Which one is better: Shopify vs WooCommerce? Shopify and WooCommerce are two giants when it comes to eCommerce platforms, but which one is the better pick for your brand? That’s what we’re here to discuss. If you want to compare multiple different enterprise-level eCommerce platforms, you can find that blog here. This blog specifically focuses on Shopify vs WooCommerce. Both platforms have pros and cons, but it’s up to you which platform to pick. Let’s get started.
TLDR: Our Pick-Shopify
We’ll cut straight to the point. Our pick for the best eCommerce platform is Shopify. WooCommerce does the job, but as an open-source plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce requires a lot of coding work and extra extensions for additional functionality. Shopify, on the other hand, is a hosted platform and offers a multitude of powerful built-in tools that allow eCommerce sites to launch quickly and easily. Keep reading to see how we reached this conclusion.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a customizable, open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress. The plugin can be added to any WordPress site and allows the site to be fully customizable. WooCommerce is also scalable and can integrate with virtually any service.
WooCommerce launched in 2011, and quickly gained popularity due to its simplicity to install and customize. It also became popular because the base product is free. Now, more than 28% of all online stores use WooCommerce, making it one of the top eCommerce platforms in existence.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a popular eCommerce platform that offers customizable web design templates, and an all-in-one suite of services including payments, marketing, shipping and customer engagement tools. Unlike WooCommerce which operates as a WordPress plug-in, Shopify is a hosted platform, which makes it easy for anyone to set up a simple online store and start selling their products. If you’re looking to create a more unique shopping experience, Shopify can do that too. Through Shopify’s App Store and APIs, retailers have the ability to customize their store or build complex sites from the ground up. Shopify powers millions of online retailers, and is one of the most popular platforms for businesses of all sizes.
Pros of Shopify
Whether you want to start a small online store today, or you’re looking to build a more complex, unique user experience, Shopify can do it. Here is why businesses around the world choose Shopify to power their eCommerce websites:
- Quick, easy setup
Shopify’s interface is quick and easy to use, especially for users who want to build a simple shop and build it fast. A simple and user-friendly admin interface allows users to quickly build and launch a store.
- Dependable and secure
Customers prefer to do business on reliable platforms. One of the reasons business owners like Shopify is the reliability it provides. The platform takes care of all of your security and maintenance needs to make sure your customers are able to load and buy quickly without worrying about the security of your site.
- 24/7 support
No eCommerce platform can beat Shopify when it comes to customer support. You get 24/7 support to resolve technical issues instantly. You can talk to their support team via email, webchat, or phone to communicate your concerns. Extensive Shopify guides are also available online to make things easier for you.
- Easy customization
Shopify sets itself apart with its vast collection of themes both free and paid. You can fully customize a Shopify theme to create the design and experience you want for your customers.
- Marketing and SEO tools
As we mentioned earlier, your eCommerce business needs a strong marketing and SEO strategy. With Shopify, you get powerful built-in SEO and marketing tools that can help you rank higher fast. Advanced analytics give you all the data you need to fine-tune your direction.
- Payment gateway & POS System
While your Shopify store can be integrated with a broad range of payment gateways, you have the freedom to choose Shopify’s payment gateway to avoid transaction fees. Shopify also includes a built-in POS system that allows you to sell in person as well as online.
- Hosted Software
Shopify hosts its own sites, which means you can build the entire site and run it all through Shopify.
Pros of WooCommerce
Now let’s take a look at why people prefer WooCommerce. From scalability to customization, the features of WooCommerce make it a popular choice for online stores. Let’s evaluate the advantages of WooCommerce.
As an open-source platform, WooCommerce customization is practically limitless.
WooCommerce can handle an unlimited amount of products and high traffic. The platform allows businesses to scale quickly and easily.
- Word-Press Plugin
WooCommerce is a plug-in with any WordPress site, which enables sites to utilize WordPress’ full-fledged content management system. If you already have a WordPress site, it’s easy to add the WooCommerce plugin
WooCommerce is one of the more affordable options on the market. The basic WooCommerce plug-in is free to install. Additional features and extensions are available for varying fees.
Cons of Shopify
Lots of entrepreneurs and business leaders love Shopify, but there are some disadvantages. Here are a few:
- You often need to install an app to get the required functionality.
- It’s slightly complicated to add custom fields such as file upload options.
- Advanced reporting functionality is only available for premium users.
- The email marketing functionality is basic.
- Shopify is one of the only platforms to enforce its own transaction fee.
Cons of WooCommerce
Here are some of the drawbacks of WooCommerce to consider:
- Ease of Use
WooCommerce isn’t the easiest platform to work with for beginners. The editor interface can be complicated, and unless you know how to code, you are likely going to struggle to get a shop up and running quickly.
- WordPress Specific
Since WooCommerce is a plugin, you can only use it on sites that are built-in WordPress. If you’re an established business whose site isn’t built in WordPress, you’d have to rebuild your site to implement WooCommerce.
- Cost Structure
Even though WooCommerce is free to install the basic version, you’ll need to pay for more features and extensions. These additional costs can add up.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: How We Judged Which Is Better
When selecting an eCommerce platform for your brand, there are a number of things to consider. Here is a list of what we consider to be the most important factors when deciding which platform is best for your brand.
Price is an obvious factor, but different platforms handle pricing structures differently. Some offer a subscription model, some require a flat fee with additional add-ons, and others charge per transaction. Before making a decision, consider your budget, and then decide which features you need. Then take a look at which platforms can offer you those features at the best price.
Most platforms offer themes that you can customize, but the level of customization can vary between platforms. Consider the themes that different platforms offer, and think about how much you want to be able to customize your site to create a unique shopping experience.
All eCommerce platforms should offer basic sales features, but some platforms will offer more than others. Features include the ability to integrate user-generated reviews, wishlists, related items, FAQs, and more. If a platform doesn’t offer a built-in feature, they likely offer it through App integration. Think about which features are most important for your brand, and which features you’d like to be built into your platform.
Similar to eCommerce features, different platforms are going to offer various built-in marketing features like newsletters, discount pop-ups, abandon cart emails, specials, reward programs, etc. Platforms should also have the capability to offer marketing tools through App integrations.
If you have an online store, you have the responsibility to protect your customer’s information. Make sure your platform has security measures in place including PCI compliance, SSL, fraud protection, and data backups.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Who Has Better Pricing?
Pricing can be hard to compare because there are a lot of variables that go into the pricing of an eCommerce platform. Here’s how both WooCommerce and Shopify structure their pricing.
WooCommerce: WooCommerce is free for the initial, basic plugin, but there are still a number of additional costs that most sites will need. As we’ve discussed, WooCommerce is only available as a plugin for WordPress sites, so you will need to build and host your site outside of WooCommerce. All websites involve fees for hosting and domain registration. Other costs could include additional features like store management, customer communication, enhanced checkout pages, etc. These costs can add up, but users have more control over what they spend.
Shopify: Shopify uses a subscription model and has a tiered pricing model for basic users up to advanced enterprise users. Additionally, Shopify offers a ShopifyPlus model for large businesses and ShopifyLite for small businesses. While the initial cost for Shopify may be higher compared to WooCommerce, the subscription cost includes most of what any eCommerce brand will need to run a successful online store.
Why we pick Shopify: While WooCommerce may seem cheaper and allows users to have more control over their spend, we recommend the more inclusive, streamlined method of Shopify over the piecemeal approach of WooCommerce.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which allows more customization?
Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer customization options. WooCommerce allows customization through their open source code, while Shopify has more robust themes and built-in customization.
WooCommerce: WooCommerce allows a tremendous amount of customization. Since WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin, the platform gives users complete control over the customization of their site. However, if you don’t know how to code, it will likely be difficult for you to customize your site the way you want.
Shopify: Shopify tends to be more user-friendly from the start. The user interface is more intuitive and allows users to get a shop up and running quickly. Shopify offers lots of customizable options through their themes, and if you want an even more custom site, Shopify Plus offers practically limitless customization. Shopify Plus claims to “make it possible to customize everything that matters to today’s online shoppers.”
Why we pick Shopify: Shopify’s themes are going to be easier and more intuitive for basic users, and Shopify Plus offers all the customization that larger companies need. WooCommerce can only be used with WordPress sites, which is limiting.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Whose E-commerce Features Are More Robust?
Both platforms are going to give you what you need to start an online store. The biggest difference between these two platforms is which features come included as standard in the platform.
WooCommerce: WooCommerce comes with a few built-in features like payment processing, blogging, and one-click refunds, but you’ll need extensions for most other sales features. WooCommerce users have access to a library of 400+ extensions that make all functions of an eCommerce platform easier.
Shopify: Basic Shopify plans include a lot more built-in features than WooCommerce including a POS system, SEO tools, drop shipping, analytics, blogging, discount codes, abandoned cart reminders, and more.
Why we pick Shopify: We pick Shopify because their eCommerce features are already built-in to the platform and ready to use. Features that are included with Shopify are likely going to cost extra with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Who Has Better Marketing Features?
Every online store is going to need marketing to reach customers. You’ll want an eCommerce platform that has marketing tools available.
WooCommerce: Similar to other categories, WooCommerce offers lots of marketing tools in the form of extensions.
Shopify: Shopify includes more built-in marketing features like SEO tools, customer groups, and multichannel selling.
Why we pick Shopify: We pick Shopify because their marketing features are already built-in to the platform and ready to use.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Who Has the Best Security Features?
Security is a priority for any website, but especially in eCommerce. Your site is processing people’s money and holding their personal information, so your security needs to be top-notch.
WooCommerce: WooCommerce works with WordPress and is therefore self-hosted. This means that the WooCommerce plugin does not come with built-in security. Any security needs to be handled by you or your hosting provider. WooCommerce also does not provide an SSL certificate. You as the shop owner are responsible for sourcing your own SSL certificate, which most people do through their hosting provider.
Shopify: Because Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform, all security is taken care of for you. Shopify provides an SSL certificate and is responsible for handling security breaches and making sure your site is safe
Why we pick Shopify: Shopify’s security is taken care of for you while WooCommerce requires the user to handle their own security.
Conclusion: WooCommerce Vs Shopify-Which is Best?
Our pick is Shopify. While both platforms will provide you with the tools you need to launch an online store, Shopify is our winner. When compared to WooCommerce’s plugin model, Shopify’s hosted platform wins for its built-in tools, ease of use, quick build time, and simple pricing structure. You just can’t beat the power that comes with Shopify’s powerful hosted platform.
- Nirav is the CEO and founder of Anatta. Nirav received his engineering degree in 2006 from George Washington University. Prior to Anatta, he served as founder of Dharmaboost, a software company working with Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, and New Leaf Paper. He is also cofounder of Upscribe, a next-level subscription software for fast growing eCommerce brands.