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Shopify vs. WooCommerce – The Best eCommerce Platform

Choose between two biggest eCommerce platforms with our comparison guide.

Comparision between WooCommerce and Shopify as eCommerce Platforms

When setting up your online store, choosing the right eCommerce platform is like picking the foundation for your business. 

Two popular options stand out: Shopify and WooCommerce.

It’s like deciding between renting a store space in a shopping centre (Shopify) or owning your building (WooCommerce). Shopify is known for being user-friendly, while WooCommerce offers more customisation.

Both can grow with your business, but Shopify handles the tech side for you. Your choice depends on your tech skills, control desires, and budget. Let’s compare both to help you decide for your business:

1. Ease of Use

Shopify's welcome email to new customers

Shopify

Shopify is super easy to use.

You sign up, pick a design you like, and start selling your stuff. No need to be a computer whiz. Everything is right there, easy to find on your dashboard. It’s like a store that’s all set up for you. You don’t have to worry about the tech stuff behind the scenes. If you can use your smartphone, you can handle Shopify without a hitch. It’s a piece of cake!

So, if you want to sell things online without any fuss, Shopify is a smart and stress-free choice.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a bit more hands-on. It’s like building your store from scratch. You add it to a WordPress website, which is a bit like creating your own space.

It’s not as easy as Shopify; you have to handle more stuff. You need to find a place for your store to live (that’s hosting), and you’ll have to keep your store up to date, like doing maintenance.

You’re in charge of keeping it safe too, which is the security part.

If you like doing things yourself and don’t mind a bit of tech stuff, WooCommerce gives you more control. But it’s not as simple as Shopify.

Winner – Shopify

So, if you want a quick and hassle-free start, Shopify is your choice.

But if you’re tech-savvy or like having complete control, WooCommerce could be your thing – just be ready for more DIY action.

2. Customisation

Product page custom designed on WooCommerce

Shopify

Shopify is like a shop where you can change the display but not the whole store.

You can pick from different themes (like store layouts) to give your shop a new look, but you can’t change every little detail. You can also add some extra features with apps, like putting up posters in your shop.

It’s easy to use, but it’s not as flexible as some other options. If you want to make small changes and don’t want to get too deep into design, Shopify is good.

It’s simple, but it has some limits.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is like a toolbox for making your online store look and work just the way you want. You can change nearly everything! You can pick different themes (like paint colors) to change how your store looks.

You can also add extra features with plugins. You can change the layout too. It’s very flexible. It’s all about making your online store fit your style and needs, which is pretty awesome if you like to be in control.

Winner – WooCommerce

So, if you want a stylish store without the tech hassle, Shopify’s templates and easy tools are great.

But if you’re a design guru and want total control, WooCommerce, with its WordPress magic, is the way to go – just be ready for some extra tech work.

3. Cost

Shopify's pricing table

Shopify

Shopify costs money, and it’s like paying rent for your online store.

The Basic plan from Shopify initiates at £19 per month, and you have the option to upgrade to the Shopify plan, available at £49 per month, or the Advanced Shopify plan, which costs £259per month.

With additional transaction fees for sales processed through third-party payment gateways. It’s essential to consider that the higher-tier plans may include features that you might not require, potentially leading to paying for resources that go unused.

So, if you want a store with many features, it can get a bit pricey. But, it’s straightforward – you know what you’re paying for, and it includes hosting and security. 

WooCommerce

Using WooCommerce might not be completely free, but you have more control over your spending. The basic WooCommerce software is free, like a free tool for building your store.

However, you’ll need a few other things. A domain name comes with a price tag of £14.99, an SSL Certificate is priced at 369.99, and web hosting averages around £7.99 per month.

This expenditure can be a significant consideration, especially when you’re launching your online presence.

Also, if you want extra features or a fancy design, you might need to buy some plugins or themes, kind of like buying decorations for your store.

So, it can be budget-friendly if you’re careful, but costs can add up depending on what you want to do with your store.

Winner – Draw!

WooCommerce is cost-effective, being free and lacking transaction fees, but consider hosting, themes, and plugins.

Shopify offers comprehensive pricing plans, but costs can escalate with scaling, potentially covering unused features.

The choice depends on your unique requirements and budget constraints.

4. Scalability

website servers

Shopify

Shopify makes growing your online store simple.

It’s like moving to a bigger shop when you need more space. You don’t worry about the technical stuff, like servers and space – Shopify handles that for you. Your store can get bigger without you stressing about it. They have different plans for all sizes, from small to huge.

Plus, they can handle lots of customers, even during big sales. It’s like having a shopping centre for your store. If you get more visitors and sales, Shopify can handle it.

So, if you want a store that can grow without trouble, Shopify’s got you covered.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce can grow with your needs, like a store that gets bigger as you sell more. It’s like adding more rooms to your house. You can start small and expand when you want.

But, you need to do some work.

You’re in charge of finding the right hosting (that’s like the land for your store) and making sure it can handle your traffic. You also need to keep everything up to date and secure.

So, it’s like owning a big house – you can make it huge, but you have to take care of the maintenance. It’s flexible, but it needs your attention as you grow.

Winner – Shopify

So, Shopify is hassle-free regarding scaling – they do it for you. WooCommerce can grow with you, too, but you must manage the technical side as your store gets busier.

5. Payment Options

Shopify simple payment options

Shopify

Shopify lets you choose how you want to get paid when you sell stuff online.

They have their own way, called Shopify Payments, which is like the house payment method.

You can also use other payment methods, like PayPal, credit cards, and more. But, some of these methods may have extra fees.

Shopify imposes an additional 2% transaction fee on sales processed through third-party payment gateways, in addition to the fees charged by those gateways. You can decrease this fee to 0.5% by subscribing to the £259 per month Advanced Shopify plan.

However, with Shopify Payments, you only pay credit card fees, which start at 2.9% + 25p for the basic plan and decrease with higher-tier plans.

So, it’s like having lots of ways for people to pay you, but some of them might cost a little extra. You pick the one that works best for your store and customers.

WooCommerce

With WooCommerce, you can use different payment methods, like PayPal, credit cards, and more. You decide which ones you want to offer to your customers.

Being a self-hosted platform, you’ll only incur transaction fees from your payment gateway or bank with WooCommerce.

Notably, unless you opt for WooCommerce Payments, there are no percentage fees imposed on credit card payments.

So, you have flexibility in how people pay you, but you might need to deal with different fees depending on the payment methods you use. It’s all about what works best for your store and your customers.

Winner – Draw!

So, Shopify gives you a ready-made payment system, and with WooCommerce, you can pick and mix your preferred payment methods to suit your business needs.

6. SEO

google crawler robot

Shopify

Shopify is pretty good from the get-go for SEO. For example, it’s automatic rendering of WEBP images takes away the worry about converting and optimising the biggest part of your website.

But there are some issues out-of-the-box that can affect your SEO performance. For example, the way it handles canonical tags and relative URLs ends up creating duplicate pages. Google gets confused which page to rank and may decide not to show any!

WooCommerce

WooCommerce uses WordPress as its base, and that’s good for SEO.

WordPress is naturally friendly to search engines. The issues mentioned above with Shopify aren’t an issue with WordPress. In fact, we sometimes recommend rebuilding in WordPress if the SEO becomes too hard to control.

With the right SEO plugin, you can be a SEO boss with WooCommerce. You can take full control over product schema, how product categories and tags are handles in your sitemap, and how to manage pagination. All with a few clicks.

WooCommerce (+ WordPress) is like a helpful guide for search engines, making it easier for your store to show up when someone looks for things like what you sell.

Winner – WooCommerce

WooCommerce, combined with an SEO plugin, can be ready to go from the first install. However, Shopify immediately causes SEO concerns. Unless you’re able to hire a developer to deal with them, we recommend choosing WooCommerce.

7. Add-ons and Extensions

woocommerce plugin screenshot

Shopify

Shopify operates an app store featuring more than 8,000 apps, although it may not match the sheer volume of WooCommerce’s offerings. Nevertheless, the quality of these apps proves exceptionally valuable for e-commerce businesses.

Some add-ons are free, while others cost money.

For example, you can get an add-on to track your sales or add a chat feature for customer support. These are like apps for your store. They make your shop better without needing to build everything from scratch. It’s about making your store more powerful and giving your customers a better experience.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source platform, designed to rely on plugins and extensions to fulfill its feature set.

If you’re considering an upgrade or switch due to limited options, it’s worth noting that WooCommerce’s Plugin Directory hosts a vast selection of over 55,000 apps.

You can find plugins for WooCommerce product videos, SEO, payments, social media, and more. Plus, many of these plugins are free, which can help keep your costs down.

These add-ons help you customise your store without starting from scratch, so it’s like adding new rooms to your house without building them. It’s all about making your store awesome for your customers.

Winner – WooCommerce

So, with Shopify, you have a dedicated app store with tons of specialised tools. With WooCommerce, you dive into the WordPress plugin world, which gives you access to a broad range of extensions, including many free ones.

8. Ownership and Control

Shopify

Shopify is like renting a shop space in a mall. You have a lot of freedom to run your store, but you don’t own the mall. You can’t decide the mall’s rules. You can set up your shop and sell, but you don’t own the building.

Shopify owns the technology behind your store. This means you can’t make big technical changes to the platform because it’s not your property.

But it’s easy because you don’t need to worry about things like server maintenance. It’s like having a shop in a mall – convenient, but you follow their rules.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is more like owning your store building.

You own the land and make the rules. It’s self-hosted, so you have complete control over your website and data. You decide on the hosting provider, the design, and everything else.

It’s your digital property. It’s more work, but you have the freedom to do whatever you want with your online store. It’s like being the boss of your own business, but you need to handle all the details.

Winner – WooCommerce

In summary, Shopify gives you a store space in their “mall,” with some rules to follow. WooCommerce is like having your store building, where you make all the decisions. It’s about choosing between convenience with Shopify or complete control with WooCommerce.

Who’s the Winner?

Woocommerce for WordPress CMS for eCommerce functionality

If you’re a complete beginner to eCommerce, Shopify may be for you.

But as you grow and build your store – or even launch your 29th eCommerce store, you’ll start to see it’s limitations.

That’s why we always recommend WooCommerce. Even with a free theme, you can get something out of the box that is friendly to search engines AND users. Taking the time to setup properly now helps you scale without any blips laters.

So are you ready to launch your WooCommerce website?

Psst. We can help launch your eCommerce website.

We haven’t advertised it properly yet, but we build eCommerce website for both Shopify & WooCommerce.

Want a special secret offer in return for a testimonial?

7 comments on “Shopify vs. WooCommerce – The Best eCommerce Platform”

  1. so like, why woocommerce winner for seo? ain’t shopify also good at that? just asking coz i wana start a shop.

  2. makes sense that woocommerce wins on customisation, u can literally do anythin if u know a bit of coding. shopify’s kinda rigid but ok for starters i guess.

    1. I think Shopify’s simplicity is what makes it superior for non-techies. Not everyone wants to code.

  3. Thanks for this insightful comparison, Joshua! It’s really cleared up which platform I should start with. I’m leaning towards Shopify because of the scalability. I’ve got big plans, and it sounds like Shopify is ready to grow with me. Keep up the great work!

    1. Fiona, Shopify is a solid choice. Their customer service is top-notch. Best of luck with your store!

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