Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which One Is the Absolute Best? (May 2017)

Shopify vs WooCommerce – to put it simply, these are two of the most popular and easy-to-use eCommerce platforms available on the market.

Each one has multiple strengths and can possibly be the perfect solution for you to build an eCommerce store with. And the best news is that you can do so all on your own, without any help from professional designers and/or developers.

First,  which one of the two is actually going to fit your specific needs better, Shopify or WooCommerce (for creating a fantastic online shop)? Which is more feature-rich? Which is cheaper? Which is better-looking? Which is more flexible? Which is the easiest to work with?  

We have lots of questions to get to, but we're going to answer them all in this in-depth comparison. After reading it,  you will know exactly which ecommerce platform to choose based on your individual needs.  So, let's compare Shopify vs WooCommerce to see which one is the absolute best:

 

Chapter #1: Shopify vs WooCommerce – Design

For websites (particularly ecommerce stores) design is everything. Customers simply don't trust a site that doesn't have the right aesthetic or doesn't function as well as it should.

How Shopify Does Design

One of Shopify‘s greatest selling points is the visual quality of its themes. In my opinion, they look absolutely great out of the box. Shopify comes with more than 54 different store templates, of which 10 are free. What's more is that each of the themes have unique variations. Therefore, you're technically getting more than 100 separate designs.

The best part is that they are all mobile responsive and have a variety of different coloring options. They have a fashionably sleek and clean aesthetic, which makes it perfect for modern, forward-thinking websites.

Shopify vs WooCommerce - shopify designs

Shopify's designs aren't created in-house, by the way. They're outsourced to a group of professional web designers who ensure they're as current and as engaging as they can be. We like this approach because you get creativity from a wide variety of companies and people, making for a better selection.

Unfortunately, the price tags on the premium ones go as high as $180. But what you get in exchange is a great design.

Luckily, there are free options available too.

Shopify vs WooCommerce - shopify free designs

The instant attraction of Shopify designs can cause many webmasters to select the same themes. Some Shopify users who have designed a site themselves have later complained of looking a little too similar to other websites. For that reason, customization is encouraged.

Luckily, Shopify themes are easy to change. You can quickly adjust colors and styles, while more adept developers can utilize the platform's specialized ‘Liquid' language to make more substantial changes and really make a brand stand out.

And even better, they do offer a Theme editor within the platform that you can use for customization. You can choose to hide sections within the theme editor without removing them. Hidden sections will still be customisable in the theme editor but not visible on the store front-end. This allows you to start sections for future releases and remove the need for theme duplications ( a common issue most developers face with WordPress).

How WooCommerce Does Design

As with many other aspects of the WooCommerce experience, when it comes to aesthetics, the world is your oyster. You just have to put the hours in.

WooCommerce is a plugin created by the developers from WooThemes (and acquired by Automattic). As such, it doesn't deliver any specific design traits on its own. What it does is provides you with the means to sell products and services online. The design part, however, is left to your current or future WordPress theme.

WooCommerce has been built to cooperate with most themes on the market, provided that they follow the standard recommendations and best practices.

This means that, in most cases, you are able to select any WordPress theme that you like, and still make it work together with WooCommerce.

However, you will also come across themes that have been built with WooCommerce in mind from the get-go and are tailor-made to make all your product/service listings look great. If the design of the eCommerce store itself is particularly important to you, you should look for themes that are specifically made for WooCommerce.

The place to start would be Woo's own default online store theme called Storefront (free). It's a really efficient creation that puts the focus on all the important elements of an eCommerce store.

Shopify vs WooCommerce Storefront

You can also get a range of child themes for Storefront in case you want to customize the look of your store further. Most of the child themes are available at $39 a piece (occasionally, though, there are themes with price tags as high as $119). If you're a developer with ecommerce clients, they have a package for $399 where you get all of the themes in the library.

child themes for Storefront

Apart from that, you can also look into marketplaces like ThemeForest where they have hundreds of other WooCommerce-compatible themes.

To be honest, WooCommerce has a serious advantage over Shopify when it comes to designs. Shopify has wonderful themes, but they're limited to what you can find in the Shopify Theme Store. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is opensource so tons of developers sell (or give away) incredible WooCommerce themes for all sorts of industries and purposes.

Chapter #2: Shopify vs WooCommerce – Price

Every webmaster wants slightly more bang for their buck, but the two platforms have really different approaches to pricing:

The main difference between Shopify pricing and WooCommerce pricing

To say this quite bluntly, Shopify pricing is very clear and straightforward. WooCommerce's isn't.

On the one hand, WooCommerce is a free open source software plugin. Yes, the plugin is free, but then you have to consider the additional costs that go along with making an online store. WordPress is free as well, but you have to consider things like hosting, the cost of a theme, a domain name, any additional extensions and an SSL certificate.

Shopify is all about delivering you a single, out-of-the-box solution with just a few pricing packages. You sign up, then you get to use your shiny new eCommerce store right away since everything you need is included from the get-go.

Here's a table that should make the costs involved with each platforms easier to grasp:

Note. Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer you a handful of tiers / options to upgrade your version of the platform depending on the type of your business, the scale of your sales, etc. To simplify this comparison, I'm going to focus on the cheapest path – what it costs, at the minimum to have a working eCommerce store with Shopify vs WooCommerce.

 
Shopify vs WooCommerce pricing
SoftwareHostingSubdomainSSL certificateTop-level domain
Shopify$29 / monthIncluded for free$9 / year
WooCommerce$0$5-$100 / month (via 3rd party)n/a$100+ / year (via 3rd party)$9+ / year (via 3rd party)
 
When we sum things up, the above translates into:

  • Shopify eCommerce store running on a top-level domain: $29 / month.
  • WooCommerce store on the same setup: $29 / month (a modest $20 hosting, domain, SSL).

As you can see, even though the WooCommerce software is free, running an actual eCommerce store costs basically the same as Shopify, if not more.

But that's not all. With WooCommerce, you might also have to factor in the additional extensions for things like SEO, more payment gateways, and so on. Those extensions are usually around the $49-79 mark (one-time payments).

What it all comes down to is that although WooCommerce is technically the cheaper solution, it will require much more work to set it up, and you'll need to be more careful not to go over your budget, as every additional extension comes with a price tag. In the end, with WooCommerce, you're spending more time on setup and management, which translates to dollars.

Shopify boasts a much more conventional pricing structure. It has a sliding scale of packages which offer users a range of different features up front – Lite ($9 per month,) Basic Shopify ($29 per month,) Shopify ($79 per month) and Advanced Shopify ($299 per month).

Feel free to check out another resource of ours, where we focus primarily on the different pricing options available with Shopify and which one to choose.

Last but not least, there are the transaction fees. In essence, whenever you sell something with either of the platforms, they will charge you a small fee (for processing the payment, delivering the money to your account, etc.). Those fees change quite often, so I won't get into that here, but just be aware that they exist. Usually, they sit around 2%-3% per transaction but make sure to check the exact numbers before signing up with either of the platforms.

Chapter #3: Shopify vs WooCommerce – Features

While both platforms' approaches to pricing are different, they're relatively similar when it comes to giving your eCommerce site what it needs. Unlike a platform like Bigcommerce, Shopify and WooCommerce are more basic with the ecommerce essentials built into the main software.

However, both have solid app stores for installing any other features you may need.

How Shopify Helps You Sell

Although you will probably need to install apps to make the most of the platform, Shopify offers significantly more free options. From the very start Shopify gives you:

  • Unlimited products
  • Unlimited file storage
  • Automatic fraud analysis
  • Embedded Oberlo integration
  • Manual order creation
  • Discount codes
  • Blog module
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Mobile commerce optimization
  • Editable HTML and CSS
  • Credit card payments
  • Multiple languages
  • Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
  • Customer profiles
  • Drop shipping capabilities
  • SEO-ready site structure
  • Individual product reviews
  • Facebook selling module
  • Social media integration (and a spicy new integration with Instagram)
  • Physical and digital products in the store
  • Unlimited traffic to your store
  • Daily backups
  • Site stats and product reports
  • Advanced reports (on Shopify and Shopify Advanced plans)
  • Fully featured mobile app
  • Product importing via CSV files
  • Different product variations
  • Print orders
  • Gift cards (on Shopify and Shopify Advanced plans)
  • Abandoned cart recovery (on Shopify and Shopify Advanced plans)

In comparison, some of these free features, such as CSV uploads, shipping options, and bookings will set you back up to $500-600 with WooCommerce.

How WooCommerce Helps You Sell

As open source software, WordPress is well known for allowing third-party developers to create various extensions and plugins. WooCommerce taps into that further by offering lots of interesting and exciting additions. Whether you want to easily edit aesthetics, sell on Facebook, ramp up email marketing techniques, understand user behavior or quite frankly do anything else, you'll be able to.

Here's what you'll find inside WooCommerce:

  • You can sell physical products, digital products (including software and apps), plus it's also good for affiliate marketing
  • Payments via PayPal and Stripe built-in (plus a range of other gateways available for an extra fee)
  • Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
  • Unlimited number of products and product categories
  • Stock levels control
  • Mobile-friendly structure
  • You have complete control over your data
  • Works with your current WordPress theme
  • Literally hundreds of plugins (extensions) available
  • A free Facebook ad and Facebook stores extension

Shopify vs WooCommerce Features Compared Side-by-side

Just to make everything above easier to grasp, here's a side-by-side comparison of the essential eCommerce features in Shopify and WooCommerce:

 
Try-Shopify
Shopify vs WooCommerce side by side
ShopifyWooCommerce
Is a subscription-based tool/service + a complete, out-the-box eCommerce solution.Is a free WordPress plugin. It requires hosting and a working WordPress installation to run.
 The core similarities and differences 
Allows you to sell whatever you wish (physical, digital, products, services).
Use it online (eCommerce store) + offline (via Shopify's “Point of Sale” kit).Use it online only (eCommerce store).
24/7 email, chat, and phone support.Ticket support, forum support and lots of blogs online.
Closed platform – you can only modify your store to the extent that Shopify allows.Open source – you can modify your store freely. There are no limitations.
Shopify controls your store/website data.You have complete control over your data.
 Your eCommerce store design 
More than 50 store designs available (10+ of them free).Thousands of store designs available (through WordPress themes).
Mobile-friendly structure.
 Other similarities and differences 
Hosting included.No hosting included.
Free subdomain included with every plan (e.g. YOURSTORE.shopify.com).No subdomain included.
Free SSL certificate.You can hook up a free SSL certificate manually, but many people pay for this service.
Unlimited file storage.File storage depends by your web host.
Sell an unlimited number of products.
Create/use coupon codes and discounts.
Accept payments via PayPal, multiple payment gateways (including Stripe, credit cards), bank deposits, cash on delivery, and other methods. (Over 70 options)Accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, checks, bank transfers, cash on delivery.
Sales stats and reports.
Native support for multiple languages.Support for multiple languages via third-party plugins.
Adjustable shipping rates and taxes.
 
As you can see, there's nothing particularly important that's missing from either platform. Choosing one over the other can often come down to your personal preference, or your thoughts on the value (or lack thereof) of open source software vs the rest.

But, the devil is in the details. At the end of the day, Shopify seems like a more laser-focused solution. Everything that Shopify offers is geared at making your online store more functional and easy to use. With WooCommerce, the platform is extremely feature-rich and it doesn't lack any specific eCommerce features. However, it's still an add-on to WordPress, making it more complex to configure.

In the end, though, there's no clear winner here in the features department. Both platforms have everything that a standard eCommerce setup could need.

Chapter #4: Ease of use

Since we haven't had a clear winner when it comes to eCommerce features, maybe we can have one in regards to the ease of use. The ease of use pertains to how easy it is to set up and manage a working eCommerce store with either platform.

How Easy to Use is Shopify?

The main strength of Shopify is that it's a subscription-based online tool. In other words, to use it, all you need to do is visit Shopify.com, click the signup button, go through a basic setup wizard, and you're done.

Shopify is going to help you along the way, asking about the purpose/nature of your store (what you're planning to sell), and giving you some overall tips as to which design/structure to choose and how to set everything up.

Once you get through that initial wizard, you will get access to the main dashboard. It's from there that you can create your new eCommerce store, add new products, and so on.

Shopify dashboard

Overall, the whole process is very straightforward, and most importantly, you don't need any design or site-building skills in order to get through it.

Later on – once you have the store running – you can access every crucial option from the sidebar of the dashboard:

Shopify sidebar

This sort of organization should make your daily work in the store very easy to grasp.

When it comes to adding new products to your store, handling sales and orders, it's rather intuitive. For example, when adding a product, all product parameters are available from a single panel, so you don't have to visit different areas of the dashboard to set things like the name, price, images, stock levels, and etc.

Here's what the “new product” screen looks like:

Shopify add product

Overall, Shopify is a solid solution, and the best thing about it is that you can sign up and create a store right away, with no unexpected interruptions.

How Easy to Use is WooCommerce?

To some extent, WooCommerce is just as easy to use as Shopify. But there's a catch.

The catch is this: Although working with WooCommerce on a daily basis is just as simple as with Shopify, setting up the store isn't.

Basically, since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and not a subscription-based solution like Shopify, this means that you need to handle a couple of things before you ever get to work with WooCommerce itself.

Mainly, you need to complete the following:

  1. Get a domain name
  2. Sign up for a hosting account
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Find and install a WordPress theme

It is only after you have those four taken care of that you can install the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress website and start getting through the configuration of your online store.

Unfortunately, those steps do require some level of comfort around web-related things. After all, it involves setting up your web server, redirecting your domain to said server, and lastly getting WordPress properly installed and made operational.

To make that somewhat easier on yourself, you can choose a specialized WordPress hosting company that will take care of the domain and WordPress installation for you, leaving only the WooCommerce part to you. Either way, it's all significantly more difficult than Shopify's one-click, “sign up” button.

There's also the design. WooCommerce doesn't come with any actual “design”. It's all handled via a WordPress theme of your choice. Luckily, WooCommerce works with basically all themes on the market, but it's still on you to find one you like and install it on the site.

Now, about WooCommerce itself:

As I said, the platform in itself is just as easy to use as Shopify. The second you get the WooCommerce plugin installed and activated, you'll see the on-screen setup wizard. It consists of five(-ish) steps and takes you by the hand through every crucial element.

wocommerce wizard

Basically, it lets you choose the main parameters of the store, and get everything neatly configured. For example, some of the important steps involve things like currency settings, shipping and tax, and payment gateways.

Once the installation is done, you can start using your store and begin adding products.

I showed you Shopify's “add product” page above, so now let's look at WooCommerce's:

woocommerce add product

As you can see, it's very much the same. Only some of the details are showcased slightly differently.

Which is Easier to Use, Shopify or WooCommerce?

Because of the initial hassle involved with setting up a WooCommerce store, I have to give this round to Shopify.

The fact that you can just click the sign up button and then have the whole store set up within minutes is very impressive in Shopify.

However, once you're working with the store on a daily basis, Shopify and WooCommerce both present a similar level of ease.

Chapter #5: Shopify vs WooCommerce – Support

There's also the issue of technical support. Shopify is renowned for its high quality of customer care. Each client can enjoy 24/7 access to a customer adviser in case they have any issues or queries (via email, open chat, phone call).

Apart from that, you also get access to an extensive knowledge base that covers some of the common user questions and problem solutions.

The matter of support with WooCommerce isn't as straightforward. First off, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. This means that you can get support through the WordPress forums. However, at the same time, the WooCommerce team also enables everyone to create a free user account over at WooCommerce.com and get support there.

WooCommerce support

There are also tons of blogs on the internet that cover WooCommerce topics. Overall, WooCommerce is great for people who don't need to speak with a rep but would rather complete their own research online.

In the end, I have to give the support round to Shopify. Nothing beats 24/7 access to a support person.

Chapter #6: Shopify vs WooCommerce – SEO

Any website that wants to make a splash needs strong SEO. Luckily, both contenders here have a lot going for them.

How Shopify Helps with SEO

Shopify may come second when we look at the overall volume of SEO features available, but there's certainly no shame in the way that it presents content. It also handles basic SEO practices like meta information and site copy with ease. So long as your business is producing quality content, there's no reason to suggest you won't enjoy great results and strong user engagement.

Site wide, there are plenty of ways that Shopify proves to beat WooCommerce in the SEO game. It's actually renowned by developers like me as having some of the cleanest code and natural linking structure, which offers a smooth user experience and in turn enhances visibility in search engine rankings.

One interesting case that's worth pointing out is what happened to the Lost Cyclist, an eCommerce expert. When he moved his site from Shopify to WooCommerce, he noticed that the traffic dropped quite a bit:

Shopify vs Woocommerce

(If you'd like to dig deeper into how different shopping cart platforms can help your business with SEO, you might want to read this post.)

What's more, Shopify is fast. Because it's a hosted platform that's built on huge infrastructure, Shopify offers each of its webmasters rapid loading pages. As a result, shops stand a better chance of ranking well and a better chance of leading customers to conversions.

How WooCommerce helps with SEO

WordPress is primarily a content creation platform, and it's renowned by SEO experts as one of the most reliable options available. It's easy to add and edit content and meta information to ensure that pages have a strong chance of ranking for specific keywords.

With plugins such as Yoast SEO, you can make your WordPress site highly optimized and be in full control of every little detail that's SEO-related.

WooCommerce takes advantage of what's already there in WordPress, or what's available through third-party plugins like the aforementioned Yoast SEO, or the WooCommerce-dedicated version of the Yoast plugin.

In the end, WooCommerce gives you more SEO-specific options overall, purely because of the fact that it's built on top of WordPress. The only problem is that your site speed largely depends on the hosting you go with. Because of this, the SEO category goes to Shopify. You don't have to worry about optimization much, and your speeds are always going to be top-notch.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Conclusion

Comparisons such as this are never cut and dry. When I talk with clients, my recommendations always fluctuate depending on their specific situations.

Here are my recommendations  based on the type of user that you are / what you expect from your eCommerce platform: 

 

Go With Shopify If:

  • You appreciate a hands-off approach, where you can just sign up and have an eCommerce store launched as a result of it.
  • You don't want to have to deal with any of the setup yourself, and you don't mind paying a fee to have everything taken care of for you.
  • At the same time, you want a highly optimized solution that's in no way worse than what the competition has.
  • You want to have a reliable and fast-responding support team at your disposal, just in case you have any questions.
  • You basically don't care about any of the technical details of your eCommerce platform. You just want it to work as expected, and be accessible to all customers and on all devices (mobile and desktop).
Click Here to Reveal

Go With WooCommerce If:

  • You want to be in full control of your eCommerce store.
  • You want to have access to thousands of site designs and thousands of plugins that will enable you to extend the functionality of your store.
  • You don't mind spending a couple of hours setting things up, and you're not afraid to handle the tasks required on your own (or you've hired someone to do this for you).
  • (Optionally) You have only minimal budget to start with, and you want to do everything on your own.
Click Here to Reveal
 

What do you think?

That's enough from me. What are your thoughts on the two platforms? Have you ever switched from one to the other? Or maybe you have other questions related to the topic of Shopify vs WooCommerce? I'd love to hear from you below.

 

Catalin Zorzini

I’m a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.

160 Responses

  1. Regarding CRM and syncing with Zoho, Salesforce, Mailchimp etc, which do you feel is the better option? Thank you

  2. Hello, This was an amazing article. You don’t see this detail much anymore, it is appreciated.
    I am a beginner, creating designs for print on demand and wanting to expand beyond facebook. I have a question for you. I was thinking of starting with woo commerce because I am very familiar with WP –not a geek, but several blogs over the years,
    Is it an easy transition from wordpress to shopify Thank you for your time on this!

    1. Hello,

      As long as you’re familiar with WordPress you shouldn’t have any problems switching to Shopify.


      Bogdan – Editor at Ecommerce-Platforms.com

  3. Awesome comparisons. Thanks for sharing this useful information with the world.
    Reading from Costa Rica with much appreciation.
    Once again, thanks!

  4. If I was on WordPress and I am now using Shopify with Different URL permalinks, can I do 301 redirects from WordPress to Shopify? My prodcut links on WordPress will be different than my product links on Shopify. If I can, how would I do this?

    1. Yes there is an easy drop down menu fix for this native within Shopify’s platform. Once you confirm the domain from WordPress is associated with your Shopify account, the option to redirect will become available. I’m sure it’d be easy for a guru to point you in the right direction, if you haven’t already solved this 🙂

  5. Great post! This is a big help for those who can’t decide which to use.

    I hope there’s a version of this in which you will tackle more deep (developer’s perspective) functionalities of each. Like on what extent you can edit the appearance or functionalities of the two.

    I’m used to woocommerce and my clients tends to have their own design on their homepage. Sometimes they want a functionalities like adding new ‘Tab’ on product information, adding contact form, adding blog, etc.

    Is Shopify flexible like woocommerce or if I use this, I will be lock on what’s Shopify offers? Kindly let me know 🙂

  6. Great article. Covered everything in depth. Please suggest me if shopify or woocommerce support multi currencies and multiple shipping templates. In my case, I wish to provide shipping free for Domestic audience whereas charge shipping fees to international customers. Do I have to have two separate instances or can I do this one of instance only ? Please help. Thanks a ton.

  7. Thank you for this detailed and informative post. It helped me to make up my mind. Although I am pretty technical and versed in WordPress to some level, I do know that I don’t need anything else to slow me down even a little with learning how to implement it, test it, design it, etc (as far as WooCommerce would go). I am going to go with Shopify based on this review. (Previously, I was thinking that SquareUp was the answer to my transaction processing but through wasted time, I now realize that it is not robust enough when your products have several options and shipping rates based on destination are quite varied.) SquareUp is got for in-person point of sale. So that said, thanks again for the advice!

    1. We’re glad we could help Cindy, good luck with your project!

      Cheers.

      Bogdan – Editor at Ecommerce-Platforms.com

    2. Hi Cindy,
      I suggest couple of things for you..
      a) Locate the Stripe prohibited business list and make sure you are not in that list.. (You’ll be surprised what’s on that list)
      b) get a 14-day trial with Shopify and try and test all the features that’s important for your business and see if Shopify delivers. Ie – Shipping, Currencies
      also, you have to invest extra if you want to create landing pages and one-click-upsell .. start with the end goal in mind and work backwards.. first think Sales and then lastly how to make the website pretty 🙂

  8. Hey!
    Which one do you think is better for handling high amount of products by myself?
    Today I do have a store built with WooCommerce, but as we have a dozen of new products every week, it’s just impractical to maintain it.
    The main reason is because all the process it’s so time consuming: creating new products, editing categories, updating how many we have in inventory, finding out which one is best to put more marketing energy on, etc.
    – – –
    Does Shopify have an interface to do it quickly and painlessly?
    Or is it better to continue with my WooCommerce site and find a plugin to help me manage it?
    Thanks!!

  9. There should be some updates RE SSL. Most decent hosting is including SSL in their plans now, or the WordPress geared hosting at least offers easy setup of Let’s Encrypt. It’s a factor constantly mentioned in the breakdowns, which really isn’t as much of a factor anymore.

    People who aren’t very experienced with WordPress will likely have setup issues with WooCommerce. Especially digging into plugins and extensions. I see people above mentioning issues like speed problems. I have never had any with WooCommerce site I’ve worked on after my initial learning stage. But yes, it’s going to take a lot longer to set it up and get to that point. And it’s not a project I would recommend as a first project to anyone without some experience using and customizing WordPress and themes. Unless you have a lot of time to set it up and learn. You can get something up much quicker with Shopify.

    As far as some other WooCommerce downsides. Payment Gateways (other than Stripe and PayPal) can really be a pain to setup from my experience. Shopify has way more options, and they are much easier to setup. WooCommerce has options for setting up flat rate shipping that can be useful with some work, but you likely will need a shipping extension/calculator. The store can be extended in a ton of ways with free plugins and customization, but that’s one area that’s tougher.

    One other important note, there are great WooCommerce extensions on sites like CodeCanyon that cost a fraction of the official Woo extensions and come with better support in a most cases.

  10. Thanks for the detailed comparison. I am somehow convinced that WooCommerce would be my choice for my next project

  11. Does anyone has experience with both platform? I have used WordPress for other company (of course adjusting premium them to customer request ). To be honest I do like WordPress. One day one of my customers website got hacked according to the host provider, and it was put out of service. It was a informational website and there was no much to loose. However, when it comes to accept online payment, I very scared that WordPress can get hacked, and though all the credit card information is stored on PayPal or Stripe server, a Hacked website can leave a bad impression to customers even when no credit card information is stolen. I don’t even mine pay

    I really love all the option that I get one WP+Woocommerce. I signed up for a free trial on shopify, and I am still trying too hard to convinced myself to go for Shopify. If anyone of you have tried both platform before (paid shopify service not just trial), please share your experience.

    1. A WordPress install HAS to be vigilantly kept update to date. Even more so when running WooCommerce. A security plugin should be installed that forces secure passwords on users as well, and notifies you of login attempts etc. I have never had a website that’s kept up to date have security issues. But I have fixed many where people didn’t update themes/plugins/wordpress version or used plugins that aren’t even in development etc.

      Shopify maintains their own security (other than you obviously using secure passwords and guarding them) so it’s not as much of an issue.

  12. Hi All,

    I found this article incredibly informative (and not biased). There are a lot of reasons to choose either one and it really depends on what your purpose is for site in general. When it comes to SSL certificates for wordpress, I went with Bluehost to host my WordPress site (currently in construction). They included an SSL certificate with the hosting and I got three years for a little over the price of Squarespace’s annual subscription.

    I have also used Shopify (mostly to tinker with) and I love the simplicity and tools it offers for selling. I would say that if you are solely focused on ecommerce then Shopify is the path of least resistance. I will however say that learning WordPress and the details that go into launching any kind of site on it’s platform is an incredibly useful skill and a rewarding challenge.

  13. Woocommerce really suck when trying to make it fast. After weeks of development using a premium woocomerce theme, designing frontend, organizing widgets, adding a few products and categorizing them, I decided to start the speed optimization process trough cache plugin(w3), varnish, and CDN(cloud front) hosted on Digital Ocean 8GB. All tough my site was fast IT WAS A DISASTER, all the woocommerce functionalities where bugging, added products to the cart weren’t updated in the product page, same for wishlist and compare, product photos where not showing in the product page even after flushing all cache (cloud front, varnish and w3) but the worst is when you disable cache for logged in users(witch are 50% of your visitors)… The site doesn’t move. On top of that WordPress/Woocommerce are never 100% compatible with any theme or upgrade/plugin. I had to deal with dozens of different coding authors that point the finger at each other if a problem comes up. After giving up with woocommerce I decided to try Shopify and it was a breeze of fresh air, with no optimization my site was blazzing fast, all functionalities where working like a charm and best of all no need to deal with dozens of authors. My conclusion: woocommerce can be great if you don’t try to make it fast, take a look a there showcase https://woocommerce.com/showcase/ , the sites look good but they’re very slow and compare them to the sites on the shopify showcase https://www.shopify.com/examples and you’ll understand that when it comes to speed shopify rocks…

    1. Thank you for posting this. I have had 1 nightmare after the other with my wordpress/WooCommerce site. It has been rebuilt 3 times, I thought I had finally got the problems sorted and it was super fast. But then it slowed to a crawl and I wasn’t getting any answers from the technical guys who I am paying a monthly maintenance fee to. I was left to do the research myself & I am a non technical person. So for the last week I have been researching the best hosts & learning more about hosting packages, shared servers, dedicated servers & now VSP or VPS, whichever it is….. my head is absolutely busted, it is 4am & I’m still researching . I have to say an out of the box solution that runs super fast is looking very attractive right now!

  14. Hi,
    In reading the article, am I correct in reading that with Woo Commerce, I cannot link it with an in-store POS? Or is there a plug in/app to make that happen? I read in your comparison chart above that Shopify can be e-commerce AND an in-store POS and I do need both. I have a web person who set up my WP website professionally, and I just recently bought a WASP bluetooth scanner and a Dream Payments Credit card machine and I really don’t want to have to get rid of it all and buy Shopify’s hardware (Scanner, etc) which is necessary if you want to use their POS. It would be awesome if Woo Commerce could support me in an online AND in-store POS retail situation. Can you confirm this? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Krista, There’s a plugin called WooCommerce POS. We haven’t reviewed it yet but you could ask your developer to take a look at it. Shopify also offers an iOS app and a card reader for your store. Hope this helps.

      Best,

      Bogdan – Editor at Ecommerce-Platforms.com

  15. Hello,

    I’m a front developer with good knowledge of JavaScript, HTML & CSS, and a basic PHP understanding. As a professional I’ve developed many WordPress themes from scratch, but to be honest, I have never really felt 100% confident working on this huge platform. Especially when it came to developing WooCommerce store, where things like security is so important. Recently I’ve been coding redesigned shopify theme for my client and I really enjoyed working with liquid templates – it’s really as simple for developer as their admin panel for client is. As a mid front end I feel I have full control on my part of the job, and “they” do the rest. Of course from the very moment I’ve realized that there are many annoying limitations, but in spite of them I managed to handle all the problems without any paid plugins.

    Getting to the point – I’ve decided to start an e-commerce business myself, so obviously I would like to use my coding experience to cut the costs a little bit. However, I’m planning to use a subscription model with annually billing (in return I’ll be offering smaller prices). Any new logged-in client can add products to the cart, but at the moment of checkout, they’d be informed that they are starting a 30-day trial – after which, they’d be charged for a year membership.
    I would prefer to do that on shopify – because I would feel more confident on my skills level – but I’m wandering if it’s reasonable or even possible. What do you think? Of course, I would need some add-ons (e.g https://apps.shopify.com/customer-pricing), but is shopify platform prepared for this kind of customization? I would be grateful for any advice!
    Best,
    Kacper

    1. Hi Kacper,

      Probably a backend developer could help you figure out if it’s possible to implement these features (or modify an existing app) and also if using WordPress + WooCommerce or Magento would be more appropriate for this level of customization.

      Best,

      Bogdan – Editor at Ecommerce-Platforms.com

  16. Hi, as a beginner I would appreciate ranking some other e-commerce platforms such as Wix and Square space as well so that we don’t remain in doubt concerning other e-com platforms. Probably a quick side by side comparison of the most important features would be extremely helpful for us new players.
    Thank you for the great article anyway.

  17. Hi there,
    Shopify or WooCommerce for what is primarily a public facing site that is only wanting an online shop so partners can buy products at a discounted rate?

    The shop would require a gated or password protected login / access page. I’d have a link in the footer, so the shop is otherwise oblivious to your average visitor just looking at where they can find there nearest store.

    So basically, I’m looking to create a website that has a shop that only a select group o people can access and buy online from.

    I’m leaning towards one particular WordPress theme with built in woocommerce that would be quite easy for our current site to replicated (with modifications).
    I’ve used shopify, but I’m pretty sure they don’t offer that gated or password login.

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Jarad,

      Shopify stores can be password protected too (quite easy actually). In your case, if you find a good developer, WooCommerce could be a better solution.

      Best,

      Bogdan – Editor at Ecommerce-Platforms.com

  18. As a webdesigner I’ve used both and most definitely prefer Shopify. (Better UI, easier theming…)
    The only downside with Shopify is the lack of native multi-language support. (It’s mentioned in the article that it does, but is doesn’t). There are some apps available like Langify for Shopify, but they have downsides: No url structure for SEO, other UI, messes up code, slows down site…

    I also like to point out that high quality SSL for self-hosting is widely available for free => Letsencrypt.

  19. Great comparison.

    Just to add something on top of your post.

    ** Domain **
    When signing up with Shopify, you get a “*.myshopify.com” domain + SSL for free, but when adding a custom domain (or top-level domain in your post), you need to get your own SSL certificate separately.

    1. Hi Rick,

      Shopify provides an SSL certificate at no cost to all stores. As far as I know SSL certificates are not available during trial period.

  20. Thank you for your article! I’ve appreciated the comparison breakdown.

    I’m interested in creating a WordPress site for a small entrepreneurial business, and I will be developing a custom theme. Do you have a recommendation as to which E-Commerce platform, between WooCommerce and Shopify, will allow for best theme customization? And which may have the documentation to enable ease of writing a theme that will have proper functionality with the E-Commerce features?

    1. Yes, you can. This app, “Shopify for WordPress.org” will let you add a Shopify shopping cart to your WordPress site.

      Best,

      Bogdan – Editor at Ecommerce-Platforms.com

  21. Nice write up. As an eStore owner who started out using Woocommerce I can say it cost me about $1000 initially to get up and running. More $ was spent months later when the speed of the webstore (both navigating the store & working in the backend updating products & pricing) became too slow for my liking. I started on Dreamhost because they offered Word press from the start. I then upgraded it to a VPS (virtual private server) & at over 1000 products its slow again. Granted I selected their cheapest plan for the VPS, 1GB ram, 30GB SSd but when I have to update inventory on multiple products my browser will lose connection almost every time. Navigate as a customer & its pretty slow too.

    Then there came the plugins and fee$$$$. One for shipping tables, one for products variation images, one for product addons, one for a SEO plugin, one for backup & restore plugins… you get the picture.

    Had I known I’d be into it for over $1k from the start, if I had started off with Shopify I would have been covered for 3 years at their basic plan of $29/mo. Keep that in mind everyone.

    1. I should add, I found this reading up on Shopify vs Woocommerce articles. I’m thinking of moving over to Shopify even though I already started out the hard way. Store is getting more and more visitors & better speed with more uptime is a concern.

  22. godaddy SSL certificate cost me $9.99/ Month when it was on sale regular price around $39
    Hosting is around $50 hosting
    $10 for domain

    So total I am spending $70-80 , There are many free themes available however if you want you get $60 theme thousands to choose from Themeforest.
    where on shopify I am spending $348.

    So basically its more like how you want to deal .. dont want to deal with hosting and design and focus on sales and spend some extra bucks .. or you want to start small saving money

    Again There are limitations in shopify when it comes to customization.

  23. While I agree with many points in this article, WordPress is highly regarded for its SEO capabilities, content management, and strong page rankings in organic Google searches. We recently switched to Shopify from an outdated custom website and saw a 60% drop in traffic that mirrors that image of Google Analytics for the WooCommerce site in this article. After stepping back from pointing the blame squarely at Shopify and accepting responsibility for perhaps not taking all aspects of the migration into consideration, I started finding my errors with Google Webmaster Tools, re-submitted our sitemap, fixed 404 errors, added meta data, H Tags, and began working through a systematic check list to bring our new site up to Google’s standards. Even a seamless transition would have most likely still delivered some degree of temporary penalty in Page Ranking, so seeing a causal relationship between transitioning to Woo from Shopify and a drop in organic traffic as the main reason for such a drop is a bit shortsighted and a thorough analysis of all the factors is warranted before reaching any conclusions.

    Having created sites on both Woo and Shopify, I found that neither platform was a simple plug and play and even on Shopify, editing the Liquid Files is required to produce a fully functional website that offers custom product fields, extra rows, or maximizing potential on mobile devices. I actually had an easier time with Woo in dealing with custom input fields and editing the templates, but the greatest challenge on Woo was simply hiding WordPress and making my e-commerce sites not look like a blog. If I had to create another Woo site, I would definitely fork over the money to purchase a custom template and plugins from day one. The initial investment on day one may be higher than Shopify, however over the life of the site, Woo’s ongoing costs are actually significantly less. Both platforms when correctly implemented are excellent.

  24. Thanks so much for this article! You have summed up the argument for me very well. I see that going forward I might need to change to WordPress/Woo when my business grows, but as a complete beginner, I don’t need the outlay costs of hiring a WordPress eCommerce developer to set it all up for me (which I know I personally would need). I just want an out-of-the-box package that will look great and do the basics for a year or two. And of course give a good UX for customers. Shopify it is!

  25. I agree with your analysis and because I use both platforms it’s a confirmation of what I have learned about the differences. The Woocommerce plugins can be more time consuming to set up, but they can do a lot more for a truly customizable product for a one time fee. Most of the Shopify apps are by subscription. One case in point is Woocommerce Product Designer which took a lot of time to set up, but nothing in Shopify app store comes close. The Shopify app/apps that I found like uploadery and infinite options by Shop pad work really good, but they only add text and upload customer images. Woocommerce Product Designer is an on site (website) product editing tool. You can add text and adjust fonts, size, and color; draw on the image of the product ( i.e. any color t-shirt offered) set as the canvas; insert images from various categories of clipart or png library that you have created; and also allow customers to upload their own images and place them on the canvas, resize, reposition and save the mockup to their own customer account. The only way I can offer this to my Shopify customers is a redirect to the same product on the Woocommerce site.

  26. We have built sites using both Shopify and WooCommerce from the ground up (Timber for Shopify is the recommended skeletal template to start from). Liquid is a pretty easy language to work with so I wanted to correct a few people here that suggested in their comparisons that a Shopify site couldn’t be built from ground level – you can either elect to use a purchased template, or do it your way – same as WordPress & Woo. Depends on the skill level. The Shopify (Basic Shopify) and Woo price that a client must pay for basic out-of-the-box necessities required to have a fully functioning, and secure ecommerce site is pretty much the same. With WooCommerce, a client needs to look after hosting and SSL costs, plus in many instances a payment gateway other than PayPal. This requires spending money on the initial supported Woo payment gateway plugin to both download it and to receive yearly support for it because as everyone working with WordPress knows, it updates almost every other week and plugins must be kept in line with those updates. Just that alone (incl. good hosting and SSL – not GD) would equate to spending the same monthly fee vs. Shopify. The various apps offered through Shopify and in most cases their associated monthly fees I would say also equate to the yearly Woo and WordPress plugin charges that you’ll want to use (hello table rate shipping to name one). So price is a general wash.

  27. There are two diferent business model:
    Shopify business model is based on monthly payment
    WooCommerce business model is based on Premium Adons

  28. I build websites and personally , I prefer WooCommerce. Why?
    – free
    – easy to set up
    – you can purchase beautifully designed and WooCommerce compatible themes on the Envato Market (there are many options). The average price is $59
    – easy to customize via CSS
    – more flexible, you can do almost anything
    – works on your self hosted site
    – no monthly payment

    If you have some knowledge in website building (a bit of CSS and HTML), you can seteup an e-commerce yourself for as little as $60 + hosting and domain. (WordPress and WooCommerce are free, all you need to do is buy an nice theme)

    I think Shopify is a good option if you don’t know how to build websites but still want
    to do it on your own.

    1. Hi Jennifer- Thank you for sharing your experience. I am in the process of exploring the best option for selling electronic greeting cards which is membership based. I have connected with Shopify Experts, Wix, Woo Commerce and Big Commerce. I am more confused than ever. However, this article and responses has been most helpful ( to create more confusion and some clarity). I am curious to know what the issues were with your Woo Commerce site- as I am thinking that this might be the best option for me. Most of the e-commerce platform options require too much customisation and use of apps for what I want to do. More importantly- how do you find a developer that really know what he/she is doing and someone who can do an excellent job of creating the full site map?

  29. There are a few things wrong with this article. Firstly the choice would depend on your skill level. If you are a developer you can make woocommerce do practically anything and it is ultimately much more flexible than shopify. If you have no clue then shopify is the best option (unless you pay a developer – which depending on your company situation might be the best way to go). But either way you really should start to learn web/image editing and css basics no matter what platform. I have seen some HORRID DIY shopify sites because people are led to believe anyone can do it regardless of experience (NOT TRUE). Now for the issues i think should be clarified:

    1) drop in SEO is because you did not remap your URLs. Woocommerce is great for SEO and i would say it has better abilities than shopify for tuning (wordpress sites generaly work very well with google)

    2) speed is dependant on design and hosting. You can make woocommerce faster than shopify just by choosing the right host. You cant change host with shopify – infact you cant move from shopify. With woocommerce/wordpress you can download your entire site in a usb stick and upload it to another host. your entire store is yours, you own it, not shopify!

    1. Ah – finally Jack brought up my biggest concern… On another blog, I read about the problems if I decided to switch from Spotify to another system – like WP/WC. If I got this part right, the only way to cancel a Shopify hosting is to agree on the entire site and shop to be deleted “up front”. And since the code behind Shopify is Shopify’s the data from my shop won’t be present in a way that can be transferred to another system. Reports, customer history, products, etc. etc. will all be lost, unless I build a new site + shop first and somehow transfer data to this, which I would guess to be very difficult. So, to go the Shopify way is a choise that efficiently will tie me down to Shopify for a long time (or lots of money)!
      Even worse will be if you go through a 3rd part developer who keeps the keys in their pocket.. Here (Denmark) such company went bankrupt, and their customer records and FTP codes where bought by a greedy company who demanded fees in the 1000$ class just for keeping shops running (even prepaid ones).
      Otherwise comparing the two ways to go is a great idea, and just what I need.. My shop (hosted by one.com) needs to be a lot better especially regarding mobile units, so I am looking for new solutions.
      Cheers (and I hope my language will be forgiven)

      1. Yes, what happens if one day Shopify decide to double its pricing?. Remember what happened with Ning…

  30. Woo commerce and WordPress….. Looks great, lower costs (assuming you do not need a lot of licensed apps). For people concerned about hackers…. There are plugins that handle security. That said, with WordPress plugins you are at the mercy of many individual developers that may, at any point, have a eureka moment and decide to stop updating their plugin you have relied on leaving you scrambling. Then there are the updates with each release of WP and WC as well as any other plugins you have running.
    With Shopify there is ease of mind with regards to that as you are on their platform. Security is handled. Fast hosting is handled. Updates are handled.
    For me it comes down to how tech savvy you are. Non tech savvy? Go with Shopify. Tech savvy? Go with WooCommerce.

  31. Interesting how everyone wants free ecommerce software to SELL their products. Vendors have a right to charge fees and make money too. I’m still waiting for open source dentists, housing, food…

  32. I’ve used both platforms, and there are some excellent pros and really bad cons to both. But when it comes to cost, it will be about the same. If you were to host your Woo Commerce Site properly, on a good server like WP-Engine or something like that, you’re looking at $29 a month to start. Then there’s the themes and the plugins. If you cost up the average, I’ve build sites for clients which cost up to $500 to buy up all the plugins and theme. That’s approx $45 a month. Now, yes, you don’t have to update these, but I would strongly recommend making sure you keep buying the yearly support packages in case you need to use them and so that you can keep the themes up to date. But when you take that all into consideration + custom development + custom website design + $99 a year for a good SSL certificate + % that Stripe or Paypal take from sales when you use their platforms, then the packages from Shopify don’t look so bad. They have great integration for Ebay, Google Shopping, Amazon etc etc and the cost is compatible.

    Don’t get me wrong. Woo Commerce is excellent. And will do allot more, and integrate with allot more than Shopify will because of the open API’s. But Shopify shouldn’t be discounted for people who just want to know their store is secure and will do what a commerce store should do. And that’s Sell Product.

  33. It sounds like your review is focussed on the full Shopify platform.

    What are your thoughts on using the Shopify plugin for WordPress compared to Woocommerce?

  34. Thank you for putting up this helpful Ultimate comparison. I’m sure both platforms are great, and it will depend on each person to decide which works best for them. According to my long-time experience using wordpress, i must say that nothing came close to it interms of flexibility, customization & control. With shopify you are using a hosted solution service, and you’re very limited on what you can do… unless you want to hire a shopify developer for $$$ or install tons of apps for $$/M to get things look & work as you want.
    Bottom line, woocommerce gives you more freedom & you own every aspect of your business.
    Andrew Rezk

  35. Good review, albeit a bit biased towards shopify. The image that shows a traffic drop to woocommerce is very misleading, as any migration not done properly will lead to a huge drop like that.

    Also, because Shopify is hosted, you are very limited to what you can change on the platform. For example if you wanted to experiment with a one-page checkout, you can’t do it, because that part of the platform is locked down.

    If you have 0 tech knowledge and have no idea what HTML is, than Shopify is better for you. But once you get a bit more knowledge, you will quickly learn the walls of the box shopify has you in.

  36. Thanks for putting up such a nice and informative post. We all know about the everlasting comparison between WooCommerce and Shopify. Each platform has some positives and negatives.
    I agree with the point made by JENNIFER HICKEY; the problem with woocommerce is the plugin updates and the time that it takes show the effect. Also every-time an update takes place, its not sue whether it will work properly or not.
    Shopify on the other-hand provides a better option where you have to purchase the package and rest will be done by them. Its not necessary to have knowledge of web designing in order to work on shopify. Further more, Shopify is a self-hosted CMS that is built specifically for creating online stores and shops. It exempts you from going through the hassles of web-hosting and installing CMS. You just have to sign up for their service and manage your e-store.
    therefore i prefer going on with Shopify to have glitch free service.

  37. The only real disadvantage I’ve found to Shopify is there somewhat archaic method for shipping profiles that are difficult to implement if you simply want a flat rate, something Woocommerce does with much ease.

    Everything with Shopify appears to be weight based for physical product which is a real issue if you want a fast, simple shipping profile.

    I love the simplicity of Shopify but think Woocommerce/WordPress integration simply offers more flexibility.

    1. Glad you posted this, Dave, I’ve had similar issues. If you sell on Ebay, you know about the different shipping profiles that can be created and added to the pertaining products you sell. I use a shipping profile that would look like this. $4.00 For the first item, $2.00 for each additional item shipped together. Wondering if you can offer a recommendation for a Woo Commerce plugin that can do this? I plan to go with Woo. Shopify sounds like such a breeze, but cost wise, in the long run is like Ebay, (AKA Feebay) they nickle and dime your profits to no end. Thank you! JD

  38. We have spent 15 months having someone develop a woo commerce site and have started over twice! With every update something goes wrong. I can’t keep up with all the issues. We no longer fix a list of pending issues and the site looks great and a few days or weeks later there is a whole new list of problems. I don’t have time to worry about these things anymore. The site does not look like a trusted site. For that reason I really appreciate your feedback. I think it is time to jump ship. I am happy to pay more if it means not dealing with all this frustration. After all, time is money too! When all the glitches cause overlapped wording, changes in alignment of photos, etc. your site looks like a scam and that affects sales. Needless to say I don’t want to be responsible for any security issues either.

    1. Hello Jennifer,
      I feel like im in the same boat as you with woo commerce. Do you mind emailing and to let me know what platform you decided to go with. I wasted so much time and money on woo commerce.
      Thanks,
      Dan

  39. Decisions and decisions.
    I am starting a blog on WordPress soon, and eventually will start selling some of the stuff I make. But I can’t seem to choose among shopify, woocommerce and squarespace. The main drawback for me with the three are as follows:

    shopify: I am not only selling, but I will also have an active blog. I want both of these to be seamless (same design, layout etc.) which I don’t think I can have with shopify unless, I don’t know… I dish out a lot of money on a developer. I design and develop my own sites, but I am limited in my skills, and while it works for blogs and what not, an e-commerce design on shopify and then integrating it with my current blog will be problematic for me.

    squarespace: no paypal!

    woo-commerce: I’d like to have some support? Also, it appears that potentially this is going to be a lot more expensive than say, shopify or squarespace… which is not cool!

    Yeah… I don’t know what to do…

  40. Excellent article.
    I moved from an old osCommerce platform to Shopify last July 2015. Most of my business is retail based and has been so for 32 years, but the ecommerce side is growing fast. We initially moved over 15k SKUs which was a challenge.

    Currently we manage ~ 10k SKUs on line and an additional 5k SKUs in-store. Most of these are one of a kind items. So the system is being updated daily…almost non stop.

    As a non tec person I can honestly say that the Shopify platform has been and still is excellent. We put it under a lot of pressure and it stands up – every day. The Gurus (support) are really outstanding and have been there when needed.

    As your article states, the Shopify choice of Apps is very good. Without some of them, it would be difficult to manage the business efficiently.

    But so as not to sound too much of a Shopify supporter, there is one issue which is a nuisance; Specifically I cannot offer a basic Promo such as ‘Free Shipping for orders over say $100 for a category e.g. Jewellery in Canada (or any single country). Nope the system does not allow this most basic simply powerful promotion.
    So come on Shopify, get your act together. You have a great platform…just listen to your customer needs a bit more!

  41. With Shopify, I understand you can swap out the links to take you to the checkout with Affiliate links, to Amazon for example. Does Shopify still get a transaction fee on those? Or would you simply be paying for hosting in that scenario?

  42. Useful blog, thanks! But … about SEO, it would be interesting to see the same story reversed.
    Did web traffic drop because of something related to the move (a new structure / different content / lots of 404s?) rather than because of the platform itself? Might the traffic have also dropped also in a move from WooCommerce to Shopify? What other changes were made to the website when it moved?
    Maybe Shopify simply is better for SEO?! However this one graphic might be telling a misleading story.

  43. My partner uses shopify for his son’s butcher sandwich shop. Shopify gives bundled products metrics for deeper analysis. Synchs well with major banks, integrates with quicken accounting software and Canadian Turboxtax software for tax filing.
    My partner is not developer but does blog, he does financial modelling for his son. I actually think biz success is not just software, it is marketing in person, how to do financial and biz forecasting, etc.

  44. Great post: clear, well organized and to the point. Just the job for someone like me, makes my research for an ecommerce platform so much easier.

    This is the third or fourth post I’ve read on your blog and I think that’s a good sign I should subscribe to your newsletter 🙂 Already downloaded your ebook.

    I already have an eBay shop and I’m now looking to work on a website and your blog seems to be the perfect tool for this. I’m already sold on Shopify.

    To top it all up, you’re from my neck of the woods as well 🙂

    Mult succes !

  45. Interesting review. It made me give it a shot, with Shopify, but … you were wrong.

    Where you were wrong is software developers, with even basic knowledge of programming and PHP/WordPress, should NEVER go into the Shopify illusion. Here is my story…

    Few days ago, inspired by some reviews (yours among them), I decided to give it a shot. I took the 14-days free Shopify trial. Things were great! I’ve been able to find from start a great free Bootstrap-based theme (which it takes a while to find on WordPress) and I’ve seen those guys customized already a lot of good WordPress-like stuff into their modules. Their PayPal screens didn’t look so ugly (because they had some basic customization), they got rid of so many settings used to confuse people etc. This is what they did and I was still convinced their product had value, because of this. But!

    I just wanted to test a full payment cycle with PayPal, to see how it works. First surprise: I was forced to choose a paid plan! OK, I took the starter, at $14/month. Few hours laters I just needed some basic customization of my theme. But just to change some basic CSS/HTML there, your plan jumps to $29/month. One day later, I visit again the Reports area, where there used to be plenty of basic but useful reports types. NONE was available to me anymore! And I was still under the $29 US plan! That’s it, to get some decent but basic reporting, you have to jump to the next slice, of $79/month!

    I also needed a forum and a knowledge base for my site, but it wasn’t possible to find a free plugin, like for WordPress. Their number of add-ons is limited, and most add-ons are ridiculously expensive.

    Sorry, but it was too much… Just 4-5 days later, I implemented by now a personal fully hosted solution with WordPress and WooCommerce, which required of course a bit more customization, but the whole code is mine, and it works just fine now!

    Bottom line, if you already know some WordPress and PHP, just go with WooCommerce. Shopify is good for those people with not enough tech knowledge, ready to pay a lot for things other people already took care of. The rest of us may get this as a rip-off.

    1. Hi Cristi, i find myself exploring Shopify as an option for a client that wants an online store selling 10-20 items. I have many years of dev experience (front end, backend, graphic design etc.) but i’m tempted to try Shopify for this project. Can you please message me … there’s contact info on my website carrabino. Maybe we can chat over skype. If you feel you can help, i would be happy to hire you for some surgical consulting. thanks.

    2. I am in my 14-day trial with Shopify and wanted to know how could I list two items for the price of one (if that makes sense.) I did not see an option for that. Example: Two Fitz and Floyd Leaf Bowls for the same price as one. I could list one for 19.95 but not two for 19.95. By email, someone from Shopify said that I would need an add-on to be able to do that. After I studied the website for a while, I realized that I would need a lot of add-ons and Apps to make it work to my satisfaction, which I cannot afford. It’s like buying a new car with a missing wheel and the salesman saying there will be a charge for the missing wheel. It is quite obvious that the add-on should have been free; I wanted to offer two items for one price. How simple is that? So, even if you are experience with websites, etc. and do not have the money for needed add-ons and Apps, Shopify will not be beneficial. I am not an expert with websites but do know if it walks like a Duck, it must be one. In this case, I think it is common sense vs. tech knowledge. Shopify is far too pricey; I will try my hand at WordPress – MarketPress Commerce (relatively new) in lieu of the WooCommerce.) This is my first time posting, so all mistakes are forgiven, hopefully.

      1. Eloise, it seems to me if you want to sell two bowls for one price and it isn’t possible, why not satisfy the algorithm by making your ONE item a “Set of Two Bowls”…problem solved, no?

  46. Great comments. I’m on Shopify and I wish the blog looked better, functioned better. But I love the ease and piece of mind. I know everything is safe and secure and I know how to work everything. I think I’ll end up having to hire someone to customize my blog to look more 2016

  47. After learning that the writer is primarily a Shopify developer, it came as no surprise that he would be trying to glorifying Shopify over Woocommerce.

    Saying that “Site wide, there are plenty of ways that Shopify proves to beat WooCommerce in the SEO game”, is quite an overstatement. Shopify certainly has some edge over Woocommerce in certain things, but certainly not on all, as the writer tries to prove.

    Being in the ecomm/SEO business for over 8-10 years, and having optimized Shopify, Volusion, Magento, and WordPress/Woocommece for various clients, I can certainly say that Shopify is great if you are a beginner and know nothing about the nitty-grity of optimizing websites for better results for your business, but if you are a bit experienced and know what you are doing, Woocommerce can be a great platform too.

  48. Hi Catalin,
    Thank you for writing all the content in your post. I’ve built websites with Magento, WooCommerce and even had to build a store in Volusion but moved it away to Magento based on my customers needs. I have a friend who built his ecommerce site with shopify and is an absolute advocate for it, partially because its easier to setup than WooCommerce, but also has the added benefit of the referral affiliate aspect. Despite all your good points of both platforms, in my opinion, you are either swayed more towards shopfiy for the same beneifts as my friend or you don’t know about the technical beneficial and cost aspects of a woocommerce store. For instance, you made a point about how one person noticed a dip in traffic which appears to be more than a 50% drop, but didn’t touch on the technical aspects that the person didn’t know to 301 redirect his pages/collections/products to the way woocommerce handles the permalink structure. If you are not educated and know how to make a sound transition to a different platform, any website that makes a transition regardless of the platform will have the same results. I do applaud you on your efforts to do this ecommerce comparison, but because of my experience, I have identified some holes in your comparisons such as pricing of plugins (many are free and some very inexpensive but what I’ve seen many woocommerce newbs do is research the plugin’s success and failures… but they are called, “plugins” in wordpress, Magento’s nomenclature is “extensions”) that doesn’t give woocommerce a fair chance in your battle’s perspective. I appreciate your article because it moved me to write a response based on my experience. Cheers!

  49. I use woocommerce.
    I purchased my domain and my SSL Certificate through GoDaddy. I host through InMotion Hosting. I pay roughly $538.00 yearly for my domain (plus .net .org and spelling variations), SSL certificate, hosting, plus my required state tax license and a UPS box. UPS box is $186.00 so if you take that out of the equation its down to $352 / year.
    I have not purchased any of the woocommerce apps.
    A lot of the things you praised shopify for are also offered with woocommerce:

    Offer gift cards
    Create discount codes
    Install cart recovery systems (on Professional and Unlimited)
    Include individual product reviews
    Amend shipping options
    Import products using CSV files
    List different product variations
    Print orders

    I utilize all of the above options and they do not cost anything extra.

  50. Total e-commerce newbie here.

    So, if I have a WP blog and want to use Shopify instead of WooCommerce, are you saying I can’t simply put up a nav button that says “store” and that will be where people to go to Shopify for my products? I have to use a Shopify theme for my entire website if I use them for sales?

  51. Hello All, I’m having trouble deciding between Shopify and Woo for selling my artwork. Note: I am totally lost when it comes to blogging, coding and website design. I love a certain Shopify theme but am concerned about how Leslie and many other reviewers have said the Blogging platform in Shopify is “wimpy”. I don’t currently run a blog but thought it would be a great way to promote and help sell my artwork. Is Shopify’s blog platform satisfactory for a newbee blogger? Will I be losing out by not having a WordPress blog in some capacity? I like that Shopify has good reviews for its customer service. I would probably only need the $29 a month plan which is pricey but could be worth it to have 24/7 customer service. Thanks for all of your help!

  52. Hey Freddie

    Just looked at your website and you’re right it does fly!!

    Who does your hosting and how much?

    Thanks

    Neil

  53. What prevents me from staying at the basic price level for Shopify? If I don’t require gift cards, etc can I just stay at Basic forever?

    Thanks

  54. I actually use WordPress with Shopify buttons. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of ease of use and least expensive.

  55. One significant advantage with Shopify is there is a Point of Sale option for businesses that also sell directly (brick & mortar, pop-up stores, etc). Having a simple single platform for both can be a huge boost to certain businesses!

  56. I am SO confused. I will have less than 10 skus but need lots of features to sell a packaged food product. I have read ad-nauseum about which site to go with and hosted vs. not but am still perplexed!

    First, I was going Woo for flexibility and control and lower costs. Then, a few knowledgable, small-medium sized agencies suggested it was a big mistake to go Woo b/c it’s simply to easy for a hacker to get in and if I get hacked once, could put me out of business (obviously a great risk!). Plus, adding up the costs of Woo, seemed like it wasn’t actually going to save me money and including the cost of development, might actually be more expensive than a hosted solution. Note they gave this advice knowing they were too expensive for me so they weren’t trying to win my business at this point and said I could always ditch the hosted solution later.

    So then I moved back to looking at hosted and have been comparing Big Commerce and Shopify without really being able to narrow a decision. BC seems to have more features but not sure it’s really cheaper and support/satisfaction seems like it might be less than Shopify.

    Now, someone is suggesting I reconsider Woo. Can anyone help me break this endless confusion and tie?

  57. I have a network of woocoomerce multi-vender stores with front end editing. Less than $100 a month to run it with unlimited products all on a super fast SSD server. Sales of over $1M per month. Try to do that with Shopify. Theirs is $179 a month and that’s just for one shop. No comparasion. Ha!

    1. Dear Scott can we talk via skype ? I have few questions to ask you , I need some advice with setting up a multi-stores platform , setting up multiple e- shops sites and centralizing all the data and management to one place .
      that’s my mail
      nitzanholgerson@gmail.com.
      thank you .

  58. I have set up many websites for my clients using Woocommerce. I am currently developing one with the following cost breakdown:

    $15 per month hosting and SSL.
    $15 per month for credit card processing gateway (Free if you use PayPal).
    $300 per year for plugins that is required by my client.

    Thus, the cost of this website is $55 per month.

    The initial set up cost was $500 includes installation and customization of his theme. His website now brings in over $300k in revenues per month. With Shopify, my client would have needed the at least the professional or unlimited plan which will cost him $80 to $180 a month.

    Thus, my take on this is if you are willing to fork over some money to develop your woocommerce in the beginning, you will save huge amounts in the long run.

  59. Very informative, thanks! Though I’ve never been a WordPress fan, I decided to give WooCommerce a try. Unfortunately, after 4 months of torture with design templates and SSL certificate, I gave up. Not to say I’m completely disappointed with WooCommerce, but I suppose it just wasn’t right to me. Thus, I’ve went for Shopify recently. It took me a while to get everything done, but thanks to guys from Cart2cart my migration went better than I’ve expected.

    As of my experience using Shopify, I can definitely say it’s good enough. It has very intuitive and beautiful admin panel, great analytical and reporting tools, good page loading speed, wonderful templates, etc. There is something charming about Shopify, you know 🙂

    1. Hi Shaun. This is helpful. There are far too many opinions btwn. Woo and Shopify and I’ve found it impossible to decide. Heard lots of concerns about security on Woo and pricing didn’t really seem like it would be cheaper.

      Glad to hear you’re happy with Shopify. Did you compare it with Big Commerce before buying? If so, very curious–why Shopify over Big Commerce?

  60. What would you recommend someone who has a decent WP blog do? I’ve started using shopify but there is no blog import functionality from WP to Shopify > I see my choice as persevere with WP for the ecommerce, or start blog from scratch w/Shopify (or import a WP blog with zero formatting)…

    All my email subscribers are on WP also…

  61. Great article but it took some time to go through. Both are very good but based on my experience with WooCommerce I like it very much. Thanks for sharing nice article.

  62. Thanks for this. You touch on many of the reasons I prefer Shopify. I’ve done both, and find Shopify to take the cake. I had SO much spam when I was with WP, couldn’t keep up with the updates, order notification and inventory management seems much easier to deal with. Of course it’s still not perfect, nothing is….

      1. You can find many resolution articles / blogs on google and many woo tutorials on youtube which can help you save some cash and time. WordPress is also the best web builder because of plugins that interact with each other.

  63. I sell digital graphics downloads. I started out on Zenfolio (mostly geared towards photographers), which I like for my ease of use, but I found a lot of clients found it confusing and just wanted to be able to buy a collection of textures (as an example). I then used e-junkie on WordPress. While there are good things about that combo if you only sell a few things, I found it a bit clunky and my WordPress site was hacked. Twice. I would never do another WP site without really good managed hosting.

    I next chose Shopify and it’s been great-mostly. I love my theme. It’s beautiful. It has all the features I need. Out of the Sandbox is awesome (I’m in no way affiliated with them.) Shopify is easy for me and easy and secure for my clients.

    There are some down sides. It is quite pricey. I end up paying around $$160 – 200+ a month. Another thing I don’t like is that some of the apps need coding – which has to be redone if you update or change your theme. This is a little hassle if you aren’t a coder. The blog is also quite wimpy, so I need to have a WP blog. I often wish I could have everything together – although the benefit is that I get an extra traffic source from my WP blog.

    Ironically, now – I’m thinking of opening up an additional shop once again on Zenfolio for my stock images. The benefits over Shopify for digital stock (individual files) is that it’s incredibly easy and fast to use and there are no storage or band-width limits. I could batch upload files and the images, keywords, file info, watermarking, etc. are done automatically. I can set file size and licensing without having to upload an additional image.

    While Shopify is great for collections,it can be time-consuming creating a product for individual stock images, plus most of the digital download apps charge for storage and band-width.

    I’m constantly weighing the pros and cons between Zenfolio, Weebly, Shopify, and WooCommerce. Each have their strengths. I do agree though that there are hidden costs / labour in the WordPress route. In the end, it probably costs about the same as Shopify.

    1. Finally, your original post 🙂

      WooCommerce opens up it’s loving arms when you have a good developer. There’s no need to go it alone! If you really know what you want design wise and the features you require it’s not that expensive to hire an agency to set you up. It’s usually a set price and takes care of all the “hidden costs”. It’s like getting solar on your roof – pay now, realize savings later.

      You mentioned in your other comment that you felt Shopify cost was like hiring an assistant. But you can also have an assistant in your agency. Except with Shopify you have to pay them every month, whereas a development firm you only need to call when you need something small changed every now and then.

      You can have a VPS hosting with Blue Host for as low as.. I believe around $40/mo.

      Anyway, to me this is the rent vs buy debacle. I think Shopify is a great service. But as a business owner I see negative value in the long run, and a strong possibility to one day outgrow it completely and have to start over.

      Besides, now you’re running two sites for blog vs shop, likely devaluing your SEO efforts!

  64. Sure, setting up WooCommerce to look aesthetically-pleasing and function correctly is a pain in the butt. However, it might be worth it to you if you want to keep a bigger piece of the pie. There’s only so much profit in ecommerce. Why pay others to do what you can do yourself?

    1. Because “others” who specialize in doing something I don’t do can often do it far more efficiently than I can, therefore I can generate more income in that amount of time than I would spend on hiring a specialist. The problem here is people often don’t take their own time spent into consideration when assessing this calculus.

        1. But now you end up renting instead of owning. Higher upfront cost when you buy a house, but you’re likely to save in the end and are investing in your company.

  65. Id like to add, to get what I need for my small business, its add, add, add. Id spend about $200+ per month to run Shopify when I pay about that per year with WordPress with the SSL certificate fee in mind. (I haven’t bought mine yet)

    At my growth Id need to move to the $179 plan plus other ‘app’ fees. Im already past 1g of content… Thats a lot of fee for my small business…

    There are so many great outside plugins for woo not made by woo with no yearly fees for WordPress.org. You dont mention all the other great WP/woo options out there not made by woo with support. Many non woo themes as well. 🙂

    I dont use one woo feature but its basic free plugin. I found what I needed outside woo at Themeforest like table rate shipping, its was a one time $22 fee to extend my shipping functions for woo. Something that $10 per month with Shopify…. My theme came with woo so its more custmized over just adding the plugin to any ole theme.

    I have excellent support from my host and my theme developers too. Buy a good theme with support and you dont have to worry. Post in their support forum and bam, fixed, or just do a searh in their forum and the answer is there. They give you CCS tweaks and all so you dont have to ‘know’ code.

    Some themes made today are very robust with features, far more than what Shopify offers for at a one time buy.

    The blog functions are Seriously lacking with Shopify. Same with picture functions. I cannot size the pictures to what I need, Im stuck in their structure. You cant add alt text or change titles nor bulk delete photos. Fail.

    I can see a business outgrowing Shopify quickly cost wise. Its nickle and dime central.

    That said. Overall Shopify is not bad out of the box, has some good features. I can see it working well for those who just want basics with no apps and the basic plan.

    You can tell they built the platform with WP ‘inspiration’. ha ha.

    1. Yeah, the Shopify costs are high and I’m often tempted to move to Woo Commerce, Weebly – something less expensive. I’m still weighing the benefits. The thing is, I would never run a WP store without a hosted site. When I had a WP site, I was hacked – twice. If you run WP the right way, it will end up costing a lot more than is first evident.

      1. Totally agree Leslie, that’s why most of the times I recommend Shopify to beginners, instead of going the WP route, which can be tricky if you don’t have any development / security knowledge.

        1. What about having your homepage and blog hosted on a wordpress theme with all the design modifications you want and using shopify just for the products section, have you ever seen that done? It just seems like the best of both worlds in my opinion. any thoughts on that?

          1. Hi Daniela,

            Sure it’s possible, but Shopify has an easy-to-use blogging software built right into your ecommerce system so there is no need to build a blog on another platform.

            Cheers!

            Bogdan – Editor at Ecommerce-Platforms.com

      2. Thank you so much for your input it help me to decide on what platform I needed to start on. I’m going with Shopify!

      3. As a partner in a development shop, I must disagree. The reason you were hacked was probably because you didn’t get professional help to set it up.

        Sure, when someone tells you it’ll run you $4000-$12000 for development and set up, it can lead to sticker shock. But with Shopify any successful organization will quickly grow into the Unlimited plan, at which point it’s $2160 a year. And what if down the road you will need some custom features that Shopify simply won’t be offering? For companies with established credit, my agency gladly works out a payment plan.

        I recommend WooCommerce for basic e-commerce installations, and custom build with Ruby on Rails for something that requires, or likely will in near future>, a lot of custom elements or integrations. It’s money wisely spent upfront. Just have to make sure you find the right help and invest in your business.

        Just my two cents. Great article and I agree with most points. I just think beginners should always seek professional help, unless under a complete lack of budget. It’s like going to court without a lawyer…

      4. Hey Leslie,

        You were most probably hacked by using old themes/plugins and/or not securing your site. WordPress as a whole is secure, and WooCommerce performs well too 🙂

      5. I agree. I’m a web developer and out of date wordpress and magento stores get hacked so often.

    2. I plan to sell prints based on my drawings and I already have a wordpress blog where I post my creations so the blog thing and pictures are CRUCIAL for my shop, just like yours.
      Do you sell internationally? I’ll need several shipping options and I’d like to know the best shipping plugins out there.
      Thank you

    3. Well said Kelly!
      I started a store on Shopify just last month and closed it after about 3 weeks 🙂 I come from WP background and found many things not workable the way we used to in WP and every time I needed a certain functionality, I had to get an app. Nice apps if they were one time purchase but they lock you down with monthly payments, I saw that just running the store alone, I’m looking at a very hefty price…no thanks!

    4. Kelly
      Totally agree. Good I’m not you, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t have money to spare and doing numbers for a prime hosting, ssl and payment gateway, woocommerce it’s definitely the way to go.
      Hope you get returned your investment
      Stay happy! 🙂

  66. I’ve developed a couple of non-ecommerce websites for my clients (I’m a photographer who does some video and some design) and I’m now helping a client set up an ecommerce site. My initial investigations have led me to recommend Shopify as the easier to implement solution, mainly because of security. The issue of credit card SSL certificates when using WP based sites looked to be complex and expensive. But your article doesn’t mention this aspect. Am I misunderstanding something? Thanks for the help, Aaron

  67. Hi,

    Nice post. Its so interesting and much impressive compression between two big E- commerce platform.

    but why people moving to shopify because I think there are many reason some of these are

    1. Shopify Is Easy to Use
    2. Shopify Is Hosted
    3. Reliability
    4. Customizable Design
    5. The Shopify App Store

    1. I think I would choose shopify if im selling low to medium priced items, coz it would be another story if you are selling high priced items and then cut some % from the profit. You know, 2% of 10 $ vs 2% of 1000 $.

      I think of this post as bias.

      1. thats not really how percentage works. if you sell cheap things you are dependant on selling more of it. so when you have sold 100 things at 10$ you will have paid the same amount in fees as if you sold one item at 1000$. by this logic you would never choose shopify 🙂

        1. Hi Kent,

          If you are using Shopify Payments there are no additional fees, the fees apply only if you use external payment processors.

          Best,

          Bogdan – Editor at Ecommerce-Platforms.com

        2. I think you’re misunderstanding Francis, what he says is that if you’re selling by volume (luxury market) products priced around $ 800-$1000 lets say 100 per week. That percentage will eat your profits much quicker than lower price points. For that you obviously go with WooCommerce long-term. If you are not computer literate than the obvious choice is that you have to suck it up and use Shopify.

    2. I think it very much depends on the user profile.

      Shopify if much closer to being an out-of-the-box solution. It’s super simple to use and that’s what you’re paying for.
      I’ve just started using WooCommerce after plenty of shopify experience and I find the UI less obvious.

      One other big factor is the apps. IMO shopifys app store beats Woo’s plugin installations are way less clear.

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