Kajabi vs Shopify: A Personal Review (June 2024)

WRITER:
Mihael Cacic
EDITOR I:
Anja Jazbinsek
EDITOR II:
Matija Laznik
Updated date: June 14th, 2024

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Kajabi and Shopify are online marketing platforms that help entrepreneurs build and manage their online businesses. However, both tools are designed to serve different audiences.

Kajabi is an all-in-one marketing platform focused on helping educators and niche creators monetize their knowledge online. It supports a range of digital products like online courses, communities, podcasts, membership sites, and coaching services.

However, it doesn’t provide extensive support for selling physical products. That’s where Shopify comes in.

Shopify is a complete e-commerce platform designed to help businesses run an online store. With it, you can build custom checkout websites, receive payments from global customers, and even cross-sell products on other commerce websites. However, it falls short when it comes to creating, selling, and marketing digital products.

Over the past two weeks, I tested both platforms to find their strengths and shortcomings. In this Kajabi vs Shopify comparison, I’ll review them based on the following criteria:

  • Functionality
  • Website Building
  • Marketing
  • Payments
  • Pricing

Let’s start with a quick overview of how they compare!

Kajabi vs Shopify: Comparison Summary

Kajabi Shopify
Price

🏆
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14-day free trial on all plans (30 days with our referral link). Paid plans start at $69/mo for 1 digital product and 250 contacts while the highest plan is $399/mo for 100 digital products and 100,000 contacts.


⭐⭐⭐⭐

3-day free trial after which you have to pick a paid plan. Paid subscriptions start at $32/month for an unlimited number of products while the highest plan costs $2,300/month. The pricing rises with additional features, staff accounts, and checkout capacity.

Functionality

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Great for building digital products like podcasts, online courses, coaching services, and communities. Build websites, landing pages, and blog posts.

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Great for building e-commerce stores and selling physical goods. Offers more sophisticated sales channels and checkout functionalities.

Website Building

🏆
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Build a complete website with a blog and landing pages. Enables custom widgets like social share, chat buttons, and carousels. SEO optimization tools included. However, it has a limited number of website templates (11 free and 59 paid) and a less intuitive interface than Shopify.


⭐⭐⭐⭐

Offers more website templates (13 free and 189 paid), customization features, building blocks, and sections than Kajabi. However, it has no built-in landing page builder and offers basic SEO optimization for blogs.

Marketing Features

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Run marketing campaigns with email automation, funnel building, and affiliates. It also includes a built-in CRM, communities, and membership sites. However, you’re solely responsible for promoting your products.

🏆
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cross-sell products on other e-commerce websites like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. Connect your online store to social media platforms and list products on Google. However, you need additional tools for marketing tasks like lead generation.

Payments Integrations

🏆
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Has its own Payments solution with Apple Pay, Google Pay, Afterpay, Klarna, and Xero integration. Separately it enables PayPal and Stripe. Processing fees are applicable depending on the payment processor used.


⭐⭐⭐⭐

Enables more than 100 third-party payment providers, including Payoneer, ePay, and Worldpay. Processing fees cost between 1% and 3%, depending on the payment processor used. It also charges Shopify Payments fees, third-party transaction fees, and conversion rate fees.

Best For
Building, selling, and managing digital products like courses, communities, membership sites, and podcasts. Building online stores with physical products and running an e-commerce business.
14 30-day free trial
(credit card required)
3-day free trial
(no card required)

What is Kajabi?
“Turn your knowledge into a business”

Kenny Rueter and Travis Rosser founded Kajabi in 2010 as an all-in-one business platform for creating, selling, and marketing their digital products. What began as a personal project has grown to serve over 50,000 knowledge entrepreneurs worldwide.

Kajabi is specialized for infobusinesses. It’s most popular for its course building features and easy-to-use website building tools. As a creator, you can build, sell, and manage various digital products such as courses, online coaching, membership sites, podcasts, and communities. Combined with native email automation, CRM features, and promotional tools like affiliate marketing, it’s the perfect option to start up and grow your digital businesses.

Kajabi is a great fit for experienced creators who need a single platform to set up and run a niche knowledge business with different digital products.

What is Shopify?
“E-commerce for everyone”

Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake launched Shopify in 2006, with the goal of making e-commerce accessible and easy for everyone. Since its launch, the company has supported millions of merchants in over 170 countries.

Shopify is a powerful e-commerce platform that helps you develop, launch, and manage an online storefront. When it comes to the commerce side of Shopify, it enables inventory management, payment tracking, and automatic product shipments. On the marketing side, it enables email marketing, lead generation, and content marketing with its array of built-in tools. Furthermore, you have access to custom automation flows and extensive data collection tools that help you drive business growth and improve customer satisfaction.

Shopify is ideal for all kinds of merchants who need an affordable solution to manage their stores online. Its offerings support small local businesses as well as large businesses that sell to customers across multiple locations.

Kajabi vs Shopify: Functionality Overview

Shopify is great for building e-commerce stores while Kajabi is better suited for building and selling digital products.

Kajabi Shopify
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Specifically designed to build, host, and market digital products like online courses, podcasts, and coaching sessions. You can build simple sales pages to sell your services. Specifically designed to build e-commerce websites for selling physical products.

Shopify is better suited for selling physical products.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just getting started with online sales, you can use Shopify to:

  • easily set up an e-commerce store to sell your products,
  • create a no-code storefront with a drag-and-drop builder,
  • manage inventory records with automatic calculations,
  • and integrate over 8,000 third-party apps.

What makes Shopify stand out in this comparison is that you can cross-sell your products across social media platforms and third-party marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. This makes it easier for you to reach new customers and drive revenue growth.

However, despite its powerful sales features, Shopify falls short when it comes to creating and selling digital products.

For example, it doesn’t have in-app course builders and hosting capabilities to help you develop courses from scratch. Furthermore, as a creator, you can only upload digital products in the form of downloadable content (e.g. audio, ebooks, and PDFs). To offer different digital products on Shopify, you have to integrate third-party apps from the Shopify App Store.

On the other hand, Kajabi offers an extensive suite of 5 digital products you can sell: online courses, coaching, memberships, communities, and podcasts. This all-in-one platform ensures you have everything you need to manage your business confidently.

Kajabi makes it easy to manage all your products by having them arranged in categories. This way you can handle different parts of your online business from simple, dedicated dashboards.

With Kajabi, you have access to different builders that allow you to create content from scratch. For example, you can:

  • develop online courses with extensive modules and downloadable content,
  • build and moderate private/public membership sites,
  • create coaching sessions for unique clients,
  • entertain vibrant communities,
  • and set up free or paid podcast shows.

If you’re looking into course creation, Kajabi’s course builder allows you to bring educating to another level. You can integrate student interaction features such as quizzes, assignments, and closed community groups. You can also issue course certificates via third-party integrations like Zapier.

Additionally, Kajabi’s AMA assistant and Creator Studio make the creative journey easier—you can use them to develop course outlines, conduct research, create course content, and market it with AI-generated marketing content. All in less than a minute.

Although Shopify provides sophisticated e-commerce features for selling anything, Kajabi offers more flexibility for selling digital products.

With Kajabi, just like with Shopify, you can build simple sales pages, collect payments, allow customers to sign up for services, and even offer downloadable content directly on the website. But you can also build digital content on there.

Winner: Kajabi offers better features for selling digital products. You can create, manage, and sell a variety of digital products such as online courses, podcasts, communities, and coaching services. Shopify is better suited for creating e-commerce platforms for selling physical products. To build and sell digital products, you have to rely heavily on third-party apps.

Kajabi vs Shopify: Website Building

Shopify’s website builder has more complex customization options than Kajabi.

Kajabi Shopify
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Users can build custom websites with unlimited landing pages and standalone blogs. Offers sophisticated mobile optimization features. Dedicated website building platform with more customizable templates and advanced features than Kajabi. No separate landing page builder.

Shopify has a simple, intuitive website builder.

Both platforms take a similar approach to website building—instead of starting from a blank page, you choose a template and build from there on.

However, Shopify’s website builder feels more modern. Its equipped with drag-and-drop WYSIWYG functionality and has every block neatly organized under each section, making them easy to find. When customizing your store, you can simply switch between sections, blocks, and other features all within the same dashboard.

Some features make Shopify’s website builder stand out. They include:

  1. Shopify app embeds: Through the Shopify App Store, you can embed over 8,000 third-party apps directly into your online store, including language translators, Amazon review collectors, and SEO platforms. This extensive app library makes it easy to build sophisticated online stores that support the unique needs of your customers.

  1. Shopify theme settings: You can easily customize every aspect of your website to reflect your branding. These editable features include buttons, animations, badges, currency format, and even custom CSS code.

Both platforms have an extensive templates library but Shopify has more sophisticated filtering options.

Both Kajabi and Shopify have libraries of free and paid customizable templates you can sort based on price, industry, and even template providers.

However, Shopify offers more filter options like features, catalog size, popularity, and price order (ascending/descending).

Alternatively, large businesses with more resources and complex needs can build their website on Shopify using Liquid (Shopify’s template language) or Headless (Shopify’s Storefront API).

Despite its extensive customization features, Shopify offers fewer options when it comes to mobile optimization. It has a simple visualizer that lets you view what the website may look like on mobile and you may adjust the layout for the mobile. But your customization options vary depending on the theme you chose initially.

Creators can better optimize for mobile and release a branded app using Kajabi.

Although both platforms provide mobile responsive websites, Kajabi takes this a step further—you can build your own branded app within the Kajabi platform.

This makes it easier to never lose connection with your clients, students, and customers. With Kajabi’s branded mobile app, you can:

  • schedule and send push notifications,
  • engage with your students in communities or DMs,
  • and sell additional products with in-app purchase options.

With Kajabi you can create different layouts of the same website for multiple devices, no matter which theme you use.

For example, you can customize the background color, menu alignment, menu button of the website to appear differently for mobile. This feature makes it easy for course creators to build interactive websites that are suitable for use on different devices.

Kajabi also allows you to create landing pages and blogs. The platform has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor with over 14 free and 139 paid landing page templates and 11 free and 60 paid website templates that you can use to create complete websites.

Winner: Kajabi offers elaborate mobile optimization features such as branded apps. It also allows you to create standalone websites, landing pages, and blog posts. Create a branded app with Kajabi.

Kajabi vs Shopify: Marketing

Kajabi offers in-house marketing features while Shopify allows cross-promotion across third-party sites.

Kajabi Shopify
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Perform email marketing, automation and build sales funnels for campaigns. Cross-sell products across third-party websites like eBay and Amazon.

Kajabi and Shopify provide basic digital marketing tools that creators need to drive business growth. With both platforms, you can:

  • set up automations based on unique triggers,
  • build elaborate sales funnels that guide customers through a specified journey,
  • and measure relevant analytics.

Kajabi is designed to run in-house marketing campaigns.

Kajabi offers built-in marketing features such as:

  • Email Marketing: It’s easy to build email broadcasts and campaigns for segmented users. You can also schedule emails for specific dates and times.
  • Events: Engage customers by setting up quick events they can register for. You can also send out reminder emails and downloadable resources for your audience to engage with.
  • Forms: Kajabi’s form builder allows you to create secure, interactive registration forms. For example, you can send out confirmation emails to registered contacts (2), set up reCAPTHA to prevent spam (1), embed a custom form banner into your website, and even send a notification to the team when a contact registers (3).

Kajabi’s marketing features are specifically designed to help engage, convert, and retain leads. Unfortunately, the platform doesn’t provide any dedicated promotional marketing features. As a result, you’re largely responsible for promoting your services via ads or social media.

With Shopify, merchants can cross-promote their products and services across third-party channels.

Shopify allows you to sell across multiple sales channels:

  • Marketplaces: You can connect your catalog and list your products on popular commerce markets like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.
  • Social media: Easily link your online store to social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and Google Search.
  • Shopify Collective and International: You can also collaborate with other Shopify stores and cross-promote your products globally.

Because Shopify provides cross-promotional services, you don’t have to spend a lot of resources capturing leads. It’s easy to list your products on other websites and reach new customers.

Unfortunately, Shopify lacks some of the in-built marketing tools Kajabi has. As a result, you have to rely on third-party integrations to send out forms or create events.

Winner: Kajabi offers in-house marketing features such as email campaigns, newsletters, events, and forms. Although both platforms are capable of creating automations, Shopify needs third-party integrations to perform other marketing tasks like events and forms.

Kajabi vs Shopify: Payments

Shopify offers more third-party payment integrations while Kajabi offers different pricing options.

Kajabi Shopify
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Integrates with major third-party payment processors like Afterpay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Has built-in payment options like subscription and Buy-Now-Pay-Later. Offer significantly more payment processing integration options, including POS, debit, and credit card providers.

Kajabi and Shopify’s payment solutions help business owners accept payments, manage transactions, generate receipts, and receive payouts, all on the platform. However, each platform does something better than the other.

Shopify enables over 100 third-party payment providers.

Although both platforms seamlessly integrate with well-known third-party providers like Apple Pay, Stripe, and PayPal, Shopify offers more payment options for you to choose from.

This makes the tool more accessible to a larger group of global online business owners. On the integration dashboard, you can easily determine which payment channels and providers are available in your locations.

What’s more, you can:

  • easily set up instructions for manual payment methods, including bank deposit, money order, and cash on delivery,
  • customize how payments appear on your store via third-party apps,
  • and set up tipping options for customers to choose from.

However, Shopify accounts have a lot of different fees and costs associated with payments that are processed on the platform.

For example, you’re expected to pay a processing fee for every successful transaction that happens in your local currency. Secondly, third-party fees apply when you use an external provider to collect customer payments. Additionally, you’re also expected to pay for currency conversions when you receive a payment that is different from your payout currency.

Despite its extensive payment providers, your Shopify account can only receive payments at checkout or when an entire order is fulfilled. To offer flexible payment options like subscription services, you need to integrate third-party apps like Shopify Subscription.

Although it doesn’t have as many third-party integration options, Kajabi shines when it comes to pricing models.

With both platforms, you can create flexible payment options such as installment payments. However, you need to apply and receive approval from Shopify before you can offer this option to clients.

With Kajabi, this is not the case. You can easily:

  • instantly set up Buy-Now-Pay-Later programs for unique customers,
  • create, pause, and manage custom subscription plans,
  • and provide optional logins to make it easy for returning customers to complete their purchases.

When using Kajabi’s Payments software, you’ll be charged a processing fee for every successful transaction. These fees vary by location and depend on where your business is located. Unfortunately, this fee payment option is only available to businesses based in the US, Australia, and Canada.

Winner: Kajabi doesn’t collect as many charges as Shopify does. Although Shopify has an impressive list of third-party payment solutions, Kajabi offers better flexible payment options such as installment payment, subscription plans, Buy-Now-Pay-Later, and one-time payment.

Kajabi vs Shopify: Pricing

Although Kajabi costs more, it offers more value for money when scaling.

Kajabi Shopify
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Offers a 14-day trial period with no restrictions on features. More expensive pricing tiers with the most affordable one starting at $69/month. Offers a 3-day trial period without credit card details. Costs less than Kajabi with the most affordable trier starting at $32/month.

Kajabi is a powerful course marketing platform that provides all the tools you need to manage your online business. All these features are reflected in its pricing plans below.

Kickstarter Basic Growth Pro
$69/mo $149/mo $199/mo $399/mo
Kickstarter plan charges zero transaction fees and allows you to sell one product to up to 50 customers, send out up to 1250 emails, and create up to 50 landing pages. It’s a great fit for small creators who are just starting out. Basic plan includes 3 products, 1000 customers, unlimited landing pages, and marketing emails. This plan provides all the basic building blocks educators need to run a functional online business. Growth plan includes everything available in the Basic plan but on a larger scale. You’re able to manage 15 products, and over 20,000 contacts, and set up advanced automation. Great for professional creators who want to scale their businesses. Pro plan contains everything in the Growth plan, but with 100 products and 100 funnels available. You can also build up to 3 websites. It’s a great fit for large businesses and creators.

Although Shopify is less pricey, the trial period is very short. This makes the test phase very rigorous and tiring—you have to try out all features, upload products, and test the checkout process, all within three days. However, Shopify offers more customization for similar pricing.

Basic Shopify Advanced Plus
$32/mo $92/mo $399/mo $2,300/mo
Transaction charges and card rates start at 2% for this plan. Unlimited products, access to 10 inventory locations, 3 global markets, and POS Lite features. It’s great for small merchants who are just starting out. Transaction charges and card rates start at 1%. There is no radical difference between this plan and the Basic plan. If you don’t need additional staff accounts, the Basic plan is a cheaper alternative. You get everything in Shopify but with custom reports and 15 additional staff accounts. It’s suitable for large businesses that operate in different markets. This plan offers competitive rates for high-volume merchants and offers everything in Advanced at a much larger scale. Best for multinational businesses that deal with global clients.

Winner: Kajabi offers a longer trial period, making it easier for users to make an informed choice. Furthermore, the plans offer more features and flexibility to creators than Shopify does. But with Shopify, you are not limited with the number of products. Start your 30-day trial with Kajabi.

Kajabi vs Shopify: Pros & Cons

Shopify Pros Shopify Cons
✅ Extensive business management tools ❌ No course builder
✅ Low fees for starter plans ❌ Higher plans are very pricey
✅ Built for selling physical products ❌ Most features are inaccessible during trial
✅ Supports online and in-person sales ❌ Not ideal for hosting and selling digital products
✅ Extensive marketing channels
Kajabi Pros Kajabi Cons
✅ Ideal for hosting and selling digital products ❌ Doesn’t fully support physical products
✅ Impressive course builder ❌ Fewer website templates
✅ Advanced email marketing features ❌ Subscription tiers are pricey
✅ Intuitive website builder ❌ Fewer third-party payment integrations
✅ Detailed analytics and insights
✅ Offers more value for money
✅ All features are available during trial

Final Verdict: Shopify vs Kajabi

Digital content creators will love Kajabi while e-commerce vendors will love Shopify.

Kajabi Shopify

Best for:

Building, hosting, and selling digital products.

Best for:

Managing an online storefront and e-commerce business.

Although Kajabi and Shopify have overlapping features, they’re built to serve different kinds of businesses. Kajabi is great for building online courses and digital products. However, if you need a versatile tool for selling physical products in e-commerce stores, Shopify is a better option.

Use Kajabi if:

  • You are a niche-knowledge creator.
  • Flexible payment options are important to you and your clientele.
  • You sell digital products like online courses, paid memberships, and coaching sessions.

Click here to get started with Kajabi!

Use Shopify if:

  • You want to set up an e-commerce store and sell physical products.
  • You need an affordable tool to start up your online business.
  • You need a wide range of third-party services and payment integrations.

Click here to get started with Shopify!

Author:

Mihael Cacic
Miha is a writer and an expert in comparative content. After graduating from Physics, Mihael left his job as a software engineer developing SaaS products and began writing about them instead. He gets a kick from writing in-depth, objective, and though through software reviews, knowing his readers will find the best software for their needs.
Author:
Mihael Cacic
Miha is a writer and an expert in comparative content. After graduating from Physics, Mihael left his job as a software engineer developing SaaS products and began writing about them instead. He gets a kick from writing in-depth, objective, and though through software reviews, knowing his readers will find the best software for their needs.