Shopify powers over 800,000 businesses, while WooComerce claims to be the Web’s “most popular ecommerce platform”. Being a hands-on user of both, I can make a down to earth comparison between these two juggernauts of eCommerce, so that you can make the wisest choice for your store. So, in a flash, here is a comparison between Shopify and Woocommerce.
I’ll stress this out from the very beginning – there is no clear winner or a better choice between these two platforms. Both have ups and downs, as I’m about to break down, so it all comes down to your very personal preferences and/or strategy for the future. They’re both powerful, but markedly different options if you’re looking to sell online. The bottom line is, which one is right for you will depend on your personal circumstances.
Pros and cons of Woocommerce
WooCommerce Pros 👍
WooCommerce offers complete customization and control. As an open-source platform, the code is available. This means the customization possibilities with a platform like WooCommerce are inexhaustible. You can create a store with a real personality. Little wonder that WooCommerce calls itself “the world’s most customizable ecommerce platform”.
- WordPress has a huge community online.
- The themes and plugins are endless since just about anyone can make and sell them online.
- WooCommerce is simple to configure if you’re already familiar with WordPress.
- The WooCommerce plugin is free.
- WordPress does have a bit of a learning curve.
- You may find that WooCommerce ends up being more expensive due to plugins, themes, and hosting.
- You’re stuck managing everything from hosting to security, and maintenance to backups.
- Lack of customer support. WooCommerce doesn’t provide phone support. Instead, you can submit tickets or try to find the answer to your problem on the forum. It’s a much more hands-off approach than Shopify.
Pros and cons of Shopify
- You know exactly how much you’ll be paying every month and the pricing is fair.
- There’s access to thousands of apps to extend your store.
- The themes are plentiful and beautiful.
Shopify handles everything for you from hosting to security. Shopify takes care of the technical maintenance of running a store for you. Your Shopify plan includes hosting, as well as the necessary security certificates. What’s more, you can relax as your store grows because you know it won’t crash under the increased traffic and sales volume. Shopify is a scalable ecommerce platform because it can deal with any growth your store experiences.
- It takes just a few minutes to launch your store.
- Dropshipping is rather simple with Shopify.
- The support is the best in the business.
Shopify Cons 👎
- You don’t have as much control over your site with Shopify. You don’t actually OWN it, as with Woocommerce.
- You’re stuck with a monthly payment that’s only going to get higher.
Customization is better with other platforms. You’d need to know coding to customize extensively.To make serious changes to your Shopify store, you will need to learn the company’s own coding language, Liquid. This requires at least some technical skills on your part.
Shopify recently announced some exciting features which may incline the balance. Here are just five of the highlights we thought you might want to hear about:
- New tipping feature! Merchants can enable tipping during checkout, or customize the text to ask for donations to your business or a favorite charity.
- New “Express” theme – designed to help non-traditional businesses like restaurants create an online store quickly and easily.
- Shop App. This new personal shopping app lets customers view their favorite Shopify stores, get product recommendations, and track orders. It’s already being used by over 16 million users!
- Curbside Pickup and Local Delivery. Merchants can now offer more flexible and contact-free shipping options.
- Shopify Balance (coming later this year). Shopify’s new account for small businesses — pay bills, track expenses, and apply for funding from your Shopify admin. You also get a Shopify card, which comes with a rewards program tailored to merchants’ needs.
Woocommerce vs Shopify – it all comes down to these
When you search through Google for reviews of WooCommerce and Shopify, you’ll find a lot of opinions from different business owners. While these insights can be helpful, the truth is that whether you choose WooCommerce vs Shopify will boil down to a few core differences.
For instance, the main difference between WooCommerce and Shopify is that Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce solution designed to give you everything you need to get started online.
Shopify takes the complications and technical aspects out of running an online business and replaces them with easy-to-use tools. Your Shopify store can be set up and running in a matter of minutes. However, this also means that you’re not going to get as much granular control over your site.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more customization options, WooCommerce is a self-hosted software for eCommerce. This means that you can tap into the code and access various parts of your store.
WooCommerce gives you a lot of freedom to build everything into your store, that’s crucial for your team. It also means that you can run your business in conjunction with a WordPress blog.
However, when you compare Shopify vs WooCommerce, remember that the freedom that you get from WooCommerce comes at a price. In other words, you need to know how to handle the technical side of your site and keep it safe.
If you’re starting out as a beginner, and you don’t want to look at things like web hosting and hosting provider details, then Shopify is a good choice. If you want more freedom to experiment with your site, and you already like using WordPress, opt for WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is for you if: You already have a WordPress website and you don’t mind taking more control over your store and generally working harder maintaining/updating your store.
Payment options are an important part of WooCommerce and Shopify Platforms.
Shopify offers native Shopify Payments powered by Stripe and third-party payment gateways, such as PayPal, Amazon Payments. Note that Shopify Payments is only available in certain countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
For other countries, you need to use a third-party (possibly paid) payment gateway.
WooCommerce offers several extensions for integrating payment gateways: PayPal and Stripe are free while other solutions like Authorize.Net, Amazon Payments, or Braintree will cost you nearly $100/year. Stripe and Paypal are a good choice to launch an ecommerce store.
The marketing elements are an important part of the success of an ecommerce store. The two platforms, WooCommerce and Shopify, offer the following possibilities:
- Account creation or order as a guest: A good marketer prefers that the customer creates an account in order to collect information. However, the industry best practices demand that you allow anonymous orders because the account creation scares some buyers.
- The system of affiliation or recommendation to a friend: via extensions for both platforms, although the WooCommerce options are less expensive.
- Emails/newsletters: Shopify offers a system of native emails with the possibility of customizing the templates and the contents of automatic emails. With WooCommerce, you have to go with a free plugin and configure all the options yourself.
Add-ons, integrations, apps and plugins comparison
As your online store grows, you need to add more functionalities to smoothen the growth process. While both these platforms are great in terms of flexibility, let’s see who has the upper hand when it comes to addons and integrations.
Add-ons, integrations, apps, and plugins – WooCommerce
Since WooCommerce is an open source and a part of WordPress, the number of add ons and plugins is considerably larger than Shopify. You can find many WooCommerce extensions and add ons on the WordPress repository and can download them for free.
Apart from that, WooCommerce has its own addons as well on woocommerce.com. Some of them are free but the important ones have a one-time fee attached to it.
Add-ons and Integrations – Shopify
Shopify has a huge library of add ons on its own app store. You can download some of these add ons for free but others charge a premium one-time fee or a monthly subscription.
You can find an add on for almost every function you need. For example, for email marketing, you can check out Privy Web Push and OptinMonster, or for most of your needs, VITALS should be enough, as it offers you access to over 40 apps in just one for a small monthly fee.
Final thoughts on Shopify vs Woocommerce
Comparing WooCommerce vs Shopify isn’t about deciding the best platform. It’s more about deciding which is the best for you.
There’s no substitute for hands-on testing.
WooCommerce offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, while Shopify offers a free trial. Make use of these periods to test the platforms. Experiment with the features, themes, payment options, and SEO. See how easy you find the platform to use.