Making Sense of the Great Shopify WooCommerce Debate

Anyone starting a new eCommerce business will most likely find themselves trying to choose between  WooCommerce vs Shopify. These are the two biggest eCommerce solutions that power the vast majority of online stores.

How do you choose the right one?

The simple answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to starting an eCommerce store.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer many excellent eCommerce features and abilities. There are clear benefits to using either platform, and there are also a few disadvantages for each.

The right choice really just depends on your business, your specific online store requirements, budget, growth plans, and what you want to get from your eCommerce platform.

In this guide, we’ll break down all of the differences between WooCommerce vs Shopify. We’ll cover everything you need to know in order to find the right platform for setting up your online store.

If you are already using Shopify and want to learn how to move your online business from Shopify to WooCommerce, check out our comprehensive how-to guide.

Let’s get into it!

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Each Platform Explained

Before diving too deeply into the great WooCommerce vs Shopify debate, it’s important to understand the main differences between these platforms and exactly what each platform does.

Both platforms are used to create and manage an eCommerce store, but they each use a very different approach to achieve this.

Here’s a quick breakdown of WooCommerce vs Shopify.

What is the WooCommerce Plugin?

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce WordPress plugin. Basically, this means you can use WooCommerce to transform your WordPress website into a fully functional online store.

WooCommerce is fully compatible with all the functions of your WordPress website. The plugin is free and easy to integrate with your WordPress site.

While WooCommerce has hundreds of available extensions, its core features include:

  • Shopping functions. WooCommerce gives WordPress owners everything they need to build an online store. This includes payment gateways, a customizable checkout process, a wide range of currencies to choose from, a redirect cart feature, geo-location, automatic tax features, and more.
  • Simple installation and setup for WordPress sites, including WordPress theme integration
  • Data control. WooCommerce store owners are in complete control of their customer and online store data
  • Easy shipping features
  • Product features that provide complete control over each product in your store
  • Marketing and SEO features
  • WooCommerce reports and analytics
  • A mobile-friendly eCommerce solution

Basically, WooCommerce gives you everything you need to set up an online store and run it.

Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce is a more hands-on solution. Using WooCommerce requires you to choose a separate hosting provider, purchase a domain separately, and integrate WooCommerce with an existing WordPress website.

One of the main things to understand when you compare WooCommerce to Shopify is that WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that you add to your existing website. Shopify, on the other hand, is an all-in-one eCommerce-hosted platform.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce platform that lets you start an online store from scratch.

While WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, Shopify is its own platform altogether. Shopify users can get their web hosting, domain, and all the eCommerce tools they need through the platform.

Shopify is a subscription-based solution, with plans available for businesses of all sizes. Users can use the platform to sell through an existing website or even through social media. Shopify is mostly used to set up new online stores from scratch.

Shopify also offers additional features that extend beyond eCommerce. There’s the Shopify POS app that works with dedicated Shopify hardware to help businesses sell online and in-store through the same platform.

The platform can also connect to other channels, like Etsy, Amazon Marketplace, Walmart Marketplace, TikTok, Instagram, eBay, and Google Shopping. This means you can use Shopify as a tool to create an omnichannel sales strategy.

Shopify also has a plan called Shopify Lite. This lets you turn your existing website into an online store. However, you can’t build an online store with Shopify Lite.

Both WooCommerce and Shopify give businesses the tools they need to start selling online. The main difference is that WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress, while Shopify is its own all-in-one platform.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

If you want to start an eCommerce store, both WooCommerce and Shopify offer many of the same features. Both platforms give you all the tools you need to set up an online business and start selling.

However, there are also very clear differences and benefits of each platform.

Before we get into the finer details of the WooCommerce vs Shopify debate to figure out which platform is best for your business, let’s take a high-level look at the pros and cons of each eCommerce platform.

This will help establish a baseline understanding of WooCommerce vs Shopify and why you might choose one over the other.

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