So you've dove headfirst into the world of ecommerce and now your actions alone determine whether you will sink or swim. The ultimate goal is to generate a profit and hopefully immerse yourself fully into the world of self-employment.
This can be scary, especially when you see how different self-employed taxes are compared to filing a typical personal tax return. However, the rewards that come with self-employment make everything worthwhile. The real question now is, which platform should you use as the foundation for your online store.
The struggle to choose amongst the two best platforms of eCommerce is real. If you are intending to launch an online store we are sure that you would have definitely come across other programs as well. But the reason behind the actual wave of always ongoing sides in WooCommerce vs Shopify is the number of users these platforms have.
Both of them have theirs peculiar advantages and disadvantages as well which makes it a tough decision. The decision becomes tougher because this will be for an online store which is critical. To help you make the final decision we have come up with this read after thorough research.
Approach towards eCommerce
There are two distinct core approaches to managing and creating a store in WooCommerce and Shopify
- WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform which means that the files are located on your own server. According to your vision, you can easily modify everything in the store.
- On the other hand, Shopify is hosted which means that the program is managed for you. You have the freedom to make changes but it is always limited to a certain extent.
Understanding the Practical difference the approaches
WooCommerce is flexible but not beginner-friendly. Shopify is beginner-friendly but comes with certain hard limits. This same theme will be put over again and again as we move forward and list out other specifications.
Market Share in eCommerce
The market share is an interesting scenario to witness when it comes to WooCommerce Vs Shopify. We advise you to not pick up a solution based on the popularity. This will help you in seeing the trends of competition. As of Dec 2018, 21% of the websites, of the top 1 million sites use WooCommerce to power their stores. The share for Shopify in the same lies at 18% and these stats are provided by Built With.
Now when we shift the focus to top 10K websites only 6% of the users are inclined to WooCommerce while a heavy share of 23% is with Shopify. This means that higher authority sites have a large share of Shopify. But the according to the overall scenario there is still a lot of room for growth in the entire space for both of them.
The conclusion of the analysis of the Google Trends of the last five years says that both have a steady growth.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify – Launching a Store
You have to do two separate things when you create a WooCommerce store
- Install WordPress and if you are not already familiar with the WordPress interface then you must learn it.
- The second will be to install WooCommerce and configure the same. Here also you need to learn its interface.
Before you start accepting orders from your online store you will be responsible for the following general things
- Finding a host
- Installing WordPress
- Configuring and installing WooCommerce
- Find a WooCommerce theme
- Configuring other tiny details like tax calculations, payment gateways, and other such things
It might seem daunting but it is actually not. On top of that there is a massive WordPress community online which is ready to help. But there is no denial of the fact that it comes with a learning curve.
This is a platform where creating your first product and selling it has only a little thing to do in between. All you have to do is carefully execute the following steps.
- First, you need to create an account on Shopify
- Synchronize an existing domain and if you don’t have one then purchase one
- The final step will be to select a theme of your choice
It offers an integrated payment gateway of its own and selecting that makes accepting payment from credit/debit cards easy. It is simple but at the same time dynamic with the facilities.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify – Understanding the overall control on the functionalities
The above section clearly signifies that Shopify is a more flexible solution when it comes to hosting. But does it match the performance of controls that a self-hosted WOOCOMMERCE can provide? Explore this section and know which one is at the edge here.
This platform enables you to customize the store’s functionality in the following ways.
- The theme that you choose is completely customizable
- When it comes to execution the WordPress platform enables you to choose from 50K+ extensions and plugins related to WooCommerce. These are exclusively designed for enhancing the performance of WooCommerce.
- You also get the benefit of custom coding here. Custom coding happens to be one of the major reasons for individuals to select WooCommerce.
So basically, you can customize your website, store, and the entire digital space as you want. With zero or minimum restrictions, you get to explore and create a channel that your audience will like. It is also evident with product variations on different scales. There is no specific or described limit for the number of variations in a product. Compared to this in Shopify has a cap of 100 variants and 3 total options per product. This applies irrespective of any plan that you select in Shopify.
One major disadvantage of Shopify in variation is already discussed above. But is the entire flexibility of the store similar? Let’s explore this here.
- When it comes to themes you have an option to find external or third-party themes. As an obvious choice, you will also have access to the platform’s inbuilt themes store for selection.
- Applications have a similar concept to WordPress plugins and are all available on the official website.
- It also enables you to add Custom HTML but that is only limited to the store’s homepage.
If we analyze the flexibility factor then it is present here without any doubt. But it is going to hit the walls and limit your area of resources to work around. The same thing does not happen with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify – Payment Methods and Gateways
There is a boast lengthy list of payment gateways for both these programs. There are high chances that you will notice a difference unless you have a niche situation. On top of the payment gateway charges, you are charged an extra transaction fee in Shopify which should be considered before selection.
This is a program where the plugin community is huge and its nature is open. This enables you to easily find tons of payment gateways with easy integration facility here.
All popular gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.Net, Square, etc. are supported. In addition to supporting these well-acclimated brands, it also offers other options like Przelewy24, Postgiro, etc. which are regionally famous. It is possible that you haven’t heard about them before but that’s the point we are trying to make. There is no limit to accepting global and regional payments here.
If you want to proceed with zero configurations then you can choose Shopify’s payment gateway. But that does not mean it neglects all the preferred options like Stipe, Paypal, and Authorize.Net. Apart from this, there is also a long list of regional payment gateways support that it offers.
And as included in the beginning you will be liable to pay an extra amount when you use external gateways on this platform.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify – Understanding Data Control
It is essential to know how significantly you can control and manage the ownership of your data.
When it comes to WooCommerce it is a self-hosted program which means you own everything that is there. Hence, you have complete control and authority of your data. If required you can even explore the raw data from your database.
When it comes to the access permissions you have it all for your data. But it must be remembered that the live copy of the same will always remain on the Shopify server. This means that getting the entire control of the same is practically impossible. But given that you get ways to access data in different ways which are not possible in self-hosting servers like
- Your products CSV file can be quickly exported
- An application can help you in backing up the website
- It is also possible to rely on an API and connect your data with the same
WooCommerce Vs Shopify – Handling Ongoing Maintenance
The ultimate target and focus in this section is discovering a care-free maintenance program amongst both these platforms.
It has been well-explained that the ownership and control of the entire data is provided with WooCommerce. But the trade-off with such an exclusive facility is that you are directly responsible for the maintenance of the same. Not only that but securing your online store also becomes a part of your job here.
Now, this is a tough job but it can be managed with the kind of flexibility that you gain. If you cannot manage this yourself then there are highly skilled RoR developers and firms that can help you with the same. Make sure that you take professional help if you are not compatible with doing it yourself.
Here there is very little space for worrying about the maintenance because it is entirely managed by Shopify. Even your store security is also managed by them. You only have to worry about getting the maximum out of the applications that you are using. This helps in enhancing the reach and obtaining maximum results.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify – Costing of each Platform
Costing is an essential factor to consider because you are going to deal with it until the existence of your store.
There are far too many edge-cases and scenarios here. Hence, it becomes tough to pin down the exact cost of using WooCommerce. But, the fixed costs include hosting, domain, and payment gateway. The most opted variable cost includes premium themes and plugins.
The best part here is that the cost of plugins and themes is one time and not recurring.
The core pricing of this platform is easy and transparent. There are three plans that the firm offers i.e. Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. The pricing for the same starts at $29/m and goes up to $299/m. But the following things can contribute to an increased cost of your online store.
- Opting for premium themes which usually comes at an onetime fee
- Premium applications are either onetime payment or come with recurring monthly or annual subscriptions.
- Extra charges that you have to pay when you opt for an external payment gateway
Making a selection from WooCommerce vs Shopify
There is not an apt right or wrong answer when deciding the best platform for you. Hence, we have compiled some scenarios
Key Reasons to use WooCommerce
Flexibility and control are amongst the most essential parameters when it comes to selecting this program. This flexibility is mandatory when you have a bunch of products that require heavy variations. It ensures that pricing structure, checkout process, and other variations are handled efficiently.
But in case you are intending to sell simple things which do not require variations. Or if the numbers of products are limited then flexibility is not of prime importance.
Another good reason is that certain products are banned from being sold at Shopify. In such cases, there is no other option but to choose WooCommerce because your products or manufacturers do not have room on the other platform.
Lastly, if WordPress is your thing and you love using it then this will be your best choice. Despite the learning curve, it will be a long-term decision and you will definitely appreciate it.
Key Reason to use Shopify
If you want to launch an eCommerce store with a simple and beginner-friendly way then Shopify is your best choice. And if your product list is not complicated and does not include multiple variations you will be happy with its ecosystem.
The major advantage that you get here is that you do not have to worry about maintaining your store. The security and maintenance are taken care of so that all you have to focus is on generating new leads and establishing sales.
This is a small attempt to ensure that by listing our difference in WooCommerce Vs Shopify you can make a better selection. Focus on the parameters that you need the most and making a choice will not be difficult.