Choosing what platform for your ecommerce store can be a big decision that a lot of factors go into. Which one is easier to use? Which will make your store look the nicest? Ultimately, which one will be best for your ecommerce business? Shopify and WooCommerce are the most popular ecommerce platforms currently on the market. Let’s take a look at both sides to see what benefits or drawbacks each will bring to your online store.
Straight Out of the Box
Both of the platforms are do it yourself. You don’t need a professional designer to build it either one. Although each have different levels of difficulty creating the website initially. WebsiteSetup describes a great way to think about the difference between Shopify and WordPress: Shopify is like going to IKEA, buying a table off the shelf, and then just assembling it at home; while WordPress is like going to the hardware store, buying planks, nails, glue, tools, and then coming home and building the table yourself.
Shopify is a prepackaged, ready to go tool. This means you just need to make an account to have access to everything needed to build a ecommerce website. Without having any design skills you can still have control over the look and feel of your website. You can create an online store almost immediately by choosing from over 100 templates. Customize the template for your store by adding images, text, and videos through a very simple process. Overall creating a website through Shopify is as simple and easy as it can get. In just a few minutes you can have a beautiful and fully functional ecommerce store and be taking orders almost immediately.
WordPress is a software that will allow you to build any kind of website. It is not just specifically for ecommerce like Shopify is. This means that you have to shape it into an ecommerce page. Initially you will start with a regular WordPress page, then you have to add features and plugins to make the website capable to be a store. To create your website through WordPress you do have to be a little bit tech savvy and be willing to put in some time. First step is to install the default version of WordPress and obtain a domain name. Then start adding on features that you want such as different plugins, the theme, and most importantly the ecommerce plugin to handle the actual store operations.
Shopify offers more free features than WooCommerce. For example just the basic plan features include:
- Unlimited number of products
- Unlimited file storage
- Shopify Shipping discount
- Ability to print shipping labels
- 24/7 support
- Fraud analysis
- Manual order creation
- Multiple languages
- Customer profiles
- Mobile commerce optimization
- Discount Codes and more
- The higher level plans come with even more features
Woocommerce is known for allowing third party developers to create various extensions and plugins. You will be able to explore the different plugins and all they have to offer for your store. When taking a looking at what is inside WooCommerce platform you will find:
- Worldwide or country wide selling
- Mobile friendly
- Independant data
- Selling physical and digital goods
- Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
- High Security through Sucuri and more
There are three different plans to choose from for Shopify. The breakdown of the pricing is:
- Basic Shopify – $29 a month plus 2.9% + 30¢ credit card rate
- Shopify – $79 a month plus 2.6%+ 30¢ credit card rate
- Advanced Shopify – $299 a month plus 2.4% + 30¢ credit card rate
Each of the Shopify plans comes with different features and are made for varying business sizes. The other fee you may run into is Shopify will provide a domain for only $9 a year. You can check other domain providers to check for cheaper pricing.
WordPress is technically free because it is an open-source software, but there are other fees to get your website up and running. There needs to be a webspace that lets you install the WordPress and plugins. This hosting service can cost $5-15 per month. A domain name is required which will cost about $10 a year depending on the domain type. Adding on plugins or extensions that aren’t free can cost anywhere from $30-80 for each one every year. The pricing for WooCommerce is not as straightforward as Shopify’s, but putting in a little research into the plugins and extensions your store needs will give you a good idea of the total cost.
WordPress is a near perfect website platform that can host any kind of website. If you want some extreme customization Shopify’s prepackaged ecommerce sites may not be for you. WordPress also allow users to have complete control over your data when Shopify controls the store and website data.
When using WordPress you have to sign up and buy a domain name, where shopify gets a custom domain name for you. A major downside is that WooCommerce doesn’t have any direct support, but there is a very helpful community of users. Shopify has 24/7 support for store owners which can most likely fix any issue. Shopify also has an offline POS kit where WooCommerce is ecommerce only.
Shopify or WooCommerce?
In the end there is no clear winner. Shopify is the more specialized solution only focusing on ecommerce merchants. On the other hand WooCommerce is also extremely feature-rich and doesn’t lack any ecommerce features. It is all up to what you prefer for your ecommerce business. If you are just starting out and want your site up and serving customers as soon as possible Shopify is your best option. If you already have a WordPress site you can simply add the WooCommerce plugin and a couple features to get your store going. Take a look at what your top priorities and needs are then make your decision from there.