Woocommerce vs Shopify
To make a long story short, These are the two most outstanding platforms available to build your e-commerce website.
Picking between one of them might be complicated, as both the platforms provide a significant amount of features and have their advantage and disadvantages.
Starting an online store seemed very difficult some years ago, but since these feature packed e-commerce platform came to the market, it never felt so easier.
One can easily build there own online store without any help of a developer or a professional designer.
These are easily accessible and effortless to use and a perfect solution for an E-commerce store where you can do most of the things by yourself.
Deciding between these two leading platforms can be troublesome. Both have some various strength and provide almost everything you need to build your E-commerce Store/Website.
So we are going to compare some crucial differences between these two E-commerce platforms by Comparing these topics alongside :
Woocommerce and Shopify both provide complete solutions you need to set-up an online store.
They provide a massive amount of customizable themes for you to design your website accordingly.
Now let's start with Woocommerce. It is an open source ocean built on top of WordPress as it's plugin. If you don't know about WordPress, it is a free and open-source content management system based on PHP and MySQL. In other words, WordPress is the simplest, most popular way to create your website or blog.
To get your online store running, you need to get a registered domain name and hosting it.
It allows users to modify and customize everything. Since the users been provided with complete control over Woocommerce, you can add unlimited products and also take unlimited orders.
WordPress and its plugin Woocommerce are tools to simplify building your site as you want. Here you get much more options and a gigantic market of plugins to customize your website and have more control in general.
You can sell almost anything whether physical products, digital downloads, content etc.
And because it is working on the most popular content management structure, it conforms to e-commerce with the content. So you get everything in one place.
The current 2018 market share for WooCommerce is 42% of the entire internet. As you can see WooCommerce is many, many times more popular than any of its competitors. It’s 6 times more popular than Magento or Shopify.
Shopify is a core self-hosted e-commerce platform that means, unlike Woocommerce you don't have to be concerned about Web hosting, installing a separate content management system then add Shopify.
Shopify enables you to build an e-commerce store without doing any coding. You will not require any developer if you get stuck in something, Shopify will guide you in every step with its 24/7 support system.
The Shopify is famous because it is effortless to use. Its core purpose is to provide an e-commerce solution so you can build your website in an hour or two and start running your online store through Shopify. It can save your time so that you can focus on other essential aspects.
SEO is also a concern for beginners, so basic SEO (meta-data and site copy) is not a problem with Shopify. You need to add sufficient description for products, homepage copy, and other SEO related item and you are good to go.
Shopify hosts on their massive framework where pages load fast which is another important thing. So don't need to worry about that.
Every “Mistake” a user makes is not because they’re stupid, but because your website sucks
Design themes and layout options
One of the highest selling points of any online store is that the visual quality of its Website. Shopify itself provide 100+ theme options, and they all look great.
Some of these themes are free, and others are paid of course.
All the themes have some unique variations, so you can get a unique design for each item you look for.
If you scroll through the themes menu page, you will see that free ones are nice, but the paid ones are merely amazing. But always check your budget before installing these premium themes, as they usually range between 100$-180$.
If you even get a preview of any of the theme, you will get the idea just how many options are available. All the themes are mobile responsive, and they have a different version of themes for entirely different industries.
To edit something, you can click an element, and it will allow you to modify pretty much everything on that element.
And as you get through it, you will get the idea how to customize anything; It is very straightforward to customize in Shopify.
The Shopify themes consist of features such as newsletter integration, Zoom in 360-degree view capabilities, mega-menu options, Social media sharing buttons, Quick view options and more.
Group of professional Web designers made these themes ensuring the theme safety and description true for better selection. Shopify uses Liquid templating language to create a theme. The themes might be outsourced.
There are some third-party themes also available with some additional features, or if the industry is not included in Shopify, you can find those themes/design somewhere else like Envato market etc.
Woocommerce is a whole different story. As we discussed, It is a WordPress plugin and since it is an open source platform. Woocommerce is designed to work with the majority of WordPress themes.
They very well know the importance of design when it comes to an e-commerce website. The design depends on hours you are willing to put in and your technical skill level.
If you already have installed a WordPress theme you like, Woocommerce can run with it.
If you are just getting started, there are themes available at WordPress storefront.
The plugin itself extend many of the useful features like- integration with MailChimp, Responsive design for many devices, shopping cart, a gallery to showcase, checkout options and much more.
You can always install more add-ons depending on your need; there are many free and paid options available you can add according to your need.
Woocommerce is comparatively much better than Shopify when it comes to designing.
You can get great themes on Shopify, But unlike Woocommerce, Shopify is limited if we talk about flexibility and customization.
Since it is an opensource platform lot of developers creates incredible Woocommerce themes for all sorts of purposes.
Payment Options & Gateways
Shopify multiple payment methods
Shopify supports all kinds of popular payment methods around the world like Netbanking, EMI's, Wallets, PAYPAL, Cash on delivery, UPI, bank transfer and more inbuilt or added through integrations.
(you can customize cash on delivery as they give you extra control over this payment method)
But make sure you check before choosing as Shopify charges 2% fee for each transaction if you are using a third party payment gateways
you can either reduce it by enhancing your Shopify plan or if you want to get relieved from it completely you can use company's payment option that is Shopify payments
Shopify also supports significant payment gateways and gives you the flexibility to choose from various payment methods to pick the right one for your customers.
You should always check that these are available at different prices and you can choose as per your requirement.
Woocommerce numerous payment gateways/extensions
Woocommerce also offers to choose from over 80+ payment gateway to take the payments with the providers that are right for you.
The advantage we get in Woocommerce is that it does not charge you any transaction fee.
The bank charges or fee by payment gateways (like Paypal or square) will still apply.
Since Woocommerce is a WordPress plugin, it comes with bundles of extensions.
Woocommerce supports almost all sorts of popular gateways like :
Square, Paypal, Stripe, Amazon pay, Authorize.Net, Worldpay and much more.
But keep in mind that both Shopify and Woocommerce payment providers are mostly coming with a price tag between 49$-79$
for example- Authorize.Net, World pay, First data etc.
How much does it cost to open a Shopify store
The pricing of Shopify is very transparent and forthright. It is very easy to plan for.
Shopify offers 3 types of pricing plans.
The basic plan for beginners that is 29$/month.
Intermediate plan for 79$/month.
Advanced plan for 299$/month for scaling businesses.
They also offer a 14-day free trial, so you can be more decisive while choosing which plan suits you the most.
There are a couple more things that may increase the cost of your online store.
Like Premium themes, Add-ons/apps (Some of them are free).
Other than that, Shopify deducts some amounts every time you use a third-party Payment method.
How much does it cost to run a store through Woocommerce
While Woocommerce and WordPress both are free, But there are costs associated with it.
You need to purchase a few things like-Hosting, domain name, Premium theme (If you buy one), any Premium plugin you might install/use and an SSL certificate.
With WooCommerce, you might also have to consider the additional extensions for things like SEO or more payment gateways.
Woocommerce is initially cheaper than Shopify, but it can be more costly if you start purchasing premium plugins and themes.
WordPress plugins are available for one-time payment, whereas most of the Shopify apps are monthly based plans.
Shopify Intelligent built-in SEO feature
Shopify is an excellent solution for people who have the slightest coding skills. So it comes with built-in SEO features to help users optimize their content with ease.
It helps you handle basic SEO practices like image optimization, defining a title, meta tags, alt as well as product descriptions.
Most on-page SEO implementations are easy to achieve with Shopify.
For example automatic sitemap generation, canonical instructions, personalized URLs, 301 redirects, customizable title tags, etc.
As for page's speed if you choose a 'light template' your site will load fast. And it also offers good uptime for positive impact on e-commerce.
There are still some options available to improve SEO through various apps or add-ons that Shopify features.
The flaw here is that Shopify doesn't let users access and modify Robots.txt file or Sitemap.
And Content marketing strategies cannot be implemented in a proper manner as it is not the system with the most flexibility.
Overall it has smooth SEO features that any online store owner might require.
Woocommerce admirable SEO-backing through WordPress SEO
Woocommerce SEO is a whole different story than Shopify.
Since Woocommerce is a WordPress plugin, it does not come with built-in SEO feature like Shopify. There are immediate benefits to take into the discussion.
But does it offer SEO like Shopify or any better?
Yes, Woocommerce is a lot more customizable and have a bit better SEO features than Shopify because it is a WordPress plugin.
And the WordPress is well known for its powerful SEO capabilities. When you combine WordPress with Woocommerce, you get many rich SEO plugins available to enrich your online store and helps you improve higher ranking chances.
If you want to improve your ranking, you can always install plugins like Yoast SEO or All-in-one SEO. But I personally recommend installing Yoast, as it is the best tool you can find to rank your website/online store.
Customer Support - What your Options are
"Amazing things will happen when you listen to the consumer"
Shopify dedicated 24/7 support
Shopify provides 24/7 backing to their customers. It can be phone support, E-mail, and live chat.
The usual wait time for chat and call are 2-5 minutes respectively. But for e-mails, you might have to wait up to 21 hours.
They have detailed documentation and a massive community to help you out.
They provide step by step guidelines to manage your online store. You can always ask your queries in their questions section. There is almost the highest chance that they will help you solve your problem.
Woocommerce forum support
Woocommerce helps you support through Documentation and Open forums. Since it is a WordPress plugin, you get support through the default Forum. You just have to create a free account in Woocomerce.com
And because of WP and WC, both are Opensource. The developers who create the theme or plugins are available for support if the user runs into an issue.
Ease of use
Shopify convenience while setting up the store
Shopify is a self-hosted platform which means you don't need to install, manage or update any software or app.
You also don't need to worried about security, compatibility, website performance, or backups.
You just need to sign up to get started, and they will guide you through the entire setup.
And after a while, a dashboard will appear on the sideboard from where you can access every essential option you need.
You can then take your online store live and start selling.
You don't have to visit different areas to modify a single product all options will be available there to modify almost everything
Shopify doesn't even require any technical abilities and also take care of the hosting and other requirements for your online store.
Woocommerce platform setup
Working with Woocommerce on a daily basis is also pretty easy you just need to :
- Purchase a Domain name
- Get a hosting account
- Setup WordPress
- Install the Woocommerce plugin
- Install other required plugins
Those steps do require some level of comfort around. If you consider this a problem, there are hosting companies that specialize in WordPress. They will take care of your website.
You just have to look for the Woocommerce part that is not very difficult. Or you can get tutorials for Woocommerce setup.
Once your website is up and running, they help you go through various options to set up things like currency settings, shipping and tax, and payment gateways.
After the setup, you will also find that Woocommerce is also very convenient to run your online store.
And if you are a developer or a bit skilled in WordPress you will find it more flexible than Shopify with more features.
Now that we have compared between Woocommerce and Shopify. I concluded that both Woocommerce and Shopify are exceptional when it comes to building your e-commerce website
Whatever you choose, you get all the functions needed for setting up your online store quickly and efficiently.
My recommendations are based on the type of user that you are or what do you expect from your e-commerce website :