What’s a better platform Shopify or WooCommerce?

WooCommerce vs Shopify is a showdown between two ecommerce giants. Shopify powers over 800,000 online stores, while WooCommerce claims it’s the web’s most popular ecommerce platform. But which is right for you?

Before we start with our in-depth comparison of the two most popular eCommerce platforms on the web, it’s important that we cover the basics and highlight what makes these platform stand out.

Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it easy for you to create an online store, accept payments, and manage your inventory all from a single platform without ever worrying about the technical aspects of managing a website such as web hosting, security, caching, etc. 

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. It allows you to leverage the most powerful content management system (CMS) and use it to run an online store. Because of the open-source nature, you can customize every aspect of your store and easily build custom extensions.

This article will tell you which of these platforms will best suit your business. These key factors will help you decide which platform is better suited for your needs.

  • Budget – The initial cost of starting a fully functional ecommerce store.
  • Ease of use – It should be easy to use even for absolute beginners.
  • Payment Methods – It should have support for multiple payment methods (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, other merchant processors).
  • Integrations – Number of services and third party tools you can integrate to grow your business.
  • Scalability – The platform should be able to scale as your business grows.

Ease of Use

Shopify – Ease of Use

Shopify is a fully hosted platform which means you don’t need to install, manage, or update any software. You also don’t need to worry about security, performance, backups, and compatibility issues.

As soon as you sign up, it helps you pick a design for your website. After that, they walk you through customization and then help you add products.

Shopify customization

Shopify comes with an intuitive drag and drop interface. Managing your products, sales, and inventory inside Shopify is a breeze.

One downside of this guided, polished, and highly optimized user experience is that it limits your control. You can only use the design and development tools provided by Shopify or add-ons available in their marketplace.

However, this is not as bad as it sounds. For most users, the large selection of extensions and themes available in Shopify, is more than enough to get started and grow your online store.

WooCommerce – Ease of Use

WooCommerce is not a hosted platform like Shopify. This means you will need to install WooCommerce, manage updates, keep backups, and make sure that your website is secure. There are plenty of free and paid plugins that can automate most of these tasks for you.

WooCommerce setup wizard

WooCommerce is super flexible when it comes to customizations. You have full control of the whole platform. You can add any functionality imaginable to your website with the help of more than 55,000+ WordPress plugins.

However, there is no built-in drag & drop design builder. You can use one of the WordPress page builders like Beaver Builder, but it adds to your cost.

The biggest downside of the flexibility is that it comes with a learning curve and requires a more hands-on management of your website. You also have to signup for a merchant account or similar service like Stripe / PayPal.

While the WooCommerce guided setup wizard is helpful, it does not come close to the onboarding and ease of use of Shopify.

Winner: Shopify

Payment Options and Transaction Fees

When you sell online, you need to add ways for your customers to pay. Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer you a choice of over 100 payment gateways.

These are either in-built or added through integrations. The main ones are:

  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Apple Pay
  • Square

Different payment gateways come with different transaction fees. Make sure you check these first before choosing.

Shopify, for example, charges 2% per transaction if you use a third-party gateway. You can reduce this by upgrading to a more advanced Shopify plan, or get rid of them completely by using Shopify Payments – the company’s own option.

One big plus of WooCommerce is that, unlike Shopify, it doesn’t charge its own transaction fees when you use a third party payment gateway (i.e. not WooCommerce Payments).

With WooCommerce, bank charges will still apply, as will charges from a payment provider (like PayPal). If you’re selling a large volume of products, WooCommerce makes more sense. It also appeals to sellers who want to choose their own merchant account.

However, if you’re happy to use Shopify Payments, then it will make little difference (you can read our review of Shopify Payments here).

Winner: WooCommerce

Integrations and Add-ons

Integrations and Add-ons: Shopify vs WooCommerce

No matter how robust an e-commerce platform is, you’ll always need third-party tools and services to grow your store. For example, an email marketing software, lead generation tool, analytics tools, outreach services, etc.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a massive extensions directory, and they integrate with many third-party services.

Shopify Add-ons and Integrations

Shopify comes with a powerful API and an App Store where you can buy third-party add-ons for your Shopify store. They have hundreds of apps in the store covering every feature you’ll want to add to your store.

Shopify App Store

For lead generation, they have integrations with software like OptinMonster which helps you grow your email list and reduce cart abandonment. They have apps for SEO, product reviews, discounts, countdowns, and more.

Shopify’s app store contains both free and paid apps. Free apps are usually created by third-party services that have their own pricing, and the app only integrates your store to their APIs. Pricing for paid add-ons varies and most apps offer monthly subscriptions.

WooCommerce Add-ons and Integrations

WooCommerce extensions

WooCommerce is open source and built on top of WordPress. This gives you access to more than 55,000 free WordPress plugins and many more paid plugins.

You can use these add-ons to add payment gateways, lead generation, SEO, performance optimization, and almost any feature you can think of.

Due to the low barrier of entry, there are a lot more integrations and add-ons available for WooCommerce than Shopify. Almost all third-party tools and service providers have their own plugins to seamlessly integrate with your WooCommerce store.

You can also hire a developer to create an integration or plugin just for your own website. However it’s important to keep in mind that WooCommerce is a lot easier to customize. Having personally gone through the process of submitting a plugin for WordPress and submitting an app to the Shopify store, we can say that the process is extremely harder on Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Winner: WooCommerce

Performance and Scalability

Scalability is another essential consideration while choosing the right platform. After all, you want to trust your platform can keep up with your growth.

Shopify Performance and Scalability

Regarding website speed and performance, Shopify does a good job.

Meanwhile, Shopify’s scalability can be an obstacle when your store scales up. If you want seamless scalability, you should consider using Shopify Plus. This platform succeeded in handling more than 200,000 simultaneous browsers on the Kylie Cosmetics shop.

WooCommerce Performance and Scalability

WooCommerce supports scalability, but those who don’t have efficient coding knowledge might struggle to scale their store sites to their demands.

Winner: Shopify