When it comes to online eCommerce platforms, Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the most popular and easy-to-use platforms available on the market. With 22% of all eCommerce stores using WooCommerce and 18% using Shopify, both of these platforms dominate the marketplace but are very different with their own benefits and drawbacks. This blog will discuss both of these giants and which is better in the key areas of ease of use, add ons and integration, support, pricing and ownership.
Shopify is an all in one eCommerce platform. With Shopify, you can easily create an online store, accept payments, and manage your inventory all from one single platform. The easy to use platform takes away all of the technical hassles of managing a website such as caching, hosting, security etc, making it perfect for beginners who are looking to start their own online store.
WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin. With a large portion of all websites on the internet built-in WordPress, WooCommerce allows you to use the worlds most powerful content management system to build and manage an online store.
If you’re building your online store for the first time and reading this blog then I assume that you are not a developer. When you start building your online store you may have limited knowledge and ability, as a result, you will need a platform that is friendly and easy to use.
Shopify is pretty much an out of the box online store platform. From the moment you sign up, Shopify will guide you and walk you through every step from design, to adding products, until you have a complete online store. With its drag and drop interface, managing your eCommerce store with Shopify is intuitive and simple. However, such simplicity comes at a price. Shopify is restrictive with add-ons, only allowing the use of Shopify add-ons.
In comparison, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that will need you to install WordPress, install WooCommerce, manage updates, keep backups and other plug-ins that you need to build your site. While all of this requires a lot more time than the simple Shopify platform, WooCommerce is open source and allows endless customisation. With over 50,000 WordPress plugins available and thousands of free and paid themes available online, WooCommerce allows for almost endless and limitless flexibility. However, with so many options WooCommerce is far more complex and takes longer to master in comparison to Shopify.
Ease Of Use Winner: Shopify
Shopify and WooCommerce both have extensive add-on availability. Regardless of the shopping platform used you will always need add ons to grow your store through a number of tools such as email marketing, analytics, lead generation and more.
Shopify comes with its own App Store where you can buy third-party apps. With hundreds of paid and free apps, there is an app for every feature you could want for your store.
As WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin, it gives you access to over 55,000 free plug-ins and many more paid plug-ins.
Add Ons And Integration Winner: WooCommerce
When you are first building your store you are likely to have a lot of questions. While Shopify and WooCommerce are both relatively easy to use it is always good to have extra help when it comes to making your online store the best it can be.
Shopify provides 24/7 support via live chat, phone, email, and Twitter. If you would rather fix it yourself, Shopify offers extensive guides, forums and video tutorials.
WooCommerce also offers extensive tutorials, guides and useful documents. However, as WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, plug-ins, themes and extensions for your store will be sourced from various developers, these developers are responsible for providing support with their products. Similarly, any support for server issues is the responsibility of your hosting provider.
Support Winner: Shopify
Shopify offers a free 14-day trial, after which payment is monthly, starting from $29 per month, up to $299 per month. With three different price plans; basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify, each option gives you the ability to do different things with more features the higher the level of your plan.
WooCommerce is free to download but requires extra costs such as costs of hosting, purchasing a domain name, security and any additional plug-ins and extensions you may require for your online store. It is definitely possible to build a successful WooCommerce store on the same budget as any of the Shopify pricing plans, but the initial time required in setting this up will be a lot more when compared to starting up a Shopify store.
With WooCommerce it is far less clear how much you will be paying as this all depends on so many different factors. Whereas with Shopify, pricing is clear and you know exactly how much you will be billed each month and what for. However, with WooCommerce you can make cost savings by managing plug-ins and extensions that you need and don’t need and making use of the mass third party themes and extras that are available for free, for this reason, WooCommerce just edges the win for pricing.
Pricing Winner: WooCommerce
When you buy your website and pay for it you might assume that it is yours? That is not always the case. Both WooCommerce and Shopify are massively different when it comes to ownership of the website.
Shopify requires you to pay monthly for your online store, like any other monthly subscription once you stop making your monthly payments your subscription will end. In the same way, when you stop paying Shopify your online store will no longer exist. As you are not the owner of the site, Shopify has the ability to pull your store when they like. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is just a plugin for a website that you already own. With the domain and everything else registered in your own name, your WooCommerce site is completely yours. You are not tied to any contract with WooCommerce and there is no threat of them taking away your website if you miss monthly payments (as there are no monthly payments). For this reason, when it comes to ownership of your online store, there is only one winner.
Ownership Winner: WooCommerce
While they are both giants within the eCommerce world, with the same core purpose and function, as we have seen above, both Shopify and WooCommerce have distinct differences that can make it difficult in choosing which is the best for you. In short, based on the analysis above, if you are a beginner looking to build a stunning and professional-looking online store as simply as possible then Shopify with its stunning free and paid themes, structured build process and pricing is the best option for you, however, if you are slightly more confident in your technical ability, want complete ownership of your store and are looking to build a unique and powerful online store with endless flexibility and almost unlimited capabilities then WooCommerce is the best choice for you. If you have any questions about WooCommerce and are looking for some help with a WooCommerce website, then let us know and we would be happy to help.