Woo­Commerce vs. Shopify: Your Ultimate Guide

Florian Latifi

Florian Latifi

Co-Founder, Bytegrasp

11th August 2022, 11 minutes read time

A laptop and a notebook

Welcome to Bytegrasp's very first ultimate guide. Or, should we say, our very first showdown. Yes, we are going to cover an interesting topic - Woo­Commerce vs Shopify!

The two leading e-commerce platforms in the world undoubtedly are Shopify and Woo­Commerce, each of which has advantages and disadvantages.

Your success as a business owner and merchant depends on selecting the ideal e-commerce platform for your particular needs.

We'll provide you with a comparison of Shopify and Woo­Commerce in this article. The objective is to contrast their benefits and drawbacks to assist you in selecting the ideal solution for your e-commerce company.

Let's dive right in!

Basics: Shopify vs. Woo­Commerce

A laptop on a desk with a coffee

It's crucial to discuss the fundamentals and emphasize what makes these platforms unique before we begin our detailed comparison of the two most widely used e-commerce platforms on the internet.

Shopify

You can easily create an online store, collect payments, and manage your inventory all from a single platform with Shopify, an all-in-one e-commerce solution created in 2006.

With Shopify, you can manage an e-commerce site without having to deal with technical issues, such as web hosting, security, caching, etc.

Although Shopify is not an open-source platform, it does provide a number of features that meet a variety of purposes. Thanks to frequent upgrades, this platform has more than a million merchants and provides a wide range of contemporary features.

Woo­Commerce

Then there is the open-source e-commerce plugin for Word­Press called Woo­Commerce.

Woo­Commerce is among the most popular e-commerce platforms out there, yet many people are unaware that it is actually just a plug-in for Word­Press.

It is open-source, so you can quickly add custom extensions and modify any element of your business.

Woo­Commerce, which was introduced in 2011 and has amassed more than 3.8 million users, is currently one of the most well-known e-commerce solutions available.

Shopify in terms of e-commerce

A man purchasing items online

Shopify comes equipped with everything you need to open an online store and begin taking payments.

You don't have to worry about the technical aspects of running an internet store because it's a hosted service. Additionally, you are not required to buy a separate hosting package.

Shopify places a strong emphasis on usability as a platform. Additionally, it offers everything you need to quickly and easily build an online business.

Therefore, Shopify is a great choice for anyone who wants to quickly build an online store. Shopify can also be a fantastic option if you don't need complete control over your store's operations and you can outsource these.

Woo­Commerce in terms of e-commerce

Woo­Commerce, in contrast, is an open-source add-on that you can use with the Word­Press CMS.

You can install and activate Woo­Commerce if you're one of the Word­Press users who already have a website by following the same procedures as you would for any other plugin.

Before you can even consider installing the plugin, you must choose Word­Press as your CMS and build a website if you don't already have one.

With Woo­Commerce, you must buy your e-commerce hosting, unlike Shopify. Although you might utilize your own server to operate Woo­Commerce, many store owners invest in separate web hosting plans to reduce the technical complexity that comes with operating your own server.

The web host you select is very important. The proper service provider can reduce your workload by handling a variety of technical duties.

Woo­Commerce may require more setup and management work, but it also gives you more power over every aspect of your store. Because of this, the platform is a suitable fit for more technical users who have specific requirements and predetermined objectives.

Ease of use

The majority of people opening an online store are neither web developers nor designers. Even people who are aware of the fundamentals require a platform that is simple to use and stays out of the way.

Examine the user-friendliness of Shopify vs Woo­Commerce in the comparison below.

Shopify

Due to the fact that Shopify is a completely hosted platform, you won't need to manage or update any software. Additionally, you don't have to worry about performance, backups, security, or compatibility problems.

You can select a design from a variety of free Shopify themes as soon as you join up. Then Shopify helps you to add products after guiding you through the customization.

Shopify has a user-friendly drag-and-drop editor that you can use to customize the selected theme. Within Shopify, managing your product pages, sales, and inventory is also straightforward.

This guided, simple, and highly optimized user experience has the drawback of limiting your control. You are limited to using Shopify's provided design and development tools or add-ons from their marketplace.

But things are not as negative as they seem. The vast array of extensions and themes that Shopify offers should be more than sufficient for the majority of users to launch and expand their online store. However, in case of doubt, there is still the possibility to develop your own themes and extensions. We at Bytegrasp, e.g., offer these kind of services.

Woo­Commerce

Unlike Shopify, Woo­Commerce is not a hosted platform. This calls for the installation and setup of the Woo­Commerce plugin, management of updates, preservation of backups, and assurance of the safety of your website.

Numerous free and premium plugins are available that can automate most of these chores for you.

In return, Woo­Commerce offers tremendous customization flexibility. Your entire online store is completely under your control. With the aid of more than 55,000 Word­Press plugins, you can add any functionality imaginable to your website.

The flexibility's major drawback is that it has a higher learning curve and necessitates more active management of your website. Additionally, you must register for a merchant account or a service comparable to Stripe or PayPal and integrate this service in your webshop in order to process payments.

Even if the Woo­Commerce-assisted setup wizard is useful, Shopify's onboarding process and simplicity of use make the entire experience in this case better and more convenient.

Integrations

To expand your store, you'll always need third-party tools and services, regardless of how strong an e-commerce platform is. For instance, these include but are not exclusive to outreach services, lead creation tools, analytics tools, and email marketing software.

Both Shopify and Woo­Commerce feature a list of extensions, and they both interface with a wide range of outside services.

A robust API and an app store are included with Shopify, through which you may purchase third-party extensions for your Shopify store. Every function you'll want to add to your store is covered by hundreds of apps in the app store.

On the other hand, since it is open-source and built on top of Word­Press, Woo­Commerce also has a lot to offer in this regard. It has access to more than 55,000+ free Word­Press plugins in addition to a large number of premium plugins.

These add-ons allow you to add practically any function you can think of, including payment gateways, lead generation, e-commerce SEO, performance optimization, social media integration, etc.

There are a lot more integrations and add-ons available for Woo­Commerce than Shopify due to the open-source platform and low entrance hurdle for developers. Nearly every third-party tool and service provider has a plugin that works perfectly with your Woo­Commerce store.

However, as with any platform, caution is always advised when choosing third-party apps. Does the app actually deliver what it promises, and does it offer the features you need for your store? Is the extension up-to-date and does a reliable developer continue to maintain it? Does the app play well with other extensions already installed in the store?

All of this needs to be clarified before an installation. Just because Woo­Commerce is easier to customize, or Shopify, for example, also offers many extensions in the marketplace, doesn't necessarily mean that every single customization and app extension is beneficial for merchants. But even in this case, we can help you make the right choice of apps for your online store with our services as experienced developers.

Features

Lines of code

Although the price strategies of the two platforms differ, they both generally provide all features a regular e-commerce shop needs.

Unlike a platform like BigCommerce which is made for B2B and B2C in large enterprises, Shopify and Woo­Commerce are much simpler and have all the necessary features for starting out an e-commerce business.

For installing any additional functionality you might require, both platforms have strong app support, as mentioned earlier. Basically, as far as features go, you'll be able to do anything, really, with both Woo­Commerce and Shopify, whether you want to quickly update aesthetics using a drag-and-drop editor, sell on Facebook or other social media platforms, improve email marketing strategies, comprehend user behavior, or do anything else. In this respect, the two platforms hardly differ from each other.

Security

Technically speaking, the security features of your online store are not included in the Woo­Commerce plugin. Since it is powered by Word­Press, you are largely responsible for the security of your store.

For instance, you would have to make sure that your hosting provider has safe servers and obtain your own SSL certificate. In order to secure your site, you should definitely set up two-factor authentication and other security features, such as brute force login detection and the like.

On the other side, Shopify takes care of all security precautions for you. As a result, you don't need to worry about getting SSL encryption to work or making sure your website isn't being hacked. However, you should also create a secure password here and enable two-factor authentication.

Woo­Commerce can become PCI compliant if you use the correct tools, whereas Shopify is already compliant out of the box. Both options allow you to add certificates and security badges that you can display in your store in order to build customer trust.

Customer service

A landline phone

The issue of technical support is another important segment to talk about.

Shopify is well known for providing excellent customer service. Every customer has access to a customer consultant around-the-clock in case any problems or questions come up (via email, open chat, or phone call).

Additionally, you get access to a sizable knowledge library that addresses some typical user queries and issue fixes.

Support for Woo­Commerce, however, is a more complicated issue.

Woo­Commerce is a free Word­Press plugin, first and foremost. In other words, you can seek assistance through the Word­Press forums. However, the Woo­Commerce team also makes it possible for everyone to register for a free user account at Woo­Commerce.com and receive help there.

Additionally, there are a ton of blogs that discuss Woo­Commerce topics online. So for users who prefer to conduct their own web research over speaking with a representative, Woo­Commerce is ideal on this point.

Ultimately, however, Shopify gets a clear advantage in this case. Nothing surpasses having a support agent available at all times, especially when the store is already generating major sales and problems arise.

Costs and fees

Woo­Commerce offers more pricing flexibility than Shopify, which has defined prices.

The monthly cost of Shopify ranges from $29 to $299 plus additional app fees. So tracking your expenditure is simple because of these fixed price schemes. As you upgrade, you have access to more sophisticated tools, such as professional reports.

Woo­Commerce, on the other hand, is free to install because it is free and open-source software. But there are other expenses such as hosting and maintenance, a domain name, and security, depending on the provider you choose, plus additional extension fees.

Additionally, enterprise-sized firms can make use of the custom and enterprise-level price plans offered by Shopify and Woo­Commerce, but these are exclusively accessible via quote.

Final words

We've discussed every significant distinction between Woo­Commerce and Shopify, so you can now make an informed decision about which platform is right for you.

Both platforms are top-notch and can make a great foundation for your e-commerce shop.

Do you have technical know-how and are you interested in creating your own online store from scratch and also running the infrastructure for it, then we advise you to use Woo­Commerce. However, if you are a merchant who wants to fully focus on the core aspects of the business, i.e. marketing and selling your products, Shopify wins as an all-in-one platform thanks to its ease of use and short creation times.

We at Bytegrasp are a team of developers from Linz and have proven knowledge and extensive experience in web development. In e-commerce, we specialized in Shopify and help customers develop their online stores and implement specific store requirements, for example, by building individual themes and custom app solutions.

Are you interested in working with us? Feel free to reach out and contact our team of experts and get your store project rolling.

All stock royalty-free photos belong to pixabay.com.

Florian Latifi

Florian Latifi

Co-Founder, Bytegrasp

florian.latifi@bytegrasp.com