Shopify Vs WooCommerce: Which Is the Better Platform?
When you’re talking about up and coming small business models, eCommerce may be the most popular. Thanks to the advances of the internet in the last decade, opening an online store is easy. Most can be opened with just a few clicks, meaning anyone can participate as a small business. However, it’s important to know which eCommerce platform you should be using.
Two of the biggest players in the eCommerce market are Shopify and WooCommerce. If you’ve considered starting an online store, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of these. But which one is right for you? If this is an issue you’ve been facing, you’re in luck.
In this article we’re going over Shopify and WooCommerce, and rating them so you don’t have to. Keep reading to learn about these two options in-depth!
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
A Brief Look at Shopify and WooCommerce
If you’re running an eCommerce business, then you’ve probably heard about both of these platforms. Each offers users a unique experience and approach when it comes to eCommerce. However, you may not know which is the best for you. Before we get too detailed, let's take a quick look at each.
Breaking Down Shopify
Shopify is, arguably, the more popular of the two platforms. Shopify calls itself an all-in-one eCommerce solution. It’s main goal is to make it easier for all users to create an online store. It lets you accept payments from just about any electronic payment method. It also provides inventory management tools, making your life much easier.
Of the two, Shopify is the easier platform to use. Picking Shopify means that you don’t have to worry about many of the technical issues that online stores are faced with. As an online store owner, it lets you focus on every other aspect.
Breaking Down WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a far more granular eCommerce solution. While Shopify is a one-stop shop, WooCommerce is more of a tool. It actually functions as a plugin for Wordpress. The WooCommerce plugin turns Wordpress into an online store.
This option is open-source software. Because it is an open-source platform, it means that you can customize every aspect of it. This means that it can be used with other third-party plugins, making it very powerful. However, it isn’t as user-friendly as Shopify.
Now that we’ve covered those basics, we’re going to take a look at how you should make the decision.
Choosing an eCommerce Platform: What to Look For
When you’re looking for an eCommerce platform, there are a number of things to consider. These criteria have to do with the platform’s capabilities, as well as the user. Online business can be easy, or it can be hard. The determining factor, in most cases, is which platform provider you choose. These are some of the features you’ll want to look for in an eCommerce platform.
This is the first thing to take into consideration when setting up a business. With an eCommerce business, costs are typically low. However, if you’re not careful, you may end up paying additional costs. We’re going to cover the costs of both platforms in detail.
Ease of Use
If you’re trying to start an online business, the easier it is the better. The ideal eCommerce solution is going to be simple to use, even for beginners. When it comes to usability, we’ll be reviewing both with great detail.
Payment options are crucial for any business. For a small business, however, it can make or break you. The ability to take any payment is a big deal. Comprehensive eCommerce solutions should be able to take a number of different payments, like:
- Debit and credit card payments
- Online payments, like PayPal and Amazon Pay
- Other merchant processors
Third-party integration can help your eCommerce business grow. When you can use third-party apps alongside your website, you’ll see more diverse traffic.
Whether you’re running a niche online store or a dropshipping business, growth is the goal. As your business grows, your platform of choice should grow with it. Outgrowing your platform could have serious implications on your business, after all.
The Cost of Using Each Platform
If you’re looking to learn more about the cost of using each platform, we’re covering it here, in detail. Noone wants to be caught off guard by expenses they weren’t expecting. Every additional cost takes away from possible profit. Learn how much Shopify and WooCommerce will cost your business.
How Much Does Shopify Cost?
There are three different plan options when you sign up with Shopify. Each tier provides different features and access. As such, it’s important to know what you’re signing up for. All of the plans offer SSL certificates and web hosting, as well as a Shopify branded subdomain. The three plans, and what unique content they provide, are listed below:
- The Basic Plan: The lowest-priced option. This costs members $29 a month. It allows unlimited products, 2 user accounts, and unlimited file storage.
- The Shopify Plan: The mid-tier option. This allows for 5 user accounts, as well as reporting tools. It also provides international domains and pricing. This plan is $79 per month.
- The Advanced Shopify Plan: The highest tier available. Enjoy 15 user accounts, as well as a number of tools. You also get advanced reporting, as well as third-party calculated shipping rates. You’ll be paying $299 a month for this tier.
These aren’t the only costs associated with Shopify, however. If you want to improve your store as it grows, you’ll have to pay for third-party tools and add-ons.
Another cost to factor in is a payments solution. Shopify offers their own solution, aptly called Payments. Using this plan offers rates starting at 2.9% per transaction, plus 30 cents. If you avoid using Payments and decide to use third-party solutions, you’ll still be charged. The rate is set at a flat 2.0% per transaction, unless using Advanced Shopify.
Still, there are other costs to consider. To use a regular domain rather than a subdomain, expect to pay about $15 per month. These costs can all quickly add up. However, if you want to use Shopify exclusively on a website you already have, you can use Shopify Lite. Shopify Lite is a set of buttons that you can add to your website, avoiding a Shopify domain. If you’ve got a website already, though, you may be able to use a different option at a more affordable cost.
How Much Does WooCommerce Cost?
When it comes to WooCommerce vs Shopify, the costs are quite different from one another. The first thing to mention is that WooCommerce itself is free. That may seem appealing, but the plugin isn’t the only thing you’ll need to start a WooCommerce store.
WooCommerce is a Wordpress plugin. As such, you’ll need to be paying for Wordpress already. You’ll also need to have a domain name and SSL certificate, as well. Wordpress is around $7.99 per month. The cost for a domain name is normally about $15. Finally, the SSL certificate is $69.99.
So, all in all, you’ll be paying much less for WooCommerce than you would for Shopify. The plugin doesn’t charge you anything per transaction. It’s also free to start. However, there are paid extensions for WooCommerce, and those will add up over time. Hosting costs will also increase over time. While WooCommerce starts out cheaper, it isn’t guaranteed that it will remain as such.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Costs
Overall, WooCommerce is better for the online store on a budget. It’s cheaper to get things started, and it can remain cheaper if you’re budgeting things accordingly. It’s also important to mention that WooCommerce has a number of free themes and add-ons. This means that you may only pay for hosting, depending on your online business.
How Easy Each Platform is to Use
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t web designers. While some of us have a great online presence, we may not have the skills to create a full-fledged online store. As such, how easy each platform is to use is key. Learn about accessibility for each platform below.
How Easy is it to Use Shopify?
Shopify is considered an out-of-the-box solution, ready to use as it is. To live up to it, there are some expectations that must be met. Thankfully, Shopify meets them all, making it very easy to use.
When you sign up with Shopify, you’re using a fully hosted platform. This means that you don’t have to worry about anything software-related. There’s no need to install, manage, or update anything. It also means that the store you’re setting up will be secure in more than one way. You’ll have online security, as well as data security. No need to worry about backups or performance!
The entire process of setting up a Shopify store is smooth. The interface is drag-and-drop, meaning anyone can do it. It’s also not hard to learn, for those of us who aren’t so technologically savvy. Once your initial site is set up, the management of the store is just as easy. Products, webpages, sales, and inventory come easy.
While this simplicity is certainly welcome, it is also limiting. Not having the ability to have free reign limits what you can do. This isn’t all bad, though. When it comes to creating a webpage, there are often too many options. This eliminates the choice paralysis that can happen from time to time.
How Easy is WooCommerce to Use?
When you compare Shopify and WooCommerce, the first thing you’ll notice is Shopify’s fully hosted status. WooCommerce, unlike Shopify, is not a fully hosted platform. This means that all software related tasks are up to the user. You’ll have to install the plugin, manage the updates, secure your website, and keep backups of it. If this is something new to you, that may be an issue.
While this is something to consider, it should also be noted that there’s a way to automate these processes. WooCommerce is an open-source software, and many users have created tools to automate the software related tasks.
Where WooCommerce shines is in its customization. The plugin allows you to endlessly customize your website with other plugins. However, this still isn’t the easiest task to accomplish. There is no drag-and-drop builder.
WooCommerce can be summed up in a single phrase. There is a steep learning curve with the eCommerce plugin. That being said, it certainly isn’t for everyone. While there are helpful tutorials and setup wizards, it still isn’t an easy task.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Accessibility
If you want the easiest solution in terms of an eCommerce store, Shopify is your best bet. They’ve taken what used to be an intense process and made it accessible to everyone. When you choose Shopify, you’re going to have an eCommerce website the same day, no issues.
The Payment Options You Can Use
Running an eCommerce business means doing business online. When people make purchases online, they expect to be able to use a variety of payment options. Understanding what payment options work on each platform is crucial to success.
What Payment Options Can You Use with Shopify?
Like it does with the rest of the platform, Shopify makes payments easy. Their aim is to offer as many payment options as possible to customers during checkout. They also have their own payment solution, a required part of an eCommerce business, called Shopify Payments. This option is powered by Stripe.
While they offer their own payment solution, Shopify also allows for third-party payment gateways. If you’re already using a popular third-party payment gateway, it will integrate with your Shopify store. Some of the options available are:
- First Data
- Amazon Payments
With all of these options available, you’re sure to be covered when it comes to payment options.
There is a downside to using a third-party solution, though. When you use a different payment solution, you’ll be charged an extra 2.0% per transaction. While this may seem trivial, it adds up fast, especially if your business is popular.
Shopify charges credit card transaction fees. There are no other processing fees, though. The fees charged for credit cards is 2.9% per transaction, plus 30 cents. The higher the membership plan, the lower the fees.
What Payment Options Can You Use with WooCommerce?
WooCommerce has a big three when it comes to payment solutions. They offer PayPal and Stripe payments by default. Stripe also powers an option offered by WooCommerce, also called WooCommerce payments. These aren’t the only payment providers that you can use, though.
In addition to the payment service providers listed above WooCommerce offers integration for:
- Amazon Payments
- Square Payments
These are just some of the popular options. Thanks to all of the integrations available, you can use just about any payment provider you can think of.
Along with payment service providers, you’ll also need a payment gateway. WooCommerce provides support for many payment gateways that Shopify lacks structure for. There are regional and unpopular payment services provided. Whatever payments company you’re working with can create an add-on for WooCommerce and support it. This is all thanks to its open source status.
Again, the access to customization available here is unrivalled by Shopify. It does require much more work to set up, though. That means that you’re going to have to do the majority of the work manually.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Payment Options
Shopify takes it here, as well. The ability to integrate natively with the payment service providers you love is fantastic. It takes all of the work out of setting up an eCommerce shop, making your job as a business owner much easier.
Integrating Your eCommerce Business
A beautiful thing about the internet is the way that programs work with one another. Almost every website can integrate with others, making things as efficient as we want them to be. An eCommerce website should be able to integrate with other applications. We’re taking a look at the integrations both of these platforms offer your business.
What Integrations and Add-Ons are Available on Shopify?
With Shopify boasting its role as an all-in-one eCommerce solution, you can be sure they offer integrations. The website itself comes with a powerful API, as well as an app store. In this app store, you’ll find hundreds of options for add-ons to enhance your store. Again, Shopify is making things easy for their users.
Shopify offers a number of free and paid apps to users. These apps will do just about anything that you want them to. Popular categories include search engine optimization, email list growth, and product reviews. They even offer countdowns to restocks and product releases. Shopify knows how to stimulate your customers.
Shopify’s dedication to an easy-to-use app store is their downfall, however. It’s hard to have apps listed in the store, meaning that finding an app can be difficult. The process of having an app listed is arduous, and many don’t make the cut. You can look at this as a positive, or as a negative.
What Integrations and Add-Ons are Available on WooCommerce?
When it comes to WooCommerce, the options for integrations and add-ons are endless. The platform offers access to nearly 60,000 free WordPress plugins alone, with even more that are paid. This is impressive to say the least.
WooCommerce’s integrations offer access to anything you can imagine. Search engine optimization and performance optimization are popular. One of the more valuable categories, though, is social media integration. When you can reach your customer base on all your social platforms, you have a much larger chance to increase sales.
If you want the option of absolutely any integration imaginable, this is for you. It should be said that the barrier for entry is much lower than it is for Shopify, though. This means that along with the good comes a lot more bad. Keep this in mind.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Integrations
With nearly 60,000 free integrations, WooCommerce is the clear winner here. While Shopify has high-quality integrations available, they just can’t match the amount WooCommerce has to offer.
Growing Your eCommerce Business
Your eCommerce business is going to grow. You have to determine whether or not your platform is going to be growing with you. A scalable platform is necessary if you plan on doing more business as time goes on. That’s the goal of business, isn’t it? Check out which platform will suit your needs better.
Will Shopify Scale Your Business?
Shopify scales with a growing business easily, as long as you’re willing to pay a little more. Because this platform takes all of the work out of keeping an online business running, it gets more expensive as it grows. That’s why the membership costs rise through the roof as you change tiers. Keeping things running is a lot of work.
If you need to scale up, Shopify has you covered. While the costs may seem high, look at it this way; you’re avoiding hiring a person to run things for you. A salary will cost you far more than a larger Shopify membership.
Will WooCommerce Scale with Your Business?
WooCommerce will scale quite well, too. However, you’re going to be responsible for handling that growth. This is the part of WooCommerce that’s always harder to handle; the technical side of things. If you’re looking to grow quickly, WooCommerce may be a bit harder to handle.
That being said, all of the tools for growth are there, it’s just up to you to learn how to use them.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Scalability
Again, Shopify takes the cake on this one. The platform makes it far easier to scale your eCommerce business. If business is growing, then covering the costs of a higher membership should be a non-issue.
Shopify is There For all Your eCommerce Needs
Between the two, Shopify is the superior eCommerce platform. Everything you need is much easier, though it may cost a bit more. As long as your business grows, those costs are negligible.
When it comes to Shopify and WooCommerce, both are excellent options. However, Shopify is far more streamlined, while WooCommerce offers much more control. Depending on what you need from an eCommerce platform, either is a suitable choice. We’d be willing to say that Shopify edges out the competition just a bit, though.
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