WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which Is Better For You?


Dani Nolan


2019 September 10th

Woocommerce vs Shopify

Building an online store should be a smooth process, and choosing the right platform to do it on is a huge first step.

Currently, Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the largest and most used eCommerce solutions on the market. And while both of them allow you to build similarly functional online stores, the way you do it is different.

Let's compare WooCommerce vs Shopify so you know what they do and which one to pick!

WooCommerce - Everythings Under Your Control

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that lets you turn a WordPress website into an online store. With it, your website will function as a full-fledged eCommerce site. You can do everything from listing product catalogs to accepting payments and tracking the inventory.

Woocommerce vs Shopify - Woocommerce Home

The WordPress plugin adopts the best features of the CMS and is completely customizable. It means that you can make the online store look exactly the way you want it to.

Since it's a plugin you'll need need to take care of your own hosting and domain name if you're using WordPress.org CMS. And with WordPress.com you'll be required to buy a Premium plan to use custom plugins.

You can read more about the differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org here.

Shopify - A Platform Specifically Design For eCommerce

Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce solution that hosts the store for you. While it gives you hosting, you do need to buy a custom domain name on your own. It also lets you create product listings, create and manage marketing campaigns and more.

Woocommerce vs Shopify - Shopify Home

Shopify natively integrates with other sales channels. That means you can create listings for marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and social media platforms. The best thing is, that you can even add a Buy Button and sell your products from any website or blog. 

While Shopify is focused on eCommerce, it gives you all the tools you need to start your business online. But, it becomes a bit limited if you want to create something different.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which Online Shop Will Woo You?

Both Shopify and WooCommerce features are impressive. However, they both have a different approach when building and maintaining your online store.

Let's take a look at the most important differences between Shopify and WooCommerce.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Pricing

Shopify Basic plan starts at $29/month and, if you need lower fees or more security, it can go up to $299 a month. With every plan, you get an unlimited storage space, bandwidth, and product listing. At the same time, the WooCommerce plugin is completely free.

Woocommerce vs Shopify - Shopify Pricing

Shopify is already a hosted platform and includes everything you need (SSL, PCI) except for a domain name. But you can buy a domain name directly in its platform. If the plans it offers are not enough or too much for you, Shopify has 2 additional plans for you.

Woocommerce vs Shopify - Shopify Extras

Shopify Plus is created for large online stores, that need extra discounts or extra features just for them. On the other side, we have Shopify Lite, a perfect plan if you just want to sell using Facebook or your blog. You spend $9 a month but you get the security and features of an online store.

But don't be fooled by all that talk about free WooCommerce. While both WordPress and WooCommerce are free, every professional store requires a domain name and hosting. So the prices start adding up.

Woocommerce vs Shopify - Hosting

First of all, A simple shared hosting plan can cost from around $1/month up to $15/month, or even more. That depends on a provider and the quality of its services and, of course, your needs.

To run an online store you'll need an SSL certificate and PCI compliance as well. Trusted hosts include these in the more expensive plans so you might end up paying over $5/month. Also, the price tends to skyrocket after the initial first-term period.

WooCommerce vs Shopify - WooCommerce hosting solutions

You'll also need a domain name, although it may be included in the hosting package. Starting at around $1/year, domains can cost up to $15/year. The price, of course, does not have limits if you want something already established.

So, you can compare all the expenses of Shopify and WordPress.org in the table below:

eCommerce Hosting Domain name Theme Total/year
WooCommerce $0 $5 - $15/month $1 - $15/year free to ~$100 $61 - $300
Shopify $29 - $299/month $0 $1 - $15/year free to $180 $349 - $3 783

But if we choose to host our WooCommerce store with WordPress.com, the price becomes similar to Shopify. You don't need to worry about hosting or domain name, because all of that is in one package.

You can buy the Business plan and install the plugin to your account and use it with a fully hosted WordPress version. This plan is going to set you back $25 a month. It's great if you don't want the complexity and responsibility of a self-hosted WordPress.

Woocommerce vs Shopify - WordPress.com Pricing

However, if you want all security and payment features for your online store, it will cost you $45/mo. And you need this plan if you want to accept payments in 60+ countries.

All things considered, WooCommerce wins by being cheaper and more flexible. Despite that Shopify is created for online shops so all the tools and features are all there from the start.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Design

WordPress has hundreds of themes you can use for your WooCommerce store. On the other hand, Shopify has merely 74 at the time, only 10 of which are free.

The designing process for Shopify vs WordPress plugin is a bit different as well.

How designing a store works with WooCommerce?

Once you install the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress, you will be assigned the default Storefront template. However, you can choose from any of the thousands of WordPress offered themes or even upload a third-party one. Although Storefront child themes are beautiful as well.

Keep in mind that your chosen WordPress theme must be eCommerce compatible. 

Choosing WooCommerce, you'll also have more flexibility than with Shopify. You'll be able to use all the tools WordPress has (and it has a lot) to customize the theme. There are thousands of plugins for that.

You can edit CSS and HTML as well, so the store can become truly unique as long as you have the technical skills.

What does Shopify have to offer in terms of design?

Shopify has some seriously beautiful templates. And the best part is - they are all designed specifically for eCommerce sites. So no more worrying about whether or not the theme will fit your store.

You can even filter them by different variables: number of products you sell, layouts, marketing and social media goals, and other factors.

Each of the 74 themes is customized in the Shopify's own live editor. CSS and HTML editing is not off-limits as well. Though freedom is bounded to the editor's functionality and theme layout there. 

All in all, WordPress.org offers unlimited customizability options, while Shopify makes it a lot easier to do.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Setup

User-friendliness is where Shopify wins big points. The platform’s dashboard makes it as easy as possible for you to do everything, from customizing your store’s design to managing the products. 

With WooCommerce it's more difficult. While the platform itself is not much more difficult than Shopify, you'll need additional plugins and knowledge to use it fully. 

What does it take to build a Shopify store?

Creating an account takes a minute or two. You don't even have to add your credit card for the first 14 days if you want to test Shopify first.

Once you login to Shopify, you’ll be able to set up the most basic aspects of your store from the homepage. There, you’ll have the chance to customize your site, add products, and assign a domain to your shop.

WooCommerce vs Shopify - Shopify Home Dashboard

You will also need to set up payment and shipping methods. From there on, you are good to go.

How do you set up a WooCommerce store?

First and foremost, you have to choose a hosting provider for your WordPress site. Luckily, setting up WordPress is increasingly simple nowadays; some best WooCommerce hosting solutions even offer one-click installations.

Then, you'll need to create a WordPress account and install the WooCommerce plugin on it. That's pretty straightforward - you simply need to find WooCommerce among a bunch of WordPress plugins and click Install and Activate

Once you’re up and running, you’ll see the setup wizard where you’ll learn more about the crucial features WooCommerce has to offer. The dashboard is also self-explanatory.

WooCommerce vs Shopify - WordPress Home Dashboard

You’ll be able to add all your product details including a description, image, and any variants of similar products that you may want to sell. 

If you're used to using Shopify, the WooCommerce Add Product page looks very similar, so you shouldn't have to spend too much time re-learning the process!

WooCommerce vs Shopify - WordPress Add Product

However, to add custom payment and shipping methods, as well as any additional functionality - you'll need extra plugins. You can find them both on the WooCommerce page and WordPress plugins. Just beware that most of them won't be free.

So all in all - Shopify is a one-stop-shop while WooCommerce needs add-ons to get its whole power. 

WooCommerce vs Shopify eCommerce Features

Shopify has all it takes to run a successful online store built-in. There's also a bunch of free and paid apps. WooCommerce has that and some extra. 

Shopify eCommerce features include:

  • 1 online store
  • Up to 15 staff accounts
  • Discount codes
  • Report Builder
  • 100+ payment gateways
  • Fraud analysis with Shopify payments
  • Tax automation
  • Shopify shipping discounts
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Shopify POS app
  • Mobile app
WooCommerce vs Shopify - Shopify features

So, it seems enough even for a growing online business; however, WooCommerce, with its 400+ official and thousands of third-party plugins, has a bit more to offer:

  • Unlimited online stores
  • Unlimited staff accounts
  • Unlimited product variations
  • Geo-location support
  • Coupons
  • Mobile app
  • 100+ payment gateways
  • Points and rewards integration
  • Tax automation
  • Anti-fraud protection
  • Multiple POS integration
  • Multiple selling channels
  • Abandoned Cart recovery
WooCommerce vs Shopify - WooCommerce features

After all, Shopify has all it takes to run an eCommerce store but WooCommerce has extra features like unlimited online stores you can build.

WooCommerce vs Shopify SEO Features

Both Shopify and WooCommerce comes SEO-friendly already. Shopify automatically generates meta tags and handles site copies. It's fast out-of-the-box, and it has a bunch of apps to boost the SEO of your store.

WooCommerce vs Shopify - Shopify SEO

The basic Shopify processes are pretty much automated. If you don't want - you can keep the generated meta info as it is.

On the other hand, with WooCommerce and WordPress that's all on you what kind of host you're going to choose.

You can dig deeper into meta info with the WordPress eCommerce platform. And that can be done with ease by installing plugins like Yoast SEO. It's not only easy to use but also gives you some helpful insights.

WooCommerce vs Shopify - WooCommerce SEO

Which choice is better for you will depend on how much skill in SEO you have and how much time you want to spend on it.

If you are not keen on doing SEO yourself, Shopify will take care of the basic things like meta's to help your site stand out. However, WooCommerce has a bit more flexibility to achieve your goals.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Support

You can compare Shopify to a helpful teacher always ready to help. It has 24/7 live chat, phone, and email ticket support. And if you're not up for a chat, basically all answers can be found in the knowledge base and community forums.

WooCommerce vs Shopify - Shopify Customer Support

WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a textbook. You get a knowledge base, a huge community, and functional yet pretty slow email tickets support.

But that's not exactly the full truth. While Shopify does have a huge community and dedicated platform support, you can get a very similar experience with WooCommerce as well.

Depending on the host you choose, you might also get the 24/7 live chat and phone support. Some of the hosts, however, do not have support trained for applications like WooCommerce and can only offer knowledge bases and personal experience.

But WordPress and WooComerce have thousands of forum posts and articles, to help you solve basically any problem. In a way, the best WooCommerce support is given by real users.

If you choose managed WordPress hosting, you'll probably have the whole WordPress expert team beside you.

Shopify wins this one for its dedicated, helpful, and fast support. However, WooCommerce support mostly depends on its knowledge base and the host you choose.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Conclusion

When it comes to choosing an eCommerce solution, the decision between WooCommerce vs Shopify will depend completely on your individual needs. 

If you're freshly made online seller or have never created an online store:

Shopify will help you do that with ease. It takes care of everything you may ever need in an online store.

So if you have at least a bit of experience, a smaller budget, and a will to learn:

WooCommerce will be the smarter choice for its flexibility and relatively cheaper costs.

Which one is your winner in the battle of WooCommerce vs Shopify? Share your thoughts in the comment section down below!

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