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Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Which should you use for your online store?

Note: This is a guest post by Brandon David, founder of Website Builder Insider.

Building a website, especially an online store, is simpler now than ever before. Thanks to the advancements and fierce competition between different website creation platforms such as Wix, Shopify, BigCommerce and Weebly, you can create an online store within a few hours.

This surge of easy-to-use eCommerce tools has enabled everyone from those with well-established bricks-and-mortar shops to those eager to begin something new do so with ease. With so many options, however, knowing which is right for you may be the most difficult part of the process!

Two of the most popular eCommerce platforms are Shopify and WooCommerce. This is no surprise as both offer a great design, dozens of shopping features, marketing tools, and a clean user interface.

You can only choose one platform on which to build your eCommerce store, however. So which should you pick? Let’s break them down...

A Look at WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that is available for free, but which you can expand using free and paid add-ons. You must have a web host and WordPress installed to use the service.

Basic Features

The base WooCommerce product offers a variety of payment gateways like PayPal, shipping and tax settings, sales reports, integrated user reviews, cross promotion of related products, and product variations. Any other features you want in your online store have to be added to the core plugin.

Ease of Use

WooCommerce is easy to set up, especially for those already familiar with WordPress. If you are not familiar with the content management system, you may find that there is a learning curve, because, while it is extremely popular and well supported, it’s not made for beginners.

Themes

Many website themes are built for WooCommerce integration. Thankfully, even if your theme isn’t optimized for an eCommerce store, you can integrate WooCommerce with ease.

Support

WooCommerce has a vibrant online community of individuals willing to help you with any issues you encounter. In most cases, any problem you might encounter has already been discussed and solved online.

Support for plugins is generally provided by the plugin creator and can be a bit more varied than support for the core product.

Cost

WooCommerce is completely free, but if you want to expand its capabilities (and you will), you will likely end up paying for at least a few add-ons. These extras range in price from $30 to $200. It is also important to consider that you have to pay for your web host separately.

A Look at Shopify

Shopify is a self-hosted eCommerce solution. This means that everything you need to create an online store is under one roof and you won’t have to deal with outside web hosting companies.

Basic Features

Shopify includes many free themes, a website builder that makes it easy to customize and personalize those themes, a blogging platform, sales reports, social media integration, email marketing, merchandise variations, discounts, and product reviews.

Ease of Use

The Shopify platform is designed to be user friendly with a “What You See Is What You Get” website builder. This means that any changes you make to your site on the platform will look exactly as they do on your live website.

Themes

Shopify offers many free and paid themes, in addition to being open to themes created by third parties. They are responsive and mobile-friendly, which means customers will be able to shop on all devices. Most themes also come with additional features not offered with the core Shopify product.

Support

A Shopify account includes customer support in the form of online tutorials, community forums, and a dedicated team that is available to you 24/7, guaranteeing that your site keeps purring, even during the busiest seasons of the year.

Cost

You can use Shopify for free for 14 days, but if you want to continue you will have to pay for a plan.

Plans begin at $29 per month, and include web hosting with unlimited bandwidth and storage, and security features like an SSL certificate and fraud prevention.

So, Which Should You Use?

I bet you think I’m going to tell you the answer is up to you…

Well, you’re right! But hear me out!

If you already have a WordPress-based website, you should definitely go with WooCommerce so as to avoid having to create a website from scratch once more. 

If, however, this is your first time creating a website, there is no better option for building an eCommerce store than Shopify. Shopify makes the experience as simple as can be with robust features at an affordable rate.

About the Author

Brandon David is the founder of Website Builder Insider. Although he didn’t receive any formal training, he has dedicated most of his time to becoming an authority on everything web related. When not online, Brandon is most likely eating, sleeping, or doing something else to maintain his unhealthy addiction to the internet.

 

About Tim

Tim is the founder of Mile High Themes. He has approximately 15 years of experience in the web design industry and has recently focused his business on e-commerce and Shopify specifically. He is the author of all the Shopify themes at Mile High Themes, provides support for customers, and builds custom themes for merchants on request.