Shopify Vs WooCommerce: Which Platform is Better in 2023?
Shopify vs WooCommerce can be said to be the ecommerce platform equivalent of Coca-Cola vs Pepsi, iPhone vs Samsung, or McDonald’s vs Burger King. While both giants tout themselves as ecommerce platforms, they happen to empower online stores with very different architectures. However, despite the clear structural and procedural differences, businesses still find it difficult to point out an absolute winner between Shopify vs WooCommerce.
Even the market share data itself doesn’t help much in resolving the dilemma, as WooCommerce and Shopify almost always end up canceling each other out on key indicators.
Case in point – WooCommerce enjoys three times as much market share as Shopify, but then falls slightly behind when you compare their dominance across the top 10k sites on the web.
It’s because of all this uncertainty that we’ve decided to compile the most conclusive comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce. And unlike other publishers in this topic, we’re keeping our WooCommerce vs Shopify review concise and digestible.
Overview of Shopify and WooCommerce Platforms
WooCommerce is a free open-source solution that powers WordPress-based online stores. It comes in the form of a WordPress plugin – which unpacks ecommerce functionalities during installation, and then proceeds to embed them into the WordPress content management system.
Shopify, on the other hand, is an all-in-one ecommerce platform for building, hosting, facilitating, and growing online stores. The whole system is engineered to run independently as a self-sufficient end-to-end solution. This is quite the contrast to WooCommerce, which binds itself to the WordPress core like some form of ecommerce platform exoskeleton.
WooCommerce vs Shopify 2023 Comparison
Shopify vs WooCommerce #1 – Ease of use, website builder, customization, security
Shopify and WooCommerce apply disparate approaches to website building and customization.
The easiest and most seamless of the two happens to be Shopify, as its system is configured to eliminate technical complications from the store development process. No coding skills are needed here. You’ll find simple tools for registering your business domain, configuring hosting settings, and building a fully-fledged ecommerce site.
Shopify’s theme store itself offers about 120 elegant website themes, all of which can be customized visually on its drag-and-drop website builder. Then if you ever need to supplement the default ecommerce functionalities, Shopify’s app store packs over 3,200 app integrations. The platform is also kind enough to take care of your web security. Essentials like SSL certificates and PCI-DSS compliance are already included by default.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, prioritizes customization and scalability over ease of use. Its ecosystem is designed to give you unrestricted control over every aspect of your online store. The platform is compatible with thousands of themes, over 55,000 plugins and extensions, plus a wide range of site editors. You could design web pages with drag-and-drop page builders, customize themes with the WordPress theme editor, as well as tinker with WooCommerce’s open-source code. But, all that comes after you’ve taken care of the web hosting service, domain registration, and site security certificates.
WooCommerce vs Shopify #2 – Ecommerce, store management, sales
On the ecommerce front, both Shopify and WooCommerce provide tools for managing your inventory, payments, and order fulfillment. You can even set up a multichannel sales strategy, as both platforms are flexible enough to integrate with third-party sites. They support selling on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, as well as other websites.
The only difference is – Shopify offers its multichannel selling tools for free, while WooCommerce charges about $79. Another built-in feature you’ll find on Shopify is abandoned card recovery. It helps businesses in retargeting cart abandoners with email remainders.
On WooCommerce, though, you only get such capabilities through extensions from its plugin store. And the best ones always come at a price. The same disparity extends even to payment processing. Whereas both ecommerce platforms can be integrated with all the major payment gateways, Shopify starts you off with its native Shopify Payments.
Shopify vs WooCommerce #3 – SEO, Marketing
Shopify and WooCommerce should be able to handle all forms of digital marketing campaigns. You can count on them for SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, on-site messaging, etc.
On Shopify, for instance, you’ll find simple built-in controls for defining basic on-page SEO elements. You get to post SEO-optimized content, as well as edit your page descriptions, page titles, alt text, etc. The ecommerce platform will then automatically take care of the underlying technical bits – including canonical tags and sitemap.
WooCommerce offers more or less the same capabilities. The SEO controls are not as straightforward as Shopify’s, but they go much deeper. For example, you should be able to customize rich snippets and store-level page URLs with WooCommerce’s SEO tools. Shopify’s SEO can only stretch that far when you bring in third-party apps.
In email marketing, however, the tables turn in favor of Shopify. Its users can launch and manage campaigns with Shopify Email, whereas WooCommerce relies entirely on email marketing extensions.
WooCommerce vs Shopify #4 – Pricing
Shopify vs WooCommerce pricing differences are not fixed. They, instead, vary based on website architecture and business needs.
WooCommerce happens to be the most dynamic, with numerous factors defining its usage costs. The software itself is free – but, you’ll probably pay for web hosting, website development services, plus themes and extensions.
A small business might probably spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on website building. This would then be followed up by recurrent charges on subscription services, plus maybe scaling costs from time to time.
Shopify, on the other hand, offers pricing packages that cover everything – except premium templates and applications. They go for $32, $92, and $399 a month respectively.
Shopify or WooCommerce: Which is the Best Ecommerce Platform for Small Businesses?
All in all, Shopify is the one that has emerged as the best ecommerce platform for small businesses. Not only is it cheaper than WooCoommerce, but it’s also easier to use, more comprehensive, and packs one of the best ecommerce website builders. You can create storefronts, sell across multiple online channels, run marketing campaigns, and manage sales – all without any prior technical experience. Then as the business grows, Shopify allows you to upscale resources, as well as expand functionalities through integrations from its app store.
That’s not to say that WooCommerce is inferior. The fact that it’s built on WordPress makes it the best CMS for ecommerce. Plus, it’s supported by tens of thousands of themes and plugins.
Small businesses just don’t have the capacity to fully exploit WooCommerce’s open-source platform. Only high-volume enterprises would best leverage its limitless customization – as they have the funds, technical proficiency, and system resources.