We do a lot of work with both Shopify and WooCommerce as they are extremely popular choices for ecommerce websites. However, how do you know which one is right for your business? We have had to answer Shopify vs WooCommerce a great deal over the last few months, so we thought we would create this blog post with our comparison.
First of all, both platforms are incredibly professional and will create you wonderful ecommerce websites for your business. Whether you choose Shopify or WooCommerce will depend on your independent needs.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Overview
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an independent all-in-one ecommerce platform that allows you to build an ecommerce website which takes payments, manage your inventory and also takes care of your hosting.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that allows you to take the popular Content Management System and turn it into an ecommerce site. It is fully integrated into WordPress.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Ease of Use
Specifically designed for the “everyday user”, Shopify is incredibly easy to use. Just whizz through their wizard and your store is online…. Seriously! Your hosting and security are all sorted; you simply pick a design, follow the setup instructions, and you’re golden.
Shopify has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor, so you can easily get your content to the right place. The dashboard also makes it very easy to see how your sales are doing and adjust things like shipping or attend to refunds.
Like Shopify, WooCommerce comes with a great wizard that allows you to automatically set up all the essential parts of your ecommerce store. However, you are responsible for setting up your domain, hosting, security, backups etc. Since it is part of WordPress, all the usual steps required to set up a WordPress site are needed to set up a WooCommerce site too.
Once you’re all set up, things are rather simple to use, like with Shopify. However, to sort out technical things, or add extra features, WooCommerce can have a bit of a steep learning curve.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Design Options
With over 100 templates now on Shopify, you have some great choices for the design of your ecommerce website. However, only a handful of these themes are free, and the paid ones are $160 upwards. Plus, with all the built-in options which make Shopify so easy to use, you’re restricted with what you can actually do with it.
You do have options which allow you to change the colours and styles of your site, but if you want to make significant changes or have a custom theme, you will need a developer to help you.
Since WooCommerce is a part of WordPress, you’re able to use it with the majority of the thousands of WordPress themes out there. Most of them are free too. Of course, there are some premium themes which are built explicitly for WooCommerce which will work much better and are packed with more features. These themes are often around $39-$59.
Moreover, you have complete control over the designs of WooCommerce themes as the majority come with drag-and-drop editors with almost unlimited capabilities.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Payment Options
The payment options within Shopify are already set up, so you don’t need to go and do anything. Shopify Payments allow you to take payments from a wide range of cards and accounts and there’s no need to set anything up further. They also allow 3rd party payment gateways. However, the major downside is that they charge a 2% fee on top of what these gateways cost.
There are a ton of integrations between WooCommerce and payment gateways, including big guys like PayPal, and Stripe, but also some of the little guys too. They even take Amazon Pay and Apple Pay.
WooCommerce never takes an additional commission, and you pay your fees directly to each payment gateway. However, you will need to set up the individual accounts and set up each plugin that will take these payments.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Pricing
Cost is always going to be a significant factor, and this alone could be the deciding factor between the two platforms. We take a look at the direct costs to each platform, but also the additional costs that you are bound to incur when building your ecommerce website.
This table is probably quite scary as if you want your shop to do well, you’re probably inclined to take out one of the bigger packages. This is not necessary – the basic plan at $29 per month is enough to get your shop online. However, this does not include any of the add-ons you’re more likely to use.
You will also need to calculate how much you’re likely to sell each month. Since Shopify take an additional cut to the fees from the third-party gateways, you will need to see how much of a difference this makes to your monthly costs to them.
Then, the theme costs, if you want a professional one, will be a few hundred dollars. If you hire a professional developer to make your theme, the charges will be fairly high as there is a lack of flexibility in Shopify, so all features will need to be accounted for before upload.
While the plugin and WordPress itself is free, your monthly costs are not going to be zero. First of all, you will need to setup your domain, hosting and your SSL certificate. A domain usually costs around the region of £9.99 per year. There are tons of hosting providers out there with competitive packages; we charge £5.95 per month for our hosting and include the SSL certificate for free. Hosting generally ranges from £3.95-£39.99 per month. You don’t need to get one of the bigger packages though, as this is usually an up-sell. SSL certificates are often priced around £49.99.
You have a vast choice of free WooCommerce themes, but even some of the top WooCommerce themes are just a few dollars. You can also hire a WordPress developer to make tweaks to these themes for not very much money.
WooCommerce also does not add commission on top of the payment gateway.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Overall
Shopify vs WooCommerce is a debate we get asked about a lot, and there is no easy answer. It really depends on your needs.
If you want the most straightforward way possible to set up your ecommerce website and are not too fussed on having a custom design, then Shopify is definitely the right way for you.
If you’re looking for an ecommerce store that you have full control of and you want to ensure you cut down costs, then WooCommerce is for you.
When our customers ask which one to choose, we always ask about budget and time. Those who want to keep their budget low will need to use WooCommerce, and we take care of all the maintenance within our hosting package. For those who wish to have a shop and want minimum effort, we recommend Shopify.
If you’re still not sure, don’t hesitate to get in touch and ask us your questions!