If you’re planning to go online or expand your existing offline business, you’ll probably be weighing your options between Shopify and WooCommerce, two of the most popular e-commerce platforms. Here’s a quick comparison between critical Shopify and WooCommerce features to help you make a pick.
Shopify, established in 2006, offers online merchants a cloud-based commerce platform while facilitating inventory, orders, customer management, and shipping. It’s used by e-retailers in 175 countries worldwide.
Shopify is subscription-based. Packages range from $29 to 299 per month. All plans include transaction fees, generally between 2% - 3% when using Shopify Payments and around 0.5% to 2% if not using Shopify Payments.
Further, there’s Shopify Plus, starting at $2000/month (or a variable fee), catering to higher volume businesses, and Shopify Lite, which at as low as $9.00/month, lets you sell in-person (via POS lite) or implement a ‘buy’ button to an existing website.
WooCommerce, though open-source and available as a free eCommerce plugin, may cost the same or more than Shopify because of additional costs towards domain name, hosting, SSL certificate, themes, and further extensions. Per a study published on Beeketing, it could cost between $344 to $1072 annually.
Design Templates and Themes
Shopify’s theme store comprises 75+ paid and eight free, engaging, user-friendly templates for various industries priced between $180 - $350. In addition, you can conveniently customize them to meet business and customer expectations.
The WooCommerce theme store caters to different industries. Three of the 49 themes are free, and others priced between $39 - $79 are billed annually. Storefront - WooCommerce’s official theme - integrates with its extensions and updates. While the default theme is free, the extension bundle is around $69 for a one-off payment or $59, billed annually. The latter lets you customize your storefront without editing code.
Shopify is recognized worldwide for its user-friendliness. You can design, manage and sell your products across multiple sales channels without prior knowledge of web design and manage sales intuitively.
With WooCommerce, you may need to seek the help of a hosting provider to set up store, get a domain name, hosting, install WordPress, and a suitable theme.
SEO and Page Speed
Shopify SEO apps conveniently support basic SEO practices. If your content is good, your SEO results will be good. Moreover, Shopify’s clean code and natural linking structure improve SEO rankings. Likewise, the rapid loading pages boost rankings and facilitate conversions. However, Shopify’s rigid URL structure restricts modifications, potentially affecting SEO. Regardless the pros of Shopify’s SEO outweigh the cons.
WooCommerce leverages the WordPress editing benefits and enjoys good SEO. You can also purchase SEO plugins to boost SEO rankings. However, since an e-commerce site’s speed relies on the hosting service, a cheaper web hosting plan with low bandwidth may lower your site speed and SEO ranking.
Apps and Extensions
You can leverage Shopify’s extensive app store - comprising more than 6600 free and premium apps - to customize your marketplace, improve functionalities, and match customer needs. You can add apps such as live chat, inventory, fulfillment, optimize images, etc., to enhance online engagement and grow your business.
The WooCommerce extension store hosts 84 extensions and 47 free-to-use extensions. In addition, you can leverage the plugin repository to manage your store’s logistical, technical, and marketing requirements.
Shopify’s App Store offers vast integration options to boost customer loyalty and reward loyal customers, such as shoppable posts on Instagram, Facebook, or Google by syncing your online store to your social media store.
WooCommerce also allows you to sync your shop with Amazon, eBay, and social media sites (though not Google Shopping), using the WordPress dashboard with certified free extensions.
However, where Shopify offers a built-in POS system, WooCommerce lacks a native omnichannel solution, and you have to use those offered by other providers.
Being a hosted service, Shopify covers all your security issues. Its in-built free SSL certificate helps keep your website safe and tamper-proof. In addition, as it’s PCI-DSS compliant, your website can receive credit card payments as per the latest regulations and process debit and credit card payments instantly. These security features enhance your SEO ranking too.
WooCommerce does not have any security measures with the plugin. You must purchase your SSL certificate, ensure your hosting company follows security measures, configure site security plugins, and look into PCI-DSS compliances for your site’s safety.
Shopify offers you more than 100 Payment Gateways. It also has its payment processor, Shopify Payments (currently unavailable to Indian merchants), which eliminates the need for third-party providers to process payments. It also offers features for selling to global audiences, like calculating country-specific tax and pricing control by region.
WooCommerce offers you default payments to PayPal and Stripe, two tested payment processors. It lets you try other services, supporting the providers through add-ons. The only transaction fees are those levied by your bank or payment gateway.
WooCommerce doesn’t offer live chat or phone/email support but provides resources, including WooCommerce Docs and an online FAQ section. You can also leverage support from the sizeable WooCommerce community.
Shopify lets you have complete control over the Shopify inventory tracking system. You can also use Shopify inventory apps to manage your inventory efficiently.
WooCommerce allows you to create your inventory reports and edit product features without limitations on variable products you can create and manage. But most users have to use third-party apps to improve store performance.
Shopify looks after the technical aspects while you can run your core business without worrying about security, scalability, and such concerns. As business increases, you can seamlessly upgrade your Shopify plan without stressing about backups, updates, downtime, etc. Further, Shopify Plus offers enterprise-level solutions to scale your online presence conveniently.
WooCommerce is self-hosted. As your business grows, your starter hosting plan may be insufficient and require further investment in the e-commerce infrastructure.
Shopify Does It Best
We believe that Shopify is ideal for SMEs and large businesses seeking a user-friendly platform with robust customer support and where the technicalities, SEO, etc., are taken care of. Shopify is also ideal for merchants who prefer focusing on their core business while scaling their online presence seamlessly.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, works if you are tech-savvy or want total control of your e-commerce store with access to plugins for specific needs at extra cost.
Nonetheless, each platform has its capabilities; you should opt for one that meets your customers' expectations and helps your business grow.
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