Is WooCommerce better than Shopify?

WooCommerce vs Shopify

Is WooCommerce better than Shopify? That’s the question we’re trying to answer today. And being totally honest, it is really close to call. Which way you decide will mostly be dictated by your business circumstances.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is the platform/plugin for WordPress which enables you to turn your standard WordPress website/blog into a fully fledged e-commerce online store. The best thing about WooCommerce is that is 100% free out of the box, although you can further extend its standard feature-set with a plethora of both free and paid plug-ins (around 50,000 in total). The world really is your oyster with this platform due to its endless customisation options.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform who currently have over 1 million customers on their platform. It is purpose built for e-commerce and making sales online. It is also extremely easy to setup and can be done with zero coding making it perfect for beginners. As you can see, one of the best benefits of Shopify is it works pretty much out of the box. You could be up and running in no time at all.

Pros and Cons of WooCommerce.

There are many pros and benefits of WooCommerce such as it is extremely customisable. In fact, you can customise just about every aspect of your website and online shop. Other benefits include that it works out to be very good value for money. This is due to it being free out of the box, and even the paid plug-ins are extremely reasonably priced. The average costs of the plugins is only $39 a year. WooCommerce is also extremely scalable thanks to thousands of available plugins.

When it comes to the cons of WooCommerce, in my opinion there aren’t many. However, it can be quite difficult to setup for a beginner or someone with little experience. And if you plan to maintain the site yourself, there are extra tasks you will have to complete compared to Shopify. These include your backups and updates of your themes and plugins to ensure your site stays secure. There are other tasks that will need doing but these are the main ones. However you can alleviate this by hiring someone like ourselves to do your website maintenance for you.

Pros and Cons of Shopify.

Likewise with WooCommerce, there are a lot of pros to Shopify as well. One of the main benefits as we mentioned earlier is that Shopify includes your hosting because it is an all-in-one solution. You also don’t need to know any code to build an amazing website due to its drag-and-drop builder. Out of the box Shopify also has built-in multi-channel sales integrations meaning you can sell on Amazon, Ebay, Facebook and Pinterest all from one place. You will also benefit from 24/7 support from Shopify’s dedicated customer service team.

However it does have a few cons. Firstly Shopify is the only platform which will charge you an additional transaction fee if you wish to use a third-party payment gateway rather than their own Shopify Payments. This really doesn’t sit well with me as I don’t like to be restricted on what I can do. However, if you plan to use Shopify Payments anyway, then this isn’t a major issue for you. But if you do want to use a third-party payment gateway, these charges could really mount up if you are a large seller with lots of transactions. It can also get quite costly if you want to make use of some of the approx 1200 apps/plugins available for you as the pricing isn’t as standard or as reasonable as they are with WooCommerce.

Which is easier to use? Shopify or WooCommerce?

When it comes to how easy the two are to use, this one I have to hand to Shopify. It is perfect for beginners, you can build your entire store with zero code. And due to Shopify being a hosted service, you don’t need to worry about the technical aspects of running your own website or store. You don’t need to sort out hosting. You don’t need to worry about running backups or keeping your store up to date with the latest software patches. And no need to be concerned with security as Shopify worry about for you. For the beginner or “regular” user, it definitely comes out top here.

But then again, WooCommerce can be easy to use too. Just not quite as easy. With visual page and website builders such as Divi and Elementor to name just two, you can also build your entire website or store with little to zero code too. And whilst you do have to worry about running backups and performing updates or ensuring your site is secure, you could invest in a monthly maintenance plan for your site like we offer here at ADB Web Designs to take that hassle away from you. And plugins are incredibly easy to install to help with issues such as Security too.

Which is quicker to setup? Shopify or WooCommerce?

Once again, this one has to go to Shopify. All of its key features are setup and included by default and all you really need to do is populate the themes with your content. So again, for the regular or beginner user, I would definitely recommend Shopify. You’ll be up and running much quicker and much easier.

When it comes to WooCommerce, the setup wizard does walk you through a lot of it, but doesn’t cover a lot of the more advanced settings. It does assume a higher technical ability and know-how than Shopify. Whilst Shopify wins this one hands down for the the beginner user, the more technical user or seasoned web designer might not notice a lot of difference here.

Which makes it easier to sell? Shopify or WooCommerce?

I feel like this keeps going the same way of Shopify, and once again for ease of selling it does. But its extremely close. The only thing that really puts Shopify ahead is that there is more built-in to start with than there is with WooCommerce. Both provide the basic fundamentals for online selling and whichever you choose is a great start for most businesses. But the ability to use multi-channel selling to sell on Ebay, Amazon, Pinterest and Facebook for free is the deal-breaker here. With WooCommerce only selling/advertising on Facebook is free. To sell on the others you will have to pay $79 a year for the plugin to do so with WooCommerce.

Shopify also include abandoned cart recovery by default, so whilst this is a bonus, this functionality can be added in WooCommerce with numerous plugins fairly easily. The other main advantage is that you can make use of deals that Shopify have with multiple shipping providers for discounted prices on your shipping when compared to WooCommerce.

Which platform has better and more stylish themes?

This one finally gets given to WooCommerce in my opinion. Whilst Shopify’s themes are better than ones offered directly by WooCommerce, the sheer number and variety of third-party themes available for WordPress and WooCommerce do set it apart in my opinion. Some great examples are Astra and GeneratePress, as well as Divi which we mentioned earlier. But that is only naming a few. I could be here all day listing them all. In fact probably a few days. As you’ll find out later, WooCommerce also wins on its customisation potential when compared to Shopify. And that is just another reason to set it apart. Not only is there an endless supply of themes, there is also limitless customisation.

WooCommerce is a lot better when it comes to plugins.

I’m not even going to hide this one. WooCommerce wins hands down when it comes to the number of plugins available and the cost of them. Shopify boasts around 1200 free or paid apps in total. And they are mostly reliable. But its just a drop in the ocean compared to WooCommerce. Over 50,000 plugins are available for WooCommerce, and a lot of these are free to use, or provide a free plan as well as an option for a premium plan if you want even more features.

List of WooCommerce Plugins

Which is better at marketing?

I’d say this one is a tie. Both platforms are easily integrable with email marketing solutions such as MailChimp, AWeber, SendGrid and HubSpot. Both platforms also support easy social sharing thanks to either built-in support or by use of free plugins. Shopify may have a slight edge for beginners as more of it is included without plugins, but its not a big enough edge for me to give Shopify the win.

Which is better when it comes to transaction fees and payment providers?

WooCommerce is the winner here, thanks to the fact it doesn’t charge any transaction fees if you want to use a third-party payment provider. But, not only that, there is an abundance of supported payment providers. PayPal, Stripe, Klarna, Clearpay, LayBuy just to name a few. Whilst most of these mentioned will be available on Shopify too, you will be charged an extra 2% fee on top of that of the payment provider if you choose not to use Shopify Payments. WooCommerce Payments, which is the official WooCommerce payment provider, in partnership with Stripe, doesn’t charge you that 2% if you choose not to use it.

WooCommerce is the cheaper option here and also the most flexible.

List of payment provider available on WooCommerce

What about security? Which will protect you the best?

This one has to be handed to Shopify, but only for the reason that they take care of it all for you. They are responsible for the security of the platform will provide you with an SSL certificate for your website. As they are also PCI-DSS compliant, you don’t have to worry about that either. They really remove all the hassle from you on this.

With WooCommerce on the other hand, you will have to look after the security of it, although this isn’t difficult. Most of the security can be handled by your hosting provider or company managing your website such as ourselves if you went with us. An SSL certificate can be provided free extremely easily using Lets Encrypt. Whilst installing any of the above mentioned Payment Providers would make your site PCI-DSS compliant due to them handling and processing any and all card details not yourselves.

WooCommerce vs Shopify? Which is better value for money?

For some this may be the most important factor, especially as depending on your volume of sales the difference can be massive. The winner though is WooCommerce. It is just way more flexible compared to Shopify’s fixed plans. So along with average price of the plugins only being $39 there really isn’t much of a question here. As above you also have to take into account the extra transaction fees included with Shopify if you use a third-party payment provider.

Is WooCommerce better than Shopify? The Conclusion!

In my opinion, WooCommerce has the edge. Not only does it provide better value for money, but the flexibility it gives you is unparalleled. I will admit however that if you wish to do it yourself and you don’t have much experience with web design or e-commerce then Shopify is probably for you. But if you pair WooCommerce with our website design and website management expertise, to me, the winner is clear. And if you do wish to discuss setting up a WooCommerce site, then please get in contact with us.


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