Starting an online store has never been easier. There are a number of feature-rich eCommerce platforms, each with its own strengths. However, the two most popular solutions are Shopify and WooCommerce. Deciding whose service to choose for your small business depends largely on your individual needs.
Both platforms offer attractive designs, product variations, different shipping rates, payment options, SEO, and marketing functions. as well as various extensions and add-ons to further expand and improve your online shop.
In this post, we’ll take a look at WooCommerce vs Shopify, compare their features, and help you determine which of these e-commerce platforms is right for your online business.
Both platforms have extensive documentation and a large user base. Therefore, in both systems, it is easy to find answers to problems that may arise.
WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which is the Best Ecommerce Platform for You?
The biggest difference between the two is in the setup. WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, which means you need a WordPress website that requires you to pay a hosting fee, install the WooCommerce plugin, and then set up the store. However, if you already have a WordPress website, setting up WooCommerce is a simple process.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a self-hosted solution. So you don’t have to worry about finding a web host, installing a separate content management system, and adding Shopify. If you don’t have technical skills or are starting from scratch, Shopify is likely an easier choice. Plus, Shopify has built-in blogging capabilities so you won’t lose just because you didn’t hit the WordPress route.
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these eCommerce software platforms and see what they have to offer. This is how you can choose the best e-commerce software for your new online store.
WooCommerce: A Detailed Look
As mentioned earlier, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. The plugin works on the freemium model, which essentially means that the core plugin is free. There are various add-ons available that can add additional functionality to your online shop. Some of these add-ons are free, while others are paid for.
WooCommerce essentially offers the following functions:
- Various payment gateways including PayPal, BACS, and cash on delivery.
- The free or flat shipping and tax settings include different tax brackets and local tax rates.
- Reports include inbound sales, reviews, inventory levels, and general store performance.
- Integrated test reports, discount options, usage restrictions.
- The ability to sell and sell products across the board.
- Product variations and the ability to sell both downloadable and physical goods.
Set up loading of the store
If you are familiar with WordPress, installing and setting up WooCommerce should be very easy for you. Even if you are a newbie, the process is pretty straightforward.
Here is a Beginner’s Guide for WooCommerce to help you set up your online store.
WooCommerce developers, WooThemes, understand the importance of design when it comes to e-commerce. That’s why they offer WordPress themes that have been optimized for WooCommerce. The nice thing about WooCommerce, however, is that it can be integrated with any WordPress theme. The choice of theme is certainly rich in WooCommerce compatibility.
The WooCommerce themes offered on the Envato Market have been specially optimized for the plugin itself and offer numerous useful functions, such as Zoom-in options, integration with MailChimp, eye-catching sliders, bold images, attractive design and a first-class aesthetic.
Well, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, hence, there are instant SEO benefits to be considered. First and foremost, a content creation platform, WordPress is known for its SEO features. When you couple WooCommerce with it, you can easily edit body content and add meta information, which improves your chances of higher search engine rankings. In addition, WordPress treats blogging logically and organizes its categories and archives.
How WooCommerce helps you sell
WooCommerce offers the most important functions for free in the core plugin. And they are perfectly fine to start with. However, if you want to maximize your store’s potential, you will inevitably look to WooCommerce extensions.
The add-on shop has a number of interesting options that you can use to enlarge the product, such as: Selling on Facebook, integrating your shop into MailChimp, automatically recording sales in QuickBooks, creating recurring subscriptions, and much more. The add-ons range from free to paid, with paid add-ons ranging from $29 to $200.
WooCommerce offers extensive documentation and has a vibrant community of users and developers who focus on improving and expanding WooCommerce by developing designs and add-ons for it. All of this means that help is easy to find, and there are chances that a solution is already in place for any problem you might discover along the way.
Browse through a number of helpful WooCommerce add-ons
While WooCommerce is free, it comes with a cost. As mentioned earlier, you need a WordPress website. That said, you have to buy your own domain name and before anything else, set up a hosting package. The cost depends on your hosting plan and the add-ons you have chosen to improve your shop.
Shopify: A Deeper Look
Shopify is a self-hosted solution which means your store will be up and running in minutes with no additional software to install. Unlike WooCommerce, there is no free plan, but the pricing is still cheap. As with WooCommerce, Shopify offers a range of themes as well as add-ons that give you additional functionality for your shop.
The main functions include:
- Attractive, mobile design.
- The ability to use your own domain name.
- Usable website builder to customize the look of your store.
- Full blogging platform available.
- Detailed reports and location analysis.
- Integration in social media and email marketing.
- Product variations, reviews, discounts, etc.
Set up loading of the store
To set up the store on Shopify, you simply need to sign up for the plan you want, select the theme and add the products. This is a complete WYSIWYG solution that gives you complete control over your navigation, pages, and design. Learn more about how to set up Shopify:
While Shopify has a good selection of themes to get you started, they aren’t as rich as some third-party themes. Shopify’s theme selection offers free and paid themes, with paid themes between $100 and $180.
Our Shopify themes include features such as newsletter integration, lookbooks, quick product view options, zoom and 360-degree views, full customization controls, mega menus, social sharing and much more.
In addition, you can choose from a variety of niches or opt for a multipurpose theme. The Boutique Shopify theme is one of many quality designs to consider for your online store.
Since Shopify has dedicated servers that are solely intended for Shopify stores, the page load times and overall performance are slightly better than WordPress. Shopify has built-in SEO functions such as: image optimization, definition of title, alt and meta tags and product descriptions. Another point that stands out for Shopify is the fact that SSL certification is available for free to all stores in every plan.
How Shopify helps you sell
Shopify has a nice selection of free features, unlike WooCommerce, which requires paid add-ons. These features include discount codes, the ability to offer gift cards, a shopping cart recovery system, sales from Facebook, product import via CSV files, and much more.
Like WooCommerce, Shopify offers various add-ons that give you additional features like cross-selling, shipment tracking, QuickBooks integration, and more.
Similar to WooCommerce, Shopify has detailed documentation and a very lively community. Unlike WooCommerce, where support comes mostly from the community, Shopify has a 24/7 support team.
Shopify offers three pricing tiers, with the lowest plan being $29 and the most expensive being $299. They also have a medium $79 plan and a very basic $9 plan that is strictly for sale on Facebook. That said, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial that you can use to try out the platform before deciding if it’s the right choice for you.
All plans include unlimited products and bandwidth, fraud analysis, a blog, and a free SSL certificate. The domain name can be purchased directly from Shopify, or you can link your existing domain name to it. Your final cost will be based on the amount of paid add-ons that you add to your online store.
Which platform should you choose?
As you can see, both platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages. This will help you find the best e-commerce software for your new store. Let’s summarize them briefly to make your decision a little easier:
WooCommerce – advantages
- It has user reviews and ratings.
- Well organized reports categorized by date, product, category, coupons, etc.
- WooCommerce is a free plugin. This means there is no additional cost if you need basic store functionality and already own a WordPress website.
WooCommerce – Cons
- If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to sign up for hosting separately and then download, install, and set up WooCommerce.
- If you want an SSL certificate that proves your website secure, you’ll need to purchase it separately.
WooCommerce is the most logical choice for those of you who are already set up on the WordPress platform, have your hosting done and you don’t mind paying an additional SSL security certificate. Integrating WooCommerce is as easy as installing any other plugin. Basic store setup can be done in just five steps.
Hence, WooCommerce is easy to use and allows you to set up a test environment to make sure everything is working before accepting payments on your website. As long as you are familiar with WordPress this shouldn’t be a problem.
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