Are you planning to start an online store? Both Shopify and WooCommerce are popular ecommerce solutions. But which platform is right for you?
The Basic Differences
Shopify is a powerful, fully hosted online shopping platform that grows with your business. It’s easy to set-up. In fact, you do not need any technical knowledge to begin. Store owners can also sell their products in person with Shopify’s POS system.
Shopify offers 24/7 support and a free SSL certificate. No technical knowledge required.
Manual activities can be automated or enhancements to site functionality can be done using apps. Some apps are free but most have a monthly fee.
Shopify’s basic plan starts at $29 per month.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress. WordPress is technically a blogging platform, but with the WooCommerce plugin you can quickly transform the platform into an online store.
There is no dedicated support who can handle your concerns. If you are not tech-savvy, you most likely will need to hire a web developer to assist with technical support.
Manual activities can be automated or enhancements to site functionality can be done using plug-ins. Some plug-ins are free but most have a monthly fee.
WordPress/WooCommerce requires installation on a third-party web hosting platform. And you’ll need to purchase and install an SSL certificate.
WooCommerce is free to install and is the most ideal eCommerce platform for cost-conscious users.
Currently, I have clients using both these platforms and each one for a different reason. Ultimately, the platform you choose for your business will depend on your specific needs and skill set.
What is your budget?
Ask yourself “How much are you willing to invest in starting a online business?”
The majority of my clients and students are not tech savvy, therefore, I always recommend Shopify as the go-to platform. Yes, it is the more expensive option, BUT… in the end, you’ll be saving yourself money. How?
Let me share a few stories with you…
I’ve had several clients that use WordPress/WooCommerce. For one reason or another, they needed to hire me to fix or update their websites. The programming costs to maintain, update, and fix a WordPress/WooCommerce site can greatly outweigh the cost of a Shopify store. In fact, one of my clients paid me over $30,000 in one month to fix the functionality on their website. The website was built by another programmer (for cheap!) and the clients’ site was more complex than he/she anticipated. Needless to say, they’ve spent more on programming costs than anticipated because they choose to listen to advice without researching the best platform for their needs. To this day, I still believe that WooCommerce is not the right solution for this client, but too much money has been spent to fix the existing site. Each month, they are still paying me to maintain and update the site. Why? Because WordPress has security issues if the installed software and plug-ins are not kept up-to-date.
I had another client that was paying me over $5,000 a month to maintain and update their Magento site. I suggested moving their site to Shopify and after a few months, they no longer needed my services. In one year, that company saved $60,000+.
One of my other clients hired me to handle the Shopify set-up and asked me to customize their Shopify theme. Once I finished, they added their own products and within the first month sold over $40,000 in products. Now they average $100,000 or more a month. When they need tech support, they simply reach out to Shopify. It’s free! Quick and fast support.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Usability
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Shopify is a complete tool. It is fairly easy and quick to get familiar with managing products, payments, inventory, etc. Shopify also manages every technical aspect for you. It takes care of security improvements, upgrades, backups, etc.
WooCommerce isn’t a complete package. That means that you or your web developer needs to manually review site functionality from hosting to security, along with making sure the updates are installed on a regular basis.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Payments and Transaction Fees
In order for your customers to checkout, your online store must use a payment gateway such as Paypal, Authorize.net, Stripe, Amazon Payments, etc.
Shopify offers multiple payment gateways, including its own payment gateway powered by Stripe, called Shopify Payments. The fees for Shopify payments are 2.9% + .30 cents per transaction. If you choose to use a third-party gateway, like PayPal, Shopify will charge you a transaction fee. This can add up quickly once you add in the PayPal fees. Therefore, I highly recommend that you use the Shopify Payments gateway.
By default, WooCommerce supports Paypal and Stripe. However, you can use 100’s of other payment gateways by installing a plug-in. The fees for PayPal payments are 2.9% + .30 cents per transaction.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: Security
All online store owners should be concerned about security for themselves and their customers. Remember, you are processing the online transactions of your customers that are paying with their credit cards. Along with maintaining their personal information to make their future purchases more convenient.
Since Shopify is a hosted platform, security is handled for you. Shopify provides you with an SSL certificate and is PCI-DSS compliant. However, with WooCommerce, you’ll need to purchase and install an SSL certificate, set up PCI-DSS compliance, and make sure your WordPress software and plug-ins are updated on a regular basis.
Taking both platforms into consideration, Shopify is the clear winner when it comes to security.
Shopify vs WooCommerce: How Do You Decide?
As you’ve probably noticed, I’m a strong believer that Shopify is the best solution for businesses of all sizes. However, you need to decide what is best for you and your business. Here are a few things to consider…
Choose Shopify if…
- You want 24/7 support
- You want things like security taken care of for you
- Have limited technical know-how and do not wish to pay a web developer for updates and maintenance
- Looking for east to customize templates (aka themes ~ how your store looks)
Choose WooCommerce if…
- You have technical skills or are willing to pay someone else who is
- You want full control of everything
- You are looking for advanced customization. WooCommerce has an enormous 3rd party plugin directory.