When you’re interested in eCommerce, you’ll quickly realise there are practically endless options for hosting and online shop platforms. You can go the easy route and stick with the option that offers the lowest cost, has a feature-rich system, provides the most straightforward build, or allows your business to run on automatic.
However, if you want to decide which online business platform is suitable for your custom sticker company or pet portrait studio, you may need to do a little research first. That is why our expert team at Spark Sales Online has put together this quick guide for you.
We provide optimisation, automation, and management to so many online businesses around the world. The least we can do is help you figure out where to build your next million-dollar success. It’s time to dive in and figure out what to choose between Shopify and WooCommerce.
How Does Shopify Work?
Spoiler alert: it is going to be up to you to choose which is the better platform, but let’s begin with Shopify. With Shopify, you get a more all-in-one system for all your eCommerce needs. Nothing is too complex because the online business platform lays out clear instructions for you to build, run, and automate your store.
You’ll find a user-friendly interface and seamless integrations that make Shopify a popular choice for many online entrepreneurs. The platform offers a plethora of built-in tools designed to streamline the entire online selling process.
Features of Shopify include:
- Multiple themes to customise your store’s appearance any way you want to.
- Integrated payment gateways for a smoother checkout process that is “inside” the system.
- Inventory management to track your products from distribution to when they land in your customer’s laps.
- Mobile optimisation to ensure your store looks great on all devices and is fully responsive to Google’s SERP.
- Marketing and SEO tools to help promote your store online without needing expertise in either.
- Specific platform benefits for dropshipping, analytics, and abandoned cart reminders.
- Strong support for all users and extensions available for further personalisation of your store.
How Does WooCommerce Work?
Why use WooCommerce instead of Shopify? It comes down to whether or not your website will be part of the WordPress ecosystem or not. WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin designed for WordPress. This is a CMS (content management system) based on open-source resources. Around 810 million websites are powered with WordPress (approximately 41% of the searchable internet).
WooCommerce offers more flexibility in terms of customisation but requires a bit more hands-on work in terms of setup and maintenance. Users can modify every aspect of their store, from the design to the backend functionalities. You just have to be comfortable with a little more technology to get the job done.
Features of WooCommerce include:
- Deep integration with WordPress, making it ideal for those already familiar with the platform.
- Thousands of plugins and themes are available for enhanced functionality and customisation, so your branding is omnipresent.
- Complete control over website data and customisation if you like data-driven insights.
- Extensive product listing and categorisation capabilities through WordPress plugins.
- In-built analytics and reporting tools for better decision-making and response to the market.
- Strong security through open-source solutions that keep fraudsters guessing.
- Works with a wide range of payment processors from Stripe to Apple Pay to PayPal and WooCommerce Pay.
Main Difference Between Shopify and WooCommerce
The crux of the difference between Shopify and WooCommerce lies in their foundational approach to website management and curation. Shopify is a hosted platform offering end-to-end services for your online business. You don’t have to go anywhere else, and all the payment, inventory, and marketing management systems are inclusive.
WooCommerce is a self-hosted plugin requiring domain hosting and more hands-on management. You need to be aware of WordPress. This is also the preferred method if you are an SEO person, as you can lean into plugins like Yoast SEO to elevate your keyword and SEO capabilities.
Which is Better for Beginners to eCommerce?
For newcomers to the world of eCommerce, Shopify often emerges as a favorite due to its intuitive interface and out-of-the-box features. It provides a straightforward setup process, which makes it easier for beginners to hit the ground running without getting bogged down in technical details. You’ll often find those trying out a new idea from some video they found on TikTok or YouTube dipping their eCommerce toes into Shopify. That is why the answer to “is Shopify easier to use than WooCommerce?” is a yes!
WooCommerce, on the other hand, offers more flexibility but requires a steeper learning curve, especially for those unfamiliar with WordPress. Once you get the hand of how to integrate WordPress, you’ll find a ton more personalisation and backend features. That is why users on this platform won’t even bother asking, which is more popular, Shopify or WooCommerce. They already know WooCommerce is more complex.
Payment Methods: Shopify vs. WooCommerce
Both online business eCommerce platforms provide extensive payment options. Shopify comes with its native online payment gateway known as “Shopify Payments.” You can use other systems, but this is the one heavily marketed by the company. This is powered by Stripe, which charges 2.9% + $0.30 for the basic plan on each transaction. If you go to a third-party payment processor, you get a flat rate of a 2% fee tacked on from Shopify.
WooCommerce, being an open-source platform, allows integration with almost any payment service through plugins, including popular ones like Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, 2Checkout, FirstData, AmazonPayments. Then there is the native WooCommerce Payments. This will charge a base fee of 1.75% + $0.30 per transaction, but can fluctuate if you have international users, disputes, or currency conversions.
Which is Cheaper for Running Multiple Stores?
When it comes to running multiple stores, the cost difference between the two platforms becomes more apparent. Shopify requires separate subscriptions for each store, which can quickly add up. WooCommerce, with its self-hosted nature, allows users to run multiple stores from a single WordPress installation, often proving to be a more budget-friendly solution in this scenario.
The hard part is finding that balance point between the two. For example, The basic plan (without any promotions running, which are frequently in operation) charges you $25 per month. That is for a single eCommerce online store. So, if you’re running ten stores, you are being billed $250 per month.
With WooCommerce, it is technically free. WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin for WordPress. WordPress is also free. What you are paying is for the hosting, domain, and maintenance. If you have a WordPress website, you’ll have charges like:
- Domain registration: $14.99/year
- Domain privacy: $9.99/year
- Hosting Fees: $4.50/month
Which One Has a Faster Setup Time?
In terms of setup speed, Shopify takes the lead. Its pre-built features and hosting solutions allow users to get their store up and running in a matter of hours. WooCommerce, while offering more customisability, requires more steps in terms of hosting, theme selection, and plugin integrations, which can extend the setup time.
We cannot emphasize this difference enough. When it comes to is Shopify easier to use than WooCommerce, you’ll see a massive change related to running and starting a website for your eCommerce online business. It doesn’t matter if you’re dropshipping or having a white-label storefront; Shopify wins in this category.
Optimising for Search: Shopify vs. WooCommerce SEO Capabilities
No matter what your decision is between Shopify and WooCommerce, you’re going to have to look at SEO. Search Engine Optimisation is all about ensuring your online business shows up on major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.
When you build a website, you want features and a quick domain plan at a reasonable price. However, running WordPress from install to final product release takes some expertise. Both Shopify and WooCommerce come equipped with tools to enhance your store’s visibility, but they cater to this need in slightly different ways.
With Shopify, you get a suite of integrated SEO tools that are already an install for your operation. It has the meta titles, descriptions, and product data ready to go that you can optimise with little to no effort. Anyone who has worked with SEO before will tell you WordPress is probably the winner here.
Almost half the interest is populated with WordPress websites because you can really get into the nitty-gritty details that optimise your eCommerce online store’s visibility with Google.
Is Shopify Better Than WooCommerce?
The answer to this largely depends on individual needs. We would love to tell you to pick one over the other, but it will depend on a number of factors related to your business, that can include:
- Type of eCommerce business (dropshipping, white label, retail, international, etc.)
- Budget for your eCommerce business.
- Familiarity with different technologies, SEO, and integrations.
- Need for personalisation and customisation.
- Whether or not you want something more all-in-one or custom fit.
In general, if you are new to the eCommerce world, you probably should go with Shopify. The same is true if you want a single point of control over your online business.
If, in comparison, you have some decent online skills and are willing to get into more detailed customisation, you should go with WooCommerce. The same is true if you plan on running more than 4-5 stores.
Regardless, it’s essential to weigh the features, cost, and long-term goals before planning on where to put your eggs into which digital basket.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce are powerhouses in the eCommerce arena. Your choice between them should be based on your business needs, technical expertise, and budget. Take your time and study the differences well before you make a decision. Which platform you choose for your online business could make a massive difference to your bottom line when it comes to calculating net profits.
While Shopify offers a more streamlined experience, WooCommerce gives you unparalleled flexibility. Evaluate your requirements, and you’ll find the perfect platform for your online venture.