shopify vs woocommerce

Recent statistics indicate that more than 2.14 billion people globally are expected to make an online purchase in 2021. Let that sink in for a moment. Whether you’re pro Shopify vs WooCommerce, think about what that number means for your business. Are you exploiting that potential? If not, why?

The reality is – your current eCommerce platform might be standing in the way of true success. This article explores two leading solutions to determine which one holds the key to unlocking unlimited growth potential.

Table of Contents:

  1. What Is Shopify vs WooCommerce?
  2. WooCommerce vs Shopify: Pros and Cons
    1. Pros of Shopify
    2. Shopify Cons
    3. WooCommerce Pros
    4. Cons of WooCommerce
  3. Shopify vs WooCommerce: Key Aspects Comparison
    1. Frontend Features
    2. Backend Features
    3. Ease of Use
    4. Design
    5. Pricing
    6. Apps and Plugins
    7. SEO Features
    8. Security
    9. Customer Support
  4. FAQ Block
    1. How is WooCommerce different from Shopify?
    2. Does WooCommerce work with Shopify?
    3. Can I change from WooCommerce to Shopify?
    4. Is Shopify or WooCommerce better for dropshipping?
  5. Conclusion

What is Shopify vs WooCommerce?

Shopify needs no introduction. It is a hosted platform that allows users to create online stores without typing a single line of code. WooCommerce is an open-source plugin built explicitly for WordPress websites. It’s the missing piece of the puzzle you need to convert your website into an online store.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

Pros of Shopify

  • Supports multichannel selling.
  • Shopify offers 80+ professionally designed themes.
  • Takes care of the backend stuff.
  • It comes with a robust drag-and-drop website builder.
  • Provides access to 6,500+ apps to enhance the functionality of your store.

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Shopify Cons

  • As your business needs expand, you may need to upgrade to superior tiers.
  • Hefty transaction fees for third-party payment gateways when not using Shopify Payments.
  • Proprietary coding limits the extent to which you can customize your online store.

WooCommerce Pros

  • Unlimited customization capabilities.
  • Access to a wide selection of beautiful, mobile responsive WooCommerce themes and extensions.
  • Free installation of the WooCommerce plugin to your WordPress site.
  • Excellent SEO performance.
  • Provides unmatched scalability.

Cons of WooCommerce

  • It has a steep learning curve.
  • You’ll need to pay for hosting and other value-added services.
  • High frequency of updates.

Also, take a look at this detailed video comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce from the WebsiteToolTester:

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Key Aspects Comparison

Frontend Features

Shopify’s frontend has a sophisticated checkout system that allows customers to move through the site quickly and seamlessly. Depending on the tier you subscribe to, the platform also supports cross-platform selling on eBay, Facebook, and Pinterest. It also supports discount codes and gift cards. You can even integrate the Shopify Buy button on your blog.

WooCommerce’s frontend boils down to the plugins, extensions, and theme you pick for your site. Aside from the product management and shopping cart capabilities, it does not come with many built-in features. Nonetheless, it does offer coupons, product reviews, automated tax calculations, and excellent mobile responsiveness.

Check out the detailed Magento vs WooCommerce vs Shopify vs OpenCart vs PrestaShop review

Backend Features

Shopify’s backend is one of its crown jewels. It makes it remarkably easy to navigate the various fields and manage customer, product, and order data. The one thing you will notice is how similar it is to WordPress – from an appearance standpoint.

However, one glaring difference is that Shopify prioritizes the most critical tasks you need to knock out the moment you sign in. You’ll also find several tabs like payments, checkout, gift cards, and notifications, as well as links to Shopify themes and the App Store.

The WooCommerce “backend” is essentially a tab on WordPress’ backend. Remember, WooCommerce is a WordPress site plugin. All it does is add an extra tab – the WooCommerce tab – that provides store-related options such as Orders, Add-ons, Settings, and Reports.

Ease of Use

When rating how easy a particular eCommerce platform is to use, you need to consider two things.

First, you need to think about the complexity of the setup process with regard to the skill level required. Do you need any coding skills to get started?

Next, you need to consider the complexity involved in the day-to-day running of the online store. Do you need to hire a full-time web developer?

WordPress vs Shopify detailed comparison is here for you to benefit from!

With those two things in mind, Shopify’s main strength rests on the fact that the end-to-end process – from signing up, to running the setup wizard, to managing it – is quite straightforward. You don't need prior web design or web development experience to have a fully functional online store. Every aspect of the site’s management is accessible from the dashboard.

WooCommerce is also relatively easy to use – to some extent. Here’s why.

The setup process is fairly complex, and you might need a background in web development to get your store up. Since WooCommerce is essentially a plugin for WordPress, you need to take care of a couple of things before you can start working with it. For instance, you'll need to purchase a domain, sign up for a hosting service, get WordPress, install a theme, add the WooCommerce plugin, and start configuring your store.

Remember the steep learning curve we mentioned earlier? This is what we meant. Once you get it set up, the day-to-day management of your store will be less complicated.

Design

The visual quality and aesthetic appeal of Shopify themes are hard to beat. The platform offers 10 free and 71 premium themes, each with its own set of unique variations to match every style and design preference. In reality, this means you get close to 200 different options. They have clean, crisp, contemporary interfaces and are all optimized for mobile viewing. You can tell that the in-house team of professional designers took their time with them.

Being a plugin, WooCommerce doesn’t offer any design properties of its own, as free and premium themes go. All it does is provide a means to convert your existing WordPress website into an online store. Designs specifically created for WooCommerce sites are available in the themes marketplace.

Pricing

Shopify offers five different plans to choose from depending on the size of your business and any individual needs you might have.

The mere fact that it is a hosted solution means that each plan comes with a Shopify subdomain (e.g., https://storename.myshopify.com), web hosting, and an SSL certificate. If you would rather use a specific domain name (e.g., https://storename.com), you'll need to purchase it separately.

Keep in mind that the pricing plans don't include any value-added services. Integrating third-party tools and extensions will cost extra. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. Nothing more, nothing less. Before you can set up an online store, you’ll need to get a domain name, WordPress hosting, and an SSL certificate. Bluehost is the official WordPress-endorsed provider, although several other hosting companies offer specialized WooCommerce plans. The Bluehost Standard plan costs >$12.95-$29.95 per month, while the Premium plan costs $24.95-$49.95 per month.

Additionally, the default features of WooCommerce aren’t very comprehensive, and usually merchants have to buy additional extensions to make the best of their online stores.

On the other hand, WooCommerce won’t make you pay for something you don’t need. Any plugin can be switched on or off, depending on the user’s needs, so you can choose the most helpful ones and pay exclusively for them.

Apps and Plugins

Shopify has a pretty impressive collection of 6,500+ extensions, each designed to enhance the functionality of your online store. The platform features both free and paid Shopify apps, so there’s something for every budget size. Popular categories include marketing, shipping and delivery, store management, and customer service.

WooCommerce offers hundreds of free and premium extensions in a wide range of categories including, marketing, payments, shipping, store management, and lots more. These are all designed to address the technical, logistical, and marketing needs of your online store.

All in all, both platforms have no shortage of extensions, allowing you to drive sales and manage your store seamlessly.

SEO Features

The fact that WooCommerce’s foundation is WordPress gives it the ultimate edge over Shopify, as far as SEO matters go. After all, it piggybacks off a dedicated blogging platform. It, therefore, means you can edit alt tags, meta titles, and descriptions and optimize product pages. You can also take advantage of several WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO to optimize every aspect of your eCommerce store.

Unfortunately, Shopify’s SEO doesn’t quite measure up. For one thing, it doesn’t allow users to modify their page URLs to optimize them for search engines. Its rigid structure also makes the creation of sub-categories almost impossible.

WooCommerce is the clear winner on that front.

Security

Shopify vs WooCommerce security is more or less at par. The only difference is who takes care of it.

Shopify handles all security issues and updates in the backend, so you can focus on running your store. The solution comes with a built-in SSL certificate and is PCI compliant.

WooCommerce also offers these security features. The catch is – you’ll have to set them up yourself, which involves installing the relevant security plugins to protect your store.

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Blogging

Shopify treats bloggers good. Not as much as WordPress - today’s simplest content management system, but good enough to make site engagement satisfactory. Of course, when talking about the blog, we’re evaluating SEO - and Shopify does provide basic options, like meta info, to make your shop’s blog popular among search engines. Moreover, there’s a good amount of SEO tools to promote the store sites, and lots of extensions to diversify functionality in this direction.

Being powered by WordPress, WooCommerce beats Shopify hands down when it comes to blogging. The simplicity of use and an extremely diversified content management possibilities will help you arrange a blog by the highest SEO standards. Also, there are many free and paid plugins to get even more web exposure. So, add, modify content and metadata appropriately on WooCommerce, and have Google adore your online retailer.

Customer Support

Shopify has a dedicated team of customer support professionals who are on call 24/7. They are available via Live Chat, email, and phone.

Like most open-source software, WooCommerce doesn’t have a dedicated support team. However, it does have a rich resource library you can use to get answers on various topics. Alternatively, you could also consult the vibrant online community of users and WooExperts if you can’t find an immediate solution to your issue.

FAQ Block

How is WooCommerce different from Shopify?

WooCommerce is an open-source, self-hosted eCommerce solution. It is a plugin you install on an existing WordPress website to turn it into an online store. On the other hand, Shopify is a hosted eCommerce service that takes care of everything on the backend.

Does WooCommerce work with Shopify?

No, it does not. WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin specifically designed for WordPress websites. However, you can install the Shopify Buy button on a WordPress website to start selling.

Can I change from WooCommerce to Shopify?

Yes, you can – using Cart2Cart. This automated tool will migrate your customer, order, and product data from WooCommerce to Shopify in a few easy steps.

Is Shopify or WooCommerce better for dropshipping?

WooCommerce would be the winner, hands down. This is mainly because of all the available dropshipping plugins specifically designed for WooCommerce. They make it super-easy to import products to your website and fulfill customer orders compared to Shopify.

Conclusion

This was a close one. Both eCommerce solutions are neck-to-neck in virtually all categories. It ultimately comes down to your business needs and preferences.

Shopify is easy to set up, meaning you can get your online store off the ground in no time. It also takes care of the backend for you. The downside is – it doesn't give you complete control over your site, so customization options are limited.

WooCommerce is free, and because it is open source, you get complete control over every aspect of your site. Its learning curve is steep, and you will have to take charge of the backend aspects of your online store. Once you get over those hurdles, it's smooth sailing from there.

To help with your decision, ask yourself this: How hands-on are you willing to be? If the answer is – “very,” – then choose WooCommerce. If not - go with Shopify. It will definitely satisfy your needs and expectations.

All in all, they both are top eCommerce carts and you wouldn’t be wrong to choose any of them. In case you want to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce or WooCommerce to Shopify, Cart2Cart is always there to handle your data move.

If you want to switch from your current eCommerce platform, consider using an automated data migration tool like Cart2Cart. Sign up today for a free demo.