Ecommerce is a popular business-to-customer (B2C) model that allows you to offer millions of products to customers around the globe without paying the costs of maintaining a physical retail establishment. As more businesses choose the eCommerce method, Internet platforms like Woocommerce and Shopify are growing popular to help set up their online shops. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the debate between Shopify vs. WooCommerce to determine which is better for your company and why.
WooCommerce is a free open source toolkit for WordPress, so your initial costs will be null until you start developing plug-ins, hosting, and development. On the other hand, Shopify offers basic, professional, and unlimited monthly plans at $29, $79, and $179 respectively. It’s clear to see that Shopify is more costly moneywise, even with the same features and hosting.
2. Customer Shopping Experience
When choosing an eCommerce portal, it’s essential to take into consideration your customer’s shopping experience to ensure you can generate good revenue. Regardless of how great your products are, you won’t stand out against your competitors if your website isn’t functional and easy to use. Luckily, WooCommerce offers high-end flexibility in customizing add-on features to create a better user experience. Conversion rates can be improved in Shopify, but customization is much more limited in comparison to WooCommerce.
3. Website Development
The beauty of using eCommerce content management systems is that you don’t necessarily need a degree in web design for crafting a beautiful, interactive website. Yet, certain platforms make development easier than others. Shopify will give you access to customization right on your dashboard for easy and quick website development. In WooCommerce, you’ll basically need to set up everything on your own. If you’re looking to start up your online shop in the fastest time possible with little hassle, then Shopify is your best bet.
4. Theme Designs
Since WooCommerce was developed as an extension of WooThemes, it’s not a surprise that this platform has become a trusted resource for finding numerous free and premium themes. In Shopify, you’ll find a more limited selection of free and premium themes to choose from. But, it’s important to note that many other sites provide the same themes with some added cost.
5. Page Speed
Customers want to open websites fast in today’s digital world, so having a site that dilly dailies can turn away hordes of potential profit. In terms of page speed, Shopify takes first place. Adding plug-ins, high-end customization, and CSS or Java scripts in WooCommerce causes the server response times to slow down considerably. Whereas in Shopify, you have less control over customization and hosting is offered by the Shopify Server for faster page speeds.
6. Website Responsiveness
Statistics show that over 50% of customers use smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices for browsing the Internet daily. Since Google launched the mobile responsive testing tool, it has become clear that website responsiveness will be a major ranking factor for 2015. In Shopify, all packages will provide your business with responsive free and premium themes. When you use WooCommerce, there’s also an option to make your website responsive or not. The only major difference between the two will be the price tag for using the themes with responsiveness.
7. Design Flexibility
As previously mentioned, WooCommerce provides you complete control over customizing the front-end user experience as well as the back-end administration. It’s easier to improve your design, customer shopping experience, and account management to any extent if you’re knowledgeable about web development. On the flip side, Shopify is an easy-to-use platform that is largely inflexible in its design options and limiting in its customization.
Scalability refers to the ability of a website to continue functioning well as it is changed in size or volume to meet customer’s growing needs. Scalability is absolutely necessary for expanding your business, so it’s important to choose a content management system that allows good expandability. WooCommerce seems to fare much better in scaling up due to its elasticity, but Shopify doesn’t stand far behind.
9. Plug-Ins and Add-Ons
Seeing as WooCommerce is itself a plug-in for WordPress, it’s not hard to believe that the platform wins this round of the debate. WooCommerce currently offers more than 30,000 plug-ins that can be added onto your WordPress, though they may come at a cost. In Shopify, there’s only around 500 eCommerce apps that can be added onto your account for added functionality.
10. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Shopify vs. WooCommerce ends in a tie with this category because both platforms are equally reliable when it comes to SEO. You can count on both systems to provide easy editing options for adding meta descriptions, keywords, and other important SEO fields. There’s also options to install additional plug-ins for customizing SEO to an even higher level. WordPress offers the Yoast plug-in to provide content analysis functions and easily optimization your website for Google. In Shopify, the powerful SEO Meta Manager app can play the same role.
11. Blogging Features
Everyone knows that adding regular blog posts to your website will help boost your rankings in search engines dramatically. As an extension of the core blogging platform WordPress, WooCommerce takes the lead again for offering easy blogging capabilities. Shopify doesn’t support any blogging feature at this time, but it’s possible to integrate a WordPress blog into your Shopify account. You’ll need basic knowledge of website development to do so though.
Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your online store’s product information up-to-date and addressing any functional problems that might arise. Maintenance services for WooCommerce and Shopify are the same, but it’ll be more costly on Shopify moneywise to maintain your website.
13. Cyber Security
For your online store to succeed, you’ll need to be on top of your game against the ongoing threat of hackers, viruses, scams, and other cyber security risks. Shopify is more reliable in this category because it provides hosting and security support right in your account. In WooCommerce, your website’s hosting and security will depend entirely upon you.
14. Online Support
Shopify is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce solution providers that provide you support services, even in the minimum package of $29. WooCommerce is a free plug-in that comes with no support, but there is a community forum available to discuss any website issues with experienced programmers.
Overall, Shopify offers a smart way to build a strong product inventory system with a responsive website template. Shopify is best if you can afford the added costs or have little to no website development knowledge because setup is quick and easy. However, WooCommerce is also a wonderful eCommerce solution that offers high-end customization. If you’re looking for bespoke structure, are knowledgeable of PHP, and are looking to enter the digital retail market at a lower price, WooCommerce is right for you.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.