Success in the e-commerce sphere relies upon choosing the right platform for your store. Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the leaders in the market, but they represent very different propositions to business owners. So, which one is right for you? Read on as we compare WooCommerce and Shopify.
Shopify is available on three pricing tiers:
- The Basic package is available for A$40.62 per month.
- The standard Shopify package for growing businesses is A$110.71 per month.
- The Advanced package provides enterprise-grade reporting for A$419.00 per month.
WooCommerce is priced a little differently:
- The WooCommerce platform is open source and free to use.
- WooCommerce is essentially a plugin for the WordPress platform, another free-to-use software.
- You will need to find a website host for your WooCommerce store — costs for this vary greatly depending on your needs.
- You will also need to pay a small fee for transactions — these fees will vary across different payment types.
Straightaway, you will see that Shopify offers a far simpler payment structure. However, this may not align with your business’s needs. Lower pricing tiers provide affordable access to the platform, but they may also deny access to key features that your business could really benefit from.
WooCommerce provides great rewards to business owners who really know their organisation’s requirements and objectives. Both the WooCommerce plugin and the WordPress platform are free to use, so business owners can get started on building their stores immediately with no capital outlay. From here, the costs become a little more complex, and you will need to be aware of your hosting and transaction requirements. With the proper planning and a well-defined set of aims, you are likely to achieve a far more cost-effective solution when you use WooCommerce.
Shopify is designed to be set up and deployed immediately, even if the user has no underlying development experience. As you might expect, this means users have access to several basic features and functionality:
- Users have an online store that is basically ready to go, including an e-commerce website and blog facility.
- Users can add their products to the e-commerce store immediately.
- On the basic package, only two staff admin accounts are provided.
- Up to four inventory locations are supported on the basic package.
- Security features such as SSL are provided for free.
- Discount cards, gift codes, and abandoned cart recovery tools are all included.
- Users can access a Lite version of the Shopify point-of-sale tool — you’ll need to upgrade to access the full POS tool.
- Support for up to 20 selling languages.
WooCommerce also provides a range of base features straight out of the box:
- Streamlined and intuitive store-setup process, and homepage design, menu navigation, site mapping, and payment and shipping tools are quick and easy to build.
- Payment tools cover most major credit cards, as well as bank transfers and cash on delivery (COD), among other payment types. Sites can be built using 140 gateways specific to different regions.
- The WooCommerce dashboard — built upon WordPress’s own dashboard infrastructure — supports automated functions such as tax and shipping calculations, and label printing.
- Mobile and tablet interfaces provide flexibility and agility for business managers on the move.
- Users can build upon this basic functionality with a number of different integrations and extensions.
- Users can also work with the open source nature of the WooCommerce plugin, building extensions and developing new functionality, and connecting this via REST API integration. There is no need to upgrade the platform, and there are no additional charges or fees.
Shopify is certainly impressive in the features it provides, and this may be a solid option for anyone looking for a swift and easy way to set up an online store. However, it is expensive, and functionality may be limited on the cheaper pricing options.
WooCommerce requires a little more tinkering and customisation to build and deploy the full online store. While users will be able to set up their e-commerce page quickly, they will need to utilise extensions and other add-ons to build out the full functionality. This actually works in WooCommerce’s favour — it is far easier for business owners to achieve the e-commerce page that meets their specific needs when using WooCommerce rather than Shopify. WooCommerce also provides a wealth of potential without the monthly costs of Shopify.
Integrations and Extensions
Shopify enables users to build their e-commerce pages via a variety of integrations and applications. These include:
- Shopify Email
- Super Reports
- Shopify Local Delivery
Basically, users are able to connect with a number of self-developed Shopify apps, as well as third-party plugins via dedicated extensions. This supports a good level of flexibility, especially at higher pricing tiers.
WooCommerce helps users to get more from their store with a broader range of extensions and integrations. Like Shopify, this includes WooCommerce’s own self-developed plugins such as:
- WooCommerce Payments
- WooCommerce Bookings
- WooCommerce Min/Max Quantities
But this is just part of the functionality WooCommerce users can enjoy. They can also integrate their store with third-party apps such as:
- Google Analytics
On top of this, developers have access to WooCommerce’s open-source code, as well as REST APIs as they build their own apps ready for integration with WooCommerce. Integrations can be achieved securely using the WordPress platform.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify are designed with growing businesses in mind. This means business owners can expand the product lines and the services they offer to their customers over time, adding more items and extending their reach in line with increasing market opportunities.
The difference between the two platforms is found in the way this scalability is delivered. Shopify is largely a managed platform, and storefronts are built from pre-made components and features. In short, all the technical aspects of operating your store are taken out of your hands. You will be able to increase your capacity with very little input from your end.
WooCommerce is a little different. It is self-service and self-hosted, so all additional capabilities will need to be handled by you and your team. This makes WooCommerce a little more technically involved — and a little less suitable for business owners without development knowledge. However, both platforms are highly scalable.
We can look at WooCommerce and Shopify in the same way we look at cars. Shopify is the automatic car — simpler to drive, great for getting you from A to B, and with the minimal technical expertise required. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is the manual — trickier to master, requires more thought and consideration, and with more to go wrong.
When we put it like this, it might seem that Shopify is the clear winner. After all, both platforms are solid and dependable, so why not choose the more straightforward option? Think about that car analogy again — think about what you would do when you want to drive your way, improving fuel efficiency, reducing the wear and tear on parts, and perhaps even winning an auto race.
This is what makes WooCommerce stand out. Many store owners do have a degree of understanding and expertise when it comes to development, and they want to use this to tweak and adjust their stores to meet the unique requirements of the business — just like an expert driver will “tweak” and “adjust” their driving style out on the road.
WooCommerce vs Shopify — Which Is Best for You?
Shopify is certainly an attractive option, achieving plug-and-play e-commerce stores with minimal setup required. Users can add to their store’s functionality via easy integrations with a range of plugins and extensions. However, you may find the monthly payments to be high, and you may discover that customisations are limited.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, puts tailoring and flexibility front and centre. Business owners experience far more control and agility as they operate their online stores with WooCommerce, at a fraction of the cost of Shopify.