Whenever you decide to be a part of global eCommerce, where worldwide eCommerce sales cross 5$ trillion, it makes it mandatory for you to choose the best eCommerce platform. But with so many eCommerce platforms available, one should be careful because choosing the wrong platform has many critical repercussions.
With research, you may come up with two options, WooCommerce vs. Shopify. You cannot simply flip a coin and choose from them; thus, the need arises to compare the two platforms and see which is best for your business. Let’s discuss them individually before diving deep into their comparison.
Imagine standing on the eCommerce ocean’s shore and looking for a boat that helps you sail smoothly and safely. WooCommerce not only helps you sail smoothly but also gives the potential for your eCommerce store to become a gigantic unsinkable ship.
WooCommerce is an open-source, extremely customizable, and flexible eCommerce platform that appeared in 2011 and immediately became famous. Soon in 2015, Automattic, the owners of WordPress, acquired WooCommerce, which gave wings to its popularity.
WooCommerce is built on WordPress, giving it unlimited possibilities. WooCommerce seamlessly integrates with sites powered by WordPress. Currently, WooCommerce is at the top of all eCommerce platforms, with a 29% share of the total market.WooCommerce caters to both small and large-scale businesses with equal ease and simplicity.
Shopify appeared on the internet in 2004 as a shop selling snowboarding equipment. Three friends were behind that idea which was not successful. Later, the owners developed a platform named Snowdevil, launched in 2006 under Shopify.
Since then, Shopify has evolved rapidly and, in 2009, created its application programming interface (API), which is mandatory for all applications running on Shopify. They went further and launched Shopify app for the Apple app store.
The biggest impact came in 2013 when they introduced Shopify payments, which eliminated using a third-party payment gateway. Then in 2017, they introduced Ipad with the point of sale (POS), which allows payments directly from credit and debit cards. Amazon also allowed direct integration with Shopify, significantly increasing its popularity.
The global pandemic significantly increased the eCommerce business; Shopify also took advantage and has 1.7 million businesses using it. Moving your business to Shopify is simple, but standing out can be difficult; you may need professionals to differentiate your business from 1 million other merchants. So you need a team of experts to customize your business for you.
Now that we know the pedigree of these two top eCommerce platforms let us compare their pros and cons. Let’s see which is better – WooCommerce vs. Shopify.
There are certain considerations on which we can judge an eCommerce platform, like
- Market share
- SEO friendly
- Add-ons and extensions
- Flexibility and customization
Market Share – WooCommerce Vs. Shopify
Since WooCommerce and Shopify are two giants of eCommerce platforms, let’s look into their market share. Among the top one million sites, 27% trust WooCommerce to run their stores. In contrast, Shopify enjoys 21% of users. WooCommerce is doing exceptionally better in this aspect, considering it’s a newbie compared to Shopify.
In addition, over 5 million sites use woocommerce compared to 3 million by Shopify. These figures also confirm that WooCommerce has a more satisfied customer base. But still, both platforms have a lot of room to grow.
Cost – WooCommerce Vs. Shopify
Cost is the most detrimental factor in choosing an eCommerce platform. WooCommerce is free; yes, it’s true. You can easily download and install and run it without any cost. But since it does not come with hosting, you need reliable hosting, which can cost you around 10$.
WooCommerce comes with free plugins and add-ons, but you may need to use paid extensions, which cost approximately $ 50 to $ 100$; thus, it’s not entirely free. But remember, WooCommerce does not charge any commission from your sales, distinguishing it from Shopify.
WooCommerce offers a huge number of free themes. But if you still want to go with paid themes, the starting cost is 30$; you can go for even more, depending on your budget and requirement.
In contrast, Shopify is not free, so you pay immediately upfront. Shopify offers services from 29$ to 299$ per month and charges 2.9% + 0.3$ commission on every sale you make. It already comes with hosting services and also its themes and plugins.
Shopify comes with three plans to run your eCommerce store.
- Basic plan: This is for new startups and small-scale businesses
- Shopify plan: This plan meets the needs of a growing business
- Advance plan: This plan caters the fast-growing businesses or eCommerce stores looking to scale themselves
If we conclude from the above, WooCommerce turned out to be an economical and better choice. First, WooCommerce is free. Secondly, you don’t have to pay a commission on every sale; you have more flexibility in expanding your online store. You only have to buy those plugins or themes you intend to use. Whereas, in Shopify, if you are using a package, you know one day, you will need an upgrade to keep up with increasing demand which will increase your cost of running, and you may end up paying for services you don’t need.
SEO Optimization – WooCommerce Vs. Shopify
Search engine optimization is pivotal in increasing your product awareness and sales. eCommerce performs better with product pages in search engine result pages (SERP). Let’s see where both platforms stand in this regard.
WooCommerce provides excellent SEO integration thanks to its free Yoast plugin. It also gives you the ability to make tailored URLs. You can make detailed titles and Meta descriptions to increase organic web search results. You can also upgrade your Yoast plugin for ultimate SEO performance.
Shopify also provides great SEO functionality. But there are a few concerns regarding rich snippets and the URLs of pages.
It can be defined as the high number of click-through rates. Individuals like to click, which leads them to more information. This information can be product availability, its manufacturer, product reviews, etc. Shopify is lacking in isolating this information, and for this, Shopify requires an application that adds to the cost.
Shopify does not freely permit customized store page URLs. Shopify also lacks a designated display for blogs and news, which is bad for SEO structure.
Scalability – WooCommerce Vs. Shopify
The scalability of your eCommerce platform should be directly proportional to the growth of your business. For this, your eCommerce platform should have the flexibility for optimization. You may come to a scenario where the capabilities of your eCommerce platform are not enough to handle excessive orders or other chores; thus, your business can suffer drastically.
WooCommerce gives you flexibility with endless possibilities to expand your eCommerce platform. But you may need to upgrade hosting for scalability. Good hosting can cost a little more, but your income is also growing, so don’t worry. Moreover, since you only pay for what you need, you know you have invested your money in the right things.
Shopify takes care of all the technical nitty-gritty of their eCommerce platform, so you don’t have to be a tech wiz to deal with Shopify. It offers three plans according to the size of your business. Each plan offers features limited and specific to that plan. The plans are Basic, Shopify, and Advance. Although people think that Shopify provides a one-stop solution to your eCommerce platform, that’s not entirely the case. If you stick to the basic plan, your functionality becomes limited and scalability a hassle. Thus, choose wisely.
Support – WooCommerce Vs. Shopify
WooCommerce comes with detailed documentation to enable you to eliminate the learning curve. Still, if you need help, you can check out the public forums. WooCommerce is an open-source platform, so there is no official help. WooCommerce account holders can get help through dedicated chat support available 24/7. And thanks to its extensive use and popularity, you can get professional help from numerous developers worldwide.
Shopify provides everything with limitations on the package you purchase. You can get their help 24/7 through chat, email, and phone calls. Furthermore, they also offer Q and A documentation which helps you with the most common issues. Still, you may need to acquire the help of a Shopify expert to deal with third-party integration.
Add-Ons And Plugins – WooCommerce Vs. Shopify
Since WooCommerce is open source, you get a huge number of add-ons and plugins, most of which are free. You can download WooCommerce plugins and extensions from its library or third-party sources. It has multiple plugins for several categories, such as shipping, booking, SEO, shopping cart, etc. WooCommerce also has a wide range of premium plugins available.
Shopify allows you to download add-ons from its app store. Some are free, but the premium comes with a one-time fee or subscription. Shopify offers add-ons for every functionality, depending on your subscription package.
Control, Flexibility, And Customization – WooCommerce Vs. Shopify
WooCommerce works seamlessly with your WordPress site and turns it into an eCommerce store with a few clicks. It is extremely flexible and enables you to customize your store however you want.
WooCommerce also gives you a sense of ownership and complete control; yes, with WooCommerce, you are in control of calling the shots, like what to sell, when to offer on discount, when to disable/able any feature, and create an exceptional eCommerce store for yourself.
Shopify is easy to use right from the start. You can set up your store with ease and start doing business. But as far as customization is concerned, Shopify cannot compete with WooCommerce because it’s a closed platform. Shopify cannot offer you a sense of ownership or complete control. It is fair to say that Shopify attracts the general public, who don’t want to bother with the technicality of affairs. In contrast, WooCommerce is loved by designers and programmers.
Every business has its specific requirements, which any eCommerce platform should serve. If you want to sail smoothly into the eCommerce world, choose a platform that fulfills your requirements.
WooCommerce is the logical choice for those who already have a WordPress site. It also serves those keener to work on their eCommerce store’s outlook and want control of their eCommerce store. WooCommerce attracts those looking for a multi-lingual/multi-currency platform or who want a larger website with many pages and blogs. It is also great for low-budget ventures.
Shopify is the logical choice for people looking for a turnkey solution with an all-one-place feature that enables them to start their business ASAP.
I suggest you consider your needs and choose a platform that efficiently and effectively meets those concerns. I hope this article serves you to select the right ecommerce platform and helps you create a fabulous ecommerce store.