WooCommerce vs. Shopify: Best Ecommerce Platform Review

Building a successful online store requires a strong ecommerce platform — and WooCommerce and Shopify represent two of the world’s most popular online store options.

WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin for WordPress-hosted online stores. While WooCommerce costs nothing to install, users must pay for website hosting separately.

Shopify, on the other hand, manages and hosts user sites directly on their ecommerce platform. Read this in-depth review, pitting WooCommerce vs Shopify, and identify the best ecommerce platform for your business.

Make sure you have the right website builder for your ecommerce store. Check out our Best Website Builder Review to learn more.


WooCommerce vs. Shopify

As a small business owner, it’s imperative that you choose the right platform to build your online store. If you’re having a difficult time choosing between WooCommerce and Shopify, you certainly need to consider each platform’s ease of use and compare that to your technical abilities.

For more information on ecommerce builders:

WooCommerce

Ease of Use

If you decide to use WooCommerceto build your online store, you need to secure a web host and security. Other than the extra legwork, it’s easy to do the design of your website by using WordPress themes, but you can also choose from a whole range of other themes. 

The WooCommerce default online store theme is called Storefront. It's available for free and allows you to efficiently create a store. WooCommerce also offers a range of paid themes, allowing you the freedom to design a store for any industry. 

Store build time: With WooCommerce you have a lot of creative control, and building your online store may take a bit longer than with Shopify. Most of the basics are covered by the WooCommerce setup wizard, but you need to have a higher level of know-how because a lot of basic requirements are not easy to follow. 

Features

WooCommerce has plenty of features for your online store. It enables multi-channel selling on Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and Facebook. Facebook selling can be installed for free, but you need to pay $79 to install the rest. WooCommerce allows you to offer free shipping and to sell internationally. However, you will have to source a shipping courier. 

Some excellent features include its built-in blogging, customization for just about anything on your page, checkout and products can be embedded onto many store pages, and it has a super one-click refund feature. Unfortunately, WooCommerce has no abandoned cart recovery for forgotten orders. The returning shopper needs to fill out their details again. This can lead to lost revenue for your business.

In addition, WooCommerce relies on plugins for email campaign features and offers Mailchimp integration for easily personalized email campaigns. Multi-Channel integration allows you to advertise on the social media platforms you choose to sell on. 

The code used to build WooCommerce is SEO optimized and its WordPress integration also has excellent SEO plugins that allow you to add detailed meta descriptions and titles for SEO. Throughout the building process, WooCommerce offers SEO guides and prompts to ensure you don’t miss any important steps.

Pricing

WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin and you only pay for hosting. The hosting prices vary depending on which web host you decide on. 

As you create your store on WordPress, even though it’s free, you will have extra costs. Some of these extra costs include the theme, any additional extensions, and SSL security, if it’s not provided for free by your web host.

WooCommerce offers two payment options by default— PayPal and Stripe and it has add-ons that you can choose to embed into your online store. It also supports many other payment options that you can integrate through plugins. 

WooCommerce, like Shopify, has a point of sale (POS) function for in-store transactions and it accommodates other providers offering in-person card processing functions. These services are easy to connect with a merchant bank account. 

WooCommerce doesn’t charge anything for these services, but you do pay the fees of the corresponding payment processor. 

You will need to get security certificates for payments because WooCommerce doesn’t provide them.

Pros

  • WooCommerce is easy to use.
  • WooCommerce seamlessly integrates with WordPress.
  • WooCommerce has a number of great extensions.
  • WooCommerce uses experienced developers to provide support.
  • WooCommerce is both functional and stylish.

Cons

  • WooCommerce updates can cause errors with different versions of WordPress.
  • You will be fully responsible for updating and maintaining your self-hosted website and store. 
  • You need to know (or be willing to learn) how to get the most out of the WordPress platform.
  • While the WooCommerce plugin is free, you’ll still need to pay for your site’s web hosting, development, and maintenance.

Security

WooCommerce is self-hosted and works with WordPress, so it has no built-in security. You must handle your online store’s SSL yourself, or get it from your hosting provider. However, some hosting plans offer free SSL.

The inclusion of PCI-DSS means that your website is legally able to accept credit card payments. With WooCommerce you will not be automatically compliant, but you can set it up. 

Customer Support

WooCommerce has general customer support through tickets for those with a user account, and it has a wide range of setup guides. You can also have customer support through your web host and many choose Bluehost, known for its excellent customer support.

Apps and Plugins

Plugins and integrations: If you want to add extra functionality and features to any aspect of your online store, WooCommerce has over 50,000 plugins to choose from.

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Learn more about this powerful ecommerce plugin. Be sure to check out our WooCommerce Review.

Shopify

Ease of Use

If you are looking for a very easy way to start an online store, then Shopify is the best choice. It takes care of all of the technical sides of its operation. Shopify covers the domain name, hosting, and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. You also won’t need to install, manage, or update software. 

There are over 70 themes on Shopify, and some are free for those on a tight budget. Some of the premium themes start at $140, but this is a one-off payment. Each theme also has numerous variations. All the themes and their variations are mobile responsive and are designed for Shopify by outsourced professionals to help you sell. 

Using the Theme editor, the themes can be adjusted in color and style to allow customization. More experienced developers can use “Liquid,” the platform’s specialized language to make their customizations. In the Theme editor, customizations can be hidden from the store-front end until you are ready to release them. 

Store build time: You will get your store live far quicker with Shopify because it will take you through each stage of the process. You can also see the results at every step of the way, and everything is stored in one place. 

Features

Shopify also has a wide array of sales-focused features. It does have abandoned cart recovery, and it also sends abandoned cart owners a gentle reminder to complete their purchases. Multi-channel selling integration is free on Shopify, and it allows your store to offer free shipping. Shopify has partnered with some of the most popular couriers like DHL and USPS, so you don’t have to source a courier. 

Other impressive features offered by Shopify include discount codes, unlimited products, a website, a blog, and over 100 payment options. 

In addition, email marketing campaigns on Shopify are provided through its rich selection of marketing features, including Constant Contact and Seguno. You can integrate your store for free with Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and Pinterest, and advertise on the platforms. 

Shopify also provides a variety of SEO plugins in its app store. They are easy to use and help boost your store. The SEO Booster is free, and it scans and fixes any issues in your store that may be causing SEO problems. Even though you don’t get an SEO guide with Shopify, it is easy to add basic SEO information like descriptions and titles to your pages, products, and images.

Pricing

The pricing at Shopify ranges between $29 and $299 per month. However, hosting, security, domain, and extension fees are included in the plan you choose. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial before you commit.

Shopify has its own payment gateway built into your Shopify dashboard called Shopify Payments, and it’s the default payment processor for the platform. However, the transactions are processed by Stripe, and it accepts all major credit and debit cards. 

There are also more than 100 third-party payment providers available if you need to integrate other payment methods. Shopify charges 2% per transaction, but these are reduced if you have the advanced Shopify plan. 

No additional security systems are required because Shopify is Level 1 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliant and all your customer card details are protected. The system also prevents card-not-present (CNP) fraudulent transactions. 

Shopify users with a brick-and-mortar store can leverage in-person card payments with Shopify POS. Shopify’s mobile app also allows you to process transactions on the go. Shopify Payments are not supported everywhere yet but are available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Pros

  • Shopify is easy for beginners and pros alike.
  • Shopify also offers a variety of plans to suit businesses of all sizes.
  • Shopify provides 24-hour technical and customer support.

Cons

  • Shopify isn’t very versatile.
  • Shopify charges a 2% transaction fee on every purchase— unless your site uses Shopify Payments.
  • Shopify’s multi-language options require paid apps.

Security

As mentioned earlier, Shopify takes care of the security of your online store for you. It comes with built-in SSL which also appears on your URL. Customers can see your site is safe, has payment processing security, and their personal information is protected. SSL is also great for the SEO of your store because Google™  favors sites that have it. 

With Shopify, you will automatically be PCI-DSS compliant.

Customer Support

Shopify has 24/7 customer support, a setup wizard, helpful guides, and a community forum. It offers this support via phone calls, live chat, or email.

Apps and Plugins

Plugins and integrations: With Shopify, you can also add more features to your online store from the 1,200 free and paid apps.

Best Website Builders

Best Website Builders
GoDaddy
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7/5

Best Website Builder Overall

  • Affordable pricing and flexible features
  • Easy-to-use professional templates
  • Extensive marketing features

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Web.com
4 point 5 out of 5 stars
4.5/5
  • Intuitive editor for easy set-up
  • Access to professional photos
  • Positive customer reviews

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Squarespace
4 point 4 out of 5 stars
4.4/5
  • Versatile marketing features
  • Sleek and customizable templates
  • Functional ecommerce services

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Wix
4 point 4 out of 5 stars
4.4/5
  • Secure payment processing
  • Scalable storage space
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Excellent customer support

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Shopify
4 point 3 out of 5 stars
4.3/5

Best for Ecommerce

  • Excellent ecommerce capabilities
  • List unlimited products
  • Advanced and understandable analytics

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WordPress
4 point 1 out of 5 stars
4.1/5
  • Highly customizable
  • Cost effective
  • Wide range of integrations

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Our Pick for Best Ecommerce Platform: Shopify

For us, Shopify comes out on top because it allows users to create online stores without any coding knowledge. WooCommerce, on the other hand, requires a bit more time and effort to use the ecommerce platform effectively.

Shopify also provides exceptional customer support via phone, email, or live chat. In addition, while Shopify may have higher initial costs, its set pricing includes website hosting and security.

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Get Started With Shopify

Shopify has msot everything you need to build a successful ecommerce business. Get started with a free trial by clicking the button below.

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