woocommerce vs shopify

Woocommerce vs Shopify : Which one to choose?

Are you planning on starting your very own online store? Brilliant idea! You will need an eCommerce platform to get things moving. Here we wish to look at WooCommerce vs Shopify and find out which of the two is the better choice.

Both WooCommerce and Shopify are some of the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market. Each comes with its own features as well as its own set of pros and cons.

By understanding these features, you can make a decision as to which of the two between Woocommerce vs Shopify will serve you best.

What will be covered on this article?
  • Understanding WooCommerce and Shopify
  • What to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform
  • What are the costs?
  • How easy is to use?
  • What type of payment methods does it offer?
  • etc

Let’s get started!

Understanding WooCommerce and Shopify

Before we get to the actual comparing of the features of these two great platforms, it’s important to first understand what they are all about.

Shopify is well known as an all-rounded platform that helps you set up your eCommerce store and perform tasks such as inventory management and accepting payments without the need for web hosting, caching or concerning yourself with security.

WooCommerce on the hand is a plugin that is built on WordPress. It allows you to make use of CMS or contentment management systems to be able to run your online store.

Now you know!

Which of the two you choose will entirely depend on your personal situation and interests.

What to Consider When Choosing an eCommerce Platform?

The journey to picking the best eCommerce platform is filled with plenty of information that could leave you confused at best. But do not worry. With a few awesome tips, everything should be easy.

  1. Cost- This is the amount that you will need to set up and run an eCommerce store.
  2. Simple to use – You want to go for something that is easy even for a beginner to use.
  3. The number of the integrations – The platform should allow for different integrations to help manage the store better.
  4. Methods of payment – The more payment methods that you can incorporate into your online store the better.
  5. Scalability – Your eCommerce platform should scale as the business grows.

These are the basics that you need to keep in mind when starting your online store. Let’s consider them in greater detail below.


Cost is the number one factor to look at. It goes beyond the amount required to start an online store to any extra services and features that you may need to add.

The main benefit with WooCommerce is that you can access it for free as a WordPress plugin. To make use of it though, you will require a domain name, SSL certificate and an account to host your WordPress site.

How much are we talking?

Well, getting a domain name will cost you$14.99, an SSL Certificate costs $69.99 and to host your site, you will need to pay around $7.99 each month.

While it is not cheap especially when you are just starting out, it is lower than Shopify. What’s more, you will not have to pay any fees per transaction. Let’s not forget the free themes.

The main downside to WooCommerce is that extra plugins mean more costs and you will also pay more for hosting as your online store grows.

What is the cost of Shopify?

Shopify features three main plans. There is the Basic plan that charges $29 per month, the Shopify plan that goes for $79 per month and the Advanced Shopify plan that goes for $299 per month.

However, keep in mind that you will need apps and other add-ons to improve your Shopify store. This means extra costs.

The payment method that you choose will come with its own fees. For example, using your own merchant account will result in a 2% fee on all transactions.

What about the Shopify payments option?

This will cost you $2.9+30 cents per transaction.

User Friendliness

It really doesn’t matter whether you are an expert web designer or you have no background in IT. One thing remains true, you want a website that is simple to use and navigate.

WooCommerce is very much unlike Shopify. It is self-hosted which means that other than installing WooCommerce, you will have to keep backups, manage updates, and deal with security matters.

Customization is easy though. This is thanks to the 50,000+ WordPress plugins available at your disposal. However, since you will need WordPress page builders, you will have to dedicate a significant amount of time learning.

The fact that Shopify is fully hosted means that you will not have to concern yourself with software installation and management. After signing up, you get to pick a design, add some customizations then move on to adding products.

You get an easy guided tour of the platform.

But there is a drawback.

The only tools available to you are contained in their app store. Luckily, the large variety means that they are more than enough.

As far as ease of use goes, were simply going to give the title to Shopify.


Your eCommerce store is up and running. You are still going to find yourself needing extensions and integrations. Extra tools make running your store more efficient. Tools for email marketing, analytics or leads generation will take your business to the next level.

WooCommerce is built on top of WordPress. You have access to more than 50,000 plugins.

And when you want a plugin that is specifically designed for your store, you can get one by hiring a developer to do this for you.

It’s hard to even for Shopify to compete with that.

Shopify provides you with access to hundreds of apps on their app store. You can always find something for the task ahead. Whether its product reviews, SEO, discounts, and countdowns, there is an app for almost anything.

With integrations and add-ons, however, WooCommerce is simply better.

Method of Payments

There are plenty of payment gateways that you can use to get cash flowing. While some may not be suited for your online store, others may not be used by some clients.

It makes sense, therefore, for your online store to accept different payment gateways.

With WooCommerce, you get both PayPal and Stripe as default. You also get all the popular payment gateways.

And this is where it gets interesting.

Since WooCommerce is self-hosted, the only fees you are going to pay are those charged by the bank or the payment gateway.

Shopify has their own method of payment known as Shopify Payments. It also allows many other popular payment gateways such as PayPal, Amazon payments, first data, and checkouts.

Is there a downside?

Indeed, there is. Payment gateways will charge fees per transaction. On top of this Shopify will also charge an extra 2%. There are also credit card fees which start at 2.9%+30cents depending on the plan.

The choice as to which is best really boils down to your individual situation. You can save a lot of money though with WooCommerce.


Once you have your online store set up, the next thing you want to think about is how to attract customers so that revenue can start streaming in.

For this to be possible, your e-commerce store has to have a high ranking on Google search pages. This is what SEO or Search Engine Optimization is all about.

Deciding which of the two between Woocommerce vs Shopify has the best SEO features is hard to decide. They both provide users with apps to help the sites rank high on search engines. One such tool is Yoast, WordPress SEO plugin.

Shopify on the other hand has plenty more SEO apps to choose from such as the SEO Doctor App.

Customer Support

With Shopify users, not only get 24-hour phone support but email support and LiveChat as well.  Whats more, there are plenty of useful guides as well as access to a community forum.

It’s absolutely brilliant!

No matter what time of the day or night there is always someone to help you solve your problems.

But what say Woocommerce?

Woocommerceapproachess customer support from a hands off perspective. Users are expected to solve their problems themselves by getting answers from the Woocommerce community and forums.

The upside of this method is that it will work just fine for someone with website building skills. But I’m afreaid the same cannot be said for other users without such skills.

Getting solutions is not as fast and easy as with using the Shopify platform. More time spent looking for answers means less time spent marketing your products and earning revenue.


Naturally, as an eCommerce store owner, you want your business to thrive. However, more sales come with extra demands, especially on resources. This is what CEOs refer to as ‘growth pains’.

While both WooCommerce and Shopify can take a large amount of traffic, they do have their differences.

If you are on the WooCommerce starter plan, you will start to experience some challenges as your eCommerce store grows.

You can expect the costs to rise as well.

However, you do have better control over your resources. In fact, you can stay clear of paying for resources that you are not in need of.

With Shopify, you can pretty much forget about matters of security, site performance and of course scalability thanks to the fact that the technical aspects are handled by Shopify.

Shopify’s infrastructure can take high volume traffic without affecting your site’s downtime, security, updates or backup.

Simply upgrade your plan.

The downside is that as much as you will upgrade your plan, your expenses also increase.

The fact that Shopify does most of the tasks for you makes it the superior hassle-free option.

In a nutshell…

Shopify Pros
  • Excellent visual quality of its themes.
  • Clear and straightforward pricing.
  • Installing apps for extra features is easy.
  • More free apps.
  • Very easy to use.
  • Reliable customer care.
Shopify Cons
  • The premium rated themes are quite expensive.
  • More expensive to run compared to WooCommerce.
  • You will have to install more apps to utilize the Shopify in the best way.
Woocommerce Pros
  • You can choose any theme you like provided it complies with the standards.
  • Free WooCommerce software and cheaper to set up.
  • You are able to maintain complete control over your data.
  • Simple to use.
  • Easy to edit and add content for SEO purposes.
Woocommerce Cons
  • While it is free to set up, there are other charges involved and the pricing structure is not as straightforward compared to Shopify.
  • Requires more work to configure your eCommerce site.
  • Not as easy to set up.
  • Since support is through the WordPress forums it is not as efficient as Shopify.

Wrapping this up

WooCommerce and Shopify are some of the best eCommerce platforms available today. The right one will depend on your individual situation. Shopify may be simple to use but you lack full control. However, you do get unlimited scalability.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, provides you with much more control but the drawback is that you will require knowledge on how to manage your website. If your aim is to save on costs then WooCommerce is a great option.


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