Are you thinking about starting your own ecommerce store or upgrading your existing one?
With so many options available, it can be tough to decide which platform is the best fit for your business. You may have heard of two popular ecommerce platforms, WooCommerce and Shopify, but aren’t sure which one to choose.
Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! As a business owner, you want a platform that’s flexible, affordable, and packed with features. But, let’s face it, each platform has its own set of complexities that you need to weigh before making a decision.
This article will take a closer look at WooCommerce and Shopify and help you understand their differences, so you may make a informed decision.
Let’s dive in.
- WooCommerce vs Shopify: An Overview
- WooCommerce vs Shopify: Comparison
- WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which Ecommerce Store is More Popular?
- WooCommerce V/S Shopify: Detailed Comparison
- How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Online Store
- Let’s Hear It From Users Who Migrated to WooCommerce From Shopify
WooCommerce vs Shopify: An Overview
While WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, Shopify is a standalone platform that requires no coding or hosting knowledge. Let’s compare both across various features to understand their difference in a better manner.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin that you can add to your WordPress application to turn into an online store. It’s not a standalone ecommerce platform.
With WooCommerce, you can easily set up an online store by installing the plugin on your WordPress site.
Launched in 2011, WooCommerce quickly gained popularity within the ecommerce industry and has become the most popular ecommerce solution, with over 6.2 million users. (Source: BuiltWith)
This is because it’s user-friendly, packed with powerful features, and offers unlimited customization options. What makes it really great is that you can use WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), to run your online store.
What is Shopify?
Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify is not an open-source platform but offers a wide range of features to meet different needs.
Shopify requires a monthly fee along with a commission on every sale. However, Shopify makes it easy for beginners to build an online store from scratch, even without coding skills. That being said, customization may require professional assistance.
Overall, Shopify is known for its intuitive platform and is considered the benchmark for other ecommerce platforms.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Comparison
Here’s a concise chart comparing the two platforms. Review it to have a fair idea of what each platform offers.
|Points of Difference (PoD)||WooCommerce||Shopify|
|Number of Users||6,202,240
|Number of Themes||Unlimited
(free and paid)
(free and paid)
|Getting Started/Installation||Intermediate||Very easy|
|Blog||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Mobile Version||Depends on the theme||Yes|
|Email Newsletters||Yes, but with a plugin||Yes|
|Help and Support||Very active community
(forums and blogs),
variable support from
themes and plugins editors
|Phone, chat, email,
|Product Editor||WordPress Editor/Blocks||WordPress-type editor|
|Storage Space||Depends on server size||Unlimited|
|CSV Catalog Import||Yes||Yes|
|Offline Payments Tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Trial Version||No||14-day trial (without a credit card)|
|Sales Commissions||No||From 0.5% to 2%|
|Paid Offers (monthly price)||WooCommerce is a free plugin|| Basic: $25/mo
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which Ecommerce Store is More Popular?
By checking the Google Trends data for the past few years, it becomes apparent that both WooCommerce and Shopify have experienced consistent growth in popularity. However, Shopify has a slight edge over WooCommerce.
WooCommerce V/S Shopify: Detailed Comparison
Dropshipping is a business model where an online store acts as a mediator between customers and vendors, allowing them to operate without holding inventory.
To run a successful dropshipping business, you need an ecommerce platform suited to this kind of business. Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer great options for dropshipping. But let’s explore which one is better.
WooCommerce is a popular platform for dropshipping because it makes it easy to install and integrate extensions. There are numerous dropshipping extensions available on the WordPress repository and third-party extensions that can be found by searching “WooCommerce dropshipping extensions” on Google.
Some top third-party WooCommerce extensions include:
With WooCommerce, you can access a vast array of plugins and themes, making it highly customizable. Check out this article to read more about WooCommerce Dropshipping Plugins.
Shopify is also an excellent dropshipping platform, offering various extensions and add-ons to help streamline your store. Some of the best Shopify dropshipping add-ons- include:
- Ali Orders AliExpress Dropship
- MIIUT ‑ Unlimited Dropshipping
Additionally, Shopify integrates with third-party dropshipping marketplaces such as AliExpress, Oberlo, and Printify.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify are great options for running a dropshipping business. However, WooCommerce has a slight edge due to its ease of use and a vast number of extensions, making it highly customizable. While Shopify also offers some customization options, they may be more limited.
When launching an online store, the cost is one of the first factors to consider. So how much does WooCommerce or Shopify cost?
The answer is: it depends!
WooCommerce is cheaper since it is free, while Shopify offers solutions ranging from $25 to $399 per month and takes between 0.5 and 2% commission on your sales. Let’s dig a little deeper to better understand the cost of both the platforms.
WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress, making it a more cost-effective option than Shopify. However, other costs include hosting plans, themes, and plugins.
For example, a Cloudways managed WooCommerce hosting plan can cost at least $11 per month, and a paid theme can range from $30 to $300 or more.
Paid plugins and add-ons can cost around $50 on average. Remember that these costs can increase if you need a bigger hosting plan or additional features.
In a similar vein of smart investment, our Web Hosting Pricing Calculator offers tailored recommendations for the optimal server size based on your traffic. This tool doesn’t stop there; it also facilitates a comprehensive comparison between Cloudways and top competitors.
With Shopify, everything you need for your online store is included in your pricing plan, so you don’t have to worry about third-party hosting, themes, or plugins.
However, pricing plans range from $9 to $299 per month, and Shopify charges a transaction fee for sales made through third-party payment gateways. It’s important to note that the more advanced pricing plans may include features that you don’t need, resulting in paying for unused resources.
While WooCommerce is a more cost-effective option since it’s free and doesn’t charge transaction fees, it’s essential to consider all costs, including hosting, themes, and plugins.
Shopify’s pricing plans include everything you need for your online store, but the price can increase as you scale and may include unused resources. Ultimately, the winner depends on your specific needs and budget.
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Ease of Use
As an online store owner, your time is valuable, and you want to focus on essential tasks like taking customer feedback, processing orders, replying to customer queries, and dealing with vendors. And you need an ecommerce platform that is easy to use and maintain to achieve this ideal situation.
Let’s see how WooCommerce, when installed on WordPress, compares with Shopify regarding user-friendliness.
After installing WooCommerce, you will see different options on your WordPress dashboard, including adding products, orders, coupons, and more. You can add products or customize the appearance directly from the dashboard with just a few clicks.
However, remember that WooCommerce can be more complex since it’s a plugin for WordPress and requires some knowledge of WordPress to use effectively. It also requires more initial configuration since you need to install and configure WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin.
Getting started with Shopify is easy, and creating your online store is a breeze.
- All you need to do is fill in the details and click next until the store is created.
- Once the store is created, you’ll have the following interface.
- Now add a product to your Shopify store. Click on the “Add Product” button.
- you will be directed to a page where you can add your product details.
- Click the “Save” button to add your products to your Shopify store.
Regarding ease of use, Shopify is generally considered more user-friendly than WooCommerce due to its clean and intuitive interface, making it easy for even non-technical users to set up and manage their stores.
When it comes to growing your ecommerce business, scalability is essential. If your ecommerce platform can’t handle the increasing number of orders, your business will suffer. Here’s a comparison of the scalability of two popular ecommerce solutions, WooCommerce and Shopify.
WooCommerce’s scalability depends on the hosting provider you choose. The more powerful the hosting provider, the more scalable your WooCommerce store will be.
However, this also means that hosting costs will increase, making WooCommerce less budget-friendly than Shopify. A reliable hosting provider like Cloudways can provide the necessary tools to facilitate growth and scalability.
Shopify takes care of most technical aspects, including web hosting, making it easy to handle larger stores and more orders. Scaling up is also easy, as you can switch to a higher plan as your business grows.
While Shopify may be considered more expensive, it offers a one-stop-shop solution that saves you from the hassle of searching for a good hosting provider and ecommerce theme and the need to hire a technical team.
Overall, Shopify is the preferred choice for scalability as it is a hosted platform that takes care of all the technical aspects of scaling your store.
The success of your online store also depends on the support you receive from your ecommerce solution. Here’s a comparison of the support offered by WooCommerce and Shopify.
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin with no official support channel. However, the official WooCommerce website offers a range of resources such as tutorials, videos, and a knowledge base.
There are also plenty of blogs on the internet that cover WooCommerce extensively, which can be helpful. A managed WooCommerce hosting provider like Cloudways can also provide 24/7 support through live chat, calls, and a ticketing system.
Shopify provides 24/7 support through live chat, calls, and emails, making it easy to get help whenever needed.
They also have an extensive knowledge base and guides to answer common questions, reducing the need to contact support for every issue. If you need additional help, you can also hire a Shopify expert.
Shopify offers better customer support than WooCommerce, with a dedicated support team that can provide expert advice on technical issues, marketing, and sales. WooCommerce, on the other hand, lacks a dedicated support team.
Integrations and Add-ons
As your online store grows, you need to add more functionalities to streamline the growth process. WooCommerce and Shopify offer many integrations and add-ons, but let’s see which platform has the upper hand in this area.
WooCommerce’s open-source nature and integration with WordPress mean it has a vast library of plugins and extensions. You can easily find and download many free WooCommerce extensions and add-ons on the WordPress repository.
In addition, WooCommerce offers add-ons on woocommerce.com, some of which are free, while others require a one-time fee.
Shopify also has an extensive library of add-ons available on its app store. While some add-ons are free, others require a one-time premium fee or a monthly subscription. Shopify offers an add-on for almost every function you need.
For example, for email marketing, you can check out Privy Web Push and OptinMonster. Setting up Shopify discount codes is also easy with the built-in function, where you can set up the type of discount, duration, and number of users.
WooCommerce wins this category because of its vast library of plugins and extensions, which offers users more flexibility and customization options. Shopify’s proprietary nature can limit the range of integrations and add-ons available to users.
While Shopify still provides a great selection of add-ons, WooCommerce’s open-source nature and integration with WordPress give it the edge in this area.
Level of Security
How secure is your online store contributes a lot to the experience your customers will have. Let’s see how both these platforms do in terms of security.
Tthe WordPress CMS is where things become amazing for WooCommerce stores. There are so many plugins that you can install to have tight-locked security for your stores. Some of the plugin options include:
- MalCare Security Solution
- iThemes Security
- Sucuri Security
- All In One WP Security & Firewall
Plus, having secure WooCommerce hosting can offer solid additional layers of security to your WooCommerce store.
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Shopify is a PCI-compliant platform that offers a decent level of security. Shopify stores usually offer a secure browsing experience to users.
However, you’ll always be limited with the options you have and always be dependent on the platform to keep upgrading its security standards. Also, Shopify isn’t a self-hosted platform which means you can’t tighten your store’s security with your own hosting choice.
WooCommerce is a clear winner in the security game. Why? Because you have a lot more control over the security of your store compared to Shopify.
Shopify does have a decent security protocol in place, but there’s very little wiggle room. Whereas, with WooCommerce, you can have as tight a security as you like with top-notch security and WooCommerce hosting options.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify: Pros and Cons
Let’s look at the positives and negatives of each platform now. After reviewing them, you’ll have an easier time understanding which one is the right platform for you.
Note that both these platforms have some positives and some negatives. As a store owner, it’s your job to choose something that’s a right fit for you depending on your work style, business model, market scenario, etc. That said, let’s have a deeper look at the pros and cons of each platform.
WooCommerce: Pros and Cons
- Open Source:
WooCommerce is an open-source platform. Those with technical knowledge can do as many customizations as they want. Plus, the developers float out continuous updates of the plugin.
Being a free WordPress plugin, the initial costs are low. You can just pay for a good WooCommerce hosting and domain name and get started. Because WordPress and WooCommerce are both free to use.
- WordPress Integration and Plugins:
Since WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, users benefit from the powerful content management capabilities of WordPress. Plus, there’s a vast library of plugins compatible with WooCommerce in different areas like security, SEO, backups, payment gateways, etc.
With access to the code and a vast community of developers, you can create a highly tailored online store. You may need some technical assistance with it, though.
- SEO Advantage:
Integrated with WordPress, which is known for its SEO capabilities, giving online stores a potential advantage in search engine rankings. You can install plugins such as Yoast and All-in-one SEO.
With the right hosting environment and setup, WooCommerce can handle large stores and high traffic. So, setting up large stores on the platform isn’t an issue.
- Requires Technical Knowledge:
If you want to have a highly customized store, you’ll need some technical knowledge. You can work around this point by hiring technical assistance.
Being self-hosted means you’re responsible for updates, backups, and security.
- Potential Compatibility Issues:
Keeping the plugins updated with the site can be a hassle. However, with self-updating options such as SafeUpdates by Cloudways, your store updates on autopilot. It even resists updates if the update of a certain plugin can cause problems with the store. So, this issue isn’t something to fret about.
- No Customer Support:
WooCommerce doesn’t offer any support to users. However, there’s a vast community of WooCommerce users available to help you.
Shopify: Pros and Cons
- User-Friendly Interface:
Shopify offers a clean dashboard. Users can easily set up a store and manage it. While Shopify can be restrictive in various aspects, its ease of set up is surely worth noting.
- A Decent Range of Themes and Templates:
Shopify provides a variety of customizable templates which can sufficiently cater to many types of businesses.
- Integrated Payment Gateway:
Shopify Payments allows merchants to accept credit cards directly without third-party accounts, although it also supports other payment gateways. This can be a beginner-friendly solution for merchants who want to do business without worrying much about payment gateway integrations.
- 24/7 Customer Support:
Shopify provides round-the-clock customer support via phone, chat, and email. This means if you ever get stuck, help is readily available.
- Transaction Fees:
If you’re not using Shopify Payments, the platform charges additional transaction fees. This can especially be a problem for bigger stores who’d not want to pay a lot in transaction fees.
- Customization Limitations:
For more advanced customizations, users might need to know Liquid, Shopify’s templating language, or hire a developer.
Shopify can be a costly platform to use, considering the monthly fee, transaction fees, and any paid apps or themes. Plus, you may need a developer for special customizations, which will be an additional cost.
- Platform Lock-in:
Migrating away from Shopify to another platform can be a complicated process, especially if you’ve used a lot of Shopify-specific features or apps.
How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Online Store
Choosing the right ecommerce platform can be confusing, especially if you are unsure what to look for. While platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify are popular choices, it is essential to clearly understand your needs as a store owner to make an informed decision.
Here are some key factors to consider before choosing an ecommerce platform:
1. Getting Started
If you are already familiar with WordPress and its ecosystem, WooCommerce can be an easy option. However, with WordPress and WooCommerce, you are responsible for installation and maintenance.
On the other hand, Shopify is the easiest platform to get started with, as it guides you through creating your ecommerce store without requiring any technical skills.
2. Ease of Use
As an online store owner, you should focus on essential business-related tasks like taking customer feedback, processing orders, and dealing with vendors.
Look for an ecommerce platform that allows you to create and manage your online store with ease. WooCommerce simplifies ecommerce payment processing, making it a good choice for those who prioritize ease of use.
3. Third-Party Integration
Running an ecommerce store requires multiple tools and services like email marketing and social media tools. Choose an ecommerce platform that easily integrates with these tools. WooCommerce, for example, integrates with MailChimp.
4. Scalability and Growth
Your ecommerce platform should support your business’s growth without limiting it. Ensure that your ecommerce platform allows for customization and scalability, so you can grow your business the way you like.
5. Hosting Options
Reliable hosting is crucial for ecommerce stores that can experience traffic spikes during sales and special offers season. Shopify is a proprietary platform, meaning that your ecommerce store is hosted on Shopify’s servers.
With WooCommerce, you choose the provider to host your ecommerce store and can opt for an auto-scalable ecommerce hosting provider to ensure your store remains operational despite traffic spikes.
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The user interface (UI) is an essential consideration for every ecommerce store, as it creates the first and lasting impression on visitors.
WooCommerce does not have a theme store, but you can find great-looking and functional themes at marketplaces like ThemeForest. Ensure you choose a lightweight, responsive theme that provides a smooth experience for visitors on all devices.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer features expected from a top-of-the-line ecommerce platform.
To extend their capabilities further, you can opt for extensions and add-ons that plug into the platform seamlessly. WooCommerce offers a host of extensions, while Shopify has a large App Store with nearly 500 applications.
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8. Payment Gateways
Payment options are essential to any ecommerce platform, including WooCommerce and Shopify.
Shopify offers its own payment gateway called Shopify Payments, which is powered by Stripe, as well as third-party payment gateways such as PayPal and Amazon Payments.
However, Shopify Payments is only available in certain countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. If you are in another country, you must use a third-party payment gateway, which may come with a cost.
For other countries, you need to use a third-party (possibly paid) payment gateway.
WooCommerce also offers multiple payment gateway integrations. PayPal and Stripe are free, while other solutions like Authorize.Net, Amazon Payments, and Braintree require an annual fee of around $100. Stripe and PayPal are good options for launching an ecommerce store.
9. Shipping Methods
Both WooCommerce and Shopify allow you to set shipping costs based on various parameters such as product size, weight, and delivery location. To further customize your shipping options, you can integrate real-time calculation of shipping costs with different delivery options such as FedEx and UPS.
For WooCommerce, you will need to purchase a plugin to add this functionality.
With Shopify, you need to opt for at least the Advanced Shopify plan to access this feature.
Note that Shopify has partnerships with top players in product delivery, including Amazon and Rakuten, which can provide practical solutions to your logistics needs.
10. User Friendliness
If you are not a developer, user-friendliness is crucial when choosing an ecommerce platform. WooCommerce offers simplicity and customization, but advanced customization may require a professional developer.
Shopify’s drag-and-drop interface makes setting up an online store easy, but making advanced changes will still require some technical skills.
11. Multilingual Support
Shopify is not the best option for multilingual stores, but you can use the langify app to offer multiple languages and currencies for $17.50 per month.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for multilingual ecommerce stores. You just need to install WPML, which costs $39 for a Multilingual blog, $99 for Multilingual CMS, and $199 for a Multilingual agency.
12. SEO Optimization
SEO optimization is essential for ecommerce stores to increase visibility and sales. WooCommerce is a robust platform that offers Yoast SEO, a freemium plugin to optimize SEO.
Shopify also provides excellent SEO functionality, but there are a few points to consider:
- Rich snippets provide additional information to search engines and require applications or coding in Shopify.
- Additionally, Shopify requires a specific URL structure for blog and content pages, which may not be optimal for SEO.
13. Marketing Elements
Marketing elements play a crucial role in the success of an ecommerce store.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer account creation and guest checkout options. They also offer affiliate and referral systems, although WooCommerce options tend to be less expensive.
Shopify provides a system of native emails with customizable templates and automatic email content. In contrast, WooCommerce requires a free plugin and manual configuration of email options.
It is essential to carefully evaluate the costs of an ecommerce platform before choosing one. WooCommerce is free to use, but running a WooCommerce store may still involve expenses such as hosting, domain name, and plugin fees. Being fully informed about these costs is essential before launching an online store with WooCommerce.
Shopify on the other hand isn’t free. The pricing plans start from $39 and can increase depending on the scale of your business.
Let’s Hear it From Users Who Migrated to WooCommerce from Shopify:
Ian Kelly, The CEO of the wellness eCommerce Store NuLeaf Naturals
“Shopify is a great host for starting out your company. However, as companies expand, business owners need more versatile platforms for promoting and selling products. WooCommerce provides a useful backup platform if your third-party eCommerce platform is ever down. They offer various customization features; a built-in blog, categorical organization for products, tag and attribute options, product ratings and reviews, and advanced search options for browsing your products. WooCommerce has a fast load speed on the front-end and back-end of their website code, reducing bounce rates and making our site usable for people with slower operating systems and internet speeds”
Alex William, The CFO at FindThisBest
“I moved from Shopify to WooCommerce because it was built upon WordPress, which I’ve already been using for my store’s blog. One of the biggest improvements I’ve seen is that my team has so much more control over the store than they did with Shopify. My marketing team can now strategize and control every aspect of our SEO which was quite limited with Shopify. Another significant improvement is that we now have a much wider range of payment options to offer our customers. Shopify only had a few popular payment gateway integrations. This has helped increase our conversions and improved customer satisfaction quite significantly.”
Jessica Kats, E-Commerce and Retail Expert at Soxy
“After migrating my store from Shopify to WooCommerce, it has allowed me to gain more control over how I want to run my operations. WooCommerce enables me to have complete control over my website, as it’s open-source, which gives me the power of personalization. Our payment gateways have also been streamlined since we started using WooCommerce. It has the option of integrating with niche payment mechanisms used across the world”
Jon Lynn, Founder of My Office Pod
“I switched from Shopify to WooCommerce because of the lack of customization. Ever since I started to use WooCommerce, I couldn’t be happier. My sales are through the roof, as I have used different built-in add-ons, which enhance the customer experience. These free and paid extensions allow me to provide effective solutions for the challenges online stores face. As a result, I don’t tend to lose potential customers due to speed issues. I ensure a quality user experience with a one-of-a-kind and easy-to-use interface. The best part is that I don’t have to pay an extra penny for these solutions”
The following are the main elements that help you choose between WooCommerce or Shopify for your ecommerce store.
In summary, you must opt for WooCommerce if:
- Your store must be multilingual and/or multi-currency
- You want to be able to customize everything
- You plan to integrate an ecommerce store within a larger website with pages, blogs, etc.
- You need support/sysadmin
- You have a limited budget
If none of these points is important and you want a turnkey solution, it may be interesting to test Shopify on the 14-day free trial.
Take the time to test both platforms before you get started because migrating Shopify to WooCommerce can be tedious and requires a bit of technical knowledge.
I hope this article has been helpful to you and that you would share it with people who are confused about WooCommerce and Shopify. In case of questions, ask them in the comments below and feel free to share your feedback!
Q. Is WordPress better than Shopify?
WordPress allows users to convert their existing website into an eCommerce store by using WooCommerce extension. WooCommerce is proven as a better eCommerce platform in terms of reliability, performance, and cost in the long run as compared to Shopify.
Q. What is the difference between eCommerce and WooCommerce?
Ecommerce refers to an online way of selling physical and digital products or services. Whereas Woocommerce is a WordPress plugin, which allows website owners to convert their website into the eCommerce store.
Q. Is WooCommerce a free plugin?
Yes, it is a free and open-source WordPress plugin that allows users to sell their products or services online.
Q. Which eCommerce platform is best for small businesses?
WooCommerce is one of the best eCommerce platforms for small and medium-sized businesses. Since it is free, open-source, and supported by WordPress Community, users have the advantage of powerful features (themes/plugins/extensions) and endless customization.
Passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and marketing, Mansoor Ahmed Khan is in computing since he knows how to type on a keyboard. His daily life is rocked by his family, projects, and his screen. Probably in this order, he likes to be convinced at least. You can reach out to him at [email protected].