The choice of an ecommerce platform depends mainly on two factors: the expertise and the budget. We note that many platforms, despite the more or less attractive rates proposed to create an ecommerce store, have a level of complexity much greater than that observed a few years ago on their previous versions.
The quality and reliability of a platform can indeed depend on elements independent of the user such as the type of framework (on which the platform is based), but also sometimes strategies specific to its vision. In addition, the rapid development of complementary modules at the basic store, and availability of the marketplaces help to push up the business bill.
We have already written a series of comparative articles between:
The basis of an ecommerce store, but also the most complicated point, is to list the features you think you need in your ecommerce store. Once this list is established, the most appropriate platform often becomes obvious. Our recommendations make it simple at the very beginning; hence you can evolve your ecommerce store later.
WooCommerce or Shopify
Comparison Table of WooCommerce vs Shopify
|Points of Difference (PoD)||WooCommerce ?||Shopify|
|Number of Users||2,200,000+
|Number of Themes||Unlimited
(free and paid)
(free and paid)
|Getting Started/Installation||Intermediate||Very easy|
|Blog||Yes||Yes, but limited|
|Mobile Version||According to the chosen 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||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||Shopify Lite: $9/mo
Basic Shopify: $29/mo
Advanced Shopify: $299/mo
WooCommerce vs Shopify: An Overview
Recall that WordPress, as its name suggests, is originally an open-source CMS designed for content publishing, especially blogging. WooCommerce, launched in 2011, is a WordPress plugin that allows you to add new features to WordPress and turn your WordPress into a powerful ecommerce store. As of March 2018, more than 2.2 million WordPress websites have installed WooCommerce, making it the most-used ecommerce platform. A success that is due to the incredible functional richness of this plugin.
Whereas, Shopify is a little older than WooCommerce, since it was launched in 2004. The platform, of Canadian origin, today has more than 1.2 million users and has been the subject of many important updates since its launch. Shopify, unlike WooCommerce, is a paid proprietary platform (monthly subscription + commission on sales). It is both very complete and very easy to use a platform, making it a reference in the ecommerce industry today. Its functionality is one of the reasons for its success.
1. Getting Started
The easiest solution to get started is Shopify because you are guided when you create your account. As long as they do the hosting, it’s one less thing to do. You can create your ecommerce store without any technical skills or without risk of getting it wrong in just a few hours.
WooCommerce is also easy to learn, especially if you are already familiar with WordPress and its plugins. The only real difference is that with WordPress and WooCommerce, you have to do the installation and maintenance yourself.
To be honest, nothing insurmountable but you have to be focused and not be afraid to go. After, you can find help easily with very good tutorials or can rely on managed WooCommerce hosting. If the budget is your battle line, you will find the necessary forces to get started!
2. Hosting Options
The reliability of hosting is very important for a website, especially for WooCommerce vs Shopify that can have peaks of traffic at certain periods: sales, special offers.
Because Shopify is a proprietary platform, your ecommerce store hosting is done on Shopify’s servers. You benefit from their infrastructure with unlimited storage. And of course, you can point a domain name that you have already purchased for this hosting.
With WordPress and WooCommerce, you choose the provider where you host your ecommerce store and therefore the server size, storage, processor, and bandwidth. It is recommended that you choose an auto-scalable server that’s in line with the unexpected traffic spikes or make your ecommerce store evolve with the visitor’s activity.
Note that the SSL certificate is included in all Shopify offers; for WooCommerce, it depends on your ecommerce hosting solution (for example, it is free at Cloudways).
3. Themes and Design
The user interface (UI) is paramount for WooCommerce vs Shopify since it creates the very first and the lasting impression on the visitors.
WooCommerce does not have its own theme store but it can be found easily at ThemeForest or Envato, for example. There must be unlimited WooCommerce themes, including free and paid. Be careful to choose a lightweight theme and check that it is responsive since a majority of the visitors use mobiles/tablets.
Shopify has a theme store of more than 60 themes: some are paid while others are free. Overall, the quality themes are quite exceptional, they are really beautiful and can be customized without the need to touch a line of code. Paid themes offer more possibilities. If that’s not enough, you will have to put your hands in Liquid, Shopify own programming language.
4. Content and Features
The two platforms offer you the great features expected of an ecommerce store: product creation, CSV import of a catalog, presentation of products, management of payment methods, orders, delivery, customers, stocks, discount codes, coupons, etc.
These two very complete platforms can be enriched with many add-ons at WooCommerce. Shopify puts at your disposal a fairly large App Store with nearly 500 applications.
In terms of content, the big difference between WooCommerce and Shopify comes from the side pages. Shopify is mainly a shop with just product pages. If you want to create pages about news, your company, know-how or even a blog, then WooCommerce is a better choice.
5. Payment Options
Payment options are an important part of WooCommerce vs Shopify.
Shopify offers natively Shopify Payments powered by Stripe and third-party payment gateways, such as PayPal, Amazon Payments to pay by credit card. Although Shopify Payments is only available in certain countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. For all other countries, it will be necessary to use a third-party payment gateway, many are accepted but their connection is paid. Therefore, it’s up to you to do the math depending on which one you should choose.
WooCommerce offers several payment gateways: Paypal and Stripe are free while other solutions like Authorize.Net, Amazon Payments or Braintree will cost you nearly $100/year. Stripe and Paypal are a good choice to launch an ecommerce store.
6. Shipping Methods
WooCommerce vs Shopify allow you to set your shipping costs according to a number of parameters: sizes and weight of products, local and international delivery etc.
If you want to go further, you can also set up a real-time calculation of shipping costs with different delivery options like FedEx and UPS. For WooCommerce, you will have to buy a plugin. With Spotify, you must take at least the Advanced Shopify plan to benefit natively.
Note that Shopify has partnerships with large players in product delivery, such as Amazon and Rakuten, which are quite practical.
7. Multilingual Service
After what you have read in the paragraph about payment options, you will not be surprised if you are told that Shopify is not very useful for multilingual stores. Even if recently, langify offers several languages and currencies. A negative point is that this application costs $ 17.50/month.
WooCommerce is clearly the preferred solution if you need a multilingual ecommerce store. All you have to install WPML, which costs $79 for the 1st year and $39 for the following years or pay once and get everything in just $195. Of course, it pays but less expensive than Shopify.
Positioning WooCommerce or Shopify products on search engine results pages (SERPs) is important to gain visibility and therefore increase sales.
Since WooCommerce is the most powerful platform, you just have to install a freemium plugin (it is the best in our sense) Yoast SEO.
Shopify is appropriate but we identify two points that are not completely satisfactory:
- Rich snippets: these metadata allow search engines to better understand the content of pages and display search results, such as product availability, manufacturer, feedback from customers. To isolate this information in Shopify, you need applications or dive into the code.
- The URLs of pages: Shopify does not allow you to freely customize your URLs. For the blog, it is mandatory to display the folder as/blog/news/, which is not optimal. For regular content pages, we also have/pages/in the URL.
9. Marketing Elements
The marketing elements are an important part of the success of an ecommerce store. The two platforms, WooCommerce vs Shopify, offer the following possibilities:
- Account creation or order as a guest: of course, as a good marketer, you prefer that your customer creates an account in order to collect information about him but anonymous orders are also possible, because the account creation scares some buyers.
- The system of affiliation or recommendation to a friend: via extensions for both the platforms, those of WordPress being less expensive.
- Emails/newsletters: a small advantage for Shopify which proposes a system of native emails with the possibility of customizing the templates and the contents of automatic emails. With WooCommerce, you have to go through a free plugin and configure it.
10. Customer Support
Thanks to the subscription you pay to Shopify, you benefit from a 24/7 support by email, phone or e-chat. The only constraint is you have to express yourself in English.
With WooCommerce, no specific support but a huge community of users who help you through the forums. They have always had answers to our questions.
11. Pricing Plans
We have come to the question everyone asks before starting: how much does WooCommerce vs Shopify cost?
The answer is: it depends!
At first, WooCommerce is cheaper since it is free while Shopify offers solutions ranging from $9 to $ 299 per month and takes between 0.5 and 2% commission on your sales.
On the second, you have to do the full calculation: for WooCommerce, you have to consider the cost of your hosting, plugins, and theme that you may buy. Once the calculation is done according to your problem, you will see what is the most advantageous.
The following are the discriminating elements that help you choose WooCommerce vs Shopify for an 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 ecommerce store within a larger website with content pages, blog, etc.
- You need a 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. You have a 14-day free trial.
Take the time to think before you get started because migrating Shopify to WooCommerce during the sales period can be a tedious task to do.
We hope this article has been helpful to you. If you liked it, you can share it on social networks. If you have questions, ask them in comments below. Feel free to share your feedback!
Frequently Asked Questions
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 term 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 ecommerce store.
Q. Is WooCommerce a free plugin?
Yes, it is a free and an 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.
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