Are you considering opening an online store? But you’re not sure which platform to use?
Choosing the best option for custom building an online store can be difficult with so many different options available. Most of these platforms have a variety of distinct and unique features that set them apart from one another.
To make things simpler, the two of the most popular and widely used e-commerce platforms are Shopify and WooCommerce.
So, which platform is best for your e-commerce website? This guide will give you a detailed comparison of WooCommerce and Shopify so you can find the solution you need.
In this post, we will help you know:
Shopify vs WooCommerce: A Brief Overlook
Before we dive into the detailed comparison, let’s go over the basics and get a quick overview of what these programs do.
What is Shopify?
- Shopify is a fully hosted platform that enables you to quickly and easily create a fully functional online store. You can accept payments, list your products, and manage your inventory immediately, and you don’t need any technical knowledge to get started.
- As a result, Shopify is ideal for people who aren’t tech-savvy and simply want a platform to set up their store right away.
- While Shopify provides a lot of flexibility, you are limited to making changes that the platform allows you to make.
What is WooCommerce?
- WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. WooCommerce includes many useful features such as order tracking, customer engagement, delivery status updates, inventory management, and more.
- Aside from being completely free, one of the advantages of open source is that you have access to the source code, which allows you to fully customize your store exactly how you want it.
- It is extremely adaptable, but it is not as user-friendly for beginners.
Your choice between Shopify vs WordPress is largely determined by your skill level, the amount of support you require, and your specific business needs.
What Should You Look for in an eCommerce Platform?
When starting an online store, there are a few things you must keep in mind. These key factors will help determine which platform is best suited to your requirements:
- Pricing – Pricing is an obvious consideration when selecting a long-term eCommerce platform for your business.
- Ease of use – The platform should be easy to set up and use.
- Payment Methods – The platform should accept a variety of payment methods.
- Customer Support – You’ll need a platform with a support system that is available 24/7, through multiple channels.
- Scalability – The platform should be able to grow with your company.
- Plugins and Integrations – An e-commerce platform should support a variety of services and third-party tools that you can use to expand your eCommerce business.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features – The platform should help you in ensuring that your products appear in front of the right people.
- Security – High-level security should be a top priority for any website.
These are the fundamental requirements that all online store owners must bear in mind. With that said, let’s get started with our Shopify or WooCommerce comparison.
A Side-by-side Comparison of Shopify and WooCommerce
For eCommerce website owners, the cost is frequently the most important consideration. You should also think about the cost of plugins and add-ons, which can add recurring fees to your store.
When it comes to these platforms, there are a variety of price points, but we’ll concentrate on a few key factors.
Shopify provides excellent value for money. The basic package includes a wide range of features, such as unlimited product listings, 24/7 support, discount codes, and abandoned cart email automation. This is sufficient to get the store and products up and running.
You can select from several tiered plans based on the features and levels of service that your website requires. Plans range from $29 to over $200 per month.
Here is a complete breakdown of the details for each Shopify plan:
There are no setup fees, and you can also take advantage of a 14-day free trial.
The main disadvantage of Shopify is that you will be charged extra fees if you use a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments.
WooCommerce uses a freemium pricing model, as opposed to Shopify’s traditional pricing. WooCommerce and WordPress are both free. However, to get started with WooCommerce you’re going to need to pay for the following things:
- Web Hosting
- Domain Name
- SSL Certificate
- WordPress Theme (some themes are free)
Depending on what you want your store to be able to do, you have to purchase plug-ins and WooCommerce extensions. You must also consider the transaction fees charged by your payment gateway.
WooCommerce is, at least initially, cheaper than Shopify. However, as you begin to purchase premium themes and plugins, your costs will rise.
We believe Shopify’s pricing options are preferable. With a basic plan starting at $29 per month, most people can afford to have a Shopify store. With a subscription-based pricing model, costs can add up over time, but it’s worth it because you’re paying for ease of use, reliability, and performance.
2. Ease of Use:
Here are some of the key differences between WooCommerce and Shopify in terms of setup, customization, and day-to-day operations.
Shopify, as a hosted platform, handles the majority of the technical aspects of creating and running an online store. This makes it much easier to use for the average store owner.
You can quickly set up your domain name and hosting, as well as obtain SSL protection. You also do not need to worry about software or site backups.
Even if you have no experience with web design or building, we found the tool to be intuitive and simple to use. Shopify guides you through the process so you understand what you need and how to customize it.
With WooCommerce on WordPress, you must do all of the above-mentioned steps yourself or pay for a service to do it for you. It’s not too difficult. But it does take some time.
The ease with which you can design your WooCommerce store is also determined by the theme and plugins that you use. Some themes include a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to quickly arrange the components of your pages.
The learning curve isn’t too difficult because they provide several guides and an active community of users you can turn to for help.
This round, we believe goes to Shopify. The main reason is that you don’t have to be a tech whiz to set up and manage a Shopify website.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, will require some level of technical expertise to use and customize. Since you don’t need to hire developers to run your website, Shopify is ideal for the average person.
3. Payment Methods
To provide payment methods that are suitable for your customers, you’ll need an eCommerce platform with several payment gateways. Customers can pay in a number of ways with WooCommerce and Shopify, including through a variety of popular online payment gateways. Let’s look at the differences:
Shopify supports over 100 different payment providers, giving your customers plenty of options.
In addition, they provide their own Shopify Payments service, which is powered by Stripe. If you do not already use another payment system, this allows you to accept payments almost immediately and without incurring additional transaction fees.
It is simple to set up Shopify to work with third-party providers. You do not need to pay for extensions that add specific payment processing options to your store, as you would with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce comes with a number of payment processors pre-installed. During the setup wizard, you can select from a number of options, including Stripe and PayPal.
WooCommerce, like Shopify, offers a native payment solution, WooCommerce Payments. Its primary function is to manage all transactions from a single dashboard.
If you need to add more payment methods, you can visit the WooCommerce extensions store. With these add-ons, you can integrate almost any payment processor into your store.
You don’t have to pay any additional transaction fees because WooCommerce is a self-hosted solution. However, the third-party payment gateways you select will charge you. Check the transaction fees of each provider before deciding on a payment method.
Both platforms provide flexibility in this area, but we believe WooCommerce is the clear winner because it does not charge a transaction fee. If you require additional payment gateways, you can easily download and integrate a relevant extension or plugin. It is simple to integrate with less popular payment gateways. WooCommerce also has its own payment system (WooCommerce Payments), which is a major benefit.
4. Customer Support:
Running an eCommerce website can be difficult at times, and you will need help and support. Let’s take a look at the level of support that these two platforms provide:
As Shopify is a fully hosted platform, store owners can contact Shopify customer service via phone, chat, email, and even Twitter at any time.
There’s also a comprehensive help center with detailed, step-by-step instructions for managing your store. You can use the search box or browse the categories to find what you’re looking for.
Their support staff and other users will also offer assistance and advice in the community forum.
WooCommerce, unlike Shopify, lacks a robust one-on-one support system. However, if you choose a managed WordPress hosting solution, you will have direct access to WordPress experts for any problems you may encounter.
WooCommerce also includes a comprehensive knowledge and documentation center.
The one good thing about WordPress & WooCommerce being so popular is the amount of information and guides available to help you set up plugins and explore features within the platform. Most of your problems can be solved with a quick Google search.
Without a doubt, Shopify comes out on top in terms of customer service. Yes, you can get answers to your questions on various WordPress forums. However, nothing beats the 24/7 dedicated support of Shopify.
You may be starting small, but you must ensure that the platform you select now has the ability to scale and grow with your business. The good news is that both WooCommerce and Shopify can be scaled to handle increased traffic and orders. Here are some key differences in how these platforms scale:
Because Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform, they handle all of the technical aspects of your store, so you don’t have to worry about scalability.
Simply upgrade your Shopify plan to the next level when you outgrow the one you started with.
With the Shopify Plus plan, you gain access to enterprise services, making it simple to expand. Naturally, your costs will rise, but Shopify eliminates the need for you to hire a technical team.
WooCommerce – being a self-hosted platform, the hosting company on which your store is hosted determines its scalability.
Yes, you will have to pay more for hosting as well as other features. However, you will have more control over your monthly costs, and you will only have to pay for the extra features that you require, rather than a pre-configured package.
This can help companies with a limited budget in keeping their costs as low as possible.
WooCommerce, in our opinion, comes out on top in this category. Shopify is scalable for sure but at a significantly higher cost. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is impressively scalable given that the core solution is free, and many of the plugins and extensions you’ll want or need are reasonably priced.
6. Plugins and Integrations:
When deciding on the best eCommerce platform, it’s also important to consider the extensions and plugins that are available for each platform. Here’s how each platform stacks up.
Shopify includes an App Store and a robust API. They have over 6,000 apps covering every feature you’ll want to add to your store. This includes everything from product reviews, inventory management, marketing, shipping, POS integration, and much more.
The majority of Shopify apps are free to use. Some apps with more complex features require a monthly subscription fee. Luckily, you can read reviews and get free trials to try it out for yourself.
The Shopify App Store’s user-friendly design is also something that really stands out. It looks and feels a lot like a smartphone app store, and it’s quite easy to browse and use.
WooCommerce is fully customizable because it can be integrated with other WordPress plugins and themes. There are numerous free and premium plugins available in the WordPress repository as well as from third-party developers.
With such a large selection, chances are the functionality you’re looking for is already present. However, keep in mind that WooCommerce and WordPress are two distinct applications, and not all of these WordPress plugins will be optimized for use with your WooCommerce store.
WooCommerce also has its own Extensions Store:
You can also hire a developer to create a custom integration or plugin for your website due to the low barrier of entry and customization options.
WooCommerce is the clear winner in this comparison due to the wide range of free add-on functionality it provides as a result of its open-source nature. This is ideal for small businesses that are just getting started.
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features:
SEO, or search engine optimization, is critical in driving traffic to your store. The way you implement your SEO strategy will have a significant impact on the amount of traffic that comes to your site and, ultimately, your conversions or sales.
Shopify and WordPress both provide SEO tools and integrations to assist you in properly optimizing your site content.
Shopify was designed with eCommerce stores in mind. That means Shopify comes with all of the SEO features you’ll need right out of the box, including customizable meta titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, URLs, and headings.
Shopify also has a number of apps in their app store that can help you with on-page SEO.
Page loading speed is a ranking factor, as you know. The good news is that Shopify is pretty fast. You don’t have to worry about site loading speed because it’s a hosted platform built on a solid infrastructure.
Woocommerce’s integration with WordPress, which comes with excellent search engine optimization capabilities, sets it apart from most other solutions.
WordPress also comes with a large number of SEO plug-ins. All of these options are available when you use WooCommerce.
Even if you’re not an SEO expert, many of these plug-ins are incredibly simple to use. The highly effective Yoast plug-in, for example, can help you in optimizing your content for SEO.
This round goes to Woo Commerce because it is far more customizable than Shopify. It lets you change the base URL structure, permalinks, and other SEO-related elements like meta titles, descriptions, headings, and image tags, among other things. Yoast, a free SEO plugin, is also a big plus.
Having your own online store involves a certain amount of responsibility. You’re processing payments and handling sensitive data, and your website, no matter how quick or modern it is, must be secure first and foremost.
Shopify, as a hosted platform, is in charge of safeguarding your store’s product, customer, and transaction data.
Shopify complies with the PCI-DSS security standard. This means you won’t have to worry about keeping your network secure or processing credit card payments.
It also has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate, which protects personal information and builds customer trust.
They also have a security team dedicated to ensuring the platform’s uptime. If something goes wrong at one of Shopify’s data centers, the security team will restore the entire platform to the most recent backup. It’s likely that you’ll only have a few minutes of downtime.
Since WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, it lacks a built-in security system.
This means you’ll need to get your own SSL certificate and make sure your hosting provider uses secure servers. You’ll also want to set up site security plugins, two-factor authentication, and a few other features to keep your site safe.
You can, however, opt for a fully managed hosting service, which will take care of all technical and security issues for you. Although more expensive, this is a better option if you’re looking for a flexible hosting plan that can easily scale. This list of hosting providers is a great place to start.
Woocommerce also has a security team that works on updates on a regular basis and constantly monitors the code base for any vulnerabilities.
Is Woocommerce safe? Definitely. Make sure to choose the right hosting platform to protect your store and customers.
When comparing the security features of both eCommerce platforms, Shopify comes out on top because it is a hosted platform, which means security is taken care of for you. All Shopify apps are also reviewed by the Shopify team to ensure that quality and security standards are met.
The WooCommerce or Shopify debate isn’t about which platform is the best overall, but about which is better suited to meet the specific needs of your business. It is critical to remember that each of these platforms caters to a different type of customer.
If you’re new to eCommerce and have never built a website, Shopify is a great option because it’s simple and allows you to focus on growing your store without worrying about the technical side of things.
Woocommerce, on the other hand, provides a more personalized experience and maybe a better fit for businesses that require more specific features and a distinct look for their websites.
You must now decide which is the best eCommerce platform for you based on your priorities. We hope that this comparison helped you make the right decision.
Still confused? Contact the Helplama team, they will help you choose the right platform for your e-commerce business.