Ecommerce Solutions 2021 – WooCommerce vs. Shopify – Pros and Cons
Digital commerce continues to evolve to reach customers on a larger or global scale. With this benefit and many other advantages, more and more retail and brick-and-mortar businesses are building and migrating their businesses online.
Along with these are the continuing upgrades and innovations of e-commerce platforms seeking to provide digital strategic solutions to startups and established brands.
Shopify and WooCommerce are examples of known and reputable e-commerce platforms which help individual sellers and businesses build their stores online.
As a website builder and a plugin that provide an all-in-one solution to the management of your store, they make business processes faster, more accurate, and more convenient for entrepreneurs like you.
Difference between WooCommerce and Shopify?
People planning to start their online businesses can use Shopify and WooCommerce to source products on online marketplaces and find suppliers.
They can publish the products they plan to sell on their website and apply customizations to appeal to their audience’s preferences.
However, there is a stark difference between the two.
While Shopify is a website builder where you can directly create your online store, WooCommerce is a website plugin for the website builder WordPress.
WooCommerce is integrated to a WordPress website to add e-commerce functionality while Shopify is a functional e-commerce platform by itself. It means that only the people who already have a website on WordPress or those who are willing to make a WordPress website first can use WooCommerce.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin for WordPress designed to add e-commerce functionality to your WordPress website. In other words, integrating WooCommerce allows you to sell on your Website.
WordPress is a website builder just like Shopify. However, while Shopify is programmed purposely for e-commerce, WordPress is built mainly as a blogging platform.
It is a content management system (CMS) that anyone can use to publish content. At present, 42% of what makes up the World Wide Web are websites built on WordPress. So, it’s safe to say that it’s the most popular website builder used by individuals and businesses out there.
WooCommerce is a smart integration for WordPress because it allows entrepreneurs and content publishers to market their products and services using content in a personalized domain. Sellers or e-retailers can create their WordPress website for free and publish their products and services using a free WooCommerce plugin.
They can customize their websites using hundreds of free and paid themes, and use Storefront, a dedicated WooCommerce theme that will help you make the most of the WooCommerce plugin and create branding.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a website builder offering all-in-one e-commerce solutions. It supports small-time sellers to big brands alike,
from product sourcing, marketing, managing, shipping, and monitoring.
Shopify is a platform where you can start selling from scratch and building your business from the ground up, with its beginner-friendly system of integrations.
Currently, it supports 1,700,000 online businesses, including big brands like Tesla Motors, Budweiser, and Penguin Books.
Creating a start-up store or migrating your brick-and-mortar store to Shopify costs zero dollars for 14 days.
The platform offers a 14-day trial period so you can decide whether your business goals can be met using the platform. After using up the free trial, you can subscribe to Shopify’s paid plan, which starts at $29 per month.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify: How do they work?
Although they serve the same function, Shopify and WooCommerce differ in some of their processes and features. Here is a basic guide to help you understand how they work and how they are set up.
To build your e-commerce website with WooCommerce, you need to start by choosing a self-hosted site. Self-hosted sites allow you to pre-install WordPress, WooCommerce, and all other e-commerce features that come with them.
You can use WordPress.com, Bluehost, or SiteGround. You can also use Pressable if you’re planning to do multiple sites.
Then, install WordPress following the site’s installation process. However, if you already have a WordPress website that you can use to sell your products and services, you can skip this.
You need to sign up for a WordPress and WooCommerce account to be able to activate the plugin. There are three ways to install WooCommerce:
- Auto-install WooCommerce on your WordPress site if you already have one.
- Pre-install WooCommerce by downloading the plugin, uploading it on the Plugins section of the dashboard, and activating it.
- Search for the plugin on the website dashboard’s Plugin section by typing WooCommerce on the Search Plugins button. Once it shows, click install and activate.
When you activate WooCommerce, you will be prompted with a Setup Wizard, which will guide you in creating and customizing your online store.
It will help you pick a theme. For your theme, it is highly recommended to use the Storefront theme with its child themes. It will help you maximize WooCommerce’s function in your online business.
Adding storefront extensions will also allow you to use more e-commerce features to optimize your store.
After activating WooCommerce and setting up your theme, you can already use it to publish items, add images, and even publish blogs for your store. WooCommerce has its Extensions Store containing hundreds of paid and free extensions you can install to add more e-commerce functionalities like shipping, subscriptions, and payment gateways to your website.
It’s much easier to start with Shopify than WooCommerce because you wouldn’t need to download, install, and activate extensions. Instead, you can go directly to signing up for a 14-day free trial or signing up for a plan. For Shopify’s free trial, the count starts when you first sign up and not when you start setting up your store.
If you just want to familiarize yourself with how Shopify’s e-commerce features work, its free trial is a helpful advantage. However, when you start working on your store, and do not set a pricing plan, your store will be paused at the end of the trial period. You won’t be able to resume working until you choose a paid plan.
Every plan you choose on Shopify corresponds to the work you need to do for your store. For example, the Basic Shopify plan is meant for beginners in the e-commerce business with occasional start-up sales.
The Shopify plan is best for growing and scaling businesses. On the other hand, the Advanced Shopify plan is meant for businesses doing large-scale operations and needing reporting.
As for the domain, you can either use Shopify’s domain or set up your own domain for a fee.
It also has a collection of 4,200 apps as of last year to cater to your business needs.
These apps, which you can find and install on the Shopify App Store, serve a wide range of uses that involves marketing, logistics, product sourcing and inventory, and integration to multiple channels.
As for its additional useful features, Shopify has programs and apps tailored to the needs of every business. It includes Shopify Plus, Shopify Lite, Shopify POS (Point of Sale).
Pros and Cons of Shopify?
Despite its popularity and proven usability, Shopify is still continuously innovating to cater to different sets of markets. Here are general advantages and disadvantages of using the platform:
Pros and Cons of WooCommerce?
WooCommerce also has its fine points and drawbacks. Knowing them will help you weigh what you need the most in your soon-to-launch e-commerce business.
Once you finally have your e-commerce platform up, you should now learn about the marketplace software you need for it. You can read further at this blog: Top 10 Marketplace Software Platforms on the Market.
How much does it cost to create a store on Shopify?
You can start a store on Shopify with zero cost using the 1-day free trial. However, after it expires, you should register for a paid plan. Shopify’s basic plan starts at $29 per month. The next Shopify plan costs $79 per month, and the last plan for large-scale businesses costs $299 per month. Prices of the apps are still not included in the plans’ prices.
How much does using WooCommerce cost?
WooCommerce and WordPress are both free to use! You will only be paying for plugins extensions, additional extensions, and themes that you add to your website. Yet, free extensions and themes are also available, giving you more control of your budget.
What is best for my business, Shopify or WooCommerce?
It depends on what you’re looking for in a website builder and website plugin. The process of starting in Shopify is much faster than that of WooCommerce. If you want more control over design and budget customizations, go for WooCommerce. If you’re looking for security and better channel integrations, go for Shopify. As for SEO, both are search engine optimized. They also have great search engine optimization features.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce are good e-commerce platforms. Both also offer many great but differentiated e-commerce features. One can be better than the other in one aspect but generally making a conclusion for what will work best for your business is not possible.
You need to know where your business is in terms of its growth and what you need at your current level to know which platform will give you the best benefit.