Shopify vs WooCommerce – you can consider these are two of the most popular and easy-to-use eCommerce platforms available on the market.
Each one comes with power-packed features and can possibly be the perfect solution for you to build an eCommerce store with and the best thing is that even the non-technical person can do all by own without any help from professional designers and/or developers.
Before you pick on among these, first find out which one is going to fit your specific needs better, Shopify or WooCommerce for creating your own online shop. Which is more feature-rich? Which is cheaper? Which is better-looking? Which is more flexible? Which is the easiest to work with?
We have compared Shopify vs WooCommerce to see which one is the absolute best. After reading it, you will know exactly which ecommerce platform to choose based on your individual needs.
1) Brief Overview
WooCommerce and Shopify both are basically different from each other by the way you set up an online store using them. WooCommerce is a piece of software that needs to be hosted by you while Shopify is a type of stand-alone eCommerce platform including hosting service for your store. In other words, WooCommerce is self-hosted platform while Shopify is fully hosted platform.
Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce platform that offers an instant platform to build an online store. It is moreover a subscription-based service or solution. In order to get started with Shopify, you have to sign up to the Shopify website with your email address and choose one of the available plans to start an online business.
Once you signed up for any one Shopify plan, you are almost ready to run with Shopify hosting and Shopify software readily set up. Since a Shopify subscription includes hosting, which means you are free from searching a web hosting provider and installing the software on your own.
Shopify offers simple and comprehensive user interface where you can add your products, sell them, and earn money. There are plenty of in-built features in every subscription plus there are over 1400 apps which further gives you an ability to add the additional functionalities on your store. There are both free and premium Shopify apps for different features including marketing, sales, social media, shipping, customer service, etc.
WooCommerce is a popular WordPress plugin with over 3 million active installs online. It allows you to create a comprehensive eCommerce WordPress website. Moreover, it is free open source software like WordPress which you can download free, use, and modify the way you like. So if you have coding skills, you can easily make some design tweaks as per your need.
WooCommerce is not a stand-alone eCommerce system but a piece of software in the form of WordPress plugin that adds eCommerce functionality to a WordPress website. In order to create an eCommerce website with WooCommerce, you need a web server and WordPress installation.
WooCommerce allows you to add as many products you like, sell the products and receive payments via various payment gateways. WooCommerce plugin is feature-rich yet it lacks extensive eCommerce features. So, there are some other WooCommerce extensions that add functionality to the WooCommerce core plugin.
Both eCommerce systems are well-equipped in terms of features and offering almost everything a user may need to create an eCommerce website. The only difference between the features of the two platforms may be how these two platforms do the same thing and how much they charge. Undoubtedly, both Shopify and WooCommerce are highly flexible and scalable.
Shopify seems to have all the eCommerce features you need in order to create an online store. It has plenty of built-in features including payments, checkout, store management, customer management, products etc. Moreover, there are lots of apps designed for specific features.
- You can add an unlimited number of products and organize them by category, type, season, sale and more.
- Shopify has simple and secure payment options. It accepts credit cards, allow you to add your own credit or debit terminal, split tenders, gift cards etc.
- It offers all the checkout features including discounts, order notes, shipping, custom sale, and taxes etc.
- It has brilliant store management features including refunds, order history, cash float, daily totals etc.
- It has better customer management features. It automatically creates customer profiles with new orders, lets you synchronize the online and retail customers’ information and helps you run email marketing.
- Shopify offers an actionable dashboard of your sales, orders, traffic, and more.
WooCommerce eCommerce plugin is an open-source platform that allows you to modify the code, create apps and extensions for additional features. It means that almost every feature is available with WooCommerce. If you are a developer, you can develop a WooCommerce extension on your own as per your need.
- With WooCommerce you can sell almost all type of product such as physical products, digital products including software, apps etc.
- Add an unlimited number of products and product categories.
- It has intelligent shopping UX including pre-installed payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe and more), secure checkout process, default currency, Geo-location support etc.
- It has flexible shipping options with built-in features like shipping cart calculator, prices display options, shipping destinations, restrict sales, shipping methods etc.
- WooCommerce has built-in tax features so as to help store owners get it simple and right.
- WooCommerce offers marketing features including discount coupons and codes. It is also good for affiliate marketing.
- It has built-in analysis and reporting features including net and gross earnings reports, sales orders, traffic, sales and growth trends etc.
However these both eCommerce platforms offers plenty of features but there are few cons you should check out:
- It can become costly over time
- The user lacks direct ownership of the site
- It is operated by a single host
- It is not as customizable for unique products
- It does not integrate well with blogs and other content strategies
- People can spy on top Shopify stores (including yours)
- Requires WordPress development skills and persistence to customize properly
- Not as easy to create a functional store compared to Shopify
- No guarantee for maintenance and security
The design is another essential element one must care when it is about doing an online business. An appealing and beautifully crafted design of the store can dramatically help your business.
Shopify has over 100 visually eye-catching and full responsive themes on its official Shopify theme store. The design of your Shopify store is dependent on the design provided by the theme and the design is mostly like filling up the pre-designed style in Shopify platform. Among these themes, 9 of them are free and the premium themes are mostly available from $140 to $180 which seems quite expensive compared to WooCommmerce themes.
In addition to the Shopify built themes, there are hundreds of Shopify themes by third party theme providers available on the web. There are over 400 Shopify themes at ThemeForest marketplace and more themes can be found right from the site. The Shopify themes at ThemeForest theme marketplace cost $49 to $69 each.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin which is why it doesn’t offer any specific design. The plugin is solely developed in order to add eCommerce functionality to WordPress. Therefore, the design of your WooCommerce store completely depends on your current WordPress theme.
WooCommerce cooperates well with most of the free WordPress themes in official WordPress theme repository and most of the other premium themes on the web. Furthermore, there are several themes that have been built with WooCommerce in mind in order to provide seamless WooCommerce integration and great-looking design to your eCommerce site. Storefront is the official WooCommere theme created by the people behind the WooCommerce software. It is a free theme with a simple and basic design.
Additionally, there are some Storefront child themes that come with additional features and unique design. Some of them are free while some cost $39 each. In addition, there are thousands of WooCommerce WordPress themes created by third-party theme providers across the globe. You can find plenty of free WooCommerce themes in official WordPress theme repository, premium themes at theme marketplaces like ThemeForest. Paid WooCommerce themes are cost-effective ranging from $39 to $99 each.
Pricing is another vital element that matters when it comes to choosing eCommerce platforms. If you are on a low budget, you cannot go for a highly expensive platform.
Since Shopify is a subscription-based service, there are not many options as for WooCommerce hosting plans. You have to sign up anyone from the three Shopify plans available.
The three Shopify Plans are Basic Shopify ($29/mo.), Shopify ($79/mo.) and Advanced Shopify ($299/mo.). The Basic plan is suitable for small startups and new businesses, Shopify plan is for growing medium-level businesses and the Advanced plan is for big enterprises.
When you sign up with any of the plans, you will get a free Shopify subdomain (eg. mystore.shopify.com) for free. To get your own custom domain (mystore.com), you need to spend another $13/year at Shopify domain store.
This is what it costs for a basic Shopify store. In addition, you may want more features, customization options which may cost more.
WooCommerce is free open source software that costs you no money at all. All you need to buy is hosting service and domain.
WordPress hosting can be purchased as low as $2/95/mo. at Bluehost and basic hosting plan at other hosting companies is also available for almost $3 to $9.
Some of the WordPress hosting companies offer a free domain with the hosting plans which is an advantage. Bluehost, DreamHost, and GreenGeeks do provide free domain with the purchase of hosting service. If you buy hosting from theme companies, you will save some bucks that may be spent for a domain. Else, you have to buy a domain from domain providers like GoDaddy. A .com domain costs $11.99/ year at GoDaddy.
After comparing Shopify and WooCommerce, the user must choose which will be better suited to the business type, client base, and purpose of the store. Both systems are good for an e-commerce site, and the choice of which to use will depend on the characteristics of the business model and personal preference.