Shopify vs WooCommerce: What Works Best For Your eCommerce Business?

 29 Oct, 2021

Introduction

Are you an emerging business or a startup?

Have you decided to build an online presence and are looking for ways to embark on the eCommerce bandwagon? 

Do you want to redesign your existing website or online store? But don’t know which platform to turn to?

Are you confused with so many eCommerce platforms? And want to know which platform suits your business type?

Or maybe you know about Shopify and WooCommerce but don’t know the difference between shopify and woocommerce?

With everything turning digital and the rise in mobile shopping, eCommerce businesses have a lot at stake. They are required to constantly reinvent themselves to attract new customers and retain existing ones, at a time when the customers are spoiled with choices (currently, there are 12-24 million online or eCommerce stores). 

But you might be wondering what eCommerce platforms got to do with this? We say everything!

Having a good platform sorts out your various online selling woes. A good platform is something that provides you:

  • The ability to deliver an end-to-end experience across marketing, sales, service and commerce
  • Pre-integrated payment capabilities that support a variety of payment providers
  • Integration with popular online marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay 
  • Secured, easy checkout and payment process
  • Well integrated with Social media platforms to sell directly through them 

So whether you are an emerging business or a startup? Or have decided to build an online presence and are looking for ways to embark on the eCommerce bandwagon? But don’t know which platform to turn to?

There are so many options in platforms that have got you confused and now you are wondering which platform suits your business type? Going through these platforms and with different features and functionalities, you might be confused as to which one is better than the other. Naturally, you might have come across Shopify vs WooCommerce but don’t know the difference between Shopify and WooCommerce? and get overwhelmed with so many details.

Relax, we’ve got you covered!

In this blog we’ll cover:

  • What is Shopify and its features?
  • What is WooCommerce and its features?
  • What is the difference between shopify and woocommerce? 
  • To compare Shopify and Woocommerce and give an unbiased opinion.
  • What are the elements you should be looking for while selecting an eCommerce platform?

This blog will not ask you to choose this or that platform, but will try to give you unbiased and neutral comparison between these two so that you understand what is the difference between shopify and woocommerce, which platform will suit your business type better.

Gear up, we’ll help you find answers you are looking for!

WooCommerce: An Overview

According to WooCommerce, “It is a flexible, open-source commerce solution built on WordPress. The company started in 2008 as WooThemes and in 2017 decided to focus exclusively on eCommerce.”

WooCommerce is not really an ecommerce platform, as said earlier it is an open source plugin that turns your WordPress application into a fully functioning ecommerce store. All you have to do is install the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress and your store will be up and running.  

Interesting Facts to Know

  • WooCommerce leads as the most popular choice among the top million e-commerce sites with 26% market share in 2020.
  • According to BuiltWith, more than 3.8 million WordPress websites use WooCommerce. 
  • 5+ million stores is the number of active installs of the free WooCommerce plugin.
  • WooCommerce powers 22% of the top 1 million eCommerce sites in the world.
  • WooCommerce powers over 70 million eCommerce shops on WordPress.

Top Brand that use Woocommerce

Key reasons you might want to use WooCommerce:

  • Hundreds of plugins
  • Runs off of your WordPress theme
  • Payments via PayPal and Stripe built-in
  • Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
  • Complete control over your website and its data
  • Facebook ad and Facebook stores extensions
  • Unlimited products and categories
  • Inventory control
  • Mobile-friendly structure
  • Automate WooCommerce to notify you about important events, process orders

Pros and Cons of WooCommerce 

Your custom eCommerce website solutions on WooCommerce are just a click away! 

Shopify: An Overview

According to Shopify, “It is an eCommerce platform that anyone can use to build their store both online and offline. Like Bloggers use WordPress and Store owners use Shopify. It allows you to sell both online with your own website and/or in-person with Shopify POS.”

It started as an online store to sell snowboards but after two months of development, in June 2006, Shopify as an eCommerce platform was officially launched. 

Interesting Facts to know

  • Shopify is the third-largest online retailer in the US after Amazon and eBay
  • From 2016 to 2019, businesses on Shopify contributed $319 billion in economic activity worldwide
  • It’s a go-to platform for ecommerce with over 1 million stores
  • There are over 5300 Shopify Plus stores currently
  • Shopify number of merchants now run over 1,000,000 businesses in 175 different countries 

Top Brands that use Shopify

  • Bulletproof
  • Hasbro
  • The Economist
  • Heinz
  • Crabtree & Evelyn
  • Sunday Somewhere
  • Penguin Books
  • Lazy Oaf

Shopify Pros and Cons

Key reasons you might want to use Shopify

  • Fully customizable website, online store, and blog.
  • Equipped with more than 70 professional themes.
  • Advanced marketing tools such as SEO, content marketing, integrating with social media. platforms, discounts, and gift cards.
  • Unlimited bandwidth, product inventory, and customer data.
  • Sell on new sales channels like Pinterest and Amazon.
  • All popular payment gateways supported.
  • Convert your Shopify store into a feature-rich mobile app for both Android and iOS.
  • Automate your fulfillment process with 3rd party shipping apps.
  • 24/7 award-winning customer support.
  • “Shopfiy Experts” for programming, design, marketing or even photography for your store

Looking for a Shopify Website Design Development Company? We can help you!

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Who Comes Out On Top?

WooCommerce and Shopify both are open source eCommerce platforms with their own features and complexities. Here we are about to give you a detailed overview of their various features and how they fare on the bases of them. Despite being a competition about who’ll be the best eCommerce platform the information below will not try to give you a winner or loser. It is just to make you understand what is the difference between shopify and woocommerce. This blog intends to compare Shopify and WooCommerce to assist you in deciding which platform you should use for your small business or startup or even a new eCommerce business after considering all the below factors.

Here’s a quick overview to compare Shopify and WooCommerce

Features

Shopify

WooCommerce

eCommerce Platform

A subscription-based tool/service + a complete, out-the-box eCommerce solution.

A free WordPress plugin. It requires hosting and a working WordPress installation to run.

Set-up/Maintenance

Quicker but not cost-effective build time

Slower but cost-effective build time

Customisation

Closed platform – you can only modify your store to the extent that Shopify allows

Open source – you can modify your store freely. There are no limitations

Ease of use

Easy learning curve

Difficult learning curve

Privacy/Control

Shopify controls your store/website data

You have complete control over your data.

Scalability

Infinite

Rigid

Control over the Platform

Closed platform – you can only modify your store to the extent that Shopify allows

Open source – you can modify your store freely. There are no limitations.

Payment and other API integration

Massive extensions directory, easily integrate with 3rd-party services

Massive extensions directory, easily integrate with 3rd-party services

E commerce Add-ons or Tools comparison

Over 1,200 plugins, free and paid

Over 50,000 plugins free & paid

Drop shipping

Allows popular drop shipping marketplaces but you’ve to pay for them

Allows you to install extensions that make order fulfilment a breeze

SEO & Marketing Tools

Range of marketing features such as multichannel selling  & huge collection of handy apps for SEO

Useful for optimizing content as its built on Wordpress

Customer support and help

24/7 email, chat or phone Support

Ticket support, forum support and lots of blogs online but no virtual support

Security

Free SSL certificate & PCI compliant payment gateways.

You can hook up a free SSL certificate manually, but many people pay for this service.

Let’s discuss these factors in detail:

1. eCommerce Platform: WooCommerce vs Shopify

  • There is no doubt that WooCommerce is relatively easy to install and configure and that is why it attracts emerging digital business or small business owners. 
  • However, WooCommerce isn’t a standalone site builder but an open source WordPress Plugin. So, you just can’t sign up for a single hosting-to-checkout platform and have to use it as a 3rd party integration within WordPress.
  • Shopify is an eCommerce platform with its easy-to-use available tool makes it easier to start, run and grow your online eCommerce business from the scratch without having any technical background. 
  • So, if you want a complete, out-the-box eCommerce solution that requires no hosting and saves resources with an easier learning curve then Shopify is for you.

2. Pricing/Cost: WooCommerce vs Shopify

  • WooCommerce is a free, open-source plug-in while Shopify is an open source platform that doesn’t offer any free plans. 
  • With WooCommerce though you get WooCommerce plugin and WordPress CMS without any cost, there are certain additional features like Premium themes, CDN or SSL certificates that you need to pay for. 
  • However, Shopify with its fixed price plans isn’t that inclusive and you’ve to pay for additional charges that are relatively expensive with software installation costs or transaction fees etc.

3. Set-up Ease: WooCommerce vs Shopify 

  • WooCommerce is quite a tough cookie to bite as compared to Shopify. Using Shopify you’re not required to have prior technical knowledge and can easily learn to use the platform than with WooCommerce. 
  • You don’t have to have any command over technicalities from domain name, hosting to any security certificates, Shopify manages it all on its own. 
  • However, with Woocommerce you need to look after all these aspects plus you’ve to do your sourcing with installing, managing or updating any software.

4. Customisation and Control: WooCommerce vs Shopify

  • One of the most important features of WooCommerce is that it offers limitless options for customization.  
  • Shopify makes it easier to run an online business with easy-to-use tools removing the technical aspects and complications but you don’t get enough control over your site and you can’t just build anything on it. 
  • But WooCommerce allows you to tap into the code and access various parts of your store as it is a self-hosted software for eCommerce.

5. Scalability: WooCommerce vs Shopify 

  • Since WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform where you look after maintaining your website’s updates, backups or security with growing business and traffic there are chances you might run out of resources to cover these costs. 
  • While Shopfy handles all the mentioned aspects so you get a hasseld-free solution as you can simply upgrade your Shopify plans in relation to your business growth. However, it will add to your cost of business.

6. Performance of the Site: WooCommerce vs Shopify 

  • 53% of people will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds for the page to load, so Shopify is the one you should go for quick loading pages.
  • Since WooCommerce has over 1000 plugins that are free to use but also take a toll on your downloading time and overall performance when installing too many plugins or extensions on your website. 
  • But that’s now how it works for Shopify, it’s a hosted platform that constantly updates and upgrades the latest techniques to improve your website’s speed.

7. Payment Options & Transaction fees: WooCommerce vs Shopify

  • WooCommerce lets you transact and proceed with payment freely and supports all other popular payment gateways through add-ons other than its default payment service providers PayPal and Stripe. 
  • WooCommerce also doesn’t charge a percent transaction fee; the only transaction charges that you pay for are by your payment gateway or bank. 
  • However, Shopify with over 100 Payment Gateways also charges you a transaction fee of 0.5-2% depending on the monthly plan you’ve opted for. Notably, the higher plan you choose, the lower the transaction fee you pay to Shopify.

8. Drop Shipping: WooCommerce vs Shopify 

Dropshipping is an online business where an eCommerce business fulfills orders by purchasing products from other vendors and then ships them directly to the customer without requiring to store the products in stock.

  • Shopify provides you with several options for popular drop shipping marketplaces like Oberlo, Printify, and more but they all come with their own membership fees, shipping chargers or other charges that can add extra cost to your business. 
  • WooCommerce makes it quite easy to fulfill orders, instantly import products from your website through helpful extensions. 
  • WooCommerce also allows you to create your own eCommerce marketplace so that other vendors can sell on your website which is quite cost effective than Shopify.

9. SEO & Extra Functionality: WooCommerce vs Shopify

  • WooCommerce is well integrated with WordPress so comes with quite an impressive range of SEO plugins, helpful SEO guides and prompts for meta descriptions and tags. 
  • Meanwhile, Shopfiy does offer a variety of SEO plugins that offer quick fixes for problems that hinder your site performance. But unlike WooCommerce, you don’t have the option of customizing your integration or plugin with Shopify.
  • All of Shopify’s features are tied to their paid plans. For example, third-party shipping rates and advanced report building are only available in the Shopify Advanced plan at $299 per month. 
  • With WooCommerce, you can add any free or paid extensions from our marketplace or beyond – when it suits you.

10. Customer Support & Help: WooCommerce vs Shopify 

  • Both WooCommerce and Shopify provide great customer support, how-to-guides, tutorials and forums to help you with any technical issues or customization issues or any other support. 
  • Shopify provides you professionals to guide you through in the most effective way possible via live chat, phone, mail or even twitter. 
  • This is something missing with WooCommerce, as it’s hosted by you, you need to hire or seek out professionals for guidance or help, online customer support is also missing with WooCommerce. 
  • However, unlike Shopify where you can’t get support regarding 3rd-party applications, WooCommerce offers you help and support.

11. Security and Privacy: WooCommerce vs Shopify 

  • This is a round that works in Shopify’s favour. Since Shopify handles software updates, recovery and backup, additionally every plan comes with a free SSL certificate, so your website is secured. 
  • Shopify is PCI compliant which means all payments processed through its cart are secure which is something you don’t get with WooCommerce. 
  • WooCommerce is a plugin on WordPress and it generally doesn’t have good resources to secure your or your customer’s data or information. 
  • So it comes to you or your client on what steps they took to secure their website on WordPress and how timely they’re implementing the updates.

5 Things to Consider Before Choosing An eCommerce Platform For A Smooth & Safe Selection!

Now you know the different features, pros and cons and how similar or different the two platforms are. There still could be a chance that you’re not sure what to choose between them? But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Let us give you a quick brief of the factors that you can consider while choosing eCommerce platforms for you whether its WooCommerce and Shopify or other platforms like Magento or BigCommerce. These are:

  • Your Business Goals: Before you decide to pick an eCommerce platform between Shopify vs WooCommerce, you need to know what you want to do with it or your business expansion goals. You should be aware of your business goals or intentions as it helps you find an eCommerce platform that is meeting your requirements, regardless of how cost-effective or popular other options are. 
  • Ease of Use: Not all of us know the technical know-how of running a website or some of us can afford hiring a website development agency. So, the ease of use should be one of the essential features while you select an eCommerce platform. We recommend you to seek out web builders that offer drag-and-drop options, powerful editing tools, and full control over customization features.
  • Pricing: Pricing is another aspect that cannot be ignored. It’s not about how cost-effective one platform is over another. It’s more about how transparently a website builder offers you pricing options and premium subscriptions without any hidden cost. Ensure that you have done your research about your prospective website builder and know if they are offering a free domain, additional features  such as free SSL or business email, etc.
  • Data Ownership & Portability: These two are one of the major features that not all website builders offer. Data ownership means you have control over your site’s data and you should be able to easily migrate it to other platforms, if the need ever comes. Be very careful when you select any eCommerce platform and meticulously go through their terms of service regarding data ownership/portability. This will help you avoid any difficulty when you want to port your data or change your eCommerce platform. 
  • Security: Owning an eCommerce platform comes with quite positive points, but it also has few downsides of running an online business. Offering safe and secured transactions is not only fundamental to improving the user's experience but it also enhances your brand credibility. So find out what kind of security measures and tools your website builder will be providing you and if not what are the best security add ons in the market. 

Looking for a free consultancy? We’re here for you!

Final Thoughts On WooCommerce vs Shopify!

So between WooCommerce and Shopify What’s your choice?

The answer lies in the features or functionality you need for your ecommerce business and your business requirements. You will get plenty of positives from both eCommerce platforms along with a few downsides. However, just simply don’t choose one between WooCommerce and Shopify despite their popularity. We would recommend that you focus on what are your business needs, what are your expansion goals and even budget. Do your research, spend a good amount of time and effort to figure out all the options available, go beyond these two, if you must. 

In this blog, we discussed the difference between WooCommerce and Shopfiy, and provided you with an unbiased comparison of WooCommerce vs Shopify. We also shared a few tips on how to select an eCommerce platform. We hope this blog has cleared your doubts regarding what you need and what’s best for your particular business type. If the confusion and doubts still persist then you can always consult a professional. The right people that can guide you in making a choice between these two platforms and help you make a decision that creates a valuable difference in your business and help you serve your customers efficiently and effectively.

Do you have a favorite between Shopify vs WooCommerce? Or did we forget to add any factors? Drop your comments and let us know!

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Holden WhiteCaden ThomasCash PerezDaxton MitchellWalter Carter Recent comment authors
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Z

Zack

Great comparison. Would love to see comparisons for some of the other ecommerce platforms as well (Magento and BigCommerce).

M

Mariyam

This blog will be extremely helpful when my clients and prospects ask about the advantages and limitations of each. Thank you so much!

L

Lane Clark

Good stuff! I used to believe Shopify was a clear winner with so many big clients however now I am comfortable with WordPress and would rather stay away from monthly subscription fees!

C

Clayton Adams

This was extremely helpful and easy to understand the differences while comparing the two options!

F

Francisco Baker

Brilliant and very comprehensive comparisons, now I have a clear picture before I choose WordPress.

Z

Zander Gonzalez

Hi, In terms of performance, which platform is better?

E

Erick Nelson

Such a detailed and informative blog. I have a question though, is it true that Shopify charges an extra 2% fee for using other payment gateways like PayPal on their platform?

W

Walter Carter

Thanks for such an insightful blog. I’m leaning towards Shopify because of a time constraint and easy-to-use factor.

D

Daxton Mitchell

Such a clear and concise blog, easy to pick the differences

C

Cash Perez

Hi, I’ve heard a lot of people saying WOO isn’t secure and safe, is it true? would I have to buy a VPN?

C

Caden Thomas

I didn’t know the difference between Shopify and Woocommerce, though I have heard about them from my friends. But thanks to your blog details I got it clear in my mind. Thanks Team!

H

Holden White

Great comparison. Would love to see comparisons for some of the other ecommerce platforms as well (Magento and BigCommerce).

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