Starting an online store and debating between Shopify and WooCommerce? While both are highly-acclaimed ecommerce platforms, choosing the one that best fits your business is essential to your success.
To aid you in your decision-making, let’s break down some of the advantages and disadvantages of each platform.
For the regular user, Shopify is easier to use as no knowledge of coding is required. Being a fully hosted platform, users don’t need to worry about anything technical including installing or updating software, or dealing with security and backups. With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, non-technical users are easily able to manage their products, sales, and inventory.
WooCommerce is definitely for the more technically-savvy user. As it is not a hosted platform, users will need to manage updates, keep backups, and ensure that there are no compatibility issues.
First-timers can also expect a huge learning-curve as there are no built-in drag-and-drop design builders available.
There’s no doubt that both platforms offer the necessary features to run a successful online store. The difference is that Shopify has ready-to-use, built-in features which makes it more accessible for the average user. For example, even with Basic Shopify, you can expect to find:
While these features can also be used in WooCommerce, they would need to be purchased and added out-of-box. This means you would need to invest more time and money into developing your store.
A key feature that Shopify offers which WooCommerce does not is the Abandoned Cart Recovery. This feature provides a gentle push for customers to finish the sale - and perhaps is a vital reason why Shopify has helped businesses generate over $55 billion in revenue!
In a nutshell, Shopify is an online store owner’s dream with everything seemingly dedicated to helping you sell.
Shopify also comes with its own free payment gateway, Shopify Payments, whereas installing different payment providers can cost over $70 in WooCommerce. Both providers charge service fees for third party processors, but seeing as Shopify Payments is housed with Stripe (a reputable and popular processor), the need for any outside method is minimal.
Both platforms offer themes that give your site a professional look and feel. Shopify comes with 60 free and paid themes to choose from - all of which are mobile responsive. Using the theme editor, you can easily adjust colour and styles, and for more substantial changes, there’s the option to customize through Liquid (Shopify’s coding language).
Being an open-source plugin built for Wordpress, WooCommerce offers unlimited customization. This allows users to tailor their site exactly as they wish - so long as they have the technical skill level to do so. In the end, you have more flexibility and opportunity to customize with WooCommerce, but this comes at a cost of time and requires a strong technical skill level.
To attract customers, your store must rank high in Google Search results. Two key determinants of where your store ranks are loading time and strength of performance. Because of its dedicated servers, Shopify outperforms WooCommerce on both aspects.
Another important factor is how secure your site is. A prime advantage of Shopify is that SSL certificates are already included with the platform whereas with WooCommerce, one would have to purchase them separately. With an SSL certificate, your store turns into HTTPS which indicates to Google that it can protect customer data. Google rewards this by boosting your business in the search rankings.
Shopify and WooCommerce have drastically different pricing models. Technically-speaking, WooCommerce is a free plug-in for anyone with a Wordpress site; however, owners will need to purchase a domain name, separate hosting, an SSL certificate, and any desired extensions.
With Shopify, all these features are already included in your plan. In fact, Shopify offers you a single, out-of-the-box solution with clear and straightforward pricing packages.
In a world where time is money, keep in mind that WooCommerce requires more time for setup and management.
Image Credit: ecommerce-platforms.com
For support, Shopify can’t be beat. Agents are available 24/7 through phone, live chat, or email, alongside a myriad of FAQs and forums.
WooCommerce only provides forum support and a ticket system. While these DIY help sections are great for for the technically-advanced user, the lack of immediate assistance may overwhelm a new business owner or one less familiar with the technical side of ecommerce.
Since both are trustworthy, top-quality platforms for starting an online store, the decision of which is “better,” comes down to personal preference.
The ease, security, cost, and accessible support of Shopify makes it better suited to the personal skills and business needs of the regular user. Whether you’re just getting started with your online business or moving onto better things, Shopify will always be the more user-friendly and cost effective e-commerce program.
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