As a business owner, opting for the right e-commerce platform that suits your business needs is vital to your success. In today’s world, even your most loyal audience may not stay long term if your e-commerce site does not provide the technical functionality and benefits that customers have come to expect. E-commerce sites that are not optimized for SEO face a tough problem – the inability to attract or pull in new customers, which is necessary to grow and thrive. Because of this, it is not uncommon to be confused as to which e-commerce platform is the right one for your business.
Shopify and WooCommerce are the two of the top e-commerce platforms, each with their own pros and cons. Here’s a detailed comparison to help you make an informed choice that best suits your needs.
Shopify makes it easy to start your online store as the Basic plan begins at $29 per month with an upgrade to the Shopify plan for $79 or the Advanced Shopify plan for $299 per month.
WooCommerce is open source and freely available as a WordPress plugin. However, you do need an SSL Certificate, a domain name, and a WordPress hosting account to have a WooCommerce store. It is worth noting that this is might not be economical, especially for newer entrepreneurs.
Ease of Use
Shopify is a fully hosted platform that does not require you to oversee installation, management, or update of any software. There is also peace of mind knowing that performance, security, backups, and compatibility are taken care of as well. As soon as you sign up, it enables you to pick a design for your website, customize and add products to your site.
WooCommerce is not a hosted platform such as Shopify. You need to install WooCommerce, keep backups, manage updates, and ensure that your website is secure. There are several paid and free plugins that can automate many of these tasks for you. Also, WooCommerce is extremely flexible when it comes to customization. You have complete control of the platform. Additionally, you can incorporate a multitude of functionalities to your website with the help of over 55,000 WordPress plugins. However, there is no in-built drag and drop design-builder. Though you can use one of the popular WordPress page builders, it compounds your cost.
Shopify offers several payment options that can be used to receive payments from customers. Its own payments solution named Shopify Payments and popular third-party payment gateways are available. However, Shopify charges 2% extra on each transaction conducted through third-party payment gateways. This is in addition to the transaction fees charged by the payment gateway. You can lower the fee to 0.5% by paying $299 a month for the Advanced Shopify plan.
WooCommerce provides Stripe and PayPal payments by default and supports other common payment service providers via add-ons. For payment gateways, it also has support for many less popular services. As there is no barrier to entry, any payment processing company can develop add-ons for WooCommerce and offer support for it. Since it is a self-hosted platform, you simply pay transaction fees for your payment gateway or your bank. WooCommerce does not charge a percentage fee on your website transactions (an added plus if you are looking to save money).
If opting for your own merchant account and using a third-party gateway is important to you, you will save significant money through WooCommerce. However, if you have a small company and are willing to use Shopify Payments that have the same credit card rates as PayPal and Stripe, it really makes no difference.
Add-Ons & Integrations
Shopify has a powerful API and an App Store where you can purchase third-party add-ons for your Shopify store. It has a variety of apps in the store, covering almost every feature you can think of. Apps are both paid and free. Free apps are generally created by third-party services that determine their own price, while the price of paid add-ons differs.
WooCommerce gives you access to over 55,000 free WordPress plugins and several paid plugins. These add-ons can be used for adding payment gateways, SEO, lead generation, performance optimization, and other features. Given the low barrier of entry, there are many more integrations and add-ons in WooCommerce compared to Shopify.
It’s important to bear in mind that WooCommerce is thus much easier to customize.
Both of these tools offer tried and tested approaches for building or updating your e-commerce store. When it boils down to making a final decision, enterprises that have very little knowledge and time to develop an e-commerce store may want to go for Shopify. However, if you do have some knowledge or are working with a WordPress pro, WooCommerce and its WordPress solution offer greater flexibility and a potentially less expensive way to build a competitive, professional shopping site.