ECOMMERCE TOOLS   |   8 minute read

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: which platform is best for you?

How does Shopify compare with WooCommerce as an eCommerce platform?

There are a lot of eCommerce platforms available for the small business owner looking to better manage their online sales efforts. Finding one that meets your specific needs and works for your target audience can be time-consuming and often confusing.

We compared two popular platforms - Shopify and WooCommerce - to help you make the best decision possible. You’re welcome!

What other features are offered by one, the other or both? Let’s take a look.

Blogging + eCommerce

Blogging has, for almost two decades now, been a powerful business marketing tactic. It’s emerged as a key way for companies of all sizes to reach customers by engaging in what’s popularly known as “inbound marketing,” or creating material that pulls customers in instead of pushing a message out via paid advertising.

Operating a blog alongside your eCommerce storefront means being able to create posts that:

  • Highlight products that are new, on sale or which you want to put the spotlight on for any reason.
  • Improve your site’s search engine optimization by including relevant keywords in the title or body.
  • Link from product pages to those posts so customers can find out more.

Woocommerce

WooCommerce is built on WordPress, the open source blog engine that powers one-third of the web as it stands today.

Because of its open-source nature, you can customize every aspect of your online store using WooCommerce. It also takes this feature further by offering complimentary standard eCommerce platform features such as shipping and tax settings, various payment gateways and methods, and a series of reporting on sales, customer contacts, and inventory.

Although working with WooCommerce is easy on a daily basis, setting it up may not be. Because WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and not a subscription-based solution like Shopify, you’ll need to setup a few things yourself. You’ll have to have the following items complete before customizing your WooCommerce store:

  • Getting a domain name
  • Signing up for a hosting service - through GoDaddy, BlueHost, WordPress, etc
  • Installing WordPress
  • Getting an SSL Certificate
  • Finding and installing a WordPress theme that suits you.

Only then will you be able to begin customizing your WooCommerce online storefront.

shopify_blogposts

Shopify also offers a built-in blogging system for storefront operators. By default, new stores, have a blog created with an example post. There is very little setup needed before you can start writing and publishing. Give your blog a name, decide if you want to allow comments, and you’re set up!

Shopify blogs are integrated into your storefront, appearing seamlessly in menus, footers, or even alongside your products. Your blog posts can also reference your products, collections and any new promotions.

You’re probably wondering, “Why should I blog on Shopify?”

Writing blog posts on your Shopify store can help attract your site visitors and keep them there. While they’re browsing, convert them into email subscribers. Over time, you can convert cold traffic into hot leads.

Over time, with more sites and media articles linking to both your site and blog (housed in the same domain), the stronger the signal to Google that they’re trustworthy. In Google terms, trustworthiness = higher Google Page Rankings and good SEO results.

Related blog: WordPress Inventory Management: Top 5 Plugins

Site Management: Like The Avengers, But For eCommerce

Having a single website manager is probably a good idea. Someone needs to have the final word on what gets added to, removed from or altered on the site. But they can’t handle the whole load on their own.

That’s why it’s essential to have a support team in place where everyone has designated responsibilities and duties.

Both WooCommerce and Shopify allow for site managers to add team members with varying levels of access. For instance, some may be responsible for content while others are only able to deal with billing. This helps make sure everyone can do what they need to without impacting other aspects of the site and, quite frankly, potentially causing problems.

Related blog: Is your small business ready for tax time?

Transaction Fees: Yes or No? How Much?

One of the biggest considerations a storefront owner has is whether or not the eCommerce solution they’re vetting takes a percentage of the transaction. That can help them set prices and project how much revenue they’re actually making from each purchase.

Do WooCommerce and Shopify take transaction fees?

Shopify: Yes, unless you’re using Shopify Payments.

WooCommerce: No, but different payment providers may tack on additional fees.

Transaction fees are just one of the points covered in our Merchant’s Guide to Winning in B2B eCommerce.

There are plenty of features to consider when evaluating WooCommerce and Shopify. How each point factors into your thinking when planning to add or upgrade your eCommerce site will depend on how vital each one is to your business.

The extent to which you’re able to engage in active, ongoing content marketing efforts has to be a consideration when making your choice.

Content marketing is an essential tactic for eCommerce businesses, given its long-term value (via search) and relatively low costs. So taking advantage of blogging as a way to reach customers at any stage of their journey is vital and, given the available integrations, more accessible than ever on either WooCommerce or Shopify. It comes down to how powerful you want that content platform to be and what role it’s going to play in the ongoing marketing of your site and products.

Shopify vs WooCommerce Side-by-Side Features Comparison

 

shopify

woocommerce

Subscription-based tool. Complete, out-of-the-box solution

Open-source free software and a WordPress plugin. Requires hosting and WordPress

24/7 support via live chat, phone, email, and Twitter.

Ticket support from WooCommerce and theme providers, online forums, and blogs.

No phone support

Unlimited website space

Website space depends on your hosting plan

eCommerce Store Design

Over 70 templates  Thousands of templates and store designs (through WordPress themes) 
Closed system: you can only modify your store to the extent that Shopify allows  Open-source: you can modify your store freely. Some get help from designers & developers 
 SSL certificate is included  You have to look up to the hosting company for SSL certificate or manually get it
  Sell any type of product, be it physical products or digital products including software, apps etc.
  Features
 Checkout features including discounts, order notes, shipping, custom sales, and taxes Has built-in tax features so as to help store owners get it simple and right 
Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a massive extensions directory, and they integrate with many third-party services including TradeGecko.  
 Sell an unlimited number of products
Sales stats and reports 
 Shopify handles the technical parts of your store which means you don’t ever have to worry about performance, security, and scalability. Just upgrade your plan to scale up Since WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, you’re responsible for maintaining updates, backups & security of your website. There are plenty of options to manage growth 
True Costs

Starting at $29/month for Basic Shopify. You can upgrade to Shopify Plan at $79/month or Advanced Shopify at $299/month.

Free trial available, no credit card required.

 Free as a WordPress plugin

Each plan includes domain name, SSL certificate & web hosting

 You’ll need a domain name, SSL Certificate, and a WordPress hosting account to start a WooCommerce store. Typically, a domain name costs $14.9.9, SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and web hosting around $7.99 / month

Has its own Shopify Payments solution costs flat rate of 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction (powered by Stripe).

Shopify offers all popular 3rd party payment gateways, but Shopify charges extra 2% fees on each transaction thru 3rd parties.

Offers PayPal & Stripe payments by default. It also supports all other popular payment service providers through add-ons.

As a self-hosted platform, you are only charged transaction fees by your payment gateway or your bank. WooCommerce never charges you a % fee on your store transactions.

 

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