This has been a long long long time for beginners and experts alike. So you want to launch your eCom store and you are just stuck in the middle as to which platform to use. Some say Woocommerce is "Free" some say Shopify is "Expensive". But which platform really should you use? Let us take a look at both Platforms
WOO-COMMERCE vs SHOPIFY
Both platforms are outstanding ecommerce options that offer similar options.
Your choice will depend on what you want out of your ecommerce site.
Shopify is fantastic for those new to ecommerce or those who want a turnkey solution.
WooCommerce is perfect for those who want full control over their ecommerce store and also want the power of WordPress.
Unlike in years past when you had to hire a developer to build an ecommerce store for you, there are now a number of services that allow you to build an ecommerce store with little to no knowledge of coding.
When it comes to building your ecommerce store, there are two that really stand heads and tails above the rest: Shopify and WooCommerce.
But which should you choose? If you read the reviews, both seem pretty good. How can you know which is right for you?
Essentially, it’s an online tool that enables you to build an ecommerce store without doing any coding. With Shopify, You don’t need to hire a developer, and if you get stuck on any of the steps, Shopify will guide you by the hand. With Shopify you can sell all sorts of products, including physical items, digital downloads, drop shipped products, and even services. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can integrate it with your Shopify store thanks to their Point-Of-Sale devices. If you’re new to ecommerce or simply want a simple, turnkey solution, Shopify is certainly a solid option. You just get started quickly!
In order to understand WooCommerce, you need to understand WordPress. WordPress is a massively popular, open-source website building platform. It’s so popular that it’s estimated that WordPress runs 28.9% of the internet, including some of the biggest sites out there. You can be sure that if more than ¼ of the internet uses WordPress, it’s got some things going for it.
However, WordPress wasn’t built specifically with ecommerce in mind. Rather, it’s designed to be an all-in-one solution for building websites and sharing content. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t use WordPress for ecommerce.
That’s where WooCommerce comes in. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that adds a host of ecommerce features to any WordPress site, including things like a shopping cart, product pages, inventory management, etc. Both WordPress and WooCommerce are free. Yes, you will need to spend a bit of money on things like WordPress hosting, but you have those expenses anyway if you have a WordPress site. So do not get hooked up on the " Free "
SHOPIFY IN DETAILS...
Remember that If your site doesn’t look good, people won’t want to buy from you. Your site can’t look like it was designed during the Geocities era or by someone who really loved MySpace. It needs to look professional, clean, and be easy to navigate. Without these elements, you can be pretty sure you won’t succeed in ecommerce. In that area, Shopify is not lacking. There are lots of themes and designs available for you in the Shopify theme store or third party sites like Themeforest.
Shopify offers more than 50 different, professionally designed store themes. Ten of these themes are free, with the rest usually costing between $140-$200. You can find cheaper themes elsewhere. The themes are professionally designed and allow you to easily customize the look and feel of your shop. Shopify outsources all theme design to professional developers who ensure that the themes stay appropriately updated. This is both an advantage and disadvantage. The advantage is that the theme always stays fresh, but the disadvantage is that they can cost quite a bit. Shopify makes it pretty simple to change most of the design options on your site, like colors and styles. You can also easily update your site with new items and even change your theme completely. If you’re preparing for a new product launch, you can edit sections of your store without taking it offline.
What About Pricing?
Shopify basic plan starts at $29 but if you are in the Philippines you have a different pricing plan from shopify. The billing plan for Philippines shopify users is quite low at $13 a month.
On top of these monthly fees, you will also pay transaction fees every time you sell something - This is handled by your Payment provider. If you’re using a payment gateway like PayPal or Stripe, there will be additional transaction fees from them.
Because transaction fees vary and change depending on the payment gateway you choose, you’ll want to look into all the details to determine how you want to handle that aspect.
Shopify offers a robust set of features right out of the box, including:
Unlimited file storage
Automatic fraud analysis
Embedded Oberlo integration
Credit card payments
Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
Drop shipping capabilities
Manual order creation
Free SSL certificate
Mobile commerce optimization
Editable HTML and CSS
Site stats and product reports
Fully featured mobile app
Product importing via CSV files
Different product variations
SEO-ready site structure
Individual product reviews
Facebook selling module
Social media integration
Physical and digital products in the store
Unlimited traffic to your store
Again, Shopify’s goal is to be a turnkey product that allow you to quickly and easily build an ecommerce store. Including all these features ensures that you have everything you need to build your store.
One of Shopify’s greatest strengths is ease of use. It’s intentionally designed to make things quick and easy. All you need to do to get started is go to Shopify.com.ph, go through the signup wizard process, and you’re done. After that, you can take your store live and begin selling. It’s really that simple.
The Shopify dashboard makes it easy to get a feel for your store performance, as well as any issues you need to be aware of. It’s also easy to adjust settings like shipping, taxes, handling new orders, giving refunds, and more. For example, when you’re adding a product to your Shopify store, every option is available on a single panel so you don’t have to visit multiple spots on your dashboard when adding new products. This means you don’t have to hunt in multiple places for all the things that need to be included (description, specs, shipping, etc.) when you bring new products to market.
If technology is intimidating to you, Shopify does everything they can to make things easy.
Because Shopify wants to be an all-in-one solution, they make great efforts to offer first class customer care. You can reach a customer care specialist at any time, 24/7 via phone, email, or live chat. They also has an extensive knowledge base that contains solutions to many of the most common problems.
What About SEO?
Basic SEO practices like meta data and site copy are no problem with Shopify. Assuming you’re adding in sufficient descriptions for products, home page copy, and other SEO-related items, you should be fine. And when it comes to design, Shopify themes have a reputation for clean code and natural linking structures, both of which are important for search rankings. Because Shopify stores are hosted on their massive infrastructure, pages load fast, which is another important element for SEO.
The Shopify reviews app for example is already optimized for SEO, meaning your product review stars can be seen on Google SERP
We all love Apps. Shopify having its on App store provides you with hundreds of tools and integrations to use. Most apps are free and others are paid but nevertheless you will find something you will use and that is just amazing.
Cross Platform Integration.
Shopify actually connects to everything possible. That is what makes is so wonderful. Take the sales channels, You can sell to Wanelo, Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, Buzzfeed and Messenger from your dashboard.
They just made everything ready! Shopify works well with Oberlo which allows you to import products from aliExpress in one click and start selling. There are still other apps that you can use for importation from other sites. Shopify helps you get started ASAP
A LOOK AT WORDPRESS PLUGIN - WOO COMMERCE
As mentioned before, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. The plugin operates on the freemium model, which basically means the core plugin is free, with various add-ons available that can add extra features to your online store. Some of those add-ons are free, some are paid.
Because Shopify stores are built on the Shopify platform, you are limited in what you can do. You’re limited to their themes and their selling options. With WooCommerce, on the other hand, your options are almost unlimited because you’re building on the WordPress platform, which has thousands of themes and plugins, all of which can enhance your store. With Shopify, you don’t own your site. You get your own URL, and you’re spared the fee of hosting, but you’re restricted only to what Shopify allows you to do. This straightforward approach works well for eCommerce beginners (and lazy entrepreneurs), but not for those that prefer a hands-on approach. By contrast, WordPress and its WooCommerce plugin are tools to facilitate building your own site. You have much more options, vast libraries of plugins to customize your site, and more control in general — especially when it comes to site design.
It is more like, You’re building a house and you have to choose between two construction crews. One lets you design the plans however you want, but the other comes with a rigid architect who tells you what you can and can’t do.
Designs And Themes In Woo
Basically, WooCommerce has been designed to work with the majority of the WordPress themes, which means that your design options are essentially endless. If you already have a WordPress site and a theme you like, WooCommerce can work with it. If you’re just getting started, you can pick a theme you really love and use WooCommerce to add ecommerce functionality. While Shopify has an impressive range of themes, WooCommerce can be incorporated into any WordPress theme, in addition to its own library. That gives it far more variety, not just in template design, but in site features.
In general, With WooCommerce, you can integrate any WordPress plugin into your eCommerce site. This creates a nearly infinite selection of possibilities. Well, Of course, this means you have to put more time into designing your site, and not all plugins are free. Most of the Shopify themes are well designed, and if you have no desire to mess with design, then Shopify might be a better option for you
Both WooCommerce and WordPress are free. However, you will need to purchase a few things like web hosting, a domain name, a theme (if you choose a premium one), and any premium plugins you might use. Additionally, you’ll need to factor in the transaction fees from your payment gateway. Thankfully, these will only come into effect when you make a sale. When it comes to price, WooCommerce is at least initially, the cheaper alternative. However, if you start purchasing premium themes and plugins, your costs will go up. Depending on the Shopify plan, you could end up paying about the same amount. But if you are on the Basic plan.... Shopify is actually cheaper.
So What About The Features?
WooCommerce can do anything that Shopify can do.. ummm and then some. While it doesn’t necessarily have all the features Shopify has right out of the box, you can be sure that someone has developed a plugin for whatever feature you need.
Whether you want to sell on Facebook, implement email marketing, or study your customers behavior, WooCommerce can do it.
Here’s what you’ll get with WooCommerce:
Hundreds of plugins
Runs off of your WordPress theme
Payments via PayPal and Stripe built-in
Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
Complete control over your website and its data
Facebook ad and Facebook stores extensions
Unlimited products and categories
This again highlights the key differences between Shopify and WooCommerce. Shopify is very strong because it gives you everything you need right out of the box, and for some people that’s the perfect option. However, you’re also limited in the fact that you can’t get any more than what Shopify provides. If you want total flexibility in terms of plugins, then WooCommerce will be a better choice. So its more like travelling to a new country or destination. If you have no idea what to do or where to go, a tour guide can be helpful. However, if you’re you really want to get to know a city, you won’t hire a guide. Rather, you’ll explore yourself.
Ease Of Use & Accessibility
Once you get through the initial steps of setting up a WordPress site, working with WooCommerce is just as easy as working with Shopify - Not that "Easy" . The initial setup isn’t difficult, but it does take a bit longer and involve a few small technical details. If you’re uncomfortable when it comes to technology, you could have trouble at this step, but it’s really not difficult.
To get started with WooCommerce, you need to:
Buy your domain name.
Purchase web hosting.
Install the WooCommerce plugin.
Install any additional plugins needed.
If this intimidates you, there are hosting companies that specialize in WordPress that will take care of everything for you. Some companies even have 1-click WordPress and WooCommerce installation options, meaning you can get your store up and running with minimal technical work. Once your site and WooCommerce are up and running, you’ll be taken through a setup wizard. It will help you set up things like currency settings, shipping options, payment gateways, and more.
WooCommerce / WordPress Support
Well this is where Shopify beat them.. One downside of WooCommerce is that, unlike Shopify, WooCommerce doesn’t have a central customer support staff. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t find solutions to your problems. Because WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, you can get support on their forums or by creating a free account at WooCommerce.com. Additionally, Because WordPress and WooCommerce are open source, the developers who create the themes and plugins are available for support if you run into any issues.
This is one way that WooCommerce significantly outperforms Shopify. Hands down, WordPress is the best platform for blogging, which gives it a significant advantage for SEO. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Shopify sites to host their blogs externally on WordPress. Using a WooCommerce site on WordPress means consolidating these two crucial segments of the same brand. This does not mean you will have better SEO ranks than a Shopify store - NO. Remember Shopify has blog functionality too. Yes WordPress is optimized for blogging but heaven helps those who help themselves. If you think it is magic and do no work on it, You are not going anywhere.
WordPress’s blogging capabilities encapsulate both a comprehensive CMS for content management and specific SEO concerns like meta data. Again, good SEO requires effort, but with WooCommerce on WordPress, the option is there for those that don’t mind the legwork.
If you write outstanding blog content for the right keywords, you have a good shot at showing up on the first page of Google for particular searches, which can drive a massive amount of eCommerce sales.
WooCommerce has what they call AliDropship. This is just like Oberlo. You can import products from Aliexpress to WooCommerce with this tool
So, As you can see these platforms have their own functions and all. It is up to you to choose and decide what to go with!
WooCommerce - Pros
It has user reviews and ratings.
Nicely organized reports which are categorized by date, product, category, coupons, etc.
WooCommerce is a free plugin which means there is no extra cost if you need basic store functionality and you already have a WordPress website.
WooCommerce - Cons
If you’re starting from scratch, you need to sign up for hosting separately and then download, install, and set up WooCommerce.
If you want an SSL certificate which proves your website is secure, you will need to purchase it separately.
WooCommerce is the most logical choice for those of you who are already set up on the WordPress platform, have your hosting taken care of, and you don’t mind paying extra for an SSL security certificate. Integrating WooCommerce is as easy as installing any other plugin and the most basic setup of the store can be completed in just five steps.
With that in mind, WooCommerce is easy to use, and it allows you to set up a testing environment to make sure everything works before you start accepting payments on your site. As long as you’re familiar with WordPress, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Shopify - Pros
Free hosting which means your store can be up and running as soon as you sign up for Shopify and start adding your products.
Slightly better SEO capabilities than WooCommerce, most notable being page loading times and the fact that it comes with a free SSL certificate.
Includes social media promotion and sharing which helps with both product and website promotion.
The admin area is modern-looking, easy to use, and very intuitive—even for a novice user.
Shopify - Cons
On the con side of things, Shopify doesn’t offer more than their three default product attributes - Although you can change this with Apps. whereas WooCommerce offers unlimited product variations. The products in Shopify are defined by size, color, and material which can have additional options but you cannot create new product variations. With that in mind, Shopify is a great choice for those new to the world of eCommerce, and those who don’t have a website already. It features a friendly design and walks you through the process of setting up your store which makes it beginner-friendly, while some of the more advanced features will meet the needs of more demanding users. Shopify offers an effortless way of getting your store up and running as quickly as possible. To minimize the costs upfront all you have to do is sign up for Shopify, pick one of their free themes, customize the design to match with your brand, add the products, and you’re good to go.
All in all, For me I will always go with Shopify! Ecommerce is changing and if you are not built for eCommerce ( just like Wordpress ) - You will never be! There are a lot of reasons to go with Shopify especially with new features coming in. If i plan to blog. I will choose Wordpress. Again, This is my opinion. Let me hear yours in the comments. ..