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WooCommerce vs Shopify

If you’re considering launching your own online store, there are two primary platform options for you to choose from – WooCommerce or Shopify. As the world’s top two eCommerce platforms, each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so how do you pick the right one for you and your business?

It couldn’t be more important to select a platform that is a good fit with your business requirements if you want to achieve online selling success, so this detailed comparison of WooCommerce vs Shopify should help you to determine which one is best to meet your needs.

An Outline Of Both Platforms

Before looking in-depth at these two popular platforms, we’ll take a look at some of the basics.

Shopify is a one-stop-shop eCommerce platform that makes it simple to create your online store, manage your inventory and accept payments without worrying about all the technical elements of managing your own website, like caching, security and web hosting.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, is an eCommerce open-source plugin for WordPress which enables you to easily leverage a powerful CMS (content management system) and utilise it to operate your online store. Thanks to its open-source nature, it’s possible to customise all aspects of the store and build your own custom extensions with ease.

What Do I Need From My eCommerce Platform?

Before you can choose between Shopify and WooCommerce, you need to decide what you actually need from an eCommerce platform. Some factors to consider include:

  • User-friendliness
  • Budget
  • Integrations of 3rd party tools and services
  • Payment methods it supports
  • Scalability

So, how does WooCommerce compare with Shopify on the above fronts?

The Cost Of Shopify vs WooCommerce

When it comes to costs, Shopify has an affordable basic plan which can then be upgraded depending on whether you have advanced requirements. All plans include an SSL certificate, web hosting and a domain name. Even the basic plan offers all the features you need to launch a simple online store with the ability to have two user accounts, add an unlimited number of products and unlimited storage of files. If you want to add on other extras and 3rd party tools though, you’ll need to pay for the upgrade, and as the business grows, those costs add up considerably too far more than your original basic plan price. Not only that, but you’ll also have to add on the cost of receiving payments, and with fairly high payment processing fees, these costs too will rise exponentially.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a much more affordable option. The plugin itself is free of charge, but you’ll still need to add on the cost of your domain name, WordPress hosting and SSL certificate. Fortunately, many hosting companies now offer special hosting plans which will reduce the cost significantly. Even better, WooCommerce charges no fees on transactions. Although paid extensions can cause costs to mount up, there are many free alternatives that can be added on without any additional payments.

Is WooCommerce Or Shopify Easier To Use?

Shopify’s platform is fully hosted with no need to manage, install or update software and security, backups, compatibility issues and performance can also be forgotten about. Meanwhile, the drag-and-drop interface makes it a breeze to manage products, inventory and sales. On the downside, though, your control is limited. Only Shopify’s own tools or marketplace add-ons can be used, and this impacts on your ability to customise your store.

If you choose WooCommerce, you’ll need a developer (me) to install the platform yourself, keep backups, manage updates and maintain security. As an added advantage, WooCommerce is extremely flexible in terms of customisation. You have complete control over your store and thanks to an enormous number of WordPress plugins you can add a huge variety of functions to your site.

Payment Options For Both Platforms

Lots of payment gateways are available for accepting online payments and customers love this variety. For this reason, you need to select a platform which offers a range of payment methods.

Shopify offers payment solutions of its own – Shopify payments – together with the most popular 3rd party gateways like Amazon Payments, Stripe, and PayPal. Unfortunately, a fee of 2% is charged by Shopify on all transactions made via 3rd party gateways and this is in addition to the payment gateway’s own transaction fees.

Stripe and PayPal are offered by default by WooCommerce but all other well-known payment services are also supported via add-ons. Even less popular and regional payment services are supported. Also, transaction fees are only charged by your bank or payment gateway, not by WooCommerce itself.

Add-Ons And Integrations

To grow your online store, you’ll need 3rd party services and tools. Both platforms offer this capacity with Shopify offering its own app store in which it’s possible to purchase hundreds of different paid add-ons. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is open source and gives you access to over 55,000 WordPress free plugins along with numerous other paid plugins. WooCommerce has far more options available than Shopify, and this allows you to really customise your store.

Does Shopify Or WooCommerce Allow For Better Scalability?

Both platforms are scalable to handle more orders and traffic over time. However, when you choose Shopify, you’ll be paying for the privilege through an upgraded plan. WooCommerce, on the other hand, while requiring you to pay more in hosting costs as your business grows, gives you greater resource management and more options for managing your growth.

So – WooCommerce vs Shopify – Which Should I Choose?

As you can see, both WooCommerce and Shopify are powerful platforms for launching your own eCommerce store. However, while Shopify is simpler to use it cannot give you the level of control and customisation that WooCommerce can. WooCommerce is also more affordable, especially at the outset. With this in mind, if you’re looking for a lower cost, highly customisable eCommerce platform solution, WooCommerce could be the one for you. If you’re looking to set up an online business contact me and let’s discuss your options in detail