As a soon to be e-commerce store owner, you may have this question on your mind: should you opt for a WooCommerce store or a Shopify one?
They are the most popular e-commerce solutions out there, each with its own perks and downsides, and if you don’t have experience in this area, it can be difficult to see which one is better right away. The fact that they’re also vastly different in terms of what they are and how they help you doesn’t help make the decision any easier, either.
It’s also difficult considering that, technically, neither is better in the true sense. They are both very comprehensive platforms that simply cater to different needs. One may be better for you, but that’s something you will see only after you compare the two.
We’ll help you out in this department. Let’s take a closer look at them and discuss them.
Shopify vs. WooCommerce: A Quick Overview
First, let’s see what each of these platforms are and have to offer:
Shopify is the world’s leading e-commerce platform builder that essentially is in the business of helping people create quick online shops with ease. It’s an all in one solution to selling online, from creating and managing inventory to establishing multiple payment methods, streamline deliveries and more.
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin built for WordPress. It uses this content management system to facilitate building and running an online store.
The fact that it’s open-source is key here because it means you can customize your store however you want, and even build your original extensions to add extra features as you see fit.
What Each of Them Has to Offer
Those are the two broad definitions. As you can see, though they help you reach the same goal, that of having an e-commerce store, Shopify and WooCommerce are in no way the same things.
From here on, we’ll look at both of these products side by side and get down to each of their specifics. This way, by the end you’ll likely have a better idea of which one is right for you.
First off, let’s look at how easy (or not) these services are to use. As you may already expect, Shopify is, by far, the easiest one to use.
Shopify is designed as a platform builder, and you can use its service even if you have no experience in making websites. You can choose from loads of Shopify themes, tweak it to your liking, and have a complete e-commerce store with everything you need.
You also don’t need to worry about how to integrate other important features, like security protocols. It’s all done seamlessly.
For WooCommerce sites, that’s not really the case. First, you need an already existing WordPress site. If you don’t have one, you need to build it. Then, WooCommerce needs to be installed, and all the features you want need to be added by you through additional plugins.
Shopify definitely wins in this category. By a long shot, it’s the easiest to use, since it doesn’t even require any technical skills to build the e-commerce store.
Right after figuring out which is the most friendly in terms of ease of use, most people will look at how much it will cost. It’s an important aspect for e-commerce store owners, especially at first when you’re likely dealing with a tighter budget.
Being an all in one solution, Shopify gives you everything you need for your website through different plans people can choose, depending on the features they want. The cheapest Shopify plan starts at $29 (US) per month, but you also have two other plans to choose from:
- Shopify plan, $79 per month
- Advanced, $299 per month
All these plans include:
- Domain name
- Web hosting
- SSL certificate
Even their cheapest plans include most elements you need to run an online store. One major drawback here is that if you want any third-party tools to add to your store, then you need to upgrade your plan.
But with Shopify, you don’t just pay for the plan itself, you also have transaction fees. Shopify has its own Shopify Payments which costs 2.9% + 30 cents for every transaction made on your e-commerce store. You can bring a third party payment solution, you will still pay 2.0% out of each transaction.
If you choose WooCommerce, on the other hand, you have other things to worry about. The plugin itself is free, but remember, you need a WordPress site to install it to, which also means that to run an e-commerce store you’ll also need:
A domain name, which can vary in cost;
And SSL Certificate, around $70;
Web hosting, which again, can vary in price.
Some web hosting companies specialize in WooCommerce sites and can offer more convenient deals.
From a financial standpoint, installing WooCommerce on a WordPress hosted platform is a lot cheaper. There are also a lot of free themes and add-ons available for WooCommerce, so you can customize your store for free, however, you want. Plus, everything you make in terms of sales, you keep – WooCommerce doesn’t have any transaction fees in place.
But if you also count time as a resource with financial value, WooCommerce will likely cost a lot more of your time until you get the site up and running, especially if you don’t have experience building websites.
3. Payment Methods
Online payments are crucial to e-commerce, so it’s important not to overlook them. Shopify offers customers a lot of payment options through a solution called Shopify Payments, so you will be allowed to offer your customers different options when it comes to payments, from credit cards to Apple Pay or Google Pay. Plus, their system is secure, another important thing when it comes to e-commerce.
WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe Payments as a default, but you can add other payment service providers in the form of add-ons as needed, and you will only be charged by your chosen gateway or bank.
When it comes to payment methods, both services have pros and cons, so it’s really a matter of choice.
You have the site, the customer made a secure payment, now let’s see how you’re going to ship the product.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify allow you to tweak shipping rates based on certain criteria, such as international versus international shipping. That much is pretty standard, but the great part is that you can enable real-time shipping cost estimates right at checkout, which can offer an accurate price based on when the carrier will pick up the parcel. This is really important for deliveries which may have their shipping rates changed based on activity from the carrier.
Lastly, what extra features does each of these e-commerce solutions have to offer? After all, an e-commerce store isn’t just a website with a shopping cart. You’ll always need extra features and tools if you want to grow your stores, such as lead generation tools, or analytics tools to track performance.
Well, both Shopify and WooCommerce offer a lot of opportunities in this department.
Shopify has an extensive app store where you can purchase really any third-party add-on you want for your Shopify store. There are hundreds of them available, created to address any potential need your website has.
Shopify App stores even have some free add-ons as well, though they are usually created by third parties with their own pricing, so they may not be entirely free.
Should you choose WooCommerce, on the other hand, you’ll have access to over 50 thousand free plugins to play with and improve, track, and analyse your site. From a numbers perspective, there are a lot more add-ons for WooCommerce than for Shopify. The former is an open-source e-commerce solution, so pretty much anyone can build something for it. Shopify, however, is more selective when it comes to third-party integrations.
Which One Is for You?
Both Shopify and WooCommerce are good options for building an e-commerce platform. To choose one, it’s mostly a matter of HOW you want to build a platform.
Do you want to have loads of add-on options, and the freedom to customize your platform as you see fit? Then WooCommerce is the way to go. Or, do you want your website to be completely functional by the end of the week and start selling right away? Then the choice is Shopify.
We have a team of experts in Shopify Website Development. If you’re not 100% sure which is the choice for you yet, we can help. Book a free 30-minute strategy session with Australian Internet Advertising’s e-commerce team to get a better idea of how you should move forward with your online store!