WooCommerce vs Shopify, the TL;DR
If you don’t have time to read the entire article, and just want the short answer to the WooCommerce vs Shopify debate, here it is… I think that Shopify is the best option for the vast majority of people who want to set up an e-commerce store and not have to worry about the various technical aspects and maintenance. Shopify is the most user-friendly ecommerce platform out of the several I have used. Although it might seem pricey, when you compare it to the true cost of WooCommerce, it becomes evident that Shopify is the best choice for most small businesses entrepreneurs. I think that the convenience it provides far outweighs the cost.
WooCommerce vs Shopify
When it comes to the “WooCommerce vs Shopify” debate, my two cents are that Shopify is a better solution than WooCommerce for almost anyone who needs an e-commerce platform or tool to sell their goods online. Don’t get me wrong, I love WooCommerce. I make my living using the WordPress Content Management System (the company that owns WooCommerce) along with WooCommerce. But the fact of the matter is that Shopify is superior to WooCommerce for a lot of reasons, and most of these reasons are situational. You see, a big chunk of people that need an e-commerce solution like this (maybe most) are side-hustlers trying to get their small e-commerce dream off the ground.
What is Shopify and What is WooCommerce?
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress, one of the most widely used content management systems (CMS) for building websites. Developed by Automattic, the same company behind WordPress, WooCommerce enables users to turn their WordPress websites into fully functional online stores.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create and manage online stores. It provides a user-friendly interface and a range of tools to help entrepreneurs set up and operate their online businesses without extensive technical knowledge.
Aren’t Shopify and WooCommerce the same?
Comparing WooCommerce vs Shopify can be confusing. You might ask yourself, “Aren’t they the same?” Well, kind of, but not really. So, in a nutshell, both tools do the same thing. They are both e-commerce tools that help people sell online, and both solutions provide add-ons in the form of “plugins” for WooCommerce and “apps” that help you do things like manage shipping, collect sales tax, collect email addresses, etc.
So, if they both do the same thing, then why is one better than the other? While these two solutions are, in my opinion, the best options for small e-commerce businesses getting off the ground, the real difference is that using WordPress and WooCommerce puts you in the role of a technical admin. This is a bad idea if you don’t have any previous experience with WooCommerce, or like me, lack extra time. Shopify, on the other hand, has done a really amazing job at taking these tasks onto themselves so that you can get started selling as quickly as possible.
What does Shopify do that will make my life easier?
I’d say there are two things that Shopify does that will make the life of an e-commerce entrepreneur easier.
- No need to look for a hosting provider that performs well. When using WordPress (and WooCommerce) you have to find a “hosting provider.” This is a company that stores your website on their servers and makes it accessible to the internet. There are a lot of WordPress hosting providers out there, and they’re not all great. And, they don’t all use the same technology under the hood, which can lead to conflicts with the plugins you are using. Shopify fixes this by providing their own hosting. This means that all third-party apps that provide solutions for the Shopify ecosystem are making them for the same exact hosting provider. This means a lot less conflicts.
- You don’t have to worry about website performance. While the default WordPress/WooCommerce package is great, as your store grows you’ll have to make decisions on various aspects of your website, and performance is a big one. You have to make decisions about “website caching,” CDNs (Content Delivery Systems), troubleshoot conflicts, etc. Shopify has already made these decisions for its platform and It works great!
But isn’t Shopify more expensive than WooCommerce?
One of the most important aspects of the WooCommerce vs Shopify debate involves the costs. At first glance, it seems obvious which one will save you the most, but, in my experience, it’s not as straightforward as one might think.
The Real Cost of FREE WooCommerce Plugins
I’ve used WooCommerce to build stores to sell products online, and I can tell you that it’s not as cheap as you would think.
Just like Shopify, WooCommerce has third-party tools known as “plugins” that help you perform various tasks like product uploads via CSV files, provides performance boosts, help with order processing, and more. These are great and I love them! However, two problems can arise. The first is that you often have to upgrade from the free version to one of the paid versions of these plugins in order to access all of the features that you might need. This is no big deal, and you’d run into the same issue in the Shopify ecosystem while using their “apps.” If this was the only issue, then I would recommend WooCommerce to everyone and call it a day.
This brings me to the second issue that can arise from using third-party tools (plugins/apps.) You see, every new plugin/app you add to your e-commerce website requires resources from the system, and even worse, could conflict with other plugins/apps you have already installed and are using. This is where I think Shopify really shines. The fact that Shopify is a closed hosting environment means that all app developers are designing and building for the same hosting environment, there are just not as many technical issues that arise.
Save precious time with Shopify
Another thing about cost is that the upgraded plugins for WooCommerce can get pretty pricey, and this can really add up. Some solutions you would have to pay for in WooCommerce are built into Shopify, but not all. The price comparison can be a toss up, but when I factor in the amount of time the Shopify platform can save you compared to WooCommerce, I would go with Shopify.
There you have it – my honest take on why Shopify is a better e-commerce solution than WooCommerce for almost anyone wanting to sell online. Like, I mentioned above, I make my living with WordPress (the system WooCommerce sits on), but for my own e-commerce efforts, I’m going to switch over to Shopify for the amount of time and possibly money it can save me.
The topic of WooCommerce vs Shopify has a lot of nuance, but hopefully, we’ve been able to clarify questions and concerns you might have.