You may currently have an office or shop, which oversees all your business operations and the distribution of your products to customers. However, if you want to find ways to increase sales, reduce operating costs and increase profit margins for your business, an e-commerce website is an effective way forward. Online shopping is increasing year on year, and there are millions of people searching the internet every day, looking for products and services.
- lower set-up and running costs than an offline business;
- the business can be operated from anywhere and anytime;
- better scalability and measurability of conversions and sales;
- higher profit margins and better cashflow.
There are many advantages of selling online, but the key benefits are:
So, if you choose to develop an online store, the next step would be to decide which type of e-commerce solution is ideal based on your budget and level of expertise. We at Webstrim are almost certain that in your research you’ll come across the world’s two most popular e-commerce platforms – WooCommerce and Shopify. By breaking down their key advantages and disadvantages, we’d like to offer below a performance comparison of both platforms in order to help you choose the e-commerce layer that fits your business needs.
- Since WooCommerce is self-hosted, your store’s files are located on your own server and you’re free to modify everything on your store as you see fit.
- Shopify hosts and manages the software for you, so you’re limited to only making the changes that it allows you to make.
Ease of Launching
- When you create a WooCommerce store, you need to arrange your hosting, install WordPress, install and configure WooCommerce, choose a WooCommerce theme, configure payment gateways, tax calculations, and other store related parameters. None of this is too daunting, but there’s a definite learning curve, especially if this is your first WordPress site.
- With Shopify, there’s very little getting in the way of you creating your first product and starting to sell it. All you need to do is create a Shopify account, select and purchase a domain (or sync an existing domain name), choose a Shopify theme, and assuming you’re using Shopify’s own payment gateway, it’s easy to start accepting credit card payments right from day one.
Control Over Functionality
- With WooCommerce, you can customize the functionality of your shopping cart on the level of the custom theme, WordPress plugins, and custom code. Importantly, WooCommerce doesn’t limit the number of product variations that you can use.
- You can customize the functionality of your Shopify store by using third-party and Shopify themes and apps, but you can add the custom HTML code only to your store’s homepage, which is a limiting factor. Additionally, Shopify puts a hard cap of 100 variants per product and 3 total options per product, which is impossible to work around no matter which Shopify plan you’re on.
- Because of WooCommerce’s open nature and large plugin community, it supports all the popular gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Square, Authorize.Net, and many niche and regional payment gateways.
- Shopify has its own payment gateway, but if you’d prefer to use a third-party gateway like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.Net, etc., it’ll charge you extra 2% (for most popular Basic Shopify plan), which is definitely worth paying attention to and knowing about while planning your budget.
Control over Data
- Because WooCommerce is self-hosted, it gives you full control and ownership of your data. That means, if needed, you can even dig into your database and access the raw data.
- While Shopify does give you access to all of your data, the live copy is still stored on Shopify’s servers, which means you never really fully control your data.
- With WooCommerce you have a full responsibility for maintaining and securing your store. But you don’t necessarily need to do this yourself – if you need development work done, you might have to outsource it to a professional.
- There’s very little for you to do in this respect, as Shopify handles maintaining and securing your store. However, you’ll need make sure that apps that are used in your store continue to function properly.
Pricing & Associated Costs
- It’s hard to pin down an exact cost for a WooCommerce store. The hosting, domain and payment gateway are the fixed costs, but you’ll also likely end up paying for a premium WordPress theme or premium plugins (usually a one-time payment).
- Shopify’s core pricing is transparent and easy to plan for – Basic Shopify is $29/mo, Shopify is $79/mo, and Advanced Shopify is $299/mo. But the premium Shopify themes come with a one-time cost and many premium apps require an additional recurring monthly payments. Additionally, Shopify will charge you more if you use an external payment gateway (see Payment Methods above).
So WooCommerce or Shopify? Each e-commerce platform has advantages in specific situations and can possibly be the perfect solution for your e-commerce store. The big reason to choose WooCommerce is flexibility and control: if you’re planning to sell products that go beyond “simple” in terms of variations, checkout process, or pricing structure – you’ll probably appreciate it more. But if you want the simplest, most beginner-friendly way to launch an e-commerce store with minimum maintenance, Shopify is definitely a good choice.