Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the biggest players in the “major league” of ecommerce solutions. Even though they are both popular, successful and accessible to a wide range of businesses, choosing the right one might be more difficult than you think. The differences in their respective features, advantages and drawbacks can be quite pronounced once you delve into the details.
Comparing Shopify and WooCommerce: The Two Ecommerce Platform Giants
In many cases, understanding your own needs and the options offered by both ecommerce solutions can make the decision a simple one. However, there are still plenty of areas of overlap that can muddy the waters and complicate the decision-making process. As experts in digital commerce and web design, we’re ready to help you select and implement the ecommerce solution that best fits your needs.
Shopify is essentially a managed service, which means that the software provider hosts and manages it on your behalf. This makes it a highly accessible solution, even to those unfamiliar with ecommerce, and puts a lot of built-in options right at your fingertips. However, it can also limit your ability to explore advanced customization, optional add-ons and other additional features.
Shopify’s primary features and strengths include:
- Simple step-by-step setup
- Accessible user interface
- Good speed and uptime rate
- Strong security measures
- Reliable support services
Many of these advantages stem directly from Shopify’s status as a hosted service. Security updates, feature development and technical support from the software’s provider can be a major bonus for businesses that don’t have a lot of web design or management skills at their disposal. It also offers the benefits of integration with some major digital channels and marketplaces, including Amazon and Facebook.
Rather than serving as a managed software solution, WooCommerce is an open-source plugin tool that converts a WordPress website into an online store. This option can be more daunting for new users and requires a more technical, detailed setup, but it also offers an incredible amount of flexibility and opportunity for customization.
Major benefits of WooCommerce include:
- Few design limitations
- Extensive capability for multiple languages
- Strong SEO potential
- Numerous third-party service options
- Open-source software is free
As a self-hosted ecommerce option, WooCommerce requires users to host, secure and manage it on their own servers rather than relying on a third-party provider. However, greater control over design, implementation and overall customization can be a deal-maker depending on your goals. This option offers less restrictions overall and is a powerful tool in the hands of a professional.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing an Ecommerce Platform
You can do all the research you want about Shopify vs. WooCommerce, but this information is only part of the decision-making equation. Every site owner also needs to examine their own goals, interests and resources to identify the solution that is the best fit for their needs.
As website design and development experts, it’s our job to help clients assess their business needs, build an actionable strategy for their website and turn that vision into a reality.
-Carissa Hall, Sales & Marketing Specialist
What is your vision for the online store?
Your vision for the online store is the most important thing to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform. Your overall website design, diversity of sales processes and complexity of shipping rates can all be factors in this decision. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide if you want to prioritize convenient management or potential for customization. We encourage our clients to think beyond your current situation—it’s important that you also consider long-term goals and potential for growth in your market as part of the decision process.
What gateways and fulfillment solutions do you currently use?
Another thing companies need to think about before finalizing their choice of ecommerce platform is their current digital and physical infrastructure for interacting with clients. If you have systems in place, you may have to make some adjustments or put in some extra design work before integrating them into Shopify or WooCommerce. Integrating existing infrastructure can be a daunting prospect for a small business, but our development team can help you navigate the transition, making sure every piece fits within your business process.
How much time and effort are you willing to invest?
Another major factor in the decision between ecommerce solutions is figuring out how much time and how many resources you can allocate to the process. Shopify certainly has more appeal to those without a lot of web design or management savvy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with third-party professionals to implement and manage a WooCommerce site. At Comit, we do our best to learn as much as we can about your business, your skills and your resources before recommending a platform. Taking everything into account, we don’t always recommend WooCommerce over Shopify—but if we do feel it’s the best fit, we certainly enjoy the opportunity to apply our web design skills to deliver a perfectly-tailored solution.
Take Command of Your Ecommerce Platform with Comit
Whether you need help choosing a solution or want expert insight on implementation, management or adjustment of your current ecommerce site, the team at Comit Developers is ready to make your job a lot easier. We know all about online stores and have built, designed and updated hundreds of them for all kinds of professional and business clients.
There are plenty of things we love about both Shopify and WooCommerce, so we know how to help clients figure out the right solution for their needs and leverage it to its full potential. We also offer smaller-scale solutions, such as online catalogs or order forms for businesses that aren’t looking for a fully-functional ecommerce site just yet. Contact us today to get started!