Shopify and WooCommerce have long been two of the most popular and simplest eCommerce platforms on the market. They have multiple strengths that allow you to build a proper online store without help from any professional developers or designers. In today’s article, we will present you with the comparison between these two platforms: Shopify vs WooCommerce from different perspectives to help merchants decide which platform best fits their businesses.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Overview
Shopify was founded in 2004 in Ontario, Canada by three computer programmers. Shopify is very popular for its online store setup and retail point-of-sale systems. It offers advanced features like payment gateways, marketing, shipping, and customer engagement tools for a low price, or even free. Ever since 2004, the company has been constantly growing to 1,000,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries using its platform with a revenue of 1.58 billion USD, as of June 2019.
WooCommerce was launched in 2011 as an open-source plugin for WordPress. It was designed for small to large businesses using WordPress. Since then, the platform quickly became famous for its simplicity to use, customization, and free base product. It serves around 4% of the top million HTML pages. As of January 2020, their report reflected the platform was used by 3.9 million websites worldwide.
Overall, users don’t need to be a pro in coding or programming to comfortably use the two platforms. Shopify is an all-in-one subscription-based hosting platform that does all the hard work for you. However, Woocommerce is a WordPress plugin, which requires some learning curves to master its tools and features.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: On The Front End
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Ease Of Use
To use Shopify, all you need to do to start is visit their website, click the signup button, and go through a basic setup wizard. The platform is going to help you along the way with pointers and guides, asking you basic questions like the purpose/nature of your store, what are you planning to sell, and give some tips on the design and structure of your new store.
In general, the process is so straightforward that even the newest beginners can easily get through.
Let’s look at how users can add new products to their store. During this process, merchants don’t need to visit different areas of the dashboard to set things like the name, prices, images, or stock levels as all the parameters are gathered in one single panel. So simple, isn’t it? On a daily basis, users can access all crucial functions from the sidebar which puts the store in their palm entirely.
At the first sight, WooCommerce is as easy to use as Shopify. The interface is direct with guides and pointers along the way. Activating your store requires only a few clicks on the setup wizard.
However, unlike Shopify, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and not a subscription-based solution. This means users need to go through several web-related steps, such as setting your web server, signing up for a hosting account, redirecting your domain, or getting WordPress installed and worked properly.
In terms of ease of use, Shopify wins this round completely. In fact, hardly any eCommerce platform could beat Shopify’s simplicity to use.
Help & Support
Shopify put an emphasis on beginners, which means the platform provides many support options to make it easiest for their users to reach out for help:
- Support through Phone/Live Chat/ Email 24/7
- Help Center
- Video Tutorials
- Community Forum
- Advanced Specialist Support
Meanwhile, WooCommerce’s official website has extensive documentation, and guides that allow users to help themselves. They also offer support forums to create a sense of community.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: On The Back End
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Product Management
Shopify includes a significant amount of free options that are built-in within the platform. It has a full range of product management tools, entitling businesses to track stock levels, update product listings, and monitor orders. It can easily mark products as sold out on the platform.
Below are several basic attributes that Shopify gives you from the very start:
- Unlimited products/ file storage
- Automatic fraud analysis
- Individual product reviews
- Free SSL Certificate
- Editable HTML and CSS SEO-ready site structure, etc
Especially, Shopify’s features such as CSV upload, shipping options, and bookings are completely free while WooCommerce charges it up to $500-600.
As an open-source, WordPress is famous for allowing third-party developers to create various extensions and plugins. WooCommerce further broadens that by offering plenty of advanced and hands-on additions. Whether you want to divide products into different variations (size, color, material, prices, etc), or assign categories to multiple products at once, WooCommerce is able to help you with it.
Here are some components users will find in WooCommerce:
- Selling physical products, digital products (including software and apps)
- Stock control levels
- Unlimited product and product categories
- Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
At the end of the day, Shopify seems like a more favorable option in regards to product management. Every component that Shopify offers is geared at making your online store more functional and easy to use. Meanwhile, WooCommerce is still an add-on to WordPress, making it more complicated to configure even though the platform is extremely rich in features and it doesn’t lack any specific eCommerce attributes.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Dropshipping
Dropshipping is an exciting feature that eCommerce platforms started adopting several years ago. Due to its overhead, it has become popular around the world. Dropshipping allows eCommerce stores to avoid keeping products in stock. Instead, it fulfills orders by purchasing products from vendors and delivering them directly to the customers.
The front-end of your online store will look just like any other store when building a dropshipping business. Shoppers are able to browse the products, add them to cart, and make payment. Next, depending on the vendors users choose, you will have to place the user’s order for shipping.
Shopify offers integration apps for some popular dropshipping marketplaces like AliExpress, Oberlo, Printify, and more. As for WooCommerce, it is a popular choice among dropshipping businesses. Users can easily find extensions that allow them to import products, fulfill orders from their website, and more. Merchants can even build up their own eCommerce marketplace, allowing other vendors to sell on their website.
However, users should keep in mind that each of these product marketplaces has its own membership fees, shipping, and other charges when setting up a dropshipping website.
The winner for the dropshipping feature is WooCommerce, for allowing users to install extensions that make order fulfillment a breeze.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Security
During October and November 2020, the average attempted fraudulent purchases surged over 475% of the previous month’s average, which raises an alarm for cybersecurity.
Shopify covers all basic security measures for users, including SSL encryption and Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. Shopify’s built-in SSL means that whenever someone visits your website, they will see a little padlock graphic next to your URL. Users will get security when processing personal information and payments from customers.
Also, merchants can get a significant boost to your store SEO. the Shopify SSL also lets customers know that you are giving them a safe browsing experience.
On the other hand, WooCommerce doesn’t technically have any security measures built-in as it is self-hosted. This means that there is no security available from day one. Since it runs on WordPress, most of the security methods have to be set up by the users themselves.
For instance, you have to go get your own SSL certificate and ensure that your hosting company has secure servers. You also need to configure site security plugins, two-factor authentication, and some other things to protect your site.
Shopify comes out on top in terms of security. Even though WooCommerce can still give you all the security features you need, you will have to do much more work to get them.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Apps and Add-ons
No matter how many built-in features are already available on the platforms, installing apps or plugins enable users to add more strings in all areas of their business.
Shopify App Store offers up to 5000 options in marketing, pricing, finance or orders, and shipping which are all at your fingertips. The plugins’ price is varied, from free $7/month to $2000/month. It is highly recommended for users to always check the star rating or user reviews if you don’t know which app is the best option for your store.
As an open-source system, WooCommerce relies heavily on plugins. There are over 50,000 extensions to choose from, allowing you to build a bespoke website without any limitations.
Shopify apps tend to be more reliable since they are monitored by the platform. However, this doesn’t mean users can’t find good WordPress plug-ins and extensions. Merchants just need to be careful to check compatibility.
If you want to sync your online shop to social media stores in order to have shoppable posts on Facebook, Instagram, or Google, you can have that in a few clicks. However, Shopify tends to do this better, especially if users are going to use Pinterest. There is no way to integrate a WooCommerce store to have shoppable pins yet.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Payment Processors and Transaction Fee
Payment processing is at the heart of your eCommerce business. No matter what type of products or services you offer, users can only earn a profit after receiving payment from their customers.
Fortunately, both Shopify and WooCommerce offer a variety of tools to help you with that. Shopify supports more than 100 different external payment processors which can be set up and implemented quickly.
However, the biggest disadvantage for Shopify is that only Shopify’s own payment service (Shopify Payment) does not charge extra fees and transaction fees. All the other options require users to pay up to 2.9% of the extra fee and 30 cents transaction fee for every payment made.
Shopify Payment is the default payment processor on this platform, which is powered by Stripe. Stripe is a dominant force in the card processing space and has so far handled different types of electronic payments for almost a decade now.
Shopify Payment is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant which means it is very advanced in protecting your customer’s personal details and preventing CNP fraud. The payment processor gives users a lot of freedom as it doesn’t require customers to sign up. However, it is still better to offer shoppers a variety of options for payment methods to improve your conversion rates.
WooCommerce offers up to 160 external payment processors and the platform doesn’t have its own payment gateway like Shopify Payment. Users can choose to embed popular payment methods such as PayPal or Stripe directly onto their online stores. Hence, users are able to process transactions conveniently without directing shoppers to third-party checkout pages.
In essence, your capabilities are endless because users can get all the major gateways on WooCommerce. Once merchants identify a suitable gateway, all they need to do is install its extension, connect the service with your bank account and that’s it! You can handle all transactions on your online store without paying WooCommerce even a penny.
However, users should keep in mind that the transactions are not entirely free. WooCommerce won’t charge you anything. However, the payment processors will and their fees differ from one provider to another.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Point-of-sale system (POS system)
Shopify is the only platform that has its own POS app among the four biggest eCommerce platforms. It is called the ShopifyPOS system. ShopifyPOS is a cloud-based platform that garnishes your store with POS features and customization.
There are two plans available, the Lite and the Pro version, both offer a variety of features yet there are some major differences between the features offered. The Lite plan is free and the Pro version costs $89 per month.
Basic functions are available on both versions including creating custom sales, managing staff activities, or barcode scanning. The Pro plan has several advanced features such as the click-and-collect, smart inventory management, or support shipping.
Additionally, there are many great POS options on the Shopify App Store that are worth your consideration as well.
WooCommerce extensions of POS systems are also very outstanding. They allow business owners to holistically manage products, orders, and customers. Offering a wide range of POS configurations, the extension provides flexibility and versatility for store owners to remain both competitive and innovative for success and growth.
Extensions on WooCommerce largely entitle users to reward their customers with fixed or percentage-based discounts, including coupons. Moreover, cashiers can charge a fixed or percentage-based fee for cleaning service or insurance protection.
These apps also allow note attachment to important orders that require special attention. Locating previous orders to repeat or to query customer inquiries to see where orders were placed and who served the customers.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Pricing
Shopify offers 5 plans:
- Shopify Lite Plan – you cannot build an online store with this plan yet. You are only able to add eCommerce on a social media page or existing website ($9/month).
- Basic Shopify Plan – this is the cheapest plan for Shopify to build your own store. It provides all the basic features for a new store ($29/month).
- Shopify Plan – this plan is for growing businesses. It provides fancy features such as gift card creation ($79/month).
- Advanced Shopify Plan – this is an option for big businesses wanting to grow. It has advanced reports and third-party calculated shipping rates ($299/month)
- Shopify Plus – this is a customized plan and the price will be discussed when contacting Shopify directly.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. It is free to install. After that, users will need to pay for a domain name, SSL certificate, and a WordPress hosting account to start a WooCommerce store. The cost monthly for WooCommerce depends entirely on the users and how much they are willing to pay.
After today’s article, we gave you an overview of how different Shopify vs WooCommerce is from different perspectives. We hope you will make a wise decision on which one best fit for your store. Please feel free to contact us with any further questions!