Woocommerce vs Shopify: Choosing the Right Platform

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In a Nutshell

Shopify and WooCommerce are both reputed eCommerce platforms that have their plus points. Shopify is a standalone platform that offers comprehensive eCommerce features and a user-friendly interface. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that presents customisation and flexibility options for WordPress users. Selecting the right choice in the WooCommerce vs Shopify debate depends on your business needs, technical expertise, and website’s framework.

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Table of Contents

This blog is an excellent read for those who are struggling to find the right platform for their business. Actually, it is much more than that. Perhaps you are interested in the WooCommerce vs Shopify debate or the eCommerce topic in general. In any case, you will find plenty of useful things here.

The fact is that there are a host of platform options in front of you. This is why making a decision regarding selecting the right one may take a bit of your time. Note that you can start your platform search by looking into two of today’s highly popular eCommerce platforms. These are WooCommerce and Shopify. Keep reading, and optimistically, you will be able to decide which among these is the right platform for you. Perhaps this knowledge will also allow you to find the best ecommerce developers for your business.

An Overview of WooCommerce vs Shopify

WooCommerce comes as a WordPress plugin, whereas Shopify is considered a reputable platform that can be used without hosting knowledge or coding experience. Let’s emphasise on their features in a thorough manner:

WooCommerce

Simply put, this is an open-source plugin that a given user can add to his WordPress application to make it an online store. Understand that this isn’t a standalone eCommerce platform, as pointed out by any reputed WooCommerce development company out there.

With WooCommerce, a given user can effortlessly set up an online store. This can be done by installing a plugin on a given WordPress website.

WooCommerce began its operations in 2011. Soon after its launch, it gained immense popularity throughout the eCommerce industry and is the most famous eCommerce solution, enjoying more than 6 million users. [Source: BuiltWith]

WooCommerce is considered to be user-friendly, offers plenty of amazing features, and unlimited customisation options. Many agencies offering search engine optimisation services have lauded the fact that WooCommerce allows you to use WordPress to run an online store.

Shopify

The Shopify platform is not open source and presents you with a host of features that correspond to various needs. It requires a monthly fee as well as a commission per sale. Moreover, it is easy for Shopify beginner users to create an online store from nothing and without coding expertise. Still, if the users seek customisation, then they may demand professional assistance.

As a whole, Shopify is regarded for its highly intuitive platform and is taken as a benchmark for many of today’s other eCommerce platforms.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Comparing Both

Let’s look at a chart that does an accurate comparison between both of the platforms. This will allow you to have a good idea of what they present to their respective users:

Features

WooCommerce

Shopify

User Number

More than 6 million (BuiltWith)

More than 4 million (BuiltWith)

Themes

No limits (paid and free)

At least 120 (paid and free)

Installation/Starting with the Platform

Intermediate difficulty

Easy

Features

  

Mobile Version

Theme dependent

Yes

Blog

Yes

Limited

Compatibility with HTML

Yes

Yes

Email Newsletters

Permitted with plugin

Yes

SEO

Yes

Yes

Help/Support

Community support and variable support from plugin editors and themes

Forum, documentation, email, chat, phone

Storage Space

Reliant on server size

Unlimited

Product Editor

WordPress Editor/Blocks

WordPress-type editor

Costs

  

Paid Offers (monthly cost)

WooCommerce is free of cost

Basic: $19

Shopify: $49

Advanced: $299

(all on a monthly basis)

Sales Commissions

No

Starting from 0.5% and goes to 2%

Trial Version

No

14-day trial

eCommerce

  

Inventory Management

Yes

Yes

Catalogue Size

Yes

Yes

Marketplaces Connection

Yes

Yes

Offline Payments Tracking

Yes

Yes

Payment Gateways

Yes

Yes

CSV Catalogue Import

Yes

Yes

WooCommerce vs Shopify: The Popularity Factor

A host of data trends, such as Google, point out that both Shopify and WooCommerce have experienced consistent popularity growth in recent years. Still, many Shopify plus agencies and other independent experts are of the opinion that Shopify has a bit of an edge here. It is quite evident that this edge will increase as time passes unless we see something drastic from WooCommerce.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Comparison in Detail

Let’s take a detailed look at the comparison of the two platforms. Note that this comparison is especially beneficial for those who are just about to start using any one of the platforms:

DropShipping

It is very important to discuss the concept of dropshipping here as it is gaining a lot of attention in recent times. Note that dropshipping comes as a business model in which a given online store behaves as a mediator between vendors and customers. The business permits them to perform their operations without having inventory.

If you are interested in operating a robust dropshipping activity, then you require an eCommerce platform that is appropriate for this sort of business. Shopify and WooCommerce present helpful dropshipping options. Still, it is important to get into the heart of this matter to see which platform has the edge:

Shopify

This is considered to be an outstanding dropshipping platform as it presents a host of add-ons and extensions which assist you in streamlining your store. Here are some of the most well-known and reputed Shopify dropshipping add-ons:

  • CJDropshipping
  • MIIUT – Unlimited Dropshipping
  • Ali Orders AliExpress Dropshipping
  • Spocket

Shopify store setup experts highlight that Shopify has the capability to integrate with third-party dropshipping marketplaces like Printify, Oberlo, and AliExpress.

WooCommerce

This is a renowned dropshipping platform that allows users a great deal of ease with the installation and integration of extensions. There are a host of dropshipping extensions on third-party extensions and WordPress repositories. These can be accessed by doing a simple online search using the “WooCommerce dropshipping extensions” terms.

Here are some famous third-party WooCommerce extensions:

  • YouDroop
  • WooDropship
  • AliDropship
  • DropshipMe

It is because of WooCommerce that you have the option of accessing a massive array of themes and plugins, thereby making it immensely customisable.

Our Pick

It has now been established that both Shopify and WooCommerce are wonderful choices for those who want to operate a dropship business. Still, we have come to the conclusion that WooCommerce has some edge in this matter. This is especially because of its ease of usability and the massive number of extensions associated with it, which allows it to be immensely customisable. Note that Shopify also presents various customisation options, but they are rather limited.

The Cost Factor

So, you are about to initiate an online store. One of the first things that should be in your mind is its overall cost. In light of this, let’s see the costs associated with both Shopify and WooCommerce.

Before we get into the details, here is a quick summary of both: WooCommerce is seen as a more affordable choice as it is free. Shopify presents a host of solutions that start from $19 per month and go as much as $299 per month. Moreover, Shopify takes from 0.5% to 2% commission on a user’s sales.

Shopify

Shopify offers you all that you need for your store as part of its pricing plan. This is great news, as you can be worry-free regarding third-party hosting, plugins, or themes.

The platform’s plans range from $19 to $299 monthly. Additionally, it charges transaction fees for those sales that are conducted via third-party payment gateways. If you go with expensive pricing plans, they may have features that you don’t require. This will mean that you will be paying for resources that you won’t use. So be careful in this regard.

WooCommerce

As stated above, WooCommerce is a free plugin associated with WordPress. This point is often greatly appreciated by agencies that are involved in WordPress website development. However, some of its associated costs include plugins, themes, and hosting plans.

For instance, a WooCommerce hosting plan can cost as little as $11 monthly and can go to more than $280. Add-ons and paid plugins can cost an average of around $50. Understand that these costs are directly related to the nature of a hosting plan or the overall features.

Our Pick

It is true that WooCommerce is a highly cost-effective choice since it is free and has no transaction fees. Regardless, you have to take into account every known cost, such as plugins, themes, and hosting.

Note that Shopify’s pricing plans have all the things that a given business requires for its online store. However, its pricing will increase as per the scaling of the business, and it can include unused resources. Therefore, it is safe to say that we don’t have a particular pick here since the winner for a business depends on its specific budget and needs.

Easy Usability

If you own an online store, then you must never underestimate the value of your time. This is especially important because you need to focus a great deal on performing a host of essential duties, such as dealing with vendors, responding to customer queries, processing orders, and taking customer feedback. This is where the WooCommerce vs Shopify debate often intensifies, especially among today’s leading custom web development service agencies that promote the usage of either one of the platforms to their customers.

Our Pick

We believe that Shopify has an edge over WooCommerce. This is because of its intuitive and clean interface. This allows it to offer a very good deal of ease to everyone, especially the non-technical users in their efforts to set up and manage their store.

Scalability

ECommerce experts from all across the world agree that scalability is critical if you want to grow your eCommerce business. In the case where your eCommerce platform can’t deal with the rising number of orders, this will have a very negative impact on your business entity. This is why it is highly important to do a scalability analysis of both WooCommerce and Shopify.

Shopify

This platform effectively looks after the majority of the technical aspects, like web hosting. This means that it will be rather easy to look after more orders and bigger stores. On top of this, it is easy to scale up since you can go with a higher plan as your business expands.

True, Shopify is seen as an expensive option; it does present itself as a one-stop solution that allows you to bypass the search for an eCommerce theme and a good hosting provider, as well as the necessity to hire a technical team.

WooCommerce

This platform’s scalability is directly related to your hosting provider’s selection. If you go with a more powerful hosting provider, you will enjoy a more scalable WooCommerce store.

Still, this translates to the fact that there will be an increase in the hosting costs, which makes WooCommerce a rather less cost-effective option.

Our Pick

Our clear preference here is Shopify, as it comes as a hosted platform that properly looks after every known technical aspect of store-related scaling.

Support

Every entity wants its online store to succeed. It is also understood that this success is highly reliant upon the support that is attained from a particular eCommerce solution. Let’s now look at the support that has been presented by both Shopify and WooCommerce.

Shopify

Many eCommerce professionals have come to appreciate the fact that Shopify offers 24/7 support via emails, calls and live chat. This makes it easy for any entity to get assistance whenever required.

Shopify is powered by a massive knowledge base and effectively guides you in replying to common queries. This will decrease the requirement to contact support for every issue. Let’s say that you require additional assistance. Here, you have the option of hiring the right Shopify expert.

WooCommerce

This is an open-source plugin that has no official support channel. Note that WooCommerce’s official website presents you with a host of resources, such as a knowledge base, videos, and tutorials.

One prominent point that has been appreciated by many WooCommerce users is that there are a great many blogs throughout the online space that extensively cover WooCommerce. This offers a great deal of assistance to users of all sorts.

Our Pick

We have come to the conclusion that Shopify presents you with a better degree of customer support than WooCommerce. This is because it is powered by a dedicated support team that offers immensely beneficial advice on sales, marketing, and technical issues.

Unfortunately, WooCommerce does not have a dedicated support team. Hopefully, they will have one in the future.

Add-Ons and Integrations

Perhaps you are truly lucky enough to see your online store grow to new heights. This will put you in a position where you will be required to include more functionalities to streamline the growth activity. Both Shopify and WooCommerce present a host of add-ons and integrations. Let’s have a better take on the matter:

Shopify

The platform has a huge library of add-ons, which are present in its app store. There are various free add-ons. At the same time, there are also those that demand a monthly subscription or a one-time premium fee. Shopify presents an add-on for almost all of the functions that a given user may require.

For instance, in the case of email marketing, you can see OptinMonster and Privy Web Push. Moreover, you can easily set up Shopify discount codes thanks to the built-in function. This is where you may set up the number of users, duration, and the type of discount. Also, accessiBe is another fantastic example that lets individuals with disabilities access a given store. This is done by offering a user interface whose design elements can be adjusted as per a user’s needs.

WooCommerce

The platform’s integration with WordPress and open-source nature means that it harnesses a massive library of extensions and plugins. Potential users can easily come across and download a host of free WooCommerce add-ons and extensions on the WordPress repository.

Furthermore, there are a host of free WooCommerce-provided add-ons available on the platform’s website, as well as other add-ons that demand a one-time fee.

Our Pick

We choose WooCommerce in this category. This is essentially because it has a massive library of extensions and plugins that present users with a greater degree of customisation options and flexibility. Unfortunately, Shopify’s proprietary nature can affect the range of add-ons and integrations that users have.

It is true that Shopify offers a huge number of add-ons. Regardless, WooCommerce’s integration with WordPress and open-source nature allow it to be our favourite.

The Security Factor

This is one of the most discussed aspects by those who actively debate regarding the WooCommerce vs Shopify issue. This is because the more secure your online store is, the better the experience it is likely to offer your customers. Having stated this, let’s now look at where both of the platforms stand:

Shopify

This is a PCI-compliant platform that presents a good overall security level. Commonly, Shopify stores present a secure browsing experience to their respective users.

Having stated this, you will be limited in your options and will rely on the platform when it comes to upgrading security standards. Furthermore, Shopify is not self-hosted. This means you are not eligible to increase your store’s security via your personalised hosting choice.

WooCommerce

It is important to highlight here that WordPress CMS is a source of joy for WooCommerce stores. There are plenty of plugins that a given user can install to enjoy high-quality security in its store. A few of the plugins are namely:

  • Wordfence
  • All in One WP Security & Firewall
  • Sucuri Security
  • IThemes Security
  • MalCare Security Solution

Our Pick

We don’t shy away from stating that WooCommerce is our obvious pick here. This is because it offers you much more when it comes to controlling security features than Shopify.

Unfortunately, Shopify does not have a proper security protocol. With WooCommerce, you have immensely good security.

Pros and Cons: WooCommerce vs Shopify

It is time to take a close look at the ups and downs of both WooCommerce and Shopify. Of course, a careful review of them will allow any given business to harness an easier time grasping which is the best possible platform for itself.

As a whole, it is important to state that there is no clear choice when it comes to ranking the pros and cons of both of the platforms. It is up to a store owner to decide which is the right platform for his business objectives after going through the pros and cons.

Shopify

Let’s discuss Shopify first:

Pros

  • User-Friendly Interface
  • A good amount of templates and themes
  • Integrated payment gateway
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Transaction fees
  • Customisation limitations
  • The cost factor

WooCommerce

Now, let’s look at WooCommerce:

Pros

  • Open source
  • Cost-effective
  • WordPress integrations and plugins
  • Customisable
  • SEO advantage
  • Scalability

Cons

  • Demands technical knowledge
  • Maintenance issues
  • Potential compatibility issues
  • No customer support

Concluding Remarks

The WooCommerce vs Shopify debate seems to be heating up among many eCommerce experts and even among web and application developer experts. It is true that both of these platforms are truly special in their own nature. You also have the option of using both Shopify and WooCommerce.

Those who want to establish a successful online business activity and look to take the most out of either WooCommerce or Shopify (or both) should try to do a proper analysis of their business first. This will allow them to better determine which platform is the best for them. This can be a rather time-consuming activity that requires input from all the associated stakeholders. But at the end of it, the analysis will put a business in a better position to make the right judgement call.

Finally, if you need more information regarding the WooCommerce vs Shopify debate, then feel free to contact FuturByte today. They are a reputed webapp development company with a globally situated client base. They would love to listen to your concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you state which platform is more suited for beginners, WooCommerce or Shopify?

This question is commonly asked by those who are rather new to online business activities or who are new to Shopify and/or WooCommerce. A simple answer here is that Shopify is commonly considered to be better suited for beginners. This is because of its comprehensive support and intuitive interface features. Having stated this, it is pertinent to mention that WooCommerce can act as the right choice for WordPress users who have a good degree of knowledge of its ecosystem.

Which platform is considered more customisable, WooCommerce or Shopify?

Many eCommerce experts agree that WooCommerce presents users with more customization options. This means that it lets users alter almost all aspects of their online store with the assistance of coding capabilities and WordPress’s extensive plugin ecosystem. Still, it is best for any given business owner to first see the customisation that is best for his business and then make a judgment call with regard to the platform selection.

I have a growing business. Which platform will be more scalable for it?

Generally, it has been agreed upon that both Shopify and WooCommerce are scalable in their own regards. Here, Shopify is commonly deemed as the right option for any rapidly growing business entity because of its dedicated support and managed hosting. When we look at WooCommerce, its overall scalability relies on the hosting and resources available on a given WordPress site.

Can you name a cost-effective option between WooCommerce and Shopify?

This is a common question among those businesses that are looking to save as much as possible with their operational activities or have a limited budget at their disposal. Note that WooCommerce is a free-to-use WordPress plugin. But if you need to make use of additional themes and extensions or hosting, then you have to pay for it.

Shopify has monthly subscription plans. This includes hosting and support. Unless you are using Shopify Payments, additional transaction fees apply.

Can you highlight the WooCommerce vs Shopify market share?

According to the data compiled by websites such as MobiLoud and ColorWhistle, WooCommerce has a share of around 64% of the entire market. This is much more than Shopify’s, which is 16%. This is why when comparing WooCommerce vs Shopify’s market share, it is obvious that WooCommerce has a substantial lead.

Additionally, it is important to mention that despite this, Shopify enjoys the lead for bigger and properly established businesses, as it has a higher market share among the top million websites.

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