Opening an online business is becoming one of the most popular income options nowadays. This is rising due to the changing preferences of shoppers. Aside from that, there are more people connected to the Internet.
With that in mind, many services can help you host and open your website. In this article, I will compare Woocommerce and Shopify.
First, I will introduce what each website offers. After that, I’ll compare them to eight aspects: expertise, experience, scalability, SEO-friendliness, mobile-friendliness, security, and support.
Before diving, take a look at this video on the most popular business ideas for those who want to set up shop for the first time:
Why choose an e-commerce platform
According to Oberlo, e-commerce is defined as any business transaction done online. It can range between transferring money from one bank account to another or buying goods on a website.
Here are several reasons as to why you should opt for an e-commerce platform:
1. New opportunities over a new internet
I have mentioned that most people are on the Internet and are buying stuff online. With that in mind, new businesses should invest using an e-commerce platform to get a slice of that pie.
2. Wider customer reach
Once you use an e-commerce platform for your business, your products and services will be seen by anyone on the Internet. This enables you to get orders from anyone around the world with an internet connection. That way, you have a bigger chance of earning more from your business.
3. Create a network of trust
Besides everyone seeing your products and services, you can use the e-commerce platform to step up your image towards your future customers. This will help you convince them that they should buy your products and services.
As an additional bonus, this will help you gain trustworthiness as a brand at the same time.
4. Keeps your business open 24/7
Once you post something on the Internet, it stays there for as long as it should be. This can be said about making use of e-commerce platforms. You won’t be restricted from providing products and services within the usual 8-hour limit per day.
5. Invest a small amount in exchange for a simple setup
If you are unfamiliar with making your website but want to make one for your business, investing in e-commerce platforms is your way to go.
They usually charge you a small amount per month to use their resources to make a website around your business idea.
Aside from that, they continuously improve themselves to make it easier for you to upload new products, fulfill orders, and update your blog.
6. Produce a modern image for your brand
I mentioned earlier that putting your business on the Internet can help you gain your customer’s trust.
In addition to that, you can make use of the e-commerce platform to show your customers what your brand means to them. This is to help you stay on top of your competitors too.
7. Upgrade your customer support
Putting your business through an e-commerce platform will help your customers order it during any time of the day and week, this means that you can assist them whenever possible.
This can also help you with two things. One, fulfilling these orders will help you gain their trust. Two, you can showcase your brand image.
WooCommerce at a glance
WooCommerce is an e-commerce platform that builds upon an existing website platform called WordPress.
Simply put, WordPress helps you make a website from scratch or use an existing template. WooCommerce puts it one step further and turns it into its marketplace to buy and sell items or services.
It was created by Mike Jolley and James Koster while using a version of Jigoshop, an existing e-commerce plugin. They were able to publish its first version in 2011.
Four years later, both it and WooThemes were purchased by Automattic. Said company is behind WordPress too.
Since then, it is one of the top companies associated with e-commerce platforms. Getting 25% of total users worldwide is no laughing matter.
Shopify at a glance
As one of the e-commerce platforms with the highest market share, Shopify is another tool that you can use to make your website.
Shopify started in 2004 as a platform for a snowboarding store by Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinland, and Scott Lake. After it failed a few years later, they relaunched in 2006.
Unlike WooCommerce, they have their in-house platform to create your website and keep it updated any time you want.
Comparing Woocommerce and Shopify
After a brief introduction with each platform, let us explore what makes either platform great. We will compare each platform through eight different categories.
Expertise and experience
WooCommerce prides itself on being a flexible platform for business owners who want to take advantage of their accounts with WordPress. You can choose to build one from scratch or use their platform-compatible themes.
Meanwhile, Shopify prides itself on being an all-in-one platform. Not only would you be able to sell a variety of products, but you can also make a blog for your website. This type of setup fits most medium to large enterprises.
This criterion involves how many features can it carry and how it will fit in how fast your business will grow.
There are several points to consider if you are thinking about making use of this platform for your business.
Requires a WordPress account
If you are to make your business website through this platform, you should consider that it is a WordPress plugin.
With that in mind, you need to create a WordPress account and add the WordPress plugin through their platform. You can do so by following the following steps:
- Call in a web-hosting provider to help keep your future website online.
- Ask them to use WordPress to edit and manage your future website.
- Build a base website using WordPress.
- Install and configure WooCommerce onto the finished website
Gain access to a wide variety of plugins
This allows you to gain access to third-party plugins to use with the open-source platform. Take note that some of these would require you to pay a fee to use them.
Here are some of the plugins that you can use with WooCommerce:
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- Skyverge Memberships – give customers access to restricted content or products for free or for a price.
- Amazon Pay – let our customers pay using Amazon Pay without leaving your site
- ShipStation – helps you fulfill orders through WooCommerce
- MailChimp – connect your email to your WooCommerce website
- United States Postal Service – gives you shipping rates directly from the USPS to guide you for domestic and international parcels
Variety of features to assist with your store
Aside from adding various plugins, signing up with WooCommerce gives you access to the following advantages:
- Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
- Unlimited number of products and product categories
- Stock levels control
- Complete control over your data
- Sell digital items
- Use an affiliate marketing model
- Manage product reviews
- Categorize products
- Add taglines for product images
- Integrate with over 100 payment integrations
- Automatically show tax on pricing, shipping, or store location
- Manage discounts and coupons
- Automate follow-up emails from customers
- Track website activity
- One-page checkout
- Abandoned cart recovery through WooCommerce Follow-ups
As I have mentioned in the previous section, Shopify prides itself on being a one-all be-all solution to businesses looking for a website to promote their products or services.
For starters, you can opt to build it from the ground up using their easy-to-use website builder. An alternative is to choose from an array of templates and modify it to suit your brand’s niche.
Then, you can start adding products manually through their system. You can also opt to import customer lists, orders, or reviews through a CSV file to their service too. It can contain more information, such as SKU or variants.
Take note that selling digital products on the platform would require you to add a free app to your Shopify store. Aside from that, you would need to install a third-party plugin to provide subscriptions or allow customers to take in recurring payments.
They allow for a variety of online payment processors for customers to use. However, they will charge extra transaction fees unless they make use of Shopify Payments, their in-house payment processor. On the other hand, they can allow various manual payment methods.
When it comes to shipping, there are certain countries where Shopify can make use of live shipping rates for their customers. However, they can invest in discounted shipping labels to save them more money. Aside from that, they have dropshipping options.
For taxes, you can hide or show prices with tax added. If you have stores in the US, you can make use of an automated tax calculator using the ZIP code. You can also enable or disable tax settings for certain countries or regions too.
There are also options for you to sell on various other websites too. Shopify allows you to sell to places, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and eBay. That way, you can manage these in one place.
Speaking of managing them all in one place, you can also add various benefits for your customers. This includes gift cards, discount codes, and email marketing. You would have to integrate with a third-party app to create a loyalty program.
If you are expecting abandoned carts from your future customers, Shopify can help you remedy that. You can make use of an abandoned cart recovery tool. That way, you can increase the chances of getting a sale and return customers.
Their services can also help those with brick-and-mortar businesses. You can make use of their in-house point-of-sale system to manage every customer interaction. If you want to get a card reader with that, you would have to pay extra for it, but it is a worthwhile investment.
Relevant: Shopify’s revenue model
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is an action that helps bring a website higher on the search results. This is especially important for online businesses as the higher up they are, the more they can make a sale, and the more they can promote their brand.
With the advantage of WordPress, WooCommerce can help you gain the advantage of SEO easily. This includes adding additional features such as tags, categories, and website searches. Being able to dictate your website design for the maximum effect for SEO is a good idea.
On the other hand, Shopify relies on the user’s creativity and effort to make their website as SEO-friendly as possible. However, do take note of the following takeaways:
- URLs are not fully customizable
- Unable to customize the generated Robots.txt
- Some difficulty found to make sub-categories
- Unable to customize sitemaps
- Enable or disable automatic redirects
More and more people are accessing the internet through their smartphones and tablets. Due to this trend, it is highly recommended that websites should adjust themselves to these screens. This trend has been extending into online services such as social media and news websites.
If you want to implement a mobile-friendly website using WooCommerce, you can thank WordPress for its adaptability. Since you can dictate how your website looks and flows, you can customize your website through their mobile-friendly themes. They load fast too.
Meanwhile, creating a Shopify account means that your customers can also browse your website and buy something from their phone. They also have access to a wide array of themes that you can import that can display correctly on any device.
When setting up a website online, you would have to deal with sensitive information. On any transaction, it will involve you gathering your customer’s address and payment details. Aside from that, you will also keep track of all your visitors. Thus, security is important.
Remember that I said that you need a reliable web provider for WooCommerce? This includes protecting your pages from any possible cyberattacks in the future. Aside from that, you would have to rely on the security that comes with your plugins to protect the data too.
Meanwhile, Shopify excels in this aspect. They provide their users with their SSL certificate, which secures all information exchanged during customer payments. In addition to this, you can feel reassured as it is a PCI-DSS compliant platform too.
If you are stuck in any way when using any of these e-commerce platforms, having a channel where you can talk to someone or look up your issue through their guides. Doing this will help you keep you and your business back on track.
For WooCommerce, you have access to the community through various forums through WordPress. Aside from that, the website gives you various DIY help sections too. You can also ask through their website for someone to help with your issue as well.
Meanwhile, Shopify has 24/7 chat support. Aside from that, you can contact them through Twitter, over the phone, or an email message. They also have a knowledge base that can solve the most common issues you have, such as log-ins or editing website pages.
Plans and pricing
When using an e-commerce platform, it will require you to invest a bit of your income in your future business to open one. Let us take a look at how much WooCommerce and Shopify charge their users for their features.
If you want to use this e-commerce platform, you can simply integrate it into your website by downloading it. However, there are several items that you would have to pay to make use of its full features:
- Domain name
- WordPress theme
- WordPress extensions
- WooCommerce extensions
- SSL certificate
- Payment options
If you want to make use of this e-commerce platform, you can choose between five different options where you have to pay a certain amount per month:
1. Basic Shopify ($29)
For this subscription, this includes your website, blog, and store. Aside from that, you can post any amount of products, discount codes, and recover abandoned carts.
In addition to that, you can create up to two staff accounts that can access this account. You can get up to a $64 shipping discount for each order with your shipping labels.
When it comes to payment options, you would have to pay a rate of 2.9% plus 30 cents for every online credit card purchase. In-person transactions cost 2.7%, while other providers will cost 2%.
Finally, you can make use of their POS feature. This also includes integrating your POS with other third-party applications.
2. Shopify ($79)
This plan includes all the benefits of the Basic Shopify plan but with additional features and some changes.
From the start, you can track any movement within your website. Aside from that, you can learn about the USPS Priority Mail Cubic Prices. Finally, you can add up to 5 store locations and get hardware support.
Compared to the previous plan, you can get up to a 72% shipping discount. Each online credit card purchase costs 2.6%, in-person purchases costs 2.5%, and other payment methods cost 1%.
When it comes to the POS feature, you can manage shifts and POS pins aside from the allowances in the Basic Shopify plan.
3. Advanced Shopify ($299)
This is one of the most expensive options available to any business. It includes all the features of the Shopify plan with several additional features and changes.
For shipping, you can compare various shipping prices through various third-party applications. You can reach up to 74% now for this discount.
When it comes to payment options, they can charge up to 2.4% for online credit card purchases. Meanwhile, other payment options now only cost 0.5% per transaction.
Finally, you can add up to 8 store locations for this subscription.
4. Shopify Plus ($2,000 or 0.25% of eligible platform transactions)
This account is reserved for large businesses only. Aside from the asking price of at least $2,000 per month for this subscription, this includes a 0.15% transaction fee for using third-party payment services.
Before applying for this subscription, you need to earn at least $500,000 annually. However, you can try it out for 14 days for free.
You can get the same features as the previous three subscriptions. However, they added additional benefits such as 99.98% uptime and set up your website on average for an average of 90 to 120 days.
To learn more about their features, you can check out MerchantMaverick’s review of their service here.
5. Shopify Lite ($9)
If you want to start a business but cannot afford any previous options, you can opt for this subscription for $9.
For starters, you can get an integrated Facebook store where you can sell your products on. This gets you an advantage to advertise on the social platform while letting your customers buy on it at the same time.
With this plan, you can access the platform to upload your list of products, prices, and descriptions. This helps you update the integrated Facebook page at the same time.
You can also talk to your customer’s inquiries through Facebook’s messenger service or providing an email or contact number on the page. Meanwhile, you can connect to various payment options while being able to send out invoices.
In short, both WooCommerce and Shopify offer options for most businesses to take their steps for online sales. WooCommerce is known as an extension for your WordPress site, while Shopify is a one-stop e-commerce platform.
They have their advantages and disadvantages. If you want to make use of either of them, you can use what you’ve learned now to decide and talk to them directly about it too.
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