Are you a new or existing brand?
Have you decided to embark on the ecommerce bandwagon or redesign your existing online store?
You don’t know which platform to turn to?
Of course, during your research and discussions, you’ve heard about several platforms comparisons such as WooCommerce vs Shopify.
Users generally prefer a rich feature set, flexibility, and simple pricing while choosing an ecommerce platform. It is also established that each platform has its own set of complexities.
But what are the differences between ecommerce platforms? Is it better to choose Shopify or WooCommerce for your business?
The answer lies in the features you think you need for your ecommerce store. Once you have a clear idea of what you need and what’s best for your particular business model, your choice becomes obvious.
In this article, I won’t tell you to choose this or that platform. My aim is to give you a brief overview of WooCommerce and Shopify so you can have the answer you are looking for.
- WooCommerce vs Shopify: An Overview
- WooCommerce vs Shopify: Comparison
- What to Look When Choosing An Ecommerce Platform?
- WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Dropshipping Comparison
- WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Cost Comparison
- WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Ease of Use Comparison
- WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Scalability Comparison
- WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Support Comparison
- Final Thoughts
WooCommerce vs Shopify: An Overview
WordPress is an open-source CMS designed for content publishing. Launched in 2011, WooCommerce is a free WordPress ecommerce plugin that turns your website into a powerful ecommerce store.
What is WooCommerce?
So WooCommerce is not really an ecommerce platform. It is an open source plugin that turns your WordPress application into a fully functioning ecommerce store. All you have to do is install the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress and your store will be up and running.
Launched in 2011, WooCommerce quickly gained popularity within the ecommerce industry and today it is the most popular ecommerce solution around with more than 3.8 million users. Most of WooCommerce’s success is due to its user friendliness, powerful features, and unlimited customization options. But most importantly because it allows you to use WordPress, the most popular CMS in the world, to run your online store.
According to BuiltWith, more than 3.8 million WordPress websites use WooCommerce, making it the most popular platform in the ecommerce industry. A success that is due to the ease of use, powerful features, and unlimited customization options.
What is Shopify?
Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify is not an open source platform but it offers a variety of features that caters to a range of different needs. Shopify is a little older than WooCommerce (it was launched in 2004). This platform of Canadian origin has more than 1 million merchants and offers a host of up-to-date features, thanks to the regular updates.
Shopify is not free nor it has a one time fee rather you pay a monthly fee along with a commission on every sale. The platform makes it very easy to build an online store from scratch and it especially caters to beginners with limited or no coding skill. However, if you do decide to customize your shopify store, you might need professional assistance. Shopify is a highly intuitive platform and is considered the benchmark to which all other platforms in the ecommerce industry are compared today.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Comparison
|Points of Difference (PoD)||WooCommerce||Shopify|
|Number of Users||3,300,000+
|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||Shopify Lite: $9/mo
Basic Shopify: $29/mo
Advanced Shopify: $299/mo
Who Comes Out On Top?
Look up the Google Trends for the past few years and you could see that both WooCommerce and Shopify have attractive steady growth, with Shopify appearing to be slightly ahead of WooCommerce.
What to Look When Choosing An Ecommerce Platform?
A number of users have difficulty choosing an ecommerce platform because they don’t know what to look for in one. Most go for either WooCommerce or Shopify because everyone else is using them but as a store owner, you must develop a rationale behind your decision making and I will help you do just that.
So before choosing an ecommerce platform, consider the following factors:
1. Getting Started
WooCommerce is also easy to learn, especially if you are already familiar with WordPress and its ecosystem. The only real difference is that with WordPress and WooCommerce, you have to do the installation and maintenance yourself.
Shopify is the easiest platform to get started because you are guided by the moment you create the account. You can create your ecommerce store without having any technical skills. The idea behind Shopify is to provide a platform where the risk of “getting it wrong” is minimized.
Get Your WooCommerce Store Off The Ground Today!
Choose the Ecommerce Starter Bundle. Avoid the early struggles, and start selling immediately!
This is not a very difficult task but you have to stay focused and not be afraid of learning new skills. If you get stuck, there are plenty of very good tutorials to help you out. If you think this is a handful, you always have the option of hosting your WooCommerce store on WooCommerce hosting.
2. Ease of Use
As an online store owner, you would want to spend as much time as possible on essential business related tasks like taking customer feedback, processing orders, replying to customer queries and dealing with vendors. For this ideal situation to occur, you need an ecommerce platform that not only allows you to easily create your online store but is also easy to maintain and manage. WooCommerce also simplifies ecommerce payment processing thanks to numerous options.
3. Third-Party Integration
Running an ecommerce store is not just limited to a platform that will let you create one. You need a number of tools and services running side by side like email marketing tools and social media tools. It is important that the ecommerce platform you choose to integrate with these tools like WooCommerce integrates with MailChimp.
4. Scalability and Growth
Think of your ecommerce platform as your business partner that will make it easier for you to grow your business rather than throw hurdles down your path. Many platforms are either not compatible with a growing business or they restrict your business’s growth by taking control of crucial aspects like customization or scalability. Make sure that your ecommerce platform provide you the freedom to grow your business the way you like.
5. Hosting Options
While reliable hosting is important for all websites, it is of paramount importance for ecommerce stores that can experience traffic spikes during sales and special offers season.
Since Shopify is a proprietary platform, your ecommerce store is hosted 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 your store.
Load Your WooCommerce Store Under 1 Second
Google loves websites that load in a SINGLE second. Cloudways’ hosting stack lets you do that.
With WooCommerce, you choose the provider to host your ecommerce store and you get the choice of server specifications ( server size, storage, processor, and bandwidth). Experts suggest opting for an auto-scalable hosting provider so that your store remains operational despite the traffic spikes.
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).
The user interface (UI) is an essential consideration for every ecommerce store since it creates the first and a very lasting impression on the visitors.
WooCommerce does not have its own theme store. However, you can find great looking (and very functional) themes at marketplaces like ThemeForest, which is a part of the Envato Market. Just remember to choose a lightweight responsive theme to make sure visitors have a smooth experience regardless of the device they use to access your store.
The two platforms offer you the features expected from a top of the line ecommerce platform: product creation, CSV import of a catalog, presentation of products, management of payment methods, orders, delivery, customers, stocks, discount codes, coupons, etc.
To further extend the native capabilities, you can opt for extensions and add-ons that plug into the platform without any issues. WooCommerce offers a host of extensions and 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 front with just product pages. If you want to create pages about your brand, company news, and a blog, WooCommerce is a better choice.
8. Payment Gateways
Payment options are an important part of WooCommerce and Shopify Platforms.
Shopify offers native Shopify Payments powered by Stripe and third-party payment gateways, such as PayPal, Amazon Payments. Note that Shopify Payments is only available in certain countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
For other countries, you need to use a third-party (possibly paid) payment gateway.
WooCommerce offers several extensions for integrating 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.
9. Shipping Methods
WooCommerce and Shopify both allow you to set your shipping costs according to a number of parameters: size 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 Shopify, you need to opt for at least the Advanced Shopify plan to add the functionality to your store.
Note that Shopify has partnerships with top players in product delivery including Amazon and Rakuten (this offers a very practical solution to your logistics issues).
10. User Friendliness
If you are not a developer by craft then this is something that you need to consider with a lot of seriousness. WooCommerce offers a lot of simplicity and customization but for advance customizing you need a professional developer. This is the same for Shopify as well because the drag and drop interface makes it easy for you to set up your online store but you will need to get your hands dirty if you want to make advance changes.
11. Multilingual Support
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. This problem is resolved in part with langify, a Shopify app that offers several languages and currencies. The downside, the 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 $29 for the 1st year and $21 for the following years (or pay once and get everything in just $195).
12. SEO Optimization
Positioning WooCommerce or Shopify products on search engine results pages (SERPs) is important to gain visibility and therefore increase sales.
Since WooCommerce is a powerful platform, you just have to install Yoast SEO, a freemium plugin.
Shopify also offers great SEO functionality, but I would like to bring two points that you should consider:
- Rich snippets: These metadata allow search engines to better understand the content of pages and give appropriate rankings in the SERP. Rich snippets include information 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 store level page URLs. For the blog, it is mandatory to display the folder as/blog/news/, which is not a great structure for SEO optimization. For regular content pages, Shopify requires /pages/ in the URL.
13. Marketing Elements
The marketing elements are an important part of the success of an ecommerce store. The two platforms, WooCommerce and Shopify, offer the following possibilities:
- Account creation or order as a guest: A good marketer prefers that the customer creates an account in order to collect information. However, the industry best practices demand that you allow anonymous orders because the account creation scares some buyers.
- The system of affiliation or recommendation to a friend: via extensions for both platforms, although the WooCommerce options are less expensive.
- Emails/newsletters: Shopify offers a system of native emails with the possibility of customizing the templates and the contents of automatic emails. With WooCommerce, you have to go with a free plugin and configure all the options yourself.
It is important to carefully study the cost of the ecommerce platform you are choosing. For example, WooCommerce is free but that doesn’t mean you will be able to run a WooCommerce store for free for the rest of its existence. There are a number of costs attached to running a WooCommerce store (which we will discuss later in the article) and it is crucial that you are fully informed about them before launching an online store WooCommerce.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Dropshipping
Dropshipping is the in thing in the ecommerce industry and almost every other online startup is a dropshipping store. A dropshipping business is when an online store becomes a middle man between the customer and the original vendor. This way, you can run a full-fledged online store without holding any inventory.
To run a dropshipping store, you need an ecommerce platform that is suited to this kind of business. However, there are multiple great dropshipping addons like Printify that integrate with both Woocommerce and Shopify
Dropshipping with WooCommerce
WooCommerce is popular among dropship store owners because it lets you install and integrate add ons and extensions easily. You can find dropshipping extensions on the WordPress repository or you can just search for “WooCommerce dropshipping extensions” on Google and can find a number of third party extensions as well.
Some good third party WooCommerce extensions are:
Check out this article to find more WooCommerce Dropshipping Plugins.
Dropshipping with Shopify
Shopify comes with great extensions and add ons that will help you run your Dropshipping store smoothly. Here are some of the best Shopify dropshipping addons:
- Ali Orders AliExpress Dropship
- MIIUT ‑ Unlimited Dropshipping
Shopify also integrates with third-party dropshipping marketplace like AliExpress, Oberlo, Printify, and more.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Cost
The cost of the two platforms is the first thing we will discuss in our comparison of WooCommerce and Shopify because it is usually the first factor anyone considers before launching their online store. 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 $9 to $299 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.
When you dig a bit deeper, here is how it plays out: with WooCommerce, you have to consider the cost of the hosting plans, and the plugins and themes that you may buy. As mentioned earlier in the article, because WooCommerce is itself free it doesn’t mean that you won’t incur any cost in running a WooCommerce store.
Cost to Run a WooCommerce Store
Let’s say you chose WooCommerce for your online store so the first thing you would do is download the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress which is free.
The next thing you would need is a good hosting provider. Cloudways managed WooCommerce hosting would cost you at least $10/month. You may need to move to a bigger plan but let’s keep it that way for this article’s sake.
Next, you would need a theme for your online store. I am assuming you won’t go for a free theme so a paid theme will cost you anywhere between $30 to $300 or even more.
Once you have the theme, you would look for WooCommerce add ons and other essential plugins. Most of these are free but for some important ones you would need to pay and on average a paid plugin or an addon will cost you $50.
Ceteris paribus, these are the costs that you would need to incur to launch a WooCommerce store. Of course, the cost might increase when you need a bigger hosting plan or new addons and plugins.
Cost to Run a Shopify Store
Now let’s draw a scenario with Shopify. If you choose Shopify for your online store, you wouldn’t have to worry about third-party hosting, themes or plugins because everything you need is already included in your pricing plan.
You can see how each pricing plan caters to a different objective. The Basic Shopify plan is for startups and small stores while the Shopify plan is for growing businesses and the Advanced Shopify plan is for scalability.
The downside to this is if you choose Shopify for your online store, you know that there will come a time that you might need to shift to the Advanced Shopify plan which is a bit costly for most users. You also know that you won’t be utilizing all of the features that you get with this plan so you will be paying for a lot of resources that you don’t really need at that time.
This is where the control aspect of an ecommerce platform comes in. With WooCommerce, you are in full control of your resources and you pay for exactly the tools that you are using. With Shopify, your control over your store is rather limited and you will have to pay a fixed amount regardless of your usage.
Ease of Use Comparison
As an online store owner, you would want to spend as much time as possible on essential business-related tasks like taking customer feedback, processing orders, replying to customer queries and dealing with vendors. For this ideal situation to occur, you need an ecommerce platform that not only allows you to easily create your online store but is also easy to maintain and manage.
Ease of Use – WooCommerce
Once you have installed WooCommers, you will see different options on your WordPress dashboard that includes add product, orders, coupons and more.
Just like Shopify, click on the Add New button under the Product option and you will be directed to a page where you will enter product details.
Once you are done, click Publish and your product will be added. Wasn’t so difficult, was it?
To customize appearance, hover on Appearance and then Themes. You will see a number of themes that you can use and can also install third-party themes.
Ease of Use – Shopify
As mentioned in the Cost section, you don’t have to worry about third-party hosting, themes and plugins as they are already part of your package. This saves a lot of time because you don’t have to research or worry about a hosting provider, a theme or a plugin developer and you can rather use this time in something more productive.
I already explained how easy it is to get started with Shopify. Now let’s have a look at how you can create your online store using this platform.
I will take you through some of the main features of this platform just to give you an idea of how user friendly Shopify is.
To add a product to your Shopify store, just click on the Add Product button and you will be directed to a page where you add your product details.
Click on the Save button and your products will be added to your Shopify store. How easy was that?
Similarly, you can view your store analytics in the Analytics tab. The clear and simple interface makes it very easy to digest crucial information about your sales, sessions and more.
To give your Shopify store a fresh look, click on Customize Theme and you will see a host of customization options including themes, adding a blog post and more.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Scalability
As mentioned earlier in the article, you must think of your ecommerce solution as your business partner that grows and scales with your business. This is important to consider because as your ecommerce business grows, you will have a larger number of orders to process and if your ecommerce platform isn’t equipped to handle that, your business will collapse and that is not something that you want to experience.
WooCommerce’s scalability depends on the hosting provider that you have hosted your store on. This means your WooCommerce store is as powerful as your hosting provider. This also means that your WooCommerce hosting cost will increase and the argument of WooCommerce being a cheaper competitor to Shopify nullifies.
A good WooCommerce hosting provider like Cloudways ensures that you have all the tools available to facilitate your growth. It also makes sure that there are enough scalability options for you to scale your resources as and when needed.
So Shopify takes care of most of the technical stuff for you including web hosting. The architecture that Shopify is built on is more than capable of handling bigger stores and larger numbers of orders and visitors. It is also easy to scale as you can just switch to a bigger plan as and when you see your business growth.
While many users consider Shopify to be a tad bit expensive, it is also important to consider that you get everything from a single stop. You don’t need to search for a good hosting provider or a good ecommerce theme. You also don’t need to hire a technical team so you actually end up saving a lot of money too.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Support
Support from your ecommerce solution plays a huge part in the success of your online store. While both WooCommerce and Shopify are easy to use, there will come a time when you would need outside assistance, probably when you are trying something new in your store.
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce is an open-source plugin which means there is no official support channel for this platform. You can, however, find a number of useful resources like tutorials, videos and knowledge base on the official WooCommerce website.
There are also a number of blogs on the internet that cover WooCommerce extensively so there is a high chance that you will find answers to all your questions from there.
Apart from that, your hosting provider plays a big part in providing you support for your online store. A managed WooCommerce hosting provider like Cloudways offers 24/7 support via live chat, calls and ticketing system.
Since Shopify provides everything you need to run an online store, it also takes care of the support. Shopify comes with 24/7 support through live chat, calls, and emails. You can also contact them on social media if the support isn’t available.
Apart from that, they have an extensive knowledge base and guides to answer the most common questions so that you don’t need to contact their support for every other issue.
You can also hire a Shopify expert to help you with setting up your store or integrating third-party extensions.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Integrations and Add-ons
As your online store grows, you need to add more functionalities to your it to smoothen the growth process. While both these platforms are great in terms of flexibility, let’s see who has the upper hand when it comes to add ons and integrations.
Add-ons and Integrations – WooCommerce
Since WooCommerce is open source and a part of WordPress, the number of add ons and plugins is considerably larger than Shopify. You can find many WooCommerce extensions and add ons on the WordPress repository and can download them for free.
Apart from that, WooCommerce has its own addons as well on woocommerce.com. Some of them are free but the important ones have a one time fee attached to it.
Add-ons and Integrations – Shopify
Shopify has a huge library of add ons on its own app store. You can download some of these add ons for free but others charge a premium one time fee or a monthly subscription.
You can find an add on for almost every function you need. For example, for email marketing you can check out Privy Web Push and OptinMonster.
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.
Customer Review at
“Great performance for the price, and plenty of control”
Sean P [SMB Owner]
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]