In this WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison, I’m going to give you five key reasons why you might want to use WooCommerce, and five reasons why Shopify might be the better choice.
I’ll also explain why making the decision between these two platforms is less about features, and more about the context you’re working in.
Before I get started though, it’s worth quickly explaining the key difference between WooCommerce and Shopify.
While Shopify is an online store builder that lets you build a brand new website from scratch, WooCommerce is a ‘plugin’ for WordPress.
In other words, to use WooCommerce, you’ll need an existing WordPress site to install it on.
Both approaches to site building have their pros and cons, and that’s what we’ll look at now.
Let’s start things off with the reasons to use WooCommerce over Shopify.
One — WooCommerce is free
WooCommerce is an open source tool that can be used entirely for free.
That said, and as we just discussed, WooCommerce can’t be used without a WordPress site — and using WordPress always involves hosting fees.
These will usually be less than the cost of a Shopify subscription however.
Two — you can build anything with WordPress and WooCommerce
Because WordPress and WooCommerce are open source tools, you can build absolutely anything you like with them. You’re dealing with platforms that are customizable right down to the source code.
Although it’s a pretty flexible platform too, Shopify takes more of a ‘walled garden’ approach to web design, and there are more limits on what you can do with it.
Three — there are far more themes and plugins available for WooCommerce
A huge range of free plugins and themes work with WooCommerce and WordPress — there are thousands of really useful add-ons and templates available.
Although a reasonable number of add-ons and themes are available for Shopify too, these can be expensive to use, and the selection available is dwarfed by the number of plugins and templates in the WordPress ecosystem.
Four — WooCommerce lets you sell in more languages
Although multilingual selling is possible in Shopify, the platform limits you to selling in 20 languages.
By contrast, an ecommerce site built with WooCommerce and the WordPress Multilingual Plugin can be translated into 65.
Five — you can create a better technical SEO setup for a WooCommerce store.
When you use WordPress, you get full control over your site’s code and hosting.
This means that you can configure your technical SEO setup exactly the way you want to, something that isn’t entirely possible in Shopify.
The result is that in very competitive niches, and so long as you’ve set it up correctly, a WordPress store has the potential to outrank a Shopify one.
You will need good technical skills or the help of a developer to get to this point though.
Ok, so those were some of the reasons why you might want to use WooCommerce over Shopify. But where does Shopify win?
I’ll come to that in just a moment, but before I do I’d like to remind you to like this video, hit the subscribe button and click the notifications bell.
This helps us out and gives you access to a lot of great ecommerce resources going forward.
OK, so let’s look at the reasons to use Shopify over WooCommerce.
One — it’s easier to use.
While setting up a site using WooCommerce and WordPress will usually involve a fair amount of configuration and technical work, Shopify is geared mainly towards web design novices.
This means that Shopify’s learning curve is gentle and you can hit the ground running faster with it.
Two — there’s no maintenance or security updates to worry about with Shopify.
With a WordPress-based store, you have to regularly update its software to ensure that your site remains secure. If you fail to do this, it can become very vulnerable to being hacked.
By contrast, Shopify takes care of this on your behalf, which saves you a lot of time and gives you a lot more peace of mind.
Three — it’s a much better solution for dropshipping.
Dropshipping is a method of selling goods where you don’t manufacture, purchase, store or deliver any products yourself. Instead, you take orders for products via an online store, and pass them onto a supplier. The supplier then sends the goods to the customer and charges you a fee for doing so.
Shopify is a better solution for dropshipping than WooCommerce — there are far more dropshipping apps available for Shopify, and the platform gives you access to excellent free dropshipping resources too.
Check out the link in the video description for a link to Shopify’s free dropshipping starter kit.
Four — Shopify comes with built-in abandoned cart recovery tools.
Abandoned cart recovery involves identifying visitors to your store who went part-way through a purchase, and encouraging them to complete it. This is usually done via an automated email containing a discount code.
While Shopify gives you really fantastic abandoned cart saving tools out of the box, WooCommerce requires you to make use of additional plugins to gain this functionality.
Five — Shopify gives you free email marketing tools.
Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify gives you free email marketing features — its ‘Shopify Email’ tool lets you send up to 10,000 e-newsletters to your audience each month. Furthermore, Shopify Email is tightly integrated with all the ecommerce features of Shopify — purchases and other activity on your store can be used to trigger a variety of useful email automations.
To achieve the same results with a WooCommerce store, you’ll usually have to resort to using paid-for third-party solutions.
Ok, so those are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of using WooCommerce over Shopify, and vice versa.
However, the truth is that both of these tools give you access to excellent selling functionality, and you can build a top-notch online store with either of them. So the decision on which of these tools is better generally depends not on features but the context in which you’re hoping to sell online.
If you’ve already got a WordPress site that you are happy with, the better choice of the two tools is nearly always WooCommerce. It lets you add professional ecommerce functionality to your site quickly while keeping everything else just the way you like it.
Although you can integrate Shopify with WordPress via its ‘buy button’ feature or various third-party plugins, doing so won’t give you a fraction of the sophisticated ecommerce features that WooCommerce provides. But if you want to create an online store from scratch, and particularly if you are new to web design, you’ll usually find that Shopify is the much better option of the two.
It’s easier to use than WooCommerce; there are no plugin or security updates to worry about; it’s extremely scalable; and its ecommerce feature set is superb. In particular, it’s a great solution for dropshipping.
And that’s it! Our WooCommerce vs Shopify shootout.
There’s lots more pros and cons of both tools to discover though, so make sure you read the full WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison on the Style Factory site.
Before I go, here’s my usual reminder to subscribe to our channel and hit the notification bell.
And finally, if you have any questions about either tool, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section. We read them all and will do our best to help.