WooCommerce vs Shopify…which one is the best platform?
If you are thinking to start an online store you have to choose the right eCommerce platform. There are many eCommerce platform available to create online store, among those, this two are the most popular and easy-to-use eCommerce platforms available on the market.
In this article, we will show you a detailed comparison of WooCommerce vs Shopify. The purpose is to break down their advantages and disadvantages to help you choose the best option for your eCommerce store.
WooCommerce powers 22% of online stores whereas Shopify powers 17%. Well, it’s not really a big question of which one is best. They’re both powerful, but noticeably different options if you’re looking to sell online. The bottom line is, which one is right for you will depend on your personal requirements.
WooCommerce is for you if you already have a WordPress website. It’s a WordPress plugin that helps turn your website into an online store.
Shopify is for you if you need an all-in-one-package to build online store. You can create your own online store entirely through Shopify, and make use of its neat features and apps.
Let’s start the comparison…..
Overview: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Before we start with our in-depth comparison of this two most popular eCommerce platforms, it’s important to know the the basics and highlight what makes these platform stand out.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform built for WordPress. It allows you to leverage the most powerful content management system (CMS) in the world and use it to run an online store. Since the platform is open-source, you can customize every aspect of your store and easily build custom extensions.
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it easy for you to build an online store, accept payments, and manage your inventory all from a single platform without worrying about the technical aspects of managing a website such as web hosting, security, caching, etc.
Pros and Cons: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Best single platform to run eCommerce store and affiliate site under one umbrella. Awesome site design and themes with enough features to sell, and integrations for marketing automation.
- You have full development control over your online store and content
- The cart is free
- WordPress is so far good for content marketing through SEO
- 1-Click Selling plugin Available
- Huge online community with lots of WordPress experts available
- Apps, plugins, and hosting can be expensive.
- Have to face problem during troubleshooting
- Need some technical knowledge to operate
- Getting relevant support can be difficult
Shopify is the best all-in-one platform for dropshipping and multi-channel selling. If you are going to rely on Facebook Ads or IG marketing – this platform is the best choice. Though it’s beginner-friendly but it isn’t all that great for large stores and the SEO features for content are not as great as WooCommerce’s. It also doesn’t have enough site design flexibility in the blog section.
- You don’t have to deal with maintenance and web security
- Easy integration with multiple selling channels
- Easy to setup
- Lots of certified online partners to help you
- It has chat and phone customer support
- Rigid product URL
- Less customization and site design flexibility like WooCommerce
- Less free themes
- Apps can add up and become costly
- Share the wealth mentality
How To Choose An Ecommerce Platform
Choosing the right ecommerce platform to power your online store is more important than knowing the general pros and cons. There are certain features that you must pay attention to:
- load time
- ease of use
- design flexibility and mobile-friendlyness
- website search
- SEO tools
- up-selling & cross-selling
- product options
- content management system
- integrations and apps
Price: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Price is often the most important consideration for eCommerce store owners. You have to evaluate the price of getting started while also keeping in mind the variable costs for add-on services and software.
WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It is an open source and free plugin as available in WordPress.
However, you’ll need a domain name, SSL Certificate, and a WordPress or WooCommerce hosting account to start a WooCommerce store.
Typically, a domain name costs around $14.99, SSL Certificate costs around $69.99, and web hosting around $7.99 / month. This is not so cheap, particularly when you are just starting out.
Thankfully, there are several web hosting companies who are now offering special WooCommerce web hosting plans which significantly reduces the cost.
Shopify makes it easier to start your online store. Their basic plan starts at $29/month, and you can upgrade to the Shopify plan for $79/month or the Advanced Shopify plan for $299/month.
Each of these plans includes a domain name, SSL certificate, and web hosting.
The basic plan comes with enough features to build a new online store. You can add unlimited products, two user accounts, unlimited file storage, and many more.
However, with this price, you will not get third-party tools and add-ons that you will need to take your Shopify store to the next level. As your business grows, these costs will increase, and soon you’ll be paying a lot more than the basic plan.
Payment is another factor that affects your costs. Shopify use their own Shopify Payments solution which costs 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.
If you want to use third-party payment gateways or your own merchant account, then you will have to pay a flat fee of 2.0% for all transactions. You can reduce this fee to 0.5% by using the Shopify Advanced plan which costs $299 per month.
These payment processing fees are fairly high when using external payment gateways. However, if you want to use the Shopify payment solution, then the fees are fairly comparable to popular platforms like Stripe and Braintree.
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The Winner is WooCommerce.
Ease of Use: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Most of the users who are starting an online store are not professional web designers or developers. That’s why, users who are familiar with basic concepts need a platform that is easy to use and gets out of their way.
WooCommerce is not a web hosted platform like Shopify. This means you will need to install WooCommerce, manage updates, keep everything backups, and make sure that your website is secure. There are plenty of free and paid plugins that can automate most of the tasks for you.
WooCommerce is very flexible when it comes to customizations. You will have full control of the whole platform. You can add any functionality to your website with the help of more than 55,000+ WordPress plugins.
There is no built-in drag & drop design builder. You can use one of the WordPress page builders like WP Page Builder.
The biggest downside of the flexibility is that it requires a more hands-on management of your website. You also have to signup for a merchant account or similar service like Stripe or PayPal.
Shopify is a fully web hosted platform which means you don’t need to install, manage, or update any software. You also don’t to worry about security, performance, backups, and compatibility issues.
As soon as you sign up, it helps you to pick up a design for your website. After that, they walk you through customization and then help you to add products.
Shopify comes with an intuitive drag and drop interface and managing your products, sales, and inventory inside Shopify is a breeze.
One downside is that it limits your control. You can only use the design tools provided by Shopify or add-ons available in their marketplace.
However, this is not so bad as it sounds. For most users, the large selection of this extensions and themes available in Shopify, is more than enough to get started and grow your online store.
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The Winner is Shopify.
Compare The Performance: WooCommerce vs Shopify
In terms of overall performances, the performance of Shopify is higher than WooCommerce. It has low load time and high speed edge – both on desktop and mobile. But this is not the best for SEO. WooCommerce performs better in the overall rating for average organic traffic, and that’s because of the flexibility and SEO tools that come with it. See the below table:
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Shopify is the best ecommerce platform for the load time and speed. Shopify sites take 1.3 seconds while WooCommerce sites takes 3.4 seconds to load.
To optimize the load time of your WooCommerce store you have to spend a lot of money and time, and your web hosting provider also matters in this case. If you choose cheap web hosting, don’t expect the fastest site no matter how much you pay SEO experts to optimize your site for you.
Pay attention to this because faster sites do better in Google and at converting visitors into customers.
Product Page SEO
SEO is one of the best ways to find your store. Without them finding you, you cannot make any sales. It will be a just waste of time, effort, and money on your side. Shopify is legging behind here.
But it is solid when it comes to product page SEO. You can optimize your meta descriptions for product search. Only reservation is the rigid parts of the URL. It’s better to take the full control over your URLs.
On WordPress, you’ll have to install a plugin to add meta descriptions. But, you can optimize your product title and description while adding your product. Meta data is just a basic stuff that wouldn’t require to install a plugin for, so this is a tiny downside to WooCommerce. However, most of the plugins to get this functionality have a free version.
Blogs And Content
WooCommerce is most solid for content SEO. It integrates with the robust content marketing system of WordPress. Again, you’ll need that plugin for meta data, but you have a big hand when it comes to making awesome link bait content.
You can make the templates of any blog posts look pretty and easier on the eyes, which can lead to more time spent on your site. If you’re creating long-form content, having a nice design is a plus point.
However, Shopify doesn’t allow you to do that type of thing. You’ll need an extra app like Shogun Page Builder for that, but it costs at least $19/month.
The positive thing is that both platforms generate sitemap.xml, bulk editing, and allow the use of canonical tags. For social sharing buttons, you’ll need to code those in yourself or get an app/plugin for that – both on WooCommerce and Shopify.
Google Speed Score
If your site isn’t fast, visitors will bounce, and you’ll lose potential sales thus revenue will decrease. No one is willing to snooze off waiting for a page to load.
WooCommerce doesn’t even reach the average, which is not so high. It’s 51.5 out of 100 on mobile on 61.9 out of 100 for desktop. Here also, WooCommerce failed. Customers expect some more than that.
On the other hand, Shopify loads fast on desktop as well as mobile.
The Winner is Shopify.
Features: WooCommerce vs Shopify
The strength of WooCommerce is flexibility. Because it’s an open-source platform, developers add custom-made plugins to the store. Plug-ins are up-to-date, but to get the most out of the service you will need to invest time and money to develop your store.
Key WooCommerce features are:
- Built-in blogging
- “Unrestricted customization” – you can edit anything from the homepage layout to the ‘buy’ button.
- Ability to embed products and checkout onto wider range of store pages
- One-click refund for customers
Shopify comes with some more eCommerce tools in-built. Just sign up with Basic Shopify and you’ll get the impressive features to help you sell, including:
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Discount codes
- Unlimited products
- Website and blog
- Over 100 payment options
Shopify is a dedicated online shopping platform. Everything aims to help you sell and Shopify bases features on what it knows works. That’s why they’ve helped businesses generate over $55bn in revenue!
Abandoned Cart Recovery
One of the feature Shopify includes as standard that WooCommerce doesn’t is Abandon Cart. When thinking about WooCommerce vs Shopify, this is very important. It allows customers to complete an abandoned order without filling out their details. It also sends an email reminder inviting them to finish the sale. Having an Abandon Cart system is like fixing a leak in your pipe – sales aren’t going to slip through the cracks!
Though both platforms meet the selling needs, Shopify’s features are in-built. They’re ready to use right from out of the box.
The Winner is Shopify.
Payment Methods: WooCommerce vs Shopify
There are many payment gateways available you can use to accept payments online. Some payment methods may not be fit for you, and others may not be available to your customers.
That is why it’s important that the platform you choose offers multiple payment options. Let’s have a look at how WooCommerce and Shopify compare when it comes to payment integrations.
WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments option by default. It also supports all other popular payment gateways through add-ons.
For payment gateways, WooCommerce has support for many regional and less popular payment gateways. Since there is no barrier to entry, any payments services company can create add-ons for WooCommerce and provide support for it.
As a self-hosted platform, you have to pay only the transaction fees by your payment gateway or your bank. WooCommerce never charges you a % fee on your store transactions which is a BIG plus.
Shopify offers lots of payment options that you can use to receive payments from customers. It has its own payments solution called Shopify Payments which is powered by Stripe as well as all popular third-party payment gateways.
The main problem is that Shopify charges an extra 2% fees on each transaction made through a third party payment gateways. This is on top of the transaction fees that charged by the payment gateway. You can reduce the fee to 0.5% by paying $299 per month if you use Advanced Shopify plan.
Shopify Payments has flat credit card fees, but no other transaction fees available. Credit card rates start from 2.9% + 30¢ for the basic plan and get lower for choosing the other plans.
If you choose your own merchant account, using a third-party gateway is important for you, then you will save A HUGE amount of money by using WooCommerce. But if you’re a small store owner and willing to use Shopify Payments which has the same credit card rates as Stripe / Paypal, then it makes no difference.
The Winner is Tie.
Integration: WooCommerce vs Shopify
No matter how robust an eCommerce platform is, you’ll always need some third-party tools and services to grow your online store. For example, an email marketing tool, lead generation tool, analytics tools, outreach services, etc.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify have a massive extensions respiratory, and they integrate with many third-party services.
If you get your products from Alibaba, you can migrate them and sync orders with your suppliers’ inventory, but for that purpose you’ll need a paid app.
For drop shippers, you’re advantageous position with Shopify; AliExpress and Oberlo – two big platforms for this – need paid apps to integrate into WooCommerce.
There are many free integrations. Email marketing automation is one of them. Both WooCommerce and Shopify do this, so no edge over each other here. You can use MailChimp, Conversio, Klaviyo, Drip, etc. Integration with USPS is built-in also.
If you want to sync your online store to your social media store to have shoppable posts on Instagram and Facebook or Google, you can have that in a few clicks. However, Shopify does this in better way, especially if you’re going to use Pinterest.
Some other things are not built-in but they are free. Syncing with Amazon and eBay, marketing automation, and printing on demand are one of those.
However, there’s no option to integrate FBA. You’re clearly on your own and will have to use manual processes to manage all things.
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Shopify works so good for integrations. It offers more opportunities either just out of the box or with a free app.
You can sync with other channels like Facebook, Amazon, Google, eBay. Integrate with USPS and also WordPress.
For dropshipping and multi-channel selling, Shopify is a step ahead than WooCommerce; Dropshipping directories and syncing with suppliers come with a free app. Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and Google are your other selling channels; you can sync them easily with no sweat. This is built-in feature.
The only thing you will have to pay for in this aspect is integrating with Alibaba and Google customer reviews.
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The Winner is WooCommerce.
Design: WooCommerce vs Shopify
For eCommerce stores design is everything. Customers simply don’t trust a store that doesn’t have the right aesthetic or doesn’t function as well as it should.
WooCommerce has thousands of free themes that you’ll see on most other eCommerce platforms. Also, there are many WordPress themes that although not built for WooCommerce but are compatible with it.
However, many of the free themes do not solve your purpose. In most cases, you have to buy a pro theme. Some of them are very cheap, but others are very expensive.
Fortunately, you can choose to get a custom theme or get a developer to help you tweak the WooCommerce theme files to fit your requirement. So, lots of flexibility but at a few cost.
Many WooCommerce themes don’t have modern designs as of Shopify. The median score is 4.4, Where Shopify scored a full 5, and WooCommerce landed at 3.
Regardless of that score, you should note that how great your online store looks depends on how much work you’re willing to put in and the theme you choose from.
Shopify provides only ten free themes out of the box. Which is much smaller than WooCommerce. The premium themes cost around $180. Plus, Shopify doesn’t have many themes in its respiratory, so there is no choices like it is on WooCommerce.
However, Shopify themes are more modern, cutting-edge and stylish. They are very polished for eCommerce, and it’s not surprising given that it’s a dedicated eCommerce platform.
For Google mobile UX it’s a tie between WooCommerce and Shopify. Both scored 97 out of 100. With the median at 95.2, both did well.
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The Winner is WooCommerce.
Dropshipping: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Dropshipping is an online business where an online store doesn’t keep the products in stock. Instead, it fulfills order by purchasing products from different vendors and then shipping them directly to the customers.
Due to its low overhead, dropshipping has become very popular around the world.
WooCommerce is a popular choice among the dropshipping businesses. Mainly because WooCommerce allows you to install plugins that make order fulfillment like a breeze.
You can easily find plugins that allow you to instantly import products, fulfill orders from your website, and many more. You can even create your own eCommerce marketplace allowing other vendors to sell on your online store.
Please keep in mind that your supplier and vendor may have minimum order requirements, membership fees, and other charges. You need to keep those in mind when adding products to your WooCommerce dropshipping online store.
When building a dropshipping online store, the front-end of your website will look just like any online store. Your visitors will be able to browse the products, add them to cart, and make payment, just like they would do on any other eCommerce online store.
Depending on the vendors you select, you will then have to place visitor’s order for shipping.
Shopify also has some integration apps for several popular dropshipping marketplaces like AliExpress, Oberlo, Printify, and more. However, each of these product marketplaces has their own membership charges, shipping, and other charges that you need to keep in mind when building your dropshipping online store with Shopify.
The Winner is WooCommerce.
Scalability and Growth: WooCommerce vs Shopify
The term “growth-pains” is rarely used from various CEOs. As your business grows, you will need some more resources to handle new challenges and goals.
WooCommerce and Shopify can both be scaled to handle large amount of traffic and orders, but they’re not created in equal. Let’s take a look at how these two eCommerce platform differ when it comes to scalability.
WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform which makes you responsible for maintaining updates, backups everything, and security of your online store.
Your starter WooCommerce hosting plan would run out of resources as your store starts getting bigger and more traffic.
The good part is that you have lots of of options to manage growth as you are in full control of your online store. With the popularity of your online store you have to upgrade your hosting plan to more powerful servers.
Your WooCommerce web hosting costs will increase, but you will have better control on resources, and you can make sure that you are not paying for resources that you don’t need. You can use a managed WordPress web hosting provider like WP Engine or LiquidWeb to help scale your WooCommerce store.
Shopify handles the technical parts of your online store which means you don’t ever have to worry about the performance, security, and scalability. Once your business starts growing, you can simply upgrade your Shopify business plans.
Their infrastructure can easily handle your growing business without you like downtimes, backups, updates, or security. They also offer enterprise services as part of their Shopify Plus plan.
This takes out the painful part of the growth, but it also adds cost to your business. Your expenses will grow with the growing of business, and you’ll have to plan accordingly.
The good part is that your costs will be offset by you are not having to hire / manage a technical team in-house.
The Winner is Shopify.
Support Options: WooCommerce vs Shopify
Both platforms are quite easy to use. However, sometimes you may need help to learn how to do something new on your online store.
Let’s see how WooCommerce and Shopify handle support and what are your options to get help when required.
WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce platform, which means there are lots of support options that you can utilize when required.
The official website has extensive documentation, tutorials, and guides that help you to solve problems by yourself. They also have support forums where you can get help from other WooCommerce users and woo experts.
WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, which means your web hosting provider is responsible for providing support for issues with your server.
For your WooCommerce theme and plugins, those developers are responsible for answering support questions regarding their products or problems.
Due to its huge popularity, it is quite easier and often cheaper to find developers to help you to fix issues with your WooCommerce store. You can also find developers on freelancing websites to fix WooCommerce issues.
Shopify is a fully self hosted platform, which means they control the full software.
Shopify provides 24/7 live support via chat, phone, email, and Twitter. For visitors who want to fix things on their own, Shopify offers extensive documentation, how-to guides, knowledge base, video tutorials, and community forums.
It also maintains a repiratory of Shopify Experts that you can hire if you need some extra help or if you want to integrate a third-party solution.
Shopify doesn’t provide any support for any third-party apps or themes that you are using.
The Winner is Shopify.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which is the Best?
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, choosing one over the other is all based on your requirements. You have seen the features and other relevant details to make it clear to you what kind of business will thrive on WooCommerce and what type will thrive on Shopify.
None of them are the best for large eCommerce stores. For large eCommerce stores you have to choose another one.
Why Choose WooCommerce Over Shopify
If you’re looking to double your business with affiliate marketing and selling products, you should go for WooCommerce. Also, if you want more hand with your design, don’t mind tinkering, or your major marketing plan is to drive more traffic through content for search engines, then better to choose WooCommerce.
Why Choose Shopify Over WooCommerce
If you’re new to eCommerce business or you don’t want to take bother about technical details, then you should go for Shopify. If you’re planning to start dropshipping, use Shopify. Also, if you’re looking to test things and try to sell few products, go for Shopify.