E-commerce is what makes the world spin when it comes to digital industry. Nowadays, everybody can have an online business, a virtual shop and sell products and services online. However, before choosing the one that can be the brick stone of your business, there are few questions to ask yourself:
- Which e-commerce option looks the best, which gives you enough wiggle room for your ideas?
- Which has the most innovative features for you and for your clients (store management, inventory management, shopping cart systems, social networking, blogging, SEO, security, ease of use, expand-ability)?
- Which one gives the best value for money?
- And in the end, which one brings you the most money?
In this post we analyze two of the big players in e-commerce: WooCommerce and Shopify.
Woo-Commerce is a WordPress Plugin that gives you the the possibility to transform your WordPress website or blog into a full-featured online store. In a nutshell, you can handle inventory, payments, shipping , you can have reports describing your customer’s activity and you can integrate it into an existing site, working perfectly with any chosen theme (see here WooCommerce Themes).
Flexibility: WooCommerce gets the brownie points
In the e-commerce industry, flexibility is a key point. Having more features incorporated into your WordPress website, means more possibilities to make money. You want your online store to have a blogging option as well, in order to promote your content and to create a content marketing strategy. Your online business can be boosted, by creating relevant content (which means more exposure and more leads). In addition, blogs with higher ranking in Google and other search engines gain more organic exposure and have more brand authority. And, above all, blogging is indirect selling.
With regards to flexibility, Shopify doesn’t get any brownie points, because it’s mainly built for e-commerce, therefore, it doesn’t have any blogging options or any other Content Management System features. If you want to help your sales strategy with a content strategy, choose Woo-Commerce, you will get all the flexibility needed. Seeing the fact that almost 30% of the websites online use WordPress, users will find more support and tutorials with regards to development or troubleshooting for Woo-commerce plugin. Being hosted with WP it gives even more power and offers more shop management tools and features within the intuitive dashboard of WP.
Design: Shopify is the king
When you want to sell products online, your website’s design is vital. When it comes to aesthetics, WooCommerce is the right choice, as you can pick from the myriad of themes offered by WordPress. Either you opt for a free or a paid option, this e-commerce plugin will go hand in hand with any WordPress theme. Shopify is also innovative theme creator when it comes to design. Shopify allows you to choose from 11 different free design templates, all mobile responsive, with modern and sleek design. The templates are coming in both free and paid versions. We can easily say that, when it comes to design and visual appeal, Shopify is the king.
Pricing: WooCommerce is (almost) FREE
Shopify starts its services at $14/month for Starter, $29/month – Basic, $79/month – Professional and $179/month – Unlimited. In the basic package are included the following features: 1GB of storage, unlimited products that you can upload, 24/7 support and 2% transaction fee. Additional costs can occur when you choose one of the paid themes offered by Shopify. Moreover, there are few paid plugins that can boost your website. These ones are: Social login plugin ($9.00/month), Store locator plugin ($59.99/month) and Live chat plugin ($2.99/month). If we make a quick calculation, if you use some essential premium plugins, WooCommerce will cost you you around $100/month, plus any transaction fees acquired if you sell products.
Compared with Shopify which offers you complete hosting solution, the WooCommerce doesn’t offer a storefront, which means you will need to find your own URL, hosting solution, theme, and provide your own security and maintenance. For transactions, you can choose among several payment gateways such as: PayPal Express ($79.00–$199.00 – The PayPal Express gateway for WooCommerce lets users skip the WC checkout and use PayPal instead), Amazon Payments (Free – Pay with Amazon is embedded directly into your WooCommerce store. Buyer interactions take place in embedded widgets, so the buyer never leaves your site) and Stripe ($79.00–$199.00 Stripe gateway for WooCommerce). All in all, WooCommerce it will cost you less than Shopify. And if we take into account the lack of subscription-based plugins, We recommend WooCommerce in the long run.
Who sells better? WooCommerce does it for less money
Before choosing one of the two e-commerce solution, you might want to ask yourself: “ How will help me WooCommerce/Shopify to sell my products?“ Being an open source software, WordPress is known for allowing third party developers to create extensions on its sites. These additions are beneficial to WooCommerce users, either there are looking for aesthetics, sales ideas, marketing techniques, user behavior analysis or quite everything else is needed in any online business. However, there is not so much wiggle room when it comes to specialized integration solution, so larger companies, might want to search somewhere else for help.
Even if Shopify forces you to install their app to take advantage of its whole package, Shopify offers its users a whole bunch of free features like: Create discount codes, Offer gift cards (on Professional and Unlimited), Install cart recovery systems (on Professional and Unlimited), Include individual product reviews, Amend shipping options, Sell on Facebook, Import products using CSV files, List different product variations, Print orders. Some of these options will cost you around $500 if you use WooCommerce.
SEO purposes: Shopify inclines the balance
With WordPress being one of the most reliable CMS, WooCommerce has all the SEO experts backing it up. Compared to Spotify, WooCommerce has a better blog and better archiving system, which leads to more productive SEO. Shopify allows you as well to practice basic SEO like meta information and copy for your blogs. The benefit of Shopify is the clean code and natural linking structure, creating a smooth user experience and enhancing the high ranking in search engine. We can agree that Shopify is somehow more SEO performant, because of its self-hosted solution that is built on huge infrastructure and its rapid loading page (80 milliseconds). In conclusion, Shopify has a higher chance on ranking well, which implies a higher conversion rate for your business. This doesn’t mean that you cannot achieve the same results with WooCommerce, however, it would be more expensive.
Help and Support: Shopify gains an edge
Shopify is well known for its high customer care performance, each customer having 24/7 access to a customer adviser. WooCommerce is a free platform, which means there is not so much customer care. In the same time, WooCommerce is very intuitive, so the users are left to figure it out by themselves. No worries, thought, there is a whole WordPress-WooCommerce community ready to help you, if you are in trouble.
With WooCommerce you can have a store on the go
Starting an online store cannot get any easier than using WooCommerce. You just need to upload the plugin to your WordPress site, adjust the settings and then start uploading your products. Filling in your inventory is as easy as creating posts and adding pictures. You can set the product descriptions, enter prices, set stock status, choose product category, link any group to other products, set product attributes, enable/disable reviews. In addition, you can add gallery images and set the featured image. The regular WordPress SEO applies for each product, like to any other WordPress post. With regards to shipping info, you can set weight and dimension of each product. The orders can be handled through the dashboard, showing you the customer’s info and the products brought. The order can be sified as Processing or Complete and any additional ones can be added manually.or automatic inventory, which will allow WooCommerce to handle your inventory levels. Inventory management can be applied for each product’s setting. The reports show order by date, by product, by category. You can analyze the graphs and data, export it as CSV files for later review. As your store is built into the WordPress site, you can manage your store on the go, with full ownership.
Shopify is a complete WYSIWYG (What You Get Is What You See) CMS. You can have control over your navigation, pages and design. Even if it doesn’t have a complex blogging solution as WooCommerce, it allows you to interact with your customers through comments. Among the features, you can benefit of your own URL, website builder, responsive store, unlimited products, over 70 international payment methods, gift card support, shipping options, full store management , built-in SEO and analytics. Shopify can gets you an online store fast and easy, however, you don’t own the site and the cost of hosting and apps can get extremely expensive over time.
Adding up the whole information, we can fairly nominate WooCommerce as the best e-commerce platform there is, dominating it’s opponent Shopify in few aspects such as: flexibility, usability hands in hands with WordPress features, higher search engine rankings, aesthetics and design, price-value rapport, more expandable bundle and raising popularity. This doesn’t mean that Shopify is not a strong competitor, easy to use and to maintain, it’s just that WooCommerce seems the best choice for most of the users. However, in the end, the best choice will be the one fitting best the needs of your business.