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WooCommerce vs Shopify Comparison version 2019

26 August 19
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Nowadays we can’t imagine our life without online shopping. 

Everyone wants to have a successful business and reach as many potential clients as possible, whether it’s a small local store or a large multivendor. And e-commerce has made it easier than ever before. The qualitative, flexible, easy in use and quite cost-efficient software can help you grow your sales and boost your brand visibility. 

If you are the owner of a store and still doubt what e-commerce platform to choose, this article will be a helpful read.  

Here, we’ll talk about two most popular e-commerce platforms – Shopify and WooCommerce.

Using these e-commerce platforms, you can create your own online store without the engagement of professional designers and/or developers.
Let’s start with Shopify. This platform contains all e-commerce features you need to start, run, and grow your business fast.

The main Shopify features:

  • All you need to create your online store is to think of its name and brand.
  • You can sell everything from everywhere and to everyone.
  • Using built-in tools you can create, execute, and analyze campaigns on Facebook and Google.
  • You need only a single dashboard to manage orders, shipping, and payments.

Shopify is a self-hosted website, so you don’t need to run any other software to use it. Therefore, you start really fast and have no hassle with any hosting platforms, etc. On the other hand, Shopify is a cloud-based solution and this fact sometimes limits your store software flexibility (it might be hard or even impossible to customize the Shopify based stores to some specific business needs).

WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress

Using this plugin you can:

  • create a beautiful store where customers can find what they want
  • sell any product, any time
  • easily manage stock, orders and your customers’ wishes
  • optimize your store to sell more
  • improve your store to your vision.

WooCommerce is the plugin for WordPress. So if you want to use it, you need, at first, to create a WordPress website. And after that you can install the WooCommerce plugin for free and in a few clicks you’ll have a ready-to-go online store.

Let’s talk briefly about the main aspects of work with these e-commerce platforms:

  • Themes. Shopify has its own themes, created by the group of external professional web designers. The themes are well-structured and attractive. But you can use a limited number of free and paid themes. Therefore, some Shopify users, who developed their site themselves, later complained that their stores looked quite similar to other websites. For WooCommerce based store,  you can use any WordPress theme you like and their numbers are unlimited. For example, you can use Storefront – an intuitive & flexible, free WordPress theme, that has very simple settings (you can choose a font, the number of products on the page, product displaying by list or tile), incredible colour gamut. It will make your product lists look great. Plus there’s a huge number of page builders helping to create the design you need. All things considered, WooCommerce has an advantage over Shopify when it comes to design.
  • Price. WooCommerce and WordPress are free, but to create the online store you need to buy hosting, domain and SSL certificate. The price of Shopify is clearly set. You get a package of services, that includes everything you need to start your online business. In a word, their prices per month are almost equal – 29$. Each of them has different levels that offer you a lot of interesting decisions for your store. The more services you use – the more you pay. And, of course, they have premium versions, which are expensive.
  • Features. With Shopify and WooCommerce you can sell online everything – physical, digital goods and even services.  You get 24/7 online tech support. Shopify is a closed platform that means you can change your store only to the extent that Shopify allows. WooCommerce is an open-source plugin – you can freely change your store. There are no restrictions. WooCommerce gives you full control over your store data. The Shopify function controls your store/website data. They both use PayPal, Stripe. If you need to use several languages in your store, Shopify has an inbuilt tool for this. There are special plugins for WooCommerce to create a multilingual store. Using Shopify you have unlimited file storage, whereas the WooCommerce file storage depends on your web hosting. Shopify and WooCommerce both provide sales statistics and reports, control over rates and taxes.
  • SEO. In this domain, Shopify takes a back seat. WordPress is primarily a content creation platform, and it is very popular among SEO professionals. It is easy to add and edit content and meta information to WordPress based websites so that pages have a big chance to be found by certain keywords. With plugins like Yoast SEO, you can create a highly optimized site and full control of all SEO related aspects. In the long run, almost every website has some issues with permalinks. If you want your online store to run effectively, you can read more about Premmerce Permalink Manager for WooCommerce. This plugin makes URLs SEO friendly by removing WooCommerce prefixes (/product category, /shop, /product).
  • Ease of use. As we’ve mentioned, using these two platforms, you don’t need any special programming knowledge to create an online store. To get Shopify, you need just to register here. Prior to starting your work with WooCommerce, you have to get a domain, hosting and install WordPress. After that you install the WooCommerce plugin and in a few clicks your online store is ready. You can use an unlimited number of plugins to make your store great. All the needed plugins that supplement your WooCommerce store and make it truly effective,  you can find on Premmerce.

Thus, WooCommerce is a free plugin, but you have to buy hosting, domain, SSL certificate. You know exactly how much you’ll pay for using Shopify each month. WooCommerce has better settings, themes (due to open-source and so many plugins created for WordPress). Shopify gives you limited control over your store data while you fully manage the data of your online store by using WooCommerce. Moreover, WordPress has a huge online community.

Here we’ve presented The WooCommerce vs Shopify Comparison Table.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Comparison table

Let’s have a look at these parameters in more detail.

Simple and comprehensive architecture. Shopify has available API documentation for modules and themes, but generally, there is no low-level access. Not all things can be changed or rewritten; there is much less room for maneuvers.  WooCommerce is based on WordPress, the world’s most popular platform and therefore, it has a very simple architecture and detailed documentation for developers.

Availability of ready to use plugins and their support. Both platforms are well-designed and have a wide range of easy to use plugins, that can be downloaded and installed in a few clicks. 

Scalability. It’s quite difficult to create a non-standard website, using the basic Shopify capabilities. WooCommerce has an elaborate API and it supports RestAPI which ensures seamless work with both ready-to-use plugins or the ones developed from scratch by the store owner. Plus, the platform is quite developer-friendly and doesn’t take a lot of time to understand its core structure (as opposed to Magento, for instance).

Response time. Shopify provides optimal performance because it’s hosted on dedicated servers as a SaaS platform. The WooCommerce technology is considered to be a way faster solution than Magento, Prestashop and Opencart and can function well on the hosting platform with lower system requirements.

Integrity and compatibility. Shopify is a closed-source platform, so it’s pretty hard to implement a comprehensive enterprise solution with all necessary features due to low access to the platform source code and limited capabilities. WooCommerce supports all WordPress plugins whose variety is regarded as the largest among all e-commerce platforms in our study. Moreover, most of the plugins are free.

Support and updatability. Support and updates are automatically provided by the Shopify developers. All WooCommerce updates are performed on the basis of WordPress which is trusted by millions of developers in the world. Apart from the core features, all installed plugins are also updatable. 

The level of customization. Shopify has limited access, therefore it may be impossible to implement some customized projects. Due to WooCommerce comprehensiveness and a high level of scalability, it is regarded as the most flexible and customizable solution for e-commerce projects.

Standardization and dependency on the developers. Shopify has comprehensive documentation and standardization, although the technology itself isn’t very popular, so it may be hard to headhunt and train developers. WooCommerce has the largest community in the world and its code adheres to the established standards. Due to these factors, WooCommerce scores high in our analysis. 

Security. Shopify fully provides security for all websites. The basic WooCommerce security concept is embedded in its core features, there are also additional solutions available on the market. A big part of the security issue depends on the hosting platform and regular software updates. 

Marketing tools and SEO. Shopify offers a limited set of tools and doesn’t have a flexible blog platform, although you can use the WordPress plugin that has a variety of marketing instruments available for the store owners to use. Besides, the professional WordPress blog platform ensures the WooCommerce’s leading position as far as SEO  goes. 

Market Size. The development market of Shopify is currently larger and more trending than of Magento’s, which makes this technology very promising. The market of WordPress and WooCommerce is truly the largest in the world. In fact, it is as large as all other platform markets are taken together. 

In conclusion, these numbers (How Many Websites Use WooCommerce? Usage Stats 2019) speak for themselves:

If you use Shopify for powering your store and you want to change it to Woocommerce, there’s a simple way (the S2W – Import Shopify to WooCommerce plugin) to do it by importing.

To get more insight into the topic, you can also watch an informative and interesting video about these e-commerce platforms – Shopify vs WooCommerce (2019): Which One Is the Absolute Best?

Here you can find the WooCommerce comparison with other platforms

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