Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which suits you best?

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In a world where modern technology has been developing day by day, online stores are preferred by most shoppers. To shop owners, WooCommerce and Shopify are considered as the most used eCommerce platforms to build a fast, convenient and astonishing online business. Despite their shared various common functions, WooCommerce differs from Shopify in many features such as features, security, and fees. The comparison below would be useful for you to make a final decision on which to use to establish your own business.

Overview of WooCommerce and Shopify

Powering over 28% of all online stores, WooCommerce is rated by Builtwith as the now most popular and customizable eCommerce platform for building your business. It is an open software plugin that helps boost your site visits as well as business growth rate. Basically, WooCommerce is free to users, but some payments would be required for premium features such as themes and plugins which provide advanced technologies for their stores.

Shopify is created with the same purpose of providing an adaptable and brilliant e-Commerce platform that has everything you need to sell online and attract potential customers. This web application is very easy to set up, so users don’t need to have advanced technical and design skills to start selling their products. Users can save the great amount of developer-hiring fee because Shopify can guide them step-by-step when creating an online store.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: What are the differences?

Extensions and Plugins

First of all, WooCommerce provides users with a wide range of extensions and plugins which enable them to extend the functionality of their online stores. These extensions and plugins come in both free and premium form. There is no doubt that the fame of WordPress has increased its number of users; therefore, it is clear that thousands of extensions and plugins are developed to be included in WooCommerce for advanced users. On the other hand, Shopify turns its marketplace into an easy-to-access store by providing its integrations and apps in App Store. Thus, the key difference here is the number of extensions and plugins that each platform gives users access to.

Themes

While you have to pay for plenty of stunning themes in Shopify, you can install a variety of both free and paid themes in WooCommerce as WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. Therefore, an impressive and endless range of WordPress themes can totally be incorporated into your WooCommerce sites. WooCommerce includes in its website a theme store for the website owner to freely pick up suitable themes. Moreover, store owners can make a self-assertion by creating their signature websites with an intuitive theme called Storefront. These Storefront Themes are good choices for your e-Commerce platform as you need to put more time into designing your site.

In contrast, Shopify is famous for its easy to use, so the theme customization feature is not available yet. The Shopify themes are divided into 11 industries which are diversified for users’ multiple purposes. As Shopify recognizes its users’ need, this e-Commerce platform encourages users to explore both free and paid themes to find the perfect theme for their stores. Minimalism and accessibility are often found in Shopify free themes while its premium themes own sophistication and advanced features leading to the better customer experience. Since Shopify themes are well-organized and carefully-designed, you can save your time and efforts to explore other things.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

These two eCommerce platforms have paid attention to SEO which is used to increase traffic to your online shops. In order to make your website gain a high ranking or position in Google’s search results, WooCommerce provides a plugin called Yoast WooCommerce SEO Plugin. The plugin provides a truly clear breadcrumb navigation of your website, and removes redundant pages added to users’ sitemaps. Hands down, WooCommerce has a better blogging performance than Shopify as WordPress is an excellent platform for blogging which creates an advantage for SEO. WordPress enables users to manage content and deal with SEO concerns like meta data. WooCommerce is totally your right hand if you can write marvelous blog content for your keywords.

As a competitor in developing online stores, Shopify does not forget to include this plugin in its App Store. Shopify’s Plug in SEO checks all essential areas of your websites such as page titles, headings, etc.to find out whether your websites are optimized or not. With clear linking structures together with the set of clean codes, Shopify stores are adapting to many important elements for search rankings. If users can add sufficient products information and SEO-related items, they do not have to worry about SEO. Nevertheless, blogging function in Shopify requires a third-party’s host like WordPress.

Customization

It is really amazing when WooCommerce allows you to easily customize online websites as you wish. There are a lot of WooCommerce details that you have the ability to modify with a lot of fun once you have the ideas of how to make your websites look different from others. A WooCommerce user always has full control of every part of his or her site. When there is no plugin available to your desire of changing websites, it is necessary for you to add custom codes. The PHP codes, CSS snippets or Javascript snippets are common to those who are trying to be their own stores’ designers. However, editing online stores is not such an easy task because incorrect way of customizing may cause multiple problems. When using Shopify, many customers have to confess that Shopify makes it easy to switch from WooCommerce. It takes the shop owners just a few minutes to easily set up their stores which is ready to sell products. Shopify just allows customers to edit theme code for more detailed and nice shopping websites. Basic Shopify’s language called Liquid and HTML or CSS is essential for users with an attempt to edit a theme’s codes.

Payment Gateway

Each platform offers a different type of payment gateway to users. Shopify makes it easier to get to payment step by providing a direct Shopify’s acceptance of payment. The Shopify payments powered by Stripe helps shop owners to instantly accept credit cards and control the cash flow with transparent pricing. Otherwise, Shopify also supports users by integrating with a third-party payment gateway to accept payments from all over the world.

With WooCommerce, entire checkout experience will be made by third-party payment gateways as WooCommerce extensions.

Security Layer and Analytics

Nowadays, most eCommerce websites come with SSL (Secure Socket Layers) encryption technology in order to protect personal information of shoppers on websites, especially during the checkout procedure. Thus, all Shopify stores are created with the assurance of SSL certificates at no additional cost to Shopify merchants. Each online store is easily encrypted by clicking “Activate SSL certificates”. Whenever shoppers buy from Shopify, they will recognize that it is safe to buy from Shopify because of the appearance of padlock icon. Besides, encrypting online stores is good for SEO too. Additionally, you can review your store’s activity using Shopify analytics. The Overview dashboard and key financial reports can help you visualize your store’s revenue. What a convenient feature that Shopify provides users! If users are not familiar with Shopify Analytics, they can easily integrate Google Analytics to track visitors to the store. Analytics discrepancies between Shopify and Google are also using that users can truly find out whether differences are beneficial to their shops.

WooCommerce also issues SSL to encrypt website data sent from their customers to online stores and vice versa. Therefore, the sensitive information such as customers’ addresses and credit card numbers would be safe during any transaction. You can gain trust from your customers once they are assured of a safe online web browsing and purchasing. Setting up SSL with WooCommerce is at ease where users just need to obtain an SSL certificate with both free and paid options. You can either select a hosting company with free SSL and install yourself or choose a provider that sells packages of SSL certificates. Increasing the traffic of visitors to your website by analyzing Google Analytics as a third-party plugin for WooCommerce is very useful. Which channels to spend more time on or where your site is leaking money can be tracked when using WooCommerce Google Analytics.

Customer Support

As Shopify is trying its best to serve customers and to become an all-in-one solution for online business, customers can contact Shopify 24/7 if they have any question about Shopify features. A customer care specialist can be reached via phone, email or live chat in order to help customers deal with their problems as soon as possible. Shopify also adds to its website a help center which consists of documentation for support such as “Welcome to Shopify”, “Ways to sell” or “Set up and run your store”. These are initial guidelines for customers who are dealing with troubles getting their online stores ready to sell; then, Shopify has a support team of any time to help customers overcome all difficulties.
Meanwhile, one disadvantage of WooCommerce is that the 24/7 central customer staffs are not available. However, you should not worry about obstacles you might get when designing your stores. For the reason that WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, answers can first be explored in the WordPress documentation or handbooks. All information from installing to creating and designing every part of plugins are well organized in documents. Handbooks consist of useful tips and tricks for both WordPress beginners or web professionals. The last resort is to find out answers in WordPress support forums with many discussions of WordPress users. Otherwise, if you run into any issue, the developers of themes and plugins may also give you instructions to get rid of those issues as well.

Pricing

Shopify offers a simple pricing method with three basic packages which are Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. The price ranges from $29 for the first package, $79 for the second package and $299 for the last one which includes all advanced features for improving your website performance. The external payment gateway fees of Shopify also reduces from 2.0% to 0.5% respectively. That means Shopify would charge you specific fees for all your payment while WooCommerce payment fees depend on the payment processors you decide to use. Various features such as sending gift cards, receiving professional reports or estimating third-party shipping rates, etc. are included in the most expensive plan among three Shopify packages. Besides, Shopify also requires to purchase a domain name starting from $13 a year through Shopify or from any third-party domain registrar to identify yourself among others if you don’t have a custom domain. Many subdomains can be created once you have bought the root domain. However, Shopify also helps you connect your existing domains or manage your domains as well. In contrast, WooCommerce is free to use but you will need to set up hostings on your own. You will need to prepare web space to install the latest version of WordPress on which WooCommerce runs on. If you can’t do this yourself, several companies such as Bluehost or SiteGround can help with an estimated cost from $5 to $15 per month. Together with the web hosting and domain names, the total fee of your eCommerce site will be added up if you intend to purchase premium themes and plugins with more benefits.

Conclusion

WooCommerce and Shopify are two eCommerce platforms integrated with many distinctive features that can surprise store owners and their visitors as well. Shopify is developed for users who avoid taking complicated steps of setting up their shops while WooCommerce intends to allow customers to think outside the box. Although each platform has its pros and cons, WooCommerce and Shopify consider their customers as the top priority. To determine which platform would be the best, you should make up your mind on which is suitable for your needs.

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