Whenever it comes to creating an online store, we often get confused in selecting a good platform. In the end, most often, it comes to Shopify versus WooCommerce. This guide is all about eCommerce platform comparisons and will help you select an online store by comparing Shopify and WooCommerce.
These two top eCommerce platforms are being used by merchants globally, and each has its pros and cons. Data suggests that Shopify and WooCommerce were the most popular solution in 2021 for creating an online store. WooCommerce is in the top place, powering 30% of the BuiltWith Top 1m stores. Shopify is in second place, powering 18%.
Each one has unique features, which makes making a choice difficult. However, you need to decide according to your business which suits your purpose well and becomes the one for you.
As it is an in-depth comparison of WooCommerce vs Shopify, here is a quick table of content that you will walkthrough:
- WooCommerce: everything you need to know
- Shopify: Everything you need to know
- Considerations to make before choosing
- A detailed comparison between WooCommerce and Shopify
- A user-friendly interface
- Flexibility, Plugins, and Features
- Payment Methods
- Choices for design and customization
- Efficiencies in scaling
- Support for clients
- Costs of operation and maintenance
- Capabilities in multiple languages
- Settings for taxes
- Costs and configurations related to shipping
- SEO Capabilities
- Insight into security
WooCommerce: everything you need to know
Being an open-source plugin for the WordPress Content Management System that you can install. WooCommerce can be activated just like any other WordPress plugin. If you are not already a website owner, you’ll need to use WordPress as your CMS and build one before installing the plugin.
Because of WooCommerce is an open-source system, users get the flexibility to customize every aspect of their store and can also build custom extensions to enhance their flexibility.
While WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, there are dozens of official and third-party WooCommerce plugins that extend the primary WooCommerce platform even further. These plugins can help you improve your store’s shopping experience. Also, WooCommerce provides themes by which you can control the store’s appearance.
Shopify: Everything you need to know
Shopify is a closed-source hosted tool that allows you to create a store online, facilitating and connecting payments and managing inventory. All of this happens in one single place. The approach of Shopify is different in building an eCommerce store compared with WooCommerce.
Being a closed-source hosted tool, you don’t have to worry about the technical parts of running an eCommerce, such as web hosting, security, caching, etc. This means you won’t have access to all of the code that runs your store. Shopify takes care of everything, so all you have to do is sign up for an account and start adding products.
However, you lose the flexibility and cost-effectiveness that an open-source technology like WooCommerce provides. Instead, you’ll only be able to use the features that the Shopify team chooses to make available to you.
Now that you have understood the approaches of these two, let’s get started with a detailed comparison.
Considerations to Make Before Choosing
When talking about success, it is always making the right decision. Choosing the right platform that serves your need is a win for your business. So, it becomes vital to understand your own needs and how you want your store to function, look, and provide to your visitors or your customers. The right eCommerce platform would help you in making a good shopping experience for your visitors. That’s how it becomes crucial that you pick the right platform.
Here are some of the factors that you need to take note of before making a final decision:
- Your Budget
- Ease of use
- Features and flexibilities
- Payment Methods
- Customer Support
These are the key standards that any online store owner must consider.
With that being said let’s find out the Best eCommerce platform in 2022.
A Detailed Comparison between WooCommerce and Shopify
Ecommerce website owners must consider the upfront costs of getting started and the variable prices of add-on services and software.
For the Shopify eCommerce platform, the basic plan costs $29 per month, with the Shopify plan costing $79 and the Advanced Shopify plan costing $299 per month.
Each of these plans comes with an SSL certificate, web hosting, and a Shopify-branded subdomain. You’ll need to buy the domain name individually, which could cost $14/year.
A Basic Shopify subscription includes enough capabilities to get a new online store up and running. However, third-party tools and add-ons that you’ll need to take your Shopify store to the next level are not included in this pricing. These charges will start to build up as your business expands, and you’ll soon be paying a lot more than the basic plan.
On the other hand, a few things required to launch and run WooCommerce eCommerce platforms are domain name, Web hosting, SSL certificate, and WooCommerce platform itself, which is free.
A domain name typically costs around $14.99, SSL Certificate around $69.99, and web hosting is roughly $7.99/month.
But as you purchase paid extensions for WooCommerce, the prices start to pile up.
However, one evident benefit of adopting WooCommerce is that free alternatives to premium themes and extensions are frequently available.
As you can see, launching a basic WooCommerce store is much less expensive than beginning a Shopify store. WooCommerce’s plugins are one-time payments, usually unlike Shopify’s monthly charge, and also WooCommerce doesn’t charge a transaction fee, which is a good bonus.
As there is a lot of micro factors that go into each platform, comparing costs can be difficult. However, WooCommerce will be less expensive for the majority of users.
So, WooCommerce is the winner in terms of cost.
2. A user-friendly interface:
Non-developers can still use WooCommerce, but the setup process is less complex than Shopify’s. To have a WooCommerce store, you need to buy web hosting, installation of WordPress, WooCommerce plugin, etc.
However, there is no drag-and-drop design-builder included. You can utilize a WordPress page builder such as SeedProd, which will increase your costs.
While on Shopify, you don’t have to install, administer, or update any software because it is a fully hosted platform. You also don’t need to think about security, performance, or compatibility issues.
You can choose from various free Shopify themes as soon as you sign up. After that, they’ll lead you through the customizing process and assist you with adding products.
Shopify also has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. This makes managing your product pages, sales, and inventory a cake-walk.
This directed, polished, and well-optimized user experience limits your control and is a disadvantage. You can only utilize Shopify’s design and development tools and add-ons from their store.
This, however, is not as awful as it appears. Most customers will find that Shopify’s colossal range of extensions and themes is more than enough to build their online store.
While WooCommerce has a guided setup wizard, it comes nowhere close to Shopify’s onboarding experience. This Shopify comes as a clear winner in terms of ease of use.
3. Flexibility, Plugins, and Features:
When it comes to your needs for running an eCommerce store, both of these platforms offer everything that is required such as running on mobile apps, reporting, management of customers & orders, Calculations of tax & Shipping, and offering discounts, coupons, and much more.
The difference comes in other features that you get through third-party extensions. Both work the same way but just are called by different names. WooCommerce calls them “Plugins,” and Shopify calls them “apps.”
WooCommerce has over 58,000 free plugins, and also other marketplaces like CodeCanyon have many more commercial plugins.
Meanwhile, Shopify has over 5,700 apps, which gives you a lot of versatility, but it’s far less than what WooCommerce offers. Also, you may employ a WordPress developer to build a customized integration for your website.
Because of the large collection for WooCommerce and custom development, you get greater flexibility. So, WooCommerce comes as a winner.
4. Payment Methods:
Even though there are multiple payment gateways to accept payment in digital mode, some may not be used for you or your customer. That is why it becomes essential to see if the platform you choose provides multiple payment options.
Customers can use a variety of payment methods when shopping on Shopify. Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) is its payment system, and it also accepts all major third-party payment gateways.
The issue is that each transaction done through a third-party payment gateway is charged an additional 2% cost by Shopify. This is in addition to the payment gateway’s transaction costs. But if you consider paying $299 per month for the Advanced Shopify plan, you can reduce the price to 0.5 percent.
On the other side, by default, WooCommerce accepts PayPal and Stripe payments. They also offer a Stripe-powered WooCommerce Payments solution. It also accepts payments from other well-known services such as Authorize.net, Amazon Pay, Square, Alipay, etc.
WooCommerce even supports several regional payment services when it comes to payment gateways.
Your payment gateway or bank solely charges you transaction fees as a self-hosted platform. WooCommerce never imposes a percent fee on credit card payments unless you use WooCommerce Payments, a huge bonus.
It becomes far more accessible with WooCommerce to facilitate payments, and usually, you don’t have to pay additional charges. So WooCommerce stands as a winner here.
5. Choices for design and customization:
Shopify offers basic approaches to change, design, and customize. After getting the subscription, you can start with a Shopify design template and tweak it with Shopify’s design editor, which functions like a block-based builder, although you can’t use drag-and-drop on your store’s actual preview.
WooCommerce offers the same basic approach to designing your store. You can customize and create your store by using Themes and Plugins. After you install the WooCommerce theme, you will usually be able to tweak it with a real-time editor that doesn’t require any coding.
You can install a design plugin if you wish to go beyond the options provided by your WooCommerce theme. For ex., if you use Elementor Pro, you’ll have access to Elementor WooCommerce Builder, which allows you to create using a visual, drag-and-drop interface.
Even though you get Shopify builder applications that allow you to personalize your product pages or add popups for extra versatility, you won’t have the same design flexibility as Elementor WooCommerce Builder.
So, in terms of beautifully building and designing your store, WooCommerce stands as a winner.
6. Efficiencies in scaling:
When a business grows, it requires more resources to handle its operations. Both Shopify and WooCommerce can take a big volume of traffic and orders, but they’re not made equal.
Shopify handles your store’s technical aspects, so you never have to worry about performance, security, or scalability. You can simply upgrade your Shopify plan if your business grows.
This eliminates the problematic element of growing, but it raises your business costs. The silver lining is that you will not have to hire or manage a technical team in-house, lowering your expenditures.
WooCommerce being a self-hosted platform means you’re in charge of your website’s upgrades, backups, and security. As your traffic grows, your beginner WooCommerce hosting package will run out of resources.
The good news is that because you have control over your WordPress site, you have a lot of alternatives for managing growth.
As both of these platforms are able to scale so it becomes a tie between both of them in terms of scalability.
7. Support for Clients:
WooCommerce and Shopify are both very user-friendly. However, you may require assistance from time to time to learn how to operate your store without hassle.
In WooCommerce, you can help yourself using the website’s extensive documentation, lessons, and guidelines. But like many of the open-source solution providers, it does not offer a chat feature, call, or email support. However, anyone who purchases a premium plugin or theme from WooCommerce.com now has access to 24/7 chat support.
Furthermore, if you purchase premium extensions, you will receive direct support from the developer. If you buy Elementor Pro, you’ll get immediate assistance from the Elementor team.
Your Shopify subscription provides you with direct help from Shopify professionals, such as live chat, which is a fantastic advantage. For third-party Shopify apps, you’ll need to contact the app’s developer directly for assistance or you can hire certified shopify developer.
So, the 24*7 direct support that you receive from Shopify makes it a good choice.
8. Costs of operation and maintenance:
By using WooCommerce, you become responsible for your store management. You have to mainly update your WooCommerce software and other extensions to do so. Also, backups must be made at regular intervals. These things can be outsourced to hosting service providers, which cost you extra usually up to $100-$200 every month.
Shopify takes care of this by itself. There is only backing up that needs to be done. It could be done by apps such as Rewind backup, which costs roughly around $3-$99 every month, so you don’t lose your data.
Shopify stands as a winner as it can handle most of the maintenance part, which comes at an expense, but the business owner is free to drive business.
9. Capabilities in Multiple Languages:
WordPress and WooCommerce are designed to be multilingual. Several popular plugins, such as complete localization and currency switchers, can help you convert your store into a limitless number of languages.
Shopify has a tool that allows you to create your store in up to five different languages. You can manually enter your translations or utilize a third-party translation program to assist you with the process.
WooCommerce stands out when it comes to multilingual capabilities as it provides its users to use unlimited language.
10. Settings for taxes:
Shopify and WooCommerce, both have tools to help you in collecting taxes. WooCommerce Taxes service is offered by WooCommerce, which is free to use. Also, it has some built-in settings and third-party solutions such as TaxJar and Avalara.
Shopify has built-in tax setups for the United States and Canada and the ability to create bespoke tax overrides for specific locations. You can connect to TaxJar or Avalara using Shopify apps, just like WooCommerce.
Both of these platforms are robust and comprehensive in collecting tax, so it becomes a tie between them.
11. Costs and Configurations Related to Shipping:
WooCommerce and Shopify have flexible shipping options, either built-in or through third-party add-ons and integrations. With both of these platforms, you get Shipping classes, Shipping Zones, Table rate shipping, Real-time USPS and FedEx rates, Free shipping, and Pickup & local delivery. Both platforms are good in serving the aspects of shipping cost calculation, so it’s again a tie.
You’ll be in charge of optimizing your store with WooCommerce. This includes things like picking a reputable hosting provider and setting up a content delivery network (CDN). You can rapidly make your store load if you invest in good hosting.
Because Shopify manages your hosting, you’ll have to rely on its performance optimization. It also has a CDN to speed up global load times.
When it comes to performance, both of them do their job well. Sites made in either of these two platforms load fast, making it tie again.
13. SEO Capabilities:
It is of prime importance that your customers can find you. That’s how SEO comes in the picture.
WooCommerce’s advantage is that it is built on a dedicated platform which is for blogging. WooCommerce users can customize product pages by changing alt tags, meta descriptions, and various other elements of the page by using the editor in WordPress. Also, plugins such as Yoast SEO and various others are also provided by WooCommerce to help you optimize your site.
If we look at Shopify, it has certain SEO constraints. Shopify users, in fact, are unable to alter their URLs fully. This is due to Shopify’s rigid URL structure. Furthermore, it is very tough to create sub-categories on this site.
WooCommerce takes a clear advantage in SEO and stands as the winner.
14. Insight into security:
Security becomes paramount when it comes to establishing an internet business.
You’re in charge of major areas of security with WooCommerce. To defend your site in further depth, you’ll need to purchase your own SSL certificate, enable two-factor authentication, set your site security plugins, be PCI compliant, and do a few more things on your own.
But on the other side, Shopify handles all updates, including security concerns in the backend. This solution comes with a free SSL certificate, which encrypts all data exchanged between you and your customers. The system of Shopify is also hosted on a Level 1 PCI-certified server, which is required to accept debit and credit card information.
Both of these platforms are secure, but Shopify gains an advantage by offering more than WooCommerce.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce are capable systems for launching an online store. It all boils down to your usability and preferences.
Shopify is very user-friendly. It becomes easy because users don’t install anything, and get started right away.
Shopify’s drawback is that you don’t have complete control over anything. Transaction fees, add-ons, and integrations can add up quickly. You can only upgrade to specific plans, and you can’t manage expenditures on a pay-as-you-go basis.
WooCommerce is free and open-source, giving users complete control over their website. Starting an online store with WooCommerce is much cheaper than Shopify, especially with these WooCommerce hosting companies.
The disadvantage is that you will have to keep the program up to date. It does have a slight learning curve. On the other hand, millions of newbies are already using it, and they breeze through the learning curve.
WooCommerce eCommerce platform is the most refined platform for you if you seek a cost-effective solution and want complete control over your online business. Shopify ecommerce development platform is the better platform for you if you want something that is entirely hassle-free and offers endless scalability. Now a winner Platform would depend on your type of business and requirements. However, WooCommerce excels because of its flexibility and offerings.