WooCommerce vs Shopify – Pick Out the Better ECommerce Platform
Planning to build an eCommerce website for your business? All the warm wishes from our side. But you need to cross the initial stage at first. You, like many others, may be going through the confusion: which eCommerce platform is better. While there are numerous eCommerce website building platforms with their own skillsets, you have to pick the best one. Shopify and WooCommerce are the top two placeholders amongst the eCommerce platforms. Since both have their own strengths, let’s take a tour of the comparison between these two. Let’s take a quick glance at WooCommerce vs Shopify.
WooCommerce vs Shopify – A Quick Overview
Earlier than getting into any in-depth comparison or technicalities, a quick look at the basics of these two platforms should be wise for them who need a little acquaintance with these giants among eCommerce platforms.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress eCommerce plugin. You can take advantage of the most influential CMS (Content Management System) to run your online store. Each section of your website is customizable with WooCommerce because of its open-source nature. Furthermore, you can create the custom extensions quite effortlessly.
What is Shopify?
You don’t need to worry about the technical part of running your online store with Shopify. Since Shopify is considered to be a ‘one-man-army’ platform for eCommerce website development, it keeps you free of concerns regarding web hosting, caching, security and much more additional details. Moreover, Shopify is an extremely useful platform for developing an eCommerce website, handling account, and accepting payments.
Both the platforms include a through citations and a wide range of user base. So, you’re not going to be stuck while finding an answer to your issues. Both the platforms are seamlessly easy to handle, even for an entire novice. The WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison comes when we get into the technicalities. Let’s not take a single moment of yours and move ahead to the comparison.
Comparison between WooCommerce and Shopify
For any website (especially eCommerce website), aesthetic is something that will persuade or demotivate a visitor to remain on your site. While consumers are not willing to stay on the sites that don’t have good designs to offer, you need to be selective with the eCommerce platform.
The visual quality of the themes in Shopify adds a new glare in its designs. You will discover both paid and free templates in Shopify. Where the total number of templates are 54, you can use 10 templates completely free of cost. What’s even more exciting is that you’ll be able to avail 100+ separate designs as each template has unique variations.
The sleek and clean aesthetics of the platform comes with a great mobile responsiveness and diverse variations of colors.
Shopify’s designs are outsourced and created by an array of different designers which is, according to us, a great step for cultivating designs that are different from one another as well as engaging and state-of-the-art.
We highly recommend our readers to customize the design since the alluring designs loaded in Shopify lead to having multiple website owners choose the same design. Later, various complaints have been registered about similar looking websites.
Shopify themes are super-easy for any sort of customization from adjusting colors and styles to making changes to its ‘liquid’ language. The Shopify theme editor will allow you to hide different sections of your site which will not be displayed at the front end but will still be ready to customize at the backend.
While discussing WooCommerce vs Shopify, their unlike characteristics can turn out to be the main difference between these two. While Shopify offers a packaged eCommerce website, WooCommerce is a plugin to convert a website into an online store.
WooThemes developers have created the plugin – WooCommerce. While WooCommerce, individually, doesn’t contain any particular design attributes, the designing part completely depends on the WordPress theme you are going with.
You will come across the WordPress themes dedicatedly built for WooCommerce which works on delivering tailor-made output in terms of product and service listing. If you visit ‘Storefront’, you’ll get to discover Woo’s individual default online store where each theme contains important components of an eCommerce website.
In case you want to customize your online store, there is an array of ‘child themes’ available in Storefront. While most of the child themes will cost you $39 for each, you can get the whole lot at as low as $399. Besides Storefront, ‘ThemeForest’ is another destination that covers endless themes compatible with WooCommerce.
Honestly, WooCommerce has serious advantages over Shopify in terms of design. While Shopify can cater you with wonderful templates, those are just limited to the themes found in Shopify theme store. On the flipside, being an open-source platform, WooCommerce has the capability of matching with massive numbers of themes.
Pricing can be the deciding factor whether you, being an end user, want to avail a particular product or service. ECommerce platform is no different. ECommerce website owners put pricing on the top row of consideration. You need to estimate the initial cost and the varying cost of the add-on services and software. No wonder, this point is going to be an important one for you to pick the winner from WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison.
When comes to the pricing, Shopify is a straight-forward option which offers a basic price of $29 on a monthly basis, called ‘Basic Shopify’. However, you can upgrade your plan to monthly $79 priced ‘Shopify’ plan or avail ‘Advanced Shopify’ at $299 on a monthly basis. Let’s have a quick look at the features of different Shopify pricing plans.
The basic $29 plan comes with 2 user accounts, unlimited product numbers, unlimited file storage and much more which is enough to start your new online store. However, the basic plan doesn’t cover the addon and third-party tools that will be required further for your eCommerce website’s success.
The Shopify payment options will charge you 2.9% for each transaction along with 30 cents. If you want to integrate third-party payment gateways, there will be 2% transaction charges for the basic plan and will be decreased to 1% and 0.5% respectively for the Shopify and Advanced Shopify plan. All the third-party transaction charges will be made on top of the transaction charge deducted by the payment gateway itself. Moreover, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial.
Here comes WooCommerce in our detailed Shopify vs WooCommerce comparison. Though WooCommerce appears to be a completely free platform, what you need to understand is that it is just a plugin. In terms of running a full-fledged online store, you will require WordPress hosting account, domain name, SSL Certificate and a few more important things.
Below are the initial charges you need to pay while starting out:
- Domain Name: $14.99
- SSL Certificate: $69.99
- Web Hosting: $7.99 on a monthly basis.
Thankfully, there’re several emerging hosting companies that are introducing specialized WooCommerce hosting plans which are helping business owners with a reduced cost. Moreover, WooCommerce doesn’t charge you a single penny at the time of the transaction.
While you are super excited and have made your mind to avail WooCommerce as the eCommerce platform, you need to dig a bit more. Yes, while the WooCommerce basic plan seems to be lower, it starts involving costs when you will purchase the paid extensions. However, you will often find the free alternatives to the paid plugins.
Moreover, your hosting cost will also grow along with your online store’s growth.
While both the eCommerce platforms have their own pricing to offer. WooCommerce can be a bit comfortable because of no transaction cost, and free alternatives to the add-ons and third-party tools. However, if you opt for the paid tools, clearly, Shopify will be the preferable one in the race of Shopify and WooCommerce.
After the above two points, any aspiring entrepreneur would certainly eye on the feature part of both the eCommerce platforms. Though both the platforms are feature-rich which is necessary for an eCommerce website, there will certainly be a few distinctions that make each of them unique and calls for the WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison. So, let’s check out the features of each platform.
Despite the fact that you will be in need of installing applications to make the most of Shopify, still, the eCommerce platform provides a lot of free options which come from the very beginning. Below are the features Shopify offers to you.
- Automatic fraud inquiry
- Limitless products
- Manual order making
- Limitless file storage
- Incorporated Oberlo integration
- Free SSL certificate
- Editable HTML and CSS
- Mobile commerce optimization
- Several languages
- Credit card payments
- Discount codes
- Blog module
- Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
- Customer profiles
- SEO-ready site structure
- Drop shipping capabilities
- Mobile app with full features
- Social media integration (and a spicy new integration with Instagram)
- Advanced reports (on Shopify and Shopify Advanced plans)
- Backups on a daily basis
- Product incorporation via CSV files
- Diverse product variants
- Gift cards (on $79 and $299 plans)
- Unrestricted cart retrieval (on $79 and $299 plans)
- Site stats and product reports
- Physical and digital products in the store
- Limitless users to your store
- Individual product reviews
- Facebook selling module
- Print orders
Some important features described above are payable in WooCommerce. You will need to pay $500-600 for a few features such as shipping options, bookings, and CSV uploads in WooCommerce.
Being an open source software, WordPress is compatible with most of the plugins and extensions created by the third-party developers. WooCommerce, the best eCommerce plugin, takes the legacy further by offering multiple exciting and intriguing additions. You will be able to bump up your email marketing techniques, edit your site’s aesthetics easily, recognize user behavior, or sell on Facebook, you can almost o anything and everything through WooCommerce. Below are the finest features provided by WooCommerce.
- WooCommerce is quite exceptional for affiliate marketing, and you’ll be equipped to trade your digital or physical products through this platform.
- WooCommerce avails you the popular Payment Gateways in-built such as Stripe and PayPal. Moreover, you may also get other gateways but those come with additional cost.
- You’ll be able to adjust the shipping taxes and rates.
- An endless number of product categories and products.
- The mobile-friendly responsive structure which is extremely necessary for an eCommerce
- Complete control over the Stock levels.
- Complete data control.
- WooCommerce has immense compatibility with almost every WordPress theme.
- WooCommerce comes with hundreds of plugins and extensions (literally)
- A free extension for Facebook store and ads.
Looks like the feature part of WooCommerce vs Shopify is a tie! As you can see, both the eCommerce platform has got everything that’s essential for an eCommerce platform. Now, it is totally up to you that which platform serves your needs better. While Shopify seems to be more laser-focused and easy-to-use solution than WordPress, WooCommerce is a feature-rich option on the other hand that doesn’t lack a single aspect of an online store development. But again, it depends on your requirement and your store’s future vision.
Usability can turn out to be a decisive factor since the feature section wasn’t able to provide us any winner. Quite naturally, the online store owners won’t be an expert in eCommerce website management. Thus, it depends totally up to the usability of the eCommerce platform which will stimulate you to get WooCommerce or Shopify as your eCommerce platform. Usability, here, represents the ease of use in terms of setup and management. So, let’s get into the WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison from the usability perspective.
The first and foremost strength of Shopify is it’s a subscription-based online tool which means visiting the official site of Shopify, clicking the signup button and completing the basic setup wizard is all you need to go through to kickstart your brand new online store.
Shopify turns even more helpful and asks you about your site’s purpose or nature (nature of your products or services). Based on nature, it suggests you some specific design and structure which you may utilize. Right after you complete the wizard part, you will be headed to the dashboard where the store creation, product addition, and all the other works are done. The dashboard is pretty straightforward. So, you won’t face any difficulty.
You don’t have to be a proficient designer or a developer to build your online store through Shopify as the site will offer you an easy to use drag and drop feature which makes handling your inventory, sales, and products a child’s play.
If you try to find any flaw out of this amazing, intuitive, and incredibly augmented user experience, it would be the limitation of your control over the platform. Shopify will allow you to only use the tools present on the Shopify or the add-ons available in the Shopify marketplace. However, the huge number of different extensions and add-ons will never disappoint you to start and develop your online store.
In terms of usability, WooCommerce seems to be equal to Shopify to some extent in the Shopify vs WooCommerce comparison. Working with WooCommerce may be just as easy as Shopify but the setup part of WooCommerce will be a little hassle.
Due to the reason that WooCommerce isn’t a subscription-based platform like Shopify, you, being an end user, have to go through a few activities to start working with the eCommerce platform. Below are the things WooCommerce requires from you to complete before you start working with it.
- Setting up a domain name
- Hosting account sign up
- WordPress installation
- WordPress theme installation
All the above steps require a level of comfort regarding the web related things including setting up your web server, your domain redirection to the server, and proper installation of WordPress. After all these steps you can finally install the WooCommerce plugin to your WordPress theme.
While all the above-mentioned pre-installation process of WooCommerce requires a sheer know-how of development, you have to get the services of a WordPress hosting company in terms of getting the initial stage of your online store done. They will finish the WordPress hosting part leaving the WooCommerce installation for you. Comparatively, Shopify seems to be far more effortless to use with its single-click sign up button.
Nevertheless, WooCommerce has its own advantages in terms of flexibility in customization. The entire control of the whole platform avails you all the functionality required in an online store with the help of more than 50,000 WordPress plugins.
With the above discussion of both the platform’s usability, it is quite clear that Shopify is, undoubtedly, preferable in terms of usability. If usability is your concern, Shopify comes first in WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison.
There are various payment gateways you can use on your eCommerce website to receive payments online. But you need to be cautious with the methods, as all of the payment gateways may not be suitable for you, and may not be available for your clients.
That’s the reason, it’s always recommended to choose a platform that can offer you multiple payment gateway integrations. This way you’ll be able to incorporate the payment gateways suitable for you and your clients. So, let’s have a look at the payment gateway options of WooCommerce and Shopify and decide the better one.
When it comes to the WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison in terms of payment gateway, Shopify offers a wide range of services that could be utilized to accept payments from your online consumers. Shopify offers popular third-party payment gateways along with its own payment solution, namely, Shopify Payments (Powered by Stripe).
For the third-party payment gateways, Shopify charges an additional 2% transaction charge for each transaction on top of the transaction fee charged by the gateway itself. However, you can upgrade your plan with Shopify and reduce Shopify’s transaction charge to 1% and 0.5% respectively for ‘Shopify’ plan of $79 and ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan of $299 on a monthly basis.
On the flipside, the Shopify Payment has flat credit card fees but doesn’t contain any transaction charges. The minimum credit card charges are 2.9% along with 30 cents on the basic plan and deduct to the advanced plans.
The popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress offers PayPal and Stripe as the basic payment gateway option. But you can also integrate the popular third-party payment options from the addons. It seems WooCommerce is also a reliable choice in Shopify vs WooCommerce comparison.
When it comes to the payment gateways, you can incorporate many regional and less popular payment gateways in your WooCommerce platform which may be famous in your locality. This important feature is unavailable in Shopify.
Furthermore, any payment service provider can create their add-ons for WooCommerce and provide support for it; thanks to WooCommerce’s feature of no barrier to entry.
When it comes to the transaction charges, WooCommerce is never going to charge you any percentage of your overall store transaction which is a sheer advantage. Being a self-hosted eCommerce platform, WooCommerce doesn’t charge you a penny; your bank or the payment gateway will be the only chargeable segments.
If you own your individual merchant account and want to use the third-party gateways, the WooCommerce platform will save you loads of money. But the small stores willing to use Shopify Payments will be on the profitable side too. Since the credit card rate of Shopify Payment is identical to the rates of PayPal or Stripe, it won’t make any difference. So, it seems like a tie between WooCommerce and Shopify. But if you insist, WooCommerce may be a little heavier compared to Shopify.
Scalability and Growth
Growth-Pain is quite a popular term among the entrepreneurs and CEOs. With the growth of your business, you will require more resources to manage your new goal and challenges. When you have an eCommerce website, the scalability gets even more important.
If you are talking about WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison, both the sites have an ability to manage a large amount of traffic and orders. But not identically! So, let’s discover how these two popular eCommerce platforms turn out to be productive in terms of scalability.
You don’t even need to be worried about the scalability, security, performance or any technical aspects of your website if you have availed Shopify. Once your business experiences the growth, all you need to is to upgrade your Shopify plan! Yes, it’s this easy.
Backups, updates, security, or downtimes – all these will just be mere terms if you use Shopify as it has a rich infrastructure that takes care of your online business. Moreover, you can also opt for the advanced Shopify Plus plan to enjoy even better benefits.
While this all-rounder behavior of Shopify will certainly extract all your concerns associated with your business growth, it may add some extra expenditure to your costing. But if you plan your cost well, it would certainly be beneficial for your online store. Moreover, the extra cost will be equalized since you don’t have to hire any technical team to take care of your online store.
Being the self-hosted platform, WooCommerce will require you to manage all the updates, security and backups of your eCommerce website.
Your initial plan of WooCommerce hosting will expire in terms of resources once your website starts growing and getting more traffic. With WooCommerce, you will certainly have the entire control of your website which will result in availing you ample of options to manage your website. WooCommerce will enable you to get better management options of resources and upgrade your hosting plans to better servers.
Though your WooCommerce hosting cost increases, you will be handed with better controls of your website. Nonetheless, you can stop paying for the unnecessary resources for your site. The WordPress hosting providers such as WP Engine or LiquidWeb can promptly increase your WooCommerce website’s scalability.
While WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison is of concern, despite the superior control provided by WooCommerce, most of the eCommerce site owners prefer Shopify. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll hire a team for your online store’s technical stuff, they favor hassle-free offerings provided by Shopify.
You, being the online store owner, may require the technical support at any given time depends on the purpose. So, the customer support is also a vital aspect of the comparison between Shopify and WooCommerce. Let’s get started with both of their support towards their consumers.
Shopify provides a superior customer service with their 24/7 support. You, being an end user, can contact them anytime through a phone call, email, or open chat, and they are quite prompt to reply you. On top of that, Shopify’s help center will be the perfect destination for you to obtain any additional knowledge.
When it’s about WooCommerce, the support doesn’t come as straightforward as it comes with Shopify. Since WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress, you can find the answers to your queries in the WordPress Forums. Moreover, you can create your free account on WooComemrce’s official site to get additional support from there.
A user can find loads of blogs and articles that revolve around the WooCommerce problems and their solutions. So, if you are the kind of a person who prefers to solve his or her queries without anyone’s involvement, WooCommerce can be remarkably beneficial.
Both the platforms have their own advantages and offer an in-depth support to the clients. But considering the 24/7 humanly reply and technical support, Shopify is a bit more preferable for many users who don’t want to step in the hassle of research and development.
If you are running an online store, you certainly know about the necessity and benefits of having good SEO metrics on your site. Since without SEO, your awesome products and services will remain unseen and unsold, you have to pay serious attention to the SEO part to be on the profitable side.
WooCommerce and Shopify, both the platforms contain good enough SEO metrics, there’s still a scope left for the comparison. So, let’s get into the SEO part of WooCommerce vs Shopify.
Considering to the fact that Shopify has its own dedicated server accommodating solely to the Shopify stores, it has a little more advantage than WooCommerce in terms of page loading speed and overall performance. Shopify incorporates the pro level SEO features such as defining title, alt tags, and meta tags, product descriptions, and image optimization. Additionally, the platform offers a free SSL certification with every plan.
WordPress’s SEO benefits are unknown to none. And being the free plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce also comes with humongous benefits for your SEO. WordPress is a popular CMS (Content Management System) which has tremendous SEO capabilities with the likes of All-in-One and Yoast SEO Plugins.
When WooCommerce gets added to it, you will be equipped to edit the content and integrate the meta title and description which promptly increases the chances of your website’s improved ranking in the search results. Above all, WordPress handles the blogs of your site with a planned and a rational way.
Since WooCommerce comes along with the WordPress CMS that has its own credibility on SEO, seems like WooCommerce has left Shopify behind in the SEO portion. Though there’s a very nominal advantage that Shopify lacks, that can turn out to be the reason for your preference to WooCommerce.
There can never be a clear winner of the comparison: WooCommerce vs Shopify. As you’ve read, both the platforms have their own benefits in different sections. So, the suggestion regarding the better eCommerce platform would vary as per your business requirement.