WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which eCommerce Platform is Easier to Maintain?
When it comes to eCommerce, there are a lot of options for you to choose from. We take a look at the two most popular platforms WooCommerce vs Shopify.
People either choose to go with WooCommerce which is WordPress or they go with Shopify. Here, we are going o compare both of these platforms and see which is a better option for you and why.
We will cover all the important things that you should know about the platforms. In this way, you can easily choose one platform from the given two. We will see all the possible things that most people see while choosing a solution. Int eh end, we will give the conclusion on which one is easier to maintain and which one you should go with.
Overview of WooCommerce vs Shopify
WooCommerce is an open-source solution given to you as a plugin. You can use WooCommerce on WordPress only. With WooCommerce, you can build your eCommerce store on your WordPress website.
There are many extensions and third-party plugin that you can use along with WooCommerce to increase the number of functionalities it offers. WooCommerce has 28% of the market share with over 3.9 Million websites.
Shopify is another web-based platform where you can create an eCommerce store with a few clicks. Shopify handles all the things for you, you don’t need to worry about hosting and anything else. You can manage all the things in one place.
You can set your themes and add plugins. The market share here is 21% of market share with over 900k websites.
If you compare it over the past couple of years, the popularity of both solutions is growing rapidly. In 2016, WooCommerce had roughly 1 Million websites whereas Shopify only had 250k websites. In the next year, the number of websites on both the platform was doubled. In 2018, the active websites in Shopify were 800k and WooCommerce had almost 3 Million websites. The WooCommerce score touched almost 4 million and Shopify had more than 900k websites.
So, let’s begin comparing the factors to see which is better and easy to use. Most importantly, we will see which one is perfect for you or for your business.
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Hosting, domain, and pricing
WooCommerce works on WordPress. WordPress is free software but you need to host it by yourself. In simpler words, you will need to get a hosting account and a domain name to get started. The average shared hosting pricing started from $3 per month. In the same way, a domain name will cost you roughly $8 to $15 depending on the provider. You need to host it by yourself. Mostly all the hosting accounts allow you to install WordPress in one-click. So, that’s not an issue.
On the other hand, Shopify has various plans that you can choose from. Here, you will get free hosting and a free subdomain. You don’t need to install Shopify anywhere or do any setup. You can directly start using it once you make the payment. There is a free 14-day trial to see how Shopify dashboard looks. You won’t be able to take orders in this trial. The pricing for Shopify starts at $29 per month. The pricing might vary if you go with the higher plan.
Design is one of the most important things that you need to see. Themes are the best way to make your website beautiful. You will need a great theme if you want the best user interface. Also, when it comes to eCommerce, user interface and design play a very important role here. Hence, you will need a great theme for your website.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify offers free themes that you can use directly without paying a penny. If you want premium themes, WooCommerce themes start at $20 and Shopify themes start at $150. If you choose the best theme in WooCommerce, you will have to pay roughly $50 to $80 for a theme. It is still almost half the price of Shopify themes. If you consider the number of themes, WooCommerce again wins the competition here. There are a huge number of themes available in WooCommerce, unlike Shopify.
Shopify themes have very few options to customize. It can be a great thing for people who want a simple design but if you are looking for something extra-ordinary, you might want to have a look at WooCommerce themes as you can also add your code in the theme.
Plugin and Extension
You surely don’t want the basic eCommerce facilities, right? The basic eCommerce store will give you the feature to add products and collect the payments. What if you want to collect an email address for email marketing or you want to integrate a third-party tool? For that, you will need to use plugins and extensions.
Both of them provide free and premium plugins. However, when it comes to WooCommerce, there are more free plugins as compared to Shopify. Also, all the necessary and commonly used plugins can be found free. On the other hand, Shopify will charge you monthly fees even for some basic features. For instance, if you want to add gift cards, you can add it to WooCommerce for free whereas, in Shopify, you will have to pay $50 a month.
One of the best things about Shopify is that requires the least amount of configuration. Most of their plugins are plug and play. Whereas you will need to configure it when it comes to WooCommerce.
WooCommerce has many plugins for the same feature. For instance, if you want to make a dropshipping store, there are many options in WooCommerce whereas there are only a few of them in Shopify. Shopify is still growing and WooCommerce has been in the industry for the past many years. Hence, you can expect a little a smaller number of plugins on Shopify as compared to WooCommerce.
Speed is an important thing your website needs. Things get a little tricky here. Many things will determine the speed of the website. For instance, you need to see the theme you are using, extensions, etc. However, we are only going to see the server response time here. This is the core part of any website. This will determine the speed of the server.
Shopify provides great speed when it comes to an eCommerce store. Their response time and uptime are great. You won’t face any issues there. However, on WooCommerce, it depends on the hosting server you choose. Some of the hosting providers more speed than Shopify whereas some of the providers are just worst.
In the same way, Shopify has most of its themes optimized for the highest speed (even free ones). Whereas, some of the WooCommerce themes are not optimized for maximum speed. So, you will need to pay attention when you are choosing a WooCommerce theme.
Reports and Analytics
You can’t just create a website and keep it as it is. You need to monitor your website and see the amount of traffic you are getting. Even if you are trying any marketing technique, you need to see the response from the audience. It will help you determine if you need to change the technique or you should continue with the current one. In other words, you will need to keep a proper eye on all the things. Hence, reports and analytics are important for any website.
WooCommerce provides free in-built reports and analytics. You can quickly view the revenue, orders, and other things easily. Further, if you need more detailed analytics, you can easily integrate Google Analytics with it.
You can also do the same on Shopify but it will cost you. To see the reports and complete analytics, you need to pay $79 a month to get it done. Both of them show real-time analytics. The reports are enough to let you know all the things about your eCommerce store. So, that’s not an issue.
Customer support is the next necessary thing that you need to look for. Support becomes necessary if you are a complete beginner. When it comes to WooCommerce, you will get complete documentation, help desk support, and also there is a forum where you can ask the questions. Whereas, on the other hand, Shopify provides 24 by 7 support on all Shopify plans.
WooCommerce has an advantage. For instance, if you get the managed WP hosting, the hosting provider will provide you complete support. In the same way, if you are using a third-party plugin or a service, they will provide you the complete support. So, you will get support for all the additional features. Talking about the core features, a simple Google search will answer most of your questions. WooCommerce is widely used and for the same reason, there are many tutorials and solutions available for mostly all your problems and queries. So, you won’t face any issues in WooCommerce too.
However, if you don’t want to depend on it and want direct support, Shopify will be the option for you in such cases. It provides you direct customer support whenever you want. Also, their support is fast and will answer all your problems easily. So, Shopify is better when it comes to customer support and team. Not to mention, you will also get solutions on Google too.
When you integrate a payment gateway, you need to pay a fee to the gateway. Shopify allows you to collect payments from the most popular gateways. Whereas, when it comes to WooCommerce, you will get the most popular gateways integrated and you can add all the other gateway through plugins. As WooCommerce is the most used checkout, almost all the payment gateway allows you to integrate it with WooCommerce using a simple plugin. So, that’s one benefit here that you are going to get.
Further, all these payment gateways have a specific charge that you need to pay to use it. In other words, they will cut X percentage from the total amount you received. Shopify charges a specific amount for every payment you receive whereas it’s different when it comes to WooCommerce. WooCommerce charges you depending on the payment method. Some of the payment methods charge very less whereas some payment methods charge a lot more. However, if you compare the charges with Shopify, WooCommerce charges less money. So, you are in benefit here.
Along with this, there are a couple of disadvantages too. For instance, you will need to configure the payment gateway when in WooCommerce whereas Shopify will give you all the things directly.
Final words: Which is better?
If you want the ownership and more flexibility, WooCommerce is the perfect option for you as you are the owner of your website. On the negative side, you will have to invest a couple of hours in it to learn some things. On the other hand, Shopify is best for the people who don’t want to waste their time in configuration and want things simple. Shopify is more like a plug and plays tool.
Also, WooCommerce is affordable but you need to do the setup by yourself. On the other hand, Shopify is expensive but will do everything for you.
Still, confused? Well, here is a short answer for you.
WooCommerce is for you if you are looking for an affordable option where you will have to manage the entire website. You can add anything you want there. It is no limitation here. However, it sometimes doesn’t add up, you need to give some hours here and learn the thing or look for possible solutions (you can also hire somebody to do that for you).
Shopify is for you if you have a high-budget and money isn’t an issue. You are also looking to create a quick-website in the least amount of time. You will get premium customer support here along with all the amazing features. However, you have certain limitations and you won’t own the entire website here. Shopify is easier to maintain as compared to WooCommerce.
Why Website Maintenance is Important?
Importance of website maintenance is always the question for any business, regardless of its size. Owning a website is just like owning a brand new car.