If you’re thinking of starting an online store, the first thing you need to decide is which eCommerce platform you’re going to use. There are a number of different options available, but the two main eCommerce platforms are Shopify and WooCommerce. Each eCommerce platform is different and offers their own pros and cons, so you need to make sure that you choose the one that is going to best fit your business and help you accomplish your goals. To help you make an educated decision, we’ve put together an in-depth guide regarding everything you need to know about Shopify vs. WooCommerce.
In this guide, we’ll dive into both Shopify and WooCommerce to uncover their core functionality alongside any benefits of each. To help you choose the eCommerce platform that’s best for your business, we’ll also discuss the core differences between the two and what they mean for you.
- What is Shopify?
- What is WooCommerce?
- Benefits of Shopify
- Benefits of WooCommerce
- Primary Differences Between Shopify and WooCommerce
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that allows you to start, run, and grow a business. It allows you to set up your online store quickly and easily without having to deal with technicalities. With Shopify, the payment processing is integrated into the platform alongside inventory management so you can do it all without having to switch between multiple platforms or programs. It’s a great option if you don’t already have a website and are looking to start from scratch. Over 1,000,000 businesses worldwide currently use Shopify for their commerce needs.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a customizable, open source eCommerce platform that can be built and used on WordPress. It’s a plugin that is integrated into your website and allows you to transform it into a fully functioning eCommerce store with ease. WooCommerce has a built-in content management system (CMS) and is 100% customizable. WooCommerce is a great option if you already have a website—especially one that runs on WordPress. Over 3,500,000 websites around the world are currently using WooCommerce in some aspect.
Benefits of Shopify
There are three tiers of Shopify plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. The Basic Shopify plan comes with plenty of features that will allow you to get your eCommerce site up and running. If you want to add any third-party tools or plugins, you need to upgrade to the Shopify level and pay for the tools or added functionality. The upgradable options mean that Shopify is scalable and can grow with your business without any interruptions.
All of Shopify’s plans include hosting, so you won’t have to worry about scalability or problems associated with high traffic. This means that you’ll always have fast loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and powerful tools at the tip of your fingers. Shopify is easily integrated into multiple channels such as Facebook and Amazon, which can help you increase your reach.
Shopify offers a full support team to help you with any problems you might have. There is 24/7 support available and you can reach the team through live chat, email, phone calls, or even Twitter. If you’d prefer to take things into your own hands, you can use the Shopify guidelines and tutorials to try it on your won.
Benefits of WooCommerce
Since you’re responsible for the overall upkeep and security of your WooCommerce store, you’ll gain the freedom to customize and change it as you see fit. WooCommerce gives you complete control of your site with almost no limitations. There are plenty of options to help you scale your site, but they will take more hands-on work than Shopify. Since you’ll need your own hosting plan, you have the benefit of choosing one that will best work for your business.
WooCommerce offers community support and custom functionality that can be designed to benefit any business. There are powerful integration capabilities and plenty of easy-to-use design options.
Even if you’re not interested in complete customization, the number of themes available on WordPress far surpasses that of Shopify. You’ll also gain access to comprehensive SEO plugins that can help you analyze whether or not your efforts are working. If they’re not, WordPress offers plugins that can help make suggestions and optimize your site to get the most out of your SEO efforts without having to outsource the job.
Differences Between Shopify and WooCommerce
The primary differences between Shopify and WooCommerce are cost, features, security, ease of use, and aesthetics.
One of the main differences between Shopify and WooCommerce is the cost. Shopify plans start at about $29/month for the Basic Shopify—Shopify is about $79/month and the Advanced Shopify will set you back $299/month. You’ll also need to pay for your transactions—about 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction on the Basic Shopify plan. If you upgrade to Advanced Shopify, the transaction price goes down to about 0.05% per transaction.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that costs nothing to use. You will need to have a website and pay for the basic operational costs—hosing, domain names, and an SSL Certificates—but many companies already have a website, so the plugin doesn’t increase their expenses. There are also several options for special hosting plans that feature WooCommerce use if you’re just starting out. When using WooCommerce, you won’t have to pay a transaction fee and there are plenty of free add-ons available on WordPress.
Shopify has a great internal store for third-party add-ons that have been approved for Shopify use. Shopify also integrates API technology and there are plenty of options to achieve whatever feature you want. There are apps that you can use for cart abandonment, SEO, discounts and promotions, email marketing, and more. Some of the apps are free while others cost money to use.
WooCommerce is an open source platform, which essentially means that you have absolutely no limitations to what you can integrate into your eCommerce store. The plugins or add-ons just have to be compatible with WordPress to work properly. You can browse the WordPress site for plugins that help with SEO, lead generation, email marketing, and more. If you want to take your site to the next level, you can hire an on-demand developer to help.
Since Shopify is a comprehensive platform, it takes care of all of the security within their infrastructure. This means that SSL Certificates are included in your monthly price and your customers are guaranteed a safe and secure check-out process.
With WooCommerce, you are responsible for handling your own security. This means you’ll need to pay for SSL Certificates on your own and make sure that your third-party payment system is verified, secure, and safe for your customers.
Ease of Use
If you’re not a web designer and you don’t have any designers or developers on your team, Shopify is going to be better for your business. The platform offers easy to use software that allows for simple customization and interface design. It gives you the ability to take care of your business managements easily and without back-end developer experience. However, this means that you are limited to what’s available on Shopify and won’t be able to use third-party add-ons.
WooCommerce is a plugin that will need to be installed, updated, managed, and secured independently. If you’re not experienced with building sites and taking care of back-end features, there will be a learning curve with WooCommerce. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re willing to learn, you’ll be able to access unbeatable customization and thousands of third-party plugins.
To design your site on Shopify, you need to use Shopify’s internal theme store. There are a variety of both paid and free themes for you to choose from, but you might not be able to customize them as much as you hope without the help of an experienced web designer or developer.
WooCommerce is an open source platform that offers limitless customization. You’ll need to know some back-end coding and be able to manipulate your site to get there, but there are also themed options that you can start with and edit along the way.
App support tends to be stronger with Shopify vs WordPress plugins since Shopify and the app owner work in tandem while WordPress remains separate from the plugin developer(s).
How to Choose the Right eCommerce Platform
Choosing between Shopify and WooCommerce can be overwhelming, but both platforms offer many benefits and are trusted by millions of people. Shopify and WooCommerce are both powerful eCommerce platforms that can help your business excel. It’s not really a question of which platform is better overall, but rather which platform will be better for your business. The differences between the two tailors to different businesses, so knowing what you need can help make the decision easier. If you’re having trouble determining which eCommerce platform to use, contact the professionals at Operation Technology today. Our team can help analyze your business needs, strategically plan for your future in eCommerce, and take your eCommerce design and development to the next level.