WooCommerce and Shopify are two of the most popular eCommerce web platforms for online stores. They are both relatively user-friendly and make it easy to manage your store’s operations. They rank one and two in the standings of preferred eCommerce platforms.
I am going to provide a little upfront information on both WooCommerce and Shopify and then treat this as a little 7-round boxing match where the two platforms square off in different areas that include build time, design, features, security, payment options, pricing, and SEO.
This could get some high Pay-Per-View ratings. Let’s dive into both WooCommerce and Shopify so you can choose which one is right for you and to see which we prefer.
What is the Main Difference Between WooCommerce and Shopify?
WooCommerce is an extension for WordPress. This means it’s not a standalone platform and that the main framework of your site will be built on WordPress. That’s great because WordPress is easy to use for managing the technical aspects of your website.
WooCommerce is open-source, which means it’s free to install on any WordPress site. This is obviously cost-friendly, but you will still have to pay for things like hosting, other paid plugins to customize your online storefront, or even a developer to custom-code your store.
This is where things get tricky. You will need a skilled developer on your team to make your store look exactly how you want. Just because you see an example of a WordPress theme that supports WooCommerce, and you think it looks great, that doesn’t mean it will look exactly that way on your site. Some custom work still may need to be done.
Shopify is a standalone platform. It’s really not that expensive, and you won’t have to pay for hosting, as Shopify sites are self-hosted. It’s a solid and reliable platform. The only other fee you may run into is buying a theme that you like the look and feel of from a user-experience standpoint. From experience, I can tell you there will be little custom dev work required. The hardest part of setting up a Shopify theme is choosing the color schemes you want.
Just like WooCommerce, the backend is easy to use, so managing your store will be effortless. One of the major differences aside from the required dev work with WordPress/WooCommerce is that Shopify encourages you to use its payment gateway, Shopify Payments. There may be a fee you have to pay if you choose to use another payment gateway.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of WooCommerce and Shopify
The Pros and Cons of WooCommerce
- Customization Factor – As an open-source platform, you can use coding to customize your WooCommerce store to your desire.
- Ease of Store Management – WooCommerce is built through WordPress, so it doesn’t get more user-friendly than that.
- Price – WooCommerce is free to install on any WordPress site. Most fees will come through hosting, other plugins, and overhead for development.
- Required Skills – It could take a background in web development to make your store and experience look exactly how you want it to.
The Pros and Cons of Shopify
- Hosted Platform – Shopify hosts all sites built on its platform.
- Customer Service – Shopify offers 24/7 customer support to its users.
- Compatibility – Shopify is compatible with other sales channels such as Amazon and Facebook.
- Payment Gateway – Shopify encourages you to use its payment gateway, and you may run into fees if you go another route.
- App Prices – If you want different Shopify apps (similar to plugins on WordPress), some of them are a bit pricey.
Can I Build a Site Faster on WooCommerce or Shopify?
The answer is Shopify. I don’t want to keep pounding the desk here, but building a site on WordPress/WooCommerce will require some development work to get it right. Shopify isn’t a “set it and forget it” platform, but it’s still much easier to use.
Listen, I’m the VP of Operations here at LSEO, so I oversee all the divisions of our company. That includes our web design/development division. I give you this piece of information to show you that I don’t have the required skills to handle the heavy lifting on a website build, but I personally can build a Shopify site.
Shopify is the winner here.
Design and Themes on WooCommerce and Shopify
The only thing you need to do here is research and Google examples of stores built on Shopify and WooCommerce. You will be blown away by the design and feel of those on Shopify. They are way more inviting, and it’s easier for the user to navigate and shop which is what users are coming to do.
You can tell that Shopify has made it a priority to create themes that catch users’ eyes and attention. Based on my experience with WordPress, those themes are just harder to make look good. Thank goodness for our web design team!
WooCommerce Vs. Shopify Features
Shipping is everything nowadays. Amazon kind of set the bar there. Both WooCommerce and Shopify allow your store to offer free shipping, but Shopify takes the cake with the partnerships they have secured with USPS, UPS, DHL, and Canada Post.
We talked about multi-channel integration. It was listed as a pro under Shopify. Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer it, but the only difference is you will have to pay a fee to install each on WooCommerce. Shopify already has some of the major ones built-in, as I previously mentioned.
We’ve all gone on a shopping trip on the internet, put stuff in our cart, and then walked away. It’s easy to do, as you will never have that awkward encounter with the cashier. When you do this, there is a good chance you get an email reminder that you left items in your cart. One perk Shopify has that WooCommerce doesn’t is the ability to set these abandoned-cart notifications.
Features are another win for Shopify.
WooCommerce Vs. Shopify Security
With Shopify hosting the sites built on their platform, a shop on that platform also comes with an SSL certificate. This is a big deal, as you won’t have to obtain an SSL certificate from a third-party company, which could also be an added fee.
WordPress sites are the most hacked sites on the internet. I say that speaking from experience, but there is also factual data to prove this. WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder. Hackers target WordPress sites because they have already figured out how to get in.
There are many ways for a hacker to get into your website, but some of the most common are through insecure web hosting and plugins. Sites such as Bluehost and even GoDaddy offer cheap hosting options for WordPress websites. If you want to pay about $5 for web hosting, then you get what you pay for.
You can do almost anything on a WordPress website through plugins, and most of them are free. However, you don’t really know if they are safe. Any hacker can mask a good plugin with high reviews in order to get you to install it.
For those reasons, Shopify wins again over WooCommerce/WordPress.
Payment Options on WooCommerce and Shopify
I touched on this earlier in the article. From the pros and cons section, you can probably already forecast who wins in this area.
WooCommerce offers many payment options. Whichever popular payment option you want to use, chances are WooCommerce accepts it.
Shopify stores, on the other hand, wants you to use its payment gateway, Shopify Payments. If your business is already set up a different way, let’s say through Stripe or some other payment gateway, you may have to pay a transaction fee or pay to get the integration.
No doubt, WooCommerce wins here.
WooCommerce Vs. Shopify Pricing
WooCommerce is FREE. It’s an add-on for WordPress that you don’t have to pay for, as is the case for most WordPress plugins. The price you pay will come in the form of hosting, a theme, potentially paid plugins, and web development help.
Shopify, meanwhile, charges you money to build a site. Keep in mind, though, you won’t have to pay for good hosting with Shopify, since it’s already provided. Shopify’s most basic plan starts at $29.99 per month and can range all the way up to $299.99 per month if you want to pay for some advanced features.
Most eCommerce sites can get away with the $29.99 price tag.
The winner here is WooCommerece, but by only a narrow margin. It really depends on your budget. For good hosting for your WooCommerce/WordPress site, you will most likely be paying around the same price as a Shopify site would cost.
WooCommerce or Shopify for SEO
One word here: Yoast.
When you build a website through WordPress/WooCommerce, you have the ability to use the Yoast plugin. LSEO is a Yoast partner, but I’m not plugging them because of that. Yoast is actually the leading SEO plugin in the world, and it’s an honor for us to be one of their partners.
Yoast is leaps and bounds above any other SEO plugin I have used. It gives you the ability to get your website search engine optimization in order on your site. If you have the funds to get the premium version, by all means, do so. The ability to add redirects and schema now through the Yoast premium plugin really sets it apart.
Shopify, on the other hand, does have a lot of SEO baked into its platform but doesn’t quite give you the functionality that Yoast does on a WordPress/WooCommerce site. You can still implement redirects and control meta tags, but beyond that, you are limited.
Easy win for WooCommerce and WordPress here.
Which Should I Choose, WooCommerce or Shopify?
We at LSEO love WordPress. If the site we were going to build wasn’t eCommerce, we’d choose to build it on WordPress. However, if we were building a client an eCommerce site, it’s Shopify all the way. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t or couldn’t build a WordPress/WooCommerce site. We absolutely can, but based on the information I put in this article, Shopify is the clear winner.
If you want the best store, with the best user experience, and the one that will be the easiest for you to manage, Shopify is right for you. Give your users the experience they are looking for. All in all, it could turn into more sales, which is your ultimate goal.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify are great. There is a reason they are the two most popular eCommerce platforms. They both go toe to toe in the ring, but winning this 7-round bout and taking home the championship belt is Shopify. This eCommerce solution stands at the top of the mountain of eCommerce website platforms.