If you don’t already have your own e-commerce store, there is no better time to start one than right now.
When you plan to start your own store, there are so many options. It can be difficult to decide which platform to use. Two of the most popular e-commerce platforms are WooCommerce and Shopify. There are over 2 million e-commerce stores built with WooCommerce globally and over 369,000 with Shopify, according to BuiltWith.
Whether WooCommerce or Shopify is best for you will depend on your own personal goals and preferences, but here is an in-depth comparison to help you make the best choice.
Whenever you start a new endeavor, the first question that comes to mind is, “How much does it cost?”, so we’ll examine price first.
WooCommerce is free, open-source software that integrates seamlessly into your existing WordPress website as a plugin. Shopify is an externally-hosted platform that offers 3 different plans ranging from $29 to $299 a month.
Just because WooCommerce is free, however, doesn’t mean that it won’t cost money. There are many add-ons you can purchase to extend the functionality of WooCommerce, and each one comes with either a purchase price or a subscription fee.
For example, the popular marketplace Code Canyon offers over 2,400 third-party add-ons for WooCommerce to extend its functionality and the prices for each range from $5 to $299. WooCommerce offers over 300 of their own extensions to increase your store’s functionality, and prices for those range from $0 to $299.
There are also add-ons for your Shopify store, however, and the cost is in addition to your monthly Shopify fee. For example, if you have a Shopify store and want to add a countdown timer, you will need an add-on app.
There are currently over 1400 apps in the Shopify App Store, and over 60 apps for countdown timers. Adding a countdown to your Shopify store will cost anywhere from $0 to $50 a month, depending on which app you opt for.
When considering cost, look at your long-term goals, determine what add-ons you will need for your store, and figure out which one makes sense for you.
Ease of Use
Both WooCommerce and Shopify are designed to be easy to set up and use, even for people with no knowledge of coding or web design. WooCommerce can be installed, configured and ready to go in as little as 5 minutes, and Shopify can be set up in less than 15 minutes.
Both platforms offer plenty of easy-to-use tutorial manuals and videos. Beyond that, if you have a quick question and need to know how to do something with your WooCommerce or Shopify store, simply typing your question into Google provides thousands of answers for both platforms.
When it comes to how easy they are to set up, configure, and maintain, both WooCommerce and Shopify emerge as winners.
One feature that isn’t often discussed is control. Being able to control all aspects of your store and your income is very important, so it is definitely something to consider.
Whenever you rely on someone else to earn your income, there’s always a risk that your income could change overnight. Think about how Google implemented updates to their ranking algorithms over the past several years. People who were ranking on the first page were suddenly excluded from search results and went from earning thousands of dollars a day to nothing overnight.
WooCommerce allows you to host your own store on your own website, which provides you with a greater degree of control over your costs, your design, your data, and your visitors. When you use Shopify, you abide by their rules and fee schedule, and there’s always a chance that they could change the rules and significantly affect your business in an instant.
For example, what if Shopify decided to double the cost of their monthly fee tomorrow? How would that affect your bottom line? What if a customer complained about something you sold, and Shopify decided to shut down your store? These are hypothetical situations, of course, but the topic of how much control you have over your store, your visitors, and your income should be considered.
The design of your store matters. 75% of visitors form an opinion about the credibility of a company based on the design of their website. And most visitors will not buy from you if they don’t feel you are credible.
How easy is it to create a professional-looking store with Shopify and WooCommerce, and how much does a good design cost for each platform?
If you use WooCommerce, you will need to install a WooCommerce-enabled theme. You can buy ready-to-go, professional templates rather inexpensively online (usually under $70). Alternatively, you could hire a web designer to create a unique theme just for you, and that could cost anywhere from $1500 – $6000 or more. Installing and configuring the theme is usually quite easy, but it will depend on which theme you use.
Shopify currently offers 61 themes in their theme store and prices range from $0 to $180. You can find Shopify themes elsewhere online, as well. The ThemeForest marketplace sells over 600 different Shopify themes from $20 to $70.
Installing themes for both WordPress and Shopify is straightforward and easy. Simply choose a theme from your dashboard or upload your own, select it, and you’re ready to start customizing it.
Both platforms can be customized to create a professional design that will make you appear trustworthy. Both offer designs that can create a website that entices your visitors to stay and learn more about what you offer.
Shopify is primarily designed to sell physical products, but you can sell a wider variety of products with WooCommerce. WooCommerce allows you to sell services, subscriptions, memberships, digital downloads, affiliate/external products, bookings and reservations, courses, and even paid listings, like job listings or ad listings. Selling paid listings, bookings, memberships, and courses require an additional addon, however.
There are apps that allow you to sell non-physical products on your Shopify store, as well. With an app, you will be able to sell digital downloads and memberships.
Another consideration is that Shopify offers three product variations: color, shape, and size. With WooCommerce, you can set up as many product variations as you can imagine.
Security is paramount these days, and both WooCommerce and Shopify offer great security. Shopify updates its site to stay secure, so there is nothing for you to do.
WordPress and WooCommerce are continuously being updated to enhance security, but it will be your responsibility to log in and apply the updates regularly. There are additional plugins you can add to your WordPress site to enhance security even more.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer flexibility and security, and both are easy to set up and use. Costs can vary, so consider what your needs and goals are and compare them with the features listed here.
Before you start any project, it is important that you first determine your goals and objectives of the project. Once you have determined that, we hope that you can use this guide to help you determine the best e-commerce platform to utilize. If Link360 can help you with your e-commerce site set up, funnel build out or lead generation, please contact us at anytime.
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