Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Overview
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an all-in-one solution that simplifies the creation of e-commerce businesses, from design to payment and inventory management. With Shopify, you don't have to worry about technical aspects such as web hosting, security, and programming language; everything you need is at your disposal with a convenient monthly subscription.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce plugin created for WordPress. It allows you to take advantage of the Content Management System (CMS) and use it to manage an online store.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world: to give you just one figure, more than 43% of the websites in the world are created with WordPress. 25% of e-shops are WooCommerce, compared to 5% of Shopify. Thanks to the open source nature of WooCommerce, you can customize every aspect of your site and easily add custom extensions.
The choice between the two platforms depends entirely on your business needs, let's see that in detail.
Design and themes
Shopify's theme store offers over 70 pieces of content, some free, some paid. Themes range from minimal to elaborate, and the choice really depends on the product/service you sell.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a bit different: its base theme, Storefront, comes with a clean and flexible layout, suitable for selling many products or services. Customization of the base theme is almost infinite but will depend entirely on the skill of the developer in charge of the project.
Payments and commissions
In addition to traditional payment methods such as PayPal, Shopify has its own payment solution called Shopify Payments (which uses Stripe). Shopify charges 2% on all transactions that are made outside of Shopify Payments. This fee is in addition to the transaction fee charged by Shopify's internal payment gateway. It is possible to reduce the fee to 0.5% by paying €289 per month for the Shopify Advanced plan, but this is an amount that not all entrepreneurs can afford, especially when starting their business.
Shopify Payments charges a credit card fee, but no other transaction fees. Credit card fees start at 2.9% + 30 cents for the basic plan and decrease for other plans.
WooCommerce on the other hand offers PayPal and Stripe payments by default. It also supports other payment service providers such as Amazon Pay, Braintree, Square and Alipay.
Due to its open-source nature, any payment company can create add-ons for WooCommerce to offer their service integration. Only transaction fees are charged by the payment platform or bank.
When it comes to SEO, WooCommerce and Shopify are almost equivalent, with a small advantage to WooCommerce thanks to its flexibility and numerous SEO plugins. Both solutions are very solid from an SEO point of view and offer good features to optimize the content of your e-shop.
Shopify and WooCommerce both offer excellent applications and integrations. Yoast, the WordPress SEO plugin, is very easy to use and offers excellent support: it's like hiring an SEO expert.
SEO Booster, a free tool from Shopify, is also very good: in addition to managing on-page SEO, it offers solutions to issues that might be affecting site performance.
Security is a major concern when running an online business. With WooCommerce, most of the security is in the hands of the site creator. Specifically, we'll need to obtain the SSL certificate, configure security plugins, two-factor authentication, PCI compliance, and other more mundane actions like captcha installation.
Shopify, on the other hand, takes care of updates and security issues in the background. This platform comes with a built-in SSL certificate for free, which means that all data transferred between the site and users is encrypted. The Shopify system also runs on a PCI Level 1 compliant server, which is required to accept credit and debit card data.
This section will be brief, because Shopify via its monthly subscription also takes care of the hosting of your site. While with WooCommerce you have to take care of the hosting on an external platform.
When it comes to the time it takes to design your e-shop, the differences between WooCommerce and Shopify are quite marked. WooCommerce, depending on the degree of customization and plugins inserted, can be time consuming in terms of implementation time. Indeed, everything is entirely the responsibility of the site developer.
Shopify has an advantage in this regard; any theme, paid or not, can be set up in minutes, as can payment methods, SSL certificate and hosting, which are included in the monthly payment fee and managed directly by Shopify.
The advantage of a WooCommerce will lie in its customization and flexibility.
Without advanced configuration, Shopify will perform better overall in terms of page load. On the other hand, WooCommerce being highly customizable, with the right practices, it will easily outperform Shopify in terms of performance.
As you can see, there is no real winner. The choice will depend on the type of product/service you want to sell, the type of human and financial resources you have, the level of customization you want and also the time you want to spend setting up the site.
Here is a short list of advantages and disadvantages of both platforms, which we hope will help you make the best choice for your needs.
- Shopify includes hosting and security, and no programming knowledge is required.
- Quick to set up, all-in-one package.
- Shopify is the only platform that charges its own transaction fees, unless you use its own gateway, Shopify Payments.
- Very high monthly fees for premium features.
- Hard to think outside the box, not very flexible.
- Flexible, customization of your e-shop is unlimited.
- Excellent value for money: installation is free, and extensions are mostly reasonably priced.
- Thanks to its open-source nature, WooCommerce benefits from a very large community; you will find the answer to your questions very easily.
- Not suitable for beginners; programming knowledge is required to handle everything properly.
- Hosting, security and domain are to be managed/paid separately and have fixed costs.