Shopify Plus vs WooCommerce – key differences

The eCommerce market is one of the fastest growing commercial sectors in Poland. Limited access to stationary shopping caused by the pandemic has made more and more people like shopping online, and thus – a large number of entrepreneurs decided to move their businesses to the Internet. If you also face such a choice and wonder whether it is worth selling on the Internet and which engine to choose for your store – check out our guide. We discuss the most important differences between popular technologies functioning in eCommerce. We check for whom WooCommerce will work, and who should bet on Shopify.

 

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin created by WooThemes. It allows you to turn your website or blog into an online store. Installing WooCommerce follows the same principle as installing any other WordPress plugin. Just go to the plugins tab located in the dashboard, search for it and install it.

 

When deciding on the WooCommerce engine, you should expect that an outlay of your own work and skilled developers will be necessary. 

 

What is Shopify?

If you plan to start selling online, you need your own store. There are three basic types of eCommerce platforms: openSource, Saas, and dedicated platforms. Shopify falls under Saas platforms, while WooCommerce falls under OpenSource. Stores on Shopify work on a subscription basis, so you get access to all sorts of features along with a monthly fee. 

 

It is worth noting that Shopify has different features depending on the package you choose, but in each plan it is possible to manage an unlimited number of products on the platform. 

 

The main advantages of Shopify are that the customer does not have to worry about elements such as hosting, domain or SSL security certificate, while at every stage of the store’s operation, Shopify offers additional technical support. Additionally, in the Plus version, we also get a tutor dedicated to our store, who will be ready to give us the help or advice we need at any time. 

 

Shopify Plus is a fully hosted SaaS platform, with a very developed own ecosystem and a huge number of extensions, as well as many business and technology partners. 

Shopify vs WooCommerce – a comparison

 

Basic differences

The first difference between Shopify and WooCommerce is apparent when setting up your store. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, to start selling online with its help, you need a WordPress installation, purchased hosting and your own domain. Setting up a store is very easy, and there are many tutorials on the internet about it. The WordPress plugin that is WooCommerce has many enthusiasts.

After uploading the plugin, you need to configure your store. By going to Settings, you can:

– choose the store currency

– enter a store address

– add products

– upload integration with shipping and payment systems

– add marketing plugins.

When it comes to Shopify, it is worth noting that it offers a package of services right from the start of use. An online store built on Shopify comes with hosting. A temporary domain is assigned to the store, which can be changed to the target domain at any time. What is extremely important – the store is equipped with an SSL security certificate. A person who decides to start selling on the Internet does not have to deal with these issues and pay extra for them. It is different in the case of WooCommerce – domain, hosting and all certificates are a separate, additional issue that you have to take care of yourself. It is also worth noting that Shopify is an extremely intuitive system, so anyone, once familiarized, can operate it freely, regardless of IT skills. 

 

Shopify vs. WooCommerce – what is needed to start a store?

Wondering what is required to start a store? Depending on the engine, these needs will vary. Shopify is a turnkey solution. Once you create an account, you gain access to the sales platform and, as with WooCommerce, once you log in, you need to fill in basic information, add products, customize the template and take care of the integrations (such as ERP) that your e-business needs.

How much does a store on WooCommerce cost?

The cost of maintaining a store is a question that entrepreneurs are already interested in at the very beginning. WooCommerce is a fully free plugin, but it is worth remembering that it can be installed on a website created in WordPress, which of course requires payment. It is also worth bearing in mind that WooCommerce does not include domain and hosting, which are also paid. Each store built using WooCommerce plugin comes with only basic functionality. So you should take into account the cost of buying plugins, extensions and paid templates that improve the usability of the site and make it easier to use the store. 

It is worth noting that in addition to a variety of templates, WooCommerce is an open platform in terms of coding – each template can be freely changed and personalized. 

How much does a store on Shopify cost?

The subscription cost depends on the package you choose. The different options vary in terms of the number of features available and their level of 

and their level of sophistication. 

The basic packages are:

  • Basic Shopify – $29 per month (about $113).
  • Shopify – $79 per month (about $310).
  • Advanced Shopify – $299 per month (about $1175 USD).

Support

Technical support is important – Shopify offers 24/7 support both by phone, email and live chat in English. This is a huge convenience for users who don’t have the knowledge and skills to solve technical issues on their own. Both platforms have extensive FAQ and FAQ sections, as well as forums and communities to answer a variety of questions. 

 

Development

There are many factors that are taken into consideration when developing an online store. In the initial phase, these are mainly the price of building the site and its design. However, as the business grows, entrepreneurs start to pay attention to other things, such as development possibilities. Do Shopify and WooCommerce allow online store development? In the case of stores on Shopify, there is no problem with this, you just need to change the pricing plan to a higher and more developed one, adjusted to the size of the business. This change does not require any additional action. In the case of Shopify Plus, expansion is possible by creating copies of the store, making it easier to enter new foreign markets. You also gain access to a huge app base. App Store allows you to freely modify and customize the store according to your needs.  

In the case of WooCommerce, the matter is not so unequivocally easy. Due to the fact that WooCommerce is an open source solution, it is the administrator who manages the store to the greatest extent and it depends on his skills whether he wants to develop the store successfully. WordPress gives such possibilities, but it requires skills. 

Payment methods

At Shopify, we have the option to use the most popular and widely used payment methods, such as credit card, quick transfer or Paypal. All providers are charged a fee, which depends on the percentage of revenue generated and/or the rates of each payment provider.

As far as WooCommerce is concerned, the platform can use popular payment methods – so, for example, payment with credit cards via Stripe payment providers is available. 

Data security

In the case of WooCommerce, it is the store owner who has full rights to both his data and the data of the store’s customers, and only he decides how it will be used and where it will be stored. Therefore, it is worth emphasizing that in this case the whole responsibility lies with the person managing the store. 

In the case of Shopify, the situation is slightly different – it is Shopify that takes full responsibility, for the data of both the stores and their customers. It also offers the possibility to export data, while keeping a copy on its servers. 

Multilingual support

In the case of Shopify Plus, we can implement up to 10 separate stores in different languages. In practice, this means that if you have a main store in the Polish version, you can create up to 9 language versions for it. 

WooCommerce does not have special options enabling multilingual support of the store. Introducing several language versions may therefore be problematic in this case. 

 

Positioning

The process of positioning a store on the Shopify platform is very accessible due to the range of options and features available on the platform. Shopify mainly focuses on optimizing the content on the website. 

Shopify features that make SEO easier include:

– generating a sitemap

– editing of robot.txt file

– automatic adding of store name in metadata

– meta tag editor

– editing of URL addresses on all subpages

– optimization of alt attribute in images

– automatic generation of canonical links. 

Shopify Plus offers various types of marketing tools, including analytics, so that we have in one place collected statistics on the number of visits to the site and the keywords that caused the customer to visit the store. Integration with Google Analytics, on the other hand, makes it easier to track user behavior in the store, so you can get an even more detailed understanding of your customers’ needs. One of Shopify’s important features is automatic site map creation and header configuration. 

Shopify is a highly functional platform when it comes to SEO issues. It has various plugins for making changes and optimizations in this regard. Tools such as Smart SEO, SEO Doctor or SEO Image Optimizer allow you to make changes without having detailed knowledge of coding. 

Shopify Plus, with its range of different functionalities, allows you to make SEO-relevant changes without compromising your site’s performance. The versatile and fully customizable features ensure that the needs of any business, regardless of its size, are met, while the robust architecture allows you to scale your operations as quickly as possible. 

Importantly, eCommerce operations need to respond quickly to changes that occur in this space. Shopify Plus makes this process much easier, as it is in the official Shopify store that any new integrations, apps, and plugins appear the fastest. 

When it comes to WooCommerce, there is a Yoast SEO plugin available to streamline things. Remember, however, that the plugin itself is not everything, SEO is a long-term process, which only after time brings the intended results. In the case of WooCommerce, default functions related to browsing and shopping have been designed in accordance with the User Experience principles. However, if you want to enrich your store with new functionalities, you will need to hire a programmer or buy paid, additional extensions to WooCommerce plugin. 

 

Design

When it comes to design issues related to Shopify, you will find some of the best UX-optimized eCommerce templates here. Extremely importantly, they are fully editable, responsive – each one is adjusted for mobile display, and tested for conversion optimization. For stores on Shopify, the checkout process cannot be edited unless you are using an enterprise plan – Shopify Plus.

Despite the fact that WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, the free templates are fully professional and mobile-friendly, and some are also extremely intuitive to edit. 

 

Extensibility options

The Shopify API makes it possible to almost instantly connect the Shopify platform to third-party software, such as ERP, PIM systems. Customers also have the option to install apps from the Shopify App Store, which, depending on the type, help build a business, integrate the store with external services, or add features to the admin panel. Shopify also gives you the option to use custom apps or create your own dedicated apps based on the Shopify API. In this way, public and custom apps can be created. 

 

WooCommerce is an open source platform, and as a result, the ability to edit the source code is unlimited. This makes it possible to make any changes to the online store. To do this you need to know PHP programming language or hire a specialist. In practice, unlimited possibilities may also result in erroneous changes and problems, which may lead to the fact that the store temporarily or permanently stops working. 

 

WooCommerce – for whom?

Woocommerce is a solution for people who want to have their own store and have the time and skills to create it or want to outsource this activity to a service provider. WooCommerce is also for people who plan to customize the store to their individual needs and requirements. WooCommerce requires the owner to be fully responsible for store and data security. 

 

Shopify Plus – for whom?

Shopify is a platform that enables you to operate in multiple fields in a manner that is consistent with the latest trends and technological innovations. Shopify enables effective implementation of stores with a variety of functionalities, which are important from the customer’s point of view. The intuitive interface makes it extremely easy to operate the store. 

 

WooCommerce or Shopify? 

Both solutions have their supporters and opponents. Both Shopify and WooCommerce will work well for startup businesses. In the case of Shopify, the availability of a variety of plans allows you to choose the right one depending on the size of your business and your needs – for growing businesses, we recommend Shopify Lite and Shopify Basic, as well as the Shopify Advanced plan, and for large stores focused on internationalization, Shopify Plus. The free trial period allows you to check whether the features offered by the platform are suitable for you, while the high intuitiveness of navigating the store space significantly speaks in favor of Shopify. 

In the case of WooCommerce, you have to reckon with the fact that you will need to cooperate with developers.

 

Ewelina Wróbel
SEO Specialist at Brand Active. On a daily basis, she deals with creating content for online stores, link bulking strategy and preparing positioning strategies.

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