If you’re starting a business, it is important that your customers have access to your product. A quick way to skyrocket your bounce rate is to attract a potential customer only to present them with a long and complicated process to buy your goods and services.

A good eCommerce system is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. But which one should you choose? At the moment, the most notable eCommerce solutions are WooCommerce, a flexible open-source WordPress plugin, and Shopify, an all-in-one commerce platform.

Both have their fair share of positives, but you need to pick one. And that’s where we can help.

Quick Summary…

CategoryWooCommerceShopify
Payment Gateways
  • Huge number of payment options
  • Third party development means that it is easier for new gateways to be added
  • They vary in quality
  • Huge number of payment options
  • Shopify curation means they are reliable in quality

 

  • If you can’t find an option, Shopify will need to add it themselves
Product Options
  • You can offer many different kinds of product types on your online store

 

  • Quality can be inconsistent
  • You can offer many different kinds of product types on your online store

 

  • Less variety of plugins means you might be out of luck if a plugin isn’t to your liking
  • You might need multiple plugins to perform certain functions where WooCommerce only needs one
Ease of Use
  • Very powerful functionality for people who know what they’re doing.

 

  • Not particularly user-friendly for people who don’t know what they are doing
  • Very user-friendly
  • Shopify takes care of a lot of elements such as updates, security and backups
Customisation Options
  • Huge number of themes
  • Themes are updated on a daily basis

 

  • Themes vary in quality
  • 70 highly polished themes

 

  • Only 70 themes, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you’re out of luck
Sales Tools
  • Contains various sales plugins
  • Wider range of tools available

 

  • You’ll have to search for a lot of these functions yourself
  • Tools vary in quality
  • Contains various sales plugins
  • Shopify curation guarantees consistent quality

 

  • Smaller range, with less available alternatives
Plugins
  • Over 50,000 plugins
  • Plugins are added constantly
  • Plugins widely vary in quality
  • Plugins are curated by Shopify, ensuring consistent quality

 

  • Only 1200 plugins
  • Not updated as frequently as WooCommerce
Customer Support
  • Numerous contact options
  • Knowledge centers
  • Setup guides
  • Community forums
  • Numerous contact options
  • Knowledge centers
  • Setup guides
  • Community forums
Hosting CostsFree to install, but you pay for hosting, security, domain name and extension feesYou pay a fixed price, but that price covers all extras
Bluehost Hosting – Monthly Price (AUD)Shopify – Monthly Price

(USD)

Shared Hosting – $3.94Basic – $29
VPS – $25.35Standard – $79
Dedicated – $106.77Advanced – $299

How to compare these eCommerce platforms

It is difficult to simply declare one of these platforms the winner right away. Both of these platforms are perfectly functional, and users are likely going to have positive experiences with either of them.

However, selecting the right eCommerce solution for you will save you a lot of time and resources in the long term. So, in order to determine which out of WooCommerce and Shopify will work best for your website, we have established a series of criteria that we will compare them with.

So, without further ado…

Payment Gateways

Remember the good ol’ days when the choice was either cash or card?

Well, nowadays your customers have a wide range of digital payment options at their disposal such as Paypal, Stripe, Square, Afterpay, AmazonPay etc. And if your website isn’t accommodating, you could lose potential customers. So it’s good that both WooCommerce and Shopify support a huge range of payment options in the form of apps that you can pick and choose from.

For WooCommerce, this means a wider variety of options. If a payment option you want isn’t available, there’s always the possibility that a third party could add it later on. However, this also means that you have to gauge the quality of these plugins based on user reviews.

Inversely, if a payment option you want is not available on Shopify, you have to deal with Shopify directly. However, you can be reassured that any payment options they do add are subject to their specific quality standards.

Product Options

What if you’re not just selling a product? Both eCommerce solutions provide various alternatives to suit your business.

WooCommerce has many first and third party plugins, offering functionality for product bundles, appointment bookings, memberships, rentals, multi-vendor marketplaces, product kits, paid courses, etc. However, much like with their payment options, WooCommerce’s product plugins can be inconsistent in terms of quality, with reviews ranging from 5/5 to 2.8/5 stars.

Shopify’s options are as diverse, but they can require a bit of ingenuity. For example, if you want to add donation functionality to your website, WooCommerce only requires you to pick one plugin while Shopify recommends three.

Additionally, if you have a problem with a WooCommerce plugin, it’s easier to switch it out for another one, whereas Shopify is less likely to offer a viable alternative.

Ease of Use

Building a website is not easy, but certain platforms certainly help. When it comes to WooCommerce vs Shopify, Shopify is far more user-friendly, as you don’t need to install, manage or update any software, and your security and backups are taken care of.

By contrast, WooCommerce is a lot more technical. While it offers a higher degree of customisability, and you can create a really powerful shopping website if you know how to code, it can also leave a large amount of gaps in your functionality if you don’t. A lot of the processes that Shopify automates require you to directly intervene on WooCommerce.

Customisation Options

Customisation is where WooCommerce is a lot more versatile than Shopify. Because WordPress, and by extension WooCommerce, are open source, you have access to a huge amount of presets and themes that are updated on a daily basis.

Shopify’s themes are more curated. You have access to approximately 70 themes to choose from. While these themes are incredibly polished, if they’re not what you’re looking for, you’re out of luck.

However, both WooCommerce and Shopify have free and premium themes available, and they both allow you to edit their code.

Sales Tools

Both platforms contain plugins that aid you in selling your products, including multichannel selling, abandoned cart recovery, courier integration, blog extensions, etc.

For Shopify, these are mostly built in, whereas WooCommerce requires you to source them through their various plugins. Once again, this means that WooCommerce offers a much wider range of functions, but without the level of curation that Shopify does.

Plugins

Plugins essentially make up the bulk of WooCommerce’s functionality, with over 50,000 to choose from. Because it’s open source, that number continues to grow. By comparison, Shopify has about 1,200.

However, the curation of Shopify’s apps make them more consistently reliable. After all, if a function of Shopify is defective, that’s not a reflection on the third party that developed it, it’s a reflection on Shopify themselves.

Ultimately, WooCommerce offers a significantly higher degree of variety. If a certain application doesn’t meet your needs (i.e. functionality, ease of use, technical support, etc.), there are multiple alternatives available.

Customer Support

Both WooCommerce and Shopify have comprehensive customer support systems in place, including:

  • 24/7 phone, email and live chat support
  • Knowledge centers
  • Setup guides
  • Community Forums

Whether you’re using WooCommerce or Shopify, there are many resources available to help you build the perfect online store and maintain it effectively.

Hosting Costs

There’s no point in building an online website that’s going to break your bank. WooCommerce and Shopify both have different payment plans, so it’s best to use the one that suits your budget and productivity.

Shopify has set pricing, making it easier to track your spending. Hosting, security, your domain and extension fees are all included in your plan. Monthly prices in USD range from $29 for Shopify Basic, $79 for Shopify Standard, and $299 per month for Shopify Advanced, each tier coming with its own set of features.

By comparison, WooCommerce itself is free to install, but it comes with extra costs such as the aforementioned hosting, security, domain and extension fees. WooCommerce is used in conjunction with the hosting service Bluehost, which has its own monthly price range in AUD of $3.94 for Shared Hosting, $25.35 for VPS, and $106.77 for Dedicated.

Ultimately, WooCommerce is more flexible in terms of price, but Shopify’s fixed price means that a lot of functionality is taken care of for you.

How do you decide which of these tools are right for you?

The answer to this question is to determine the kind of web designer you are. If this is your first online store, and your confidence with web development isn’t as strong as it could be, Shopify is the better option for you. For a fixed price, you’ll have a high quality website with a lot of elements taken care of for you.

However, WooCommerce is a great option if you’re a confident developer who wants to save a bit of money while building a website whose design and functionality you have a huge degree of control over.

At the end of the day though, both platforms are powerful and will build you a functional online store. It’s not as though you’re doomed if you pick the wrong one.