26 Nov Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which E-Commerce Platform is Right for You?
When it comes to ecommerce platforms, Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the top contenders. Whether you have experience with selling online or you’re just starting out, either of the two will give you the tools you need to succeed. To help you choose the right platform for your shop, we give you the low-down on the pros and cons of Shopify and WooCommerce.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: The Basics
Both platforms offer you a way to sell your products or services online. Shopify is a hosted platform. It has everything you need to set up a website, such as the website server, domain name, backups, or security.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is more like an add-on that you attach to a separate website, specifically, WordPress. In order to use WooCommerce, you need to buy and set up a website server and a domain separately. Once your WordPress website is up, you will then be able to work with the WooCommerce plugin in order to list your products and start selling.
Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, Shopify takes the cake. Being a hosted service, setting up a shop on Shopify is not complicated. You only need to sign up for an account and then follow the steps for setting up your shop. Your shop can be up and running in a matter of minutes using the tools that Shopify provides.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, will require greater technical skills. You will need to purchase web hosting and then install WordPress. Once all of that is set up, you can add the WooCommerce plugin and start creating your online store. Depending on your level of expertise, this can take between a few hours to a couple of days.
Pricing is another factor where Shopify and WooCommerce differ greatly. On Shopify, you will pay for a monthly subscription. The rates range from $29 to $299, plus taxes and transaction fees. The cheapest comes with basic tools while the most expensive has more advanced or premium features.
Aside from the monthly plan, you can also opt to buy a domain via Shopify. Prices typically start at around $15. They come with yearly terms. A domain on Shopify is not a requirement, you can connect an external domain.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is free. You don’t have to settle a monthly or yearly plan in order to use it. However, take note that only that WooCommerce plugin is free. Everything else that you need to set it up is not.
To illustrate, you need to pay for the website server, domain name, SSL certificates, and others in order to use the WooCommerce plugin. These typically come with either monthly or yearly subscription plans. Prices for hosting vary, but they can range from $5 to $100 per month. Additionally, you have to pay a yearly fee for both the SSL certificate and the domain.
Customization and Design
As a business, it is important that your online shop stands out. Your website has to look on-brand, with elements that speak well of your business or the products that you sell. This is why customization and design tools matter a lot when choosing an ecommerce platform.
Design customization is easy on Shopify. The platform offers free themes that you can customize with a simple drag and drop or by picking from a set number of options. The platform offers a wide range of free themes. And if you want your online shop to look extra beautiful and unique, you can also purchase a theme. The average price of a Shopify theme is $160.
WooCommerce also gives you plenty of options when it comes to customization and design. But all in all, you will have more customization control on WooCommerce as there are more themes available for WordPress websites than Shopify. Additionally, there are countless plugins and integrations available for WooCommerce because it is open source. In other words, on WooCommerce, you can build an online shop that is uniquely yours and offer your customers an online shopping experience perfectly tailored for your brand.
When it comes to features that help you sell, the two platforms showcase quite a few similarities and plenty of differences as well. In terms of similarities, both platforms let you sell unlimited products. Additionally, you can put up both physical and digital products for sale, accept a wide range of payment options (e.g. PayPal and credit card payments), and control certain aspects of product listings. Your website will be mobile-friendly on either platform, too.
Depending on the plan that you sign up for, however, Shopify comes out the winner when it comes to shop features. Some Shopify features that you will find quite useful in running your online shop include unlimited storage, fraud analysis, social media integration, support for multiple languages, customer profiles, gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, and many others. These features can be installed or used on WooCommerce but typically, you will need to purchase additional plugins for them to work.
Which platform will help your business scale better? In terms of resources and capacity, Shopify is your best partner. As your business grows, you will likely be listing more products, and adding more product photos. You will have more customers and will also likely be more vulnerable to security attacks. These concerns can easily be handled by Shopify, whether by virtue of their unlimited storage or by simply upgrading to a plan that offers better support.
On WooCommerce, business growth will need to be addressed by upgrading your website hosting, adding more security features, and exploring the right plugins. There is no limit to your business growth but the technical aspects of scaling should be better left to a professional. With a WooCommerce setup, growth also means having to hire a dedicated technical team that can handle your online shop’s direction.
There are cons and pros to using either Shopify or WooCommerce for your online shop. What it boils down to is your level of expertise and the degree of control that you wish to exert. If you want a platform that is easy to use and will take care of most of the technical aspects of running a shop, we suggest going for Shopify. However, if you want total control over your online shop and business, choosing WooCommerce is the way to go.