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Is the Wix Website Builder for Beginner Merchants?

A webstore like the one shown on this laptop can be built with the Wix website builder

Wix is well-known for its proprietary, drag and drop software that can let anyone build a website in minutes. You won’t have to know how to code and you won’t have to own a domain name. You just have to sign up for their free account. And Wix works really well for blogs. But webstores are different critters with different needs like payment processing and tax calculations. That’s why we don’t think the Wix website builder is best for building your business’s first (or last) online store.

This article is part of our series on the best way to build your business’s first webstore. We’re including Wix in our series because it’s so well-known. But we don’t think Wix is best suited for e-commerce.

Let’s take a quick look at what the Wix website builder offers. We’ll explain why we think you’re better off building your first online store on other e-commerce platforms.

What Type of Business is Best for the Wix Website Builder?

We think the Wix website builder is best suited for businesses that provide services that are not taxed.

As we’ll explain in more detail below, sales tax and VAT calculations can get complicated on Wix. While some services are not taxable, the sale of most goods is taxed in some way. So, we consider the ability to calculate sales tax or VAT as a must-have standard feature for any online store.

But, on Wix, you’re likely to have to pay extra for this feature. The easiest way to avoid paying extra is to not sell goods on a Wix webstore. This leaves you with selling services that are not taxed, like website consulting services, product design services, or writing services.

How Much Does Wix Cost?

There are four tiers of Wix website builders tailored for e-commerce. These are:

  • Free
  • Business Basic at $23/month
  • Business Unlimited at $27/month
  • Business VIP at $49/month

Wix has an always-free tier that can be used for both blog sites and e-commerce sites. You get limited bandwidth and storage space. The free site is hosted on a subdomain and is supported by Wix’s ads. The free site can be good for a beginner blog site. But, if you wish to run an e-commerce site, you’d have to upgrade to a paid tier.

The pricing listed above are for Wix’s e-commerce sites. Wix has a different pricing scheme for blog sites.

As far as we can tell, Wix hosts its sites on their own servers, but they also use a network of computers around the world to cache the sites (called CDN service). Caching lets users see the content of a site faster.

Wix also takes care of all the coding and SEO for their sites. To use the Wix website builder, all you have to do is to drag and drop components or even just use their automated program.

Because Wix calls itself a web hosting service, we should mention business emails. Usually, a web hosting service comes with free email hosting. Some hosting service offer a handful of free emails, but the better services offer up to 99 free emails.

Wix does not offer email hosting. They recommend Google Workspace, which starts at $6/month/user. (Here’s Google’s price list, for additional tiers.) Note that if you buy your domain name from Google Domains instead of Wix, you can have up to 100 business emails for free.

What’s Included in a Wix eCommerce Store?

Like all e-commerce platforms, the features you get depends on the pricing tier you pay for. In general, Wix’s webstores include:

  • Payment processing
  • Recurring/subscription payments
  • Ability to place unlimited number of products in store
  • Shopping cart
  • Sales tax calculations (limited)
  • Shipping support (limited)
  • Ability to connect to your domain address
  • Ability to sell directly on social media (Facebook and Instagram)
  • Upgraded storage space
  • Video hosting bandwidth allotment
  • Analytics
  • 24/7 technical support

For the full list of pricing and included features, see this Wix page.

Is the Wix Website Builder Expensive?

At first blush, Wix’s pricing is comparable to—and sometimes even better than—Square Online’s pricing. Wix is also less expensive than Shopify.

However, if you look closer, Wix’s service offerings are not as robust as Square Online’s or Shopfy’s. At the end of the day, Wix might turn out to be more expensive than Square Online (but probably still less expensive than Shopify).

We highlight a few places where the Wix website builder could end up costing more than Square Online.

Domain Registration Renewal Fee

Wix is its own domain registrar. If you buy your domain name through Wix, you’ll get the first year’s registration for free. However, Wix does not publish its renewal rates.

Not being able to find Wix’s domain renewal fees alarms us. One common way for website hosting businesses to get new customers is to offer a first-year-free domain name but then jack up the fee at renewal time. This way, they recoup their customer acquisition costs. Wix might be following this practice.

This is why we recommend you buy your domain name elsewhere, from a place that discloses both the first year and renewal fees. This way, you’re at least not surprised by renewal pricing.

Tax Calculations

Most of our readers are in the US. This means you’ll have to deal with state sales tax calculations for each sale. We also have some readers from Canada and Europe, and you folks usually have to deal with VAT calculations for your sales. So, to us, a sales tax calculations feature is a must-have for all webstore platforms.

With Wix’s website builder, even at the top pricing tier, you only get 500 free tax calculations per month. Unless you sell big ticket items with high profit margins or sell services, you probably won’t be able to survive as a business if you only make 500 sales per month.

Wix does connect you with a tax calculation service called Avalara. Avalara’s software can help you calculate taxes. They can also remit the taxes to each state for you. But all this costs extra. And neither Wix nor Avalara discloses even an approximate fee for this service.

We think tax calculations is a must-have feature for a webstore. But, because we don’t know how much Wix or Avalara charges for this service, Wix’s e-commerce pricelist does not disclose the true cost of running a webstore on Wix.

Payment Processing

Wix is its own payment processor. It charges a processing fee of 2.9% +$0.30 per payment. This is a typical and fair charge for third-party processors like Square, Stripe, and PayPal.

Practically speaking, this means you’ll pay an extra fee for each sale you make. But this is true for all webstore platforms, so this is neither a plus nor a minus for Wix.

Wix claims you can connect up to other payment processors via a free payment gateway. However, from the list of processors available, your choice seems quite limited.

Proprietary Website Building Software

We don’t like proprietary services. It ties you to that service and, when they increase their pricing, it’s hard/expensive for you to leave.

The Wix website builder is proprietary software. This means that, if you ever wish to move off Wix—usually to save one or more operating costs—you’ll have to recreate your website from scratch.

Usually, recreating an entire website is time-consuming and can get expensive if you hire someone to do it for you. So, even though Wix is easy to use, there is a cost to this ease-of-use. You may or may not wish to pay this cost.

Is the Wix Website Builder for Every Business?

We don’t think Wix is for every business. We think it might be an OK platform if you sell services that do not require sales tax payments. Otherwise, because you only get a limited number of free sales tax calculations per month, Wix might end up costing more than Square Online.

If you’re still curious about Wix, then we recommend you sign up for their free tier and explore the website building software for a bit. See if you like it. It’s always easier to make a decision once you have concrete facts to help you.

Interested in starting and running a small business? Here’s the beginning of our step-by-step guide: What to do right after getting that great business idea.

Questions? Comments?