When it comes to creating an online store for your business, a lot of clients ask me what the difference is between WooCommerce and Shopify, and which one I recommend.
Here is our quick look at the pros and cons of these two popular eCommerce platforms to help you decide which is the best choice for you and your business.
Owned by Automattic (the makers of WordPress), WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for small to medium size online stores as it allows stores to be scaled to grow with your business at any time.
WooCommerce powers millions of online stores and includes features to manage your sales, inventory, shipping, and more. It is extremely customisable, and allows you to list a wide range of products, from digital and physical products, through to subscription based products.
It integrates with all the popular payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, AfterPay and Zip and allows you to manage inventory, product variations, shipping rates, taxes, and more.
The base version of WooCommerce is free, but there is a huge repository of add-ons available to users to modify the basic setup and create an eCommerce platform with the exact features you want. It has hundreds of extensions to choose from, both from WooCommerce themselves, and third party developers. Savvy users can also make their own modifications to the code.
WooCommerce works with any type of WordPress website and it can easily be added to an existing website that does not currently have an online shopfront. We can also help convert your website to the WordPress platform if your current site has been built using another method.
There is also a mobile app that helps business owners to manage their store on the go.
WooCommerce is highly stable and has a huge global community, with a wide range of support and documentation available.
- WooCommerce is free, so there are no upfront costs involved other than labour.
- Even though it has a lot of features, it’s easy to configure and use.
- You have complete control over your shop.
- WordPress and WooCommerce are popular, so there are lots of users, products, courses, communities, support, etc.
- It can be expanded with thousands of available add-ons.
- It’s highly compatible with WordPress themes and there are lots of themes that are designed specifically for WooCommerce.
- There are a lot of hosts to choose from and it works on any type of server or hosting plan.
- You can move to a different host if you want.
- It’s optimized for SEO and works great with Yoast.
- WooCommerce does have a lot of features to learn and set up the store can take time.
- It’s not a stand-alone platform, so you’ll need a WordPress website.
- You also have to learn WordPress. If you don’t already know how to use WordPress then you have to learn two platforms at the same time.
- Hosting, themes, add-ons, and maintenance can get expensive. Make sure you shop around.
- There are a lot of things to manage, including hosting, backups, updates, security, etc. You have to manage everything yourself or consider paying someone to manage it for you.
- You’ll need to purchase add-ons to add some of the features that are native to other platforms, such as marketing and loyalty tools.
- It can be difficult to translate because of third-party add-ons.
Shopify is a stand-alone platform. It’s quick and easy to make an online store without any technical knowledge or paying an expert to build it for you. You can change the design, upload products, manage the shop, accept payments, view orders, and more. It has over 70 paid and free themes and you can customize them with the drag-and-drop builder. It’s ideal for small stores and those users without technical skills.
Shopify is subscription-based, with price points of $29, $79 & $299 USD/month depending on which features you require. Keep in mind currency conversion rates, especially with the current state of the global economy!
The monthly cost includes hosting, SSL, unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 monitoring, updates, maintenance, security, and a domain name if you don’t have your own. List an unlimited number of products, sell physical and digital products, track stock, customize your cart, send emails for abandoned carts, set up flexible shipping rates, use Shopify Payments or choose from over 100 payment gateways, use drop-shipping, create customer groups, and more.
It has built-in SEO, Google Analytics, a mobile app, etc. Expand your store with over 1000 integrations. 24/7 support is included.
- It’s easy to get started. Setup is fast and there are no technical skills required.
- It’s easy to use.
- You can change the look of your store with themes.
- There are lots of themes to choose from.
- Hosting is provided.
- You’re not responsible for backups, maintenance, security, updates, etc.
- Over 1000 apps are available to expand the functionality of your store.
- High-quality support is included.
- Shopify is a premium service with monthly payments charged in USD.
- Prices will increase if you need more bandwidth and other features.
- You don’t have access to the code, so you can’t expand the store beyond what Shopify and its apps provide.
- You have less control over the site.
- Customizations are limited.
- SEO isn’t as flexible as the other platforms.
- The server is in the United States, so users from other parts of the world might experience bottlenecks in bandwidth.
- Your store can only be hosted on Shopify’s servers, so you have no other control or options for hosting and you can’t move your store somewhere else.
While both platforms offer a good eCommerce platform for small businesses, they both have distinct advantages that are better suited to certain types of websites and users.
Your best bet is to work out the exact features you want from your website – and break it down into “must have”, and “nice to have” … then, compare your wish list to each of these lists and work out which better fits your requirements.
My personal favourite is WooCommerce, as it provides a very basic but powerful platform while remaining highly customisable through the use of add ons, and is therefore very easy to scale your online store as your business grows. WooCommerce also helps you avoid high monthly costs (particularly as Shopify is charged in USD) – however please note that WordPress websites do have their own ongoing costs associated with domain name and hosting, that are otherwise included with Shopify.
We would love to chat to you about your businesses eCommerce requirements, so we can help you to determine what features you need, and which platform would be best for you.