Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which Is The Best One for You?

In E-commerce Development

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which Is The Best One for You? - read the full article about woocommerce 2021, E-commerce Development and Online store creation from Exposure Ninja — Free Marketing Review on Qualified.One

- Trying to choose an e-commerce platform can be so overwhelming.

They all look great on their websites and both WordPress and Shopify have super fans that will tell you they are the only solution for you.

Well, here at Exposure Ninja, weve built dozens of websites, worked with hundreds of clients using every imaginable platform, and weve analysed over 20,000 different sites and stores.

In this video, were gonna cover the differences between Shopify and WooCommerce, and help you find the best platform for you.

(upbeat drum music) (wind whooshing) (soft beeping) (soft clicking) (wind whooshing) Now, were gonna analyse these platforms using seven criteria: ease of use, marketing tools and SEO, scalability and growth, build time, payment methods available, security, and price.

In each of these categories, were going to declare a winner and a loser, and this will help you choose the right platform for you based on whats most important in your particular circumstances.

But before we do any of that, we need to understand that Shopify and WooCommerce are coming at e-commerce from a completely different place.

Shopify is a closed system because Shopify is a company and a very profitable one at that.

When you sign up for Shopify, you are locked into their system and they control what you can and cant do.

They set the rules.

Ultimately, if Shopify wanted to beat you off their platform, they could absolutely do that.

Now the plus side of this is that Shopify is doing extremely well and investing lots of money in building out their platform and its capabilities, and theyre likely to do so for the foreseeable future.

BuiltWith estimates that Shopify powers 29% of U.S. e-commerce stores.

So they are the biggest by market share.

This means that Shopify is unlikely to shut down or stop investing in their platform anytime soon.

But if they ever did, that would be a real issue for people who have Shopify stores, because essentially Shopify owns it and youre kind of just renting it.

By contrast, WooCommerce is open source and its built on the open source WordPress platform.

This means that you can do virtually whatever you want with your store.

You have unlimited possibilities.

If the WooCommerce company died, you could technically just keep your store running.

WooCommerce also has great market share, with around 20% of U.S. e-commerce stores.

So not as much as Shopify, but still a very considerable percentage.

And WordPress itself is the most popular content management system on the internet.

So what does this mean for you? Well, either way, whichever waggon you hitch yourself to, you are probably going to be okay in the short to medium term.

Neither of these e-commerce platforms is going away, but understanding how they come at things from a completely different perspective and the closed system versus open source model helps us to understand some of the key differences that were gonna be seeing as we go through todays analysis.

(wind whooshing) (soft beeps) (soft beeps) (wind whooshing) The first criteria that were gonna compare Shopify and WooCommerce is in ease of use.

Obviously ease of use is a really important consideration all the time, but particularly if you are new to e-commerce or you dont have the time or energy to get involved in the development side of thing.

Lets talk about design, first of all.

If you want something that looks great straight out of the box, then Shopify is, undoubtedly, the winner for you.

You can get started and build a Shopify store very quickly and it looks usable.

Of course, there are quite a lot of free and paid themes on Shopifys Theme Store that you can choose and you have HTML and CSS editing capabilities should you want to customise them a little bit more.

When were building a site for a Shopify client, for example, we will take a basic Shopify theme that loads very quickly, and then we will customise and edit it to make it perfect for that business.

Now, with WooCommerce, you have way more options.

You have so many more themes.

Not only do you have the WooCommerce Theme Store, but you also have third-party sites like Themeforest and just independent developers that have built WordPress and WooCommerce themes.

And of course you have almost infinite customization options because the whole thing is open source.

Obviously these unlimited options come at the expense of simplicity.

So youre typically gonna have to put more time into building a WooCommerce store if youre gonna get it looking really good.

All right. What about functionality? Lets say that you wanna add order tracking, referral programmes, email marketing, fulfilment, whichever e-commerce platform you choose, youre going to need integration.

So how do they stack up? Well, with Shopify, you have the App Store.

In here, youll find thousands of apps for every imaginable integration that you could possibly want.

Theres a mixture of free and paid, but usually a theme will have some kind of paid component.

This Shopify App Store is a closed system, meaning that Shopify controls and owns it.

This means two things.

Firstly, it tends to mean the apps are better straight out of the box.

So you dont have to worry too much about how its been developed or how it works.

They tend to just work as you would expect.

The other thing is that because Shopify charges the developers a fee for listing in the App Store, Shopify apps tend to be more expensive than their WooCommerce counterparts.

So what about WooCommerce? Well, WooCommerce also has its own extension store and here there are thousands of different possible WooCommerce extensions that you can add to your store.

But aside from this, there are all the third-party extensions that have been built.

What youll usually find with WooCommerce is not only can you find an extension to do basically whatever you want it to do, but youll also find a huge number of extensions that give you each piece of functionality.

So youve got a range of choices between free and very expensive, paying monthly.

So that gives you a huge amount of variety in choice.

The downside of this obviously is youve got to sift through all of this stuff and because WooCommerce plugins arent like vetted and approved into an official WooCommerce store all the time, this also increases the likelihood that there will be conflicts, mismatches, and things that just dont work or plugins that havent been kept up to date for a long time.

So the onus is on you to make sure that the plugin that youre installing does what it needs to do and plays nicely with the rest of your site.

So on that note then, what about support? What happens if something breaks? Well, Shopify has 24/7 support.

You can phone them, you can email them, or you can talk to them on live chat, and theyre pretty good, but theres also a pretty active forum where people can post questions and the Shopify community can provide answers.

Now WooCommerce on the other hand, because its not making money out of you, youre not paying a subscription fee to WooCommerce, its very difficult for them to provide a centralised support team.

This means that WooCommerce support is either up to you to go and find a developer that can help you fix whatever issue youre coming up against or go to the WooCommerce community.

This is a vibrant community, as it tends to be with open source projects.

So there are lots of forums and posts and helpful people that will try and help you out, but again, the onus is on you to find the right solution and to implement that yourself.

So overall then for ease of use, who wins? Well, both platforms are relatively easy to use.

Its important to say this, you will be able to build and maintain a store using whichever platform you want.

If youre adding e-commerce to an existing WordPress site, then obviously WooCommerce is by far the easiest way to do that.

But overall, for most people, Shopify is a clear ease-of-use winner.

Because Shopify prioritises simplicity over unlimited flexibility and because it is a closed system, which Shopify manages very tightly, it is a much easier e-commerce platform to get something usable out of the box very quickly.

Our second comparison criteria is marketing tools and SEO.

The saying, "build it, and they will come," has never been less true than with e-commerce.

And every day we are sent e-commerce stores by owners that are struggling to market them because they havent thought about how theyre actually going to promote their store and drive traffic to it.

So how do these platforms stack up with marketing and SEO capabilities? Well, starting with SEO, the story with Shopify was always that the SEO capabilities were limited.

It was one of the trade-offs that Shopify made in order to make the platform simple to use.

Weve just released a video all about Shopify SEO.

So Im not gonna go into loads of detail here, but the short version is that those SEO limitations are way more severe than they used to be.

Today, we see some very successful, high-ranking stores built in Shopify.

And if youre willing to stick with it, you can basically implement what you need to implement on a Shopify store to get it ranking and performing well.

Now, WooCommerce, its part of WordPress, which is basically the most SEO-friendly platform ever to exist.

Its a dream to optimise, its a dream to SEO, and you can do whatever you want with it.

Another important marketing consideration is blogs and content.

Now youve heard us talk before on the Exposure Ninja videos and our podcast about the importance for e-commerce stores of getting some kind of content section on your website, whether its your blog, or a news section, or an article, knowledge-based thing, or a content hub.

So how do these platforms stack up with the flexibility and functionality that they offer in this area? Well, it helps to think about exactly what they are.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform with a bit of a blog functionality stuck on, whereas WooCommerce is actually a blog platform with the e-commerce functionality stuck on.

So therefore you have way more flexibility and control of setting up a content section on a WordPress WooCommerce store.

Usually Shopify sites will either add-on the default Shopify blog, the news section, and then theyll rename it, but the functionality here is pretty limited.

The next step up is to add an add-on which will allow you to build out a content hub or knowledge base.

Again, this can be limited and it can feel quite disconnected from the rest of the store.

The level above this is to actually add-on a separate content management system onto your Shopify store, for example, as a sub domain or as a folder.

And ironically, one of the most popular solutions here is to bolt on a WordPress site onto your Shopify store so that content section can really be optimised and have all the functionality that you would want.

So which platform wins in the marketing and SEO round? Well, really weve got to hand it to WordPress and WooCommerce here.

They are very difficult to beat.

This is one area where the unlimited flexibility, complexity trade-off really works in their favour.

Having said that, the gap is much closer than it was a few years ago.

So this is clearly an area that Shopify is focusing on and putting attention into.

So we would expect to see more developments in this area to come.

Lets now look at scalability and growth because obviously you want an e-commerce platform that can grow with your brand.

Well, Shopify has various different pricing plans that allow you to go from startup all the way to Shopify Plus, where youre gonna be running an enterprise business, and there are large global brands that are running successfully on Shopify.

This gives you the reassurance that boring stuff like bandwidth and server speed and the things that youd rather not spend your time thinking about are all handled for you.

But obviously as you scale your Shopify store, the fees that you pay to Shopify will grow and quite significantly.

And of course, high-profile stores like Gymshark still prove that, given enough traffic on Black Friday, any site can go down, regardless of what platform its built on.

With WooCommerce, its very different.

You can upgrade your hosting whenever you choose, and you are in complete control of the costs.

And thats kind of the WooCommerce vibe.

Youre in control of changing and upgrading the bits as you need them.

Its all up to you.

Thats the good news and the bad news.

The plus side of this is that your stores fees will usually be lower, but of course the downside of this is that you have to spend more time thinking about this stuff and possibly paying developers to manage this stuff for you.

So who wins on the scalability side of things? Well, honestly, this is a difficult one to call.

If you want hassle-free scalability, then Shopify is definitely the winner, but if you want complete control and you want lower costs, then WooCommerce is likely to be your choice.

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(wind whooshing) Round four, ding, ding, ding, build time and maintenance.

Weve built a lot of stores in both WooCommerce and Shopify.

So which is the simplest to build in and which requires the least maintenance? Well, the great thing about Shopify is you can get something usable up within literally 15 minutes.

Just sign up for your store, get it all set up, put your products in and away you go.

Youre gonna have something that looks decent.

With WooCommerce, you can definitely get something set up in 15 minutes, but it will look rubbish.

Typically it takes way longer to get a WooCommerce store looking good.

When were building or designing these sites, usually well be planning a Shopify build to take between one and two months, and thats with custom design and custom coding in the theme.

Whereas with WooCommerce, were usually gonna be looking at three months plus, and it can be significantly longer if theres functionality and complex integrations.

And its a similar story with the ongoing maintenance.

Shopify stores dont tend to require a huge amount of ongoing maintenance.

Of course you wanna tweak things, but with WooCommerce, its useful to have a developer on hand, even if theyre not full-time, just a contact that you know who you can ping when you wanna do things like do plugin updates or find out why something isnt working.

So when it comes to build time and ongoing maintenance, Shopify is a clear winner here.

Next up, payment providers.

With things like Splitpay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, all the rage with e-commerce, its important that whatever e-commerce platform you choose gives your customers a range of simple and easy-to-use payment methods.

So which e-commerce platform is best? Well, both platforms have a range of integrations and are very easy to set up with things like Stripe and PayPal, which gives you a huge range of different payment options.

Shopify also has its own shop pay service, which can be very easy to use if your customers have bought from a Shopify store before.

They usually have, and can enable them to go through checkout very quickly.

But whos the winner? Were gonna call this a tie because both platforms are so easy to set up payment processes with.

The final shootout in our comparison is pricing and fees.

Now Shopify has different plans starting at $29 a month, going all the way up to Shopify Plus where youll be paying 2,000 plus per month.

Add to that, the fees for the add-ons, which tend to be more expensive than the WooCommerce equivalent, plus Shopifys transaction fee, which you have to pay on every sale that you make, even if you dont use Shopify as the payment processor, and the fees really start to add up.

Now these transaction fees do fall as you move up in different packages.

So at the very low end, when youre paying $29 a month, youll be paying a 2% transaction fee.

But as you move up through their offering into Shopify Plus, that transaction fee comes down much further.

But regardless, when youre doing decent revenue through a Shopify store, those fees are going to feel painful.

WooCommerce, by contrast, has no fees.

WooCommerce is free. WordPress is free.

Of course you might be paying for any paid extensions or plugins that you use, but you can often find free or cheap versions of those anyway.

The only cost youll have to pay for your WooCommerce store is your payment processor fee, but youll have to pay this with Shopify as well anyway.

So its clear that WooCommerce is the most economical option.

But as for calling a winner in this category, its really difficult because WooCommerce and Shopify are offering such different propositions.

With Shopify, youre paying for that closed system.

Youre paying for the protection and youre paying for the support and the ease of use.

Whereas with WordPress, youve got a bunch of free tools, but you are in charge of doing all of that stuff yourself.

Youll probably have to pay for ongoing development support, which you might not have to pay as much for, with Shopify.

So its really difficult to weigh up these two costs because they are such different propositions.

Overall, though, if pricing and fees is a real priority for you, its very difficult to beat the free WooCommerce.

(wind whooshing) And by the way, the team here at Exposure Ninja, we build, optimise and promote e-commerce stores.

Thats what we do.

Weve got a team of 107 ninjas at the time of making this video, which builds, optimises and promotes e-commerce stores and other websites through SEO, content marketing, pay-per-click social media, email marketing, and conversion rate optimization.

This is what we do.

If you want some free help and support with your e-commerce store, then you can request a free website and digital marketing review from the team here.

All you need to do is go to and click the big button to request your free website and marketing review.

One of the consultancy team here will take a look at your store.

Theyll have a look at how youre promoting it already and how well youre doing.

Theyll also analyse your competitors to see what theyre doing for any clues for areas that you could be focusing on to generate more sales through your store.

Theyll then put together a prioritised action plan that you can follow over the next 6 to 12 months to significantly increase your stores revenue.

Theyll send this through to you as a video.

Its completely free of charge. There is no catch.

There is no obligation to use Exposure Ninja services.

So request your free website and digital marketing review today at

(wind whooshing) So whats the verdict? Which platform wins? Well, the ultimate answer is, it depends on whats most important to you.

If ease of use, simplicity and having something that just works straight out of the box is your priority, then Shopify is the e-commerce platform for you.

If however, youre willing to get your hands dirty and you value the flexibility and lower fees, then WooCommerce on WordPress is a great option, and weve built high ranking, high-performing sites on both platforms.

There is no one best.

And Id like to leave you with this point, your e-commerce stores success is not dependent on the platform that you used.

These are just tools and brands are built on how you use these tools, not which one you choose, Shopify or WooCommerce.

You can make a successful store on either of these platforms.

Its all about what you do with it, how you promote it, the proposition that you have and the traffic that you drive.

Yes, choose an e-commerce platform that you like, but its what you do with it that really counts.

Youve got this.

(upbeat drum music) (wind whooshing)

Exposure Ninja — Free Marketing Review: Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which Is The Best One for You? - E-commerce Development