So you’re looking to make the leap and get started with eCommerce but wait – which platform do you choose? We’re here to help you choose between two of the best and most used eCommerce platforms – WooCommerce, and Shopify.
Read on to find out which one is the best choice for your eCommerce website.
Perhaps the easiest place to get started, is to explain the similarities of the two platforms:
Other than this, WooCommerce and Shopify are radically different when it comes to actually setting up and running your store, managing and making sales, and level of customisations.
While there are many differences at a features level, there is also one major difference in how these two platforms operate even at the surface level.
WooCommerce is a self-hosted eCommerce solution, while Shopify is a hosted eCommerce solution.
Before you say: “But what difference does it make, at the end of the day all I care about is that my product gets sold?”:
Hosted: If you choose Shopify, a hosted solution, it means you do not need to install it on your own web server or pay separately for one. Shopify will host (but not maintain) your store for you – at a price.
Self-hosted: With WooCommerce, on the other hand, you can install, manage, maintain and edit your source code on your own server, as and how you like. There is a lot more freedom in this instance to manage and customise your website in the way best suited to your business.
While hosted platforms offer a degree of convenience, as you don’t have to do a ton of background work to get your store up and running, they do come at the sacrifice of control and flexibility.
With self-hosted platforms however, you retain complete ownership of your e-commerce store, and maintain 100% control.
So, now that we’ve covered the major difference between the two platforms, let’s look at the finer details and help you decide which one is the best suited for your business:
If this is your first time setting up an online store, and you’re not looking to get your hands dirty or don’t require any custom store features, then Shopify might be perfect for you.
While it may lack a certain level of customisation, Shopify is extremely convenient for people new to the e-commerce industry – all you have to do is sign up and you can have a store up and running in a matter of minutes.
With simplicity comes limitations, and one of the biggest limitations Shopify has is the fact that you can sell only 100 products, no matter which pricing plan you’ve chosen.
Also, there’s only 3 kinds of variations that you can offer for each product (size, colour, etc.). However, this may not be a problem if you plan on selling simple, straightforward products.
Now that we’ve seen where Shopify excels, let’s look at the advantages that WooCommerce has to offer.
If you’re a tech-savvy entrepreneur that’s worked with WordPress before, you will already know how powerful and flexible the platform is and the extensive array of incredibly useful plug-ins and themes it has to offer.
Since WooCommerce is specifically designed to work on WordPress websites, it offers not only all of the functionality of WordPress plug-ins, but also comes with a variety of its own apps and plug-ins that enable increased functionality and control.
If you’re looking for complete freedom in designing your online store the way you want, and selling and stocking inventory with complete flexibility and all the bells and whistles, then WooCommerce is almost certainly the better option.
There are two aspects to the kind of control WooCommerce offers:
Compared to Shopify, WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, meaning your data is not sitting on somebody else’s server and you only have limited access. Rather, you have complete control and ownership of all your data and it is not accessible by any third party whatsoever. Considering how sensitive data is in today’s day and age, this point could be a key deciding factor in which platform you choose for your store.
With WooCommerce you have 100% control over your inventory. You can stock up on anything that you would like to sell online, and sell as many different items as you want to. Compared to Shopify, there isn’t any limit to the number of products, variations or any list of prohibited items.
Now that you know what the basic differences in approach and functionality are between the two platforms, we hope you may be better equipped with the knowledge to help you choose the platform that’s the best fit for your specific business needs.
If you’re still unsure, here’s a simple recap of the above:
If you’re just starting out and would like to keep things convenient and simple, Shopify can be a good place to start.
However, if you want more control and flexibility, or sell the kind of products that are impossible to sell via Shopify (custom items, large inventories, etc) then you should consider WooCommerce due to the extensive customisation options it offers.
If you’re still unsure as to what’s best for you or need expert advice, feel free to reach out. Our team of experts would love to help.