Shopify VS WooCommerce 2022
Choosing the right eCommerce platform for your online business can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to pick between two eCommerce giants — Shopify and WooCommerce. These powerful platforms are the top two most-used services in online store-building, with each boasting thousands and thousands of devoted users. Both platforms offer a wealth of key features, templates and user services devoted to building successful online stores, but when pitted against one another, will Shopify or WooCommerce come out on top? Pricing, ease of use, support access, customisation options — all of these things are clinchers in figuring out which service will fit your business needs best.
Shopify vs WooCommerce 2022: Who’s Who?
First, we should cover the basics — what are Shopify and WooCommerce? Shopify is the bigger and better-known of the two, with over a million sellers choosing to use Shopify as their platform builder. Shopify is relatively easy to use; simply buy your package and start your business, with the technical side streamlined into a user-friendly set of tools and services. WooCommerce on the other hand is an open-source software plan that was built to work with WordPress, the most commonly used web page builder. WooCommerce’s content management system is the most powerful on the market, with endless customisation options and the opportunity to get deep into the technical side of things. Both have plenty to offer, but which one is right for your business?
Ease of Use
Whether you’re a first-time eCommerce seller or a seasoned pro, ease of use is a priority when it comes to establishing a functioning, successful online business. Accessing admin, dashboard and the website’s back-end is integral to both Shopify and WooCommerce — but in very different ways. Shopify favours a clean, streamlined dashboard and back-end interface, hiding away a lot of the finicky technical options. Upon logging in, Shopify presents you with a neat, minimalist-style mini-dashboard offering real-time information on the performance of your store. Using Shopify requires no knowledge of coding and little technical involvement, giving it a leg up over WooCommerce in this case.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is designed for the tech-savvy. The setup process is a little complicated as the WooCommerce plugin builds off WordPress, and in order for the platform to reach its full potential, additional plugins, apps and downloads are needed. Also, at least a base knowledge of the hosting service WordPress and WooCommerce or openness to learning on the go is necessary here, but the results are rewarding. WooCommerce offers the user a plethora of visuals and tools to explore once inside the plugin. If you’re a more seasoned online seller, then WooCommerce’s dashboard will be a lot easier to navigate.
Security and Support
Next up is security and access to support. Shopify’s security system is ironclad and already in place when you buy your Shopify plan. All security issues and updates are taken care of without the need for your input, and all data transferred between you and your customers are automatically encrypted. It also runs on a level 1 PCI-compliant server which is needed to accept credit card and debit card details. Accessing Shopify’s support services is also stellar — the platform offers 24/7 unfettered access to live phone and chat support, meaning you’re never more than a call away from receiving specialist help.
WooCommerce’s security system runs much differently. Most of the labour falls to the user, meaning you’ll have to procure your own security certificates, two-factor authentication and more. It’s tricky and cumbersome to implement all of this yourself unless you’re versed in tech. As well as a lacklustre security service, WooCommerce does not offer live support options. However, they do provide a selection of written resources such as an FAQ section and WooCommerce Docs. The WooCommerce community, a forum of users, developers and WooExperts, are also available to talk through any issues.
Design and Customisation
Site design is instrumental in creating and maintaining a vibrant, successful online business — clients are more likely to engage with an online store that appeals to them and that’s easy to navigate. Shopify’s site building and design options are easy to use, offering over 100 pre-made templates to pick and choose from. The themes are elegant, neat and user-friendly, guaranteeing customer interaction and satisfaction. The themes themselves are also customisable thanks to Shopify’s Liquid code and built-in theme editor. The prices range from free to premium themes, so there may be extra costs involved.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, eschews traditional theme templates in favour of a completely customisable storefront experience. Yes, they still offer a handful of pre-built themes, but the option to build your site from scratch is the main attraction here. You’ll have the opportunity to create your site to match your vision without the restrictions of pre-existing boundaries, ensuring that your storefront is an accurate reflection of your business manifesto. You’ll either need a strong knowledge of website building or a dedicated web designer to really utilise WooCommerce’s design features, but it’s worth it for complete control over your vision.
While both Shopify and WooCommerce offer the basic level of tools needed to make sales on your eCommerce store website — free shipping options, multichannel selling, search engine optimisation, unlimited products and inventory features, and more — they differ in the detail.
Shopify really shines through in this area, beginning with their unique Abandoned Cart Recovery feature. Many potential buyers will baulk at the last minute, leaving items in their cart. As the site will prompt the consumer to give their email address at the checkout before they press “Pay”, Shopify will send them a gentle email reminder of the wonderful products they left behind at checkout. This feature has led to an increase in the number of conversions for Shopify's customers. WooCommerce does not offer any such feature, meaning you’ll have to outsource to a third party. Shopify’s multi-channel selling features are also included in your subscription price, enabling you to market through popular platforms and apps including Facebook and Amazon. If you want the same social media integration service from WooCommerce you’ll have to pay extra. Finally, while both platforms offer free shipping and international selling and payment options, Shopify goes the extra mile. Their partnerships with reputable shipping companies ensure peace of mind for both the consumer and you. WooCommerce, while providing a solid standard sales experience, pales in comparison to Shopify and Shopify Plus in this area.
Apps, Tools and Plugins
No matter how extensive your chosen eCommerce platform is, plugins and apps will always be necessary to ensure the functionality and accessibility of your online store. Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer a wealth of tools in this area but if you’re looking to expand on shipping options, analytics tools and core features, you’ll have to look outside the box.
Shopify’s Plus plan features access to exclusive apps built especially for use with Shopify — Launchpad, Script Editor and Shopify Flow were all designed to enhance existing Shopify features. They also offer access to the Shopify Merchant Program to learn how to get the most out of apps and plugins.
WooCommerce, however, has an edge on Shopify here. Because their platform is so void of restriction and relies heavily on apps, tools and plugins, the ability to customise using said apps, tools and plugins are endless. WooCommerce features over 50,000 unique plugins and 500 extensions specifically designed for eCommerce stores — just be careful not to overload your site with add-ons as it can cause code issues and site glitches.
Lastly but definitely not least — pricing and fees. While on the surface, the difference in initial cost seems large, it really is a case of getting what you pay for.
WooCommerce fees are low. WooCommerce itself, being a plugin for WordPress, is free — however, you’ll have to pay for the hosting plan as well as a fee for your domain name. Outside of that, certain themes, apps, plugins and development tools will also have to be paid for. Ultimately WooCommerce pricing will be cheaper than Shopify, but you’ll have to put in a ton more labour yourself. Shopify, on the other hand, requires a monthly subscription fee, with package prices starting in the tens and reaching into the thousands, depending on your package tier. However, Shopify and its advanced plan, Shopify Plus, will cater your plan to fit your eCommerce business, meaning costs are tailored to your needs. Shopify fees might cost more, but so much of the extra effort required to set up your business is either cut away or streamlined. So — you really will get what you pay for.
Which One Should I Pick?
Well, that all depends on your needs. Are you someone already versed in the back-end of website development and eCommerce software? Then WooCommerce might be the right platform for you. It gives you all the tools needed to create your vision the way you want, but the interface might be overwhelming for someone with little prior knowledge of web development. If you’re new to eCommerce, or uninterested in the nitty-gritty of the build, then Shopify is perfect for you. They put the user experience first above all else, with their recent Shopify Plus update making it even easier to build a successful online business. Click here to read our blog on the most recent Shopify Plus news.
If you’re ready to make the leap to online selling, contact us today to talk about your options.