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Shopify vs Cafe24 (ecommerce platforms comparison)

If you are thinking about opening an online store, you may have heard of Shopify (from Canada) and Cafe24 (from Korea). Both brands offer online store building services for both local and global companies. Cafe24 has the greatest market share in Korea, but Shopify just entered the Korean market and is one of the global leaders. Let’s compare the two!

This blog post is about the following:

ShopifyCafe24
LanguageKorean and EnglishKorean
Free logoyesnot available
Themesyesyes
Domains and hostingyesyes
Dropshippingyesyes
Payment gatewaysGlobal + KoreanKorean
Customer serviceEnglish + KoreanKorean

Creating a brand logo

Your logo represents your company’s identity and values. It can be compared with an offline storefront. The logo will be featured on your site and social channels. How do Shopify and Cafe24 differ?

Cafe24

You cannot make a company logo with Cafe24, you have to make one yourself or ask a designer. You have upload logos for desktop and mobile separately.

Shopify

As mentioned in a previous blog post about making a Shopify website (in Korean) there is a possibility to create your own company logo for free with Shopify. There are 4 stages in this process.

The 4 stages of making a company logo with Shopify:

  1. Choose your business space
  2. Choose your visual style
  3. Add your business name
  4. Tell us where the logo will be used

Themes

Do you want a trendy design for your online store? For both Cafe24 and Shopify, there are themes to choose from. There are both free and paid themes on both platforms. You can try demos to see what your online shop may look like.

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Cafe24

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In the case of Cafe24 themes, there is a focus on designers. Depending on the needs of your site (features) you choose the designer or design company. With the theme designer you can negotiate pricing, basic options, design coverage, working hours, additional work requests, etc. Desktop and mobile themes from Cafe24 are purchased separately.

Shopify

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A total of 73 themes are provided. You can choose the price range, number of products you want, check the layout design, etc. Every theme offers a free demo, you can preview how it works. Also, all the themes of Shopify are
desktop and mobile friendly. You can also custom build your own Shopify store design from scratch by yourself! https://themes.shopify.com/

Domain registration and hosting

Cafe24

With Cafe24 you can purchase domains and hosting. You can select a domain that suits your purpose, and you can purchase from different countries, domestic regions, institutions, and Korean domains. The price is around 22,000 won per year.

As for hosting, you can choose between web hosting, special hosting and server hosting. Each hosting type is unique in terms of duration, price, capacity and speed, so you need to know exactly what you want to make the best choice. For example, if you are planning a promotional event, and you are concerned about a sudden increase in traffic, you can consider ‘power-up unlimited photo hosting’. Also, if you are a business that needs to upload a lot of images, you can consider ‘image hosting’.

If you don’t know which hosting product is right for your store, you can browse different hosting products as needed in ‘Find the right hosting for you’. Cafe24 offers fine-grained hosting services, but you need to have some technical knowledge to choose the tight hosting products for you.

Depending on the hosting company, specifications like services, speed, security, development language, capacity, price and duration are very different, so it may be a bit difficult for those who are starting a shop for the first time. https://echosting.cafe24.com/

Shopify

The integrated domain and hosting can be easily be purchased from Shopify. The website and domain + hosting are automatically connected, so you do not have to worry about it. In addition, you can add an unlimited number of subdomains (e.g. https://kr.shopname.com).

Shopify is a platform specialized for online stores, so users can select standard domain extensions, country domains (kr), or premium domains rather than domains for public institutions (gov) and domestic regions like Cafe24.

If you already bought a domain elsewhere, you can simply connect your Shopify store with it. You can also have certain pages (e.g. https://store.website.com or https://website.com/store) running on Shopify and the rest of the site on another CMS.

Also, Shopify provides WHOIS privacy and can create an unlimited number of email boxes exclusively for branded sites, making it possible for consumers to showcase a specialized shopping mall. You can purchase domains at a slightly lower price than Cafe24, as Shopify’s domain fee starts at $14 (approximately 16,800 won).

Fulfilment / dropshipping

To run an online store operations efficiently, you need reliable inventory management, payment processing and logistics. Cafe24 and Shopify provide different systems to users. Fulfillment and dropshipping that are often mentioned these days, you can choose the logistics system that suits you. We wrote another blog post about dropshipping (in Korean).

Explanation of fulfillment / dropshipping: https://www.oberlo.com/ecommerce-wiki/fulfillment.

Dropshipping is a simple 4 step process as shown in the picture below, and the delivery is completed from the point of ordering. Thus, merchants can deliver products to customers without having to worry about shipping, packaging and logistics. If can only find a supplier of products, you can just sell those products.

Cafe24

Cafe24 has been providing fulfillment services to users since a few weeks, June 18, 2020. Through the announcement on the homepage, the full description explains that:

it takes care of all of the logistics related to online shopping malls such as receipt, storage, delivery, and return, and can be used by all customers of Cafe24 regardless of category or amount of shipment.

Products can be processed from order to delivery to customers in one place, saving time and reducing costs. However, it seems like a logistics processing system most suitable for medium-sized businesses and big companies with a large number of orders and quantity rather than small sellers. With fulfillment goods for sale must be stored in a warehouse (with packaging and delivery of goods). Therefore, it is necessary to carefully consider the appropriate logistics system for the sellers who operate online stores with small orders or small amounts, which may incur additional logistics costs.

Shopify

You may be wondering how to find suppliers to dropship their products. With a service specifically for dropshipping called Oberlo, Shopify helps you to find suppliers of products to sell so you can focus on marketing. https://www.oberlo.com/

With Oberlo / Shopify, you don’t have to manage product inventory, find a place to store products or pay storage fees and you don’t have to sign a contract with a shipping company. Shopify’s dropshipping service can be an attractive solution for those who are preparing for the startup of an online store on a small scale at a relatively low cost.

Payment Gateways (PGs)

Cafe24

Cafe24 offers a variety of Korean payment methods and Korean PG companies, as it is the largest online shopping mall production platform in Korea. Cafe24 provides various payment methods that can be used in Korea, including card payment, account transfer, simple payment, convenience store payment and mobile phone payment.

When you set up the payment method you want, a different subscription fee is required for each payment method, and there is a fee for selling products/services. Cafe 24 subscription fee by payment method:

  • Card payment, account transfer: 200,000 won subscription fee (excluding tax)
  • Mobile payment: 100,000 won (excluding tax)
  • Easy payment: 200,000 won subscription fee (excluding tax)
  • Convenience store payment: subscription fee 100,000 won (excluding tax)

Cafe24 does not work with foreign PGs (like PayPal) yet.

Shopify

Shopify, the global online store platform, provides local currency payment services for each country and region. It is also an attractive platform for global sellers, as it is working with more than 100 e-payment agencies in your country and region.

Before it was difficult to settle in Korean won in Korea, but recently, while targeting the domestic market, Shopify made a partnership with KG Inicis, a Korean payment service provider, to make it easier to settle in Korean won. In Korea, the following PGs are available:

  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Third-party providers (2Checkout, Asiabill and iPayLinks)
  • Alternative payment methods (many)
  • Manual payment methods (bank deposit, COD, etc.)

Customer service

Cafe24

Cafe24 operates a variety of customer support services as there are many domestic users. Cafe24’s customer support call center, 1:1 inquiries and frequently asked questions help users through various channels. However, Cafe 24 operates different customer centers in each center such as shopping mall center, marketing center, design center, education center, startup center, etc. Since the phone number is different, you should contact the customer support center in the field you want to inquire.

Shopify

As a global platform, Shopify’s customer support center is operated in various languages, and Korean users can contact the customer center in English or Korean. There are three major customer support methods:

  • Inquiries via chat (English), inquiries via Twitter (English)
  • Inquiry via email (Korean language support)
  • Website https://help.shopify.com/en/

Punch Digital Marketing has been a Shopify Partner since 2018. We can help you build and market your Shopify store! Questions about Shopify or just want to hang out with other merchants? Join our group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/koreashopify/

Try Shopify 14 days for free: https://www.shopify.com/?ref=punch-digital-marketing.

Read about Shopify news in Korean here: https://blog.naver.com/punchkorea

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