Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which One’s For You?
How do you decide which one is right for you and your business? In this article, we’ll pit Shopify against WooCommerce to help you make that decision!
Starting your very own online business can be quite overwhelming. You have to take care of a lot of different aspects, from product development and sourcing to marketing and customer service. But, one of the most important parts of this process is choosing the right platform for your business.
In today’s e-commerce world, there are two major platforms vying for the top spot: Shopify and WooCommerce. Together, these leading e-commerce players power almost 10 million websites on the internet. And while they both have a lot to offer, they’re also quite different from each other.
Getting to Know Shopify
Known for its being user-friendly with drag-and-drop website building functions, Shopify is trusted by over 4 million online stores across the globe. This e-commerce platform lets newbies and aspiring business owners build their dream online store without going through the hassle of learning all the technical aspects of crafting a website.
Some popular brands with sites powered by Shopify include Sephora and LeSportsac.
Getting to Know WooCommerce
Used by more than 5 million live websites, WooCommerce is one today’s leading open-source e-commerce platforms that turns WordPress powered sites into functioning online stores.
Yes, that’s right. You have to be using a WordPress website to access the features or functionalities of WooCommerce such as the creation of product listings, the setting up of payment processes, and the business analytics.
Some brands you may have heard of that use WooCommerce for their stores include Blue Star Coffee Roasters and Henry J. Socks.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: How Do They Compare?
Still quite clueless about which platform truly suits your business? We get you.
Both platforms offer promising features and are trusted by millions of business owners (and aspiring ones) like you. Thus, we’ll now look into the nitty-gritty of things and discuss how they compare in different aspects.
Free Trial Length
Because WooCommerce is an open source platform, it is free to download and use. However, if you’re planning on using a WordPress hosting service provider, then you may have to pay for that. The plug-ins or extensions you’ll need to install to make your WooCommerce store running will also incur additional costs, although the majority of them offer 30 to 60-day free trials.
Meanwhile, Shopify currently offers a 3-day free trial period to explore its features and capabilities. After that, you’ll have to choose from its available plans. Part of its amazing new deal is that you can try out their Basic plan for $1/month for three months. After the trial period, plans cost from $29 per month to $299 per month. If you’re looking to get the best deals or value for your money while you’re just starting out, you can check their free trial page from time to time to take advantage of special offers, discounts, and promos.
When it comes to user-friendliness, Shopify takes the lead. The platform is so easy to use that anyone, regardless of their technical know-how, can launch a store in no time at all. It has simple drag-and-drop functions and an intuitive interface that lets you easily add products, create collections, adjust store settings, and more.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, can be difficult to use for those who are unaware of web development and coding. First of all, you have to be well-versed with WordPress and its features. You also need to know some basics of coding to enhance your store’s design and functionality. But don’t be discouraged because there are tons of tutorials available online that can help you out.
Designs and Themes
If you’re not the artsy type, then you’ll be glad to know that both Shopify and WooCommerce offer plenty of design templates or themes to choose from.
Shopify has over 100 themes that are suitable for any type of industry and niche. But if you want to start everything from scratch and have a unique store that stands out from the crowd, then you can always use the platform’s web design tools and apps.
WooCommerce also has a wide selection of themes and templates, but they mostly require some coding knowledge to customize. Plus, you may need to purchase additional add-ons or extensions to make your store complete.
As mentioned, Shopify’s subscription plans start at $29 per month and can go up to $299 per month. In terms of costs, WooCommerce is a bit more affordable since the basic WordPress hosting plan is free. However, you may have to pay for some features or extensions to make your store more functional and efficient. Still, with some coding skills and the help of free plugins, you can make your WooCommerce up and running with just around $12 to $30 per month.
What’s Included With the Basic Plan?
Shopify’s $29 basic plan comes with all the essentials you’ll need to start an online business. These include:
- SSL Certificate
- Unlimited Product Uploads
- 2 Staff Accounts
- Sales Channels
- 24/7 Support
- Gift Cards
- Discount Codes
- Customer Segmentation
- Language Translation (for international businesses)
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
And more. However, with the basic plan, Shopify will deduct 2.9% + 30¢ from each sale transaction. You can lessen this amount by upgrading to a higher plan.
Meanwhile, since WooCommerce itself is free, all you’ll need to pay for are hosting services and the plugins or extensions. The basic cost of running a WooCommerce store may start at around $10 to $15, depending on how many add-ons you’ll need.
Shopify offers reports that are automatically generated and can be viewed in the platform’s dashboard. It gives you an overview of your sales, customers, discounts, abandoned carts, and more. In case you want to level up your KPI tracking, you can also opt for their analytics or business intelligence tools such as Polar Analytics and Littledata Analytics.
WooCommerce also has its own version of reports, which includes data on sales and taxes. Plus, there are many business analytics or reporting plugins and extensions available to give you even more insights on your store’s performance. These include WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro and BeProfit.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce accept major credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and AmazonPay. You can also use specific payment gateways that are only available to them.
Shopify has 70+ payment gateway options, ranging from the most popular ones (Stripe, Square) to the more niche local services (PagSeguro for Brazil and ePay for Bulgaria).
WooCommerce also has plenty of payment gateways to choose from, but the most popular ones are Stripe and PayPal. You can add more payment methods anytime with the help of extensions if you need to.
Of course, eventually you’ll need to promote your store and content marketing plays a big part in this. The good news is that both Shopify and WooCommerce offer blog or content pages in their stores.
In Shopify, you can write and publish blog articles by using the platform’s built-in blogging engine. The process is pretty straight forward and you can also customize the layout with their themes.
For WooCommerce, you’ll just have to open your WordPress dashboard and write your blog post there. You can also customize the page’s layout with any WordPress themes or plugins you have installed.
Shopify and WooCommerce have a great selection of integrations and add-ons to help you extend the functionality of your store.
Shopify’s app store offers more than 2,200 apps you can easily install and use. These include tools for inventory management, payments, marketing, shipping, and more.
Meanwhile, WooCommerce users have access to over 55,000 free and paid plugins in the WordPress repository. There are also many third-party services that offer integrations with WooCommerce, so you can definitely find what you need.
Nowadays, most online businesses don’t really need to keep a physical inventory. That’s why almost all e-commerce platforms offer dropshipping options, and Shopify and WooCommerce are no exception.
If you decide to use Shopify for dropshipping, then you can do it easily with the help of apps like Oberlo and Spocket. These apps will let you source and import products from other suppliers, manage orders, and even track shipments.
For WooCommerce, there’s the Amazon Fulfillment (MCF), Shipwire, and more.
However, if you wish to sell products that can be customized and designed by you, then you’ll need to look for a partner like Awkward Styles that offers print-on-demand services. A print-on-demand partner will print and ship your products only when an order is placed. This way, you don’t have to keep an inventory and can still offer a wide range of customized products.
Which One Is for You?
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which platform suits your needs better. If you’re looking for a simple and straightforward solution, then Shopify should be your go-to option. But if you want more control over the design and features of your store, then WooCommerce is the way to go. It’s also important to remember that both e-commerce solutions can be used for free, but you’ll need to pay for additional features and support.
Whichever platform you choose, make sure to take into account all the features, integrations, and payment methods available to you. With the right combination of tools, you can create a successful online store in no time!
For more e-commerce tips and tricks, be sure to check out our blog!
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