WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which One is Best?

By: | Updated: July 24, 2021

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With the rise of various businesses in the eCommerce world, two of the most popular platforms stood out.

Woocommerce vs Shopify dominated the market and established their names in providing solutions for different businesses.

Entrepreneurs who want to build a powerful and effective eCommerce store have the dilemma of which one to go for.

While both platforms have proven to help business owners become successful, each one comes with unique strengths and features.

Shopify features an interface that is easy-to-use and reliable.

It is a hosted eCommerce platform that offers various plans covering security, hosting, domain, templates, and customer support.

All these come at a premium and deliver a platform that lets you set up your own store and sell products online.

Meanwhile, WooCommerce features a top-of-the-line content management system (CMS).

This open-source eCommerce platform lets you customize every detail of your store.

Unlike Shopify, this allows you to install it for free, and it is built on WordPress.

Finding the right platform is essential to make sure your business gets represented, built, and run well.

Let’s take a better and closer look into these two giant eCommerce platforms to see the best fit for you and your business.

Direct Comparison

WooCommerce

  • https://WooCommerce.com/
  • Ease of Use: Fair
  • Payment Options: WooCommerce Payments, Paypal, Stripe Payments
  • Trial Period: No
  • Design and Themes: Themes: Unlimited (Free and Paid)
  • Sales Tools and Features: WooCommerce Social Login, Email Marketing, Reward and Incentives, Payment Options, WooCommerce Subscriptions, WooCommerce Mobile Apps, WooCommerce Inventory
  • SEO and Marketing Tools: Email Marketing and Blogging 
  • Security: SSL Certificates, Attack Monitoring Prevention, Backups, Server Firewall, PHP, MYSQL

Shopify

  • https://www.shopify.com/
  • Ease of Use: Very Easy
  • Payment Options: Shopify Payments, All Third-Party Gateways
  • Trial Period: 14 days
  • Design and Themes: 60 and up (Free and Paid)
  • Sales Tools and Features: Apps, Dropshipping, Product Management, Shipping, Payment Options, Digital Selling, Tax, POS, Multi-Channel Integration, Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • SEO & Marketing Tools: Reporting Tools, Email Marketing, Blogging, Multilingual Options
  • Security: SSL Security, PCI Compliance, Backups

Breaking It Down

Before choosing, it is always good to explore your options.

Since you will be building your business using the platform of your choice, it is important to know how it works, what it has to offer, and how it fits your enterprise.

Compatibility is key. Not only does it make your experience easier, but it also helps you maximize and grow your business to its full potential.

So let’s proceed and see how these two platforms compare in terms of their features.

Ease of Use

Before you can build anything, you have to know what you’re building from.

eCommerce builders often encounter roadblocks in creating their stores because of the platform’s difficulty.

Finding one that you can use with the least learning curve will make use of the crucial time you have for building.

Shopify

Shopify comes with an easy-to-use editor that involves powerful eCommerce tools working together.

It is a fully-hosted platform that eliminates the need for software installation, management, or updates.

It features a drag-and-drop function and a lot of available tools you can use.

It gets translated into a clean, simple, and straightforward interface that is very easy to use.

With this platform, setting up a live site in five minutes is possible.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is definitely an excellent avenue for customizations.

It has a guided setup wizard to help you learn the ropes on how to build your site.

Since this is not a hosted platform, you will need to install the software, keep backups, and manage updates.

You can personalize your site with several plugins and other features, but it does not have the drag and drop feature in its builder.

Winner: Shopify

Payment Options

In this age of technology, we are now utilizing different payment gateways to trade.

If you want to set up your store, you have to make sure that you can cater to varied payment options online.

Building an eCommerce website requires a platform that you can trust and rely on.

Let’s get to know how the payment system works for these platforms.

Shopify

Shopify Payments is a tool that caters to different types of payment options, including third-party payment gateways.

Though this is a convenient asset for a store, Shopify has a 2% fee charged on top of third-party payment gateway transaction fees.

Some people find this steep and heavy in terms of fees, but they found a way to fix this.

They made an option available to have this lowered into a 0.5% fee by getting their Advanced Shopify Plan for $299. 

WooCommerce

Since WooCommerce is not a self-hosted platform, they do not add a fee on top of the charges made by your bank or gateway for every third-party gateway transaction.

They do support all common payment services with the help of add-ons.

This covers even the not-so-popular or regional payment avenues.

All they have to do is set up an add-on and make support available for it.

Winner: Tie

Design and Themes

Your website is your business’ reflection. As they say, design is everything when it comes to websites in the eCommerce world.

Choosing the right theme and design will portray your brand’s credibility and image, of course, while not sacrificing its functionality and ease of use.

If you plan to build your website so people can trust your credibility, getting the right platform to make it possible is crucial.

Since these two platforms have unique differences in this aspect, let’s get to know which one has more in it for you.

Shopify

We can all agree that Shopify’s aesthetics for its themes are remarkably appealing.

They cater to different statutes and provide a unique look with each template.

As of today, they have 54 templates, including the ten that come for free, with each available in several variations.

These designs are created in-house, which means they hire professional web designers to do it.

Since all their templates give out a premium feel, not considering the 10, the rest come at a cost.

That is the price you have to pay to get a well-designed template for your store.

Though pre-made themes are available in Shopify, personalization is still encouraged for store owners.

As for tweaking and customizing these, they have an easy-to-use theme editor to make changes or prepare for your upcoming sections.

WooCommerce

There are no limits to design and customization when it comes to WooCommerce.

They make sure you have every option to create the website interface and design that you desire.

They have set a few best practices and standard recommendations for themes in the market.

As long as these align with those practices and recommendations, you can use them on your site.

As it is built on WordPress, you can choose any WordPress theme that you want and integrate it into the platform.

If you want to shorten the hours you spend designing, you can always check out their online theme store called Storefront.

Developers can sell diverse themes for different niches and purposes and make them available for your use.

Some themes come with price tags, but you can always go for the free ones.

Winner: WooCommerce

Sales Tools and Features

Similar to traditional marketing, there are several ways to reach out to customers and improve your business.

As you are to invest online, you have to cater to people across the globe through an eCommerce platform.

Knowing that these two platforms have made available a wide selection of tools in their extensions directory, let’s find out which of the two stands out.

Shopify

When it comes to add-ons and integrations, Shopify features a software called OptinMonster.

They deliver email support for your growing list and takes care of your cart abandonment issues.

They have an App Store and an API that lets you purchase third-party add-ons for your store.

You will either find free apps made by third-party services or paid add-ons available at a premium for monthly subscriptions.

To be specific with what you are in for, you can be sure that you can get unlimited storage to sell unlimited products.

Let you cater to manual order creations, integrate Oberlo, create discount codes, and make Facebook selling and blog modules available for you.

You can also do CSV uploads, bookings and create different variations for your products in a breeze.

It also gives you access to Shopify Abandoned Cart Recovery feature, a fully-featured mobile app, and multi-language settings.

With Shopify, you can print orders, have gift cards, get advanced reports, know your site statistics, get individual product reviews, create customer profiles, and receive product reports.

You can generate unlimited traffic to your site and sell digital or physical products.

It gives you a site structure that is SEO-friendly and is good for mobile commerce optimization.

What makes this deal sweet is that it offers social media integration which widens the scope and outreach of your business.

WooCommerce

As we have mentioned earlier, WooCommerce is designed on top of WordPress.

It means you get access to over 55,000 plugins that you can utilize for SEO campaigns, marketing, payment gateways, and more.

As apps drive WooCommerce to enable customization and personalization for the website, it is easier for developers to have their apps available on the platform.

That means you get to choose among the many brilliant plugins and add-ons to maximize your store and market presence.

Apart from that, you also get to sell unlimited products falling into different categories.

It can be in the form of digital or physical products.

In terms of its site structure, you can count on this to be mobile-friendly.

As you customize your site with extensions and plugins, you can generate huge traffic and still have control over your data.

Winner: Shopify

Security

Every store owner needs to invest a lot to build a successful business in the eCommerce market.

You will be creating, giving access, and storing data that has your business’ best interest.

That is why security should never be compromised.

Both platforms offer security features to keep your store and data safe, but which among WooCommerce vs Shopify stands out in this area?

Shopify

The deal with getting into Shopify is not having to worry about securing your website and data.

That means you get a built-in SSL certificate upon signing up.

On websites, an SSL certificate will show as a small padlock image right next to your URL.

Secure Sockets Layer, also known as SSL, protects your information and website from hackers, hijackers, or criminals.

It also adds plus points to your store since it gives customers peace of mind when providing personal and payment information.

In terms of the PCI-DSS compliance, also referred to as the Payment Card Data Security Standard, Shopify has you set.

It is a requirement given to all website owners before they can set up credit card payment processing.

That means you can already start processing credit card payments once you set up your Shopify store.

WooCommerce

As WooCommerce rests on WordPress, you are expected to secure your website on your own.

While other hosting platforms come with a free or built-in SSL certificate, signing up in WooCommerce means you have to get it on your own while ensuring that you have secured your servers.

This also applies to PCI-DSS compliance.

You will have to get and process it on your own to make sure you become eligible to handle credit card transactions on your site.

In other words, setting up plugins, two-factor authentication, and additional protection features will be in your own hands.

But as long as you give time to set them up one by one, you will have the peace of mind you deserve.

Winner: Shopify

Final Recount

  • Shopify: ⅘
  • WooCommerce: ⅖

Pros and Cons 

Shopify

Pros:

  • Easy and straightforward to use
  • Unique and remarkable themes and aesthetics
  • Shopify App Store
  • 24/7 Support
  • Built-in Hosting and Security
  • SEO Friendly
  • Multi-platform selling
  • Trial Period 
  • Supports multi-currency

Cons:

  • Expensive pricing and costs 
  • Limited customization
  • Basic content marketing
  • High transaction fees

WooCommerce

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • Flexible and highly customizable
  • SEO-friendly
  • Low transaction fees
  • Content friendly
  • Reasonable and economical pricing
  • Built on WordPress 
  • Broad choices for themes, plugins, and extensions

Cons:

  • Not user-friendly
  • Requires manual security setup
  • Hard to support multi-currency

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Final Verdict

After a closer look at both platforms and their features, we can say that each one has a unique point that makes it stand out among others.

To sum it up, though, Shopify wins the title for being the best eCommerce platform for aspiring entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

As WooCommerce opens doors to customization and budget-friendly tools, we can say that Shopify won for having the utmost priority of every eCommerce site: security.There is nothing more fulfilling than having the peace of mind that your data and investment are safe as you build and grow your business online.

by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.

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