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If you’re thinking of selling online, choosing the right platform is crucial. We will help you figure out which one is better for you: Shopify or WooCommerce.

Woman on laptop setting up an online store

Shopify and WooCommerce are the two top dogs when it comes to eCommerce platforms. They both have incredible features as well as their downsides. But who deserves the crown?

Shopify is known for its reliability, stunning templates and great customer service. It is also fairly easy to use. All sounds pretty good.

On the other hand, WooCommerce stands out with its ability to transform any WordPress website into a sound online store. It’s also an open-source platform meaning that you can install the plugin for free and modify the store to your liking. 

In this article, we will compare the two giants to help you figure out which one is best for you.

Shopify: Basic Overview

Whether you’re a beginner or know a little more about web design, Shopify is super easy to use. There are also plenty of templates to choose from and you don’t have to worry about security and the technical side of things. But when it comes to cost, you will need to reach a little deeper into your pocket.

WooCommerce: Basic Overview

WooCommerce is an open-sourced eComm plugin, which allows you to create an online store on an existing website for free. Another great advantage is that all templates are customisable and add-ons are pretty reasonably priced. The downside? You’ll need at least some coding knowledge to be able to build the online store of your dreams.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your eComm Platform

Choosing the right platform depends entirely on your business goals, technical skills, and maybe a bit of willingness to learn. There are, however, a few factors to consider that can help you decide on the right platform.

  • Pricing – initial and additional costs to set up a fully functional online store
  • Ease of use – difficulty of using the platform
  • Themes and designs – selection of designs and quality of themes
  • Payment options and transaction fees – ease of taking payments and cost involved
  • Integrations – cost and variety of additional features
  • Security and speed – level of security and website load speed
  • Marketing tools – range of marketing features

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty details!

Pricing

WooCommerce is the clear winner when it comes to pricing. It’s free to use and extensions are fairly cheap. Shopify on the other hand has set plans which range from $41-425 per month, which can quickly add up. Extensions like adding apps are also more expensive than on WooCommerce.

There is a catch… Although WooCommerce is free to install, you’ll have to pay for things like hosting, security and the domain. All those elements are included in the Shopify plans.

But then again, you can get WordPress hosting from $8-30 per month and domains are usually pretty cheap too. In the end, you still pay less on average than what you would on a Shopify plan.

Therefore, WooCommerce still is the winner in terms of pricing.

Ease of Use

No doubt, Shopify is the winner here. Shopify is designed for everyday people, so you don’t need any coding knowledge to create a beautiful looking online store. WooCommerce on the other hand will require either a little more technical understanding or willingness to learn.

Shopify is a hosted platform, which means that the technical side of running your online store is taken care of. From your domain, software updates to security – Shopify covers it all.

Additionally, Shopify lets you manage everything in one place. Manage orders from placement to delivery, receive payments quickly, measure insights, handle inventory, and market your business all at the palm of your hands.

WooCommerce calls for a bit more work as you will have to organise things like your own hosting, payment options, security, and more. But, these things are really easy to do if you’re happy to invest a bit more time.

Themes and Designs

Both platforms offer a huge selection of beautifully designed themes and templates, giving your store a professional look.

However, there are differences in style. Shopify’s designs are more modern while themes on WooCommerce are more clean and simplistic.

Shopify store themes examples
Shopify Store Themes
Shopify store theme Craft
Free Shopify Theme “Craft”

Source: Shopify

WooCommerce store themes examples
WooCommerce Store Themes

Source: WooCommerce

It really is up to you what design style you prefer, however, we do find Shopify’s designs to be more curated and up to date.

The other thing to consider is how easily you can customise themes. The good news is that both platforms offer customisation, letting you twist and tweak until you’re happy with the look.

While Shopify’s customisation is easier to handle, WooCommerce requires a good amount of design and coding skills to get your online store looking the way you want.

That’s why Shopify wins in terms of designs and themes.

Payment Options and Transaction Fees

Shopify charges a transaction fee for each payment if you don’t use their Shopify Payment option. WooCommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees. Clearly, WooCommerce takes this win.

When selling online, you need to offer multiple payment options to your customers. Both platforms offer more than 100 payment options. The difference is that WooCommerce is cheaper.

You can still use external gateway options with Shopify, such as PayPal or Square, but you’ll pay for that. This ranges from 0.5-2% depending on which plan you’re on.

If you’re selling at high volumes, WooCommerce is your better choice. It doesn’t cost you and you can choose whichever gateway you want.

Integrations

Both platforms offer their fair share of options to integrate your store with popular apps and plugins. This adds extra benefits to your online store, increasing the customer experience.

But which platform has the better offer?

With thousands of mostly free integrations to choose from, WooCommerce wins this round. The large variety enables you to design a bespoke website with the highest functionality.

Shopify still offers a good number of integrations, however they all come at a price.

Security and Speed

Security should be on the top of your list when building an online store. It’s extremely important as you’re not only handling customer’s money but also their personal information.

As Shopify is a hosted eComm platform, security is taken care of. Shopify handles any security breaches and keeps your site safe, making Shopify the clear winner of security.

Shopify comes with an SSL certificate and is PCI DSS compliant, whereas WooCommerce doesn’t. You will have to source SSL and arrange PCI DSS compliance yourself if you go with WooCommerce.

SSL Certificate

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Its purpose is to keep online transactions secure and customer information private. Shopify has SSL built-in. The main benefits of it are:

  • Keeps customers’ payments secure and personal information private
  • Improves your site’s organic search engine ranking, because Google prefers sites with SSL
  • Informs customers that your site is safe, making a purchase more likely

With WooCommerce you will have to source your own SSL certificate.

PCI DSS Compliance

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Sounds like a lot? All it means is that your store is set up at payment security standards. It ensures that sellers handle cardholder data safely and securely.

Shopify already is PCI DSS compliant, allowing you to safely process payments from the day you launch your store. With WooCommerce you will have to set up PCI DSS compliance yourself.

Regarding speed, Shopify wins again. Shopify comes with hosting that is already set up for the highest possible performance in page and site speed.

Even when you add on plugins and apps, the site won’t slow down. That’s because most integrations are hosted externally, meaning that it won’t impact the speed of your overall site.

With WooCommerce you’ll have to find your own hosting that provides good speed. Plus, every plugin or app you add to your store will influence your site’s performance.

The speed of your site is crucial when it comes to conversions. Customers are much more likely to make a purchase on sites with high performance.

Marketing Tools

Marketing tools allow you to optimise your online store, letting you reach greater potential with your eComm business. Both platforms provide a wide choice of marketing tools. Let’s see which platform offers the better choice!

WooCommerce has 151 marketing tools to offer with a large number of them at no extra cost. Email marketing, SEO, automation, sales channels optimisation, social media advertising, CRM software – WooCommerce basically has it all.

But… Shopify has some amazing marketing tools on offer too. From email marketing, social media advertising to SEO and CRM tools – Shopify stands up to WooCommerce.

There is one major advantage Shopify has over WooCommerce: Shopify is a multi-channel selling platform. This means it lets you sell literally everywhere. 

From selling online, in-store, at pop-ups, on social media to selling on sales channels such Amazon or eBay – Shopify allows you to reach the greatest potential of customers.

Shopify has the cutting edge in terms of marketing tools.

The Final Winner

And the winner is…

Exciting guy waiting on the decision whether Shopify or WooCommerce is better. He is wearing a dark pink bowtie.

Shopify! The hosted platform outrivals WooCommerce with its super easy to use, curated themes and designs, security and speed, marketing tools, and ability to manage everything in one place.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. We put together a checklist helping you to decide.

Shopify is

  • Suitable for people looking for an easy, fast set up.
  • The better choice for people who don’t have any coding experience or technological knowhow.
  • Anyone who doesn’t want to worry about hosting, security and speed.
  • For people who want to manage everything in one place, including their marketing.
  • Better if you prefer modern themes and designs, and don’t want to build your own.

WooCommerce is

  • More difficult in terms of setting up your store, making it a better fit for people with coding and technological knowhow.
  • For anyone wanting to create their own store design.
  • Offering more control over your assets.
  • Suitable for people who are happy to invest much more time.

Hopefully this blog post could give you some insights into the pros and cons of both giants, helping you to decide which platform is right for your business.

Still unsure which eComm platform is better for you?

Book a free consultation with one of our eComm experts today and we can help you get the right fit!

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