Is Shopify better than WooCommerce? Both eCommerce platforms offer some impressive features and drawbacks for the digital entrepreneur. Read our side-by-side comparison guide to build the eCommerce website of your dreams on the platform that best suits your needs.
eCommerce sales are on track to hit $6.5 trillion by 2023, and experts forecast that 95% of purchases will be made digitally by 2040.
If traditional retail isn’t “dead” yet, it will certainly never be the same again.
With a mass exodus of customers out of traditional brick-and-mortar stores and onto their smartphones, there was never a better time to learn how to start an eCommerce business.
But how should you choose the right platform? The two biggest competitors in the eCommerce platforms game are WooCommerce and Shopify, and with both offering top-of-the-line features, it can feel impossible to know which to choose.
Read our complete comparison guide to get the most out of your shop and choose one of the best eCommerce platforms in Canada.
WordPress is the most popular sitebuilding platform globally, powering over 43.2% of the internet. WooCommerce is WordPress’s eCommerce solution, a plugin for the platform that makes store creation and management simple.
Shopify is another eCommerce platform with a range of shopfront and payment options, but rather than being a plugin you add to your website, Shopify is the website.
How does Shopify work? The provider hosts your shop directly on their servers as you sell your wares over the web.
These platforms both host a user-friendly layout to make switching up shop items and inventory or content updates a breeze.
We find WooCommerce slightly more technical, requiring more time dedicated to learning the ins and outs of the platform than Shopify’s click-and-go features meant to suit their non-technical users. While WooCommerce is designed to meet the beginner business person’s needs, Shopify is so simple your grandmother could figure it out.
That ease of use comes at some cost, as you lose out on much of the design control that WooCommerce offers. From a “shop edit” standpoint, Shopify makes it easier with fewer options.
Winner: Shopify. There’s no doubt that Shopify is easier for the beginner to add, edit, and modify stock and content, but you give up control over design, hosting, and other aspects of the business.
Shopify and WooCommerce have stylish themes that make your eCommerce store look polished, professional, and downright impressive.
The key difference here lies in the customization options. Shopify hosts sleek templates you can customize with a theme editor, but WooCommerce customization offers even more opportunities for your business.
WooCommerce has tends of thousands of themes to choose from, and since you host your own website, a custom web designer can create the storefront of your dreams—no limits.
Winner: Both. There are beautiful Shopify themes available, but with self-hosted WooCommerce websites, you have more design options to choose from.
WooCommerce and Shopify eCommerce offer different blends of helpful features, though Shopify includes a little more in their “standard” shop. Both offer multichannel selling, so you can sell your wares on Amazon, Instagram, Facebook, and other social channels, with great shipping coverage and integrated payments.
Shopify’s biggest differentiator is the abandoned cart recovery feature, sending out automated emails to any customers that left a full cart behind. Most features come standard, while with WooCommerce, you pay extra for each integration and plugin feature you’d like.
WooCommerce shines in the blogging arena with innovative blog functions and the world’s most trusted content management system that easily trumps Shopify’s more basic blogging features.
Overall, you’ll get over 1,200 free and paid feature options with a Shopify website, while WooCommerce offers over 50,000—that’s 50,000 ways to make your eCommerce shop better.
Winner: WooCommerce. If you want a basic one-size-fits-all solution, Shopify might be for you. However, WooCommerce offers total feature customization in eCommerce web design and powerful blogging tools to help you build strong content.
Customers who shop online demand convenient payment options. Shopify and WooCommerce both do a great job offering over 100 payment gateways, including Stripe, major credit card providers, Apple pay, Square, and PayPal.
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees, so you only owe bank or payment provider charges. For every purchase a customer makes in your Shopify store, you’ll owe the same fees plus an extra transaction fee, which can eat a significant chunk out of your profits.
Winner: WooCommerce. Both offer great payment options, but Shopify tacks on extra transaction fees that WooCommerce payment options don’t.
Technically, WooCommerce is free to use, though you need to buy a domain name and pay for web hosting to “hold” a place your eCommerce store online. You’ll pay $6 to $50 per month between domain name ownership and web hosting. You’ll also pay one-time or recurring costs for certain plugins you use, averaging $39, though many are free.
On the other hand, Shopify pricing ranges from $29 to $299 monthly, with extra features coming with additional costs. With a set pricing plan, it’s easier to track your spending, but it also means you’re paying for every package feature, whether you use them or not.
Winner: WooCommerce. Though Shopify offers competitive pricing options, with WooCommerce pricing, you only pay for what you use—no more, no less.
Winner: It depends on your needs.
After measuring across the major categories, it’s clear that both host some of the best eCommerce websites on the web. Before you choose the perfect eCommerce host, you need to create a business plan and a wishlist of the features you want most.
Thinking about starting an eCommerce business? With almost a decade of web design industry experience, our expert web design and eCommerce agency can build the customized eCommerce store of your dreams! Contact us to learn more and get a free cost estimate.