Starting up an online store is a great way to expand your business and increase profits. People love to shop from the comfort of their homes. Today’s ecommerce platforms make that easy for both retailers and customers alike.
The range of ecommerce platforms promising a great experience can make it difficult for business owners to narrow down the options. Here, we explore WooCommerce vs. Shopify.
Ease of Installation
WooCommerce is a plugin for the WordPress content management system, making it an easy choice for those who already have a web presence via WordPress. It is as simple as installing the plugin, and using the wizard for five minutes of installation. Even for those who don’t already use WordPress, WooCommerce is easy to set up once the WordPress page is in place. It offers a robust web presence with very little effort.
Shopify is a self-hosted solution making it very easy to get started with this ecommerce platform. There is no need to have a content management system or any other type of web presence already in place — simply create an account and get started!
Ease of Use
WooCommerce is easy to use, especially for people familiar with WordPress. The core platform has a lot of built-in functionality and a lot of support resources. Optional extensions add to its capabilities without adding too much complexity. The admin interface is simple and easy to use for setup, listing products, checking in on orders and sales, and keeping an eye on the business.
Shopify has an intuitive admin interface, good documentation, and a strong user base. It is easy to set up the system and to continue using it over time.
Search Engine Friendly
WooCommerce’s SEO features are extensive, both within the core plugin, and in additional plugins and extensions. It is easy to customize and change everything from meta tags to URLs, as well as integrating with systems like Google Analytics for further information and control.
Shopify’s integrated SEO features include image and text optimization, customized tags, and the ability to optimize product descriptions. Pages load quickly, which also helps with SEO.
WooCommerce works with web-based devices, and iPhone/iPad. The flexibility of the platform allows for integration with many services including FreshBooks, Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Payments, FedEx, USPS and UPS.
The Shopify app store makes it easy for users to integrate with various services from accounting to email marketing, and it features many of the big names in services such as Facebook, FedEx, MailChimp, and more. Users are limited to what is available in the app store.
Cost to Maintain
WooCommerce, as a plugin for WordPress, is free. Additional costs include the annual fee for commercial plugins and extensions, a paid theme if desired, hosting fees, domain name fees, and payment processing fees.
In addition to the cost of paid theming and apps/add-ons, Shopify’s basic platform will cost users, too. There are three main price tiers of Shopify, starting at $29 up to $299. There is also a cheaper, ‘lite’ plan, however, for selling solely on Facebook, without a web presence.
WooCommerce is highly customizable, both in function and in design. Paid and free themes easily change the look of your shop. The wide array of plugins enable all kinds of additional functions, both for customers, and for administrators. Users are limited only by their budgets, and how much they want to work toward creating a custom shop.
Because Shopify is self-hosted, it is not quite as customizable as WooCommerce. There is still a wide range of themes available, but users are limited by what extensions are available through the Shopify platform, and how feature rich their chosen theme is.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted
This platform will require hosting, which adds onto the cost of installation and maintaining. Choosing one’s host, however, allows for a higher degree of control than using a hosted platform.
Shopify is a hosted ecommerce platform, which takes away some of the customization and control, but makes setting up the platform potentially easier for users to handle. It also comes with various security features and functionality without having to search various hosts for them.
This ecommerce platform is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. It can target essentially any customer base with its customizability. For companies, it is the ideal solution when a high degree of control is desired, or a WordPress site is already in place.
Shopify is fairly scalable for businesses large and small. It has its limits with self-hosting, and may be a better choice for those new to ecommerce, or users who want a site up quickly and easily.
Overall, users can get started with Shopify even more quickly than they can with WooCommerce. The most telling difference, however, comes when users decide that they don’t want their store to look or behave like everyone else’s. WooCommerce allows users to choose their host, which means that is more flexible to use and it’s easier to grow your online business when using WooCommerce.
|Easy of Installation||Like WordPress, setup and installation is user-friendly. 5/5||Very easily managed through the self-hosted platform. 5/5|
|Ease of Use||Very easy to use for beginners, without holding advanced users back. 5/5||Easy to use and modern interface, with a lot of support from users. 5/5|
|Search Engine Friendly||Extremely SEO-friendly! 5/5||SEO-friendly, with some work. 4/5|
|Integration Ecosystem||Easy integration with a vast variety of service providers, including several mailing systems. 4/5||Integrates with numerous services and systems, though limited by Shopify’s app store offerings. 4/5|
|Cost to Maintain||Cost varies depending on what users want to spend; initial plugin is free. 3/5||Fee-based, along with paid apps, themes, and add-ons. 4/5|
|Customizability||Highly customizable, limited only by a users’ skills and budget. 5/5||Customizable within the constraints of the Shopify platform and its extensions. 4/5|
|Hosted vs. Self-Hosted||Self-hosted — more work, but more freedom.||Hosted; easier setup and maintenance but less freedom.|
|Target Market||Subscription services, social media targeting, and other custom plugins work to target customers.||Ideal for beginners, those who want a quick site, and those who want to sell via Facebook.|