In this post about Woocommerce vs Shopify, we are going to compare the two biggest e-commerce platforms in Dropshipping.
We dove deep to uncover not only which one is better, but for whom each one is better.
Within each platform we evaluated:
Let's get started.
Now that we have covered the pros and the cons of each, let’s get more detailed with the first thing you, me, and everyone else would like to know next:
This one is going to be a hard one. Both platforms include a variety of free and paid themes. So we are going to be covering:
As you can see Woocommerce has 22 store themes. Most of them are with responsive design.
You have a few free options, and the rest are paid. However, the 39$ average price for a fully optimized, responsive theme is not bad.
Keep in mind that these are just the themes included in the theme store.
Because Woocommerce is a plug-in on your blog, pretty much every Worpress theme qualifies as a Woocommerce one if you are ready to put in the work into customization.
Also, Woocommerce encourages developers to create new themes so with a simple Google search, you can find all of the woocommerce-friendly themes you need.
There are hundreds of blog-posts outlining the best woocommerce themes both free and paid.
Here is an example from theme grills:
One place to find great woocommerce themes that we like is ThemeForest. There you have thousands of themes and designs to choose from it.
When we are saying thousands, we mean thousands per category.
Ok, we have thousands of WordPress themes that we can choose from, but there is one question you have that you are still wondering about: how many of them are specifically designed for Woocommerce?
There are around 1,275 Woocommerce specific themes to choose from all with star ratings and a reasonable price within the 30-100+ price range.
Ok, that is for Woocommerce. Let’s see how Shopify measures up to the competition
With Shopify, you have 73 themes available.
Each theme comes with 2-4 different styles, so you are basically getting between 156-300 different themes.
With Shopify’s reputation of providing an all-in-one store and providing multiple sales features, you can safely assume that each theme is optimized for sales and conversions.
Compared to Woocommerce, you have more free themes in the app store to choose from but less free themes overall.
If you scroll down the Shopify theme store, you won't find a paid theme below 140$.
They go from 140-180$.
Furthermore, you can’t pretty much do a makeover of the theme. You can go to Shopify's “liquid” settings and do some code upgrades but that is pretty much it.
When building a store on Shopify, you are pretty much restricted to using the available themes in the store.
However, their quality is excellent.
Also when you include the different styles of each theme and some customization with the “liquid” file in Shopify, you still have plenty of options to choose from.
And to be honest, their designs are really elegant and include the menus and other navigational elements very subtly in their themes.
With customization and a professional touch, you will be able to achieve the same excellence for sure with Woocommerce.
However if you compare side by side the Shopify theme above with the Woocommerce Homestore theme, you will see what I mean.
I personally would choose Shopify for having better themes by default.
When you are using a specific platform or tool, you get used to it after a certain period of time.
So we are not going to discuss whether the Shopify or Woocommerce dashboard is more user-friendly.
In order to make our decision for which platform is easier to use, we are going to include 2 factors in our analysis
The Woocommerce set-up wizard is as simple to use as the Shopify one. You are asked a couple of questions and given a few steps and voila, your store is ready.
Also as we mentioned earlier, you eventually get used to the software you are using to run your store.
With Woocommerce we need to factor all of the steps before you install the store plug-in such as:
With Shopify, you don't need to do any of the above-mentioned.
Everything is taken care of with the click of a button.
You can have your website set up in a matter of minutes. Shopify takes care of all of the updates, security, and backups.
You also get a free domain, host your site on Shopify’s servers, and get a free SSL certificate included and set up in your monthly plan.
Shopify is the clear winner when it comes to ease of use and build time.
Both platforms give you plenty of third-party options when it comes to processing payments.
You can get them from each platform's app store.
The difference comes from the transaction fees you need to pay by using a third-party payment gateway.
With Shopify, if you don't use their default payment method Shopify Payments, you are charged with an additional 2% per transaction.
It goes down when you upgrade on a higher pricing plan, but still, it is an additional cost you have to incur per transaction.
With Woocommerce you have Stripe and Paypal built-in and many different third-party apps at no additional cost to you and you don't pay any additional fee for your customers paying through them.
So Woocomemrce is a clear winner here in terms of paying less for transaction fees.
So, you would need to read their list of supported countries and regions to see if the country where your business operates is on the list.
But for a quick overview, if your business is located in any of these countries/ regions you should be able to use Shopify Payments.
If your country is on the list, after you click on it you will be redirected to a Shopify domain for your country and language.
There you can find more details about Shopify payments in your specific country.
Also, just because your business operates in one of the countries that qualify for Shopify payments doesn't mean that every business can use Shopify's default payment method.
So, you can also check out the prohibited businesses section of the page right under the supported businesses by countries and regions.
If you want to learn more about Shopify payment, I am including the link to the mentioned page here.
Woocommerce is a free WordPress plugin, which means you would need to carry the costs of having your own wordpress site.
The base costs include:
So all of the above mentioned pretty much will depend on the hosting provider you chose.
With Shopify, you have all of the above mentioned built-in your monthly plan from the lowest to the highest price.
Woocommerce themselves recommend using Bluehost as your hosting provider because they have a built-in integration with the hosting software.
So for the starter plans, you would need to compare the Shopify basic plan(29$) vs the cost of creating a Wordpress site discussed earlier.
Purchasing a domain name, cheap hosting and an SSL certificate come around the 30-40$ yearly mark.
If we look at the starter costs we can pretty much see that although Woocommerce is free, the minimum costs for you to launch your store are pretty much the same.
So we need to take into account the additional costs that come up for both Shopify and Woocommerce such as:
It is no surprise here that Woocommerce is the winner when it comes to being budget-friendly.
As we mentioned earlier, all of the additional costs on our list are greater in Shopify. Especially the transaction fees can add up pretty fast.
To make things simple, we are going to include only the features unique to each platform.
To make things fair, we are also going to compare the default tools included in the Woocommerce plug-in vs the Shopify basic plan.
Key Shopify Features:
Key Woocommerce Features:
So our clear winner in terms of sales and store features by default is Shopify
Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is a great way to get a consistent flow of traffic each month if you successfully rank your product pages for a given keyword.
When you rank, depending on your position, you will pretty much get the same traffic each month without having to pay a single penny.
So, how does Woocomerce stack up against Shopify by default?
I am saying by default because some of the SEO benefits that come with Shopify you would have to do a bit of work integrating them in your Woocommerce store.
The benefits: You have more SEO plug-ins to choose from, each providing different organic traffic benefits for your store.
The cons: For a faster loading speed for your pages, you would need better, faster hosting.
Furthermore, all of the code optimization and page navigation are pretty much your responsibility.
Page Speed is a crucial ranking factor.
If it takes too much time for your pages to load and people are hitting the back button, it tells Google that your site provides a bad user experience.
Likewise, if your navigation is messy or takes too long for the user to reach a page, it may make users leave your store.
Your store pages also carry a certain amount of authority. Google also uses page authority as a ranking factor.
Each page passes authority through each link on it.
If you don't have a clear structure that takes the user a few clicks to reach your page, you are spreading your authority thin on top of confusing the user.
The benefits: Because Shopify has millions and millions of online stores linked to its own hosting servers and domain, you bet their hosting would be one of the fastest.
Also, Shopify being an all-in-one store solution, you don't need to worry too much about the code and navigation.
The cons: There are fewer SEO plugins you can choose from their app store.
It is important to mention that we are talking about hosting speed and site architecture optimization in the 29$ Shopify basic plan vs a Woocommerce basic plan set-up.
If you are willing to invest in great hosting and outside help for your website, then woocommerce is your ideal choice
If you want an all-in-one, quick-start, little “tech stuff”, fast hosting, then Shopify is the right fit for you.
Because Woocommerce is a plug-in on your own website, you are in charge of securing your own customer’s data against hackers trying to steal their credit card and personal information.
The best way to protect your customer data in Woocommerce is:
The first 3 make total sense on the safety to-do list.
What about an SSL certificate? How exactly does it help you?
First of all, the SSL( Secure Sockets Layer) certificate encrypts your customer’s data.
This means that if a person with malicious intent decides to steal the data, they will receive a message that no language expert can identify.
The hackers will only see random digits and numbers making absolutely no sense.
Second of all, having an SSL certificate is a SEO ranking signal.
Google looks up to websites that protect their customers’ data and give them a ranking boost, even if you don't own a store but a standard blog.
Identifying if a site has an SSL certificate is very easy. It is the padlock icon in front of the domain name.
You have probably seen that automatic message that appears on a separate page before you access the website: “ This site is not secure, etc” on mobile devices.
On a desktop, I haven't seen a specific page appearing that alerts me about a potentially dangerous website.
You just see that they don't have an SSL certificate.
I am going to just say it: Shopify wins when it comes to security.
On top of having an SSL certificate included in every Shopify plan, the popular e-commerce platform is also PCI-DSS compliant.
What that means is that Shopify is set up to receive credit card payments in accordance with legal requirements.
You can become PCI-DSS compliant with your Woocommerce store of course.You just need to take a few extra steps.
Being able to resolve an issue in a fast, effective, and easy way shouldn't be underestimated.
First of all, before picking a platform for your business, it is a good idea to have a look at what other people are saying for the support of the software.
Second, it is good to have 24/7 support available as well as different ways to receive the support you need(email, phone, chat).
This is where Shopify meets all the criteria. You have 24/7 support over the phone, email, chat, or you can post your question on the community forum to get assistance.
Other than all the available methods of getting direct assistance with a problem, you also have a lot of helpful guides and a FAQ section.
And if you have a look at Shopify’s help center, you will see that they pretty much have a guide for every problem that may arise.
All of their guides are also in categories, so finding the answer is a pretty intuitive and straightforward process.
How does Woocommerce compare to Shopify’s support quality?
Given the fact that woocommerce is a plug-in for your store, we can't expect the same level of support that Shopify provides.
If we want to get some help, our best bet is to head over to woocommerce.com. There you have a lot of resources to help you get started.
If you want to get some direct assistance from a customer support agent, then it is more tricky.
You would have to submit a query on Woocommerce’s site. And you won't receive an immediate response.
After that, you would have to wait for an email to set up when you can have a chat regarding your problem.
The only communication method is through email.
And you can only ask for assistance when it comes to your Woocommerce account and the extensions you have bought from the store.
And if it has to do with an extension, Woocommerce will direct your request to the vendor of the extension.
Now if you have questions about your hosting and domain name, they should be addressed towards the domain name and hosting provider you chose.
So, do your research on what ways of communication they offer(24/7 support, email, chat, etc).
One of the best ways to be sure that the provider you choose will have one the best support out there, in our opinion, is to look at the recommended domain name and hosting providers on Woocommerce.
For us, Shopify wins the support comparison because everything is well-organized and you can get all the support you need in one place.
You would have to export your customer data into a CSV file and import it into your Woocommerce store.
You can do it manually, or use a plug-in. Here is a great resource on how to do it.
Shopify is better than Woocommerce if you are looking for the following things:
Both platforms give you the opportunity to create and scale a business.
Woocommerce is more scalable in the design department. You have a lot of plug-ins (more than Shopify) to add functionality to your site, as well as more themes to choose from than Shopify.
However, that comes with you spending more on customization.
Also, with Woocommerce you have more control over your own data.
In terms of paying for transaction fees, Woocommerce is more scalable because it does not charge you extra for using a third-party payment gateway.
Shopify is scalable in terms of having everything you need to get started, plus payment plans structured with the growth of your store in mind.
You can take advantage of the fact that Shopify is PCI-DSS compliant, which means it has all the legal requirements to accept payments.
So you will use your Woocommerce store as a storefront, and let Shopify take care of the order processing and payments.
Plus you can add some of Shopify’s functionality like the buy button to your Woocommerce store.
After someone clicks on your Woocommerce store they will be directed to your Shopify store.
This way you are getting the best of both worlds in terms of functionality.
You just need a couple of plug-ins for the functionality, and to link your Woocommerce store with Shopify.
Here is how to do it.
In conclusion, there you have it.
A detailed breakdown of each ecommerce platform. It is ultimately up to you which one you choose.
But if you have read through our entire comparison post, we are sure you will select the best one for your specific needs.
Meanwhile, leave a comment below.
Tell us what you think and share something that we might have missed and others can benefit from it.
And if you are looking to build a six-figure dropshipping business, we can help you here at Sell The Trend by automating the whole process for you.
We help you all the way from finding winning products to fulfilling each order with the click of a button.
All the best. We wish you success with your ecommerce store.
By Lisa W.
Lisa is an integral part of the Sell The Trend Family. She has a keen eye for spotting products right before they become big winners!
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