Choosing the right ecommerce platform is an important part of building and managing your ecommerce business. When you begin evaluating your options, Shopify and WooCommerce will likely be on the top of your list.
After all, the two are used by more store owners than any other solution on the market.
In this guide, we’ll provide an in-depth comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each. By the end, you’ll be better equipped to choose the best ecommerce platform for your business. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- Shopify vs WooCommerce Overview
- Shopify vs WooCommerce Pros and Cons
- Shopify vs WooCommerce Features
- Shopify vs WooCommerce Pricing
- Shopify vs WooCommerce Ease of Use
- Woocommerce vs Shopify Designs and Themes
- WooCommerce vs Shopify Marketing
- Shopify vs WooCommerce Performance
- WooCommerce vs Shopify Apps, Plugins, and Integrations
- WooCommerce vs Shopify Customer Support
- Alternatives to Shopify and WooCommerce
- Shopify vs WooCommerce Summary
- Shopify vs WooCommerce FAQs
Shopify vs WooCommerce Overview
As two of the best ecommerce platforms, Shopify and WooCommerce share many similarities in terms of functionality and the options available to build your online store.
However, there are also some considerable differences between the platforms as well.
The biggest difference between Shopify and WooCommerce is that Shopify is an all-in-one hosted solution while WooCommerce is an open-source, self-hosted solution.
With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about the technical parts of creating an online store and instead can use their set of easy-to-use tools.
With WooCommerce, you build your website using WordPress and you will have to handle many of the technical aspects of running your store yourself including setting up and maintaining web hosting.
Shopify vs WooCommerce Market Share
WooCommere currently powers 23% of all ecommerce stores while Shopify is the platform of choice for 21% of stores.
Some of the popular companies that use WooCommerce include:
- American Film Institute
- Burning Man
- Blue Star Coffee
- Dr. Scholls
Shopify also has an impressive client list including:
- Fashion Nova
- Kylie Cosmetics
- MVMT Watches
- Red Bull
Both platforms have earned this position in the market by leveraging their strengths and providing users a comprehensive commerce solution.
Shopify vs WooCommerce Pros and Cons
Before we take a deep dive into the features offered by the two platforms, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of both Shopify and WooCommerce.
- Easy to manage and get your store up and running
- Tons of apps and integrations available to extend the functionality of your store
- Great support for multichannel selling with native integration for platforms like Facebook
- High-quality ecommerce themes and designs
- Amazing 24/7 customer support
- Extra transaction fees when using external payment gateways
- Poor URL structure for SEO
- Less intuitive page editor
- The cost of apps can add up
- Unlimited customization
- The WooCommerce plugin is free
- Countless themes and plugins to build your store
- The best ecommerce platform for SEO
- Supports 1-click selling
- Can be difficult to use
- No dedicated customer support
- Can take longer to get your store up and running
- You need to manage hosting and performance yourself
Shopify vs WooCommerce Features
Shopify’s order management system makes it easy to visualize and manage your orders. When orders are shipped to customers, you can mark them as fulfilled and a notification email will go to your customer.
It is also straightforward to cancel and refund any orders as you can do so right from your dashboard. You can issue full and partial refunds and customers will be credited within 10 business days.
WooCommerce also makes it easy to manage your orders although the interface is a little less user-friendly than Shopify.
You can update your orders from your dashboard with any of the following statuses:
- Pending payment
- On hold
You can easily issue full or partial refunds straight from your dashboard and customers will be reimbursed through the payment gateway used for the purchase. The time of the refund will depend on the payment gateway.
Inventory management is an important part of running an ecommerce business. A good inventory management system allows you to manage stock levels, add new items, and track the status of your orders with ease.
Shopify and WooCommerce both offer a robust inventory management system to manage your products efficiently. Each supports unlimited products, the ability to add individual and bulk items, and provides email notifications when stock levels are running low.
Both platforms make managing shipping straightforward by allowing you to set up shipping zones and rates. Each allows you to set up free and flat-rate shipping prices.
Shopify has the added benefit of direct partnerships with DHL, UPS, USPS, and Canada Post.
The platform also provides real-time shipping rates, but you will need the Advanced Shopify plan for this feature.
Shopify makes calculating taxes simple by automatically applying the correct tax rules in the United States and Canada.
WooCommerce also makes it easy to set up your taxes. You can go to Tax Options within the settings tap to enable or disable taxes on your sales. When you turn taxes on, rates will automatically be calculated based on the location of the buyer.
Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method where you don’t hold any inventory yourself. Instead, you partner with suppliers, listing their products on your website while they hold the inventory. When you sell a product, you pass the order information to the supplier and they then ship the order to the customer.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify make it easy to set up a dropshipping store. Each platform integrates seamlessly with countless suppliers and there are plenty of plugins and apps available to streamline uploading products and fulfilling orders.
You want to be able to get paid for your products right? Assuming you do, you’ll need to set up a payment gateway(s) for your store to be able to collect money from customers.
Both platforms provide everything you’ll need to collect payments as each offers support for over 100 payment gateways. This includes popular choices such as Paypal, Stripe, Apple Pay, and Square.
Each payment processor will charge a processing fee for credit cards. These will vary between processors so you’ll want to be clear on the details when pricing your products.
Transaction fees are additional fees that may be charged by your ecommerce platform on top of whatever credit card fee is charged by your payment processor.
WooCommerce doesn’t have any extra transaction fees whereas Shopify does.
If you use a third-party gateway to process payments on Shopify, you will be charged a 2.4% to 2.9% transaction fee depending on your plan.
You can avoid these fees by using Shopify’s native payment gateway, Shopify Payments.
However, keep in mind that Shopify Payments is not available everywhere and you will need to live in one of the following locations to use it:
- Hong Kong
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Product Types and Options
Shopify and WooCommerce both allow you to sell a wide range of product types including physical, digital, and service products.
For Shopify, you’ll need to download an app to be able to sell digital products.
The platform allows you to apply up to 3 options (size, color, etc.) per product and each product can have 100 variants.
WooCommerce using the following classifications for its products:
By default WooCommerce only allows you to add up to 50 variations for each variable product but you can change this number to as high as you like with a small code edit.
If you want to take an omnichannel approach to ecommerce and sell through multiple sales channels, Shopify and WooCommerce have you covered.
Both platforms integrate with third-party platforms allowing you to sell on Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and Facebook.
The main difference here is that Shopify provides native integration with these platforms free of charge while WooCommerce requires plugins that cost $79 apiece for each integration except for Facebook which is free.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Abandoned cart recovery helps you win back lost sales by sending a reminder message to customers who exit your website with items in their cart to come back and complete their purchase.
Shopify comes with abandoned cart functionality built-in to all its plans. One automated follow-up message is sent to any visitor that leaves your website with items still in their cart.
WooCommerce doesn’t come with abandoned cart recovery built-in but there are a number of plugins you can use to add this functionality to your store. Some solid options include:
- Abandoned Cart Lite for WooCommerce
- YITH Advanced Cart Recovery
- Retainful - WooCommerce Abandoned Cart Recovery
If you use a third-party email marketing solution such as Mailchimp or Klaviyo you can also configure the service to send abandoned cart emails for either platform.
Reporting and Analytics
As an ecommerce store owner, it is essential to be able to track your performance and evaluate important metrics. Both platforms give users the insights needed to understand their store’s performance and improve decision making.
Shopify provides comprehensive reports including:
- Sales reports
- Financial reports
- Customer reports
- Behavior reports
- Acquisition tracking
WooCommerce also provides extensive analytics so you can monitor important metrics like:
- Gross Sales
- Total Sales
- Net Sales
- Average Order Value
- Total Tax
- Shipping Tax
Both platforms also provide seamless integration with third-party analytics platforms like Google Analytics and Metorik.
Shopify vs WooCommerce Pricing
Naturally, pricing is an important factor in choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business. Let’s take a look at how Shopify and WooCommerce compare.
- Shopify Lite - $9 / month
- Basic Shopify - $29 / month
- Shopify - $79 / month
- Advanced Shopify - $299 / month
- Shopify Plus - Custom Pricing
Shopify Plus is an enterprise solution and you’ll have to contact Shopify to learn more about the price.
Keep in mind that the Shopify Lite plan isn’t a full-scale plan and doesn’t allow you to build an online store. Rather, you are only able to:
- Sell via your Facebook page
- Use Shopify to sell at a physical location and manage inventory
- Use the Shopify button to list and sell products on a different website
Below is a complete breakdown of the details for each Shopify plan.
The WooCommerce plugin is free to use. This however does not mean building your ecommerce store with WooCommerce will be completely free of cost.
To start, you will need to pay for web hosting in order to host the website used to build your WooCommerce store.
Depending on the type of hosting you get, this in and of itself can cost more than an ecommerce plan from Shopify.
Getting the most out of your store will also take using a fair number of plugins, some of which may be premium plugins requiring a one time or monthly cost.
Here are some of the best options for WordPress web hosting:
Bluehost: Bluehost is one of WordPress’ three recommended web hosts and is a solid choice for building your WooCommerce store. They offer a variety of plans including web hosting specifically designed for WooCommerce. Upon signing up and creating your website, WordPress will automatically be added to your site with the WooCommerce plugin installed. Bluehost also provides 24/7 customer support that is willing to answer your WordPress and WooCommerce related questions. This can prove very valuable as WooCommerce in itself offers limited customer support as we will discuss later on.
SiteGround: Siteground is another one of WordPress’ three recommended web hosts. Like Bluehost, SiteGround also offers web hosting plans specifically designed for WooCommerce. They also provide 24/7 customer support to help you with any technical issues.
WP Engine: WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting solution offering some of the highest quality hosting on the market. Whereas web hosts like Bluehost and Siteground offer a variety of hosting types, WP Engine only provides hosting for WordPress. This specialization allows them to provide highly optimized WordPress services. Keep in mind that their plans are more expensive than Bluehost and Siteground.
Shopify vs WooCommerce Ease of Use
One of the biggest downsides to WooCommerce is that it is not beginner-friendly. You’ll have to set up web hosting yourself and ensure that your site always stays up and loads quickly.
Shopify offers a very easy to use interface for getting your ecommerce store up and running but is not the easiest to use when it comes to building pages.
Let’s further explore how easy each platform makes it to build and manage your store.
Managing Your Store
Both platforms have a left-hand menu enabling you to navigate to different sections of the platform while the right-hand side of the screen is used to display content, add products, and view data.
The left side menu makes it easy to navigate to different sections of the platform including product catalogs, reports, orders, settings, and more.
Building Your Store
With Shopify, content is edited in the back-end. The editor displays a left-hand menu to select and edit blocks of content and the right side shows a preview of the page. To be able to see any changes you make, you first need to save the changes and then reload the page.
You cannot work on content and design with the same interface. If you want to edit product details you’ll have to leave the editor and select the product from the catalog and edit it from the backend.
For WooCommerce, the ease with which you can design your store will depend on the theme and plugins that you use. Some themes come with a built-in drag and drop builder to allow you to quickly arrange the components of your pages.
There are also several powerful page building plugins such as Elementor and Thrive Architect which provide unlimited customization with an easy to user interface. If you want complete creative control over the design of your store and don’t have any coding experience, it is highly recommended that you check these out.
Woocommerce vs Shopify Designs and Themes
WooCommerce offers the highest number of free themes by any ecommerce platform with over 1,000. There are also hundreds of premium themes you can use to design your online store.
The themes vary in quality but you are sure to find something that will work well for your store. Look for fully responsive themes that will help your store look and perform well on all devices.
To unlock the platform’s full design capabilities, you’ll want to use one of the page building plugins mentioned above. This will provide unlimited options for customization with an easy to use interface.
WooCommerce also gives complete access to each theme’s code so you can go in and make any changes that you want.
Shopify has hundreds of themes available to use for your online store, 11 of them are free and the rest are premium. Premium themes can vary in cost but typically range between $120 and $180.
All Shopify templates are 100% responsive, enabling page elements such as images, text, and forms to automatically resize to fit the user’s device. This helps your pages load quickly and is very important for mobile devices.
Shopify themes grant full access to the CSS and HTML code of your templates so you can customize the design of your site as much as you like.
WooCommerce vs Shopify Marketing
To sell your products, you’ll need to market your store to get in front of your target audience. Let’s see how Shopify and WooCommerce compare in different marketing features.
Shopify allows you to create email campaigns straight from your admin page as part of your plan. The platform also seamlessly integrates with email marketing services like Klaviyo and Omnisend so you can use these more robust solutions to send your emails.
WooCommerce provides the ability to send a variety of email built-in to the platform. This does come with some limitations, however, as there is very little you can do in the way of customizing these emails.
To make the most out of both your marketing and transactional emails for WooCommerce, you’ll need to either use plugins or an integration with a third-party email solution like Mailchimp.
Because WooCommerce is completely customizable if offers the best SEO capabilities of any platform. You can use any URL structure that you choose and you have easy access to your robots.txt file.
There are plenty of high-quality plugins such as Yoast SEO and RankMath that make handling your SEO even easier by showing actionable steps to optimize your SEO right on your dashboard.
Shopify has both its strengths and its weaknesses when it comes to SEO. On one hand, they make it easy to edit important information such as meta titles and descriptions while also providing some SEO best practices when uploading products to your store.
They also have plenty of apps available to further improve the SEO of your ecommerce website.
However, Shopify uses a rigid URL structure which is not the most search engine friendly. Prefixes are appended to different pages such as /collections to categories and /product to product pages. This is not ideal for SEO as Google prefers shorter URLs.
Ideally, the URLs for your categories would simply look like website.com/product-name.
With Shopify, the URL structure is fixed and you cannot change the structure.
Another important note is that Shopify does not allow access to the robots.txt file. This file is used to control how search engine crawlers treat your site. It can be very helpful in improving the SEO of your website as you can tell search engines not to index unoptimized pages such as tag pages or search results pages.
Because WooCommerce is part of WordPress, it has a major advantage over Shopify in blogging capabilities.
WordPress is the most popular blogging CMS around the world for good reason. It offers tons of easy to use features to create beautiful, high-quality blogs while optimizing the content to perform well in search engines.
Shopify does offer blog functionality but it comes with limitations. For example, you are not able to create true categories for your posts. Shopify’s blogs also do not support RSS feeds.
Shopify vs WooCommerce Performance
If you want to maximize your conversions and by extension your revenue, you need your ecommerce store to perform well. This means constant uptime, fast load times, and reliable security.
Here is how Shopify and WooCommerce compare in these important areas:
The speed of your WooCommerce store will depend largely on the web host that you use and the performance plugins that you add to your website.
If you choose one of the web hosting services mentioned above you can be assured that your website is using high-performing servers.
You can improve the performance even further by using a caching plugin like WP Rocket or W3 Total Cache, along with integrating a content delivery network (CDN) like Cloudflare.
Because Shopify is a hosted solution, you do not need to worry about handling the performance aspects of your online store yourself. Shopify stores consistently perform well and their servers have reliable uptime.
When you run an ecommerce store, it’s essential that your website has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. SSL certificates help encrypt all the information that passes through your store so your customers’ valuable data remains safe.
If you plan on taking payments directly on your store, it is also important that your site is PCI-DSS compliant — a security standard for companies and organizations that handle payment information from consumers.
Shopify comes with a free SSL certificate built-in to your store with all plans and all sites are PCI-DSS compliant.
Like speed, the security of your WooCommerce store will depend on your web host and the plugins that you use. Fortunately, many web hosts provide enhanced security options with their plans including free SSL certificates and there are also plenty of high-quality security plugins for WordPress.
If you choose to use Cloudflare as your CDN, it also comes with a web application firewall (WAF) which will help keep your site secure and PCI-DSS compliant.
WooCommerce vs Shopify Apps, Plugins, and Integrations
Because WooCommerce runs on WordPress, using the platform provides access to the massive bank of plugins available for WordPress. You can find extensions for everything from boosting SEO, optimizing your store for conversions, collecting customers’ emails, and more.
WooCommerce also offers a copious amount of its own extensions for enhancing your store. Most of these are paid though so you’ll want to keep that in mind as the price can begin to add up.
Shopify has a massive app store of its own, offering more than 2,500 apps to give you a greater ability to grow your online store. You’ll find apps to set up marketing campaigns, add a customer wishlist, offer customer support for your visitors, and many others.
WooCommerce vs Shopify Customer Support
This is one area where Shopify has a clear advantage. As a hosted ecommerce solution, users benefit from 24/7 support via live chat, email, and phone.
You will have to search for a quick answer to your questions before getting access to their contact information but their support staff is prompt and very helpful.
With WooCommerce, your options for customer support are much more limited. Because it is not a hosted platform, there is no access to a support staff round the clock as there is with Shopify.
WooCommerce does have an extensive knowledge bank to help you solve issues and you can also submit tickets for general support inquiries.
Alternatives to Shopify and WooCommerce
As ecommerce continues to grow rapidly, there is no shortage of platforms available to build your online store. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular alternatives to Shopify and WooCommerce.
BigCommerce is a hosted ecommerce platform like Shopify and shares similar prices with plans starting at $29 per month.
It also features an extensive app store though not as large as Shopify’s or the number of available plugins for WooCommerce.
You can get started with BigCommerce with a 15-day free trial.
Wix started as a website builder and has since added ecommerce functionality. Because it was originally designed solely to create attractive content sites, it provides a simpler and more intuitive page editing interface than Shopify and WooCommerce.
The platform is also inexpensive with ecommerce plans starting at $23 per month. However, Wix does offer less ecommerce features than Shopify and WooCommerce.
If you’re looking for a platform that is really easy to use or to create beautiful designs quickly Wix may be a solid option for you.
Wix offers a 14-day free trial for all their plans.
Like Wix, Squarespace is another website builder that recently added the ability to list and sell products from an online store.
While the page editing interface is not as beginner-friendly as Wix, it is still easy to use and allows you to create beautiful pages quickly. Squarespace is known for the quality of its design and offers some of the best templates of any ecommerce solution.
The platform is more expensive than Wix with its basic commerce plan starting at $30 per month. Squarespace offers more ecommerce features than Wix but not as many as Shopify or WooCommerce.
If you are looking to create beautiful custom pages it is worth checking out.
You can get started with a 14-day free trial.
Shopify vs WooCommerce Summary
Shopify vs WooCommerce is a close comparison as each platform has its strengths.
If you are just getting started with ecommerce or are looking for a solution that is easier to use, Shopify is the ideal choice.
WooCommerce offers unlimited customization and complete control over your online store. It also provides the best SEO features of any ecommerce platform. If you can handle the technical aspects of running an online store yourself, the control and flexibility offered by WooCommerce make it the ideal platform.
Here is a list breaking down the reasons why you may choose one platform over the other:
Why Use Shopify Over WooCommerce
- Shopify makes it easier to build and manage your store
- 24/7 dedicated customer support
- Shopify offers tons of high-quality themes to design your online store
- Shopify provides native support for multichannel selling through platforms like Amazon and eBay * while WooCommerce requires a paid extension
Why Use WooCommerce Over Shopify
- WooCommerce offers unlimited customization.
- Being built on WordPress, WooCommerce provides the best blogging capabilities of any ecommerce platform
- WooCommerce has better SEO features
- If you want complete control of your store including everything from security to speed optimization, WooCommerce is the best choice
Shopify vs WooCommerce FAQs
Is Shopify better than WooCommerce?
Shopify has both its strengths and weaknesses when compared to WooCommerce. In terms of positives, Shopify is easier to use for both building and managing your store. It also offers 24/7 customer support so you can quickly resolve any issues.
WooCommerce however does have better SEO features as it provides complete control over your URL structure and allows you to access the robots.txt to control how Google crawls your site.
Can I use Shopify with WooCommerce?
There is no official integration between WooCommerce and Shopify.
Which One Is better Shopify or WordPress?
Both Shopify and WordPress have their advantages. Shopify is easier to manage and you can get your store up and running quickly.
WordPress offers much more flexibility than Shopify. If you have the technical chops to build an online store on WordPress it can provide greater customization and control than Shopify.
What is better than WooCommerce?
As an open-source solution, WooCommerce has its advantages over hosted solutions. The primary benefits being unlimited customization provided by complete access to code and a massive library of plugins.
Hosted platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify do have advantages of their own, notably they are better for ease of use and integrate more seamlessly with third-party markets.