WooCommerce or Shopify for eCommerce?

Adam Tilston

07/05/21

WooCommerce or Shopify – Which is the best option for eCommerce?

Have you heard of The Rumble in the Jungle? Well, when it comes to launching an eCommerce business, forget Ali vs Foreman, the two titans fighting for your attention are Shopify and WooCommerce. But which is better suited to your fledgeling eCommerce business? And which one offers the most cost-effective solution?

Figuring this out for yourself can be a steep learning curve. Luckily for you, the developers at C&C are here to help. Hopefully, in 1500 words or less (some of us like to talk, so that’s not a promise). We will be able to offer you an insight into how both works and help you make a choice!

WooCommerce or Shopify? Which one will you plump for?
Ponder. Wander Ponder

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: The Pros and The Cons

The pros and cons of both are pretty equal in fairness. The majority of the cons can be quickly resolved, except for the Shopify hosting (see shortly), which is a significant drawback when it comes to ownership of your website. Particularly if, for whatever reason, you need to move hosting provider.

Flip, WooCommerce or that there Shopify?
Let the Battle eCommercence

WooCommerce Pros (List):

  1. Scalable: No limits on the number of products or variations, fully flexible to suit almost any store owners requirements.
  2. Value: Free to install, and the “add-ons” needed for different functions are reasonably priced, and as it is an open-source platform, there are limitless choices for these.
  3. Easy to maintain: You do not need a degree in computer science to use it.
  4. Ownership: Can be self-hosted on any server compatible with WordPress hosting.
  5. SEO: As it’s built into WordPress, it can be built into an SEO focused set-up with a strong focus on content.
  6. Payments: Can be integrated with almost all payment merchants such as Stripe and PayPal.

WooCommerce Cons (List):

  1. Skills: Some coding knowledge is handy for a fully customisable store, but it can work “out of the box”.
  2. Complexity: A few advanced options can feel complicated and difficult to grasp.
  3. Social Media Integration: Can be a little more complex than Shopify.
  4. WYS Isn’t WYG: International selling requires advanced setting up

Shopify Pros (List):

  1. Always there: 24/7 dedicated support access
  2. Beautiful integrations: with Amazon, Facebook etc. as a standard feature
  3. Ads!: Easy to run adverts and marketing campaigns due to its inbuilt system
  4. Worldwide Domination: Ability to sell internationally without too much customisation
  5. More is More: Built-in marketing tools as standard.

Shopify Cons (Listy, Listy Listy List):

  1. Locked In: Hosting is only available with Shopify themselves – however, it is PCI-DSS compliant out of the box.
  2. Costs: Higher transaction fees and can only use their payment processor
  3. More Costs: Extensions/plugins can be costly
  4. Costly on Search: Not overly content friendly for SEO purposes

And that is a VERY high-level overview of the two, side by side, mono e mono. In summary – Shopify is simpler to use for those without technical knowledge. WooComemrce teamed up with WordPress is the tool of choice for those who know a thing or two about development.

Shopify vs WooCommerce– A Side-by-Side Comparison

Price

Price is always a factor in running a business (and it has to be said you get what you pay for). But does more always mean better?

Shopify, chips as cheap?
Shopify, chips as cheap?

Shopify prices – $29 (£20.88 ish) right up to $299 (£215.23 ish) per month, give or take on the exchange rates plus any transaction fees of up to 2.9%. If you chose an external payment provider, they still charge a 2% fee. If you were to use Shopify with Stripe, you would be paying close to 5% in transaction fees.

WooCommerce – is free, technically (to use, to install and takes no payment fees). However, you need WordPress hosting and a payment merchant. A rough idea would be between £15 and £100 per month for hosting, depending on what kind of server you want to go for and what sort of server set up and power you need. Then add the payment merchants fees on top of that = Stripe, for example, is 1.9% +20p per transaction.

Shopify comes out as most competitive on price on the face of it, providing you are only moving low quantities of goods every month. Still, once you start to sell lots of products, the transactional fees could mount up, and it would look more attractive on a WordPress/WooCommerce setup.

Performance

Phone vs. Book?

Okay, all Shopify website hosting is shared hosting. Only some WooCommerce hosting is shared. You have more choice when it comes to WooCommerce hosting as it needs WordPress to work, and pretty much any server can handle a WordPress/WooCommerce setup.

The big but is that website performance is critical to its success. One of those factors is website speed; the second is responsive mobile-friendly website design.

They are the two most significant factors that determine your online store’s success or failure. People want products yesterday, not tomorrow. And anything that stops this will result in them leaving your site.

Add in that over 85% of website traffic now comes from mobile devices, and your website needs to perform when required!

Where do Shopify and WooCommerce fall on performance?

It’s tough to pick a clear winner. Both have positive and negative performance metrics. A WooComemrce site hosted on a poor quality server will never outperform Shopify.

Still, a high traffic website selling lots of products hosted on a good server with WooCommerce will outperform shared hosting with Shopify. The crux of it is that this all comes down to what you need your online store to do, the number of products involved and what additional extras such as booking systems or add ons are needed.

Customisation

WooCommerce = lovely customisation
WooCommerce = lovely customisation

WooCommerce, when teamed with WordPress, is a much more versatile and customisable platform. Both with and without coding experience. WooCommerce is open-source software, which means that countless companies design “plugins” to help with off-the-shelf customisations and features that you can implement with ease and reliability low cost.

Shopify does have the same “add on the store” function in its arsenal but putting the two side by side, WooCommerce comes out on top of this side of it due to costs involved.

Both offer the ability to manage stock with ease and add countless product variations for ease of use for your online customers. You can also, with relative ease, thanks to theme templates, have unlimited options to make your store look how you want. WordPress themes are as numerous as the plugins available, and Shopify have their theme store – and both have themes available from third parties such as ThemeForest.

Which Do You Choose: WooCommerce or Shopify?

Both eCommerce platforms have solid pros and cons. But, if we had to advise our typical client when pressed, we’d say:

When to use Shopify?

  • Use it if you don’t have any website, and you want to launch an eCommerce store fast.
  • When you don’t have any design, coding, or website building skills, and you don’t want to hire anybody to set an e-commerce store for you.

When to use WooCommerce:

  • When you already have a WordPress site, you want to reduce costs by not investing any more funds in a new e-commerce platform, and you’re familiar with the interface.
  • If you’re going to be able to have more control over customisations on the site.

Whichever route you choose to take, we’re happy to chat about which one works best FOR YOU! We’re well versed in both WooCommerce and Shopify and can probably talk about it all day. 

*Did we do it in 1500 words or less?