costs
One time costs. Does not include processing fees
Which has a better support community, forums?
Which allows you to customize your store better?Has more design flexibility?
Developer friendliness
Which platform makes it easier for developers to code and change things.
Easier to optimize?
Want to add something unique? Like a popup bar to improve conversions?
Free plan
Which has a better free plan?
Which provides good hosting?
Which platoform makes it easier to integrate with third party apps like Quickbooks, Facebook etc
Market place
Which has a better market place for adding plugins/apps?
Looks at how the platform pays you for the sales you make
Which has better SEO? Crucual if you are depending on organic traffic to your store.

What is Shopify

Shopify is one of the easiest ways to setup an online store to sell something online. During Covid, Shopify grew tremendously to become the number one player in the e-commerce space. Because of covid and lockdowns, most of the physical retailers had to shut down and instead move online and many of them started using Shopify this way. And, when most of the stores reopened after Covid, they also started using Shopify for their physical point of sale transactions as well. For e.g. Brunt Workwear is an e-commerce store the sells clothes for workers. They started using shopify in 2020 and today in 2022 they have a run rate of 50 million dollars and a growing at over 200% and sells over 40,000 boots per month. Slinger, a new sports brand focused on delivering innovative game improvement technologies and equipment for the global tennis market started using Shopify is this year in 2022 - and within four months of using Shopify Plus, Slinger saw a 43.5 % increase in revenue, a 20% increase in conversion and a 20% increase in website traffic without doing any new marketing. The main advantage of using Shopify is that they have built all the systems you need to create a successful store online - saving you time which you could be spending on marketing your product

What is Gumroad

Gumroad is a powerful but simple e-Commerce platform that makes it really easy to sell digital products and memberships online.

Gumroad is mainly for people - artists, designers, software developers, musicians and other creators that have something to sell online. If you make something online you can sell that online using Gumroad.

Shopify vs Gumroad comparison

While researching this topic I found that many people said the main difference between Shopify and Gumroad, is that Shopify lets you launch an online store in minutes, whereas Gumroad lets you launch digital products quickly. While this was true a few years back, it has to be noted that Shopify also has added digital products to their product offerings and you can now use Shopify to launch digital products also.

The most important difference between Shopify and Gumroad

From your customer's perspective, the most important difference between Shopify and Gumroad is the online store front they see when they visit your website. Below are a few examples of how the stores look like on Shopify and Gumroad.

Example of how an online store look like on Gumroad

This is how your store front would look like if it was on Gumroad:

Example of how an online store look like on Shopify

Compare that to how your store would look like if it was on Shopify:

Home page:

Product page:

Things you can do on Shopify better than Gumroad?

  • You can edit the code and expand your store's functionalities exactly to what you need. For example, you can display your best selling products from Instagram on your home page. This is not possible on Gumroad.
  • You can also connect your physical store with a physical point of sale for collecting transactions of physical items.
  • You can have a really good looking, professional store-front. This is really important especially in e-commerce as you could be running ads on TikTok, Facebook and you are leading customers to a landing page. With Shopify, you can customize the landing page to have a have high conversion rate.
  • Shopify has a free app that lets you sell digital products. There are also paid apps that are helping merchants sell thousands of digital products every day.
  • You have access to a large market place, a better community. There are more plugins, apps on the app store. For marketing, or for improving conversions, there are tons of apps specifically designed to help improve conversions. Shopify has the largest third party app store in the e-commerce space.

Disadvantages of Gumroad while comparing with Shopify

  • Their store front does not really look like a proper ecommerce store
  • Not the best for SEO. Limited in what you can do when comparing to Shopify, and this is crucial if you are depending on organic traffic to sell your products.
  • Because the landing pages are not customisable, you could see a lower conversion rate when compared to Shopify's landing pages.
  • Gumroad does have posts, but they do no not add as much value as Shopify's blog posts.
  • Really basic analytics - you cannot see top customers, top selling products by region etc. Shopify is really good with reports and analytics.
  • Gumroad does not allow you to customize your themes even for premium users. They only remove branding, and allow you to make a few small visual changes to the store-front.

Things you can do on Gumroad better than Shopify?

  • Perfect for selling a simple digital product online.
  • You can set up and have a store ready to sell your digital product in a matter of minutes.
  • Because of the lesser number of people using Gumroad, you have a chance to be in the top 10 or top 20 of sellers in your niche on Gumroad. Getting on the top 10 lists will bring more people to your product.
  • Free tier which is great for starting out. They will place the Gumroad branding on your store, and you cannot connect your own domain, but it is a great option for starting out. Especially, if you already have an audience on Twitter or something similar, and you are promoting a product mainly to this audience, you can use Gumroad to start quickly and easily.

Disadvantages of Shopify when comparing with Gumroad

  • Can get expensive if you add paid apps. And you have to add paid apps to add advanced features.
  • There is no free plan.
  • Starting plan is $5 - but is very limited.

Shopify vs Gumroad Costs - Which is more expensive?

Shopify Pricing

Shopify is definitely more expensive than Gumroad. These are their top 3 plans:

They also have a $5/month plan starter plan. But you will have to upgrade to get even the basic features. They also have a $2000/month plan for high-volume ecommerce stores.

Gumroad Pricing

Gumroad has the most friendly and motivating price structure that I have seen online. It is almost as cheap as setting up your website and selling online. With Gumroad Pro, you have to pay 3.5% + 30 cents. If you did it on your own and use Stripe for collecting payments, you would have had to pay 2.9% + 30 cents. For just a .6% difference, it is not worth spending hours of time developing and building your own e-commerce store.

Gumroad has no monthly fee - and only charges you on each transaction.

Shopify vs Gumroad - Which is faster to setup?

Both are really easy to setup - and you can have an online store up and running in under an hour. I did not prioritise speed of setting up your store - as you will spend more time uploading products, tweaking your store front to make it perfect.

Gumroad vs Shopify - Which is better for selling digital products?

My answer to this is Shopify. But there is one advantage with Gumroad that cannot be gotten on Shopify.

If you are selling something in a space that is extremely crowded, you would have to do a lot of work to promote and get people to your Shopify store. However, if you are selling a digital product on Gumroad, you could be in the top 10 to top 20 sellers list on Gumroad for your category quite easily, as the number of sellers on Gumroad is less than the number of sellers on Shopify or Amazon. So, by being on Gumroad, Gumroad amplifies your content on Twitter and other social media platforms bringing you more customers to your digital products. This is one advantage I saw for selling on Gumroad, that cannot be replicated by Shopify or Amazon. Other than this one reason, the clear winner is Shopify.