For first-time entrepreneurs, a major choice lies in selecting the right ecommerce platform that will be the cornerstone of their long-term business plan. With so many ecommerce platforms clamoring for attention, newbies can have a hard time finding the best solution.
WooCommerce and Shift4Shop (formerly known as 3DCart) are two names that have garnered enough attention over the past few years. But which of these is best suited for entrepreneurs and ecommerce store owners? Let’s compare them side by side to conclude the better option.
- WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: An Overview
- WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: Quick Comparison
- What Features Should You Look for in an Ecommerce Platform?
- WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: Features
- WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: Which Ecommerce Platform Is More Popular?
- WooCommerce Hosting vs. Shift4Shop Hosting
- WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: Pros & Cons
WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: An Overview
Let’s have a quick introduction to both contenders and what they offer. Already know about WooCommerce and Shift4Shop? Jump right into their comparison.
WooCommerce is an ecommerce plugin that can be added to any WordPress site to instantly set up an ecommerce store. This free, open-source plugin is built for businesses of all sizes.
Developed by WooThemes in 2011 and acquired later by Automattic in 2015, WooCommerce has become the most widely used ecommerce platform. It’s known worldwide for its ease of use and customization.
Shift4Shop is a fully-hosted ecommerce platform that lets you create an online store. Formerly known as 3DCart, Shift4Shop took over 3DCart in 2020 and pledged to offer its services for free.
It offers pre-built ecommerce templates and tons of built-in features to facilitate your ecommerce store. There are also conversion tools for added sales and 24/7 active customer support.
WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: Quick Comparison
|Deployments||Cloud, SaaS, Web-based, Desktop – Windows, Desktop – Linux||Cloud, SaaS, Web-based, Desktop – Windows, Desktop – Mac, Desktop – Linux, Desktop – Chromebook|
|Support||Forum, knowledge base, and forum||Email, knowledge base, forum, phone, and chat support|
|Free Version||Freelancers, small to mid-sized businesses||Freelancers and small businesses|
|Social Media Integration||Yes||Yes|
|Training||Documentation and videos||In-person, webinars, documentation, and videos|
What Features Should You Look for in an Ecommerce Platform?
Make sure the platform you choose accounts for the following.
The digital world is pretty unpredictable. Your store traffic may experience spikes following a new trend or the changing seasons. Your site must always be prepared to handle such spikes.
Most ecommerce platforms offer scalability at additional expense, which can deter newbies. Look for a platform that provides scalability with minimum or no cost. Among our two contenders, WooCommerce allows easy scaling depending on the type of hosting that powers the store.
Many ecommerce platforms impose changes when sales move above a preset threshold. Users often perceive this as a limitation on the growth of the business.
Ease of Use
Most ecommerce store owners are not tech-savvy enough to tackle the regular requirements of managing a platform. A newbie or a non-technical user must always opt for a platform that provides prompt support and has an active community to avoid blockages.
You cannot always depend upon the preset options offered by any ecommerce platform. Every platform requires customization to fully meet your business needs.
Always pick an ecommerce platform that offers flexibility in the store’s design and development. Not all ecommerce platforms offer customization, so look into your options.
WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: Features
The table below compares WooCommerce and Shift4Shop against each feature. The justification of this comparison is provided for each feature separately in the following sections.
|Owning the Platform||Design and customization flexibility||Pre-built templates & features
|Security and Privacy||WooCommerce security plugins||Secure checkout process
|Design and Usability||User-friendly design
Offers plugins to customize UX
|Simple admin panel
|Scaling and Growth||Easy scalability
Unlimited product listings
|Supports scalability via free and paid add-ons|
|Cost-effectiveness||Free||Free for only US customers|
|Community & Support||A huge community of designers, developers, and video content creators||24/7 customer support, forums, and knowledge base|
Owning the Platform
Ecommerce requires a platform that grants owners complete store control and offers user-friendliness & affordability.
WooCommerce provides complete flexibility in design and customization. It’s also easily scalable, offers platform-level protection, and has a thriving community. And its simple interface makes adding/removing product listing easier.
Shift4Shop does not offer customization like WooCommerce, but users can find ease in its pre-built ecommerce template and built-in features. Plus, you get to own all rights to your content.
Security and Privacy
Security is a paramount business requirement for ecommerce stores that can never be compromised.
WooCommerce solidifies its security by letting store owners add plugins to their websites to protect against malware, spammers, and brute force attacks. It lets the owners mark product data and information as private. Owners can also add a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for improved security (offered free at Cloudways).
Shift4Shop also offers a secure checkout process and lets you add additional SSL. To top it all off, Shift4Shop is PCI-compliant, implying it follows all the strict standards for secure payments.
– Source: Shift4Shop
Design and Usability
Design and usability directly impact the user experience and offer a first impression to your customers.
Websites hosted on WooCommerce are quite manageable and have a simple, appealing & user-friendly design. Moreover, it offers plugins to its users so they may customize and improve the UX to meet their brands’ requirements.
Shift4Shop offers a simple admin panel, making it possible for even non-tech-savvy users to create their stores from scratch and navigate easily. Additionally, the pre-built responsive designs, add-ons, and customizable templates further improve the user experience.
Scaling and Growth
Every ecommerce owner aspires to grow their business. That’s why their ecommerce platform should support scalability to meet their growing business requirements.
WooCommerce allows its users to scale their websites as per their needs. It does not limit users by the number of product listings or orders processed. Also, it lets store owners integrate payment models of their choice by installing plugins.
You can even list 100,000+ products or more and handle thousands of transactions per minute (Source: WooCommerce) if you are backed with premium hosting support.
Shift4Shop also supports scalability via free and paid add-ons that you may integrate into your ecommerce store. It offers multiple growth tiers ranging from a single user to enterprise level.
It also integrates with all the leading ecommerce apps for easier payment, shipping, and accounting processes.
Users on a budget need affordable options to minimize their total cost.
WooCommerce is a free platform that can be used to start and set up a store with a few clicks. It also offers free plugins to further customize your store and improve your business growth.
Earlier, as 3dcart, the company charged its customers for the ecommerce platform. However, when Shift4Shop took over, they revised their payment model and offered their services for free. It also adds features like unlimited products, staff users, bandwidth, 24/7 support, and much more.
But note that their free services are available to the US customers only, and they charge non-US customers the rates mentioned in the image below:
Community & Support
Issues arise with every platform, and ecommerce platforms are no exception. Users can resort to documentation or video tutorials. Or they may require a phone, live chat, or email support for custom issues.
WooCommerce has a massive community of designers, developers, bloggers, and video content creators who have provided solutions for all major recurring issues.
Shift4Shop goes a step ahead and offers 24/7 customer support, forums, and an extensive knowledge base for problem-solving.
WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: Which Ecommerce Platform Is More Popular?
WooCommerce and Shift4Shop are both popular ecommerce options, but to learn which one is ahead of the curve, let’s consult Google Trends.
WooCommerce is quite popular, as indicated by the search volume numbers above. In contrast, the trend chart below shows how Shift4Shop’s growth fluctuates but remains stagnant with a lower search volume than WooCommerce.
WooCommerce Hosting vs. Shift4Shop Hosting
WooCommerce does not offer its own hosting but managed hosting providers like Cloudways offer WooCommerce hosting for as low as $10/month.
Cloudways WooCommerce hosting includes features like Cloudflare, optimized stack, 24/7 active support, and free Object Cache Pro (originally priced at $95), among many other benefits. There are a couple more cheap hosting options, but opting for them means compromising your store’s security, speed, and performance.
You can experience the brilliance of WooCommerce hosting with Cloudways’ free 3-day trial. And no, unlike other platforms, you aren’t required to input your credit card details to test out its services.
Shift4Shop offers monthly and yearly hosting plans to let you create an online store. It offers free transactions, unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 support, unlimited products, and more on all of its plans.
WooCommerce vs. Shift4Shop: Pros & Cons
- Integrates well with other applications
- Customization options
- Free and open-source
- Has an active community
- Lacks proper shipping fee management
- Difficult to implement multi-currency
- Paid extensions
- Built-in features
- Ease of use
- Unlimited products and monthly data transfers on all plans
- Multiple integrations
- Weak support for non-US customers
- Charges non-US customers
- Outdated templates
After analyzing both platforms, I believe WooCommerce is a better choice for first-time entrepreneurs starting an online business that aims for long-term growth. Shift4Shop is costlier and doesn’t provide as much design or customization flexibility as is required to launch a business.
Sarim Javaid is a Digital Content Producer at Cloudways. He has a habit of penning down his random thoughts and giving words and meaning to the clutter of ideas colliding inside his mind. His obsession with Google and his curious mind add to his research-based writing. Other than that, he's a music and art admirer and an overly-excited person.