Ok. So you are up for setting up your first ecommerce site to supercharge your retail business. First, good luck on your venture.
Now that your are reading this, it is easy to guess you’ve learned that you can create your own eStore with little money and next to nil technical knowledge, all by yourself.
But let’s face it. You have been Googling around for hours to find that one wizard that makes creating an eStore sound so painless. But then, you end up learning that there are tens of such magic wands all over the web being recommended by all kinds of people. And you go like …..
While there are numerous eCommerce platforms helping us create eStores, there are two authorities in the niche – WooCommerce and Shopify.
You might have bumped into these two eCommerce platforms more often than the others, and figured that these two compete neck to neck. In this exclusive post, you will uncover which one of these two is perfect for your needs.
Shopify vs. WooCommerce – The eCommerce Tug of War
Let’s go through the criteria for being a reliable eCommerce platform, and gauge Shopify and WooCommerce against them.
While we do this, I suggest you to be open and not perceive one of the two services to be useless. Because, what does not work for you may work for many others.
Remember? We already declared Shopify and WooCommerce to be the best of the lot. So choosing one of these depends on your requirement & limitations.
Let’s get started and see if Shopify succeeds to simplify your business or WooCommerce manages to Woo you away.
Ease of Creating /managing the eStore
This is perhaps the biggest USP of all the eCommerce platforms out there. If this promise is not met, the service ends way behind in the league.
Using both Shopify and WooCommerce is easy peasy. With either service, you can build an eCommerce website with no acquaintance of coding/programming what so ever.
Furthermore, Shopify and WooCommerce, both have a ginormous clientele leading to content rich forums which come handy.
Quick setup walkthrough for Shopify and WooCommerce
WooCommerce being a mega-plugin for the WordPress CMS, requires you to setup a WordPress website, host it, power it with WooCommerce and then setup the eStore. Witnessing the success of WordPress, we can say that it is not hard passing these steps with little guidance.
On the other hand, Shopify is a self-hosted CMS created specifically to make eStores. This means, no hassle of finding a web host, installing CMS, and setting it up. All you need to do is sign up for the service and manage the eStore. This is perfect for anyone who have zero technical skills like someone mother or sister who want to set up an e-commerce site.
Winner: If you judge ease of setup with the number of steps involved, then Shopify is your winner. Else, we can call it even.
Find out: Best WooCommerce hosting
WooCommerce Vs. Shopify: Who offers better features?
Both the platforms are comprehensively enabled to be eCommerce platforms. There is nothing pertaining to eStores that can’t be made possible with Shopify and WooCommerce.
Both the platforms allow further extension of the basic functionality through Plugins (for WordPress/WooCommerce) and Apps (for Shopify).
Since WooCommerce is in itself a plugin for WordPress, one can use other eCommerce related plugins alongside. WooThemes (the creator of WooCmmerce) themselves have come up with many useful eCommerce plugins that go well with WooCommerce eStores. Apart from that WordPress is filled with many plugins from other developers.
However, Shopify apps are specific to Shopify stores and vice versa. One considerable fact is that Shopify apps are highly trustable as they are meticulously tested by the Shopify team.
Winner: We can call it even again.
The beauty and minimalism of the eStore can get you a long way with generating, retaining and converting leads.
Both the eCommerce giants have 100s of great looking customizable, responsive free and premium themes that fit multiple niches. Manipulation of themes is also possible so you can customize them at code level.
This is a huge factor that can make or break your online business. Search engines are great lead generators if you optimize your eStore to its best.
Speed being one of the most important user-friendly factors (therefore important for search too), let’s talk a bit about that first. The speed of the store depends primarily on the performance of the web host. Shopify has dedicated servers catering only to Shopify eStores. But with WordPress, you may choose a variety of hosts all of which can be either fast of slow. Both the platforms allow image optimization that further caters to speeding of the store.
The other SEO factors like defining title tags, alt tags, meta tags and descriptions is made possible by both.
Also having an SSL is great for SEO. It tells the search engines that your website is secure for the users. Shopify provides the SSL certification for all its stores in every plan. However, with WordPress, you’ll have to shell out extra cash with your host to include an SSL certification. Even though you get up to date SEO option on both the platform, the only thing is; you need to hire an SEO expert for WordPress site, as it requires a lot of plugins & configuration. You can see a list of such plugins here & this video will give you a perspective on what a plugin configuration meant.
Winner: Shopify Wins the SEO Battle
The concept of using CMS itself indicates that the end user are technically naive. This calls for a strong customer support team that can address issues in no time. Only then can the webmaster be solely bothered about products, sales and scaling up his business.
WooThemes has a reputation of good support; so does Shopify.
Both have great communities that actively participate in the respective forums, and both have well-developed documentation.
Both are prompt to address our issues. However, Shopify has an edge as it also makes live chat available. The other great thing about Shopify is that its support is not confined to teaching how to use the platform and addressing customer tickets.
Shopify takes support to the next level with its eCommerce university where one gets to learn a lot from eCommerce specialists from the industry. It also showcases success stories that provide the much needed inspirational nudge.
To sum it up, WooCommerce is not bad, but no support can beat that of Shopify.
Shopify has five plans with the basic starting at $14/month. This plan is not quite advisable unless it is a very small eStore. The costliest plan called Shopify Plus, which can be tailor-made for a large eCommerce website can get over $200/month. Below are the interim plans. Apart from these, Shopify charges around 2.5% per transaction.
WooCommerce on the other hand is a free plugin that can convert a WordPress website into an eStore. But the term free can’t be taken for granted. It only means that the plugin is free. You’ll have to pay for hosting the website. And a trustworthy hosting plan with an SSL can definitely not be the cheapest. Also, WooCommerce will need you to install some extra plugins in order to have a full-fledged eStore. These plugins may incur further costs if you choose the premium ones. Thus, it can be cheaper than that of Shopify or much more costly.
Winner: WooCommerce (But this depends on which host and plugins you choose)
My Take: WooCommerce Vs. Shopify
Both the platforms are good to get your eStore up and running. Which one you choose majorly comes down to one thing. The amount you wish to spend. If you are ok spending the extra cash to get your hands off the technical aspects and have great support, Shopify can be the best pick.
But if you are confident that you can manage a WordPress site with the WooCommerce plugin installed, and try to save some cash WooCommerce is your deal.
Another factor that can determine the choice is the nature of your business. If your’s is a blog with few products to be sold, WordPress is ideal. But if you are more into commerce and the blog is just a topping, then Shopify is the one.