Previously, I had published a post outlining why WooCommerce is the best eCommerce framework available for WordPress and also gave you a hint on its biggest competitor, Shopify, at the bottom of the post. Now, it is time to compare the two most popular frameworks used for building eCommerce sites and what it has to offer to its users.
WooCommerce vs Shopify E-Commerce Platform Comparison
Before reading on, take note that this post is going to be one-sided in supporting WooCommerce over Shopify. It is not that Shopify sucks or something like that – it is just that WooCommerce is vast and offers us a wide range of flexibility in setting up and managing our online store.
WooCommerce requires a bit of hard work from your side whereas with Shopify, you will be having everything you need for your online store right in front of you but with very less customization and design options. If you are going with WooCommerce, you will be owning the store but with Shopify, you are just making use of their services, that is, you do not own the store.
If you are looking to start your online store and want to scale it upwards, you must go for WooCommerce. But if it is a hobby store, Shopify would suffice.
Online Store Ownership
On Shopify, your store is not owned by you. Though your site is hosted for free on their servers along with a custom URL (address) for your site, you are bound to follow their terms and conditions. They tell you what to and what not to do. Over here, you can only make use of the tools provided by them.
But with WooCommerce, it is totally the opposite – you build and customize your own site from scratch depending upon your taste and needs. The whole control rests with you alone and not with the makers of WooCommerce or any third-party. You can install whatever plugins you want for your business to extend the functionality of WordPress.
E-Commerce Platform with Best Design Options and Customization
Though Shopify comes with quite a variety of themes for your online store, WooCommerce works with any WordPress theme you can think of. Yes, you heard me right! Moreover, there are other dedicated WordPress themes which are created with only WooCommerce in mind.
WooCommerce is just another premium plugin which is available for FREE from the WordPress.org plugin directory and offers wide selection of possibilities. But Shopify provides you with just three default categories for your products – size, color, and material. But that ain’t the case with WooCommerce and you can choose or create whatever category you want for your products with zero restrictions.
Though WooCommerce requires a bit more time to set up completely, it is definitely worth it. Better to start with WooCommerce and feel its power rather than getting locked in to Shopify and later facing troubles migrating the site somewhere else.
Best E-Commerce Platform for Search Engine Optimization
Though WordPress is very well optimized for search engines out of the box, it can further be improved, while it is not the case with Shopify. WordPress has got Joost de Valk’s Yoast SEO plugin which is the number one plugin used by millions of WordPress users worldwide to push their competitors down the search engines result pages (SERPS).
Another gem for WooCommerce SEO is Michael Torbert’s All in One SEO Pack, the second most popular SEO plugin for WordPress.
Budget and Other Cost Factors to Build an Online Store
WooCommerce is easily the low-cost yet powerful solution to set up your online store. If you have got money to play around with, then you can outsource the work to a design agency like rtCamp, Human Made or some other design agency of your choice. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can do it yourself when you are free. You can also hire me to do minor jobs for you in setting up your website.
WooCommerce, hands down is the best option for anyone looking forward to open their online store – whether it is for a small-scale site or for large eCommerce sites. Moreover, WooCommerce sites can be scaled to withstand any surge in traffic.
Now that we have discussed which one is the best, let us move forward and see…
What do you need to Run an Online Store?
The very first thing you need to understand is that, eCommerce sites are resource intensive. This is mainly because they perform an increased number of database queries compared to regular sites. So, you will be needing the best WordPress hosting for your site.
If you are on a tight budget, then you can go for Bluehost as their eCommerce hosting plan comes with a free SSL certificate required to secure the payments made through your site between the customer and banks. Moreover, they come pre-installed with WooCommerce.
Or, you can go for SiteGround – a premium WordPress hosting service provider specializing in all things WordPress. And, if you don’t have a domain name for your eCommerce site yet, you can grab one for an affordable price at Namecheap starting at just $0.88 per year for a nominal regular price.
Though you need to pay for buying a domain name and hosting WordPress, the overall cost adds up to less than what you will be spending for Shopify. WooCommerce sites are definitely cheaper and powerful than Shopify sites.