woocommerce vs shopify title

Shopify vs WooCommerce. What is the best platform for E-Commerce in 2017?

EasyERP Team 12/06/2017

If you are struggling to choose a winner between Shopify vs WooCommerce then this article is for you. Here we will break them down to pieces and figure out which one is better for your E-CommerceE-Commerce store and why. Meanwhile answering the questions like “Is Shopify based on WordPress?”, “What is WooCommerce?”, “Can WooCommerce be used for an E-Commerce website?”,  and much more.

If you know your way around E-Commerce and you just need some facts to make a decision between Shopify vs WooCommerce we present you the following visualization

Shopify vs WooCommerce info

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Design

The idiom dictates “Don’t judge the book by its cover”, however most of the time it is judged by the cover. So when you choose an E-Commerce platform in a battle between Shopify vs WooCommerce, make sure to take into the consideration the design. Good website layout and design can pursue customers to spend more time shopping, but a bad one can scare them off even before they get to see the prices. So, let’s break down how do the Woocommerce and Shopify handle the design of their products.

WooСommerce

WooThemes is a project of WooCommerce. The team behind it knows the importance of design in eCommerce. It is natural that any theme for WordPress can be used for a WooCommerce website.

The developers behind WooCommerce, WooThemes, know the importance of design when it comes to eCommerce. That’s why they offer WordPress themes which have been optimized for WooCommerce. In other words, the view of your store depends on the WordPress theme you have chosen. But this isn’t a downside, by all means, just clearing things out for you.

It is hard to value the visuals or design of an E-Commerce platform because it is mostly subjective. We may like some theme that you will hate. So for this category, we will look at the number of available themes, and how can you customize them.

The official website offers only 31 themes, however, there are 3rd parties who are eager to provide great themes for you, for example, Themeforest. There are a whopping 900+ WooCommerce themes available there. The prices are not significant because it is a one-time expense. Actually, there is a large number of free themes. But, just to mention prices range from 19$ to 89$.

So this will be tough to beat for Shopify.

Shopify

Same way as the Woocommerce Shopify has and open market for themes. So there are many options as well. But nearly not as many as WooCommerce does. We are not going to judge the quality of themes or their artistic value, because, it is all opinion based.

Another similarity with the opponent is that themes can be modified, but in this case, you will have to hire a developer or learn special “Liquid” language.

However, the number of themes are significantly lower than the WooCommerce has. Thus, the customization possibilities are lower too. Sure you can tweak any them using the “Liquid”, but you can do that in the WooCommerce themes also. Another downside is that to configure Shopify theme you need a quite rare Liquid developer, on another hand to tweak WooCommerce themes you will need a standard front-end developer.

To sum up, there are much more WooCommerce themes and they are easier to configure. First round goes to WooCommerce.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Price

The pricing is the cornerstone of any decision. But in the case of Shopify vs WooCommerce, this will be a tricky round. Because these E-Commerce platforms have a very different approach towards pricing, so it a challenge to compare them. Let’s begin! The best way to showcase the different approaches is via this table:

 

Software Hosting Subdomain SSL Top level domain
Shopify $29/month free $9+/year
WooCommerce $0 $5-$100/month n/a $100+/year $9+/year

WooСommerce

With a little bit of math, that we will do for you, WooCommerce comes down to $29 per month. Same as Shopify. But with a little bit of deeper analysis, you can discover that even that the mentioned prices are similar, running an actual E-Commerce store on WooCommerce costs basically the same as on Shopify, or even more. You may wonder why? Well, let us explain. All of this is because of the factor of additional expenses. There are a lot of possible additional options you may or may not add to your E-Commerce shop. Such as SEO optimizers, additional payment gateways, and so on. All of this comes in a form of extensions, that you install into your Woocommerce platform. They cost around $48-79, sure it is a one-time payment but nevertheless they do cost something. Another downside of WooCommerce in the field of pricing is that is is harder to set up, which means you will waste more man-hours on it, thus more money.

Shopify

The pricing of Shopify has a lot more hidden catches. There are three different price plans: Basic, Standard, Advanced. Which are priced at $29, $79, $299 accordingly? Another cool feature is that there are 14 days free trial period. So you can set up your store first and choose a plan later. All of this price plans will grant you all of the possibilities that can be achieved in WooCommerce only with a help of extensions.

So, this round of Shopify vs WooCommerce will be pretty close, but it goes to Shopify.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Features

This may be the most important round of all. Features or abilities, are the main reason why you are even bothering to compare Shopify vs WooCommerce. Probably, you are trying to figure out what can Shopify do what WooCommerce cannot, and vice versa. This is the chapter when we will figure it out. But it will differ by structure from all other rounds. At first, we will mention all of the features that are present in both WooCommerce and Shopify, next we will figure out what are the unique feature of the two E-Commerce platforms. Without further ado, let’s begin:

 

  • The ability to sell anything (physical and digital goods)
  • Unlimited number of products
  • Coupons and discounts support
  • Support of the most popular payment systems
  • Analytical reports of the sales
  • Multi-language support
  • The ability to adjust shipping rates and taxes
  • Special version of your store for mobile devices

 

Basically, these features cover almost all needs of an E-Commerce store. However, Shopify and WooCommerce brought to the table some more to flip the scales to their side. You may think that some of the next features are not useful at all or will just get in a way. But, believe us, it is always better to have the additional unused tool, than to bite your nails later wishing to go back to the past and change your choice. What we are trying to say here, that when you are choosing the set of features for your E-Commerce business platform try to look into the future to predict what you may need.

 

Shopify features:

  • The ability to work as a “Point of sale”, in other words – offline
  • Online chat and phone support
  • Included hosting and subdomain
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Unlimited file storage
  • Automatic fraud analysis
  • Product importing via CSV files

 WooCommerce features:

  • Open source – unlimited modifications
  • Complete control of your data

So the winner is set? Shopify has more features and wins the round? Well, not exactly. You see, all of the Shopify features can be obtained on the WooCommerce platform with the help of 3rd party software. Yes, for an additional price, but there is a possibility. On the other hand, you cannot buy the ability to fully control your data on Shopify or to change some parts of the engine source code.

This round is a tie. Shopify is more suited for the beginners and people who like to use everything “right of the box”. For people that possess the skills to modify the source code WooCommerce will be a better choice.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: UI & UX

One of the main tasks of Shopify and WooCommerce is to provide a user-friendly way to create an E-Commerce shop. So, in this round, we will compare them by the criteria of how it is easy to set up an E-Commerce store from scratch. Or, simply put, we will answer a question “Which platform is easier?”.

WooCommerce

Let’s clear out the obvious first. As we have stated before WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. So in order to use it, you have to have an already working web page on WordPress or create it from scratch. First of all, WooCommerce is an E-Commerce software that requires being installed. But we are not comparing WordPress to Shopify, we are interested in WooCommerce only. So, to install the WooCommerce plugin you will have to go to the Plugins menu in the Dashboard, search for WooCommerce and press Install. So to start a WooCommerce store, you need to find a hosting company on your own, install WordPress on it, and then install WooCommerce plugin. After the installation process, which requires no intervention, you will be greeted by the setup wizard. It will explain all of the important elements of WooCommerce in 5 simple steps. These steps are:

  • Page setup
  • Store locale
  • Shipping options
  • Taxes options
  • Payment options

shopify vs woocommerce

All that is left to call the setup of E-Commerce shop done is to create a product. It’s also a rather simple process if you have managed to create a Facebook page you will have no problem with this. Just fill in all of the necessary fields and don’t worry if you make a mistake the system will ask you to fix it.

shopify vs wooCommerce 2

That’s it, your E-Commerce store on WooCommerce is set up.

Shopify

Opposing to WooCommerce, Shopify is a service that is based on subscription. It is ready to use E-Commerce platform, so you don’t have to make any preparations. Also, there is a 14-day free trial, so you can try out Shopify for free. But let’s not get off the course.

shopify vs Woocommerce 3

The same as a WooCommerce does it you will be greeted by the Shopify Setup Wizard. It will take you through similar 5 steps of initial preparations. Again, if you were able to create an email account you will have no problem what so ever with this. Afterward, you will be brought to the Shopify dashboard like in the screenshot below.

shopify vs woocommerce 4

As you can see, all of the sections of a menu are related to your shop. Compared to WooCommerce, the main menu of Shopify is smaller. This brings us to two conclusions, Shopify has fewer capabilities but there is less room for mistakes.

So, what do we have in a result of this round? Both systems are more than capable of running a successful E-Commerce store. Both are user-friendly and have a setup wizard to help the beginners. But WooCommerce also a wider range of possibilities that are not accessible in Shopify. As a result, this round goes to WooCommerce.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Support

When nothing else works, contact the support. In this round, we are going to examine the customer support service of these two E-Commerce platforms. Don’t think that is not important, many users encounter problems that are not mentioned in the documentation. And the only way to solve these problems is to acquire help from Customer support. Spoiler alert this round will be short.

WooCommerce

If you are familiar with the support of any open source software then you already know how the support of WooCommerce works. Basically, it’s just a forum where you ask a question and then wait for someone to answer. Cool thing is that most of the time other users, just like you, are going to help you before the WooCommerce staff does. However, you can’t rely on that replies, answers from other users are just advice, implement them at your own risk. To get a reply from the WooCommerce staff you will have to wait a while. While you are waiting, feel free to browse through their docs.

Shopify

When you are reading this remember, that the price of Shopify is basically the same as the price of the opponent.  Check this out, Shopify offers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week support, that’s not the end. You can contact the Shopify support via live chat, email or a phone call.

shopify vs woocommerce 5

And don’t even think that this is just to show off, here are the stats:

  • Average response time in live chat if 4 minutes
  • You will receive an answer for email in 18 hours
  • A phone call will be answered instantly!

As a result, Shopify wins this round by a landslide.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: SEO

If you want to succeed with your E-Commerce you need a good SEO of your website. E-Commerce platform plays a huge role in this aspect. So let us break down how the Shopify and WooCommerce help you to improve your SEO.

Shopify

Shopify is not an open source software. This is a way the core of the shop is as optimized as it can be. It has a clean code and natural linking structure, which is great for SEO and for the overall performance. However, the overall number of SEO feature available is certainly lower than the WooCommerce counterpart. But it doesn’t mean that stores based on Shopify don’t handle basic SEO tasks flawlessly, such as meta information and site copy.

WooCommerce

SEO experts place WordPress as one of the best platforms out there. It is very easy to add and edit any kind of content because WordPress was created as a content creation platform. Because WooCommerce is a part of WordPress all of these applies to it either.

And there are plugins, such as Yoast SEO. With their help, you can optimize your eCommerce. Because of the open source nature, you can be in full control of every aspect of SEO-related details. WooCommerce inherits everything that is good from WordPress and available third-party solutions.

The downside of WooCommerce in a matter of SEO is that the speed of site depends on the hosting you choose. That is the area where software can’t help you because you have to choose a solid hardware.

So, what do we have in the result? Shopify is more stable but it is a closed system and the WooCommerce has more features but relies on the user’s skill. We say it’s a tie!

Shopify vs WooCommerce: The conclusion

In the end, it’s a tie! But not completely. We will try to make it as easy as possible. If you are not confident in your computer skills, and you are not planning to build a unique online store then your choice is Shopify.

However, if you are an experienced user or have a possibility to hire a skilled front-end developer or you are planning to build a one of a kind E-Commerce project then choose WooCommerce!

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