shopify vs woocommerce

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Who Will Win?

This is Nate.

Nate wants to build a new websitewoocommerce vs shopify that he can use as a platform for selling some exciting new products.

But Nate is a web design noob.

Nate has heard lots of good things about both Shopify and WooCommerce and wants some advice on which platform he should use.

Let’s explore both options to see which platform might be right for him. And for you, if you are in a similar position!

Why don’t we start with the basics? What do the Shopify and WooCommerce platforms do?

Shopify vs WooCommerce 101

Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce builder that gives you all the tools you need to build your own online store. It offers a range of different templates and page builders with inbuilt ecommerce functionality. You don’t need to code anything, so it is great for noobs like Nate.

Shopify not only gives you the tools to build your online store but it is a hosted platform and offers everything you need to run and manage your eCommerce business, although you need to pay for it and the costs can mount up.

WooCommerce is an open-source platform that brings eCommerce functionality to any WordPress site. You can plugin WooCommerce to your existing WordPress site to turn it into a powerful online store, or you can use it to build an eCommerce store from scratch.

Because WooCommerce is an open-source platform, it is free to install. And if you already have a WordPress website (which could be anything from a blog to a landing page or product promotion site), the tools, layout and methods of navigating will look and feel similar.

WooCommerce allows users to build a completely unique online store. But for anything more bespoke than the functionality offered by its range of extensions, you will need to know how to code or hire someone who does.

Now we know what they are, what are the different strengths and weaknesses of each platform?

Here’s a snapshot.

Ease of UseDrag-and-drop store builder that comes with pre-designed pages and a choice of 70 templates (10 of which are free).

Start by choosing a template that has most of the functionality you are looking for, then add products and inventory.

Shopify creates your online store based on your information. You can then customise further in terms of text on the home page, logo, images etc.

Very intuitive and easy to use for complete beginners and steps you through all the stages of setting up your online store.

Comes with basic Storefront template. You can personalise text, images, colours, add logos etc.

Offers hundreds of additional extensions to help you build your store with the functions you want and need.

Some of these are free, others have a one off, monthly. or yearly cost.

Easy to use if you are familiar with WordPress functionality but potentially daunting and confusing if you don’t have this background.

Time taken to setup and organise your store will probably be a bit longer than using the Shopify platform.


CostsOffers three pricing plans. All plans include hosting, domain name, SSL certificate, security & backups.


Basic – US$29/m – ‘all the basics you need for starting an online business’

Shopify – US$79/m – ‘everything you need for a growing business’

Advanced Shopify – US$299/m – ‘advanced features for scaling your business’


As you move up from the Basic plan, enhancements include a greater number of staff accounts allowed, more locations you can assign inventory to; improved report functionality; and availability of third-party calculated shipping rates.


Deeper shipping discounts and better rates for different forms of payment also apply as you move up from Basic.


10 free templates. Up to 100 templates available in with costs for premium templates starting at US$140.



Free to use and install.


You will need to purchase a domain name, SSL certificate, hosting etc (around US$7.00-$14.00/m).


Additional costs associated with purchasing extensions to help you add in the functionality you want, and/or any coding you get done to customise their basic storefront theme.


The WooCommerce Storefront theme is free. Or you can purchase a different design from over 2,300 ecommerce templates available on sites like ThemeForest and

eCommerce featuresMultichannel selling – allows you to sell through Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart Marketplace, and Instagram at no cost (although several users have complained about problems integrating with these external channels).


Can purchase a plan to sell through Etsy at a cost of between US$60-80/m.


Provides you the option of offering free shipping and being able to sell internationally.


Has arrangements in place with USPS, DHL, UPS, and Canada Post so you don’t need to source your own courier.


Abandoned cart recovery


Discount codes

Multichannel selling – allows you to sell through Facebook at no cost.


US$79 setup fee to sell through Amazon, eBay and Instagram and $199/annum to sell through Etsy.


Provides you the option of offering free shipping and being able to sell internationally.


One click-refund for customers


Can purchase extensions that allow you to offer discount codes, gift cards and other promotions


Can add a ‘Buy’ button to any WordPress blog site

PaymentsIntegrates with 100+ external payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, AliPay Global, WorldPay and Shopify Payments.


You pay Shopify 2% per transaction if you use third-party payment gateway (excluding Shopify Payments).


Accepts all major credit and debit cards without requiring your customer to leave the site.


Payments functionality is provided as part of your monthly site plan and just needs to be switched on.

Integrates with 100+ external payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, AliPay Global, WorldPay and Shopify Payments.


Install the WooCommerce Payments system with no setup fee, no monthly fees, and no transaction fees.


Accepts all major credit and debit cards without requiring your customer to leave the site.


Allows you to manage all your payment, refunds, & transactions in one central site.


WooCommerce Payments is currently only available to merchants based in the USA and selling in USD.


No transaction fees for using third-party payment gateway.

SEOProvides a range of apps and integrations that help boost the SEO of your store including:


·         SEO Image Optimizer

·         Affiliate Software

·         SEO Doctor.

SEO is built around ecommerce functionality and lets you arrange sites in categories. This is great for search engines.

Helps you build a well-structured, easy to navigate store and that matches user searches with your products and services.

Built using code that is optimized for SEO. WordPress’ SEO plugin, Yoast, is simple to use and offers instant advice and guidance on how to improve SEO of every page.

Offers a large choice of additional SEO plugins and features, include the ability to customize URLs to help search engine users find your pages more easily.

A range of SEO guides and prompts are also provided throughout the building process.


Shopify Vs Woocommerce: Summary

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have the functionality and capacity to support the establishment and management of a fully functioning ecommerce site.

The services, extensions, and options they offer are continuing to evolve, driven by their experience, user feedback and changing ways in which consumers are using the Internet for shopping.

Shopify has been used to build over 600,000 online stores, with hundreds of new stores being added every day. While as of January 2020, it was estimated that WooCommerce is used by around 3.9 million websites. So, both have plenty of runs on the board in helping people bring their ecommerce dreams to life.

  • People that are looking for the quickest and simplest way to get their ecommerce site up and running with all the core functionality features they need, are probably going to do better using Shopify.
  • Shopify’s easy to use drag-and-drop functionality, pre-designed templates and advanced selling features means anyone (even those with little or no website building experience like Nate) can build a shop and have it running in a very short time.

Shopify also offers the convenience of providing all the security, hosting, domain support and other services you need as part of its scalable plans.

The transaction fees associated with processing payments through third-party gateways and purchasing additional apps to customise your Shopify site can start to add up quickly – so it is best to look at using the Shopify payments system and only add additional apps where the need becomes critical.

WooCommerce offers owners much greater opportunity to fully customise the look, feel and functionality of their store.

  • It is less intuitive to use for the initial build stage (particularly if users have no experience with WordPress) but offers a more extensive range of extensions and plugins.
  • While many of these extensions and plugins are free, some do come with a reasonably high price tag. So, you need to think carefully about which extensions etc are essential or look for cheaper alternatives.

Purchasing the necessary hosting, domain name and security requirements is a straightforward and inexpensive process. The lack of any transaction fees on payments is also a huge plus.

As an opensource platform, WooCommerce has a huge pool of experts, designers, coders, and builders constantly working on products that can add value to the platform and to individual shop owners.

There are plenty of videos and tutorials available to help people get started and many skilled freelance coders that can offer additional customisation at relatively little cost.




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