When starting an online store you will have to select an eCommerce platform, and that choice will likely come down to WooCommerce or Shopify, the top two eCommerce platforms. But how do you know which solution is better for you?
With e-commerce sales making up 14.1% of retail sales worldwide and forecasts estimating that number will grow, reaching 22% in 2023, now is a great time to open an online store. The success of your business can lie in choosing the e-commerce solution that best fits the needs of your business.
Knowing what each platform offers can help you decide which option is best for your business. This article will look at how each platform rates on what we believe are the most important aspects to consider when choosing an eCommerce solution.
So, WooCommerce or Shopify?
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin for WordPress, so to use it, you need to use WordPress as your CRM.
You can customise your WooCommerce store completely and add custom extensions. While you may be interested in a completely customised store, keep in mind that it’s more complex to set up and run, so having some technical experience or the willingness to learn is essential.
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform (you don’t purchase a separate hosting package) that can allow you to have an online store up and running within minutes.
While you don’t have to worry about the technical side of your store, it’s also important to note that you won’t have complete control over every aspect of your online store.
The significant difference between WooCommerce and Shopify is that WooCommerce is self-hosted, and Shopify hosts the software for you.
While that may be a determining factor for some, here are other factors you should consider when choosing.
Although WooCommerce is a free plugin, you must pay for a domain name, SSL certificate and hosting. Other costs associated may include premium themes, plugins and extensions, and developer fees.
However, WooCommerce does have free themes and plugins available, so you can control how much your store will cost.
You can tell upfront how much the basic Shopify plans will cost but the final cost will vary depending on any services and software you may add on. It’s also possible that they raise their prices in the future. There are a variety of packages available and monthly and annual plans are available.
Both platforms allow you to track products quickly and generate inventory reports. However, the main difference between the two is the ability to offer product variations. For example, if you offer a sweater in different colours and sizes, each one is considered a product variation.
WooCommerce allows you to add as many variations as you need. Shopify has a limit of 100 variants total and three options per product. To increase this number, you need to use a third-party app.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO can have a significant impact on your online store. With more and more people shopping online, they must be able to find you easily.
WooCommerce is built on a dedicated blogging platform, making SEO one of its strong points. You can alter basic URL redirections, body content, meta descriptions, alt tags, and other page elements to optimise your pages. There are also many SEO plugins that you can use to further optimise your store.
Shopify has a rigid URL structure, and users can’t change some sections of a store’s URL. However, although there are SEO limitations, it has all the core features you need for eCommerce SEO. SEO apps are also available for Shopify that are easy to install and operate.
Available Payment Methods
Accepting as many different payment methods as you can, allows you to maximise sales. Both platforms accept all major payment gateways. They also both have their own payment gateways.
If you choose to use the WooCommerce platform’s payment gateway, there will be an additional charge, but they do not charge if you use an external gateway.
And while using Shopify’s payment gateway does not incur an additional fee, they will charge an additional fee for using an external gateway.
Shipping & Dropshipping
Both platforms can ship internationally. However, Shopify has partnerships with FedEx, UPS, DHL, Canada Post, and USPS, which gives it an edge in the shipping aspect of the platforms.
Each platform also allows drop shipping, and there are plugins and apps available for each to help with drop shipped orders. However, WooCommerce is the preferred choice for dropshipping companies.
Since Shopify is a hosted platform, they provide online security for your store. It has built-in security features, including an SSL certificate, which gives users peace of mind knowing that the website is safe.
WooCommerce does not have built-in security. Depending on the hosting company you choose, you may need to pay for SSL and you may need to pay for security. If you are DIYing your website will need to install security which can take extra work to source and configure.
WooCommerce has a significant amount of information covering all aspects of running a WooCommerce store, including self-help guides, a blog, and access to their support team available 24/7.
Shopify provides the Shopify Learn portal with free courses available to users, a forum to connect with other Shopify users, and access to their support team 24/7.
Which platform is the best? WooCommerce or Shopify?
WooCommerce may be better if you are looking for a powerful platform that is flexible, customisable and scalable and SEO is part of your wishlist.
If you want a DIY all-in-one platform, Shopify may be right for you.
Each platform has its own strengths and depending on your company’s needs, budget, and goals, either platform may fit.
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