Starting an online store has never been easier. There are quite a few feature-rich eCommerce platforms available, each with their own set of strengths. But the two most popular solutions are Shopify or WooCommerce. Deciding which one you should choose for your small business largely depends on your individual needs.
Both platforms offer an attractive design, product variations, different shipping rates, various payment gateways, even SEO and marketing features; as well as different extensions and add-ons to further extend and improve your online store.
In this post, we’ll take a look at WooCommerce vs Shopify, compare their features, and help you determine which one is the best eCommerce platform choice for your online business early on.
WooCommerce Versus Shopify: A Brief Overview
Using both Shopify and WooCommerce is very easy, and even for a complete beginner.
Both platforms have thorough documentation and a large user base, which means finding answers to potential issues that may arise is fairly effortless in both systems.
The biggest difference between the two is in the setup. WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress which means you need a WordPress website for which you have to pay a hosting fee, install the WooCommerce plugin, and then set up the store. However, if you already have an existing WordPress website, setting up WooCommerce is an easy process.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a self-hosted solution which means you don’t have to worry about finding a web host, installing a separate content management system, and then adding Shopify. If you have no technical skills and if you are starting from scratch, Shopify is probably the easier choice. On top of that, Shopify comes with integrated blogging capabilities meaning you won’t lose out just because you haven’t gone the WordPress route.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at each of these eCommerce software platforms and see what they have to offer. So you can choose the best eCommerce software for your new online store.
WooCommerce: An In-Depth Look
As mentioned before, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. The plugin operates on the free model, which basically means the core plugin is free, with various add-ons available that can add extra features from your online store. Some of the add-ons are free, some are paid.
At its core, WooCommerce offers the following features:
- Different payment gateways which include PayPal, BACS, or Cash on Delivery.
- Free or flat rate shipping and tax settings which include different tax classes and local tax rates.
- Reports include incoming sales, reviews, inventory levels, or general store performance.
- Integrated user reviews, discount options, usage limits.
- The ability to cross-promote and upsell products.
- Product variations and the ability to sell both downloadable and physical goods.
Shopify Online Store
If you’re familiar with WordPress, then installing up WooCommerce should be very easy for you. However, even if you are a novice, the process is pretty straightforward. Learn how to install a WooCommerce plugin, set it up, and customize it.
You can also get a free course online that will help you set up your online store. Here is a quick intro to WooCommerce.
The developers behind WooCommerce, WooThemes, know the importance of design when it comes to eCommerce.
WooCommerce themes offered on WordPress have been optimized specifically for the plugin itself and offer plenty of useful features such as zoom-in options, integration with MailChimp, eye-catching sliders, bold imagery, responsive design, and overall top-notch aesthetics.
Shopify: An In-Depth Look
Shopify is a self-hosted solution which means your store can be ready in a matter of minutes as there is no additional software to install. Unlike WooCommerce, there is no free plan but the price is still affordable. Like with WooCommerce, there is a range of themes offered by Shopify as well add-ons which give you extra features for your store.
The main features include:
- Plenty of professional themes available from Shopify and plenty more available on Envato Marketplace.
- Responsive, mobile-friendly 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 site analytics.
- Integration with social media and email marketing.
- Product variations, review, discounts etc.
Setting Up Your Store
Setting up the store on Shopify is as easy as signing up for your desired plan, choosing the theme, and adding the products. It’s a complete WYSIWYG solution giving you complete control over your navigation, pages, and design.