Each year, we do one of these comparisons because both platforms progress so much and improve on themselves, which is great to see! We build ecommerce websites in WooCommerce AND Shopify, as we love both! So, we’re not biased either way in this comparison. The answer to WooCommerce v Shopify will almost always be to do with your needs and requirements.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common comparisons and see who comes out on top for each!
Ease of Use
If you were given the login details of both a WooCommerce store and a Shopify store, you’d probably find them equally easy to navigate around. Each of them has a clear dashboard with the products and pages nicely laid out, with everything fully editable.
The problem is, setting up the ecommerce website in the first place is not equally easy. With Shopify, you can just go to shopify.co.uk, click Sign Up and you will have an account and a dashboard where you can start building your website in minutes.
With WooCommerce, it’s actually rather complicated. WooCommerce is the e-commerce plugin from WordPress, and WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS) that you can download and pop it on a server of your choice. But that’s just it – you have to find a server, pay them hosting fees, set up WordPress and then set up WooCommerce… securely.
Therefore, that’s a clear WooCommerce 0 – 1 Shopify.
Design and Themes
Shopify has a store of absolutely stunning themes. They look completely beautiful right out of the box. Each theme also comes with several variations so you can have the elements in different places. This is absolutely perfect for a small business who doesn’t need to have a custom design, but can just start off with a theme and replace the content with their own.
However, Shopify only currently has 92 themes (updated August 2022) and they’re quite expensive! Most are over $200 and many are over $300.
Let’s compare that to WooCommerce; if we go to Themeforest and find WooCommerce themes, it finds 1385 themes alone on that one site! Moreover, WooCommerce has full flexibility when it comes to design. You can create a fully bespoke design much more easily on WooCommerce compared to that of Shopify just because it’s not on a built-in system.
Therefore, despite how beautiful Shopify themes are, WooCommerce will win this one because of the extent to which you can design sites.
WooCommerce 1 – 1 Shopify
This one can get quite complicated depending on what you’re building, but let’s focus on the basics. WooCommerce is technically a free plugin… and WordPress is also free, whereas Shopify is a paid platform. However, you have to pay for hosting to host your WooCommerce website and this can vary from £5/month to hundreds of pounds per month.
Where Shopify does get costly though, is the themes and plugins. We mentioned the themes can be up to $350 and each plugin can rack up a monthly fee. If you’re adding several features to your site and each plugin costs an average of $10 per month, you’re paying a fair amount for your Shopify store.
On top of that, you’re forced to use Shopify’s payment gateway and so have to stick to their fees. They are very competitive though, so there shouldn’t be much of a problem there, unless you have a high sales volume.
On the other hand, WooCommerce plugins are mainly free. The premium ones do have a price tag to them but they’re generally a one-off fee and not very much (e.g. $49).
WooCommerce 2 – 1 Shopify
Plugins and Integrations
On the topic of plugins and integrations, let’s look at what functionalities they have to offer. Shopify has over 6000 apps, all approved by Shopify’s team. Many have even been developed in-house. However, WooCommerce has over 55,000 plugins and counting! There’s pretty much a plugin for everything.
Now, since they’re mainly made by 3rd party developers, you cannot guarantee the quality of them, but you will definitely find a plugin for what you need.
This can also be a curse, as many people with WooCommerce websites then decide that they need 30+ plugins because they’re excited with the functionality. But this causes performance and security issues.
We will give this a win to WooCommerce due to the level of what’s available. But the quality goes to Shopify.
WooCommerce 3 – 1 Shopify
This one isn’t even close. Shopify is known for its excellent customer support, 24/7! You can get in touch via phone, email, live chat or even on a forum. They are also updating their knowledgebase regularly to help answer as many questions from customers as possible.
WooCommerce on the other hand has no support whatsoever! It’s a free plugin that lets you have control, but no one is there to support you.
WooCommerce 3 – 2 Shopify
At the end of the day, they’re both incredible ecommerce platforms that are designed to help you sell more, so both are packed with incredible ecommerce features. However, while WooCommerce has all of these features available, they are already in-built with Shopify.
Here are three ways that Shopify outshines WooCommerce in this department:
- Abandoned cart features: this is when someone leaves their shopping cart and doesn’t complete the purchase. Shopify already has the features built in to contact the buyer and leave reminders.
- Multichannel selling: many people who sell products don’t just sell them on their website, but they use eBay, Amazon, Facebook and Instagram, for example. Apart from Facebook, these all require premium plugins to work on WooCommerce, but these are free and easy to integrate on Shopify.
- Shipping: both allow you to sell all over the world for free, but Shopify goes the extra mile as they have partnerships with leading couriers so that you don’t have to source your own.
WooCommerce 3 – 3 Shopify
Payment options and transaction fees
If you’re running an ecommerce site, then you definitely need a way to take payments. Shopify has its own built-in payment processing system – Shopify payments. It’s what you need to choose if you don’t want to pay additional fees. It’s actually powered by Stripe, so you’re in good hands with it. The problem is, it’s only available to merchants in certain countries – the UK is one of them.
But you can still choose form external payment providers such as PayPal and Stripe, if you wish. This choice then comes with an additional 2% transaction fee ON TOP of the merchant’s processing fees.
Shopify’s payment system can get quite complicated and rather costly. On the other hand, WooCommerce doesn’t charge any processing fees and doesn’t try to tie you down to a particular platform. You are free to pick whichever processor you like.
WooCommerce 4 – 3 Shopify
Blogs and Content
At the end of the day, Shopify is an ecommerce platform and that’s what it’s been built for. It was never designed for blogging. That being said, Shopify’s blog and content creation possibilities are great – it has all the standard features that you may use.
The thing is, WooCommerce is built on WordPress which is THE platform for blogging and so nothing will really compare. There is a reason why some of the world’s top blogs are built on WordPress!
So, therefore, if you’re looking to create content marketing strategies alongside your business, you can easily expand with no limitations when it’s built on WordPress. This gets a little restrictive when it’s on Shopify.
WooCommerce 5 – 3 Shopify
This is a huge deal when you’re building an ecommerce site as you’re dealing with customer data, including their payment information! You need to be sure that your site is secure.
WooCommerce technically doesn’t have any security built into its plugin as it’s all in WordPress. Now, WordPress has a bit of a bad rep when it comes to security, but this is because so many people who don’t know what they’re doing build WordPress websites.
So, if you have a WooCommerce website, we’d recommend getting a professional to help you install an SSL certificate and make sure everything is secure.
With Shopify, you don’t need to do any of that as it’s all already built in for you. Plus, any issues and the talented Shopify team will be there on hand.
WooCommerce 5 – 4 Shopify
Shopify’s developers should be proud as to how they’ve handled their SEO elements on their platform. Shopify websites perform decently when it comes to SEO, and that’s probably because the platform is overall quite fast.
There are also tons of SEO apps for Shopify now – many of them with free plans available.
However, the way WooCommerce was built was optimised for SEO. It’s also built on WordPress, which has the same amazing SEO benefits. Plus, there are hundreds of free plugins available to help people do DIY SEO.
WooCommerce 6 – 4 Shopify
Of the 10 categories we’ve looked at, we’ve found that WooCommerce comes out a close winner at 6-4. However, this doesn’t mean that WooCommerce is the right choice for everyone.
Shopify is a clear and easy winner in many categories, so we think this is the right choice for someone who wants to get their ecommerce site up and running quickly and would appreciate the support and ease of use of a website.
Anyone who is looking for more customisation and flexibility when it comes to the design and options of the site, then WooCommerce may be the right solution for you.
It will also depend on startup costs as WooCommerce sites may cost more to set up as you will need a professional to help you, but they will be cheaper to run over time. Shopify has a lower barrier to entry and you can easily set it up yourself.
So, at the end of the day, it really does depend on your requirements. If you’re not sure which is the best platform for your ecommerce site, then get in touch and we can help.