In this post, I’m going to personally review two popular eCommerce platforms: Woocommerce and Shopify.
I dove deep into each platform to uncover the good, the bad (and the ugly).
Within each platform I evaluated:
Ease of use
So make sure to read this review until the end. That way you make the best decision for you.
Before I get into the review itself, I want to quickly let you know some important info on each platform…
Shopify is for you if you need an all-in-one-package. You can build and publish your own online store entirely through Shopify, and make use of its neat features and apps:
WooCommerce is for you if you already have a website. It’s a plugin that works with WordPress and helps turn your website into an online store:
WooCommerce WordPress Plugin Homepage
WooCommerce and Shopify are the top 2 eCommerce platforms with 26% and 20% marketshare respectively.
That’s why I tried them both to review both the eCommerce platform, to make it easy for you to choose, according to your needs.
Upfront Cost: Shopify vs WooCommerce:-
Shopify’s basic plan starts at $29 per month, but you can upgrade to the Shopify plan for $79 per month or the Advanced Shopify plan for $299 per month.
Each of these plans includes domain name, SSL certificate, web hosting and other basic technical aspects of setting up an eCommerce store.
The only things which are not in the basic plan are lower shopify shipping charges, lower transaction fees, gift cards, and advanced reporting.
Otherwise, all plans come with unlimited products, unlimited file storage, and more.
However, none of the plans include third-party tools and add-ons that you will need to take your Shopify store to the next level.
WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin for WordPress hosted sites.
But unlike Shopify, you have to buy your own hosting, SSL Certificate, and domain name.
Typically, a domain name costs $11.99, SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and web hosting costs $8.99/month.
But there are hosting providers like Bluehost giving bundled packages (includes domain, hosting and SSL) at cheaper rates than Shopify.
But then, you have to buy addons to get some important functionalities like drop shipping, which are already inbuilt in Shopify.
Although there are free alternatives. But you might have to do some extra leg work to search those addons and set them up.
And although you can add unlimited products like Shopify, storage space is limited according to your hosting provider.
Because even though Shopify has more upfront costs in many aspects, the value it provides is more than WooCommerce.
Plus WooCommerce might feel overwhelming for someone who is not so technically-confident
Transaction Fees: Shopify vs WooCommerce:-
Shopify charges transaction fees based on what plan you choose.
And these transaction rates on top of your default payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe.
The Basic Shopify plan comes with a 2.0% transaction rate.
The Shopify plan comes with a transaction rate of 1% and the advanced plan has a transaction rate of 0.5%.
So, suppose if you are using a basic Shopify plan with PayPal as your default payment gateway.
Paypal has a transaction rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per order.
Then your total transaction rate per order will be 2.0% + 2.9% + $0.30 = 4.9% + $0.30.
Now, Shopify payments might be a cheaper option for you instead of PayPal or other payment gateways.
Shopify Payments only charges transaction rate of 2.9% + 30¢ for Basic Plan, 2.6% + 30¢ for Shopify Plan and 2.4% + 30¢ for Advanced Plan.
But its reach is low and is available only in countries like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Singapore.
Shopify Transaction Fees
Compared to Shopify, WooCommerce doesn’t charge any extra transaction rate.
All transaction rate per order depends on your default payment gateway only.
Payment Gateways like Paypal and Stripe are inbuilt in WooCommerce.
Because it has no extra transaction rates.
Even though Shopify uses their transaction rates to give you unlimited hosting and space.
But still, as your eCommerce grows, those extra transaction rates will cost you more money.
Features: Shopify vs WooCommerce:-
In Shopify, you can:-
Add an unlimited number of products and organize them by category, type and more.
Shopify ADD product page
Add your own credit or debit terminal, split tenders, gift cards (not in the basic plan), etc.
Get checkout features including discounts, order notes, shipping, custom sale, and taxes.
Use brilliant store management features including refunds, order history.
Use customer management features like automatic customer profiles creation with new orders.
Synchronize online and retail customers’ information and do email marketing.
It is super easy to set up and almost no technical knowledge required, with a lot of certified partners to help.
It has a rigid product and has Less customization and design flexibility like WooCommerce.
You are limited by the options Shopify permits you to change.
There have been cases where Shopify banned some stores.
So, sudden change of terms of service might get your store banned, losing millions of dollars overnight.
You can sell any type of product, be it physical products or digital products including software, apps, etc.
Add an unlimited number of products and product
WooCommerce - ADD product page
It has intelligent shopping UX including pre-installed payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe and more), secure checkout process, default currency, Geo-location support, etc.
It has flexible shipping options with built-in features like shipping cart calculator, prices display options, etc.
It has built-in tax features and marketing features including discount coupons and codes.
It has built-in analysis and reporting features including net and gross earnings reports, sales orders, traffic, etc.
But unlike Shopify, you have full development control over your store and content.
Also, there is no issue of terms of service getting changed and your store getting banned.
This is because of its open-source nature, where you own everything.
Apps, plugins, and hosting are pricey sometimes.
You may have hard time troubleshooting problems if you are not so technically confident.
Because WooCommerce has endless customization options and features to explore.
Ease of Use: Shopify vs WooCommerce:-
Shopify is definitely easier for a ‘regular’ user.
It is a hosted eCommerce platform, so, it takes care of all the technical side of operating a store.
From your domain name, hosting to any security certificates, Shopify has you covered.
You can also change a product’s price, name or image from one screen.
There are also tons of help widgets to guide you through editing and personalizing your store.
Easy Step-by-Step Guide on creating new Shopify Site
On top of that, with Shopify, you don’t have to install, manage or update any software. Or worry about security or back-ups.
By contrast, with WooCommerce you need to do a lot more legwork.
Step-by-Step Guide on creating a new WooCommerce Site. Initial Setup is easy
WooCommerce can feel a little bewildering. Especially if you’re a first-time store builder and not technically-confident.
This isn’t to say that you cannot design a stylish WooCommerce store unless you’re a highly-skilled computer technician.
But, if you’re starting out selling online, there’s no doubt Shopify is a smoother option.
Theme: Shopify vs WooCommerce:-
Shopify has fewer free themes than WooCommerce. The premium themes cost up to $180.
Plus, Shopify doesn’t have many themes in its store, so no many choices like it are on WooCommerce.
However, Shopify themes are more cutting-edge and stylish.
They are very polished for eCommerce, and it’s not surprising given that it’s a dedicated eCommerce platform.
WooCommerce has more free themes that you’ll see on most other platforms. Over a thousand.
Also, there are many WordPress themes that although not built for WooCommerce are compatible with it.
However, many of the free themes do not give you everything. In most cases, you have to buy a pro version or look for another theme.
Some of them are very cheap, but others might cost more.
So you can’t really compare the free WooCommerce themes to the paid Shopify ones.
But since WooCommerce and WordPress are open source, you can choose to get a custom theme.
Or even get a developer to help you tweak the WooCommerce theme files to fit what you want.
Because you have many free theme options and it’s customizable in many ways.
SEO Compliance: Shopify vs WooCommerce:-
Shopify has a range of SEO plugins in its App Store.
Shopify’s load time and performance are stronger because it has dedicated servers.
Shopify ready-made SEO-friendly eCommerce platform, so, it takes care of a lot of SEO for you.
Such as giving your pages the right tags. Or avoiding duplicate content appearing in Google’s results.
Shopify makes it easy to add basic SEO information to your store.
Shogun – A SEO focused landing page builder – Paid
WooCommerce gives you great control over every aspect of your store. Including the parts that affect SEO.
You can dig deep and add detailed meta descriptions and titles to your pages to tell Google what they’re about.
It integrates with the robust content marketing system of WordPress.
You can make the templates of blog posts look pretty and easier on the eyes, which can lead to more time spent on your site.
Yoast SEO - Best SEO plugin for wooCommerce and WordPress overall
In the end, WooCommerce gives you more SEO-specific options overall, purely because of the fact that it’s built on top of WordPress.
The only problem is that your WooCommerce site speed may not be as top notch as the Shopify site.
And site speed is an important factor for ranking in Google.
Because of WooCommerce based on WordPress, you have innumerable ways to make your SEO better in WooCommerce.
And as long as your eCommerce site opens in 3 seconds, it will not affect your google ranking.
You can always increase your site speed by doing site optimizations or buying better hosting plans.
Security: Shopify vs WooCommerce:-
Shopify is PCI-DSS compliant right out of the box and all technical maintenance and security are taken care of.
An SSL certificate is responsible for safeguarding your website so personal information can’t be tampered with by cybercriminals.
Shopify comes with built-in SSL. You can see a little padlock icon that appears next to your URL.
You have to do all the technical maintenance and security in WooCommerce.
You have to add your own SSL certificate and make it PCI compliant.
Even though both WooCommerce and Shopify can have the same level of security, Shopify is secured out of the box.
Customer Support: Shopify vs WooCommerce:-
It has the best support in the business.
All Shopify plans come with premium support with chat and phone options.
Shopify Customer Support Site
The developers behind WooCommerce offer support through WooExperts for their users, as well as extensive documentation for the software.
WooCommerce Customer Support Site
But sometimes. It might get hard to support for some issues, especially when you are not so technically-confident.
Because of their top-notch support.
Because it is open source and gives you full control of your website and also quite cost-effective, I have to go with WooCommerce.
If you want something that’s completely hassle-free that has infinite scalability, then Shopify is the better platform for you.
But if you can deal with a bit of a learning curve, I recommend going with WooCommerce.