Shopify and WooCommerce are the two most used eCommerce platforms available, so most who are thinking about starting an online store will stumble across both platforms.
It can take hours to sift through the information available for both sites, so we have made it easy for you and compiled the main advantages and disadvantages of each platform in one place, so you can decide which platform is more suitable for your needs.
What’s the difference?
Let’s start with outlining a key difference between the suppliers.
Shopify represents complete all-round package solution to build your business. It’s a simple solution that takes work like web hosting, security, and caching off of you, for those that aren’t overly technical.
WooCommerce on the other hand is a plugin for the webpage builder WordPress that allows you to run an e-commerce website. Lot’s of people already use WordPress, it powers 43% of all websites, which makes it an attractive option for those users, leading to WooCommerce being the most popular e-Commerce platform.
With WooCommerce, more customisation is available and custom extensions can be added with no problem.
Depending on your budget and skill-level, one might be more suited for you than the other.
Let’s get started with an in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages of both platforms
Includes hosting and security; no coding requried
Transaction Fees on all payments other than Shopify Payments
No transaction fees
Could be too complex for beginners
Easy and quick to set-up
Cost of additional apps can pile up
Limitless customisation available through coding
Despite being free, costs will arise and aren’t as predictable as with a monthly fee
Good customer support available
Wide variety of apps and plug-ins
Good and professional range of themes
Easy to make site available in different languages
Better marketing options (especially though integrated multi-channel selling)
Free to set up
Monthly price easy to budget
Unlimited brandwidth and online storage
Shopify dashboard providing key analytics insights
Ease of Use and Building
Shopify is easier to use and it’s easier to create a website with it for the average person. When considering WooCommerce, you will need some amount of technical knowledge, or ready to commit to learning. Technical details like web hosting and security will need to be dealt with by you yourself, rather than taken care of for you.
With built-in themes that just need to be customised with your content, it’s very quick and easy to set up your store from scratch - in as little as 15 minutes.
While you can customise whatever you want on WooCommerce, Shopify’s built in templates are generally better designed, and it is possible to customise these by using code, although both make your store look professional and neat.
Shopify’s theme store offers more than 70 themes, both free and paid, and each offers it’s own variations.
The level of detail on your WooCommerce website depends on how long you want to spend on it, as well as how up to scratch your technical skills are. The platform offers plenty of options, however an advantage of Shopify is that themes have been selected with the specific purpose of helping you sell your products.
When it comes to actually selling your product, the built-in features Shopify offers mean all the e-commerce essentials are covered. Features like abandoned cart recovery, which allows the customer to continue shopping without having to re-fill in their details, and e-mail reminders get sent out, and multi-channel selling, allowing you to sell on platforms like Amazon, eBay, or Social Media, are included by standard with Shopify.
While WooCommerce also offers these features, this will come with a price tag.
Both platforms allow you to ship for free and internationally, however Shopify’s extensive courier partnerships remove extra work for you to source your own.
Other built-in tools Shopify offers include discount codes and over 100 payment methods to choose from, many of which will need to be bought extra on WooCommerce.
Everyone wants their business to grow. As mentioned before, when using Shopify, details like hosting, server updates, and site security are included and you do not have to worry about it.
The Shopify Plus plan is designed specifically for high-volume sellers, so scaling up your store is easy to do and you don't have to worry about too many details, as they are taken care of by Shopify themselves in the background.
With WooCommerce, scaling up your store is a much more hands-on task - you will need to keep on top of your hosting requirements and make sure this is adequate for the traffic you are generating.
Shopify has more marketing features available, while WooCommerce again relies on plugins for this.
Both platforms offer apps that help you with e-mail marketing, but Shopify offers multichannel selling as a built in feature. With that, you can reach a lot more people, and you do not need to pay extra.
Unless using Shopify Payments, Shopify will charge you transaction fees. WooCommerce does not, which will save costs for high order volumes.
However, on advanced Shopify plans, these transaction fees will drop, however you will of course be paying more for the plan itself.
Both platforms allow you to choose from a multiple of payment gateways, that are either built-in, or need to be added.
Especially for international sales, WooCommerce offers an advantage over Shopify in this area.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation is incredibly important in the e-commerce world to appear high on search results and increase the likelihood of your customer finding your store.
WooCommerce offers more SEO plug-ins than Shopify, however both platforms make it easy to add additional SEO information to your page, and Shopify comes with a built-in SEO feature.
When selling internationally, it is a good idea to have your website available in different languages.
Shopify offers the app Langify, however the price on this is 17.50 US-Dollars per month.
WooCommerce makes it easier to offer multiple languages on your website. There are several good WordPress plug-ins available that work perfectly with WooCommerce, which is a definitive advantage of the platform.
Without taking into account individual hosting services you might opt for using WooCommerce, as a paid service, Shopify offers a wider range of Customer Support options including the ability to speak to someone directly, which can often be a lot more productive than trying to communicate your problem in a written manner.
On Shopify, to use the platform, you will have a set monthly subscription cost ranging from $29 to $299. This fixed cost makes it easier to budget.
WooCommerce is a free service, however extra costs will occur with hosting, security, domain costs, and any extension fees.
Shopify’s 14-day trial is good if you’re just giving the e-commerce thing a go and makes it easy to see if the platform is for you without making any financial commitment.
So, what’s the conclusion?
Shopify has the edge over Woo-Commerce all-around, but that isn’t to say it’s necessarily the right pick for you.
At the end of the day, it depends on your individual needs.
Shopify is good if you like to have 24/7 support available and have limited technical knowledge and want your site up quickly without any hassle. If you don’t require much flexibility and offer more simple products or a smaller amount, the easy to use platform with it’s built-in functions is a more attractive option.
WooCommerce could be the right fit for you if you’d like to create a store that is uniquely yours and offers unlimited personalisation opportunities - with WooCommerce, you will have greater control over design and hosting of your store.
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