Shopify and Woocommerce have changed the game when it comes to eCommerce, but which one is right for you? Choosing between Woocommerce vs Shopify, can seem a bit daunting with so many points to compare. You may not even know where to start, so that is why we are making a clean comparison of Shopify and Woocommeece.
With a quick read of this article, you’ll know all the basics. And can make an informed decision between Shopify vs Woocommerce. Get ready to pick the right eCommerce platform for your business.
Understanding the differences between the two platforms, you’ll also quickly realize which one brings the most value to your business. You can pick between Shopify vs Woocommerce based on hard facts and understand what each eCommerce platform brings to the table.
WooCommerce and Shopify, what’s the difference?
Shopify and Woocommerce are both very popular eCommerce platforms, but they’re not the only ones. Before we settle the argument on Shopify vs Woocommerce, we need to look at what they are and what sets them apart.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an online eCommerce platform that allows small and big businesses to sell their products by setting up an online store. Shopify dropshipping also allows you to dropship products to customers. So Shopify offers all the tools you need to set up and run a store online in a matter of minutes. This frees you up to focus more on business strategy, brand awareness, and managing business costs.
What is Woocommerce?
Woocommerce is an open-source, customizable, eCommerce platform that’s built on WordPress. It is fully customizable and allows you to add features to extend the functionality of your store. Woocommerce is also developer-friendly, which can be a huge plus point if you want to have maximum control.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Pros and Cons
Let’s compare Shopify vs Woocommerce and take a look at all the pros and cons of each. Once you understand what each platform brings to the table, you’re more likely to know exactly which one to pick, breaking the tie between Woocommerce vs Shopify.
Overall, Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms. If you want to get your Shopify store up and running quickly. It’s easy to use and set up, comes with loads of included and premium themes in the Shopify theme store, and great support.
- Fair and transparent pricing
- Access to 1000s of Shopify apps
- Great support
- Easy to set up
- Shopify handles hosting and security
- Plenty of Shopify themes
- Limited control over your website
- Monthly payments
- Less customizability
- Not ideal for content management
- Shopify gets your data
Shopify is your hosting provider and handles all web hosting for you. You do end up sacrificing some customizability and with a monthly bill on the downside. Most online stores are totally fine with this in exchange for all the value Shopify adds to their business.
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Woocommerce gives you much more control over your Woocommerce store. There is a lot more customizability, but it isn’t for beginners. The freedom comes with taking care of everything yourself, like your hosting provider and security.
- Control and customization
- Huge WordPress community
- Plenty of themes and plugins
- Woocommerce plugin is free
- Easy to use on WordPress
- You have to manage everything yourself (hosting, security, etc.)
- May be more expensive than Shopify, depending on what you need.
- Harder for beginners
Self-management can be worth it if you want to build specific features into your store, but otherwise not a great idea. Woocommerce is ideal for someone who needs more control over their store and is experienced already.
What to Consider When Choosing an eCommerce Platform
To help make your decision easier, we’ve selected the most important factors we think you should consider while deciding between Woocommerce vs Shopify. There are several more factors, but in my experience, you only have to consider others if you need something specific outside these factors.
Ease of use
Design and themes
Plugins and integrations
Payment Gateways & Checkout
Detailed Woocommerce vs Shopify comparison
#1. Ease of Use
Ease of use plays a significant role, you want the experience to be straightforward and intuitive.
Shopify is perfect for this as it handles almost everything for you. All you have to do is choose from a list of already provided themes and select the one you like most, which is great, especially for first-timers setting up an online store.
This takes a lot of additional responsibility off your shoulders and lets you focus on the more important aspects of your business. The downside to the incredibly easy-to-use interface is that you lose the ability to modify and optimize user or customer experience. Still, you’ll find that Shopify has more than enough features for getting started.
Woocommerce isn’t hard to use, its great features may be wasted on someone who isn’t a developer and can’t take full advantage of the flexibility and control over your platform that Woocommerce offers.
#2. Build Time
Both Shopify and Woocommerce have been designed to make build time as short as possible, but they have two very different approaches.
Shopify has a full-stack approach and all the tools you need to create an online store, host your website, manage, and grow the business as a whole. And the Shopify app store has all the extensions and integrations you may need.
Woocommerce, on the other hand, is more of an open-source approach that allows you to turn your WordPress site into an online store. The drawback being no website hosting; however, it allows you to add eCommerce functionalities to your WordPress site.
#3. Design and ecommerce Themes
Shopify comes with 10 free Shopify templates and 54 different premium store templates. In reality, the variations are unique, so you’re not getting the same theme as everyone else. With a variety of different colors, designs and layouts, that is more than enough. The themes are mobile responsive and look great.
Woocommerce comes with a one free online store theme ‘Storefront,’ but the beauty is Woocommerce is designed to let you build an online store with almost every existing WordPress theme already used on your ecommerce store.
You can select any WordPress theme you like and make it work with your Woocommerce site. If the store design is most important to you, there are a lot of WooCommerce themes specifically designed for WordPress and having Woocommerce in mind.
#4. Plugins and Integrations
While choosing between Woocommerce vs Shopify, keep in mind that at one point third-party tools will be critical to growing your store. So it’s worth taking some time to understand Shopify integrations and Woocommerce integrations.
In the Shopify App Store, the third-party add ons are available and can be bought. There are some free Shopify apps, but most are paid and have a monthly subscription.
Woocommerce gives you access to 58,000+ free WordPress plugins and some paid plugins. This is because it is open source and built on top of WordPress. With the WordPress plugins, Woocommerce is a lot more flexible to customize than Shopify. It has a lot more integrations, including add ons for payment gateways, lead generation, eCommerce SEO, and social media integrations.
Whether you’re using Woocommerce or Shopify marketing elements, it makes a big difference to the success of your store. Some of the marketing functionality offered by these two platforms are worth discussing.
While you preferably want your customers to make an account, so you have access to their data, they may also place their order as a guest. Account creation can be a conversion killer, so you must provide both options.
Shopify email offers custom templates for emails and newsletters. But probably you’ll want to use a professional ESP to handle all your email marketing and newsletters.
WooCommerce has free WordPress plugins to synchronize your email data. You can also use extensions on both platforms to manage affiliate services or recommendations to friends.
SEO is all about driving more organic traffic. When it comes to Woocommerce vs Shopify concerning SEO, Woocommerce has more SEO tweaking features.
With WooCommerce SEO plugins, you can optimize your WordPress site while still being in control of every SEO-orientated detail. The fact that it is built on top of WordPress can be an advantage, however, the speed of your ecommerce hosting also plays an important role.
With Shopify SEO, you have clean code and some great natural linking structures. This creates a smooth user experience and boosts ranking on search engines. Shopify is incredibly fast and has several great SEO features. You don’t have to worry about hosting.
When it comes to security, with Woocommerce, you’re on your own. You need to make sure you get your own SSL certificate and ensure that the hosting company has secure servers. Make sure you configure two-factor authentication, backups, and take whatever other necessary steps to manage your security.
Apart from having a strong password, Shopify takes care of all your security needs. There is a free SSL certificate, and you can rest easy without worrying about being hacked.
#8. Customer Support
When it comes to customer care, Shopify is definitely in the lead. Every customer has access to a 24/7 customer care executive to answer any question via email, phone, or any other channel. There’s an extensive knowledge base with the most common user problems well documented to help you out.
Since Woocommerce is a free WordPress plugin, most support can be found through WordPress forums. You can also make a free user account at Woocommerce.com and receive support there, but it’s not as straightforward as Shopify with its 24/7 customer support.
#9. Hosting Options
Hosting is incredibly important, especially during the holiday season. When there’s usually the largest spike in traffic to online stores. With Shopify, you don’t have to worry as the hosting is handled for you. Their existing infrastructure comes as a huge benefit, and you don’t have to worry too much.
Using Woocommerce means you will have to look for the right hosting for your ecommerce store and website. You need to ensure that it’s scalable as your business grows as well. You’ll have to buy separate hosting, managed hosting and a theme. Make sure you do some research before picking a hosting provider and don’t forget to get your SSL certificate.
#10. Payment Gateways & Checkouts
Any ecommerce business knows the checkout and Payment gateway is especially important for your conversion.
Shopify has support for 100 Payment Gateways, 50 Languages
Shopify Payments allows you to directly accept most major credit card payments the moment you launch your Shopify store. If you want to accept other forms of payment, Shopify supports over 100 payment gateways. Shopify Payments works internationally, you can translate your checkout process to over 50 languages.
WooCommerce Payments puts all of your store’s transactions in one place. The extension is built by Woocommerce and you can collect credit card payments, track cash flow, and manage recurring revenue directly from your store’s dashboard. WooCommerce Payments isn’t offered in every country, but Woo Extensions offers any major third-party payment gateway to work with your Woocommerce site.
#11 Shopify Pricing
Shopify pricing comes in three plans to choose from after setting up your ecommerce store. Shopify is free to start on a 3-day trial.
Shopify Basic costs $29/month (billed yearly). It’s perfect for new eCommerce businesses with everything you need to ship products, and process payments. The Shopify plan at $79/month is ideal for growing businesses selling online or in-store, with professional reporting and 5 staff accounts. Shopify Advanced at $299/month is for scaling businesses that require advanced Shopify reporting and 15 staff accounts.
Shopify Starter Plan is $5 for a Starter store which allows you to sell products through social media, email, SMS, WhatsApp, and anywhere else you might want to share a link to a product.
#11 Woocommerce Pricing
Woocommerce is technically a free ecommerce platform; however, with other costs such as the plugins for SEO, etc., you end up spending quite a bit on third-party applications management costs, etc.
Woocommerce sites are generally seen as the cheaper solution. It is true when it comes down to pricing between Woocommerce vs Shopify. All things considered, Woocommerce is slightly more affordable.
Woocommerce limitations mean that you spend more time setting up the store, which is inconvenient. To set up you need to install WordPress and find the right premium themes for your ecommerce site. Or find managed WordPress hosting. Most people would rather just pay more and get the job done.
Keep in mind that while these estimates are accurate, the actual amount you spend will depend on what additional subscriptions you have and which apps or plugins you pay for.
Is Shopify or WooCommerce better for dropshipping?
Let’s take a look at dropshipping on Woocommerce vs Shopify.
Dropshipping means that you have zero inventory. When a customer purchases something from your ecommerce store, you buy it from a third party and have it shipped directly to them. This means you can save costs on storage and warehousing and still have orders delivered smoothly.
Shopify has several app integrations for most popular marketplaces like AliExpress, Oberlo, Printify, etc., but remember that you have to pay separate membership fees for each of these apps, and this can come out to quite a bit.
Woocommerce dropshipping is cheaper if you use one of the flexible Woocommerce dropshipping plugins. You can import products with the right plugins and fulfill orders. You can even allow vendors to sell on your website, but you will have to follow the minimum order requirements, membership fees, and various other charges.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Scalability
Since Shopify has a huge existing infrastructure, all the issues normally related to growth, such as downtimes, backups, updates, or security, are handled for you. You will have to change your plan and pay more per month, but you won’t have to worry about hiring or collaborating with a technical team full-time to deal with these issues.
Woocommerce has plenty of plugins to help you at every stage; however, the responsibility of ensuring that everything is running smoothly is up to you. You won’t have the luxury of not having to worry about the difficulties with scaling, but the upside is you get far more control over the process and only pay for the features you use.
Conclusion: Woocommerce vs Shopify
By now, you have a clear idea of Shopify’s pros and cons as well as Woocommerce pros and cons. You probably know your own business well and can decide which eCommerce Platform takes best care of your needs.
Shopify is the best ecommerce platform if:
If you’re looking to be taken care of and not have to worry too much about the technical aspect of things, then Shopify is your best bet. All your needs will be met, and you can rest easy.
Woocommerce is the best ecommerce platform if:
If you feel like you know exactly what you want from your store and control over its features is of utmost importance to you, you should go ahead with Woocommerce.
It’s best to choose an ecommerce platform early so you can focus on growing your online store and other important aspects of the ecommerce business. Don’t forget that you need to choose the one that best helps your business.