October 23, 2021
Breaking Down Pros & Cons…
If you are a business owner looking to start your ecommerce business in 2022, you are probably considering either WooCommerce or Shopify right now.
WooCommerce powers more than 30% of online stores globally and is probably the most popular ecommerce platform today. However, Shopify is no slouch either, accounting to almost 20% of the global online stores this year.
Which ecommerce platform you should be choosing for your business?
In this comprehensive report, we will be breaking down their advantages and disadvantages so you can choose the best option for your eCommerce store.
1) Owning vs Renting
When you build your store on Shopify, you don’t really own your store on Shopify.
In a way, you are renting it.
Like any rental business, you need to pay a monthly rental fee to Shopify based on your usage.
And just like any landlord, there are terms and conditions where you have to comply in order to rent.
Shopify have the right to terminate your services for any reason without notice at any time (screenshot as shown above) which includes holding of your funds.
However, as long as you comply to their terms and conditions, there shouldn’t be any problems.
Building your store with WooCommerce, on the other hand, is akin to building your own house.
It’s your own house.
There are no rules you have to comply and you have full rights to your eCommerce store.
2) Ease of Use
Just like a rented apartment, Shopify has everything you need.
It lets you focus on your business by taking away most of the adminstrative work of managing a website.
This means, unlike WooCommerce, you don’t need to spend time on handling different bills from different vendors, maintaining updates or managing web hosting. The only caveat is that you will be locked in a system that doesn’t allow much customisation.
In addition, it is noteable that Shopify has a more polished interface compared to WooCommerce since it is specifically designed for eCommerce.
3) Design Flexibility
If you want to sell well, you better have a great website design.
Shopify offers over 100 pre-built themes—both free and premium.
The overall vibe for Shopify themes is usually clean, sleek and polished. Since they are designed specifically for eCommerce, they usually have good UX/UI designs for their checkout pages.
However, if you have content rich pages or you are looking for a specific look design such as blog or product page design, Shopify themes may not be a good solution as they generally have limited design customisation.
You may choose to have a custom Shopify theme built from scratch, however the development cost of a custom theme is usually much more hefty than customising default Shopify themes.
On the other hand, there are more than 30,000 themes on WooCommerce and they allows much more flexibility in their design.
If you need a certain website design, you will most likely be able to achieve it with WooCommerce.
However, if you don’t engage an experienced marketing agency for the development, you might end up with an subpar store with suboptimal experiences.
Winner: Even (Depends on what you need)
4) Functionalities & Customisation
Shopify is absolutely fantastic for starters.
Depending on your Shopify plan, it is an one stop solution that comes in-built ecommerce tools such as abandoned cart recovery and advanced reports.
If you need additional functionalities, there are more than 6,000 publicly available apps across the Shopify App Store. However, most of them are paid plugins and even if they are free, they come with very limited functionalities.
However, when comes to customisation, WooCommerce is a totally different beast.
For a start, WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform built for WordPress. Unlike Shopify, it is not limited only to eCommerce functionality. You can basically add any functionalities on your website such as SEO plugins, automation tools and even forum capabilities.
At the moment, there are more than 60,000 plugins on WordPress library, we have yet to include 3rd party plugins sold on global marketplaces such as Envato.
By any chances that you are unable to find a plugin that suits your need, you can always engage a plugin developer to create a plugin that suit exactly what you need.
5) Operating Cost
With convenience, comes with cost.
As mentioned earlier, Shopify charges a monthly ‘rental’ fee for its services, ranging from usd29 to usd299.
The entry-level plan ‘Shopify Basic’ provides core e-commerce functionality, however it doesn’t comes with certain features such as professional reports and courier shipping which can be crucial for your business.
If you are running lead generation campaigns, we highly recommend you to upgrade to ‘Advanced Shopify’ which offers advanced reports.
If you are running a large enterprise business, you may consider ‘Shopify Plus’ which cost usd2,000 monthly.
On the other hand, as an open-source plugin on WordPress, WooCommerce is inherently free.
All you need to do is to pay for web hosting fees which generally starts from usd10 monthly depending on your needs.
When comes to customisation cost, Shopify apps are often much more expensive than WordPress plugins, amounting to amounting to hundreds of dollars every month. The hefty cost of these add-ons usually discourage business owners who wish to extend the store beyond the basic functionalities.
Due to the mentioned reason, Shopify becomes much more expensive over time.
You may also wish to note that there are much more free alternatives on WordPress than on Shopify.
After going through various pros and cons, which platform should you get for your business?
The answer depends on what you need.
Like iPhones, Shopify is great for starting business owners who wish to set up a simple store fast without any hassle. If you want everything to be set up for you at a cost, Shopify is the perfect way to go.
Like Android phones, Woocommerce is great for mature business owners who need more advanced features and customisation. However, to have a great website experience, you will need to know what is needed to make your website a success.
If you have a great relationship with your landlord, everything will be fine.
But if you’re going to invest time and effort making your home as nice as it can possibly be, wouldn’t you rather do that to a home you own?
The truth is, it doesn’t matter which platform you choose. If you can’t generate leads for your business, nothing else matters.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.