Building an online store should be a smooth process. Choosing the right platform is the first step in doing that.
Currently, Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the largest 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.
So how do you know which one is for you?
Let's compare WooCommerce vs Shopify so you know which one to pick!
What Is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that lets you turn a WordPress website into an online store. Then, it functions as a full-fledged eCommerce site. You can do everything from listing product catalogs, managing orders to accepting payments and tracking the inventory.
But there's more.
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.
But like many great tools, WooCommerce has its limitations.
It only works with WordPress. And with this in mind, you'll need need to take care of your own hosting to get started with WooCommerce.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce solution that hosts the store for you. Otherwise, it gives similar functionalities as WooCommerce.
Shopify also lets you create product listings, check your inventory, do basic SEO, and create marketing campaigns.
And it does not stop there.
Shopify natively integrates with other sales channels. That means you can create listings for marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and social media platforms. You can even add a Buy Button and sell your products from any site or blog.
But then there's just one problem.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce are big, but WordPress is built on a huge open source platform. It has unlimited freedom to customize. While using Shopify you are limited to its own tools.
Shopify or WooCommerce: Which Online Shop Will Woo You?
Both Shopify and WooCommerce functionalities are impressive. However, they're built to serve different businesses and users.
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. The second tier Shopify plan costs $79 a month, and the Advanced Shopify plan will set you back $299 a month. At the same time, WooCommerce is completely free.
But don't be fooled. You won't be able to run WooCommerce for free.
While both WordPress and WooCommerce plugin are free, the expenses are not avoided here.
First of all, every professional store requires a domain name and hosting. So the prices start adding up.
A simple shared hosting plan can cost from around $1/month, up to $10/month or even more. That depends on a provider and the quality of its services.
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.
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.
Shopify pricing is made up differently.
It is already a hosted platform and includes everything you need (SSL, PCI) except for a domain name.
So, you can compare all the expenses in the table below:
$5 - $15/month
$1 - $15/year
free to ~$100
$61 - $300
$29 - $299/month
$1 - $15/year
free to $180
$349 - $3 783
All things considered with the Shopify vs WordPress plugin pricing, WooCommerce wins by large. It's cheaper to start and cheaper to run.
Design: Shopify has the looks, WooCommerce has the freedom
WordPress has hundreds of themes you can use for your WooCommerce store. On the other hand, Shopify has merely 71 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 WooCommerce plugin on WordPress, you will be assigned with 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. That includes drag-and-drop builders, beautiful sliders, media galleries, etc.
You can edit CSS and HTML as well, so the store can become truly unique and as functional as you want it to be.
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.
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 71 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 offers unlimited customizability options, while Shopify makes it a lot easier to do.
It's easier to set up a store with Shopify
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 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.
You will also need to set up payment and shipping methods. From there on, you are good to go.
On the other hand, setting up WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin is slightly more complex. It can be a bit overwhelming for the less tech-savvy.
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.
There, 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!
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 among thousands of WordPress plugins.
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: cannot beat the unlimited
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
- Multiple selling channels
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
- Mobile app
- 100+ payment gateways
- Tax automation
- Anti-fraud protection
- Multiple POS integration
- Multiple selling channels
- Abandoned Cart recovery
- Points and rewards integration
After all, Shopify has all it takes to run an eCommerce store but WooCommerce has extra features like unlimited online stores you can build, unlimited staff accounts and product variants, as well as a possibility to integrate different POS.
SEO features: Shopify will make your store stand-out
Both Shopify and WooCommerce come SEO-friendly already. Shopify automatically generates meta tags and handles site copies. Also, it has a bunch of apps to boost SEO.
Furthermore, Shopify is fast out-of-the-box. The servers they use are powerful and can handle huge sites with ease. And that's one of the factors to increase your SEO rankings.
On the other hand, with WooCommerce and WordPress that's all on you what kind of host you're going to choose.
So where's WooCommerce vs Shopify difference when we talk about SEO?
The basic Shopify processes are pretty much automated. If you don't want - you can keep the generated meta info as it is. That Shopify handles pretty well.
WooCommerce is more advanced.
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.
So actually, there's no obvious winner here.
If you are not keen on doing SEO yourself, Shopify will take care of the basic things like metas to help your site stand out.
But if you plan on building the traffic based on SEO, WooCommerce has a bit more flexibility to achieve the goals.
WooCommerce vs Shopify support: Shopify is the champ
You can compare Shopify to a helpful teacher always ready to help. It has 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, 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 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: The Bottom Line
When it comes to choosing an eCommerce solution to build your online store, the decision between Shopify vs WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin 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.
With that, of course, comes some limitations.
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!