So, you are finally ready to create your own online store and it is time to make a choice that will shape your online business: your e-commerce solution.
There are dozens of other solutions on the market, but WooCommerce and Shopify are by far the most popular e-commerce platforms. Each of these two solutions has its advantages and disadvantages.
Here are a few key differences ;
- Shopify is a lot more expensive to run than WooCommerce due to its monthly subscription fee which starts from $29 – 299$ per month while WooCommerce is free to use.
- If you choose Shopify, your website would be hosted on Shopify servers. And as a matter of fact, you don’t have much control over the management of your files. If Shopify terminates or closes your account, then you will lose access to all your website and its content altogether.
- With WooCommerce, you have the freedom to periodically backup your entire website and archive it offline, but you can’t do that with Shopify.
- With WooCommerce, you can create unlimited business email addresses through cPanel, but Shopify does not provide email hosting, so you can’t create business email accounts such as [email protected] inside of Shopify.
We usually recommend WooCommerce to small and early-stage businesses because no monthly subscription is required to keep a WooCommerce store running.
Continue reading to learn more about Shopify and WooCommerce
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce was launched in 2011 as a WordPress plugin. The success of this plugin and its platform (WordPress) has multiplied exponentially since its launch; making it the most widely used e-commerce platform in the world.
What is Shopify?
Unlike WordPress, Shopify is a subscription-based Software-As-a-Service e-commerce solution. You don’t need to purchase a web hosting plan, to use Shopify but you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee, which ranges from $29 USD/mo to $299 USD per month in order to keep your online store running and accessible.
|Themes||Thousands of free
and premium themes
|Thousands of free
and premium themes
|Pricing||$0 USD per year||348 USD – 3588 USD
|Bare blogging engine,
lacking some features.
Blog, 24/7 support
via email and phone.
|Depends on your
Web Hosting Plan
|Bandwidth||Depends on your
|Available free via
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To some people, it just makes sense to say that Shopify is the “iPhone of e-commerce” while WooCommerce is the “Android”.
For many people, price forms a critical aspect of their decision. You might be right to think at first glance that WooCommerce is cheaper than Shopify since it’s totally free to plug into any WordPress-based website, but the situation is more complex than it seems; There are very rare cases where one would end up spending more on purchasing premium WooCommerce extensions and WordPress Plugins.
Generally speaking, WordPress has more free plugin options than Shopify “Apps”. This means it is easier to save a lot of money by just using WooCommerce.
Pros and Cons of WooCommerce
- Unlimited Admin and Shop Manager accounts.
- Creation of a blog within the e-commerce site which will be very complete and very well referenced.
- Free during installation, no license to pay.
- Integration with many other services such as Zapier, Mailchimp, Sendgrid, etc, using plugins like Uncanny Automator, AutomatorWP, WPForms, e.t.c.
- Thousands of free and premium plugins are available on the Internet.
- Hundreds of thousands of free and premium themes to choose from.
- Fully customizable with computer skills.
- Unlimited number of variations per product.
- You must manage the technical side of your e-commerce site yourself, but not to worry, We will help you handle that for a very small monthly fee.
- You can easily get overwhelmed with WooCommerce’s features. So, guidance or onboarding is usually needed for first-time store owners.
- You need to get a suitable web hosting plan yourself or have someone do it for you.
- It is up to you to update your site and all these plugins. If you don’t, you risk ending up with a hacked website.
- No dedicated support, but there is a strong community.
- For a basic site, you won’t need any technical skills but If you want to make upgrades to your e-commerce site, then you might have to hire a WordPress expert to help you.
- Inventory management is not as intuitive.
- The WooCommerce plugin is not 100% compatible with some WordPress themes.
- Customizing WooCommerce requires coding skills.
Luckily, all the disadvantages mentioned above should not even pose a problem to you. We have fixed website maintenance plans that would help you focus on making sales on your online store while we handle the technical side.
Pros and Cons of Shopify
- Menus and navigation are intuitive so Shopify is easier to use.
- Hundreds of templates and apps (Shopify’s word for “Plugins” is Apps.)
- Integration with many services.
- Dedicated support from Shopify staff.
- Setup is easy and beginner-friendly.
- You won’t need to purchase hosting and SSL separately.
- Supports multiple languages out of the box.
Most of the good themes and apps are paid.
You’ll be frustrated to find out that the majority of the paid apps do not offer one-time purchases; they are subscription-based.
Shopify itself requires a monthly subscription fee.
The blogging system is not well developed.
WooCommerce or Shopify, which one to choose for a start?
In my opinion, most of the reviews and comparisons you’ll find online may be influenced by Shopify’s Affiliate Program because the reviewer gets a commission when you purchase Shopify Subscriptions via their links. WooCommerce on the other hand does not have an affiliate program, so there is no monetary gain for preaching WooCommerce.
Shopify’s ease of use will allow you to configure your first store very quickly without any particular web design skills.
But if you have some web design skills and time to spare, you can customize your Shopify store to align with your branding, but you can’t get as much control as you would get with WooCommerce.
If you want 100% control of your entire e-commerce store, then WooCommerce is your best best.
Shopify and WooCommerce are both great e-commerce solutions with their pros and cons. As previously written, I personally recommend WooCommerce, which we use for most of our e-commerce website projects.
If you don’t care about customizations and advanced blogging features then Shopify might work well for you.
Shopify beats WooCommerce in the aspect of checking out and order fulfilment, but WooCommerce has plugins like Cartflows that can compete on the same level as Shopify’s checkout process.
Either way, whether you choose Shopify or WooCommerce, just get started! Don’t wait any longer to open your store and start generating your first income.