WooCommerce Vs Shopify: Which Platform Works Best for Your Online Store?
So, you’ve finally decided to jump onto the eCommerce bandwagon and create your own online store. Kudos to you! Nowadays, you can build an eCommerce store all by yourself without taking any professional help from web developers or graphic designers. But let’s be honest. You have spent hours searching Google for that one wizard who makes setting up an online store seem so painless only to end up discovering that there are dozens of these magic wands available online and being recommended by all kinds of people.
While there are numerous eCommerce platforms helping us create eStores, there are two that really stand head and shoulders above the rest – WooCommerce and Shopify. You might have bumped into these two eCommerce platforms more often than the others, and you probably figured that these two compete neck and neck. In this exclusive post, we’ll be breaking down what each platform has to offer in order to help you decide which one is right for your business.
Ready? Let’s delve into the ultimate clash of the eCommerce titans – WooCommerce vs Shopify.
WooCommerce: An Overview
First things first: what is WooCommerce?
In order to understand WooCommerce, you need to understand WordPress. WordPress is a massively popular, open-source website-building platform. Part of the reason WordPress is so popular is that it has an extensive ecosystem of add-ons called plugins. These plugins extend WordPress’s functionality in new and exciting ways allowing it to do much more than just publish blog posts.
That’s where WooCommerce comes in. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that adds a host of eCommerce features to any WordPress site, including things like a shopping cart, product pages, inventory management and more. Here’s what else you can expect from WooCommerce:
1. Limitless customization
As an open-source platform, the code is available. This means the customization possibilities with a platform like WooCommerce are inexhaustible. You can create a store with a real personality. Little wonder that WooCommerce calls itself “the world’s most customizable eCommerce platform.”
2. Stylish and Responsive Themes
Let’s be real. Your site can’t look like it was designed during the Geocities era or by someone who really loved MySpace. It needs to look professional, clean, and easy to navigate. One of the biggest selling points of WooCommerce is that it can work with any theme that follows best practices and standard recommendations. The best part is that all WooCommerce themes have fashionably sleek and artistic outlooks, which makes it perfect for modern, cutting-edge websites. Oh, and they are all mobile-responsive too!
3. Powerful SEO
Wanna crush the competition with your Google ranking? WooCommerce’s got you covered. Access to WordPress’ blogging infrastructure and the ability to dig deep into your store’s metadata means WooCommerce gives you everything you need to harness the power of Search Engine Optimization and dominate those Google rankings.
1. Constant Updates
Keeping your site updated is not to be overlooked. However, the consistency and number of updates required with WordPress can be annoying. Some users might anticipate updates virtually every day, depending on the number of installed plugins. While this is not an issue for some, it is sure to cause headaches for other users.
2. Steep Learning Curve
For a beginner, WooCommerce has a learning curve that is even steeper than WordPress’ learning curve. When you install WooCommerce, you not only have to learn the basic jargon of an eCommerce store (listings, checkout flow, payment tokens), but you also need to learn the basic jargon of WordPress (permalinks, posts, pages, plugins…etc) and the basic jargon of any self-hosted website (difference between HTML & CSS, page load speed…etc).
3. Hidden Costs
Compared to Shopify, WooCommerce’s cost isn’t as straightforward. Being open-source, it’s essentially free to use. But that doesn’t mean it won’t cost you anything. For instance, web hosting and professional extensions (some of which are indispensable) can incur extra charges. Additionally, extra costs such as domain fees, design, branding, marketing, and advertising charges can also put a strain on the wallet.
Shopify: An Overview
Now that you have a solid feel for WooCommerce, let’s explore Shopify.
Essentially, it’s an online tool that allows you to build an eCommerce store without doing any coding. That’s right, with Shopify, you don’t need to hire a web developer, and if you get stuck on any of the steps, Shopify will literally guide you by the hand. So, if you’re new to eCommerce or simply want a simple, turnkey solution, Shopify is definitely a solid option. Here’s a look at the pros and cons:
1. Hosted eCommerce software
Shopify takes care of the technical maintenance of running a store for you. Your Shopify plan includes hosting, as well as the necessary security certificates. Additionally, you can relax as your store grows because you know it won’t crash under the increased traffic and sales volume. Shopify is a scalable eCommerce platform because it can deal with any growth of your store experiences.
2. Ease of Use
If technology is intimidating to you, Shopify does everything it can to make things easy. In fact, Shopify is intentionally designed to make things quick and hassle-free. All you need to do to get started is go to Shopify.com, go through the signup wizard process, and you’re done. After that, you can take your store live and begin selling. It’s really that simple! Shopify also makes it really easy to adjust settings such as shipping, taxes, handling new orders, giving refunds, and more.
3. Multi-Channel Integration
You can connect Shopify to various marketplaces and social networks (like Amazon or Facebook). This lets you sell your products directly through these other sites, giving you an almost limitless audience to advertise to.
1. Poor Content Marketing
Unlike WordPress, Shopify’s blogging capabilities are limited. Its primary focus is on online shopping, and its blogging features are less than ideal. Content marketing plays a huge role in online advertising by educating customers, growing a brand, increasing social credibility, and boosting organic traffic.
2. Prices Add Up
Paying for Shopify is not as straightforward as it seems. App and plugin subscriptions add up over time, and not all themes are free of charge. If you’re using third-party payment processors, additional fees of up to 2% apply depending on the plan. Shopify plans are not the cheapest available, so bear this in mind when choosing a platform.
When closing an eCommerce store on Shopify, the store and all data are permanently removed. Users can export some data via CSV, but most data will be lost. This makes transitioning to a new platform extremely difficult. To avoid this issue, you must decide whether Shopify is a long-term platform that will work well for your store.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Who Is the Clear Winner?
So, if you’re trying to choose between WooCommerce and Shopify, how do you know which one is better? Well, it’s not really a question of which one is better. They’re both powerful, but markedly different options if you’re looking to sell online. Ultimately, the choice between Shopify and WooCommerce comes down to which one is right for you and your personal circumstances. Let’s break it down like this:
Choose WooCommerce if:
- You want full control of your eCommerce store.
- You want to enhance your store with thousands of site designs and plugins.
- You can handle the technical work required upfront to get your site up and running.
- You have a smaller budget.
- You already have a WordPress site and want to build your store on top of it.
Choose Shopify if:
- You don’t have a website and want to launch an eCommerce store as soon as possible with the least amount of work.
- You don’t mind paying a fee for all the features, even if you might not need them all.
- You are uncomfortable setting up WordPress and don’t want to pay anybody to set up your store for you.
- You want a turnkey approach where all you need to do is sign up and follow a few simple instructions.
- You think you’ll depend heavily on customer support.
So, Shopify or WooCommerce, which platform should you use for your eCommerce store? Still not sure? We get it, the idea of choosing one platform over another may be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! At McKenzie Partners, our digital experts can help simplify the process. Get in touch today!