WooCommerce vs Shopify: Are you looking to create an online store? Great but when you want to create an online store the is one question that comes up your mind which platform is the best platform for eCommerce website development. Let’s compare the two most popular eCommerce platforms: WooCommerce vs Shopify. The setup experience between the two is actually very different.
1. Ease of Use:
Shopify, you simply sign up for a free trial. Once logged in you are already able to add your first products. It’ll only take you a couple of hours to get your store set up. With WooCommerce you definitely score bonus points if you’ve worked with WordPress before.
To set it up, you first need to find a hosting provider. SiteGround or Bluehost for example. There you’ll need to first install WordPress and then the WooCommerce plugin. It’s all much more technical and complex than with Shopify. Also in day to day operations, you will realize that WooCommerce needs a lot more maintenance as you’ll have to take care of updates, and sometimes you may need to solve plugin conflicts. It’s all doable but Shopify is definitely a smoother ride.
2. Themes and Flexibility:
Shopify offers 10 free templates and more than 60 paid ones. The paid ones cost between $140 and $180. They look modern, are relatively easy to customize, and will also receive updates from time to time. Having said that, you can also modify your theme in the code, using the Liquid programming language.
WooCommerce.com offers a couple of themes, but the free ones are very limited, and to be frank, I wouldn’t go for either of them. The paid selection looks better and starts at $39. That said, I’d recommend checking out Envato, as their selection is much, much larger. Shopify’s templates are easier to manage and generally look better. WooCommerce, on the other hand, offers a larger overall selection, and its probably easier to find a theme developer, should you ever need one.
3. Payment, Shipping, and Taxes:
The key thing to know about Shopify is that you should definitely use Shopify Payments if it’s available in your region. Because if not, Shopify will charge hefty transaction fees of up to 2%. The selection of payment providers is huge and it’s unlikely you won’t find your preferred one.
WooCommerce also has a massive selection of payment gateways. What you have to keep in mind here is that the more niche ones come at a one-time charge of around $79. Shopify and WooCommerce are also on par in Shipping and Taxes. Both of them offer pretty much everything you could ask for, like real-time shipping cost estimates and tax rates that are automatically calculated. Some of these features require paid plugins though.
4. Multilingual Goal:
If your goal is to set up an international store in multiple languages there is a significant difference between the two. Shopify requires a plugin. The most popular is Langify, which is $17.50 per month.Not exactly cheap. For WooCommerce there is WPML, which is very established and integrates seamlessly with WordPress. You can even offer your products in multiple currencies. At $79 for the first year, it’s quite affordable and renews at a yearly rate of $59.
Security is another factor where both platforms follow very different approaches. Shopify is hosted by Shopify themselves. So you don’t need to spend even single second thinking about hosting providers. In our tests, we always had very decent uptime and speed results. There is also two-factor authentication and Shopify permanently monitors their systems for unauthorized access.
WooCommerce is built on the popular WordPress platform. Unfortunately, their popularity stretches to hackers too. Since you, the site owner, is responsible for installing security updates, it can be fatal not to do so.
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
In the SEO arena, Shopify has nearly everything you’ll ever need. Customizable page titles, descriptions, sitemaps, and 301 redirects. A small downside is that Shopify always adds slugs like “pages”, “products” or “news” to your URLs. This isn’t going to kill your SEO but it’d be nice if they didn’t force you to use this syntax.
For WooCommerce you need to install an SEO plugin like Yoast. This will give you complete flexibility over everything. It’s also a bit cheaper to get your structured data set up for things like ratings and additional product information. All in all, you have more flexibility with WooCommerce, which gives them a slight push into the lead.
Shopify provides pretty amazing support via live chat, email, and even phone. 24/7, no less. WooCommerce also provides support, well, kind of. You can only ask them questions if you’ve purchased a product, for example, a theme, at WooCommerce.com. If not, good luck roaming the user forums. With Shopify, you have a well-rounded support system for all your questions. With WooCommerce, you have to figure much more stuff out on your own.
I hope this article has given you a clearer idea of what to expect from these two eCommerce platforms WooCommerce vs Shopify. Our ideal choice will still depend very much on what your goals and individual needs are. Beginners and people who want to avoid technical headaches will definitely have an easier time using Shopify. Professionals who need full flexibility and want to be able to do some serious code-tweaking will appreciate the freedom WooCommerce provides.
International sitesthat are set up with different languages and currencies are best built on WooCommerce. Cash-strapped startupswill appreciate the fact that a WooCommerce store can be built for very little money. But be aware that going down the DIY path can become very costly once you hire a developer. In many cases, Shopify will be the cheaper choice in the end.