If you are new to the world of e-commerce, over the course of launching the store and running it, you’d surely have to make a lot of crucial decisions. These decisions could significantly impact the success of your store. In the initial days, one of the most important ones would be to select an e-commerce platform.
While most new online store owners still prefer hiring an ecommerce development agency for building their store, these 2 easy to use eCommerce platforms virtually eliminate the need for you to write even a single line of code. From product listing, inventory management, shopping cart, to payment collection, these platforms make all the different aspects of e-commerce easier to manage
WooCommerce and Shopify are currently two of the most popular e-commerce platforms. This makes them a go-to option for most new online stores. But while it is easier to know that these platforms are very popular, selecting one between the two is not, especially when you are new to e-commerce.
To help you pick one, we have compared both of these platforms on the basis of several factors like features, design, ease of use, payment options, fees, and more. Rest assured that by the end of the post, you’d definitely know what’s best for your e-commerce store.
Before comparing, let us go through a quick overview of what WooCommerce and Shopify are
What is WooCommerce?
To understand WooCommerce, you first need to know what WordPress is. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS (Content Management System) which is estimated to be used by around 29% of the total websites on the internet. But while WordPress makes the process of creating a website super easy, it was never really created for e-commerce stores.
Yes, it can be used for building an online store but it is mostly a platform for creating websites and content sharing. This is where WooCommerce gets into the picture. It is a WordPress plugin which adds several e-commerce features to a WordPress website. All the features like inventory management, product pages, shopping cart, payment, shipping etc. can be added to a WordPress website with the help of WooCommerce.
What is Shopify?
In simple words, Shopify is a one-stop solution for building online stores. It helps you build an online store from scratch even if you don’t have any coding knowledge. From physical products, digital downloads, drop-shipping, to even services; you can sell many different types of products with Shopify.
Moreover, your Shopify store can also be integrated with a physical store through its POS devices. If this is the first time you are creating an online store and are looking for a simple all-in-one e-commerce platform, Shopify is surely a great option. You can also look for a reputable Shopify development company to get an online store created just the way you want.
Let us now compare these platforms to help you decide-
WooCommerce is well-known for its flexibility due to its open-source built. You can get a host of custom plugins, themes, and more that have been created by developers all over the world. You don’t get this many options with Shopify. It also offers a host of important features like built-in blogging, one-click refund, and more.
But its open-source build also means that WooCommerce is slightly more technical when compared to Shopify. You sure will have to spend a lot of time and even money to build a world-class store with WooCommerce. In comparison, Shopify comes with built-in features such as unlimited products, abandonment cart recovery, 100+ payment options, discount codes, and more.
Also, a number of features offered by Shopify for free are available at a price at the WooCommerce plugin store. While the customization and flexibility of WooCommerce are commendable, Shopify offers more built-in features and more importantly, doesn’t really require you to have any technical knowledge.
2. Themes and Design
You’d surely want your online store to look amazing. As mentioned above, WooCommerce is an open-source platform due to which you can find thousands of free and paid themes for the same. As a matter of fact, you can create a WooCommerce theme yourself. You can purchase any child theme for $39 and then purchase additional extension bundles that start at $69.
Shopify has its own theme store that has more than 60 paid and free themes. As it is a one-stop e-commerce platform, the themes here are more polished and professional. However, you cannot create a theme yourself with Shopify. You can purchase premium themes that start at $140. While this might surely look expensive if you have a tight budget, you can think of this as a one-time investment that could help you generate more revenue in the long run.
So, with regards to themes and design, WooCommerce definitely offers way more options as compared to Shopify, including DIY themes. But Shopify has more polished offerings that are fully compatible for its platform.
3. Ease of Use
One of the biggest reasons why WooCommerce and Shopify are so popular is because they both are very easy to use. From setting up your account to managing the day-to-day operations of your store, everything is mostly easy and convenient. But as WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, there are a few additional steps that you will have to take in order to start using it.
You will first have to purchase a domain name, get a hosting service, install WordPress, and then you can install the WooCommerce plugin and start using it. Most people would have to rely on WooCommerce specialists for the same. In comparison, Shopify is considerably easier as it is a subscription-based platform. You simply need to visit Shopify.com, sign up for an account, and start using it.
4. Payment Options and Fees
Needless to say, you will have to provide a payment option to your customers so that they can pay for their purchase. Both the platforms allow you to choose from more than 100 payment options. Some of the most popular options include PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Credit Cards and Debit Cards. The transaction fee here would depend on the gateway you select.
For instance, there is a 2% fee on 3rd party gateways with the basic plan of Shopify. The transaction fee can be reduced by purchasing a more expensive plan. As a matter of fact, you can also use Shopify’s own payment gateway which does not have any transaction fee. But this is only available for merchants located in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.
WooCommerce has a major advantage here as there are no transaction fees involved. While you will still have to pay payment provider charges and bank charges, WooCommerce itself does not charge any transaction fee. So, if you believe that your online store will sell products in large quantities, WooCommerce will be a cheaper option.
With regards to the fees of using these platforms, Shopify has fixed fee plans that start at $29/month. WooCommerce is a free plugin, however, you will be required to pay for a domain, hosting, and other features like SSL certificate and extensions that your store might need. Shopify offers all the basic features, including domain, hosting, SSL certificate, etc. for free.
5. Customer Support
If you are running an online business, you should definitely have easy access to professionals to help fix your problems. Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer customer support through multiple mediums. The WooCommerce website has several tutorials, guides, FAQ, documentation, and more to help you find answers to your queries.
There are support forums as well where you can get answers from other users and WooCommerce experts. But note that the support is only available for the WooCommerce plugin and not problems related to WordPress, hosting, or any custom theme or extension that you might have purchased. Shopify, on the other hand, offers 24×7 support through phone, email, and live chat.
There is also an extensive knowledge base, tutorials, forums, guides, and more available on their website. As Shopify itself is responsible for the hosting of your online store and the themes and extensions can only be purchased through their official website, they offer support for anything and everything related to your store.
Once your online store is created, you will then have to work on its SEO so that more customers are able to find your store through search engines like Google. As WooCommerce is an open-source platform, you get more freedom to tweak meta descriptions, page titles, etc. to try and get better search engine rankings. Moreover, you also get to use a host of WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast.
Even the App Store of Shopify has some great free and paid SEO tools. Also, as it uses dedicated servers, Shopify stores are known to be faster. With WooCommerce, your store speed will depend on the hosting service you have selected. Google is known to reward faster websites with a higher ranking. But speed is just one of the aspects of SEO. You always have the option to hire the best SEO agency to improve the ranking of your WooCommerce and Shopify store.
As you can see, both WooCommerce and Shopify have their own pros and cons. So, the comparison is not really about which is the best platform. It actually is about what suits you and your online store the best. The best way out is to try and use both the platforms. Shopify offers a free trial while WooCommerce has a 30-days money-back guarantee.
So, try the platforms yourself and you will surely get a better idea of what is right for you. Also, while you can use both the platforms to create an online store yourself, you will be in safer hands with an e-commerce development agency. This will ensure that you always have professional developers that you can rely upon for the success of your online store.