Your online shopping platform is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make in your business. Being able to show your products, take payment, inventory and manage your customers are all important sets to consider. What’s best? We’ll go over the 2 biggest platforms in the world, WordPress + WooCommerce and Shopify.
Shopify vs WordPress: Key Differences
Shopify, being a SaaS platform, provides an easy-to-setup website builder that allows anyone to create an online store. There’s no headache of managing hosting maintenance and to put it simply: you rent out a cloud service on a per user or per month basis and enjoy access to Shopify features online.
WordPress, on the other hand, is a CMS (Content Management System) using which you can create simply anything. However, to run a WordPress store, you’d need an e-commerce plugin and the most powerful one, without a question, is WooCommerce. It allows you to customize pretty much anything and everything and this creates an effective pair with WordPress. More than 3.8 million websites currently use this plugin that accounts for 28.2% of all online stores.
Now let’s get to comparing various aspects of Shopify and WordPress & WooCommerce and see how the latter is a clear winner of the two.
The short answer is that WooCommerce, being a free plugin to use, definitely comes out on top as compared to Shopify where you have to a monthly pricing plan. Moreover, there are also transaction costs involved, from 0.5% to 2%. These costs will definitely go up as your business grows and sooner or later, you’ll end up paying for the advanced plan for Shopify that costs $299 per month.
With WooCommerce, you’ll have to set up everything manually, e.g. domain name and SSL certificate etc. However, the cost is significantly lower as compared to Shopify, especially if you are just starting off new and need to cut down costs. Go hassle-free when you move your WooCommerce store to Skystra and let us do all the heavy lifting as you focus on growing your business.
Templates & Design
You probably know the importance of first impressions when it comes to online stores. Online sales are predicted to hit a staggering $6.5 Trillion mark by 2023. That might give you a good idea about capturing your customers’ interest with an eye-catching theme.
It’s true that Shopify comes with a bundle of storefront themes but there’s a catch to this. The best of these lot have an additional cost that goes at least as high as $200 to start with. Another downside is that since there aren’t many storefront themes available, sometimes the store owners end up complaining that their store looks like someone else’s.
With WooCommerce there are thousands of themes, both free and premium, available for you to choose from and customize just the way you want. Sure, it requires some work on your part when it comes to customization but it’s all worth it.
One of the biggest reasons that draws people into WooCommerce rather than Shopify is the flexibility it affords you. Since WooCommerce is open-source, it allows for greater control and customization with custom integration than Shopify. Want to edit a plugin? Or add some enhanced functionality to your website? Maybe you want to use the power of hooks and filters for your custom integrations? With WooCommerce, practically everything is possible as you have the code.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a lot more conservative platform than WooCommerce. Since you don’t own the code, you can’t change it but you’d have to contact the developer to have the changes made. When it comes to adding custom integrations or add-ons in Shopify, it’s not clear sailing either.
We all know how important it is to provide support for all payment methods. While Shopify understands this and provides support for several payment options, there is extra cost involved when using 3rd party payment gateways. As you upgrade to Shopify higher, more expensive plans, the transaction costs are reduced a bit. In conclusion, this is more like a paradox that does not suit everyone, especially those starting off new.
WooCommerce makes payment process simpler than ever. It’s free and easy to use and also provides easy support for adding 3rd party gateways. The payment methods that WooCommerce supports range from PayPal to Stripe and several other niche payment gateways as well. The ability to support other payment gateways via add-ons is a huge benefit. Also, there is never a percentage fee on payments in WooCommerce, which helps you keep your costs within the budget.
Every business, whether online or not, intends to grow with time and as a business owner, you need to plan for the future and need extra resources to manage the workload. Both Shopify and WooCommerce are built to deal with heavy traffic sites and thousands of customer orders. So, it’s just a matter of which one of these lets you scale your business in a cost-effective, robust and easy way.
Shopify lets you scale your resources simply by throwing extra money at it. Get the Shopify plus plan as your business grows but you’ll need to be very cautious about plan carefully about the money you’re going to spend on Shopify every month.
With WooCommerce, you get to enjoy maximum scalability and flexibility. As your business grows, you can upgrade your hosting plan to survive the upward scalability. Skystra provides a number of plans for managed hosting on Cloud to help you go hassle free. Host your online store on the cloud and provide amazing performance and reliability for your customers.
We compared Shopify and WooCommerce + WordPress from different angles. Turns out that the latter is a cost-effective, more customizable combo than Shopify. Being an open source platform, WooCommerce has thousands of developers which means thousands of themes and add-ons to extend the functionality of WooCommerce to meet all the needs, at an economical cost as well.
You may also want to check out our step-by-step tutorial on how to speed up your WooCommerce store.