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Shopify Vs WooCommerce – Which Is Better?

Making a decision between WooCommerce and Shopify can be challenging.

With the growing global e-commerce retail sales reaching 1.09 trillion US dollars worldwide, launching an online store has never seemed more logical. However, choosing the right platform for your business can be hard as there are a lot of factors to consider: development cost, business size, number of items, flexibility and so on. 

Making a decision between the two e-commerce giants – WooCommerce and Shopify – can be challenging. Each of the two platforms has its own pros and cons, so we’ll break down the most important aspects of how both platforms approach e-commerce to help you choose which one would suit your business better. Let’s take a look!

The Big Picture

Launched in 2006, Shopify has gained over a million businesses in sixteen years. With Shopify, you don’t need to worry about the technical aspects of managing your business. That’s because it’s a comprehensive e-commerce solution that allows you to create & manage inventory, transactions – all that with minimal or no development experience. 

On the other hand, WooCommerce is a popular open-source plugin that turns the WordPress website into a powerful online store. Being an open-source platform, WooCommerce is completely customizable. You  can easily add custom extensions and adjust every part of your online store according to your business needs. 

Ease of Use & Functionalities

Shopify offers an intuitive drag-and-drop builder that makes managing your products, pages, and sales as easy as pie! However, your control over design is limited: you can only use themes and development features that Shopify offers, and buy only the add-ons available on the marketplace. But, if you’re just starting out, this could be enough.

WooCommerce gives you full control over the whole platform & your data. Although setting up a store includes more steps than Shopify, it is well worth it. You can add any functionality to the online store you want, while using any of almost 60,000 extensions available. This means WooCommerce is more scalable in the long run due to its complete customization and control. 

To set up a store on WooCommerce, you need to make a few general steps:

  • Get a domain name
  • Setup hosting
  • Install WooCommerce software plugin
  • Find & choose a WordPress theme

As for the platform itself, it’s very much similar to Shopify in terms of ease of use & intuitiveness. To successfully set up & manage your e-commerce store with WooCommerce, we recommend consulting an experienced WooCommerce development team who will help you leverage your business online.

Cost

Shopify pricing is very upfront – they offer a basic plan that starts at $29 per month, a Shopify plan for $79, and the Advanced plan at $299. Unfortunately, on a lower plan you get very limited reporting, so you can’t really understand your customer and product data. We recommend going with the Advanced plan, as it gives you the possibility to truly dive into customer & financial data. Each plan includes an SSL certificate and web hosting. You’ll get Shopify branded subdomain (https://yourexamplestore.myshopify.com), and if you want to use your own domain, you can purchase it separately. 

A basic plan offers enough features to set up the store, but as your business grows, so will the cost. Many stores end up purchasing a lot of add-ons and third party integrations to keep up with their growth. All of these come at an additional cost. 

Shopify has a  payment processing fee that also influences pricing. It costs 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction for the basic plan. Check out this list to see which countries and regions support Shopify payment. 

So what about WooCommerce? As we mentioned before, to set up a WooCommerce store, you only need to purchase a domain name, SSL certificate, & signup for a hosting account. WooCommerce itself is free. All of this means you can easily pay less than for a Shopify store in the long run.

Much like Shopify, the cost starts adding on as your business grows (and the need for cool WooCommerce extensions). 

The payment processing options that WooCommerce offers are unbeatable in the e-commerce market. The payment fee simply depends on the payment processing service you choose. This means that WooCommerce itself does not charge any transaction fees; you’ll only pay for the fees set by your payment processor, which is a huge advantage. Get in touch with our e-commerce team to determine the best solution for your business.

SEO

Let’s take a look at some of the SEO features in Shopify & WooCommerce and how they compare:

  • Speed: On Shopify, websites generally load quickly, especially higher-tier plans of Shopify where your site is hosted on a dedicated server. WooCommerce can be as fast (if not faster) than Shopify but it depends on who is running the site. In WooCommerce, its self-hosting nature, particularly for larger sites that handle many orders, means you need an experienced e-commerce marketer to help refine the site.
  • Auto XML Sitemap: Having XML sitemaps are an efficient way to inform search engines on content changes or new content creation. Shopify online stores have built-in SEO which enables you to automatically generate XML sitemap files. In contrast, WordPress (which is where WooCommerce lives)  relies on 3rd party plugins, such as WordPress SEO by Yoast, Google XML Sitemaps, or Sitemap Generator. Both are good options.
  • Blog: WordPress wins the blogging battle without question. Being a superior blogging system itself, it serves this SEO aspect perfectly – you can simply add a post right from the WordPress admin dashboard. WordPress was built as a blogging platform first many years ago so it’s not surprising they continue to be ahead of the pack.
  • SEO Plugins & Apps: some of the best apps to improve Shopify SEO performance include SEO Image Optimizer, Plugin SEO, and SEO Doctor. WooCommerce also offers well-known SEO plugins to improve your store performance, such as Yoast SEO and Smush.

Sales Volume

Before we give final thoughts on the two most popular e-commerce platforms, it is important to emphasize that the consensus changes with larger sales volumes. As we said, Shopify is fantastic for small businesses, while WooCommerce can serve both small and medium-to-large businesses, being much more scalable. But, for the large stores managing over $2 million in annual revenue, there is a need for a powerful platform that can meet all the needs of the high-volume multichannel sales companies. 

Here comes Shopify Plus! This is an enterprise version of everything Shopify has to offer, plus much more. 

It’s an ideal full support service for large enterprises, but it comes with a higher cost, starting at $2000/month. Shopify Plus is perfect for large merchants selling across all the marketplaces and social networks. It provides increased functionality, more control over your back-end, upgraded automation, and customisation options, so brands can scale up and grow effortlessly.

Who Won?

In the battle of Shopify vs. WooCommerce, it’s hard to say if there’s a clear winner. Both platforms are very viable solutions for any e-commerce business. A lot of it comes down to preference and where you see your business going in the future. 

Shopify is a winner for those who don’t have much technical experience, want to sell online quickly, and look for a user-friendly interface for managing their business in the short term. 

WooCommerce is a good choice for businesses that need more creative freedom with their projects, have some web development knowledge, or are happy to hire a professional development team to set up and manage their store. We often recommend WooCommerce to e-commerce clients who need a unique system (such as subscriptions or delivery within the Cayman Islands) because it can flex to your needs.

Ready to get started?

Other options are available when it comes to e-commerce. From Adobe Commerce to HubSpot, we got you covered. Just book a call with our e-commerce experts today to determine which e-commerce solution is best for your business journey.

 

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