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WooCommerce vs Shopify: which is better for your online store?

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Global eCommerce sales are rising to a total of $5.7 trillion, so it’s never a bad idea to launch an online store now. However, choosing the best between popular eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce vs Shopify isn’t always straightforward.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce are the most popular eCommerce platforms which are currently ruling the market, today. Between the two, there are an estimated five million-plus users who’ve earned billions of dollars, globally.

In this article, we’ll help you decide which eCommerce platform you have to root to for your specific business needs. We’ll talk about the features of each platform, cost of use, user experience, customer support, and more.


How does Shopify Approach eCommerce

Founded in 2006, Shopify is a complete eCommerece platform, which was created to overcome the dissatisfaction with the existing eCommerce platform’s user experience by Tobias Lutke and Scott Lake, after building an online store for snowboarding equipment. Shopify has offered everything you needed to launch an online store from scratch to accepting payments, out of the box.

It also offers a hosting solution, so you don’t have to be worried about the technicalities involved in running an online store. Also, you are spared from an additional cost for purchasing a separate hosting package.

Shopify is well known for its ease of usage, and these factors make it an excellent eCommerce solution for anyone who wants to build an online store for their business within minutes. If you don’t care about having control over every aspect of your shop, Shopify can be a good choice for you.


How does WooCommerce Approach eCommerce

On the other hand, WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress CMS. It was initially created by a WordPress theme developer WooTheme, and later acquired by Automatic in 2015.

If you are one among the millions who use WordPress then it’s easy to install WooCommerce just like any other WordPress Plugin. On the contrary, if you are a newbie to the world of WordPress, then you will need to create a WordPress CMS Website first before you can even think of installing the plugin.

Unlike Shopify, you may have to purchase an eCommerce hosting plan, if your business has any in-house servers to run WooCommerce, many business owners tend to purchase separate web hosting packages. You will have to choose your web hosting provider wisely, as it is vital for your business. The right provider can reduce your workload by taking care of most of the technical tasks.

Although Woocommerce is complex to set up and run, it also allows you the power of customising every aspect of your store. This indeed makes WooCommerce an excellent platform for advanced users who have specific goals in mind.


WooCommerce vs Shopify


Pros and cons of Both Platforms

Both are eCommerce platforms However, as we have already discussed, there is one massive difference between WooCommerce and Shopify.

Self-Hosted: If you are choosing WooCommerce for your online store, then you will need to purchase a web hosting package and use WordPress as your CMS.

Hosted: Shopify hosts and manages the online store for you, so you will not need a separate hosting provider.

By this observation, Shopify seems to provide an advantage. However, as a hosted eCommerce platform you will only have access to changes that Shopify allows. You will not be facing these restrictions with WooCommerce.

Keeping this in mind, the main advantage that WooCommerce has over Shopify is its flexibility. Which is an important factor if you want to deliver a unique customer experience.

Let’s get this cleared with an example, Suppose you plan to sell simple products in small quantities, then you may not need a high level of customisation. Here Shopify is the way to go, as it offers built-in hosting and its ease of usage, more over it’s a good option if you want to launch an online store fast. Unless you aren’t planning to sell any complicated products or design any custom shopping user experience, Shopify should meet your needs.


WooCommerce Vs Shopify: What is each platform’s Market Share?

Both Shopify and WooCommerce are popular as well as the popular biggest eCommerce platforms in the world. It will be unwise to choose a platform based only on its popularity, instead, we should pick an option purely based on what your business needs.

As we studied the top one million eCommerce sites, Shopify is powering 21% of the websites in the list. Whereas 23% of these top sites trust WooCommerce for their online store.

When compared to Shopify, WooCommerce may be slightly more popular, still, there is a lot of space for both these eCommerce platforms to improve. Looking beyond the enterprise market, WooCommerce proves to be more popular with over six million live websites running on it. While Shopify is used in over four million live sites.

When we look at the Google trends for the past few years, we can see a consistency in Shopify as it attracted more search interest than WooCommerce. While Shopify is a standalone solution, still impossible to ignore the popularity of WooCommerce as it is associated with the world’s most popular CMS. More than 40% of all world websites use WordPress and 7% of all eCommerce in that list uses WooCommerce. These stats play a huge role in WooCommerce’s popularity. If you are one among the millions of people who already are using WordPress websites, WooCommerce immediately becomes a much more attractive option.


How Easy is it to Launch a Store on Each Platform?

If we consider an easy method to create a fully functioning store ready to accept orders, Shopify is the clear winner. You will need to build a WordPress website if you want to go with WooCommerce. You will also have to provide web hosting and a domain name.

The good news about WooCommerce has a setup wizard that can guide you through most of the initial setup. This process includes adding a payment gateway, choosing currency, and selecting shipping methods. There are many articles, instructional videos, and tutorials that show the steps to set up your WooCommerce store. It’s impossible to deny that it needs a steep learning curve, especially if you are new to WordPress.

Being a hosted eCommerce platform, Shopify handles most of the technical efforts required to launch an online store. That includes providing a domain name, hosting, and an SSL certificate.

Normally, you can create a Shopify account, choose a theme from the vast collection of themes, and either purchase or use an existing domain name. If you are using the in-built payment gateway then you can start accepting credit card payments from day one.


How much flexibility you have over your website’s functionality

At a very high level, self-hosted eCommerce solutions are more flexible and customisable than hosted alternatives. Shopify may be one of the flexible hosted platforms, but this is the area where it struggles to compete with WooCommerce.

WooCommerce provides everything you would need to build a fully functioning eCommerce store. Still, the real power of the platform lies in its extensibility. You can customise and extend the core of WooCommerce using additional software.

Woocommerce effortlessly integrates with several popular third-party CRM tools. You will even have the ability to add custom code to a WooCommerce store if you have web development knowledge. With all these features incorporated WooCommerce proves to be the most flexible and customisable eCommerce platform currently available out there.

If you plan to extend a Shopify store, then you will be presented with a selection of Shopify apps. However, you are restricted to the add-ons and software that Shopify permits. Whereas, there are no such restrictions with WooCommerce

WooCommerce owns its edge over Shopify only in one area, which is built-in multi-channel integration. This is a feature enabling you to promote and sell your products across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, eBay, Walmart, Amazon, TikTok, and more. If you are planning to sell your products across multiple platforms with WooCommerce, then you will need to install additional plugins.


How much control you have over your store’s design

When we consider the design of your online store, both of the platforms have stylish themes. However, Woocommerce has over 1000 themes available which can instantly give your WooCommerce store a fresh look and feel as well as you will find third-party premium WooCommerce themes.

If you are planning to customise your Shopify store, you will have a smaller selection of themes. As it’s a dedicated eCommerce platform, all of these themes are well-designed and optimised for driving sales.

On the other hand, the WordPress community has created sleek and polished WooCommerce themes, but there are fewer quality checks. But if you opt for Shopify themes, a high level of quality is guaranteed. Altogether, When WooCommerce offers more theme choices, Shopify assures curated themes.

Some Shopify themes even allow us to add HTML or liquid code snippets. Then this code is rendered in the template, section, or block that contains the code. However, this feature is limited and may vary according to the Shopify theme that’s been used. Since WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform there are unlimited options to customise the theme.


Which Payment Methods Does Each Platform Offer

As far as accepting payments is concerned, you will have to choose the platform that supports more methods depending on the geographical location you are in because some payment methods and gateways are more popular or do not even serve your location.

If your online store supports as many different payment methods as possible, you can maximise the appeal of your business. Fortunately, both WooCommerce and Shopify support multiple payment gateways.

WooCommerce supports all the major gateways, including Stripe, PayPal, etc. Just be aware that some of these gateways require you to purchase an additional WooCommerce extension.

Shopify provides its payment gateway that requires zero configuration. If you use this payment gateway system, then you won’t be charged transaction fees. However, Shopify also has a wide range of third-party payment gateway integration support. But there is a trade-off as the platform charges additional charges for using these gateways. This additional cost is generally 2%, 1%, or 0.5% for Basic to Advanced Shopify plans, respectively. If you opt for Shopify, then you will be forced to choose Shopify’s payment gateway.

Whereas WooCommerce also has its payment gateway that incurs additional costs. However, WooCommerce doesn’t charge any extra fees for using any third-party payment gateways. This means that there will be only a transaction fee by the respective bank or the gateway.


WooCommerce vs Shopify - net banking


How Much Does Each Platform Cost

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period, after which the users will be charged a monthly subscription fee. The basic plan starts at about $29 per month, the next level at $79 per month, and the top level package at $299 per month, all plan prices needed to be paid annually.

All of these include SSL certificates and web hosting with each package. SSL is an industry-standard for keeping an internet connection secure and safeguarding any sensitive data. And if you are planning for a custom domain name without the Shopify branding in the URL, then it costs an additional $14 per year.

Entry-level plans offer unlimited product and storage space, in addition to which it enables two users per account. But this restricts the use of in-platform third-party tools and add-ons.

Keep in mind there’s a flat 2% fee charged for all transactions with the basic plan, but drops to 0.5% on transactions with the top-level plan. Depending on the sales volume, it can be worth it to retain more of the overhead profit on your offerings.

While WooCommerce offers a free initial service. But you will need to pay for additional services, such as booking domain names, SSL certification, and one of the many WordPress hosting accounts.

Costs for these services can vary. Hosting can be anywhere between $5 and $30. Purchasing a domain name can cost an average of $9 per year. SSL certificates cost anywhere from free to $100 per year. SSL keeps your website secure, which we feel is a high priority and worth paying for.

Depending on how you manage third-party apps for WooCommerce, we can create a website for a fairly low cost. Keep in mind you can end up paying for several extensions for various reasons, namely SEO plugins. The variations in the costs, and determining which platform is best for you can depend more on the features than the actual price.


How both these eCommerce platforms offer their Support

When it comes to customer support, no doubt, Shopify has a much better system, because it offers 24/7 customer service. They can provide you with solutions for any problem as it operates on a closed platform, resulting in user errors being better documented.

WooCommerce is an open platform and it allows anyone to integrate third-party add-ons. Unfortunately, this means their support team can’t provide a solution for every lodged issue. But if you are using WooCommerce, it’s unlikely that you will need anyone to assist.


What are the SEO facilities offered?

If you want your website to be discovered on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to plan for search engine optimisation (SEO). Shopify has a built-in SEO plugin that helps with basic SEO practices, such as meta information and site copy. It’s also important that Shopify sites load faster, in comparison to WooCommerce sites. This can boost your website in the Google rankings.

WooCommerce is a third-party plugin for WordPress, which is a blogging platform. It allows users to alter body content, URLs, Meta descriptions, alt tags, and other on-page elements with amazing SEO tools. This means WooCommerce is better for those who are looking to rank well on Google.


How Does Each Platform Handle Shipping and Dropshipping

When you start an eCommerce website, you will need to ensure that your clients get what they have ordered. This means integrating delivery solutions into your website is important. Shopify offers several popular vendors who deliver your goods. The costs involved can vary, as well as they offer their monthly membership fees or one-off costs, but you will be limited to Shopify’s plugins.

WooCommerce enables you to through hundreds of options and decide what you need. For example, if you have a small-scale business with one or two deliveries a month, you will be interested in a per-item delivery rather than a monthly subscription. So, if you are looking for a delivery solution customised just for your company, we would recommend WooCommerce.




WooCommerce vs. Shopify Bottom Line

Every business has its own set of unique requirements that need to be met. If you are planning to start an eCommerce business then, you will need to choose a platform that best suits your needs.

If you want an exceptional all-in-one platform for your eCommerce business then Shopify will be your best option. It provides lots of easy-to-use features and apps, in addition to which they offer great 24/7 customer support waiting to assist you as well as loads of integration options.

WooCommerce is the best option for you if you already have a WordPress website or you are planning on creating one. You want to customise your online store, It’s highly adaptable and offers better SEO, and can be scaled up enormously.

In the end, all of these boil down to you to decide what your business needs.


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