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Mar 3, 2022

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Which is Better?

Educational Articles

Knowing which host to choose for your e-commerce site can be difficult. We've compared two of the most popular e-commerce solutions to make deciding which is right for you easier.

If you are ready to launch a new e-commerce store, either by building it yourself or having a custom website built for you, one of the key decisions you must make is what platform to use for building your store. Two of the largest contenders in this space you’re likely to come across are Shopify and WooCommerce. Both e-commerce options have unique benefits, with drawbacks that can quickly tell you which provider would be the best for getting your custom website up and running.

Officially, we at SH1 Web Development partnered with Shopify for our e-commerce shop requirements, but WooCommerce does have its merits for those who use WordPress. Below, we’re going to dive into the primary differences between Shopify and WooCommerce, with our emphasis being on pricing and user experience.

The Primary Differences Between Shopify and WooCommerce

Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce solution designed to be scalable for those both new and experienced with online shops. Its multichannel integrations and included sales/SEO features make it easy to get a custom-built e-commerce site ready to roll as quickly as possible.

Here are some specifics on Shopify’s e-commerce shops:

·     Shopify’s various subscriptions include everything required to build an e-commerce site.

·     Your domain name is included, or you can transfer your existing domain.

·     Hosting, security, maintenance, and backups are all included with your monthly subscription.  

·     You can use free or paid themes if you’re not choosing to have your store custom built.

·     Countless apps, integrations, and payment processing solutions are available.

·     All subscribers have access to 24/7 customer service via email, chat, and phone.

·     Shopify offers standard sales features which improve the e-commerce site’s UX. Shopify  includes abandoned cart recovery, multichannel selling, and vast shipping options in their subscriptions.

·     Included are marketing tools to help you improve SEO performance. This includes email marketing and social media integrations.

·     Because it’s on a hosted platform, security features are included and the bulk of it is taken care of for you. Shopify comes with a built-in SSL certificate and is automatically PCI-DSS compliant.

·     The backend is easy, intuitive, and ideal for drop shipping.

On the other hand, WooCommerce is built specifically as an add-on for WordPress. It’s a free plug-in software made to enable selling on your WordPress website. It isn’t technically an all-encompassing platform made for e-commerce, so it needs to be added alongside point solutions for it to work for most website developers.  

Because WooCommerce doesn’t include all features necessary for implementing an e-commerce website, it takes longer to get to the final product than Shopify would. Even if you’re getting your website custom built, WooCommerce only acts as a plug-in for WordPress. While a web developer can customize a WordPress site using a number of add-on features, the process of picking and choosing solutions is going to take more time, and potentially more money, than it would if a developer were to build your custom site using Shopify.

Here are the WooCommerce specifics:

·     WooCommerce is a free plug-in you can add to your WordPress site to enable e-commerce functionality.

·    You must purchase and annually renew your domain.

·     Hosting, security, maintenance, and backups are not included.

·     You can use free or paid themes if you aren’t getting your store custom built.

·     WooCommerce integrates with WordPress-specific plug-ins, integrations, and payment processing solutions.

·     You must submit a support ticket or browse articles for answers to your questions. There isn’t 24/7 customer support currently available, unless it’s provided to you through a purchased hosting service.

·    You must first launch your website then install and configure WooCommerce, so it takes longer to implement e-commerce functionality.

·     WooCommerce isn’t as intuitive. To instigate a viable online store, WordPress and the various add-ons must be managed together to make WooCommerce entirely effective for your use case.  

There are three key differences between Shopify and WooCommerce that we can gather from the information above: their pricing is different, their included features are different, and the hands-on work required is different.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce — Pricing

WooCommerce’s pricing is, at first glance, more flexible than that of Shopify. Shopify provides just three plans for customers or developers to choose from when setting up their e-commerce store. However, WooCommerce is a plug-in that customers add to an existing WordPress site. So the costs outside of WooCommerce need to be accounted for when considering pricing. E-commerce sites enabled through WordPress need to be aided by various point solutions to make it fully functional. Here’s an infographic that fully explores pricing with Shopify vs. WooCommerce.

The key information to gain here is that Shopify’s prices include just about everything required to get a shop running quickly. On the other hand, WooCommerce isn’t quite so simple, so various solutions need to be integrated with your site to get it to address customers’ needs and keep it secure. This includes needing to purchase security options, sales integrations, SEO plug-ins, and more. And these disparate software components need to be managed together. If one component fails to deliver, your site will suffer.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce — Included Features

WooCommerce’s monthly subscription price is significantly lower, so it may sound like the less expensive option. However, WooCommerce is not all inclusive, so you may have to invest more in different services depending on your needs.

On the other hand, Shopify’s upfront costs cover just about everything you need for an e-commerce site. They have included in their pricing the security, the hosting, the domain, and any extension fees. There are a host of features to choose from, and you or your web developer can add on apps that integrate with your Shopify e-commerce store to customize it further, though it isn’t required.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce — Ease of Use

Shopify’s platform for building e-commerce sites is arguably easier to use and implement than WooCommerce’s. Shopify provides on-site features and includes 24x7 customer service that streamline building a custom website that comprehensively conveys your brand and its intentions.

WooCommerce’s functionality isn’t so straightforward. There’s definitely a learning curve to figuring out how to custom build your e-commerce site, and you or your developer have to add a number of features before your site will be deployed. You also have to work with disparate providers for maintenance, as WooCommerce doesn’t offer a number of essentials with its pricing. So there isn’t just one place you or your developer will contact for customer support.

Not Sure Which to Choose?

Picking your ideal provider for e-commerce solutions is difficult. You’ve got to parse through a lot of information and transform an idea into a reality. And without proper guidance along the way, the task of building an e-commerce store can feel insurmountable. Especially if you’re having to combine a number of different components yourself to launch one functioning e-commerce store.

If you would like to have a custom e-commerce website built without worrying about building on different components to find a working option that addresses your needs, we invite you to reach out to H1 Web Development. We’re based in Denver but work with business owners nationwide. We can help you decide which e-commerce platform is the best for you and your circumstances, implement a custom-built website for you, and take care of all the essentials so you don’t have to.