Shopify vs WooCommerce

Choosing the right e-commerce platform for your online business is critical for your success. Shopify and WooCommerce are the two most popular e-commerce platforms in the world. If you are in the process of setting up an online store, chances are you are deciding between the two, and not entirely sure which of the platforms to use.

What is Shopify?

Shopify helps you set up an online store and sell your products. It is an e-commerce platform that offers a way to quickly launch your dream business and start selling to your customers.

Shopify makes it easy to create an online store, accept payments and manage your inventory all from a single platform. You don’t have to know the technical details of managing a website when you use Shopify. Web hosting, security and caching are all taken care of for you. 

What is WooCommerce?

Like Shopify, WooCommerce helps you set up an online store and sell your products. It is important to understand that WooCommerce is not a standalone website site builder. It is an open-source WordPress plugin that allows you to customize every aspect of your online store.

WooCommerce is best known for its flexibility and functionality. It inherits all of the strength and reliability of WordPress, making it very popular among online retailers. 

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have great features. Let’s review the two more in depth and compare and contrast.

Which is more flexible? 

After comparing Shopify vs WooCommerce, WooCommerce wins the prize for being the most flexible. Because it is an open-source platform, you can use code to customize your store however you wish. Of course, if you don’t know how to code, WooCommerce is more challenging to use.

Shopify is very beginner-friendly and does not require you to know any code, but the platform has limitations on its customization.

Which platform provides better plugins? 

Since WooCommerce is an open-source platform, it relies heavily on plugins. There are over 50,000 to choose from, allowing you to build a completely custom website without any limitations.

Shopify offers over 1,200 free and paid apps that are all reliable. There are ratings and reviews for each app to help you determine the best ones to install. 

Both platforms allow you to install apps to add extra functionality in all areas of your business, including shipping, SEO and marketing. However, WooCommerce beats out Shopify for offering better plugins. 

Which has better templates?

Shopify’s theme store has over 100 free and paid themes for you to choose from. The Shopify themes are very professional and geared toward e-commerce customers. They are experts at designing templates that help you sell.   

WooCommerce has thousands of free and paid templates, and anything is possible for your online store design. However, the choices may become overwhelming, and you may need to know how to code in some instances. 

Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer themes that will give your store a professional look and stylish feel. We choose Shopify as the winner when it comes to better templates. Shopify has curated an impressive collection of themes, so it’s unnecessary to get bogged down in the endless WooCommerce themes.

Which is cheaper?

When comparing pricing for Shopify vs WooCommerce, you need to look more in-depth as companies continually find creative ways to hide costs. 

WooCommerce is a free, open-source software plugin. However, there are additional costs that go along with making an online store. It was hard to find the exact price for a WooCommerce store because there are far too many scenarios. 

The only fixed costs are hosting, domain and fees to your payment gateway. With that said, assume you will also pay for a premium theme and plugins. 

Shopify is more straightforward as it offers a single, out-of-the-box solution with just a few pricing packages. After you sign up, everything you need to set up your online store is ready to go, but assume you will pay more for premium themes and apps.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have transaction fees that are usually 2-3% per purchase. 

There is no correct answer when comparing Shopify vs WooCommerce for pricing. Consider your budget and the amount of flexibility you need to build your site. If you are planning to sell simple products with minimal variations, Shopify is probably the right choice. 

Which has the best payment experience?

Because WooCommerce is open-source and has a large plugin community, you can find a ton of WooCommerce payment gateways. WooCommerce supports all the popular gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Square, and Authorize.net.

WooCommerce also supports many regional payment services. Since there is no barrier to entry, any payments company can create add-ons for WooCommerce and provide support for it.

Shopify has its own payment gateway that requires zero configuration. But if you’d prefer to use a third-party payment gateway, Shopify also supports Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.net.

Both WooCommerce and Shopify boast lengthy lists of payment gateways, but Shopify has the edge in this category. Shopify charges extra if you use an external payment gateway. WooCommerce never charges you a fee on your store transactions which is a major bonus.

Which has better SEO features?

Every online store wants their store to appear high in Google’s search results, so SEO is so important when choosing between Shopify and WooCommerce. 

WooCommerce uses code optimized for SEO, and it’s integrated with WordPress along with its impressive range of SEO plugins. If you choose to, you can add detailed meta descriptions and titles to your pages which Google generally appreciates. 

With WooCommerce, you can customize your URLs to help search engine users find your pages easily. Throughout the building process, there are also SEO prompts that remind you to consider SEO when building your e-commerce site. 

Shopify makes it very easy to add basic SEO information to your store. You can add descriptions and titles for your images, products, and pages. Shopify is known for having clean code and a natural linking structure, which offers a smooth user experience. This often translates into higher search engine rankings. 

This is a close call, but the edge goes to WooCommerce. With WooCommerce, you have access to a wide range of excellent SEO plugins. Shopify doesn’t have as many SEO apps to offer, which may hinder you in the long run.

Which platform has the best support?

It can be guaranteed that when you are building an e-commerce site, you will need some level of customer support. Even if you are professional, chances are you will face a roadblock that will need addressing.

WooCommerce is not the best in the customer support department. Since WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, you only get support through the WordPress forums, and it’s not easy to access specific answers to your questions. If you don’t need to speak and prefer researching your questions online, WooCommerce is a good choice.

Shopify is known for its excellent customer care. Each client can enjoy 24/7 access to a customer adviser if they have any issues or queries. Help is available via email, open chat, or phone call. Shopify also offers an extensive knowledge base that covers some of the typical user questions and problem solutions.

This was an easy choice, Shopify has better customer support than WooCommerce.

Is blogging offered?

Adding a blog to your e-commerce site is valuable as it is used to update your customers about your products and business. It’s also a valuable way to add content to your website, boosting your SEO rankings.

WooCommerce is built on WordPress, so it is a natural blogging platform. Adding a blog on your WooCommerce site is optional but highly useful to your online business. 

Shopify also offers blogging that is free and easy. You can insert images and videos and include a nice visual editor. It has automatic SEO for the title and description, the ability to schedule posts in the future, comments and tags.

WooCommerce has the edge when it comes to blogging. With its connection to WordPress and long history as a professional blogging solution, this is expected. However, Shopify offers basic blogging options, which may be more than enough for your business. 

Final Takeaway

Choosing between Shopify vs WooCommerce is a very tough call, but WooCommerce is the winner by a hair after careful consideration. WooCommerce offers more flexibility, more plugins, better SEO and a better blogging experience. Being built on WordPress certainly helps give it the edge as you just can’t beat some of the advantages that WordPress offers its users.

However, Shopify is easier to use and more beginner-friendly. It offers far better customer support and is less overwhelming if you are new to building e-commerce websites. 

In the end, choose the platform that meets the needs of your business. Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer excellent e-commerce solutions for you and your business needs.