WooCommerce and Shopify are the two most popular e-commerce platforms. They are easy to use, so people who want to start selling products online can quickly figure out how these platforms work, and start earning money.
However, choosing the wrong platform is one of the most common mistakes online merchants make. Different platforms have their advantages and disadvantages, and if you want to create a successful e-commerce store, you should make sure to choose a platform that meets your specific needs.
When it comes to choosing between Shopify and WooCommerce, the choice is rather difficult. Which platform has more useful features? Which one looks better? Which platform is more flexible, and which will cost you less money?
There are too many questions you need to answer, so I decided to help you with this guide. In this WooCommerce vs Shopify article, we will consider all the pros and cons of Shopify and WooCommerce so that you can choose a platform that will help you achieve your specific goals.
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin created for WordPress. This e-commerce plugin is intended for small medium and big businesses. There are many WooCommerce examples where this popular eCommerce plugin is used on various types of sites from different niches.
It allows you to sell products online and is often advertised as the most popular e-commerce platform on the internet. This platform is quite flexible, so you can adjust it to your requirements and needs.
If you want to use WooCommerce, you need a WordPress website, as it only works as a plugin for WordPress. Using WordPress also means having plenty of customization opportunities. For example, you can install different themes, create a blog section, and have access to product reviews and ratings.
You can sort your products by categories, add any attributes and tags, and customize your online store for different locations. Besides, you can add various filters.
WooCommerce enables you to sell both physical and digital products or services. You can also add affiliate links to other websites and offer an unlimited number of variations of the same product.
Sellers can choose different tax options and use geolocation to calculate taxes and the shipping price for different buyers quickly. You can translate your website and content into any language using plugins like WPML (check WPML review), Weglot (see Weglot review), etc.
Orders are easy to manage, users can request refunds, and sellers can install numerous additional plugins to add even more functionality to their WooCommerce store.
Shopify is powerful WooCommerce alternative. The first difference between Shopify and WooCommerce is that Shopify isn’t open-source, and it doesn’t run on WordPress. This is an independent proprietary platform that is advertised as an e-commerce platform with all the necessary sale features.
Shopify enables you to start your business, sell your products everywhere, and market your business with no need to use other platforms.
Shopify has its own Shopify App store and award-winning support service. Developers can create their own applications for the Shopify App store and develop their own themes.
Sellers don’t have as many customization opportunities like when using WooCommerce. However, if you don’t want to customize everything, Shopify offers many useful features out of the box.
In addition, numerous applications from the app store can help you extend Shopify’s functionality. This platform is great WordPress alternative that allows you to sell physical and digital products, services, memberships, etc. It’s currently the #1 platform on the list of top eCommerce website builders at review portal MyBestWebsiteBuilder.
Be sure to check Shopify review where I go in-depth with features Shopify offers, and comparisons such as Shopify vs Volusion, Shopify vs Squarespace, Shopify vs BigCommerce, Shopify vs WordPress, and Shopify vs Wix to see how Shopify compare to websites similar to Shopify.
WooCommerce vs Shopify Pros & Cons
Here I will discuss the pros and cons of using Shopify and WooCommerce.
Here are the main advantages of Shopify:
- The customer support service is one of the main selling points of this platform. There are many experienced support agents who can quickly answer any of your questions and provide the necessary assistance.
- Shopify is a hosted solution, which means that the company will take care of the technical maintenance of your e-commerce store. When you opt for a Shopify plan, you get hosting and all the necessary security certificates. You can be sure that your store won’t crash because of the unusually intense traffic or an increased number of orders. This is a scalable platform, which means that it’s ready for your business’ growth.
- Another advantage of this platform is its multi-channel integration. You can connect your Shopify store to other marketplaces and social media, selling your products directly through Amazon or other websites, and advertising them to a huge audience of potential buyers.
Nevertheless, Shopify also has a downside. This platform is challenging to customize. If you want to change your store dramatically, you need to be good at coding. Moreover, the platform uses its own coding language — Liquid, so you will have to learn it.
Now let’s take a look at the main advantages of WooCommerce.
- You can choose from among hundreds of various themes created for WooCommerce websites. Given that WooCommerce works with WordPress, you can also select any WordPress theme, getting an unlimited number of possible design solutions.
- You can customize not only the design of your online store but virtually anything you want because the platform is open-source. The code is available for everyone, so the customization opportunities are limitless. This is a reason why WooCommerce is often called the most customizable e-commerce platform.
- WooCommerce also gives you access to the WordPress blogging infrastructure, which means countless opportunities for SEO optimization. You can edit your metadata and use SEO to improve your rankings on Google.
The main disadvantage of this platform is that WooCommerce doesn’t provide active support. You cannot call the support team and get timely help. Instead, you need to search for answers to your questions on the WooCommerce forum or submit tickets.
What Is The Cost Difference?
Everyone wants to get as much as possible for as little money as possible. However, when it comes to pricing, choosing a platform that will meet your objectives becomes a challenge because Shopify and WooCommerce have entirely different approaches.
WooCommerce is a free plugin. However, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to pay additional costs associated with running an e-commerce store. WordPress is also free, but you still have to pay for hosting, your domain name, an SSL certificate (see how to add free SSL certificate to WordPress site), and some additional extensions. Besides, not all WordPress and WooCommerce themes are free.
Shopify comes as an all-in-one solution, and it has different pricing packages. When you create an e-commerce store on Shopify, everything you need is already included so you can start selling your products or services immediately.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer numerous options to upgrade depending on the scale and type of your business.
To compare the total cost of these platforms, it makes sense to consider the cheapest plans. If you opt for the cheapest Shopify plan (“Lite”) using a top domain, it will cost you $29 per month.
As for WooCommerce, the software itself is free. Hosting will cost you from $5 to $100 per month. An SSL certificate obtained via a third party can be free or cost more than $100 per month.
The price of a top-level domain starts at $9 per year. Therefore, if you choose a decent hosting option for about $20 per month, your WooCommerce store cost will be about $29 per month, just as when using Shopify.
Even though WooCommerce and Shopify have different approaches to pricing, they offer almost similar features. WooCommerce enables you to use a vast variety of third-party tools, including countless plugins and extensions.
With WooCommerce, you can sell both digital and physical products. This platform also supports affiliate marketing. WooCommerce has Stripe and PayPal built-in. You’re not limited regarding the number of products or categories of products.
You can control your stock levels and your data. Besides, WooCommerce is mobile-friendly.
Shopify enables you to sell an unlimited number of products. It also offers unlimited file storage. It integrates with Oberlo, has a blog module, and provides users with a free SSL certificate.
This platform supports credit card payments and provides drop shipping options. Shopify also creates daily backups, supports multiple languages, and easily integrates with social media (not only Facebook but also Instagram).
It has a fully-featured mobile app and provides advanced reports. You can also upload new products using CSV files. This feature, as well as booking and shipping, come for free when you opt for a Shopify plan.
WooCommerce vs Shopify Wrapping Up
As you can see, both Shopify and WooCommerce are great e-commerce platforms. However, they have their advantages and disadvantages. I recommend that you choose Shopify if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box solution with a reliable support team.
All you have to do is just opt for one of the pricing plans, and you will get everything you need to start your online business.
However, if you value customization, I suggest that you choose WooCommerce, as it enables you to customize your online shop in any way you want.
WooCommerce is also a better choice for entrepreneurs who want to be in full control over their website. If you choose WooCommerce, you will probably spend more time setting things up, but you’ll get a unique online store tailored to your specific requirements.
Be noted that simply using eCommerce platform and setting up site is not enough. You will need to win customers through branding initiatives and bring traffic to your site.
Frank Hamilton has been working as a translator at translation service TheWordPoint. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.
DISCLOSURE: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, I might get a small commission, without any extra cost to you. Read more about it here.