There is a long-standing rivalry between e-commerce platforms Shopify and WooCommerce.
Though Shopify has the name recognition and impressive website engagement metrics, WooCommerce has quickly vaulted itself to the top of usage rankings. Each clearly has its merits, but which is better?
We asked ourselves that very question… And then did the research to find an answer. What we came up with is a review of both platforms’ most noteworthy pros and cons:
Since 2004, Shopify has been providing a platform to simplify e-commerce for growing businesses. They’ve helped over 600,000 teams of all sizes further scale their operations with unprecedented speed.
Part of their magic is the huge selection of options they offer. From organization to marketing, you’ll find all the tools you need and more at Shopify. Let’s dive a bit deeper, shall we?
1. Easy to use
Perhaps the main reason that Shopify is so popular is that it’s simple enough for anyone to use. And if you check out their success stories, you’ll see that all sorts of professionals with minimal technical knowledge use it!
From the user interface to the payment process and everything in between, Shopify has made the process as intuitive as can be. You can set up your store in minutes and get back to focusing on the big picture things that really matter.
2. More extensions, add-ons, and apps
It seems that Shopify has a bottomless treasure chest of apps. Just by scrolling through their app page, you can see that they have extensions in virtually every category imaginable.
This includes traditional connections with CRMs (i.e. MailChimp), social channels (i.e. Facebook), and sales networks (i.e. eBay). But it also entails some relatively unique categories for e-commerce apps, such as productivity (i.e. Scout ), inventory (i.e. Stock Sync), security (i.e. Rewind Backups), and SEO (i.e. AMP).
3. Better integration
To continue on that train of thought, Shopify doesn’t just provide more extensions; it offers better overall functionality. The beauty of this platform is that it centralizes all your tools in one location for you to easily manage.
Whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, AliExpress, Hubspot, or any one of the other programs listed on their site, you can integrate it into your site without the headache of additional plugins.
3. 24/7 support
For starters, it’s necessary to mention the sheer magnitude of support channels that Shopify offers. Think: Live chat, phone call, community forum, online knowledgebase, blog content, training course, Youtube tutorial, PDF explainer, audio podcast, and (even) more.
On top of that, response times tend to be quite low. One user’s question received “an informed answer with no wait time,” and more in-depth analyses of customer service trends further endorse Shopify’s attention to users.
There’s the cold hard truth for upstart businesses: Depending on how lucrative your venture is, Shopify can be a little tough on your wallet. Apart from the super-simple Lite option, plans punch in at $29, $79, or $299 per month (and that’s without mentioning custom plans).
Plus, all those cool apps – while unquestionably useful! – come with their own pesky price tags. Most come with short free trials, but then demand monthly payments of $10 (Multi-Vendor Marketplace), $19 (Ultimate Special Offers), or more.
2. Fee for 3rd-party payment gateway.
This isn’t a problem if you exclusively use Shopify Payments. But if you turn to any 3rd-party payment gateway, prepare to bust out the checkbook once more.
Depending on your plan, fee rates range from 2.1% to 2.9%… And with time, these costs add up. Check out more detailed info on the Shopify Pricing page.
Shopify’s greatest competitor is actually an e-commerce plugin for the widely used content management system WordPress. WooCommerce has also risen to prominence thanks to a combination of intuitive design, handy customizations, and genuine value.
In fact, its benefits are so pronounced that WooCommerce has outpaced Shopify in number of websites using it! That’s likely because it better fits the needs of brands with fairly small stores. Here’s why:
Unlike its Shopify alternative, WooCommerce (technically) offers a more affordable plan for those on a tight budget. As a matter of fact, it starts out as a free WordPress plugin that anyone can attach.
The asterisk lies in the additional purchases you’ll likely have to make. Domains, SSL certificates, and website hosting will all set you back a bit. Hence the “technically.” But – these choices do afford you more dynamic pricing, as you select exactly which features you need.
2. Open Source
You can edit code and do the things that you want to do with your website.
Here’s where customization comes into play. By being open source, WooCommerce opens the door for developers to change and add code to their heart’s content.
What this means is you can make your online store uniquely yours. There’s no need to bend over backwards conforming to the rigid rules of a lesser e-commerce platform. Instead, you can tap into WooCommerce’s stash of cool features, easily integrate some extensions, or just do your own thing!
3. Great for Blogging
Remember: At WooCommerce’s heart lies WordPress. Thus, with content management woven into the fabric of its creation, WooCommerce is an ideal e-commerce add-on for blog-based sites.
Currently, WordPress helps around 26% of all websites showcase their content. 26%! That’s not a typo! This means that with WooCommerce and WordPress together, you’re relying on two of the most trusted platforms worldwide. As they put it themselves, this combo “seamlessly integrates commerce with content.”
What more could you need?
1. Technical problems
Here’s the catch – WooCommerce is more prone to crashes than Shopify. Potential issues can come in all shapes and sizes: Image sizing, plugin conflicts, download errors, etc…
Typically, they’re nothing major, and an easy fix is just around the corner. Otherwise, so many users probably wouldn’t lean on WooCommerce. But it’s just something worth keeping in mind if you decide to go down this road.
2. Fewer extensions
Again, not a huge issue – especially given how well some plugins actually integrate – but your selection likely won’t be as extensive as the one at Shopify. They’re also a little more expensive on average, but that’s just the way WooCommerce is set up. The costs accumulate with your growing needs.
Take a look and see for yourself.
Given what you now know about Shopify and WooCommerce – particularly regarding the pricing models – it’s clear that the right choice depends on your brand’s current situation.
WooCommerce, then, is the way to go if you’re managing a few, small, sub-$1000-revenue stores. Or if you just need a website extension and driving sales isn’t necessarily your main goal. With large endeavors, however, the hidden costs of WooCommerce start to really make their mark.
That’s where we turn to Shopify. If you’re building a business focused on scaling revenue growth, Shopify is the much easier and more manageable option.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what your core goals are. Identify them, and move forward confidently on your e-commerce journey!