Shopify and WooCommerce have distinguished themselves as two popular and feature-rich platforms for running all types of online shops. Both systems can work great for building, growing or marketing eCommerce projects from scratch. They are created with a strong eCommerce focus in mind yet they use diverse tools to let users start quality digital stores.
Shopify – is an all-in-one eCommerce software, which delivers all the required niche-related features in the same pack. The system is a nice pick for small-to-large web stores, granting access to powerful integrations, design customization tools, eCommerce templates and features. Actually, this is the best eCommerce software in the modern web design market.
WooCommerce – is a standalone widget and the #1 eCommerce solution for WordPress websites. The widget is compatible with any of the WP themes and templates. It comes as a simple product management and promotion instrument that lets users create fully functional online shops.
Both platforms serve the same goal – eCommerce website development. They have everything you might need to start selling online. They also differ in integrated functionality and general web design approach. Which software will be the best bet to meet your particular preferences? Which one is easier to use? What are the downfalls that might affect the result? Our today’s review is to answer these and other system-related questions.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: General Overview
Shopify is a full-cycle eCommerce software, which has gained worldwide popularity due to its advanced flexibility and third-party integration capabilities. It lets you launch and manage different types of online stores that differ in functionality, size, specialization and target audience. With Shopify, it is possible to run small-to-large-scale web stores with hundreds or even thousands of products available for sale.
The software was initially introduced to the market in 2004 as the tool for building average online stores. It has notably evolved over the years offering advanced product management tools, enhanced flexibility, and an array of features to implement. Currently, the number of online stores it powers has reached 4,349,036 websites and it keeps increasing along with the software development.
WooCommerce is one of the most well-known WordPress eCommerce plugins, which is meant for starting feature-rich online stores. This is a worthy solution for building small-to-large digital stores, offering a wide range of tools and features for quality eCommerce creation. The plugin also stands out from the crowd due to its integration options as it lets you use other plugins/extensions depending upon the type of project you run, its objectives and your personal requirements.
The WordPress plugin became available for application in 2011 and it has gained significant recognition due to its high end eCommerce capabilities. According the recent stats, the number of live web stores powered by WooCommerce now constitutes 4,414,537 projects and many more web stores are still under construction.
Shopify and WooCommerce serve the same purpose – eCommerce creation – yet they do that in different ways. While Shopify is the world-known eCommerce software with abundance of professional features and tools, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that also comes with a set of high end niche-related features. Both systems enjoy user popularity, but Shopify still remains the undeniable industry leader.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which One Is Easier to Use?
Shopify. To proceed to web store creation, you just need to sign up for your personal account, pick a plan that complies with your goals and web store parameters, pick a suitable template and start creating a web shop. The system offers a 14-day free trial to check how it works and to help you get started with ease.
What’s important, the software uses advanced technologies to provide the best-matching design solution based on the user’s answers that describe shop type, goals, preferences, etc. In other words, the platform acts as a digital assistant, which makes the starting step very easy, especially for beginners. Once you have signed in, you will get access to all Shopify features and tools determined by the plan.
The dashboard of the system is intuitive and understandable for everyone. The built-in wizard will guide you through the major steps of the website creation process, making it possible to launch the required project without any coding awareness at all. If you need to manage/update your project, you can do that even on the go any time. Just use a free Shopify app for Android or iOS to complete the task.
As to customer support, Shopify offers comprehensive and informative assistance. They do care about clients, offering several options to get in touch. Apart from typical solutions like Live Chat, email, or phone support, the platform grants access to the growing social community, a handful of guides, tutorials, articles and an informative forum with plenty of topics discussed by other software subscribers.
WooCommerce requires a deeper understanding of the integration basics as well as of certain coding nuances. It can be used together with your WordPress website. On the one hand, you do not need to choose a plan or subscribe to the plugin. On the other hand, you won’t be able to deploy WooCommerce without the installed WP theme. This, correspondingly, requires preliminary hosting/domain name choice along with baseline programming awareness. This may cause problems for newbies.
The plugin is quite easy to work with after you install it. The Wizard will take care of the setting up process for you. The automated system will guide you through several simple steps where you may indicate the key parameters of your digital shop including preset currencies, tax and shipping settings, payment options, etc. Once you have completed all the stages, you will get a ready-to-use eCommerce platform integrated with your WP site. Now you may start selling online.
Adding new products is quite simple here as well. You get access to a standard content management system, where you may edit product names, create new product categories, upload images, set attributes, links, etc. Editing product pages with WooCommerce is as easy as editing any other WordPress page.
WooCommerce customer support service will help you with plugin installation, set up and further configuration as well as with fixing the available bugs, if any. To get qualified assistance, you just need to contact the team during those hours specified at the official website. User queries are handled within 24 hours, but the duration depends upon the complexity of the problem and day/time of the week. When working with WooCommerce, you will also have access to the community forum and the list of FAQs that will help you find answers to all the questions you are concerned with.
When it comes to the ease of use, both platforms are very easy to use with the exception of getting started. This is where WooCommerce might seem to be a bit more difficult, as you actually need to set up a ready-to-use WordPress website. The process may require some time and knowledge. Shopify is faster to get started while the product management system is almost the same.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Design and Flexibility
Shopify and WooCommerce represent two different web store development approaches, but they still both come with fundamental eCommerce features that are already integrated into the software. Shopifym however, delivers more customization options and free features to make the most of your digital store if compared to WooCommerce. The plugin, in its turn, boasts extensive integration options that contribute to your website functionality. To compare the systems and to see what features they excel at, it makes sense to review their parameters in details now.
Shopify comes with a wide range of features and tools needed to set up and manage quality small-to-large online stores. The platform lets you add and manage product lists, upload images, add descriptions, adjust categories etc. It also has some extra features that include built-in catalog modules. For instance, you are free to create separate product collections by simply setting prices and images. Ready-made catalog layouts will do the rest.
The software offers a list of third-party payment service providers that may be integrated with your digital store. Additionally, it lets you synchronize your account with those available on third-party platforms and world-known marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, for example. Apart from the initial web store, Shopify allows adding new sales channels to sell products over Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, POS, Messenger, Buy Button and other sources.
An integrated Point-of-Sale (POS) software is another highlight of the system. This is a nice tool for users, planning to sell their products ot only online, but also in local storefronts. The feature provides support for numerous land-based sites, opportunity to manage orders/team from a single Shopify dashboard, integration of “buy online” or “collect from the store” feature and other advantages.
Another feature that Shopify boasts is the AR-based 3D Warehouse technology. It lets visitors feel and sense the product in real size evaluating its real-life quality, colors or other essential characteristics. The platform also comes with a live view feature that lets you track your store performance in the real time mode, CSV file import/export, abandoned checkout recovery, multilingual support, shopcode integration, SSL Certificate connection, Fraud Protect feature as well as extensive marketing options. These include UPS Shopify Shipping feature, Shopify Ping mobile application, Buy One, Get One (BOGO) discounts, one-step dynamic checkout procedure, versatile retail options, advanced Tap and Chip Reader and more.
WooCommerce lets you edit baseline web store settings and you are also free to create new catalogs manually. It may require more time to complete. However, the rest of fundamental settings including price and currency will be transferred automatically.
The software supports PayPal and Stripe integration, opportunity to add/manage products, create catalogues and set up categories/filters to simplify the search of the required items. Likewise, it is possible to manage user registrations, accept and track online orders/payments, use analytics tools, adjust shipping/tax parameters, set up discounts and special offers, display top selling and similar products to ensure a comfortable shopping experience.
Mind that the optimal number of products you can conveniently sell and optimize with WooCommerce should not exceed 2000-3000 items. No special coding skills are required to work with the plugin as it is installed directly from the standard WordPress catalogue. Additionally, you can choose and integrate other plugins that provide extra sales management features/tools. Some of them include Yoast SEO, WooCommerce Multilingual, AMP plugins and what not.
In terms of eCommerce, both platforms have much to offer due to their strong web store development focus. Shopify, however, comes with more already-integrated functions and features while WooCommerce may require additional plugin installation. Moreover, Shopify has extra functions for physical stores as well as AR-based 3D visualization technologies and POS software. This extends your web store applicability and performance.
Shopify lets you set up and manage a feature-rich blog related to your web store specialization. What you can do here is adding and editing new posts, managing articles, creating lookbooks, integrating media files, dividing posts into thematic categories, setting up Future Publishing features. You can also adjust SEO settings for more effective web store promotion.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and, thus, it doesn’t offer integrated blogging features by default. However, you can integrate other blog plugins, if you face the need to connect a blog to your online store. Some of the best options include Everest Forms, Easy Social Sharing, Jetpack, WPDiscuz, UpdraftPlus, Elementor and more.
Speaking about blogging, Shopify is definitely on the top of the list. Its built-in blogging engine lets you connect feature-rich blogs to your web store. Woocomemrce doesn’t offer such an opportunity by default yet you can integrate other WordPress blog plugins to enable this feature.
Marketing and Analytic Tools
Shopify lets you monitor sales, identify the most successful traffic and revenue sources, track promotion, and ad campaigns. It comes with a built-in function that generates automated reports based on the collected data. Another highlight of the system is its Live View feature, which provides web store insights in the real-time mode.
WooCommerce has a set of integrated reporting tools, which are quite limited, though. Thus, the system requires extra plugins in case you need more info on your sales. This is where you might need extra repotting plugins like Advanced WooCommerce Reporting or Metorik.
Shopify and WooCommerce both grant access to marketing and analytics tools/features. Shopify unveils more options due to the integrated set of analytics tools, while WooCommerce implies the need for external plugin integration to let you track your web store performance.
Third-Party Apps and Extensions
Shopify allows adding extra features to boost users’ acquisition or make the store more interactive. There are lots of free and paid extensions available in its App Store. This is where you can pick and integrate Customer Service Helpdesks, cart abandonment recovery tools, image galleries, countdowns, business chats, product promotion tools etc. Synchronization with external services like Xero, Quickbooks, eBay, Amazon or social media platforms is also possible here.
WooCommerce makes it possible to enhance your web store functionality by means of integrating other plugins and add-ons created for WordPress. There are many of them out there – just browse the wordPress catalogue or surf the web to choose the extensions you actually need.
As to the system integrations, Shopify also has more to offer. There are plenty of free and paid apps and add-ons available in its App Market and you can also look for external platforms compatible with the software on the web. WooCommerce also allows for third-party integrations, but this may imply extra programming proficiency.
Shopify offers a range of ready-made templates along with a set of integrated design customization features. It allows choosing from free and paid themes available in its collection by default. To be precise, the platform has 9 free templates and 64 premium themes available for customization. The cost of paid templates ranges from $140 and up to $180 based on their complexity and degree of customizability required. All the themes are professional and niche-specific. You can edit them as you like, using a set of integrated tools.
When customizing the selected design, you can edit the header, footer and other required blocks. Additionally, you can set up color schemes, fonts, gallery slideshows, media files etc. If you possess coding skills, you can edit the website codes to give it a touch of personalization. If you don’t like the selected theme, however, you can switch to another template when required.
WooCommerce does not provide web design alternatives in the way we are used to. At the same time, WooCommerce works great with any official WP theme whether it is free or Premium. Moreover, some eCommerce WordPress templates come with the pre-installed WooCommerce plugin. This means that your theme will define the future style of your digital store but not the plugin. A simpler solution is to browse the catalogue of templates available at the WooCommerce website, namely in its special Theme Store section.
All in all, WordPress has thousands of free themes related to the eCommerce category. While free themes look pretty the same, you may also choose Premium templates that cost from $29 to $300 depending on the type, structure or web design.
As to design customization, it’s up to you to use your coding knowledge to get the most out of your WooCommerce template. Preliminary experience of working with WordPress files is also desirable. To make small edits, the system allows using its integrated website editor. If you need to completely redesign the template, it makes sense to download files to your computer, create backup copies, make edits and check the way the website displays and functions.
When it tackles the design customization aspect, shopify proves to be a simpler solution, which grants access to pre-designed eCommerce templates and integrated tools to edit them. WooCommerces still implies programming proficiency and you have to be quite attentive when picking the theme to avoid the potential fraud.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: General Pricing Comparison
Shopify offers fixed rates, which is a more preferable solution for most system subscribers. There is a free plan, which extends for 14 days, letting you test the software functionality. As soon as you are ready to opt for a premium plan, the service will provide you with 4 paid options. The cost will differ with regard to the features, tools and extra options the plans include. Here is the overview of plans you may choose from:
- Shopify Lite ($9/mo) – unlimited product amount, global tax and currency support settings, 70+ payment gateways, sales tracking and “Buy” Button etc.;
- Basic Shopify ($29/mo) – complete web store customization, 2% transaction fee, 2 staff accounts, free SSL Certificate connection, 4 locations to manage, powerful integrated CRM, website and blog integration, POS for markets and events etc.;
- Shopify ($79/mo) – 1% transaction fee, professional reporting option, 5 staff accounts, 5 location to manage, POs for retail stores and pop-up shops, gift cards etc.;
- Advanced Shopify ($299/mo) – 0.5% transaction fee, 15 staff accounts, advanced report builder, 8 locations to manage, real-time carrier shipping etc.
The software offers a money-back guarantee, which is viable for 14 days after you get a subscription.
WooCommerce is a free plugin you can install from the standard catalogue in the WordPress admin panel or download from the official website and upload to the server as the archive. Free license doesn’t prevent from using the extension to create projects of different sizes. The plugin does not have any restrictions as to the product assortment, payment options or traffic – it will remain free both for web stores with three product positions and for online hypermarkets.
To extend the basic WooCommerce functionality, you can install other plugins. They can be paid, but you can find the alternative with a free license without any problems. However, you won’t be able to build a web store without any budget at all. Mind that there are two must-have expenditure objects here – just like in any CMS. These are hosting and domain purchase. The final cost depends upon the domain zone, web store size and hosting provider.
Speaking about hosting, WordPress recommends its number one official hosting provider – Bluehost. The system ensures easy one-click WordPress installation, 24/7 customer support, free SSL Certificate connection and lots of other options provided in terms of the system plans. The cheapest Bluehost subscription will cost you $2.95/mo only.
When reviewing the pricing aspect, we may conclude that Shopify is a more understandable and cost-effective solution. You pay a fixed fee for the plan that suits your needs and get full access to all eCommerce features. The situation with WooCommerce is a bit more complicated. While the plugin is free, it requires extra costs to make the most of it.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which One Is the Best for SEO?
Shopify is a SEO-friendly software, which grants access to multiple settings and tools for effective web store optimization. You can independently set up the required SEO parameters, having preliminary reached the corresponding section in the dashboard. Thus, you can fill out web page/product titles and descriptions, keywords, Alt tags for images etc. Shopify automatically generates the sitemap of your web store and it also allows for integrating stats/analytic tracking tools to control your project performance and its current status.
WooCommerce doesn’t have integrated SEO tools available by default. To enhance your web store optimization, you need to pick and install one of the SEO plugins meant for WordPress. You may choose from free and paid extensions based on your current needs, project complexity, goals and budget. The most effective solution to go for is Yoast SEO. It makes it possible to fill out baseline SEO parameters, such as metadata (titles, descriptions, keywords), set up a human-friendly URL for your project, use the AMP plugin for creating web store pages that load fast on mobile devices etc.
In terms of SEO, Shopify allows setting up more characteristics for effective web store optimization, using a set of integrated tools. WooCommerce is also good at SEO yet it requires extra plugin installation to optimize your digital store to the advantage.
Key Differences Between Shopify and WooCommerce
|Ease of Use:||Shopify is a powerful eCommerce software, which is currently considered the best in its niche. It comes with an intuitive dashboard, easy sign up process and integrated drag-and-drop editor, which contributes to worthy results with minimum time/effort investment.||WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, which is used for web store creation only. It works great for small and medium web stores, making it possible to choose and apply multiple eCommerce tools and features, they are needed to start and manage feature-laden eCommerce projects with no programming knowledge required.|
|Functionality:||Shopify is focused around web store development/promotion and this is where the software doesn’t have any rivals at all. The platform comes with multiple eCommerce-specific features and tools. They are applied for effective product and web store management, sales/order tracking, quality design customization and project optimization.||The plugin abounds in integrated eCommerce features. It lets you start and manage small-to-large web stores, which are feature-laden and niche-related. You can create web stores of diverse complexity, functionality and industry focus. The plugin also allows enhancing your web store performance by integrating third-party plugins created for WordPress.|
|Design:||Shopify template collection comprises 9 free and 64 paid designs. All of them are professional, customizable, responsive and visually-appealing.||WooCommerce ensures the freedom of web store customization yet it is also possible to edit HTML/CSS codes here for deeper project set up. The plugin offers over 500 responsive eCommerce designs and there is also an opportunity to browse and choose external WP themes compatible with WooCommerce.|
|eCommerce:||Shopify is a powerful standalone eCommerce software. It offers a bunch of features and tools needed to run all types of eCommerce projects – from simple digital stores up to huge hypermarkets.||WooCommerce is also rich in eCommerce features. The plugin allows setting up product catalogues, adding and customizing items offered for sale, managing user registrations, setting up payment/shipping/tax parameters, tracking web store stats etc.|
|Blogging:||The system has a powerful integrated blogging engine. It makes it possible to connect and manage a feature-rich blog to drive user attention and keep clients aware of your business news/updates.||The plugin doesn’t have a built-in blogging platform. Blog connection is realized via integration of blog plugins that are specially created for WordPress.|
|Small Business:||Shopify works great for small business website development granted that these projects are meant for eCommerce use.||WooCommerce can be used to start business projects, which imply eCommerce realization. To get the expected result, you need to integrate extra plugins that are specially developed for WordPress.|
|Pricing:||The software has a 14-day free trial and four paid plans to choose from. Their cost starts from $9/mo.||WooCommerce is free right from the start, but it’s possible to choose and integrate more plugins and hosting at extra cost.|
|SEO:||Shopify is a SEO-friendly platform. It lets you optimize web stores launched with it for the search engines. This can be done by filling out special parameters, applying analytic and statistics tracking tools.||Web stores powered by WooCommerce are well optimized for the search engines. It’s possible to get such a result via Yoast SEO plugin integration, for example. This is one of the best SEO extensions created specially for WordPress.|
|Customer Support:||Shopify Help Center, Informative Forum, eCommerce University, Live Chat, phone, email support.||Quick plugin installation assistance, FAQ section, extensive community and tech email support.|
Which One Is Better for an Online Store: Shopify or WooCommerce?
Shopify and WooCommerce both serve your digital store creation goal perfectly. They have proved to be among the best platforms to deal with whenever you want to start selling online. Choosing the one will depend mainly on your CMS preferences whether you are a dedicated WordPress fan or looking for an all-in-one website building kit.
There is still a notable distinction between the platforms, irrespective of their implication and focus. While WooCommerce is just a plugin, Shopify is a full-cycle website building software developed for creating, deploying, and marketing digital stores online. Thus, it grants access to more tools that make it possible to run feature-laden and complex digital stores with user convenience in mind.