WooCommerce vs Shopify: What’s Best for My Business?

Whether you’re starting an online store or redesigning your website, choosing which content management system (CMS) to use is tough. Chances are you’ve heard of WooCommerce and Shopify before. They’re two of the most popular platforms on the market, and each has their own set of intricacies to consider before deciding what’s best for your business. 

Understanding How Shopify vs. WooCommerce Stack Up

woocommerce vs shopify table

Factors to Consider When Building a Website on Woocommerce vs Shopify

Asking if WooCommerce is better than Shopify is like asking if it’s better to eat with a fork or spoon—it’s subjective. The “right” choice depends on a few factors. 

Serving soup? I’ll use a spoon. Pasta? I’d prefer a fork. 

In that same way, there are different scenarios where it’s best to build your site on WooCommerce instead of Shopify and vice-versa. It all boils down to what your business wants and needs from a new website. Here are five factors to consider before deciding which CMS works best for your business:

1. User Experience

When it comes to user experience (UX), the choice between WooCommerce vs Shopify largely depends on your technical expertise and preferences.

  • Shopify: Designed with the general public in mind, Shopify offers an intuitive, user-friendly platform that’s great for beginners. The dashboard is easy to navigate, adding new products is a straightforward process, and there are helpful prompts to guide you along the way.
  • WooCommerce: On the other hand, WooCommerce caters more to programmers and designers. Sure, its dashboard is also user-friendly, but it requires a bit more technical know-how, particularly for small business owners. Unlike Shopify, it’s not a subscription-based platform, which means you need to acquire a domain name, find hosting, integrate WordPress, and select themes themselves. While WooCommerce offers extra customization options, it’s also more technical and better suited for developers.

2. Theme Options & Site Design

Now, let’s compare the different theme options, design processes, and difficulty levels for WooCommerce and Shopify.

  • Shopify: Upon signing up for a Shopify account, you gain access to over 70 free themes, along with several paid options. These templates are polished and easy to implement, providing a quick and convenient way to set up your online store. However, it’s worth noting that pre-built templates can sometimes lead to similarities between different online stores, potentially diluting the uniqueness of your brand. 
  • WooCommerce: Choose from a huge selection of designs and themes, many of which are automatically programmed to be mobile responsive, guaranteeing a unified UX across all. Just remember: because you’re designing the site yourself, achieving a clear and intuitive layout may take longer. 

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Shopify: Drag-and-drop templates boast faster loading times compared to custom-built sites, which helps you rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). However, because Shopify features a built-in plugin, some users feel limited to basic SEO practices like updating meta information and on-page copy.
  • WooCommerce: Integrated into the WordPress platform, WooCommerce provides access to some of the best SEO tools on the market. Enjoy easy customization of on-page elements like body content, URLs, meta descriptions, and alt tags. With WordPress widely regarded as the best platform for SEO, WooCommerce is a compelling choice for businesses looking to rank on search engines, improve visibility, and drive organic traffic

4. Costs

When it comes to costs, both Shopify vs WooCommerce have different pricing structures—here’s what you need to keep in mind: 

  • Shopify: All Shopify plans include free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and complimentary web hosting. However, if you want a domain name without the Shopify brand in the URL, you’ll need to pay an additional $14 per year. They also offer a three-day free trial period, followed by plans starting at:
    • $29 per month for the basic package
    • $79 per month for the mid-tier plan
    • $299 per month for the top-tier package
  • WooCommerce: WooCommerce also offers a free initial service, followed by additional charges for domain names, SSL certification, and WordPress hosting. The price tag for these services can vary, with hosting typically ranging from $5 to $30 per month and domain name purchases averaging around $9 per year. SSL certificates—a must-have for website security—can cost upwards of $100 per year. Depending on your selection of third-party apps, the cost of creating a website on WooCommerce can quickly add up (especially if you choose premium extensions like SEO plugins.)

5. Website Support

Lastly, let’s talk about website support. Both WooCommerce and Shopify provide assistance, but they do so in different ways. 

  • Shopify: Shopify has a much better support system for beginners since they operate on a closed platform. Odds are another user had the same problems you’re having, and if the errors were documented (which they probably were) it should be a quick fix. Plus, with tech support available 24/7, you can reach out anytime with questions or issues. 
  • WooCommerce: While the flexibility of a custom-built site is nice, it also means that WooCommerce‘s support team may not have a solution readily available for every reported issue. But let’s be realistic here: support from the platform itself isn’t really necessary. Just use the same developer who helped you get started with WooCommerce. They’re more than capable of handling some, if not all, of the troubleshooting tasks.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: What’s the Better Choice?

In short, Shopify is best for small businesses that aren’t very tech-savvy, thanks to their pre-built templates and 24/7 support staff. WooCommerce works best for businesses that want more control over their online presence, have the time (or resources) to tackle site design, and want to drive organic traffic through SEO. 

Time for a New Website?

A new website serves as the digital face of your business and directly correlates to fiscal success. Unfortunately, some businesses don’t have the time to build their own website, and others don’t have the proper resources to do it correctly. 

That’s where the Timmermann Group comes in. As an award-winning web design company, we know how to turn eCommerce brands into sales-generating machines. Start a conversation today to learn how we boost your digital presence.