Shopify vs WooCommerce
In this guide, we compare Shopify with WooCommerce. Which looks the better? Which is more flexible? Which have the better, more innovative features? Which offers the better value for money? Which, crucially, makes the more money?
For e-commerce websites, design is everything. Users don’t trust an e-commerce site that doesn’t have that doesn’t function as well as it could.
Let’s start with WooCommerce. When it comes to providing better (UX) user experience and aesthetics, you can do almost anything with WooCommerce. However, you just have to put the hours in because it is a plugin created by WordPress developers WooThemes. You may want to buy a theme affiliated with them, however, the plugin can be integrated with any WordPress theme. As of this writing, there are only 5 free themes, but there are 50 available for a one-off fee of $79, or $139 with Adobe Photoshop options. If you want, you can also buy all of the 52 themes for $399 to play around with in your own time.
Shopify is a platform that allows you to create your own online storefront and customizes it with no coding required. It has hundreds of store templates, or you can build your own if you want. It offers a complete WYSIWYG CMS. It gives you control over your navigation, pages, and design. Moreover, it has a blogging platform where you can interact with your customers through comments. Its greatest selling point is its themes. For me, most of them look absolutely great even out of the box. Shopify comes with 11 different free design templates, all of which are mobile responsive, and come with a variety of different coloring options. Shopify templates have a fashionably sleek and clean aesthetic which makes it perfect for modern, forward-thinking e-commerce websites.
Just so you know, Shopify’s themes aren’t created in-house; they’re outsourced to a group of web designers/developers who ensure they’re as current and as engaging as they can be.
There are both free and paid themes for Shopify. Prices for the paid themes range from $70 to $180. Most themes are over $90 and the most popular themes are $150. Just like WordPress, you may also get themes from third party web designers/developers.
Note: Not all themes contain all features. Features in Shopify’s theme store include:
- Drop-down menus
- Single product themes
- Zoom in product images feature
Shopify themes are created for specific industries including:
- Art and photography
- Clothing and fashion
- Jewelry and accessories
- Food and drink
- Home and garden
- Health and beauty
- Sports and recreation
- Toys and games
Perversely, Shopify’s attractive themes can cause many webmasters to opt for the same designs. Some Shopify users who have designed a website themselves have later complained of looking a bit similar to other websites. So with this in mind – a little customization is encouraged.
Don’t you worry, Shopify is easy to customize. You can easily change colors and styles while more adept web developers can utilize the platform’s specialized ‘Liquid’ language to create more substantial changes to make your brand stand out from the rest of the pack.
There’s no doubt that Shopify’s platform is the winner when it comes to visual appeal.
Every shop owner wants slightly more bang for their buck, but these two platforms (Shopify and WooCommerce) have slightly different approaches when it comes to pricing.
WooCommerce is totally free. If you have already had a website that is powered by WordPress, you can add this open source plugin to your website completely free of charge.
Sounds a little too good to be true? Unfortunately, it is. To make the most of WooCommerce, you actually need to add different kinds of ‘extensions’, which we will discuss in the features section below.
Many of these extensions come as standard on Shopify, will be free since WordPress is an open source project. There are also many essential apps that will set you back between $10 and $500 per year each, and it all depend on your needs.
You may find these supplementary charges a hassle because it could turn out prohibitively expensive. WooCommerce still offers a large degree of flexibility, allowing users to pay for exactly what they need to use – and uninstall any features that they feel aren’t offering value for their money.
WooCommerce – Payments
The standard payment gateway for WooCommerce is Mijireh. It allows you to process payments via PayPal, eWay, Braintree, SagePay and Stripe.
Mijireh charges a transaction fee of 0.5% (same with Shopify’s most competitive option) but it is possible to buy other gateways without extra fees for a one-off cost.
WooCommerce – Hosting
When it comes to hosting, in WooCommerce, you need to find a partner. This should not be a problem because there are some excellent solutions out there. However, you need to shell out up to $700 a year, depending on the size, scalability, and the flexibility you want to put into your website. What’s more is that you’ll have shell out decent amounts of money in order to enjoy the same rapid response times that Shopify websites enjoy.
Shopify is a premium service with a much more conventional pricing structure. It has a sliding scale of packages which offer users a range of different features – Basic ($29), Shopify ($79) and Advanced Shopify ($299).
It is a hosted option that comes with a more comprehensive set of features, and so any issues such as hosting or payment options will be sorted as soon as you sign up.
Whether it will be as cost-effective as WooCommerce depends on your needs and requirements – for instance, Shopify’s 2.0% transaction fee on the Basic plan will be more than smaller sites will pay on WooCommerce – but there’s no doubting that it offers simpler solutions out of the box.
- Easy to setup and use
- Get started fast
- Security and updates
- Expandable through apps
- Only one host
- You don’t actually own your site
- Can get expensive in the long run
For setting up a store online fast and easy, Shopify is the clear winner. It’s user-friendly, easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about site’s maintenance. You don’t actually own the site and the cost of hosting and apps can get expensive in the long run. Although you can do more with Shopify you’re more limited than you are with WooCommerce.
It’s pretty obvious that Shopify and WooCommerce pricing schemes are different. Yeah, these 2 platforms are relatively similar when it comes to giving your eCommerce site that little oomph. Unlike Bigcommerce, Shopify and WooCommerce don’t bombard the user with plenty of customization options.
How WooCommerce helps you sell your products
As an open source software, WordPress is known for allowing third-party web developers to create extensions on its sites. WooCommerce taps into this further by providing us with interesting and exciting additions. Whether you want to easily edit the design or style of your website, sell on Facebook, maximize/boost your email marketing techniques, understand your customers’ behavior, or quite frankly do anything else, you’ll be able to.
However, when it comes to specialized integration solutions, it may struggle. Bigger companies with more specific needs, for instance, may find that Woocommerce doesn’t integrate well with their company-level app or software.
How Shopify helps you sell your products
In Shopify, you will probably need to install apps to make the most out of its features. Overall, it offers significantly more free options. In fact, it allows you to download free apps to:
- Create discount/shipping codes
- Offer gift cards
- Install cart recovery systems
- Include individual product reviews
- Sell on Facebook
- Import products (CSV format)
- List different product variations
- Print Orders
Some of the free features available on Shopify such as CSV uploads, shipping options, and Facebook selling, will set you back up to $500 to get started on WooCommerce. Moreover, there are hundreds of different features that can be installed from your online Shopify Store.
Shopify is known for its World-class customer care or support. Each client can enjoy 24/7 access to a customer adviser in any case they encountered issues or they have some queries.
Since WooCommerce is, in effect, a free platform, it has no strict customer support. Users are left in the dark to figure it out themselves – although there are hundreds if not thousands of like-minded people on public forums who are happy to lend a helping hand if you need guidance on how to use it or if you have problems with the platform.
Any e-commerce site that wants to get a huge amount of traffic needs strong SEO. Luckily, both platforms here have a lot going for them.
Since WordPress is mainly a content creation platform, it’s renowned by many SEO experts as one of the most reliable options. It’s easy to add and edit body content and the metadata to make sure that your pages have a strong chance of ranking for specific pages.
Compared to Shopify, Woocommerce’s blog is better organized. It even archives posts better – giving you a better chance of making a splash with your article creation techniques.
Shopify also handles basic SEO practices like metadata and site copy with ease. So long as your shop has a blog with quality articles or posts, there’s no reason to suggest you won’t enjoy great SEO results and strong user relationship or engagement.
Site wide, there is many ways that Shopify proves to beat WooCommerce when it comes to SEO department. It has some of the cleanest code out there and natural linking structure – it offers a smooth (UX) user experience and as a result, it enhances visibility in search engine rankings.
Since Shopify is a hosted platform that’s built on huge infrastructure, it’s faster and runs smoother. It loads pages (80 milliseconds, to be exact) and in return, it stands a better chance of ranking well and a better chance of leading customers to ROI or conversions.
While WooCommerce users could feasibly run a website that runs as fast as the Shopify alternative, it would be expensive.
Which Is Better?
Comparisons such as this are never cut and dry. Which would be better for you depends on what you want from your e-commerce site. Maybe you should ask yourself. Do you want an online store only? Do you want a powerful blogging platform? Do you want to have your own site and have full control over it? Do you want 24/7 support? When I talk with my clients, my recommendations always depend on their specific needs. If you want an online shop that’s easy to manage and you’re willing to pay whatever it costs, Shopify is a better option. It’s user-friendly, looks good, and has excellent e-commerce features. What’s more is that hosting and maintenance are taken care of. Support is 24/7 and easy to get if you need it and you can expand your online store’s features and functionalities with tons of add-ons. Its blogging platform has basic functions. You can blog there, but it’s kind of weak at best. You won’t be able to expand it to a WordPress site can and if you decide you want to move it, you will have to manually copy and paste everything or use a plugin that requires lots of time and effort. For me, it’s a good choice for just a store, but it’s not a good choice for a combination of a blog and a store. It can be a bit pricey, but the cost is clear and upfront.
If you want to choose your own hosting provider, have full control, or own your site — and you don’t mind the extra work of running a WordPress website — WooCommerce is your best bet. The WooCommerce plugin is free and it allows you to choose from thousands of themes, both free and premium, that integrate nicely and can be added seamlessly to your current WordPress site. If you want a blogging platform, then WordPress with Woocommerce plugin is the clear winner. Take note, even though the plugin is free, extensions can cost you money, and you still have the expense of running a WordPress site, and the total cost is not so clear.
Shopify and WooCommerce are both great platform choices that serve different purposes and users. Shopify is user-friendly, easy to use, and maintenance is taken care of, but it is more limited and gets expensive over time.
WooCommerce is free, flexible, and seamlessly to your WordPress site, which you are completely responsible for. Again, the better choice will depend on your business’ needs and requirements.
What are your thoughts on these two platforms? Have you ever switched from one to the other? Have you had any issues with either product? I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments section below.