Building an online store has its ups and downs. You will have to make a good number of decisions that will affect the set up of your online store. But it is far easier when you know the right steps to take. And more so when you know the right e-commerce platform to choose.
These two platforms have their merits, and this makes it an even tough decision. To enable you to to make the best decision, you need to critically evaluate, compare and contrast both platforms so you can draw your conclusion based on your findings.
HOW EACH PLATFORM APPROACHES E-COMMERCE
WooCommerce and Shopify approach your store creation and management in different ways.
WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform which implies that you will have your store’s files on your server which gives you the opportunity to modify any feature as you want.
Shopify is hosted which means that the Shopify platform will be responsible for the hosting and management of the software. Although you are entitled to other flexible options, you can only make the changes permitted by Shopify.
Although WooCommerce is flexible, it’s not a beginner friendly platform but Shopify is the direct opposite as it I san excellent choice for beginners who are new to e-commerce and the tech world. As you read along, this would become clearer to you.
THE EASE OF LAUNCHING A STORE ON BOTH PLATFORMS
When you create a WooCommerce store, you have to take two definite steps.
Install WordPress and study the interface (that is if you are not familiar with it).
Then install and configure WooCommerce and learn the WooCommerce interface.
And before you get to the stage of being able to accept orders, you must have taken the following steps:
Set up other vital aspects such as payment gateways.
With the Shopify platform, everything is done for you, from setting up your store and selling your products. It is an hassle-free experience even without any knowledge of tech-related stuff. All you will be required to do is the following:
Create your Shopify account
Sync an existing domain or create a new one.
Select your theme.
Hence, concerning how easy it is to set up a functional store that can accept orders and process payment properly. Shopify is the definite answer.
HOW MUCH CONTROL DO YOU HAVE OVER YOUR STORE’S FUNCTIONALITY
wooCommerce provides you with a few unique ways to modify your store’s functionality.
A lot of plugins (about 50,000) + WordPress plugins designed specifically for WooCommerce.
Concerning product variations, WooCommerce offers the user with some flexibility options. There is no maximum limit on the total number of product variations that you can use.
Still, on product variations, Shopify place a hard cap of 3 total options per product and 100 variants per products as well and irrespective of the Shopify plan that you choose.
You can customize your Shopify store with the following:
Apps – they are collected at the Shopify website and play a similar role kile the WordPress plugins.
Themes – The Shopify theme store as a myriad of both Shopify and third party themes.
Another limiting factor of the Shopify platform is that it allows you to add custom email to your store’s homepage only. The tools provided by both platforms are great but they are not without limitations, and Shopify has more of it.
THE PAYMENT METHODS PROVIDED BY EACH PLATFORM
Both platforms boast of several payment gateways. Unless you are looking for a particular payment gateway, you may not notice the difference.
Due to the large plugins available on WooCommerce, there are tons of payment gateways on this platform such as:
WooCommerce also has the ‘big names’ of payment gateways on their lists such as Postgiro and Prezelewy24.
Shopify has its payment gateway that requires no configuration on the part of the user. But if you would like a third party gateway, then you may choose from its list of the following:
However, Shopify charges a fee if you choose a third party gateway and this is entirely different from the regular charges of the payment gateway itself. And this is worth giving a thought to.
HOW IS DATA CONTROLLED ON EACH PLATFORM?
WooCommerce allows you to have considerable control over your data on their platform because it is self-hosted. This means in WooCommerce, you own and control everything. And this includes complete access to your database and all the information therein.
Shopify may give you some level of control over your data, but its actual manipulation and full control take place on Shopify servers. Although still restricted, Shopify gives you average access to your data better than other platforms.
WHAT ABOUT SITE MAINTENANCE?
The high level of control it gives you over your data comes with a price which means that you are in total control of maintaining and securing your store. WooCommerce will not handle that for you.
Shopify is responsible for maintaining and securing your store. So there is less for you to worry about.
HOW MUCH DOES EACH PLATFORM COSTS?
The cost of setting up an e-commerce store on this platform varies and cannot be determined with certainty. However, the fixed costs are as follows:
The fee your payment gateway charges you.
Other variable costs may include:
The platform uses a transparent pricing system that is far easier to include on your budget. Shopify offers three different plans for users of the platform, and it starts at $29 per month billing alongside a free myshopify.com domain for those who would not mind using a subdomain at a start. Aside from the fee, it charges when you choose your payment gateway other than the Shopify gateway, there are no other hidden costs for you to be wary of. Generally, this excludes variable costs such as:
Premium theme (which is sometimes a one-off payment).
Apps (which is usually paid monthly excluding the free apps).
Note that you will incur more charges if you opt for an external gateway other than the Shopify gateway.
With WooCommerce, all you have to pay are one-off payments while Shopify requires a monthly payment or subscription.
WHICH ONE IS BETTER FOR E-COMMERCE?
There is no definite answer to this question. And the scenario below may help you draw your conclusion.
Three ways WooCommerce is better than Shopify
Perhaps, the most significant reason to choose WooCommerce over Shopify is the high degree of flexibility and control. If your kind of products has minimal variations, then you might not need the flexibility feature so much. But if your products are complex in variations, pricing structure or checkout, the WooCommerce flexible system will work wonders for you.
Since Shopify is a hosted platform, some products may not do well with its configuration. And such products might be perfect for WooCommerce.
However, if you cherish the plugins and support that WooCommerce provides, then that might be a good reason to choose the platform.
Three ways Shopify is better than WooCommerce
If you are a beginner and you love the friendly interface of Shopify, that might be a good reason to go for it. Provided your products are not complicated in terms of variations, Shopify should be great for you.
If you hate to spend a lot of time maintaining your store that could be a valid reason to choose Shopify over WooCommerce. Shopify promotes simplicity and if you are a fan of that, then go for it.
Shopify provides an all in one solution that allows you to create your store, accepts orders and process them without ay hassle on your part. In summary, it is simplicity in all aspects.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
From the above comparison, you can see that each e-commerce platform has its unique advantages for specific situations. If ownership and flexibility mean a lot to you, then WooCmmerce is your go-to platform. But if you value simplicity more, Shopify is probably your best bet. In the end, it is your decision to make.
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