Shopify Versus WooCommerce: Which Platform is the Best?

One of the most exciting ways to use your small business website is to get your products and services into the hands of your customers quickly and easily. Today’s eCommerce solutions make that possible. The most well-known players are Shopify and WooCommerce, so it’s only natural you’re probably wondering which one is the best choice for your business. Here’s a look at both eCommerce platforms to help you decide. 

Shopify Features 

Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that both Shopify and WooCommerce deliver robust eCommerce solutions packed with features and conveniences that attract customers, help you close sales, and fill orders. Users have access to sales reports, prices, shipping and tax info, coupons, and discounts, which can be easily modified as needed. But there are key differences. Much of the decision between Shopify vs. WooCommerce will come down to your personal preference. 

Shopify is a turnkey, subscription-based eCommerce platform that delivers everything you need to get started selling online. Offline sales are also possible with Shopify’s app. As it is an out-of-the-box system, Shopify does limit you to what kind of modifications you can make to your online store. However, with dozens of options to choose from, you will likely find a combination that looks and performs the way you want. With Shopify, there’s no need for separate website hosting. Your store and eCommerce data live on its server, and your SSL certificate is included. Sellers have no limits on the number of items for sale or online data storage. 

WooCommerce Features

WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin eCommerce tool for online selling that you add to your existing website set-up. Because it’s open-source, you can modify the look and performance of your store so it truly reflects your company’s brand and vision. You can purchase and modify pre-made themes or shop for themes that match your existing WordPress theme for a seamless appearance. WooCommerce is hosted by you as part of your website installation so you have full control over your data at all times. Your data storage is limited only by your website hosting package. WooCommerce users set up their own SSL certificate. 

Key Differences in Costs

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that’s really oversimplifying the costs involved in running this platform. In WooCommerce, plans aren’t offered because it’s an open-source system; rather, you can pick and choose additional plug-ins a la carte, and each comes with a different price. Plus, you’ll have to factor in the cost of your website hosting package, and any other subscription or priced plugins you’re using. 

Shopify offers three subscription plans, and as they cover everything you need to run your store, it’s easier to calculate your upfront and continuing costs. The three plans are Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify, with tiered levels of transaction fees. Small business owners can save by purchasing multi-year subscriptions at a discount.

Key Differences in Payments

Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer sellers the capacity to accept multiple payment types, from credit cards to PayPal, Stripe, bank account transfers, and more. Shopify also offers a payment module embedded in its system known as Shopify Payments. It’s a function of Stripe to give Shopify its ability to handle off-line payments via the Shopify app. Users of WooCommerce have Paypal, Stripe, and bank transfer modules built-in, with many additional payment modules available through plugins. 

Shopify charges sellers transaction fees in addition to whatever PayPal, Stripe or other payment processing provider charges. If Shopify users go with a payment module other than Shopify Payments, additional Shopify transaction fees apply. These fees vary by the Shopify subscription plan, with Basic Shopify users paying the highest fees. WooCommerce does not charge users fees on top of whatever your payment processing provider charges. 

Other Considerations in Choosing Shopify vs. WooCommerce

Looks and transaction fees can weigh heavily in deciding on an eCommerce platform. But those aren’t the only factors to consider. For example, WooCommerce users don’t get to the store-building part until after they’ve set up their WordPress account and configured their WooCommerce plugin in WordPress. Shopify offers a built-in wizard that guides users through the process of setting up a storefront – no previous website needed. 

  • Shopify users can contact tech support for assistance 24/7, while WooCommerce users must submit a help ticket. While waiting for an answer, they can check online forums for problem-solving ideas. 
  • Shopify can easily scale up or down because everything is hosted on its servers, while WooCommerce is hosted on your server so any unanticipated spike in traffic could leave you scrambling to upgrade your hosting plan. 
  • As a hosted system, Shopify takes care of typical security concerns. Hosting WooCommerce yourself means the security of your shop is in your hands, just like your website. 
  • Shopify’s social network integration function makes it easy to expand your reach, while WooCommerce’s integration with WordPress allows you to maximize SEO performance. 

Use Your Needs as a Guide

If you’re looking for someone else to worry about all of the backend coding and mechanics that make your eCommerce shop work with implementation costs you can easily calculate, Shopify may be the solution for you. However, your ability to customize your shop may be limited. To realize the greatest financial benefit, you’re locked into Shopify’s own payment processing system. 

On the other hand, if you want maximum control over your shop, WooCommerce has virtually no limits on what can be modified. If you aren’t quite tech-savvy enough to modify WooCommerce yourself, there are plenty of additional plugins that perform specific functions or you can hire someone to do the coding for you. The costs involved in setting up WooCommerce may be opaque but you also always have the option to modify your installation to save costs where possible. 

Our expert website developers can help with your eCommerce platform, no matter which one you choose, Shopify vs. WooCommerce. From product descriptions and shop maintenance to SEO and more, we provide skilled and insightful eCommerce support so you can focus on your company. Contact us to learn more about how the right eCommerce platform can save you time and money and increase your sales and customer reach.

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