It is estimated that there are between 12 to 24 million online stores
currently in operation. Even established retailers are switching from brick-and-mortar stores to web-based platforms. So how do you harness that potential, while keeping up with the competition? One way is to build the best store possible and to do that you have two main choices. Read on as we settle the WooCommerce vs. Shopify debate.
Ease of Use
With Woocommerce comes flexibility. This is because it runs on the WordPress platform, and this is the hallmark of this content management system. However, that also means more complications.
One of the main Shopify benefits is that it is extremely easy to use, though at the cost of being more restrictive. The platform will take care of hosting, guide you through the whole set up and let you test the store before publishing. In fact, everything is fairly easy to do and you don’t need any prior technical capabilities.
For ease of use, Shopify will come out on top. It is definitely recommended for first-time users or those without any technical knowledge.
Designs and Themes
Both WooCommerce and Shopify
have a number of designs that make your website look stylish and professional. In addition, all of them are user-friendly and easy to navigate. This is vital to increase conversions on your store.
WooCommerce comes with an entry-level theme named Storefront. From here, you can customize and upgrade your theme to your own wishes. There are hundreds of designers creating WooCommerce storefronts for a custom experience, not even counting the modifications you can make yourself.
Once again, this does come with the caveat that you may need some technical ability. As independent designers can make them for WooCommerce, it does mean the quality of them varies. At the very least, you need a design that is mobile-friendly.
The Shopify website designer is much more streamlined in terms of how many themes you can choose. Including premium paid options, you can find just over 1000. This means you do risk having a shop front that looks the same as many others.
The plus point is that they are all created to a very high standard. Even the free themes will be functional and responsive. You may not get the choice, but you do have the quality.
When you start out designing a website, the cost can be an important factor. As well as the start-up and monthly fees, there are a number of add ons that may push up the price of your online store.
Shopify has a basic plan that starts at $29 a month. This can be upgraded to the Shopify plan at $79 a month with more features. The advanced plan, for much larger stores, is $299 per month.
To start with WooCommerce, you will first need to buy hosting, a domain name, and an SSL certificate. A domain name costs around $14 a year, and this may also be something you want for your Shopify store.
An SSL certificate
costs around 70$ per year. Your hosting can vary in price but can be bought for as little as $4 a month. Both of these are included in Shopify plans as part of your monthly fee.
One way to keep these hosting costs down is to opt for a company that does specific WooCommerce hosting. They will be able to combine the costs into one package, lowering your overall price.
There is more to your website than just being able to sell products. As you grow, you may need extra sales tools and integrations. Some may be included as standard, while some may need to be paid for separately.
Shopify has an app and API store. Though the amount available are fewer than WooCommerce, it would be hard to find an item that is not covered in this range. As they are vetted by Shopify, each should work effectively and efficiently.
WooCommerce has a lot more choices when it comes to integrations. You could also hire a developer to make your own unique plugin, should you have the budget and need to create something no one else has yet made. The downside is that they are often not as well-vetted, so check the reviews before buying.
The Shopify website designer has a number of very useful features that come as standard. Many of them require plug-ins, which may cost extra if you decide to use WooCommerce.
One of these is abandoned cart recovery. If customers leave the website and return, the basket will fill with items they previously had. This can seriously improve conversions, and comes as standard on Shopify.
Another feature is multichannel selling. This allows your shop to have channels on Amazon, eBay, and Instagram. They come as standard on Shopify but will cost on WooCommerce.
The final stage is shipping. Shopify has a partnership with many of the major companies such as USPS, DHL, and UPS. This can save you a lot of time and effort, instead of having to look for your own shipping methods which you may need to do on WooCommerce.
The more payment options you have in place, the easier it is for people to make a purchase. However, different payment options can cost. You have to work out if the value added is worth it.
Shopify comes with Paypal Express Checkout as standard. For other options, Shopify payments are the best to use as you will get fees for external processors. However, this is only available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
WooCommerce adds payment through integrations. Many of the ones from major providers like Paypal and Stripe are free. Others may have added charges.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify
In the battle of WooCommerce vs. Shopify, the decision comes down to what you want. For ease of use and setup, then go for Shopify. For the ability to expand and be unique, choose WooCommerce.
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