WooCommerce vs Shopify

Before you get halfway through reading this and angrily accuse us of using clickbait headlines, this article is not about which system is better. WooCommerce and Shopify are two of the most popular ecommerce platforms for a reason. However, they do differ in a few fundamental ways. In this article we will touch on what questions to ask yourself when choosing between Shopify and WooCommerce.

How technically savvy are you?

Shopify is incredibly easy to set up and maintain, and you need zero coding knowledge. If you are new to ecommerce and are looking to dip your toe, you can be up and running in a matter of hours with a functional, hosted, secure (SSL) website complete with domain name. If you have some technical know-how and are looking for a more malleable system to customise to your needs, WooCommerce is the way to go. You don’t need to be a coding whizzkid, but a bit of knowledge is required to build an effective online shop.

What is your budget?

There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s break it down:

  • Shopify charges from $29 a month, but this includes extras like domain, hosting and security. WooCommerce itself is free, but you would need to buy these extras.
  • Shopify charges a percentage commission on your turnover which varies depending on your package. If you are selling high value goods online, go with WooCommerce as they charge no such commission.
  • If you have the time and inclination, Shopify is simple enough to build your own basic website (although consulting a professional is always advisable). Building a website on WooCommerce with no technical knowledge or experience on the platform is almost impossible, so you would need to pay a developer to do this for you.
  • Shopify apps will enhance your website’s performance, but they can be expensive. Conversely, WooCommerce plugins are much more affordable, but as an open source system, they are more prone to bugs, so it pays to know which ones to avoid.

How much time do you have?

As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to set up a functional Shopify website within a day even if you have no technical background (although more complex requirements can take much longer) so this would be a good option if time is of the essence. If you question your ability, go to the Shopify website and sign up for a 14 day free trial to give it a go. If you have clear, long term plans of how you want to build your website, and you’re prepared to invest time and money into getting designed, then WooCommerce would be the way to go. Check out this article by Elementor for a more indepth analysis of these two excellent ecommerce systems.

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