WooCommerce: Pros and Cons
As an open-source platform, the code is available. This means the customization possibilities with a platform like WooCommerce are inexhaustible. You can create a store with real personality. Little wonder that WooCommerce calls itself “the world’s most customizable ecommerce platform”.
|#2||Stylish, specially-designed themes WooThemes|
Specific, mobile-responsive WordPress themes exist for WooCommerce. There’s a huge selection to choose from and, because WordPress themes work with WooCommerce stores, your design options are never-ending.
Access to WordPress’ blogging infrastructure (more in our WordPress Review) and the ability to dig deep and edit your store’s metadata means WooCommerce gives you everything you need to harness the power of Search Engine Optimization and dominate those Google rankings.
|#1||Lack of customer support|
WooCommerce doesn’t provide phone support. Instead, you can submit tickets or try to find the answer to your problem on the forum. It’s a much more hands-off approach than Shopify.
So does this mean you should choose WooCommerce or Shopify?
If you don’t want to worry about the technical running of your store, Shopify is right for you. And it’s the same answer if you want ecommerce tools that are ready to use straight away. But if you’re technically-skilled and want a hands-on approach, WooCommerce might be a better option.
To use WooCommerce you need an account with WordPress. So if you already have a site with WordPress, WooCommerce is worth a shot.
If you’re starting out for the first time then a more intuitive platform like Shopify is a good option. If you’re undecided, keep reading for our in-depth WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison.
Remember, you can take Shopify for a test drive before you spend your hard-earned dollars! Hit the button below to get started.
What should you look for in an ecommerce platform?
When choosing the perfect ecommerce platform for your business you need to think about your own technical skill, your budget, and your business plans. For example, do you want to expand or sell across social platforms?
Once you’ve got these set in your mind, you need to look out for the right qualities in your ecommerce platform – for example, if you don’t know how to code, you’ll want to go for a ‘drag-and-drop’ option.
Look out for features which will be important for your business, such as abandoned cart recovery, shipping, and inventory management. Calculate costs and find one which has plans to match your budget.
Don’t forget about design! Do you want to base your storefront on a professionally made template, or build it yourself from scratch?
Lastly, make sure there are plenty of quality support options in place to help you out if you ever get stuck. Whether you prefer phone support or reading help articles, make sure there are proper help resources which suit your needs.
From our research and testing, Shopify’s sales features are second to none. Find out more in our Shopify Review. It’s a dedicated online shopping platform. Everything aims to help you sell and Shopify bases features on what it knows works. It’s why they’ve helped businesses generate over $55bn in revenue!
One strength of WooCommerce is flexibility. Because it’s an open-source platform, developers add custom-built plugins to the store. Add-ons are up-to-date, but to get the most out of the service you need to invest time (and money) to develop your store.
Key WooCommerce features we like are:
- Built-in blogging
- “Unrestricted customization” – you can edit anything from the homepage layout to the ‘buy’ button.
- Ability to embed products and checkout onto wider range of store pages
- One-click refund for customers
Abandoned Cart Recovery
One feature Shopify includes as standard that WooCommerce doesn’t is Abandon Cart. When thinking about WooCommerce vs Shopify, this is important. It allows customers to complete an abandoned order without filling out their details again. It also sends a gentle email reminder inviting them to finish the sale. Having an Abandon Cart option is like fixing a leak in your pipe – sales aren’t going to slip through the cracks!
While both platforms meet the selling needs of merchants, Shopify’s features are in-built. They’re ready to use from the moment you sign up.
Shopify vs WooCommerce – Features: The Verdict
This is a close one, but we’re giving it to Shopify. Having features in-built and ready to use makes Shopify more accessible. Important features like abandoned cart recovery are vital to any big business and that’s something WooCommerce doesn’t offer.
Shopify vs WooCommerce – Design and Themes: The Verdict
Another close one but WooCommerce edges it here. WooCommerce gives you limitless customization so, if you’re technically competent, you can tailor your theme to your exact liking. Shopify is a great out-the-box solution but for limitless control, WooCommerce wins out.
Shopify vs WooCommerce – Ease of Use: The Verdict
This is a no contest – Shopify is the clear winner. WooCommerce is a far more technical platform that will require a certain level of knowledge to use. Shopify is accessible to the everyday person and you don’t need to know how to code.
Shopify vs WooCommerce – Time to Build: The Verdict
Another easy win for Shopify here. Its key features are in-built, its themes just need to be populated with your content, and it’s easy to use. All in all the set-up time with Shopify is a lot quicker than WooCommerce if you’re building an online store from scratch.
Shopify vs WooCommerce – SEO: The Verdict
A narrow win for Shopify here. Shopify has faster loading times and stronger performance than WooCommerce due to its dedicated servers. Add in an SSL certificate – which you have to buy separately on WooCommerce – and it’s a deal-breaker.
Shopify vs WooCommerce – Payment Options and Fees: The Verdict
Surprise surprise, it’s another really tight call. WooCommerce wins this one just on the basis it doesn’t charge transaction fees. Unless you use Shopify Payments, you’ll have to pay a surplus and that gives WooCommerce the edge.
High-level security should be a priority for any website. It’s especially important for online stores, as you’re not only processing customers’ money – you’re also holding their personal information.
With Shopify, security is taken care of for you. Because it’s a hosted ecommerce platform, Shopify is in charge of handling any security breaches, and makes sure your site is safe from hackers.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, works with WordPress and is therefore self-hosted. The actual plugin doesn’t come with built-in security, so any security will need to be handled either by yourself or your hosting provider.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL certificate is responsible for safeguarding your website so personal information can’t be tampered with by cyber criminals.
Shopify comes with built-in SSL. This can be seen by the little padlock icon that appears next to your URL. The main benefits of having an SSL certificate are:
- Security when processing customers’ payments and personal information
- Helps your store’s SEO, as Google looks favorably on sites with SSL
- Lets customers know your site is safe to browse, making sales more likely
WooCommerce doesn’t have its own SSL. As it’s part of WordPress – which is an open-source platform – you’re responsible for sourcing your own SSL certificate. Most people will do this through their hosting provider, most of which provide you with a free SSL certificate.
We know the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) sounds like a load of jargon. All it really means, though, is that your website is set up to accept credit card payments in line with legal regulations.
Shopify, again, is totally PCI-DSS compliant. You don’t have to worry or set up a thing, and can start processing credit and debit card payments from day one.
WooCommerce is not automatically PCI-DSS compliant. You can make WooCommerce compliant, however, by following these simple steps.
WooCommerce vs Shopify – Security: The Verdict
It’s an easy win for Shopify here. It’s a hosted platform, meaning security is taken care of for you. Shopify comes with an SSL certificate, and is PCI-DSS compliant. With WooCommerce, however, you’ll need to source SSL and set up PCI-DSS compliance yourself.
Using Shopify feels like working with a team of engineers and business advisers! You’re never left on your own and whatever your problem someone will be available to help.
WooCommerce takes a much more hands-off approach to support. The focus is on DIY help sections. These include WordPress-related forums and the WooCommerce community.
You have your own WooCommerce account, but support is suitable for people who don’t need trained advisers. If you’re aware of technical aspects of website building, this will suit you just fine.
Put in the legwork and there’s enough WooCommerce information to solve your problem. But it’s a very different experience to being a merchant with Shopify.
When you’re trying to sell products, the longer a problem exists the more sales you risk losing. Plus, time spent trying to solve issues is time you could be spending marketing your store.
Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms for people looking to get selling online because of the support it offers.
Shopify vs WooCommerce – Customer Support: The Verdict
Shopify lands another knockout blow. If you get stuck on Shopify, there’s always help on hand. With WooCommerce you’re left on your own to find the answer to your problem. There’s helpful WooCommerce information out there but with Shopify it’s readily accessible.
|Shopify Pricing Plans||Shopify Basic||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
No matter how long you sign up for, you still get the same amount of features for your money. From $29/month, you get everything you need to run a fully-functioning ecommerce store!
With WooCommerce, it’s a little more difficult to say what your final monthly bill is going to be.
Although WooCommerce is a free plugin for anyone with a WordPress site, you need a lot of add-ons to start selling online. For example, you’ll need to purchase separate hosting, a domain name, any extensions you want and an SSL certificate. All of these are included in Shopify’s plans.
To get a rough idea of price, let’s look at BlueHost’s WooCommerce + WordPress package deal. For $6.95/month you can host your WooCommerce store and get a domain name (get started with BlueHost here).
Most estimates put the cost of running a store on WooCommerce as roughly on a par with Shopify’s Basic plan. You could create a store and start selling for less on WooCommerce than Shopify. But the truth is, knowing what your final bill will be is a lot more difficult.
There’s another important pricing consideration: time. With WooCommerce, you will have to invest a lot more of your time getting your store off the ground.
In the ecommerce world, time does equal money.
As your store grows, you will want access to more advanced features so you can carry on growing. You may want access to great SEO support, for example, or an extra payment gateway. Because WooCommerce’s prices are less defined, you’ll have to be more careful at working to a budget when building your business.
Shopify vs WooCommerce – Pricing: The Verdict
It’s really hard to pick a pricing winner. The award goes to Shopify simply because you know where you stand with monthly fees. WooCommerce is a little more complex. With all the add-ons, working out your monthly bills can be a little more tricky.
Perhaps Shopify and WooCommerce aren’t really the right choices for your ecommerce business. In that case, it’s worth taking a look at some other leading ecommerce builders to find your perfect match.
Best Built-in Features
If you’re planning on big business, but want a smoother and less technical platform than WooCommerce, we recommend BigCommerce. It’s the most scalable ecommerce builder on the market, and doesn’t require any coding skills! With prices starting at $29.95 per month, it’s an affordable investment for your store.
Best Website Builder With Ecommerce Functionality
If you’ve been reading this comparison and sweating over the technical side of ecommerce, take a look at Wix. It combines the ease of use of a website builder with a powerful range of sales tools – perfect for small businesses! Its ecommerce prices start at $20 per month, which is great for getting started.
Great Analytics Features
Volusion is an ecommerce platform with a strong focus on analytics. It helps you grow your business with in-depth insights into sales and customer visits, and has a range of ecommerce specific tools to help push sales. With four price plans starting at $29 per month, you’ve got lots of room for growth.
Best Designed Templates
If you need a strong, stunning brand alongside a powerful inventory, Squarespace could be your perfect match. It has the best designs on the market, really letting your products shine. It has two ecommerce plans, starting at $26 per month, so it’s not suitable for momentous growth, but is perfect for small to medium stores.
Like WooCommerce, this is a self-hosted ecommerce platform, meaning you have to manage it all yourself. Magento is extremely flexible, offers great customization, and is extremely popular! It’s still very technical and the costs can add up, but if you want an alternative to WooCommerce, it’s worth a look.
Which platform is more scalable, WooCommerce or Shopify?
WooCommerce is more scalable in the long run because you have ultimate control over and customization of your site. However, it may be more costly than Shopify. Shopify is extremely scalable, with a choice of plans and apps to push growth, but is more structured in its features.
Who has better apps?
Technically, WooCommerce has a wider range of plugins than Shopify, but they’re not all reliable. Shopify has over 2,200 apps in its App Store, and you’re guaranteed they’re all compatible with your site – as well as safe to install.
Can you migrate your store between Shopify and WooCommerce?
Yes! You can migrate your site from WooCommerce to Shopify, and vice versa. While switching may not be ideal, it’s not impossible – you can even automate the entire process, which will help you to avoid headaches.
Can you use WooCommerce or Shopify for free?
You can try Shopify for free for 14 days, but then you’ll need to sign up to a paid plan. WooCommerce is free, but you will still spend money on hosting, security, domains, and more – so make sure you budget for whichever you choose.
Do you have to pay for hosting with WooCommerce or Shopify?
Since WooCommerce runs through WordPress, which is a self-hosted platform, you will have to pay for hosting separately. If you’re looking for a web hosting provider, check out our hosting comparison chart here. With Shopify, your site is hosted for you, so there’s nothing to sort out.