If you are looking to start an online store in 2019, your choice of e-Commerce platform will likely boil down to either Shopify or WooCommerce.
Both platforms have their pros and cons and depending on your personal needs might be the right choice for you. However, making the right choice is what can make or break your online business, which is why you need to be familiar with all the ins and outs of both platforms.
There are several factors that will help you determine which platform is the right choice for your business. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each of these.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is a multi-purpose eCommerce platform that lets business owners create their own online store, manage payments and inventory though Shopify alone. Therefore, Shopify is very popular with business owners with little or no technical knowledge on how website design and management works.
As such, Shopify is a good choice for business owners running their own online Internet marketing efforts, as it eliminates the need to know how hosting, caching and web security works. However, while it is a very user-friendly platform, being designed for use by everyone limits actual web designers and online marketing agencies.
Of course, as such Shopify has a monthly fee and its own app store where you can buy additional functionalities for your online store. The platform boasts incredible 54 different templates, 10 of which are free. All the themes are responsive with color schemes that can be modified.
What Is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin made for WordPress with built-in eCommerce functionalities. This plugin allows you to use the most powerful CMS in the world and create your own, recognizable online shopping brand.
As WooCommerce is completely open-source, professional website designers will be able to customize every aspect of your online store, so your business is unlike any other on the Internet.
One of the things that makes many business owners choose WooCommerce is that it is completely free. While you won’t have to pay a monthly fee to use it, you still need to have your own website hosted with the WordPress CMS installed.
Therefore, WooCommerce is especially great for companies with a WordPress website already in place. If you are familiar how plugins are used and installed, WooCommerce is likely your best choice. If not, you can always rely on an experienced digital marketing agency like BIP Digital to set up your first online store for you.
Read on to get a detailed overview on the strengths and weaknesses of each of these eCommerce platforms.
Ease Of Use
As we previously mentioned, Shopify was designed so that it can be used by anyone, no matter how advanced of a computer user they are. The website’s guide will take you through every step of the process, making navigation and management extremely easy for anyone. The website eliminates the need for hosting and gives tons of customization options.
On the other hand, WooCommerce may be intended for slightly more advanced users, but is regardless still very easy to use. Before you start using WooCommerce you may need to update your WordPress version or install the platform if you haven’t already. If you haven’t done this already, it might be a bit scary but you can always rely on a professional web development company to do it for you.
Design And Functionality
Customizing your online store is very similar to setting up your traditional street store. It is a shop window meant to attract customers and get them to spend money with you and not your competition.
That said, Shopify has a vast collection of 180 different themes. While some of the themes are free, premium ones come with their price tag. Furthermore, many of these themes can be further customized so you can design your shop to match your brand image.
On the other hand, WooCommerce does not have its own store where you can buy new themes. However, as it is an open-source platform, there are tons of themes you can find online, with some being free and other being very inexpensive, ranging from as little as $29.
Both platforms offer a lot of options that will let you add product descriptions, add pictures and product variations. Furthermore, both platforms let you easily add product videos.
Being an open-source plugin, WooCommerce lets you further customize your shop with different additions such as Facebook and email marketing integration and track your customers’ behavior.
WooCommerce lets you:
- Sell physical or digital products
- Accept PayPal Payments
- Adjust taxes and shipping rates
- Let’s you add unlimited categories and products
- Control your data
- Integrate the shop with your installed WordPress theme
- Integrate your shop with Facebook store
This is likely the make or break factor when choosing an eCommerce platform for your online store. There are several different ways to conduct online payments, and some of them might not be the best fit for your business. On the other hand, some payment methods may be restricted based on the location of your customers, limiting your selling potential.
This is why it’s important for your platform offers multiple payment methods. Shopify uses their own payment gateway called Shopify Payments, and while it offers third-party payment, it charges 2% for every transaction made this way. On top of that, third-party payment gateways charge their own transaction fees.
On the other hand, WooCommerce comes with an integrated PayPal and Stripe payment options. It also supports all other payment services. WooCommerce offers more regions and less-used third party payment services. As it is an open-source platform, any payment platform can enable support the for WooCommerce platform.
Since WooCommerce is self-hosted, there are no transaction fees involved except the ones charged by the bank or the payment gateway. Not being charged a fee for every transaction is obviously a huge advantage on WooCommerce’s site.
If you need to create your own merchant account or integrate a third-party payment gateway, WooCommerce is a definite choice for you and one that will save you a lot of money in the long run. Since Shopify Payments is not available in a lot of countries, this will limit your market to those that are, in which case WooCommerce takes another win.
Login And Check-in
Your customers can log in before processing their payment on both platforms or choose to use the platform incognito.
Both platforms also let you email abandoning customers. While this option comes built into Shopify, while you’ll have to use a free plugin for WooCommerce.
Shopify is a hosted platform, meaning that it offers help with any security issues. Their teams will make sure any security issues are handled as soon as they are reported. Furthermore, it offers two-step verification and a free SSL plan.
On the other hand, WooCommerce does not offer any native security support. However, any security issues you may experience will be handled by your digital marketing agency. If you choose a reliable digital marketing agency, you can rest assured they will give you the complete support you require when it comes to protecting your shop and your clients.
Shopify Or Woocommerce: What is your choice?
Both platforms are extremely powerful and offer a wide choice of functionalities, design options and payment options.
While Shopify is easier to use as you do not have to worry about installation and hosting, it also limits your control over your online store. Furthermore, the fees this platform charges can ramp up your costs. Add to that the cost of additional plugins, themes and integrations and it might not be a profitable choice for a smaller business.
On the other hand, WooCommerce is a completely free, open-source platform that lets you fully control your online store. This makes for a much more profitable solution best suited for small and medium businesses.
Furthermore, there have been many reports by Shopify merchants about their funds being frozen or held for long periods of time. As Stripe, the company that powers Shopify Payments reserves the right to hold your funds or suspend payments, you are running a store with a huge risk that might harm your business. You can read more about this issue here.
WooCommerce is a cost-effective solution that can only benefit your business. If you have a reliable digital marketing agency to help you maintain it or if you are experienced enough to do it on your own, you’ll have a free, powerful eCommerce tool that can help you expand your business.