Shopify vs. WooCommerce – Which is Better for Your Business?

Which is the best eCommerce platform for your business, Shopify or WooCommerce? This is a question that many eCommerce business owners ponder because choosing a platform is a big decision.  The platform is the engine of your eCommerce business and once you select a platform, you will likely have to stick with it for quite some time.

Both platforms have their merits, which makes it a tough decision, especially for something as serious as an ecommerce store. To help you choose the solution that is right for your store, we will spend this post digging into each platform and comparing the two.

Which Requires the Least Start-Up Money?

Think of Shopify as an all-in-one platform that offers many of the must have features of any eCommerce store.  The basic monthly subscription on Shopify costs $29, which is an affordable entry point for most people.  The monthly fee includes hosting, SSL certificate and a basic storefront.  You can also purchase a domain name with Shopify at a competitive rate of $14. Your total investment to open a store on Shopify will be $43.

WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress so at first glance it seems like a good deal. 

However, to build an online store, you will need a domain name, a website theme, an SSL certificate, and hosting.  The prices for all of these “must have services” will vary depending on the provider that you choose.  In this post, we suggest certain service providers due to their reliable performance and reasonable pricing. 

A domain names can be purchased at NameCheap for $8.88 and hosting on SiteGround, which includes a free SSL certificate costs $14.99 per month. If you choose to pay for the year in advance on SiteGround, your hosting cost will drop to $6.99 per month, but you do have to shell out $83.88 upfront. 

Next you will have to purchase a website theme that is suitable for your eCommerce store.  Expect to spend between $35 – $65 for a decent theme.  The more expensive themes are better looking and offer more features than a bargain basement theme so your investment will likely be closer to $50.

The all-in costs for a WooCommerce store will be around $74.  The $74 breaks down as follows – $8.88 for the domain, $14.99 for the hosting and SSL certificate as well as the very important WordPress theme which will run you about $50.

Shopify is the clear winner on start-up costs.

Which is the Cheapest in the Long-Term?

This is another area that requires a bit of investigation.  While Shopify is cheaper to get started with, WooCommerce is often cheaper in the long-term.

Let’s look at those “must have services” again starting with website hosting.  Shopify’s monthly fee of $29 includes hosting, however that is significantly more expensive than hosting your WordPress site on SiteGround for $6.99 – $14.99 per month depending on the payment plant you choose.

While Shopify and WooCommerce offer good out of the box sites, most eCommerce sites use apps or plugins to enhance the functionality of their stores.  Good apps and plugins can enhance many functions of an eCommerce store including marketing, customer service, order management and many other areas, but the good ones are not free. 

Pricing is comparable between Shopify Apps and WooCommerce Plugins.  Nonetheless, it is a good idea to investigate the plugins or apps that you plan to use and include the costs in your start-up budget.

Which is the Easiest for Beginners to Use?

Shopify revolutionized the world of ecommerce by creating an extremely streamlined, easy-to-use platform. Think of it as a one stop shop to build an eCommerce store.

It has a very easy to use interface and an extensive support library.  The average user could build a Shopify store in a few hours.  Since it is a self-contained, all-in-one platform, it is largely glitch-free.

On the other hand, WooCommerce is a plugin built for WordPress.  WordPress is the world’s most popular website platform, but it is not as easy to use as some other website builders such as GoDaddy or Wix.   It requires a certain level of skill and some patience to get your site up and running.

When you install WooCommerce on a WordPress site, you are adding ecommerce functionality to your website.  You will also have to add many other plugins to your site to manage things like email marketing, tax calculations, payment processing and many other functions.

In the long run, you may pay less to run and maintain your WooCommerce site, but the actual cost will depend on the plugins you choose to enhance the functionality of your site.  Also, do not forget to factor in the time you will spend customizing your site.

Which Works Best with Aliexpress Drop shipping?

Drop shipping is a huge part of the eCommerce world, but it can be difficult to manage.  Shopify recognized how important drop shipping was for their customers and acquired Oberlo in 2017.  Oberlo is one of the most popular sites for all things drop shipping.  Since it is owned by Shopify, Oberlo is part of the platform’s glitch free app ecosystem.

AliDropship is a good plugin for WordPress/WooCommerce stores.  However, it is a plugin developed by a third party and you are far more likely to encounter glitches as it may not work with your plugins or themes.

How to Make the Decision

Price is not the only factor when deciding which platform is best for your business.  Your technical skill level is a very important factor as well.  If you have a limited technical background you may find managing your WooCommerce store and WordPress site overwhelming and be forced to outsource some of the work which will increase your costs.  In this case, Shopify may be your best option.

Before you choose your platform, take a close look at each platform and make a list of apps or plugins that you may need along with the annual cost of each app or plugin.

Watch some YouTube videos on building WordPress and WooCommerce stores. Next watch some YouTube videos on building a Shopify store.  Then have an honest conversation with yourself about which you are more capable of doing in the time you have available. Remember, money is an important asset when building your eCommerce store, but your time is equally as valuable.

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