Starting an online store has never been easier. There are quite a few feature-rich eCommerce platforms available, each with their own set of strengths. But the two most popular solutions are Shopify and WooCommerce.
Not sure whether you should use Shopify or WooCommerce? These are the two most popular eCommerce platforms in the market with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here, we will compare Shopify vs WooCommerce to help you decide the best option for you.
A Brief Overview: Shopify vs WooCommerce
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it easy for you to create an online store, accept payments, and manage your inventory all from a single platform without ever worrying about the technical aspects of managing a website such as web hosting, security, caching, etc.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. It allows you to leverage the most powerful content management system (CMS) and use it to run an online store. Because of the open-source nature, you can customize every aspect of your store and easily build custom extensions.
The decision to choose between the two platforms depend entirely on your needs and skill level.
There are few things that you absolutely need to keep in mind when starting an online store. These key factors will help you decide which platform is better suited for your needs.
- Ease of use
- Payment Methods
These are the very basic requirements that all online store owners must consider. However depending on your need, you may also want to look at other options like shipping, inventory management, invoicing, taxes, etc.
Cost is often the most important consideration for eCommerce website owners. You need to evaluate the cost of getting started while also keeping in mind the variable costs for add-on services and software.
WooCommerce is free, there are costs associated with it. You will need a WordPress website, meaning you have to purchase your own domain name and set up a hosting plan before anything else. The cost will vary depending on your hosting plan and the add-ons you chose to improve your store.
Shopify offers three pricing tiers, with the lowest plan being $29 and the most expensive one being $299. They also have a medium plan for $79 and a very basic plan for $9 strictly for selling on Facebook. Having said that, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial so you can test the platform before deciding if it’s the right choice for you.
All of the plans include unlimited products and bandwidth, fraud analysis, a blog, and a free SSL certificate. The domain name can be purchased directly from Shopify or you can connect your existing domain name to it. Your final cost will be determined by the amount of paid add-ons which you add to your online store.
Ease of Use: WooCommerce vs Shopify
The easiest solution to get started is Shopify because you are guided when you create your account. As long as they do the hosting, it’s one less thing to do. You can create your ecommerce store without any technical skills or without risk of getting it wrong in just a few hours.
WooCommerce is also easy to learn, especially if you are already familiar with WordPress and its plugins. The only real difference is that with WordPress and WooCommerce, you have to do the installation and maintenance yourself.
Payment Methods: WooCommerce vs Shopify
There are many payment gateways that you can use to accept payments online. Some payment methods may not be suitable for you, and others may not be available to your customers.
Shopify offers plenty of payment options that you can use to receive payments from customers. It has its own payments solutions called Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) as well as all popular third party payment gateways.
WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments by default. It also supports all other popular payment service providers through add-ons.
For payment gateways, WooCommerce even has support for many regional and less popular payment services. Since there is no barrier to entry, any payments company can create add-ons for WooCommerce and provide support for it.
If choosing your own merchant account and using a third-party gateway is important for you, then you will save A LOT of money by using WooCommerce. But if you’re a small store and willing to use Shopify Payments which has the same credit card rates as Stripe / Paypal, then it makes no difference.
Integration: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Shopify comes with a powerful API and an App Store where you can buy third party addons for your Shopify store. They have hundreds of apps in the store covering every feature you’ll want to add to your store.
WooCommerce is open source and built on top of WordPress. This gives you access to more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins and many more paid plugins. You can use these addons to add payment gateways, lead generation, SEO, performance optimization, and almost any feature you can think of.
Scalability: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Shopify and WooCommerce can both be scaled to handle large amount traffic and orders, but they’re not created equal. Let’s take a look at how these two eCommerce platform compare when it comes to scalability.
Shopify handles the technical parts of your store which means you don’t ever have to worry about performance, security, and scalability. Once your business starts growing, you can simply upgrade your Shopify plans.
WooCommerce is a self hosted platform which makes you responsible for maintaining updates, backups, and security of your website. Your starter WooCommerce hosting plan would run out of resources as your store starts getting more traffic. The good part is that you have plenty of options to manage growth as you are in full control of your website. Starting with better management of resources with caching to upgrading your hosting plan to more powerful servers.
SEO: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Positioning WooCommerce vs Shopify products on search engine result pages (SERPs) is important to gain visibility and therefore increase sales.
Shopify may come second when we look at the overall volume of SEO features available, but there’s certainly no shame in the way that it presents content. It also handles basic SEO practices like meta information and site copy with ease. So long as your business is producing quality content, there’s no reason to suggest you won’t enjoy great results and strong user engagement.
WordPress is primarily a content creation platform, and it’s renowned by SEO experts as one of the most reliable options available. It’s easy to add and edit content and meta information to ensure that pages have a strong chance of ranking for specific keywords.
In the end, WooCommerce gives you more SEO-specific options overall, purely because of the fact that it’s built on top of WordPress. The only problem is that your site speed largely depends on the hosting you go with.
WooCommerce vs Shopify is a close eCommerce platform comparison. Both are viable options for setting up your online store in a quick and efficient way. On top of being easy to use and feature rich, both platforms offer plenty of options when it comes to the visual appearance of your store.
We suggest to opt for WooCommerce if:
- Your store must be multilingual and/or multi-currency
- You want to be able to customize everything
- You plan to integrate ecommerce store within a larger website with content pages, blog, etc.
- You need a support/sysadmin
- You have a limited budget