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WooCommerce VS Shopify: How To Choose The Best One?

18.11.2021

With more than 1.7 million merchants who choose to power their ecommerce stores with Shopify, it’s no surprise that Shopify is an ecommerce giant. Another ecommerce giant that uses a different format but still manages to power over 4.4 million active shops is WooCommerce.

If you’re new to ecommerce and are starting your ecommerce store, you should look into both of them. Each platform has its pros and cons, but the deciding factor between WooCommerce vs Shopify is going to be unique to you.

Depending on whether you have coding skills, preferences regarding designs, and many other factors, one of them will definitely turn out to be a better fit for you.

Nevertheless, one of the platforms is generally better. Want to know which one?

This WooCommerce vs Shopify review will cover everything you need to know about each platform. Starting with a general overview, we will discuss the key factors like pricing and marketing tools to help you choose the best one for you.

Overview

Spoiler alert – Shopify is the winner in this WooCommerce vs Shopify battle. The platform essentially provides all the necessary tools for starting your online store in one place.

For the overwhelming majority of the population who don’t have coding skills and want to learn how to start an online store, Shopify checks all the boxes. WooCommerce, on the other hand, works on WordPress and requires some coding skills to set up.

WooCommerce VS Shopify

Fun fact – WooCommerce was developed by WooThemes, which at the time was a theme developer for WordPress.

Although WooCommerce gives you more control over the design and costs less, the ease of use Shopify offers still beats it. Plus, depending on the number of add-ons you’ll need for your WooCommerce store, you might even end up with a higher cost at the end.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s discuss what an ecommerce platform is and how to set up an ecommerce website in the easiest possible way.

Explaining the ecommerce builder solution

If you want to build an ecommerce store online, but you have no deep coding knowledge, all you need is an ecommerce builder solution. Just like a constructor, ecommerce builders give you the building blocks you need to create the store you want. With drag-and-drop widgets for products, images, text, etc., you can customize your shop to your liking.

Essentially, an ecommerce builder solution allows you to create your own ecommerce store in the easiest way possible.

Describing each platform

Let’s start from the basics. What is Shopify, and what is WooCommerce?

Shopify is a commerce platform that powers your store’s online website, as well as other functions, ultimately allowing you to fully run your shop with their help. Not only does it act as an ecommerce builder, but it goes above and beyond to serve your physical store’s checkouts as well. This way, they can provide you with inventory management and other sales functions. In other words, Shopify is a full-suite ecommerce solution.

Shopify

Compared to Shopify, WooCommerce works differently.

WooCommerce is not necessarily an ecommerce platform but rather an ecommerce plugin that works on WordPress. If you’re familiar with WordPress, WooCommerce can work for you and your business. If not, you’re going to have a tough time learning about it. Nevertheless, WooCommerce gives you full control of your site and is a real contender if you have coding knowledge.

WooCommerceScalability

For those of you who are starting your online store from scratch or have a small shop, Shopify is the ultimate choice. Shopify is also an amazing solution for global brands that are already huge. With their Shopify Plus solution, they can accommodate even the biggest worldwide brands, as they do with Gymshark, Heinz, KOTN, and many more.

If you’re looking to scale fast, both solutions can work for you. So, choose the one that matches your preferences and capabilities.

 

If you don’t know how to code, you’re probably going to need to hire a programmer for a WooCommerce store eventually. Nevertheless, the flexibility you get with WooCommerce is unmatched. As for scaling with Shopify, you can easily transition to a bigger pricing plan that is more fit for your business on-demand.

Ease of use

There’s no doubt that Shopify is a powerful tool for anyone in the world to create their ecommerce shop. One of the biggest benefits Shopify gives to its users is… you guessed it – ease of use. If there’s one word you could use to describe Shopify’s ecommerce builder, it’d be intuitive.

 

WooCommerce is a little easier to get the hang of if you know how to code, even just a little. Either way, the learning curve is steeper than with Shopify. Setups take longer, and you need to do lots of research to figure out many features.

And the winner is… Shopify.

The platform’s intuitiveness simply beats all the manual work you’d have to complete with WooCommerce.

Build time

This WooCommerce vs Shopify review couldn’t skip discussing the build time between these two ecommerce builder platforms.

Ultimately, the build time of your project will depend on its size and complexity, how many products you have, and how many languages you’re using. But this isn’t to say that one isn’t faster than the other.

 

Since Shopify takes most of the design and functionality control, giving you built-in templates for your ease, it takes much less time to set up your shop. If you have a small shop, you can have your site ready in as little as 4 days.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, gives you greater control over your design but takes much more time to set up. Since the WordPress plugin isn’t an all-in-one solution, it’ll take longer to set up. You could potentially lose a couple of months on the development process.

And the clear winner is… Shopify.

Thanks to its setup and powerful features allowing you to set up a shop in a matter of days, Shopify takes the cake on this one.

Design and themes

Getting the look and feel of your website right is a game-changer. Let’s see how WooCommerce vs Shopify designs and themes compare.

Design Flexibility

If you want to create your own unique design, WooCommerce is your friend, allowing you to customize the design as much as you please through custom code.

Shopify retains more control of the design, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Still, they give you all the building blocks you’ll need to set up your shop. This way, they can control the quality of your design and make sure you’re on the right track. You can also customize their design templates with Liquid (their programming language for theme customization).

Mobile Responsive Designs

All Shopify designs are mobile responsive. WooCommerce’s native designs (e.g., their entry design Storefront) are optimized for mobile, but custom designs might not be. We recommend making sure the WooCommerce design you chose is responsive before starting your online store setup.

Template Availability

Being the intuitive and modern tool it is, Shopify gives its users 80 theme templates to choose from. 10 of them are free, and the other 70 lie in the $150-$350 price range. These templates are made with your shop’s success in mind.

shopify themes

As for WooCommerce, you can access hundreds of free and paid templates made by developers, but they need constant updates and lots of code customization to get it right.

And the winner is… Shopify, again.

Although WooCommerce gives you greater customizability and control, Shopify makes sure you do it right with sleek, modern, and responsive templates.

Sales features

To completely understand how these ecommerce platforms differ from simple website builders, let’s take a look at the sales features they offer. Both Shopify and WooCommerce are equipped with top-notch features to help you get the most out of your shop.

One of the biggest differences between the sales features of WooCommerce vs Shopify is abandoned cart recovery. Shopify comes with integrated abandoned cart recovery features, while WooCommerce features don’t go that far.

 

Since around 69% of your potential clients abandon their carts, letting them simply leave isn’t a good business decision. On average, you can bring back 6.5% of those visitors through remarketing.

Aside from cart abandonment, here are the most important Shopify and WooCommerce sales features to consider.

Multichannel Selling

If you’re running an ecommerce store, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, aka your website. You’re going to need to use additional channels like Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Instagram to maximize your reach.

While Shopify allows free integrations with all these channels, it’ll cost you $79 in WooCommerce fees to integrate them with your ecommerce shop (excluding Facebook, which is free of charge).

Shipping

Both platforms allow free and international shipping features on your site, but Shopify still manages to do it better. Shopify international shipping is powered by its partnerships with the biggest delivery companies, including USPS, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post.

 

Sadly, if you create your ecommerce store with WooCommerce on WordPress, you’ll need to find your own delivery partnerships.

Dropshipping

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the phenomenon, dropshipping is a business model where the seller doesn’t keep a stock inventory. Instead, they purchase it from the supplier on-demand and ship directly to the buyer. Ultimately, you don’t manage the inventory, shipping, or packaging.

If you’re looking at WooCommerce dropshipping vs Shopify dropshipping, one factor stands out – the pricing.

With Shopify, you’ll only need to get a simple plan starting at $29 per month. They collaborate with Oberlo to give you an amazing dropshipping experience, even through their free plan.

WooCommerce also offers Aliexpress integrations and Amazon Affiliate support, but you’ll have to use their WooCommerce Dropshipping plugin that costs $49 per year (about $4 per month).

WooCommerce dropshipping

Regarding the Shopify and WooCommerce features you get with each of their dropshipping apps, you can consider both of them amazing.

Is Shopify worth it, considering its price? Definitely!

Whether you want to start an online dropshipping business with Shopify or WooCommerce, consider your preferences, market, and budget when making a final decision.

Tax Settings

The tax settings of WooCommerce vs Shopify aren’t too far apart. Both of them allow you to view prices including or excluding taxes. Shopify also automates your tax calculations for the US and Canada.

If you want to automate taxes for worldwide sales, you’ll need paid plugins for both platforms. So, it’s a tie on tax settings.

Multilingual Capabilities

To optimize your global selling process, Shopify allows you to sell in up to 20 different languages.

WooCommerce doesn’t offer native multilingual capabilities, but thanks to a WordPress plugin called Weglot, you can translate your website into many different languages very quickly. The downside is that it’ll cost you quite a bit if you have more than 2,000 words on your ecommerce site.

Inventory Management

Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer inventory management for their users’ ecommerce shops, allowing you to track and manage your inventory, get stock reports, and much more.

This one came close, but the winner is… Shopify.

Considering the price and capability ratios of WooCommerce vs Shopify sales features, Shopify is still in the lead.

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Apps and Plugins

Being a free, open-source ecommerce solution for WordPress, WooCommerce heavily relies on plugins to power up its websites. This is where comparing WooCommerce vs Shopify becomes complicated because it’s apples and oranges.

Essentially, WooCommerce has to have more plugins and apps because they are its building blocks. On the other hand, there’s Shopify which is a full-suite solution that comes with dozens of built-in features. Still, it also features powerful apps and integrations on its platform.

Prepare to be shocked – WooCommerce has over 50,000 plugins and extensions available for your use on their Extensions Store. Whether paid or free, these apps are going to supply your store’s main features. So, check out their reviews and get to it!

woocommerce extansions

Although you can rack up a big yearly bill with too many apps, you’re the one who decides if they’re worth it. The good news is that you have 50,000 to choose from.

As for Shopify, there are over 1,200 free and paid apps on its own app store. Shopify app store fees for all apps vary greatly. Luckily, you can check out reviews and get free trials to try it for yourself.

Most apps developed by Shopify are available for free. Some apps that have more complex features, like Shopify Product Add Ons, come with a monthly fee.

Whether you want to add a special feature for SEO, shipping, marketing, sales, analytics, payments, etc., you can find many apps and plugins that’ll offer your desired functionality for both platforms.

And the winner is… WooCommerce.

When it comes down to it, WooCommerce’s Extensions Store is simply bigger and better (as it should be).

Marketing Tools

After learning how to start an online store, the next step is learning how to market it and finally generate sales. This is where all the ecommerce marketing tools come into play. But which platform takes this point in our WooCommerce vs Shopify review?

While Shopify takes it upon itself to power your promotional strategy with its tools, WooCommerce, once again, leaves it up to the plugins.

 

How do Shopify’s marketing tools and WooCommerce’s marketing plugins compare? Let’s look at their email marketing capabilities, social media integrations, and blogging features.

Email Marketing

It’s a tie between WooCommerce vs Shopify when it comes to email marketing. Both platforms feature powerful apps that you can use to reach and convert your customers easily.

For Shopify, the top email marketing apps are Seguno and Constant Contact. As for WooCommerce, you can choose good old MailChimp.

Social media integrations

The Shopify social media integration feature comes at no cost to Shopify users. This means that they can connect their shop to Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay with ease.

 

WooCommerce features allow free social media integration only with Facebook. If you want to connect your ecommerce store to Instagram, Amazon, and eBay as well, you’ll need to pay $79 in WooCommerce fees.

Blogging

WordPress is the home of blogs. So, in reality, your WooCommerce store is simply a blog with ecommerce features. As you can guess, the blogging feature of your WooCommerce site is the winner in all senses.

Of course, you get to have a blog on your Shopify ecommerce website as well, but it can’t beat the setup of WordPress.

And the winner is… actually, it’s a tie! Both platforms get the point.

Since blogging is WooCommerce’s forte, while social media integration is simpler on Shopify, the final verdict is that both platforms have great marketing features and apps.

Payment Options and Transaction Fees

Here’s another core topic of this WooCommerce vs Shopify review that’ll play a huge role in your choice between them – Payment Options and Transaction Fees.

Firstly, both platforms offer over 100 payment options. Of course, they feature all the main third-party payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, credit cards, etc.

But the real question is, what percentage does Shopify take per transaction vs WooCommerce fees.

 

Shopify fees and WooCommerce fees are definitely not the same. Unless you’re using their native payment gateway, “Shopify Payments,” Shopify takes 2% of each transaction with third-party apps, depending on your pricing plan. That’s a hefty price to pay. Especially when the alternative, namely WooCommerce, offers the same services for free.

Note: These fees exclude those charged by third-party payment gateways, which make up to 2.9% + 0.30 cents per transaction, equal for both Shopify and WooCommerce.

And the winner is… WooCommerce.

Although you lose no payment fees when using Shopify Payments, WooCommerce has no such limitations and doesn’t impose additional fees.

SEO

SEO is the main driver behind organic traffic. If you want to make your website easy to find, you’re going to need to optimize it. Let’s look at the SEO features of WooCommerce vs Shopify to find the winner.

Availability to edit meta tags, such as meta title, description

Both Shopify and WooCommerce features for SEO allow you to modify meta tags, descriptions, and other SEO-related details.

Editing URLs

Editing URLs is also easy on both Shopify and WooCommerce. However, Shopify doesn’t allow merchants to fully edit the URL categories of their web pages.

Availability to hide pages from search results on demand (no-index)

If, for whatever reason, you decide to hide a page from search results, aka make it non-indexable, you can do it both for your Shopify and WooCommerce websites.

For Shopify, you’ll need to edit the theme code to be able to hide the page. For WooCommerce, you’ll simply need to install a plugin, and you’ll be a click away from hiding a page from search results.

ecommerce seoAvailability to edit the robots.txt file

Do you want to disallow crawlers from crawling certain pages on your site and are looking to edit your sitemap data? Both Shopify and WooCommerce enable this feature.

Yoast, the WooCommerce SEO plugin can help you edit your robots.txt file with ease. As for Shopify, it allows the robots.txt file to be edited through robots.txt.liquid templates.

SEO plugins diversity

Since both platforms are powered by magnificent plugins and apps, let’s see how SEO plugins compare between WooCommerce vs Shopify.

Some SEO features like 301 redirects are already built-in for Shopify, while you’d need to have plugins to automate them on WooCommerce.

Other apps and plugins will optimize your Google Image search rankings, analyze and troubleshoot your Shopify websites.

WooCommerce takes advantage of SEO plugins for WordPress and has optimization features out the wazoo.

Both platforms feature diverse plugins and apps, but WordPress is no match for Shopify.

Page Speed

Last but not least, let’s discuss the loading speeds of your ecommerce store pages. Well, Shopify is known for having amazing page speeds. And if you want to use WooCommerce for your ecommerce website, keep in mind that speed generally depends on your hosting. Also, consider that a WordPress website might never reach the speed of sites powered by Shopify.

 

And the winner is… WooCommerce.

Since SEO is crucial for blogs and WordPress is the king of blogs, it’s no surprise that it has hard-to-beat, killer SEO capabilities.

Security

If you’re still asking yourself: “how does WooCommerce work,” pay attention to this key difference between WooCommerce vs Shopify – security and hosting.

Shopify hosting is built-in, meaning you don’t have to worry about it at all.

As for WooCommerce, you’re going to have to source it out for yourself. But it’s not that bad. Although you will have to read and learn a lot about hosting to get the hang of it, WooCommerce makes it a little easier with their Bluehost partnership.

Let’s talk all about WooCommerce and Shopify security, hosting, and PCI-DSS compliance.

      1. SSL Certificate

Shopify is a hosted solution, meaning they host your ecommerce site on their servers and supply your SSL certificate, taking the hard job off your hands.

WooCommerce doesn’t come with its own hosting service, and you also don’t get an SSL Certificate. Luckily, you can get one of Bluehost’s Shopify packages that’ll include what you need.

      2. PCI-DSS Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliance is required for all websites that handle credit and debit card information.

 

With Shopify, you can go to sleep knowing that your website is PCI-DSS compliant. As for WooCommerce, they don’t cover this security feature. Instead, it is up to the hosting company and your business practices to comply with the standard.

And the winner is… Shopify, no doubt.

If it’s your first time starting an online store, Shopify Security will take care of the complex procedures like hosting, an SSL Certificate, and PCI-DSS Compliance.

Customer support

Comparing the customer support quality of WooCommerce vs Shopify is also tough, technically. Since Shopify is a full-suite ecommerce platform, they cover all customer support inquiries themselves. WooCommerce Support doesn’t do the same. What do we mean?

As a free WordPress plugin, WooCommerce users can get help regarding their ecommerce store on the WordPress Forums. They can also sign up on WooCommerce’s website and get in contact with a customer support specialist through there.

woocommerce support

We know you want to get a complete overview. So, let’s discuss their live support accessibility and the quality of online materials, FAQs, and Guides.

Live support

Let’s get this out of the way – there is no WooCommerce live chat or 24/7 customer support. So, if you need help fast, WooCommerce may disappoint you.

Shopify, on the other hand, offers 24/7 support to all its clients through calls, emails, and live chat. What could be better than that?

 

All your questions will be answered right away so that you don’t lose any precious time. If you’re a Shopify Plus client, you’ll even get priority support.

Materials, FAQs, and Guides

Ultimately, the only way to get customer support regarding your WooCommerce website is to either read an article and FAQ answer about it on forums, or send an email directly to WooCommerce and wait for their reply.

Shopify may not have as much material available on the web, but they still cover almost every issue you may have through their help section on their website. Plus, there are hundreds of articles on the web filled with answers to your questions.

And the winner is… definitely Shopify.

If you love searching the web to find answers to your questions instead of talking to a specialist to get a quick answer, Shopify gets the first place award on overall customer support quality.

Pricing

Before we get to summing up this WooCommerce vs Shopify review, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – how much does Shopify cost vs WooCommerce costs.

Well, WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin, so there are no monthly fees for using its services. However, you will need hosting (~$12/month), a domain (~$14/year), an SSL certificate, themes, many plugins, and maybe even the help of a WooCommerce website developer to get the job done.

With no paid plugins and themes, your WooCommerce store can cost you around $17 per month to run. If you want to integrate advanced features, you’ll have to pick and choose your plugins.

Shopify’s pricing is a little more straightforward. You can choose from 3 pricing plans:

shopify pricing

You can also choose to go with Shopify Lite ($9/month) if you already have a site and want to simply add products and payment options to it. On the other end of the extreme, you have Shopify Plus, which is for larger enterprises.

And the winner is… WooCommerce.

Strictly from a value/price ratio and flexibility perspective, WooCommerce gets the point. If you have the necessary skills and time to set up a WooCommerce store, go for it.

Final Scoring

If you want to know everything from ease of use and sales features to SEO capabilities and pricing differences between WooCommerce vs Shopify, then scroll back up for a comprehensive review.

Want to know the score? It’s 7 to 5, and the final winner is…Shopify!

With its ease of use, fast build time, responsive and modern design and themes, powerful sales features, built-in security, and customer support, Shopify is the ultimate winner in this WooCommerce vs Shopify competition.

Nevertheless, WooCommerce takes the cake for diverse plugins, various payment options and low transaction fees, powerful SEO capabilities, plus pricing.

At the end of the day…

Is Shopify worth it? Yes!

Is WooCommerce worth it? Also yes!

These features may help you choose between WooCommerce vs Shopify, but the real deciding factor should be your predisposition.

  • If you know how to code, WooCommerce can be a better choice for you.
  • If it’s your first time starting your online store, you should go for Shopify.
  • If you need to get your site up and running ASAP, Shopify can get the job done quicker.
  • If you have the time and skills, choosing WooCommerce will leave you with a flexible ecommerce store, all under your control.

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Angel Poghosyan

Angel Poghosyan

6+ years of doing content, marketing, and strategy for startups & businesses. Specializing in social media, entertainment, and tech.

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