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woocommerce vs shopify

WooCommerce vs Shopify

I wanted to approach this topic from two perspectives, the business owners view on WooCommerce vs Shopify and the developers view on WooCommerce vs Shopify. Both of these platforms have their merits and would make excellent online stores for any business to get off the ground on. We’ll dig into which is better for you as a small business owner in the short run and long run and give you a clear winner from both points of view. We’ll rate it in 3 categories, Ability to Grow and Scale, Ease of Store Management, Cost of Doing Business for the business owner and Ease of customization, Ability to get to market, ease of client management for the developer.

WooCommerce vs Shopify from a Business Owner’s Perspective

Being one of the most popular DIY eCommerce platforms on the web today, WooCommerce definitely has it’s strengths when it comes to this comparison. Shopify really shot into the market as a top option though and took DIY eCommerce business owner’s hearts while the did it with a heavy focus on user experience. Let’s dig into our 3 categories!

Ability to Grow – Winner: Shopify

This one from a business owner’s point of view is clear, how well can I grow within this platform? Both systems have plug-in/add-on markets that allow you to expand your reach, interact with your customers, and continue to expand the value of your shop online. Out of the box, Shopify has a multitude of FREE add-ons that make growing the business easy and cost-effective, vs WooCommerce, those plug-ins can start to add up. An advantage to WooCommerce, many of the add-ons are one time fees, versus Shopify’s month to month costs associated with many 3rd party apps.

The clear victory in the ability to grow is with Shopify’s scalable system from their Shopify Basic plans up to their Shopify Plus plan (an enterprise level Shopify system designed for big stores that are crushing it online). WooCommerce get’s left in the DIY dust as you begin to really grow your business as it’s small business appeal wears off once you hit the major leagues.

We’ll give this category to Shopify, it’s clear it’s designed to get you started and get you off the ground. It’s lasting value really takes this category.

Ease of Store Management – Winner: Shopify

Managing your online store should be EASY. If it isn’t, then you’ll have a hard time getting in, managing orders, fulfilling customer needs, updating products and so on. Having an online store requires constant updating, product management & sales activity, customer engagement and really managing your customer’s orders in a timely manner. Shopify has a clear victory here with a highly functional admin panel. It’s clearly built to make the business owner’s life easy and it is also clear that this is a top competitor in the eCommerce market with the navigation, search, and categorization of its functionality.

WooCommerce isn’t exactly hard to use though, it’s just that it’s a small part of the Wordpress ecosystem in the admin panel and can get lost in all the other options for website management. We recommend setting up a user specifically for store management so that all the noise can be cut out for this user and managing the store can be much easier. This will help improve the value of the admin panel for the business owner.

We gave Shopify a clear victory here. It’s simply the best admin panel we’ve ever used in over 30 eCommerce platforms.

Cost of Doing Business – Winner: Tie WooCommerce & Shopify

This category is tough. We wanted to approach it in a way that makes sense. So we split it into two categories, getting started & growing.

Getting Started with WooCommerce & Shopify – Shopify is a pay to play platform, you’ll need to invest in their packages to get off the ground, this causes the initial getting started costs to bar some DIY companies the want to get onboard. As opposed to WooCommerce, where you can download this plug-in at no cost and try out having an online store.

This comes with some caveats. The minimal fee to get into Shopify on a monthly basis comes with access to a multitude of free apps/add-ons that will allow you to expand your reach quickly. It also gives you access to Shopify’s Payment Processor so that you can begin taking credit cards online, right away! So for the just getting started business, who wants to maintain low overhead, we recommend Shopify if you want the ability to get off the ground at low cost and expand. If you’re just setting up shop to be online with a product, then WooCommerce’s free platform is really a no-brainer, it’s a great system that’ll help you setup your shop quickly (in less than 5 minutes if you know what you’re doing!).

Growing with WooCommerce & Shopify – So you’ve built your site and want to grow, which platform will provide you the best cost of doing business and help you get your product out to market. WooCommerce has plug-ins that’ll help you do this, however, many come at a cost. For instance, if you want to add Google Shopping to your WooCommerce store, look forward to shelling out $80+ to make this happen, whether you use a 3rd party plug-in or WooCommerce’s own plug-in.

Shopify isn’t a stranger to pay to add plug-ins, however, Shopify offers plug-ins like Google Shopping, Facebook Storefront, Amazon & Ebay connections at no charge. This is where Shopify stands apart from the competition. Your monthly fee, includes access to some of the best growth & scaling connections that there are on the webs today.

We gave this category a tie, as it’s only fair to the store owner that wants to get off the ground in a more organic or word of mouth fashion, that WooCommerce is free. If you’re growing through advertising and digital marketing efforts, then Shopify will win as the low monthly cost will cover the use of premium apps, add-ons and store connectors.

Winner for the Business Owner’s Perspective is: Shopify

We feel that as a business owner, you should be looking ahead. What would be best for my business today, tomorrow, next year and so on is the state of mind. When it comes to growth, the minimal monthly fee that Shopify has, really stands you apart from everyone else online. It shows an investment in your future. Shopify comes with SSL, premium apps, the best user experience in an admin panel hands down and all the tools for growth you can ask for in an eCommerce Platform. It’s by far our favorite for business owners.

Check back soon for the Developer’s Perspective. You won’t be disappointed!


Author John Keller

Cultivating proper SEO tactics along with building sites with excellent User Experience since 2003.

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