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WooCommerce vs Shopify
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Which Platform: Shopify vs WooCommerce

16th June 2021

You have finally decided to move platforms. You will need something that is easy to use, has integrations with the tools you already use, cost-effective and scalable. Shopify and WooCommerce both claim to be the best option for an online store but which one really is?

In this insight, we will go over some of the key differences between these two platforms so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your business!

What to Consider Before Choosing an Ecommerce Platform?

  1. Which platform has the functionality you need for your online store?
  2. What are the integrations that will work best with your business needs and budget?
  3. How scalable is each system, meaning how easy is to scale your website i.e. So you can handle more traffic!

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a SaaS (Software as a Service) ecommerce platform that was launched in 2004 by Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake. Shopify provides an easy to use interface for anyone who wants to create their own ecommerce store.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce uses open-source technology and is a plugin for WordPress, built specifically to power ecommerce websites. It was launched in 2011 by WooThemes and acquired by WordPress in 2015. 

WooCommerce vs Shopify Comparison 

Features, Plugins and Extensions

WooCommerce has a huge library of plugins and extensions, with over 55,000 to choose from, most are free to use, while Shopify has over 4,200 apps and add-ons to choose from.

One of the things that is so attractive about WooCommerce in comparison to Shopify are all the different add-ons and integrations. These range from built-in customer chat features using LiveChat, integration with payment providers like Stripe or PayPal, shipping options including USPS, as well as an Amazon integration module that allows you to list your products on one centralised storefront – not just a standalone store.

Product and Inventory Management

Shopify has a specific inventory area in the dashboard, which allows you to quickly see inventory levels and orders.

WooCommerce has a “Products” page in their admin area that can be used for both creating products as well as managing them. WooCommerce has a lot more control over your inventory and product management as you can show stock quantities, prices with or without tax, discounts on specific products.

Payment Gateway Integrations 

WooCommerce has a wide range of payment providers like Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and Opayo (Formely Sage Pay). Shopify is limited when it comes to payment gateways, as it is the only platform to enforce transaction fees for using alternative gateways to Shopify Payments.

Shipping and Fulfillment 

The fulfilment process is the most important part of selling online. Without it, your customers could be left waiting for their purchases and that’s not good business! Shopify has integrations with UPS and Stamps.com, while WooCommerce can support Royal Mail, UPS, FedEx etc.

SEO integrations

There are many SEO extensions that can be used on either platform, meaning you’ll have no shortage of options when it comes to improving your search engine ranking and boosting your organic traffic. 

Although the plugins available won’t directly impact your SEO, they do give guidance on how to improve your content/page through easy to use features and recommendations. Some integration uses a traffic light system and others use a score to illustrate optimisation. 

For WooCommerce we like RankMath which is an all in one SEO solution, it allows you to update meta titles and descriptions, as well as add canonical URLs and even has a schema markup function for rich results – so you can add structured data like reviews, stock availability and pricing to your search results. 

Shopify has similar apps on the market which can help with your on-page SEO needs. There are a range on the market from Plug In SEO to SEO Booster. These have free and premium versions. The free version of the aforementioned are very basic and we would advise paying for the premium features like JSON-LD (Schema). 

Analytics and Reporting 

The data you collect can help inform your business decisions in the future, identifying your most profitable products is essential to maximising profits and staying afloat during this data-driven economy.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer analytics integrations that provide insightful data about your business and your visitors. They also integrate with google analytics and google search console with ease.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Ease of Use

Both platforms are known for being easy to use. Shopify makes it a point to be as user-friendly and intuitive as possible. WooCommerce takes a little more effort when first building your site, but once it’s up and running the process becomes much smoother.

Both platforms offer extensive documentation for beginners so if anything does get tricky there are plenty of resources available to help you out.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Pricing

If you have a small budget for migrating to a new platform, both of these options are considered the cheapest on the market. Shopify pricing plans start at $29/month, and WooCommerce is just a little less expensive with its cheapest plan costing $25.99/month. However, you may find building your ecommerce store on Woo challenging if you have little to no coding knowledge. It is often best to get a WooCommerce web design developer to build your storefront as ecommerce websites can be extremely complex environments, this can cost anywhere between £1,000 to £50,000 depending on your requirements. 

If you are starting an ecommerce business, we would recommend Shopify as an affordable all-in-one platform. Which includes hosting, SSL and support. When it comes to Shopify fees, the system charges monthly plus some percentages and transaction fees so that could get expensive. In addition, if you have added functionality through apps, these will add to your annual bill and if you have added a lot that can get costly.

However, if you are ecommerce business, then we would recommend WooCommerce. This is due to its flexibility, you can build a completely bespoke and highly customised website that meets the needs of your business. There are over 1000 themes available, or you can get a WooCommerce developer to build a unique site. 

WooCommerce vs Shopify Scalability

WooCommerce is scalable and is capable of handling over 100,000 products. You can even scale it to a large enterprise level with plugins and quality servers and Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Shopify scalability is not as good, which is typical for SaaS models as they impose growth caps. Shopify stores are limited to 100,000 visitors per month and this can only be increased by upgrading your plan. So you can scale your business but for a price. You can upgrade to Shopify Plus, which is enterprise-level, this gives you an advanced level of hosting, security and DDOS protection as well as fraud.

Overall, WooCommerce is the best option if you have ambitions of scaling because you have more control over your website. To scale your store you would likely need to migrate to a bigger and faster server, so it can handle a larger amount of traffic and this would be a costly move through shopify, as your options are limited to their pricing model. With WooCommerce you have full control over your hosting providers, therefore you can shop around for the best and most affordable solution. 

Conclusion

Shopify’s interface is easy to use and has the added benefit of hosting and support. It has a lot of built-in features like multichannel integrations, so you can sell on Amazon, Facebook, eBay and Pinterest. Although Shopify is an easy to use and all in one solution that has a lot of features, the plans are expensive. If you were to grow your store you would likely be the victim of financial growing pains and then be imposed by growth caps. 

WooCommerce is the more expensive option due to its more complex environment and you will likely need a WooCommerce developer to take on the work if you do not have coding capabilities in house. If you’re an SME ecommerce business, then WooCommerce is a great option for your website. It has the flexibility to create a customised site that meets your commercial needs and includes 1000+ themes and has a great developer community. 

Your overall decision will be geared towards your business commercial goals. If you are starting an online store then Shopify is probably the easiest and most fitting solution to get you started. If you are already running an ecommerce site and want a cleaner design and more functionality to compete with your competitors then WooCommerce would be the best option. 

Do you require a WooCommerce developer? Get in touch with one of our experts

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