Perhaps you are thinking about opening an online store. Not sure if Shopify or WooCommerce is right for your business? WooCommerce and Shopify are two of the leading eCommerce platforms with their advantages and disadvantages.
The choice of an eCommerce platform is critical for the success of your business. The following guide presents a detailed comparison between Shopify and WooCommerce. Our goal is to identify their advantages and disadvantages and provide you with information to help you choose the best eCommerce solution for your eCommerce store.
Overview: Shopify vs. WooCommerce
Before we compare two of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the Internet, we must cover the basics first and point out what makes these platforms different.
Shopify - what is it?
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that simplifies setting up an online store, accepting payments, and managing inventory from a central location without the need to manage the technical aspects such as hosting, security, caching, etc.
What is WooCommerce?
A WordPress plugin for eCommerce, WooCommerce, is a free, open-source option. It offers you the ability to leverage a powerful content management system and use it to run an online business. Because the software is open-source, it can be easily customized to suit your specific needs.
On the other hand, the choice between both platforms depends entirely on your skill level and the type of business.
How to identify a good Ecommerce platform?
Keep these few things in mind while beginning an online store. These factors will allow you to determine which platform is best suited to your needs.
Budget – The initial investment needed to open a fully functional eCommerce store.
Ease of use – It should be accessible to even the most inexperienced users.
Payment Methods – It ought to support multiple payment methods, such as PayPal, Stripe, and other merchant processors.
Integrations – Number of third-party services and tools that you can integrate to grow your business.
Scalability – A platform must scale with your business as it grows.
These are the very basic requirements of online store owners, but you may also want to consider other options such as shipping, inventory management, invoicing, taxes, dropshipping, etc. Depending on your needs, you may also desire to look at other options like those mentioned above.
Our goal is to compare how Shopify and WooCommerce stack up against these basic requirements, so you can decide which would be best suited to your needs.
Cost: Shopify vs WooCommerce
Cost is a very important consideration for eCommerce website owners. Consider all the costs associated with starting the business and the variable costs for additional services and software.
Shopify's true cost
If you want a simple process of setting up an online store, Shopify is it. The basic package starts at $29 per month, and you can upgrade to the Shopify or Advanced Shopify plans for $79 or $299 per month, respectively.
Domain names, SSL certificates, and web hosting are included with each of these plans.
The basic plan contains all the features necessary to start your online store. You can add unlimited products, create two user accounts, add unlimited file storage, and more.
However, third-party tools and add-ons are not included in this pricing, so you have to budget extra for them. As your business expands, these costs will increase, and before you know it, you’ll be spending much more than you originally planned to.
Payments influence your costs and should be considered. Shopify’s payment solution, Shopify Payments, charges 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.
If you utilize a third-party payment gateway or your own merchant account, then a flat rate of 2 percent will be applied for all transactions. The Shopify Advanced plan can be used to reduce this charge to 0.5%, costing $299 per month.
When using external payment gateways, these processing fees are quite high. In contrast, if you are just getting started and would like to use the Shopify payments solution, the fees are fairly competitive with popular platforms like Stripe and Braintree.
How much does WooCommerce cost?
WordPress.org supports WooCommerce, an eCommerce plugin. It is published under a free, open-source license as a WordPress plugin.
However, you will need a domain name, SSL Certificate, as well as a WordPress hosting account before you can begin building your WooCommerce store.
A domain name normally costs $14.99, an SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and web hosting is about $7.99 / month on the cheap end. Design Hamster has an all-inclusive Woocommerce deal that includes hosting and the SSL Certificate for one year.
As you can see, starting a basic WooCommerce store costs far less than starting one with Shopify. WooCommerce does not charge a commission on your transactions, which is a very nice feature.
But as you add more paid extensions to your WooCommerce store, your hosting costs will rise too.
However, one of the clear advantages of using WooCommerce is that you can often find free alternatives to the paid extensions. Using only the tools and plugins you need, you can keep your costs under control.
Because of the number of free themes and free add-ons available for WooCommerce, it’s the less expensive option when it comes to cost.
Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Ease of Use
Most users who start an online business are not web designers or developers. Even users who understand the fundamental concepts need a platform that is easy to use and gets out of their way.
Let us compare the user-friendliness of Shopify and WooCommerce.
Shopify – Ease of Use
Shopify doesn’t need web hosting, so you don’t have to install, update, or manage any software. Additionally, you will not need to worry about security, performance, backups, or compatibility issues.
Upon signing up, you are offered the opportunity to choose a design for your website. Then they walk you through the process of customizing your website and help you add products.
Shopify has an drag and drop interface. Managing your products, sales, and inventory in Shopify is simple.
The downside of such a highly polished, guided, and optimized user experience is that it limits your control. You are limited to using Shopify’s design and development tools or add-ons found in its plugin marketplace.
The situation is not as bad as it seems. Most users will find the large selection of extensions and themes available in Shopify sufficient to get started with their online store.
WooCommerce – Ease of Use
WooCommerce does not utilize a hosted platform like Shopify. You will need to install WordPress, manage updates, keep backups, and ensure your website is secure. There are a number of plugins that automate many of these tasks for you. Design Hamster can add a maintenance plan that will perform all those tasks for you.
WooCommerce provides a wide range of customization options that allow you to customize the entire platform. Over 55,000 free WordPress plugins can be added to your website to provide any functionality.
The drag-and-drop builder is not built-in. In our Woocommerce deal, we provide you with a drag and drop builder and pre-built pages that you can edit with some tutorials we provide you.
The biggest drawback is its complexity and requires a more hands-on approach to managing your website. You must also open a merchant account or a similar service such as Stripe or PayPal.
The guided setup wizard in WooCommerce is helpful but does not compare to the smooth onboarding and ease of use of Shopify.
Methods of payment: Shopify vs. WooCommerce
There are many payment gateways available for accepting payments online. Some payment methods might not be appropriate for you, while others might not be available for your customers.
Therefore, the online platform you select must offer multiple payment options. Here is a comparison of Shopify and WooCommerce regarding payment integration.
Payment Options in Shopify
Shopify offers numerous payment options that enable you to accept payments directly from customers. Its payment solution is Shopify Payments, powered by Stripe, and it supports the most widely used third-party payment gateways.
The problem with Shopify is that it charges an additional 2% fee on each transaction made through third-party payment gateways.
These Shopify fees are in addition to those charged by the third-party payment gateway. By paying the extra $299 per month for the Shopify Advanced plan, you can reduce the fee to 0.5%.
There are flat credit card fees with Shopify Payments, but there are no other transaction fees. Credit card rates start at 2.9% + 30 for the basic plan and go down for other plans.
Payment Options in WooCommerce
By default, WooCommerce offers both PayPal and Stripe payments. In addition to PayPal, it supports all the other popular payment service providers via add-ons.
WooCommerce provides even support for regional and less popular payment gateways. Any company can create add-ons for WooCommerce and support it since there is no barrier to entry.
Your payment gateway or bank charges only transaction fees in a self-hosted platform. WooCommerce does not charge a percentage fee when you make an online purchase, which helps you save a great deal of money.
If choosing your merchant account and utilizing a third-party gateway is important for you, WooCommerce will allow you to save a great deal of money. However, if you’re a small merchant and intend to use Shopify Payments which offers the same credit card rates as Stripe / Paypal, it makes no difference.
Integrations and Add-ons: Shopify vs. WooCommerce
Regardless of how robust an e-commerce platform is, you will still need third-party tools to grow your business. For example, an email marketing tool, lead generation tool, analytics tool, or outreach service.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer many extensions and integrate with numerous third-party service providers.
Shopify integrations and add-ons
Shopify offers a powerful API, as well as an App Store where you can purchase third-party extensions for your Shopify store. There are hundreds of apps that cover every feature you want to add to your store.
They integrate with technology such as OptinMonster, which grows your email list and reduces cart abandonment for lead generation. They have apps for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), product reviews, discounts, countdowns, etc.
Shopify has both free and paid apps in its app store. Free apps are usually designed by third-party services that have their own pricing, and the app only connects your store to their APIs. Paid add-ons are available at different prices, and many of the apps need to be subscribed to in order to use them.
WooCommerce Extensions and Integrations
WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress CMS and is open-source software. This enables you to download over 55,000 free WordPress plugins and many more commercial plugins.
Using these add-ons, you can add lead generation, payment gateways, SEO, performance optimization, and almost any other feature you can think of.
Due to its low barrier to entry, WooCommerce offers many more integrations and add-ons than Shopify. Most third-party tools and service providers offer their own plugins that can seamlessly integrate with your WooCommerce store..
You can also get a plugin or integration for your own website created. It is important to keep in mind, however, that WooCommerce is a lot more customizable. Having gone through the process of creating a plugin for WordPress and creating an application for a Shopify store, we can say that the process is significantly more difficult with Shopify than it is with WooCommerce.
Dropshipping with Shopify vs. WooCommerce
A store that is Dropshipping does not keep its products in stock. Rather, it purchases the products from the vendors and ships them directly to customers.
Dropshipping has grown in popularity due to its low overhead. Many of our users have been asking about the comparison of WooCommerce vs. Shopify for dropshipping and which one is more suitable for dropshipping businesses.
Dropshipping with Shopify
When creating a website for a dropshipping business, its appearance will be very similar to any other online store. Users can browse the products, add them to the cart, and make payments, just as they would do on any other eCommerce site.
Depending on the vendors chosen, you may be required to place the user’s order for shipment.
Shopify also integrates with several popular dropshipping marketplaces, including AliExpress, Oberlo, Printify, and more. However, each of these marketplaces has its own membership fees, shipping costs, and other charges that you need to take into consideration when building your dropshipping website with Shopify.
Dropshipping with WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a preferred solution for dropshipping businesses. Generally, because WooCommerce allows for the installation of extensions that make order fulfillment much easier.
There are extensions available that allow you to automatically import products, fulfill orders from your website, etc. You can even create your own online marketplace where other vendors can sell their products on your website.
Keep in mind that your suppliers and vendors may have minimum order requirements, membership fees, and other charges. It will help if you abode those requirements when adding products to a WooCommerce dropshipping store.
Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Scalability and Growth
You are probably familiar with the term “growing-pains” from various CEOs. As the company grows, it needs more resources to meet new challenges and reach greater goals.
Although both Shopify and WooCommerce can handle large amounts of traffic and orders, they are not created equal. Let’s examine how the scalability of these two eCommerce platforms compares.
Shopify takes care of all technical aspects of your store, so you don’t have to worry about performance, security, and scalability. Once your business grows, you can upgrade your Shopify plan.
You do not have to worry about system downtime, backups, updates, or security with this infrastructure. Additionally, Shopify Plus offers enterprise services.
This minimizes the pain of the growth process, but it also adds to the costs of the business. You will have to budget and plan for increased expenses as your business grows.
The advantages are that you will avoid the high costs associated with hiring/managing a technical team in-house.
Scalability with WooCommerce
WooCommerce doesn’t come with a hosting plan, which means you are responsible for updating and maintaining the security of your website.
When your begin to get more traffic, the resources in your starter WooCommerce hosting plan will run out.
The good thing is that you have the freedom to control your website’s growth. You are starting with better management of your resources with caching to upgrading to a more powerful hosting plan. With Design Hamster’s management plans, We make sure your site runs well all the time.
Although your WooCommerce hosting costs may increase, you will have better control over the resources, and you can ensure that you are not spending on resources that you do not need. You can use a managed hosting provider such as Design Hamster to help grow your WooCommerce store.
Despite the control that WooCommerce provides, some business owners prefer an easy-to-use solution.
Support Options for Shopify vs. WooCommerce
Neither WooCommerce nor Shopify are difficult to use. However, sometimes you will need assistance in learning how to do something new in your store.
Let’s look at how WooCommerce and Shopify support you and what your options are when you need assistance.
Shopify Support Options
Shopify offers a fully-hosted platform, which means they control the software and know it the best.
Shopify provides customer support 24 /7 through live chat, phone, email, and Twitter. Shopify offers extensive documentation, how-to guides, technical support, video tutorials, and forums for users who want to fix things themselves.
In addition, the Shopify Experts directory maintains a list of people if you need extra help or if you want to begin integrating third-party solutions.
Shopify does not provide support for third-party apps or themes.
WooCommerce Support Options
WooCommerce is a very popular eCommerce platform, so you have a lot of support options available to you.
The official website provides extensive tutorials, guides, and documentation to assist you. Support forums are also available to get assistance from other WooCommerce users.
Self-hosted platforms like WooCommerce require your hosting provider to handle issues with the server.
For your WooCommerce theme or extension, those developers are responsible for supporting their products.
Since WooCommerce is so popular, it is much easier and more affordable to find developers who can assist you with WooCommerce issues. Design Hamster can help you with your Woocommerce store. Contact us today.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify: What is the best eCommerce platform?
Both Shopify and WooCommerce are powerful tools to establish an online shop. The choice depends on your personal preferences and skills.
Shopify is simpler to use. The software does not require that you install any software, and you can begin using it immediately. The setup is easier, and the pricing plans are clear.
Shopify has the disadvantage of not giving you complete control over everything. Transaction fees, add-ons, and integrations can increase your operating costs. Upgrades are limited to selected plans, and your costs cannot be managed on a pay-as-you-grow basis.
WooCommerce is an open-source platform that allows you full control of your website. It is a lot more affordable to start an online store using WooCommerce, especially with our WooCommerce hosting services.
The disadvantage is that you will have to maintain the software. It does come with a learning curve. However, millions of beginners already use it, and they pass through the learning phase fairly quickly.
If you require a cost-effective solution and full control over your online store, then WooCommerce is the best option for you.
If you want something completely hassle-free and scalable, Shopify would be the best choice.
We hope that this article helped you compare the pros and cons of Shopify vs. WooCommerce. For further reading, check out our article on choosing the best website builder – Coming Soon.