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WooCommerce vs Shopify: The Comprehensive Guide For You To Choose The Right Platform

3850 words20 min read

WooCommerce vs Shopify is a battle between two well-known giants in the eCommerce world. Shopify houses over 600,000 companies, while WooCommerce claims to be the "most successful eCommerce site" on the Net. If you want to choose between WooCommerce and Shopify, how do you know which one is better? In fact, it's not a matter of which one is better than the other. They're both strong, but distinctly different if you're looking to sell online. The bottom line is, may one be right for you depends on your personal situations.

Shop is for you if you need an all-in-one kit. You can create and publish your own online store entirely through Shopify, and use its cool features and apps. WooCommerce is for you particularly, when you already have a website on Wordpress. It's a plugin that works with WordPress and helps to convert your website into an online shop.

Our side-by-side analysis will compare WooCommerce and Shopify with ease of use, eCommerce features, design and appearance, cost and dropshipping, and other vital aspects. Now, let’s jump right into the details.

WooCommerce v.s Shopify: Pros and Cons

If you're thinking about building your eCommerce store, Shopify and WooCommerce are two platforms that stand heads and tails above the rest. However, which of these two would be the best eCommerce platform? Based on the ratings, each of these sites carries out excellent and glossy stars. Let's dive deeper into WooCommerce & Shopify to find out which eCommerce platform is the best.

WooCommerce’s Pros and Cons

WooCommerce is an open-source, free shopping-cart app. The plugin became popular quite early because of its simplicity to customize & install at zero costs. According to BuiltWith, up to 3.3 million websites have been built with the help of WooCommerce. Users will pick and continue paying for the items using the eCommerce shopping cart.

Pros of WooCommerce

  • Flexibility: With WooCommerce, customers can add infinite items in a variety of categories. There are various themes in WooCommerce for users who want to customize their site as they wish. Items such as downloadable, virtual, and physical goods can be sold easily via WooCommerce. Using WooCommerce plugins, you can follow custom designs and models for various categories.
  • Security: WooCommerce offers some of the standard security features. With payment gateway & SSL authentication, you don’t have to worry about your website security. SSL authentication provides safe connections from a web server to a browser and only costs a few dollars a month. Sucuri, a renowned security company, routinely audit WooCommerce.
  • Large Community: The huge community of WooCommerce is fitted with a variety of generous posts, documents, and information guides. Several forums are specializing in WooCommerce, such as the WooCommerce Support Forum.

Cons of WooCommerce

  • Learning curve: Since WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, it isn't the most comfortable framework to get the chance to adapt, mainly if you've never used WordPress. You also have to understand deeply about the world of eCommerce to put together a store that works for your business, because WooCommerce gives you constrained features, to begin with.
  • Frequent updates of WooCommerce: Some customers aren't happy with frequent updates of WooCommerce. Sometimes WooCommerce doesn't match with the updates where your WordPress plugin is up-to-date.

Shopify’s Pros and Cons

Pros of Shopify

  • Excellent performance: In today's world, nobody would want to wait in line for more than 20 minutes while shopping. Similarly, if your site loads at a slower pace or makes you wait for checkout, then 50 percent of customers won't return.

I'm sure you'd like not to lose out on half of your future revenue, which is why making an outstanding website success is essential for an online shop. Amazon has estimated that the page load delay for just one second cost them about $1.6 billion in revenue per year. With Shopify, you won’t have to worry about the loading speed of your website, because Shopify is one of the fastest, most optimized platforms for speed.

  • Selling products on different mediums: Shopify enables you to use other big distribution channels to boost sales. Here are some of the platforms you can sell on via Shopify with quick product integration: Amazon, Facebook, and Pinterest.
  • Security: With Shopify, you will never have to worry about the security of your website. Shopify will get that handled for you with its many advanced security practices.
  • Combine your store with Shopify POS: Do you have a physical shop and need to boost its revenue? Using the Shopify POS (Point-of-Sale) program.

Your physical store can be easily accommodated with Shopify POS, and then the data will be exchanged between your online store and POS. The Point-Of-Sale system helps manage online and offline customer records, inventory and sales on an individual platform.

As a seller, if you subscribe to Shopify POS, you will receive a full POS program along with your computers. You will receive a card reader (Shopify's patented Swipe driven machine), a barcode scanner, a receipt printer, and APG cash drawers.

Cons of Shopify

  • Liquid: Liquid is Shopify's self-developed PHP language for their platform. All themes are coded in the Liquid format. Regardless of this, modification of the theme is more difficult before you're a Liquid expert or inclined to recruit skilled developers who know how to code for Shop themes.

There is a lot of feedback from the developers that Liquid is an easy-to-learn language, but if you don't feel comfortable messing with the code, you can turn to their premium themes with support.

  • Lack of email hosting: For those who are not familiar with email hosting, it helps to use a domain-based email address like sales@yourshopname.com. While Shopify is equipped with a range of plans for web hosting, it lacks the ability to provide us with email hosting.

What you can do is set up its email forwarding feature. This means that no matter where anyone connects to sales@yourshopname.com, an email will immediately be sent to your personal email address, such as Gmail or Yahoo. It works the same for replying to emails. Or, to get around this, you just need to sign up with business-email service providers such as Google for an email business account, so that all emails sent to you go directly to your mailbox.

  • Flexibility: Shopify gives you the ease of use, but at the cost of flexibility. You can tinker with WooCommerce and add additional features with much more flexibility if you use WooCommerce.

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: Ease of Use

Most users who start an online store are not web designers or developers. But consumers need a site that is easy to use and gets out of their way. Let's see how Shopify and WooCommerce are shaping up in terms of user-friendliness.

WooCommerce’s Ease of Use

WooCommerce isn't a hosted web solution like Shopify. This means that you will need to install WooCommerce, handle updates, keep backups, and make sure your website is safe. There are a number of free and paid plugins that can automate most of these tasks for you.

WooCommerce is super versatile when it comes to configuration. You have complete control of your website. With more than 55,000 + WordPress plugins, you can add any feature imaginable to your website. There is no built-in drag & drop style builder though. You can use WordPress page builders like the Beaver Builder, but this adds up to your cost.

The main drawback to versatility is that it comes with a learning curve and needs more hands-on control of the website. You will need to sign up for a merchant account or similar service like Stripe/PayPal. Although the WooCommerce-guiding setup wizard is helpful, it is not similar to the onboarding and ease of use of Shopify.

Shopify’s Ease of Use

Shopify is a fully hosted web solution, which means you don't need to install, maintain, or upgrade any apps. You don't need to worry about protection, results, backups, and compatibility issues, either.

It allows you to select a template for your website as soon as you sign up. After that, they're going to direct you through configuration and then help you add items. Shopify comes with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Managing the items, sales, and inventory at Shopify is a breeze.

Some of the drawbacks of this user-friendly, refined, and highly optimized user interface is that it restricts your power. You can use the design and development software offered by Shopify only, or the add-ons available on their marketplace. Yet, this isn't as bad as it might sound. To most consumers, the broad range of extensions and themes available in Shopify is more than enough to launch and expand your online store.

Winner: Shopify wins over WooCommerce when it comes to ease of use.

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: eCommerce features

WooCommerce vs Shopify is a very fierce race when it comes to apps. Here's the thing to remember: both have the features you need to create a productive online store. If you're trying to sell goods online, or to start a small business online, you're not going to let yourself down. Where WooCommerce and Shopify vary are the apps that are included as normal.

WooCommerce’s eCommerce features

One of the strengths of WooCommerce is versatility. Since it's an open-source platform, developers are adding custom plugins to the platform. Add-ons stay up-to-date, but to get the most out of the platform you need to spend time (and money) on building your store. The strengths of WooCommerce lie in its plugins, but it comes with some great main features to make your store a success.

Some of WooCommerce great features are:

  • Built-in comprehensive blogging functionality.
  • Unlimited customization; this means you can modify anything from your homepage design to the ‘buy’ button on your product page.
  • Ability to set up products and checkout in wider range of pages of your store
  • Refund for customers with one-click.

Shopify’s eCommerce Features

Shopify comes with a lot more built-in eCommerce features than WooCommerce. Sign up for Basic Shopify, and you'll get amazing features to help you sell, such as:

  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Unlimited products
  • Discount codes
  • Over 100 payment options
  • Website and blog

Some features Shopify offers right out of the box can cost you money in WooCommerce’s Extensions store. Abandoned cart recovery is an example.

Abandoned Cart Recovery

One feature Shopify provides, as a standard, that WooCommerce does not is Abandoned Cart Recovery. It is critical when you talk about WooCommerce vs Shopify. This feature allows customers to complete an abandoned order without re-filling their data.

It also sends a gentle email alert encouraging them to finish the deal. Getting the Abandon Cart option is like repairing a leak in your pipe – sales won't slip through the cracks! Although both platforms serve the selling needs of businesses, Abandoned Cart Recovery of Shopify is built-in; they are ready to use the moment you sign up.

Winner: Shopify wins over WooCommerce when it comes to out-of-the-box features.

WooCommerce v.s. Shopify: Theme Design

WooCommerce’s theme design

WooCommerce has been developed to work with most WordPress themes, which ensures that the design choices are virtually infinite. There are several free themes available and thousands of premium themes to choose from.

If you have already got a WordPress website and a theme design that you love, WooCommerce should be able to work with it. If you're just getting started, you can select a theme that is compatible with the versatility of WooCommerce to ensure that all of its eCommerce features are displayed correctly.

There are themes that have been specifically developed for WooCommerce, so if you're having trouble picking a theme, there is always a solid choice; The Storefront Theme is one of the official WooCommerce themes, and it is a perfect choice for your eCommerce store.

Although Shopify has an amazing array of themes, WooCommerce can be integrated into any WordPress theme, in addition to its own collection. This gives it much more variety, not only in prototype design, but in site features.

With WooCommerce, you can connect any WordPress plugin to your eCommerce platform. This creates an almost infinite selection of possibilities. Of course, this means that you have to spend more time developing your site, and not all plugins are free. Most of the Shopify themes are artistically designed, and therefore, if you don't want to mess with the design, Shopify may be a better choice.

Shopify’s theme design

If your site doesn't look professional, people won't want to buy it from you. Your site can't look like it was built during the age of Geocities or someone who really loved MySpace. It needs to look polished, clean and easy to navigate.

Without these important elements, you can be pretty sure you're not going to make it in eCommerce. Shopify provides over 50 distinct, professionally crafted store themes. Out of these themes, Ten of them are free, with the others typically between $140-$200. The themes are professionally designed so that you can easily customize the look and feel of your store.

Shopify outsources all of its theme design to professional developers who ensure the themes are kept up-to-date. It's both an advantage and a drawback. The benefit is that the theme is still new, but the downside is that it can cost quite a bit.

Shopify makes it pretty easy to change essential design elements on your website, such as colors and fonts. You can also easily upgrade your site with new features and even entirely change your theme. When you are planning for a new product launch, you can change the parts of your store without taking it offline.

If you are an experienced developer, you can use Shopify's specialized Liquid language to make more critical changes. This is not necessary; unless you really want to get deep into your web design.

Winner: In terms of quantity, WooCommerce wins over Shopify, but design-wise, it depends on your personal preferences.

WooCommerce v.s. Shopify: Pricing

How much does it cost to WooCommerce or Shopify? The answer to this question depends on your own needs. The WooCommerce plugin is free of charge to install, while Shopify provides solutions ranging from $9 to $299 a month and takes between 0.5 and 2% commission on your sales. Let's dig a little deeper to better grasp the impacts of both systems.

If you want to dig a little deeper, here's how it works: with WooCommerce, you've got to weigh the expense of the hosting services, and the plugins and themes that you can purchase. Although WooCommerce itself is free, it doesn't mean that you won't incur any cost to operate a WooCommerce store.

WooCommerce’s pricing:

Let's say you chose WooCommerce for your online store, so the first thing you'd do is download the free WooCommerce plugin to your WordPress. The next thing you'd need is a decent hosting service. Cloudways managed to host WooCommerce would cost you at least $10/month. You will need to move to a larger package later, but let's keep it that way for the sake of simplicity.

Next, you'd like a theme for your online shop. I'm assuming you're not going to go for a free theme, but a paid theme would cost you anywhere from $30 to $300 or more. Once you've got the theme, you'd be searching for WooCommerce to add ons and other important plugins. Most of these are free, but for certain important ones, you'd need to pay, and on average, a paid plugin or addon would cost you $50.

These are the costs that you will need to pay to open a store on WooCommerce. Of course, the cost can increase if you need a larger hosting package or new add-ons and plugins.

If you have a big WooCommerce site, you need to choose a VPS hosting. Here's a list of best VPS hosting providers

Shopify’s pricing:

Let's think of a scenario with Shopify now. If you choose Shopify for your online store, you don't have to worry about third-party hosting, themes, or plugins because anything you need is already included in your pricing plan. You will see if each pricing strategy serves a particular goal. The Basic Shopify plan is for start-ups and small shops, while the Shopify plan is for the businesses, and the Advanced Shopify plan is for scalability.

The downside to this is that if you select Shopify for your online store, you know that the time will come when you would need to upgrade to the Advanced Shopify plan, which is a little expensive for most users. You do know that you're not going to use all the features that you get with this package, so you're going to pay for a lot of services that you don't really use at that moment.

This is where the control element of the eCommerce platform comes in. For WooCommerce, you're in complete charge of your finances, and you're paying for the services you're using. With Shopify, your power over your store is very limited, and you will have to pay a fixed sum irrespective of your use.

Winner: It’s cheaper to get started with Shopify, but in the long run, WooCommerce might be a more economical choice.

WooCommerce v.s. Shopify: SEO

All websites that wish to overtake competition need powerful SEO features. Luckily, most of the contestants here have a lot to do for them.

WooCommerce’s SEO

WordPress is primarily a content development tool, and SEO experts consider it one of the most secure choices available. It is easy to add and update content and meta information to ensure that pages have a good chance of ranking for similar keywords. Through plugins such as Yoast SEO, you can make your WordPress site highly optimized and be in total charge of every little detail of your SEO.

Shopify’s SEO

Shopify may be second when we look at the total amount of SEO features available, but there is definitely no shame in the way it presents content. It also manages common SEO activities such as meta-information and web copying with ease. As long as your company generates quality content, there's no reason to believe that you're not going to experience fantastic results and high user engagement.

However, there are a lot of ways Shopify proves to beat WooCommerce in the SEO game. In reality, Shopify is renowned for having some of the cleanest code and natural connection structure, which provides smooth user experience and, in effect, boosts visibility in search engine rankings.

What's more, Shopify has a very fast loading speed. Since it's a hosting platform based on a vast network, Shopify provides each of its webmaster's fast loading pages. As a result, shops have a better chance of ranking well and a better chance of leading customers to sales.

WooCommerce offers you more SEO-specific choices overall, simply because it's built on top of WordPress. The only problem is that the pace of your site depends primarily on the hosting you're going with. That's why the SEO group goes to Shopify. You don't have to think about optimization a lot, because your speeds are still going to be top-notch.

Winner: WooCommerce as it gives you a lot more features and control over your content SEO. If you are looking for a head to head comparison between SEO features of both platforms, you can have a look here.

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WooCommerce v.s. Shopify: Dropshipping

Dropshipping is an eCommerce business where the seller does not keep the items in stock. Instead, it fulfills the order by purchasing goods from the suppliers and then delivering them directly to the customers. Dropshipping has become popular around the world due to its low overhead.

Dropshipping with WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a common option for drop-shipping companies. It's mostly because WooCommerce helps you to add extensions that make order fulfillment a breeze. You can easily find extensions that allow you to instantly import products, complete orders from your website, and more. You can also set up your eCommerce marketplace to allow other vendors to sell on your site.

Bear in mind that dropshipping suppliers can have minimum order requirements, membership fees, and other fees. You need to keep those in mind when you add items to your WooCommerce dropshipping store.

Dropshipping with Shopify

When you develop a drop-shipping company, the front end of your website looks just like any online store. Your users would be able to search the items, add them to the cart, and make a payment, just like they would in any other eCommerce shop.

Depending on the vendors you chose, you will then have to put a shipping order for the customer. Shopify also has integration apps for a variety of common drop-shipping markets such as AliExpress, Oberlo, Printify, and more.

However, each of these product markets has its own subscription fees, delivery fees, and other charges that you need to bear in mind when designing your Shopify dropshipping website.

There are tons of apps that are available on the market to help you make running a dropshipping store a piece of cake with Shopify. For your information, here’s our review of Top 12+ Best Shopify Dropshipping Apps.

Winner: I’d choose Shopify because it’s much cheaper than WooCommerce to put together a dropshipping store and start.

Reasons To Use WooCommerce Over Shopify

The key reason to choose WooCommerce over Shopify is versatility. If you're trying to sell basic goods with limited variation, you probably won't need the versatility. But if you're trying to sell products that go beyond "simple "— either in terms of variety, checkout method, or pricing structure — you'll probably appreciate the versatility of WooCommerce.

Another reason is that certain types of items are banned from Shopify. Since Shopify is a distributed solution, you're at the discretion of Shopify's decision-making committee, where certain cosmetics producers have been excluded. Finally, if you want to use WordPress and trust the WordPress plugin community and help, that could be another argument to go for a WordPress ecommerce solution.

Reasons To Use Shopify Over WooCommerce

If you just want the easiest, most beginner-friendly way to start an eCommerce store, Shopify is definitely a good option. As long as you don't intend to sell miscellaneous goods with tons of variations, you should be all right in Shopify's ecosystem. Besides, if you don't want to spend time maintaining your store (or don't want to worry about technology in general), then that's another reason to find Shopify's simplicity.

Final Words

I hope this article has been informative to you and that you share it with people who are curious about WooCommerce and Shopify. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and feel free to share your feedback!

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