What ecommerce platform should i choose for my website store ?
You may be asking yourself which is the best option to get your online store going, well it’s not really which one is better but what is the best option for my business and your personal circumstances.
Shopify is an all in one E-commerce solution, that makes it easy to manage your inventory build and publish your online store, take payments and as its self hosted so need to worry security or paying external hosting providers and extra charges such as domain names, while also integrating with many online platforms such as Facebook & Amazon.
Shopify is literally and all in one solution where everything can be done within its own platform.
Woocommerce is an open-source E-commerce plugin that can be added to any wordpress website and helps turn it into an online store with a very powerful content management system (CMS) Woocommerce can customise every aspect of your store easily and build custom extensions.
Let’s take a look at the two ecommerce giants compared
Over 820,000 merchants use Shopify with over 100,000 merchants using its POS system in 2018 achieved 41.8 billion sales with over 100+ billion in total sales with 218 million buyers using the platform.
Source: Shopify & You
3,317,205 live websites, generated between 10 & 15 Billion dollars in sales in 2018 with 28.19% of all online stores using Woocommerce and 22% of the top 1 million websites using the platform with over 1267 themes available.
Source: Barn2 media/
Shopify – Pros
Self-hosted ecommerce software
Shopify takes care of the technical maintenance of running your website, while your plan also includes hosting and security certificates so as the business and website grows the traffic and sales increase also the platform won’t crash under pressure, Shopify can deal with any growth of store so is a scalable ecommerce platform.
Shopify customer support is amazing with its own agents quick to respond, helping and effective at resolving any issues.
Being able to connect to many marketplaces such as Facebook and Amazon, Shopify lets you sell your products directly through other websites opening up the door to huge audiences and advertising options.
Knowledge of coding and liquid language needed
To make serious customisation to your Shopify store you would need knowledge of HTML, and especially Shopify’s own language Liquid.
Woocommerce – Pros
The possibilities for customisation on wordpress and woocommerce platforms are endless with over 50,000 plugins available and code being readily available you can create a real personal touch to how you want your online store to look and feel.
With a huge selection of themes available to choose from in wordpress working seamlessly with woocommerce the design options are limitless even having specific mobile responsive themes.
WordPress has a huge blogging infrastructure and the ability to edit the store’s metadata giving you everything you need to tackle SEO tactics and get ranking on google and other online search engines.
Lack of support
Woocommerce doesn’t provide phone support but instead you can submit tickets and try to find answers on various forums available online.If woocommerce or Shopify is right for you boils down to the different factors.
What to look for in your ecommerce platform?
Which platform works best for your business is different for everyone, a few things to remember when starting an online store, these key factors will help you decided which is the best route for you to go with.
Ease of use:
Will you be updating the content and new products yourself ? if so you need to work on a platform that is easy to use and within your skill set.
Every project is different and what budget you have can be a huge factor when starting a new online store, look at the initial cost of building a fully functional website and e-commerce store and see what works best for you.
Are you moving your store from Amazon or ebay or want to integrate it to work alongside your Amazon account or create a Facebook shop, there are many options of integration possible to help you grow your business.
Will the platform be able to scale when your business grows or will you need to start again and build a fresh website?
When making the decision which ecommerce platform is best for your and your business you need to think of your own technical skill, your budget and what plans you have for the future, do you want to expand or sell across social media platforms?
Look out for features that will be important to your business, such as inventory management, shipping options, abandoned cart recovery, calculate the costs and find one that suits your budget best. Design is also a major factor, it’s the first thing people will see so do you want to do it yourself or use a professionally trained expert to create the storefront?
Make sure there are plenty of support options to help you out if you ever get stuck, if its phone support or finding blogs and forums proper resources will make things a lot easier.
Woocommerce vs Shopify features
Shopify comes with far more more ecommerce tools out of the box, with a basic plan you will get a great set of features to get you started including:
- Discount codes
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Unlimited products
- Website and blog
- Lots of payment options
Some of these features will cost you money in woocommerce as add on extensions, Shopify is a dedicated shopping platform and everything is aimed to help you sell with its knowledge of what already works.
WordPress and Woocommerce offer great flexibility, because its an open-source platform developers have built lots of custom plugins and are constantly updated so the options are endless, to get the most out of woocommerce time is needed to gain knowledge of the plugins available to develop your store to its full potential.
Woocommerce offers great flexibility its key features are
- Built in blogging
- One click refunds
- Endless customisation
- Theme variations
Website themes & design
Both platforms offer stylish themes to give your store a professional look and feel.
Shopify offers free themes and premium paid themes starting from £140, although it may seem expensive to start out with its a one off payment and a future investment in your business, once our business is up and running it will pay for itself, if your on a tight budget there are plenty of free options to choose from.
There are also various options available from Out the sand box and themeforest but be a little wary of themes purchased away from Shopify some features may not be available and will need some coding knowledge to make any changes.
WordPress offers lots of different options of Woocommerce stores available, Themeforest offers over 1000 dedicated woocommerce specific stores which are fully responsive on mobile devices, how good your store and design looks depends on how many hours your willing to put in plus your technical knowledge and skill level.
While woocommerce options are fantastic, Shopify offers are more filtered, if you’re a fresh faced entrepreneur wanting to set up online Shopify will save you lots of time.
Take time to explore the huge amount of themes available and which is best suited to your business with options of customisation.
Now the store is ready to go and built you need to start thinking about how to attract customers and build traffic to the website, no traffic means no sales so this is kind of important. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the key factor in making sure your store appears in Google’s search results, when we search for related words related to your product online you want them to find you.
Both Woocommerce and Shopify provide great apps and integration for SEO, Woocommerce provides control over every aspect of your store adding detailed metadata to product images, titles and descriptions our favourite WordPress SEO plugin is Yoast but there are plenty more to choose from.
Shopify also has a range of SEO plugins in its app store to chose from, Shopify takes care of a lot of the SEO side for you giving your page the right tags and avoiding duplicate content from being added.Site speed is very important in google rankings, faster sites always rank higher than slower sites, Shopify’s load time and performance outshines WordPress due to its dedicated servers.
Ease of use
Shopify is definitely easier to get to grips with for a non skilled user and Woocommerce has a steeper learning curve, Shopify takes care of a lot of the technical aspects of a store operation also with Shopify there is no need to install, manage or update any software or worry about security backups.
Woocommerce involves a lot more legwork you need to do yourself, for first time builders it may seem a little bewildering especially if you’re not the most technically skilled person.
Shopify’s has been designed its dashboard to help non technical users manage their online store all on one screen there’s no need to navigate around various different pages as in woocommerce.
In a nutshell Shopify will be easier to learn and use in future and get your site live faster, if your new to the ecommerce world Shopify is the best option, Woocommerce requires a lot more time and knowledge until you get to master it.
Payment gateways & options
Let’s take a look at what both platforms offer in terms of payment options.
Both platforms offer a choice of over 100 payment gateways which are either built in or added through plugins and extensions.
Stripe, Paypal, Credit & Debit cards, Apple Pay & Square are the main one’s, Shopify offers its own payment gateway, Shopify payments for which there are no transaction fees but for example if you wanted to use paypal there is a 2% transaction charge, different plans offer lower transaction fees.
Woocommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees, standard transaction fee’ s such as paypal still apply so if your selling a large amount of products Woocommerce may seem like the better option, just remember that integrating certain payment gateways with Woocommerce may cost while Shopify may include these as free options.
Website security & SSL protection
Security is paramount on any website especially when it comes to ecommerce platforms, you are holding people’s personal information and customers money.Woocommerce works with wordpress and as open source platform it doesn’t come with any built in security so any security needed will need to be handled by yourself or the website developer.
Shopify’s security is taken care of for you, its in charge of handling any security, fraud and provides safety from hackers.
An SSL certificate is essential in any ecommerce website and is responsible for safeguarding your website and any personal information that may be kept on the website. Shopify’s website come with an SSL certificate built in while WordPress and Woocommerce require you to source your own certificate from a third party hosting provide.
Shopify support wins hands down over Woocommerce support with 24/7 phone, live chat and email support with an array of helpful guides and its own community forums there is help for any problems that may arise.
WordPress and Woocommerce support mainly include forums and the community where you could be waiting a while for someone to respond to any issues you may have that’s not to say the answers to your problems aren’t out there they just may take a little more work to find the solution.
What does it cost to run an ecommerce website?
Every project is started on a different budget, Woocommerce is a little more flexible while Shopify’s prices are set in stone, Woocommerce is free but comes with additional costs including hosting, domain names, plugins, payment gateways & security.
Shopify’s prices range from $9 -$299 per month but that’s it no hidden charges or added extra’s needed.
Shopify offer a 14 day free trail to test the website out, while Woocommerce offer a 30 day money back guarantee, try both platforms out and see what works best for you.
The estimation is that both platforms cost roughly the same just priced differently, so there is no real way what the final cost will be as every business is different.
Both platforms excel at what they do in different ways, its what works best for you and the growth of your business, there is no real winner here. If your wanting to get your own ecommerce store do some through research and speak with some experienced store owners who have used both platforms, speak with website designers and developers and look at the pro’s and con’s that work best for you.
Good luck with starting your new online store and if you’d like to ask us any questions get in touch below.