Woocommerce vs. Shopify: Which Should I Choose?

If you are planning to open an e-commerce store, ask ‘How should I choose between WooCommerce vs Shopify?’ The question may force you a little. Because, considering the numbers of these two e-commerce platforms, it is not an exaggeration to say that they are the two most popular e-commerce platforms in the world. That’s why you need to consider many factors when choosing.

Both platforms have advantages and disadvantages, so choosing is as serious a decision as opening an e-commerce store. To help you choose the right solution for your store, in this post we will compare both platforms to help you decide.

Table of Contents

How WooCommerce and Shopify Approach E-Commerce

Just as ready-made website builder platforms like Squarespace and Wix are often compared to WordPress, WooCommerce and Shopify are two e-commerce platforms that compare a lot.

Both of these platforms take two basic approaches for building and managing your e-commerce store:

WooCommerce is self-hosted. This means your store’s files are on your own server and you are free to change anything in your store as you see fit.

Shopify, on the other hand, is hosted . This means that Shopify hosts and manages the software for you, and while you have a lot of flexibility, you’re only limited to making the changes that Shopify allows you to make.

What is the practical difference between these approaches?

WooCommerce is more flexible, but not suitable for beginners. Shopify is the opposite. It is user-friendly for a start, but has some difficulties that you won’t encounter in WooCommerce.

WooCommerce and Shopify Ecommerce Market Share

When choosing an e-commerce platform, you should n’t choose a solution based solely on popularity. So user numbers shouldn’t affect you. However, the competition figures can guide you in helping you see trends. According to BuiltWith, as of December 2018, 21% of the top 1 million sites are using WooCommerce infrastructure in their stores . Shopify comes second with 18% .
However, if we look at the top10 thousand websites , only 6% of these website owners use WooCommerce while 23% use Shopify. From here, it appears that Shopify is being used more heavily on higher authority sites. But these numbers mean there is still plenty of room for both platforms to grow.

Looking at Google Search Trends for the past 5 years , we can see that both are growing fairly steadily, although Shopify appears to be slowly overtaking WooCommerce .

How Easy is it to Open a Store in WooCommerce and Shopify?

In terms of how easy it is to set up a fully functional store, from processing payments to accepting orders, Shopify has a simpler use than WooCommerce.

But let’s examine both.

1. WooCommerce

When you create a WooCommerce store, you need to do two separate things:

  • Install WordPress and learn the WordPress interface (i.e. if you don’t know WordPress yet).
  • Install, configure WooCommerce and learn the WooCommerce interface.

Generally, before you start accepting orders, you will be responsible for:

  • Buying hosting.
  • Installing WordPress.
  • Installing and configuring WooCommerce.
  • Finding a WooCommerce theme.
  • Payment gateways, tax calculations, etc. configuration of the details (what is called WooCommerce Services made it easy)

None of the things listed above are difficult to do. Even if you think so, the large WordPress community will be of great help. (Tutorial on how to set up WooCommerce etc.). But especially if this is your first WordPress site, you’re sure to fall into a learning curve.

2. Shopify

With Shopify, it’s easy to upload your first product to your site and start selling it.

Basically, all you have to do is:

  • Creating a Shopify account.
  • Choosing a domain name , purchasing it or synchronizing an existing domain name.
  • Choosing your theme.
  • It’s easy to start accepting credit card payments from day one, as Shopify uses its own payment gateway.

These useful features of Shopify are difficult to deal with.

How Much Control  Do You Have Over The Functionality Of Your Website When Using WooCommerce and Shopify ?

If we consider the hosted platforms, Shopify is actually one of the more flexible solutions. However, it still can’t come close to the control you get with a self-hosted WooCommerce site, so WooCommerce is the clear winner of this title.

1. WooCommerce

There are several ways to customize your store’s functionality with WooCommerce:

  • Theme
  • More than 50,000 WordPress plugins, including plugins and extensions specially designed for WooCommerce
  • Private code (one of the benefits of a self-hosted solution)

So what does this allow?

With Shopify, you can sell personalized products on a scale that would be impossible.

Similarly, the flexibility of WooCommerce is evident as well as product variations. There is no strict limit on the number of product variations you can use with WooCommerce; Shopify includes 100 variants per product and a total of 3 options per product, no matter which Shopify plan you are on.

2. Shopify

Shopify has a limitation on product variations.

So how flexible will the rest of your Shopify store be?

You can also customize some functionality in your Shopify store, such as WooCommerce:

  • Themes: You can find both third-party themes and themes in the Shopify Theme Store.
  • Applications: These are similar to WordPress plugins and they are all collected on the Shopify website.
  • Shopify only allows you to add custom HTML to your store’s home page, which is a limiting factor.

While these tools give you great flexibility for a hosted platform, they still come with some restrictions such as product variation limits mentioned above. Nothing like this happens with WooCommerce.

What Payment Methods Does WooCommerce and Shopify Offer?

You can see a wide variety of payment gateways in both WooCommerce and Shopify. Unless you have a very niche situation, there is probably no difference between the two. However, if you’re using an external payment gateway, Shopify charges an extra fee, which can go up to 2%.

1. WooCommerce

Due to its open nature and huge plugin community, you can find many payment gateways on WooCommerce.

WooCommerce supports all popular gateways such as:

  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • Square
  • Authorize.Net

But one of the advantages of WooCommerce is that it allows you to access tons of niche payment gateways.

To give an example of these niche payment gateways:

  • Postgiro ​​(Sweden)
  • Przelewy24 (Poland)

You’ve probably never heard of these last two, but that’s the point. WooCommerce has both big names and regional payment gateways.

2. Shopify

Shopify has its own payment gateway that requires zero configuration. But if you choose to use a third-party payment gateway, Shopify also supports all major payment gateways such as:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Authorize.Net

Shopify also has its own list of local payment gateways. However, Shopify charges you extra if you use an external payment gateway. This situation is definitely worth considering.

How Does WooCommerce and Shopify Control Your Data?

Because WooCommerce is self-hosted, it gives you significantly more control and ownership over your data.

1. WooCommerce

There is not much we have to write about here. With WooCommerce, you have everything. This means you can enter your database and access raw data if needed.

2. Shopify

While Shopify gives you access to all your data, the live copy still resides on Shopify’s servers. This means you can never have complete control of your data.

However, Shopify offers many ways for you to access your data, which is better than many hosted platforms. For example, you can export your products’ CSV file, back up your site through an application, or connect with your data via an API.

How Much Does WooCommerce and Shopify Cost?

It is difficult to declare a winner in this title as both platforms have variable costs.

1. WooCommerce

It is difficult to determine an exact cost for a WooCommerce store because there are so many scenarios and extreme scenarios. Technically speaking, the only fixed costs are:

  • Hosting
  • Your domain name
  • Your payment gateway

However, you probably pay for:

  • A first class theme
  • Lots of premium plugins

Most WordPress plugins do not require you to pay again if you make a one-time payment. However, many Shopify apps have recurring monthly payments.

2. Shopify

Shopify’s basic pricing is transparent. You can see pricing below.

However, there are a few things that can increase your store’s cost:

  • Premium themes: Theme is usually a one-time fixed cost.
  • Apps: Many of these require an additional monthly payment, but you can also find free apps.
  • Also, if you are using an external payment gateway (as stated in the pricing table above), Shopify charges you more.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which to Choose?

There is no single correct answer here. So instead of trying to make a single suggestion one way or another, let’s examine some scenarios where each platform is good.

Why should I choose WooCommerce?

The biggest reason to choose WooCommerce is flexibility and control. If you plan to sell simple products with minimal variations, you probably won’t need this flexibility.

However, if you plan to sell things that go beyond “simple” in terms of variations, payment process or pricing structure, then WooCommerce’s flexibility will probably suit you.

Another reason is that some products are banned from Shopify. Since Shopify is a hosted solution, when it sees some cosmetic products being banned, it can put bans on you.

Finally, you can add value to the WordPress plugins and support ecosystem by using WordPress, which could be another reason to use a WordPress e-commerce solution.

Why should I choose Shopify?

If you’re looking for the simplest and easiest way to open an ecommerce store, Shopify is definitely a good choice. As long as you don’t mind selling complex products with lots of variations, Shopify’s ecosystem is for you.

Additionally, if you don’t want to spend time protecting your store (or don’t want to think about technology in general), then Shopify might be your go-to.

Top Questions About WooCommerce and Shopify

1. Is Shopify better than WordPress?

WooCommerce is arguably the better established, more flexible platform than Shopify. It has a much larger user base and a much greater number of themes and apps to choose from.

2. Is WooCommerce as good as Shopify?

WooCommerce is as powerful as Shopify and gives you more control as you can decide where you want to host your online store, but it is less beginner-friendly than Shopify and some features are not included in the core system.

3. Is Shopify faster than WooCommerce?

Shopify’s core features are built in, the theme of your choice is simply filled with your content, and it’s easy to use. If you are building an online store from scratch with Shopify, it is much faster than WooCommerce.

4. Why shouldn’t you use Shopify?

The first downside of Shopify is that there are too few themes available in the official theme store. This means most stores may be using the same theme. This results in a more difficult time building brand awareness in the long run.

5. Who are Shopify’s competitors?

Shopify’s top 10 competitors are: Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Volusion, PrestaShop, Squarespace, Wix, 3dcart, Big Cartel and Weebly.

6. Is Shopify safe?

Shopify is an extremely secure SAAS platform. It is much more secure than Magento and Woocommerce (self-hosted). The platform has a team dedicated to its own safety.

7. Why is Shopify so popular?

Shopify is popular as it is a complete e-commerce platform that helps ordinary people build their own online stores and sell products across multiple channels.

8. Is Shopify free to use?

There is a free 14-day trial that gives you access to the basic Shopify plan. However, to try the Shopify or Advanced Shopify plan, you have to purchase a paid subscription.

9. Why is WooCommerce the best e-commerce platform?

Millions of businesses choose to use WordPress on their websites as it provides the best essentials. WordPress; It is fast, safe and easy to use. WooCommerce inherits all the power and credibility of WordPress and uses it to create a worldwide e-commerce experience for retailers and their customers.

10. How many orders can WooCommerce handle?

Large-scale WooCommerce stores accommodate 5,000 or more than 10,000 items or orders.

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