WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which Platform Is Best for Your eCommerce Store?

In the rapidly evolving eCommerce landscape, choosing the right eCommerce platform can make or break your online business.

Woo Commerce vs Shopify

In this article, we’ll compare WooCommerce vs Shopify to help you make an informed decision about which platform is best for your eCommerce store. Whether you’re launching a new store or considering migrating to a more robust solution, this in-depth comparison will help you to choose a platform that best suits your business goals.

Before we get started, it’s important to note that both eCommerce platforms offer a lot to any growing eCommerce business. So whether you select Shopify vs WooCommerce for your business, you are likely to do just fine. This guide will help you decide which is the better strategic fit for your business. And of course, if you’d rather just talk it through with us, we’d love to help you make the decision.

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What Is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a powerful open-source WordPress based eCommerce platform which transforms a WordPress site into a fully functioning eCommerce store. Best known for its customisability, low cost of ownership and user-friendly interface, WooCommerce caters to both newcomers and seasoned web developers.

With a library of thousands of WordPress plugins and themes, WooCommerce provides a scalable and customisable solution that allows store owners to grow their businesses according to their unique needs. WooCommerce specialises in digital sales, equipping its users with specialised tools to create and manage an online store that’s unique and ensures a personalised shopping experience for customers.

There is no charge for WooCommerce, however you will need a skilled development partner like ourselves to build and maintain it for you, ideally, one who is a Platinum Certified Woo Expert. But in the long term, it is likely a lower cost of ownership than most eCommerce platforms.

What Is Shopify?

Shopify is best known for its straightforward set-up process and exceptional ease of use. It’s particularly favoured by new business owners and scaling businesses alike as it provides users with the tools and support to manage an online store efficiently.

The key to Shopify is that it is a centralised eCommerce platform, all under one roof within the Shopify infrastructure. All the elements needed by a business which is new to online selling are bundled within the Shopify system and your site is hosted with them. This makes setup much simpler, but comes at the cost of customisation, as custom development is less practical. It will provide everything you need to have a high standard eCommerce shopping experience, but you can only add features to your site if they exist in the Shopify system. While this will be suitable for most new online stores, it could become restrictive over time. Shopify charges a small initial fee, but also charges a percentage of each online transaction. While simple, this increases costs as the business grows online revenue.

Read on to help decide which platform is right for your business. Or, if you’d rather we guide you, get in touch and we’d be happy to help you decide.

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What You Need To Consider When Choosing A CMS Platform For Your eCommerce Store

It is incredibly easy to be lost in the detail of features when it comes to selecting an eCommerce CMS platform. To keep things simple, the most important decision to make is how each platform fits with your business strategy. For example, if you need to create a shopping experience that is in any way unusual or requires specific customisation, then the customisation offered by WooCommerce is likely to be a better fit for you.

However, this will require more specialised help and more of your time to manage. If you are looking to create a standardised shopping experience without anything too adventurous, then Shopify is a perfectly suitable option and may be less complex.

The growth ambition of your business is also key. While there are plenty of businesses of all sizes on both platforms, as a business grows, the requirements of the eCommerce platform change. Businesses going through periods of particularly fast change may benefit from the flexibility and customisation offered by WooCommerce, whereas if your requirements are unlikely to change for several years, then an enclosed system like Shopify is practical.

Fee structures are also a key strategic difference relating to business growth. Shopify charges a percentage of each online transaction, whereas setting up on WooCommerce is entirely free. However, you will have a one-off project implementation cost to design and build the eCommerce experience, and any future development to the site. Forecasting these costs over time will help you understand the true cost of ownership of both platforms. With that said, here is an overview of the key differentiators between WooCommerce vs Shopify.
And of course, if you don’t want to dive into the details, get in touch and we’d be happy to help you decide.

Ease of use

A user-friendly CMS ensures easy navigation and management, offering a seamless experience for both merchants and customers.

WooCommerce Ease of Use

WooCommerce benefits those with a basic understanding of WordPress, providing versatility and an extensive range of customisation options. However, to get the best out of WooCommerce, users often need some web development knowledge, or have a development partner like ourselves on hand to support.

Shopify Ease of Use

Shopify is known for its user-friendly interface that allows users to set up a professional-looking store with minimal effort.

Best Overall for Ease of Use

Shopify – Shopify gains the advantage for ease of use, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on their business rather than on technical challenges. However, with the help of our platinum-certified WooCommerce developers, we can help you navigate any obstacles you may come across with WooCommerce.

Set Up & UX

A streamlined set-up and intuitive user experiences (UX) are vital for non-technical users to effectively launch and operate their eCommerce store.

WooCommerce Set Up & UX

Setting up a store on WooCommerce can take more time as the incorporation of themes and plugins is manual. However, this allows website designers to be more creative when creating the website.

Shopify Set Up & UX

Shopify streamlines store set-up, taking users through the set-up process step-by-step. The dashboard for Shopify is also easy to navigate, providing users with an easy-to-follow guide advising the user on what details to fill in next.

Best Overall for Set Up & UX

Shopify – Overall, Shopify takes the lead for providing a quicker and user-friendly set-up. However, with the help of a WooCommerce developer, WooCommerce can be straight-forward to use.

Themes & Designs

A diverse selection of themes and design options allows for a highly personalised and visually appealing online store.

WooCommerce Themes & Designs

WooCommerce has a range of free and premium WordPress themes from which you can choose. These themes offer an impressive level of customisation if you want to create a unique brand presence. Off-the-shelf themes can be extended and customised with a child theme.

Shopify Themes & Designs

Shopify gives you access to 70 free themes, as well as several paid themes which are all easy to implement. However, it can be limiting for businesses that want to create a bespoke website design.

Best Overall for Themes & Designs

WooCommerce – For maximum design flexibility, WooCommerce stands out as the best in class.

Plugins & Integrations

Access to a wide range of plugins and integrations empowers your store with advanced features and functionalities.

WooCommerce Plugins & Integrations

As previously mentioned, WooCommerce operates within the WordPress ecosystem, giving you access to over 58,000 plugins. This allows you to create a fully bespoke and functional online eCommerce store.

Shopify Plugins & Integrations

Shopify has over 1,200 free and paid apps to choose from, but if you want premium features, these are likely to come at a higher cost.

Best Overall for Plugins & Integrations

WooCommerce – WooCommerce offers a better choice if you’re looking to create a unique website.

Inventory & Product Management

Robust inventory and product management tools are essential for maintaining your business and meeting customer demand.

WooCommerce Inventory & Product Management

WooCommerce allows you to track your products quickly, access stock alerts, generate reports and perform other essential inventory management tasks. You can also bulk upload your products using a CSV file to save a significant amount of time.

Shopify Inventory & Product Management

Although Shopify offers a similar streamlined approach to managing inventory, there is a limit for how many product attributes you can set on Shopify. If you need to add more attributes, you’ll need to use a third-party Shopify app.

Best Overall for Inventory & Product Management

WooCommerce – While both platforms allow you to streamline your product management, WooCommerce is the preferred solution.

Scalability & Growth

Your chosen CMS must facilitate growth, accommodating increased traffic and sales volume as your business expands.

WooCommerce Scalability & Growth

As your eCommerce store starts getting more traffic, you will need to scale WooCommerce accordingly in both the web hosting service you have set up and the efficiency of the code itself. Kanuka Digital offers fully managed hosting as part of the service, which ensures both code efficiency and hosting can be scaled smoothly as your business grows.

WooCommerce accordingly using hosting providers like SiteGround or WP Engine.
Although your WooCommerce hosting costs will increase, you will ultimately have better control over the specific resources you upgrade and you won’t need to pay for resources that you don’t need.

Shopify Scalability & Growth

Shopify handles the technical elements of your eCommerce store, handling increased traffic and transactions without the need for users to make significant technical adjustments. Once your business starts growing, you can simply upgrade your Shopify plan to match the growth.

Best Overall for Scalability & Growth

Shopify is more popular for smaller businesses looking to get started online quickly and simply, without needing too much technical support. But for overall growth potential and scalability, WooCommerce offers the most customisation as your business changes, particularly for larger businesses.

Sales Features

Advanced sales features can drive conversions and enhance the shopping experience.

WooCommerce Sales Features

WooCommerce is fully customisable to achieve a higher conversion rate with the help of plugins and customisations. However, this may require more set up time.

WooCommerce also provides users with a seamless shipping experience, allowing you to offer free shipping options which can help to increase conversion rate.

Shopify Sales Features

Shopify comes with eCommerce tools built-in as standard to increase conversion rate with little to no additional configuration needed.

Best Overall for Sales Features

Shopify – Although WooCommerce and Shopify both provide similar sales features, Shopify provides you with a ready-to-go eCommerce set up as standard.

Pricing

Understand the pricing structure and determine the long-term cost-effectiveness of the platform.

WooCommerce Pricing

WooCommerce is a free plugin, but you’ll need to pay extra for purchasing your domain name, and SSL certification, which ensures that your website is secure and is worth paying for. You will also require hosting. Kanuka Digital offer a fully managed hosting service to ensure your site remains fast, stable and scales with your business,

Shopify Pricing

Shopify operates on a monthly subscription model with varying levels, with the addition of app costs for extended functionality. The most basic plan starts at £19 per month, the next level is £49 per month and the best Shopify package costs £259 per month.

There are also additional costs for transaction fees. With the basic plan, there’s a flat fee of 2.0% for all transactions, while the more expensive package will reduce this to 0.5%.

Best Overall for Pricing

WooCommerce – Although WooCommerce incurs additional costs every year, it is a much more cost-effective platform overall.

Payment Options

Offering a variety of secure payment options caters to a broader customer base and simplifies transactions.

WooCommerce Payment Options

WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments by default. Its WooPayments system is based on Stripe, costs the same and fully integrates the payment gateway with your WooCommerce store, which allows you to process returns from within WooCommerce. It also supports other popular payment service providers, such as Authorize.net, Amazon Pay, Square, Alipay and many more.

Shopify Payment Options

Shopify has its own payment solution called Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe), as well as all popular third-party payment gateways. However, there is an extra 2% fee on each transaction made through third-party payment gateways on top of the transaction fees charged by the payment gateway.

Overall Best for Payment Options

WooCommerce – WooCommerce offers secure payment options at no extra cost, making it a popular choice for a variety of eCommerce stores.

Security

Cybersecurity is crucial for any eCommerce store; a secure CMS will protect sensitive data and uphold customer trust.

WooCommerce Security

WooCommerce relies on the security of the hosting provider and the diligence of the store owner to manage plugins and updates, making it a more manual process. The Kanuka Digital maintenance packages ensure that your WooCommerce is kept up to date with all the latest plugin and platform updates.

Shopify Security

Shopify secures its platform at a global level, delivering peace of mind without additional effort from business owners.

Best Overall for Security

Shopify – Although both WooCommerce and Shopify are extremely safe and secure platforms, Shopify removes the need for manually managing security.

Support

Reliable customer support ensures any issues can be promptly addressed, reducing potential downtimes.

WooCommerce Support

Although WooCommerce has a community-driven support page, it may be difficult to directly find the answer to your query due to the number of plugins that can be added. If you need support with WooCommerce, consider contacting our certified WooExperts.

Shopify Support

Shopify provides access to 24/7 support over the phone and through a live chat, giving businesses access to continuous assistance.

Best Overall for Support

Shopify – Shopify provides more support directly through the platform 24/7.

SEO

An SEO-friendly CMS can help your store rank higher in search results, helping to increase visibility and traffic.

WooCommerce SEO

WooCommerce takes advantage of WordPress’s robust SEO capabilities, giving it an edge for those wanting to fine-tune their search engine optimisation. It also allows users to alter body content, URLs, meta descriptions, alt tags and other on-page elements.

Shopify SEO

Shopify has a built-in SEO plugin and helps with basic SEO practices, such as meta information and site copy.

Best Overall for SEO

WooCommerce – If you’re looking for ways to help your eCommerce store to rank, WooCommerce offers more SEO customisation.


Dropshipping

Consider what factors the CMS platform has that supports your dropshipping business.

WooCommerce SEO

WooCommerce allows you to browse through hundreds of options and decide what you need. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses that may benefit from per-item delivery, rather than a monthly subscription if they only send out a small number of deliveries per month.

Shopify Dropshipping

Although Shopify has several vendors who will deliver your goods, the costs involved can vary and you are limited to Shopify’s plugins.

Best Overall for Dropshipping

WooCommerce – With so many dropshipping vendors to choose from, WooCommerce is the clear winner for both large and startup businesses.


WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which is Better for me?

With so many advantages for each platform, it can be difficult to know which platform is best for your eCommerce store. When comparing WooCommerce vs Shopify, both share similar characteristics, there are some features that make certain platforms stand out above the other. Let’s take a look at a summary of WooCommerce vs Shopify for each feature.

FeatureWooCommerceShopify
Ease Of UseRequires a basic understanding of WordPress and development experts for more customised shopping experiences.Overall best in class
User-friendly interface.
Set Up & UXRequires manual plugin and customisation of themes.Overall best in class
Provides a step-by-step set up guide.
Themes & DesignsOverall best in class
Allows for full customisation.
Limited to a set amount of free themes.
Plugins & IntegrationsOverall best in class
Thousands of plugins to choose from.
Premium apps come at a higher cost.
Inventory & Product ManagementOverall best in class
Streamlined product management.
Limited to a set number of product attributes.
Scalability & GrowthYou will need to scale accordingly using hosting providers.Overall best in class
Upgrading options to cater to business growth.
Sales FeaturesManual customisation and set up of sales features.Overall best in class
Ready-to-go eCommerce set up as standard.
PricingOverall best in class
Free to use.
Costly subscription.
Payment OptionsOverall best in class
Offers secure payment options at no extra cost.
Charges additional transaction fees.
SecurityRequires a manual process to keep up-to-date with security updates.Overall best in class
Automated security updates.
SupportCommunity-driven support page that may have limited content for your needs.Overall best in class
24/7 help and support services.
SEOOverall best in class
Offers a range of customisable SEO features.
Limited SEO customisation.
DropshippingOverall best in class
There are a number of dropshipping vendors for your specific needs.
Additional costs can be incurred.

Deciding on the right eCommerce platform is a critical step towards achieving your business goals and comparing WooCommerce vs Shopify is no exception. To make an informed decision and leverage your online eCommerce store to success, consider all aspects, from set up and plugins to scalability and pricing. 

Ultimately, Shopify is more suitable for its easy to use structure, whereas WooCommerce offers more customisation at a lower cost, but you may require specialist WooCommerce support. If you’d like to speak to our Platinum Certified WooCommerce team for more information on our WooCommerce or Shopify services, contact our team today. Our dedicated developers and website designers are always on-hand to help.

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