Shopify vs. Woocommerce 2020: Pros & Cons, Comparison, Features

Shopify vs Woocommerce comparison

Have been running a physical store but would like to expand your business by opening an online store? This can help you gain more customers since most people get their products online.

You can do this by choosing a good e-commerce platform. Woocommerce and Shopify are top leading e-commerce platforms around the world that you should consider working with.

You need to pick the right e-commerce platform that is in line with the needs of your business for you to achieve success.

Our guide today compares Shopify vs. Woocommerce to help you decide which one can fulfill your business needs.

Before we compare the two, we have to give you the basics so that you have an idea of what an e-commerce platform is.

At the end of our discussion, you should have learned how Shopify differs from Woocommerce in various aspects as well as which of the two is the best to use. Find out more!

Introduction

An overview of Shopify

This is an e-commerce platform that allows you to come up with an online store for your business. It makes it easy for you to manage your entire inventory from a single platform easily.

Choosing this platform prevents you from handling any technical details of managing a website.

The platform powers thousands of businesses, making it an e-commerce gladiator in the industry.

If you are in search of an all in one package to help you build your online store from the ground up, then Shopify is for you.

It has a lot of impressive apps and features that regular people who don’t know how to code can use.

What is Woocommerce?

Woocommerce claims to be the most popular and powerful e-commerce platform.  This is a plugin which works with the famous content management system to help you convert your website into a successful online store.

The open-source plugin is designed for WordPress. If you already have a website that works with WordPress, then this is the right e-commerce platform to work with.

Due to its open-source nature, customers enjoy the customizable options in Woocommerce.

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Things to look while choosing e-commerce platform

Before we compare Shopify vs. Woocommerce, we have to tell you the essential things that make up a good e-commerce platform.

You can find out a platform that suits your needs by looking at the following factors:

  • Budget

In as much as an e-commerce platform has impressive features, you should ask yourself if it comes with affordable plans.

You also need to set a budget so that you don’t spend more than you intended to when creating an online store.

The initial cost of using an e-commerce platform should not be too high since this can be discouraging for beginners.

  • Ease of use

If it is your first time trying to create an online store, you need one that is easy to use. While some of the -commerce platforms provide room for beginners, others are meant for tech-savvy users.

Finding out this information before choosing an e-commerce platform can save your time and money.

  • Payment methods

You can increase the convenience for your online customers by choosing a platform that supports numerous payment methods.

They should be able to make purchases through methods such as PayPal, credit, and debit cards as well as stripe without limitations.

  • Scalability

As you open your online store, you should set goals and look for ways to achieve them. Choosing the right e-commerce platform gives room for your business to grow.

It should scale as your business grows.

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A comparison between Shopify vs. Woocommerce

1. Design and appearance

E-commerce stores attract customers through their designs. You should, therefore, choose an e-commerce platform that can help you get the right aesthetics for your store.

Choosing Shopify lets you enjoy the high-quality themes that can appeal to your customers. Shopify contains more than 50 store templates, including both free and paid options.

Choosing this e-commerce platform can give you about 100 separate designs which are mobile responsive.

The designs that Shopify offers also come with different coloring options to make your online store appear modern and visually appealing.

Shopify outsources its designs from diverse web designers. Feel free to change Shopify’s themes as you utilize the Theme editor feature.

This feature prevents common issues such as theme duplication that most developers face as they use WordPress.

Though you can choose free themes from Shopify, premium themes go for $140. The premium themes can help you generate revenue for your business.

Woocommerce also offers themes that are responsive for mobile use. Choosing this platform also gives you a chance to develop your own themes.

You can use the different customization options for you to tailor your theme according to your preference. The e-commerce platform is designed to corporate with different themes that the market offers.

This means that you can select different WordPress themes that you like and make them work with Woocommerce.

You can also do further customization of your online store by choosing different child themes for Storefront.  Some of the child themes from Woocommerce costs $39.

If you are looking for specific themes that are compatible with Woocommerce, try marketplaces such as ThemeForest.

When it comes to designs, Woocommerce has a greater advantage compared to Shopify. Though you may like the beautiful themes that Shopify offers, you are only limited to what Shopify Theme store provides.

Since Woocommerce is open source, you get the freedom to use numerous themes from different developers.

2. Ease of use

Most people who start online stores don’t have a lot of knowledge regarding web designing. Even if you have the basic concepts regarding developing a website, you need to choose an e-commerce platform that has simplified ways of performing different tasks.

Since Shopify is fully hosted, you don’t have to manage or install any software to start using. Choosing this e-commerce platform also prevents you from the headaches of coding or updating software.

You also don’t have to deal with compatibility or security issues.

All the technical aspects are handled on your behalf so that you can focus on growing your business and gaining more loyal customers.

When you sign up with Shopify, you will be guided on how to get a good design for your site and how you can add the products you are promoting.

The drag-and-drop interface that Shopify provides comes in handy to help you manage your products and sales easily. Though everything is polished to boost user experience, it limits your control.

Woocommerce, on the other hand, is not a hosted platform. You should, therefore, be ready to install the software, manage updates, maintain backup, and ensure that your site remains secure.

Thankfully, you can do all this with the help of paid and free plugins.

The advantage of choosing Woocommerce over Shopify is that this gives you more flexibility and control. There are thousands of WordPress plugins that you can use to add functionality to your website.

This e-commerce platform, however, lacks a drag-and-drop design-builder. If you choose Woocommerce, you need to utilize the setup wizard to create your online store.

According to most Shopify vs. Woocommerce reviews, customers find Shopify simpler to use compared to its competitor.

While Shopify is a subscription-based tool that is easy to use, Woocommerce is a free WordPress plugin that needs hosting.

3. Security

When operating an online store, you should be keen on safety. Your online store should protect your customer’s data.

Choosing Shopify can help you achieve high-security levels easily because it is a hosted platform. It handles any issues regarding security breaches and keeps your website safe from hackers.

Shopify also comes with free SSL certificates. These safeguard your site and prevent it from cyber-attacks.

Google can also reward you for choosing an e-commerce platform which has an in-built SSL certificate. Your customers can also feel safe buying products from your online store, thus leading to an increase in sales.

Since this e-commerce platform is self-hosted, it does not have in-built security. You can boost security measures by purchasing SSL certificates.

You can also choose to work with a good hosting provider that handles security seriously. Shopify is, therefore, better at managing security compared to Woocommerce. It is also PCI-DSS compliant while Woocommerce is not.

4. Cost

As you choose a suitable e-commerce platform, you have to evaluate not only the initial cost but also the variable costs for software and different services.

Shopify keeps things simple by laying out all the plans and prices you should know about to build your store. You can pick the basic plan, which goes for $ 29 per month.

The second plan, which has more features costs $79 while the most advanced plan from Shopify costs $ 299 a month.

Every plan from here includes SSL certificates, web hosting, domain name, and unlimited file storage. Even the most basic plan has all the essentials you need for you to set up your online store.

You can add two user accounts and unlimited products. The pricing, however, excludes add-ons and third-party tools which you need to grow your store. You should expect to pay more as your business grows.

Another factor which affects the overall cost of an e-commerce platform is payments. Shopify has its own payment solution which goes for 2.9% + 30 cents for every transaction. You can also choose to use external payment gateways, but this comes at a higher cost.

The costs of Woocommerce are a bit complex compared to Shopify since you have to do most of the tasks on your own. For instance, you have to get a WordPress hosting account for you to start an online store.

You also need to boost security by buying SSL certificates and get a domain name. All these come with extra fees. The domain name can cost $ 14.99 while SSL certificates go for $69.99.

Web hosting per month goes for $ 7.99.  Most beginners find these costs a bit higher than what Shopify offers.

As a way of making Woocommerce affordable to new website developers, some of the hosting companies have started providing specialized hosting plans for Woocommerce, which are a bit cheaper.

For instance, Bluehost offers a free domain name, SSL certificate, and discounts on web hosting. This is a Woocommerce hosting provider that is recommended to new web developers since it enables you to open your online store for only $ 6.95 a month.

Unlike Shopify, Woocommerce does not charge extra percentage fees for transactions. You should, however, expect the costs to go up when you start purchasing paid extensions.

Since free alternatives to paid extensions exist, it is possible to keep the costs down by buying only the plugins and tools that your store needs.

Take advantage of free add-ons and themes which are available for Woocommerce to avoid paying so much.

Woocommerce allows your customers to make online purchases through different payment options such as Stripe and PayPal. It can also support the rest of the payment methods if you use some add-ons.

From comparing Shopify vs. Woocommerce, it is safe to say that Woocommerce can be a cheaper option if only utilize free tools and use Bluehost. The pricing structure of Woocommerce is not as direct as that of Shopify.

5. Time to build

In e-commerce, time is a crucial element. That is why you need to choose a platform that does not take so much time for you to build your online store.

Rather than looking at which e-commerce platform is better than the other, you should try and identify one that can fulfill your expectations.

While some people want to build a powerful store within the shortest time possible, others prefer investing their time so that they can get more control.

If you want your store to go live quicker, you need to choose Shopify as opposed to Woocommerce.

The setup for Woocommerce takes a bit longer and needs some technical expertise. Shopify does not need a manual setup process.

If you want to save time while using Woocommerce, you need to choose BlueHost which already includes hosting and allows you to install WordPress in a single click.

Though the setup wizard of Woocommerce, includes the basics, it does not handle complicated issues.  The quick setup process of Shopify makes it ideal for beginners looking to sell online for the first time.

Features

Both Shopify and Woocommerce can give your store everything it requires to grow. They both include all the e-commerce essentials that you need for your online store.

You can use these e-commerce platforms for you to sell anything you want, including digital products, physical products, and services.

Though the two have some similarities when it comes to the features, they differ in the following ways.

  • Add-ons and integrations

Even when you choose the most robust e-commerce platform, you may not be able to avoid using third-party tools to grow your online store.

Some of the tools that can help your business include lead generation tool, email marketing tools, and analytics tools.

Shopify has an app store and API, which allow you to purchase third-party add-ons for your online store. The numerous apps in the store which cover all the features that you may need to include in your store.

If you want to generate more leads and grow your email list, Shopify integrates with software such as Optinmaster for this purpose.

If you choose Woocommerce, you get a lot of free add-ons that you can use to boost the performance of your site. Woocommerce offers more add-ons and integrations than Shopify.

Most of the service providers and third-party tools have plugins which can work with Woocommerce store.

  • Drop-shipping

One thing that makes drop-shipping a popular online business is its low overhead. This involves running an e-commerce store where you don’t keep the products you are promoting in stock.

It involves buying products from a vendor then shipping them to your online customers directly.

If you want to operate a drop-shipping business, the online store will not appear any different.

Your customers can still browse through the products you are selling, add them to cart, and make online payments in the same way they would in an e-commerce store.

Shopify gives you apps from different drop-shipping marketplaces such as Prettify and Aliexpress.

Each product marketplace has its own shipping charges and membership fees that you should be familiar with as you build your drop-shipping website.

Most people with drop-shipping businesses, however, choose Woocommerce since the e-commerce platform lets you install extensions to simplify the process.

You can find extensions that can enable you to fulfill orders from the site as well as import your products with ease. You also get the chance to come up with your own marketplace so that other vendors get to sell on your site.

If you compare Shopify vs. Woocommerce in regards to drop-shipping, you realize that Woocommerce has more to offer than Shopify.

  • SEO options

For you to build your online presence and generate sales from your online store, you need strong SEO.  Search engine optimization can help you generate more traffic to your site.

When customers key in words that are related to your specific products, they should be able to find your website easily.

Both Shopify and Woocommerce can help you achieve this. Shopify manages SEO practices with ease.

For you to reap SEO benefits as you use this tool, you need to ensure that you come up with high-quality content for your customers. This can guarantee you enhanced user engagement and make your site rank highly on Google.

Developers who use SEO options from Shopify report that its linking structure gives them a smooth experience and leads to higher rankings.

Since Shopify is a hosted platform, you can maintain fast loading pages. This can help you get more conversion rates.

Since WordPress is a reliable platform that allows you to create high-quality content, you can easily add Meta information to make sure that your site ranks highly for certain keywords.

Woocommerce offers specific options for SEO since it is designed for WordPress. The speed of your site, however, depends on the web hosting company you choose.

This is what makes Shopify better when it comes to helping you gain SEO benefits since it is fully hosted. Choosing this e-commerce platform, therefore, guarantees you top-notch speed.

You also get to enjoy a stronger performance from Shopify because of its dedicated servers.

Support options

When opening an online store with either of the e-commerce platforms, not everything can be straightforward. You may need some assistance from customer representatives.

Shopify offers 24/7 customer support through different options such as email, phone, live chat facility, and even Twitter.

If you want to fix issues without calling the agents, you can use the available online guides, video tutorials, extensive documentation, and online forums available. Feel free to hire Shopify experts when you want additional help such as while integrating a third-party solution.

If you look at the official website of Woocommerce, you will find different support methods, including tutorials, extensive documentation, and online guides which simplify things for tech-savvy users.

You can also raise any issues with Woocommerce experts through support forums. Since Woocommerce is self-hosted, the hosting provider you are working with should offer further support options.

Conclusion

Both Shopify and Woocommerce are powerful platforms that you can use to build your online store. Your choice depends on your skills, business needs, and preferences.

From comparing Shopify vs. Woocommerce, we see that Shopify is simpler to use and set up. The pricing plans are also easy to understand.

This, however, limits your control and can lead to additional costs due to transaction fees, integrations, and add ons.

Since Woocommerce is open source, it gives you more control of your site. The problem with this platform is that you have to deal with maintaining the software.

Since it has a learning curve, this is not ideal for anyone who doesn’t have technical skills in developing a website.

If you want a cost-effective solution that does not limit you, then Woocommerce would be ideal. If you are in search of a hassle-free e-commerce platform that offers scalability and quick set up, you should choose Shopify.

Shopify vs Woocommerce comparison

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