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WooCommerce vs. Shopify: An Unfavorable Comparison [2023]


In the ever-expanding realm of eCommerce, finding the right platform to power your online store is crucial for success. With countless options available, two heavyweights stand out: WooCommerce vs Shopify.

In this article, we will analyze the merits and drawbacks of each in terms of eleven criteria:

  1. Pricing
  2. Ease of use
  3. Themes
  4. Apps and plugins
  5. Payment gateways
  6. Inventory management
  7. SEO
  8. Marketing
  9. Dropshipping
  10. Support
  11. Security

WooCommerce vs. Shopify – Overview

Before we delve into the head-to-head comparison between Shopify and WooCommerce, let’s spend a minute or two getting to know more about these platforms.

1. What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a plugin that lets you enable eCommerce features for your WordPress website, turning it into a full-fledged online store. Built with flexibility in mind, the plugin is famous for its extensive customization options over your design and functionalities.

WooCommerce – a self-host eCommerce platform with unlimited customizations

However, WooCommerce requires a certain level of technical proficiency and necessitates manual updates and security measures.

2. What is Shopify?

Shopify is a comprehensive hosted eCommerce platform enabling you to create and customize your online store easily. You can manage your products, process payments, and handle shipping logistics with Shopify.

Shopify – a robust, easy-to-use eCommerce platform

Both WooCommerce and Shopify have their charisma as the best platforms among global merchants. Nevertheless, there’s only one winner at the end of the day.

WooCommerce vs. Shopify – Quick Comparison

After thoroughly examining eleven key factors, we have concluded that WooCommerce offers particular advantages over Shopify in terms of customization, SEO, blogging features, and the availability of themes and apps for SEO. Therefore, we recommend choosing WooCommerce for your eCommerce needs. 

On the other hand, Shopify should be your go-to choice if you seek simplicity, efficiency, and a user-friendly experience.

Thinking of switching from Shopify to WooCommerce?

If you want to move from Shopify to WooCommerce, now is the right time! However, if you have a large product catalog with thousands of SKUs, miscellaneous orders, customers, and historical data, you shouldn’t do the migration process yourself.

Instead, we highly recommend you outsource the Shopify to WooCommerce Migration Service from LitExtension so you can rest assured the whole process is risk-free and error-free!

WooCommerce homepage

WooCommerce – a self-host eCommerce platform with unlimited customizations

WooCommerce vs. Shopify – Which Will Come Out On Top?

Let’s get the show on the road!

1. Pricing

Launching and running your eCommerce website requires countless costs, expenses, and fees. So pricing should be a key factor if you’re still wavering between WooCommerce vs. Shopify.

WooCommerce pricing

The fact that WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress eliminates the initial expense of acquiring the platform. However, it’s essential to consider other costs like hosting plans, themes, and plugins.

For instance, a WooCommerce hosting plan can start from $3.999/month, while paid themes can range from $30 to $300 or more annually.

Additionally, paid plugins and add-ons typically average around $50/month. These costs vary based on your specific needs, such as requiring a larger hosting plan or additional features.

Nonetheless, WooCommerce’s flexibility allows you to tailor costs according to your unique requirements, making it an attractive and budget-friendly option.

Shopify pricing

With Shopify, you’ll find everything you need conveniently bundled in your pricing plan, including hosting. 

You must pay Shopify a monthly fee ranging from $39 to $399. And if you don’t live in the countries where Shopify Payments (Shopify’s payment gateway) is supported, you are charged additional fees for sales through third-party payment gateways.

Shopify’s three main pricing plans

Also, some higher-priced plans might include features you don’t necessarily need, leading to paying for resources you won’t use.

And though Shopify apps are powerful, they cost more than WooCommerce plugins. If you use too many apps, it might even hurt your profit margin.

🏆 Verdict: WooCommerce wins with its more flexible and affordable pricing.

2. Ease of use

Time is money too, so the perfect eCommerce platform should be easy to use, leaving you time to optimize your ads, fulfill orders and take good care of your customers. Hence, ease of use is the next factor we consider when comparing WooCommerce to Shopify.

WooCommerce ease of use

The WooCommerce plugin allows you to add products quickly, manage orders, customize shipping, create discount codes, etc.

However, you should note that WooCommerce is more complex than Shopify, especially if you are unfamiliar with the WordPress interface and want some advanced configs.

WooCommerce’s interface can be challenging for newbies

Not to mention that you’ll need to spend a great deal of time on initial setups. This includes setting up your WordPress website and then installing the WooCommerce plugin.

Shopify ease of use

Regarding ease of use, Shopify truly shines with its intuitive dashboard, allowing you to launch and manage your eCommerce store effortlessly.

Thanks to Shopify’s ease of use, the initial time needed to set up your web store is much lower. All you have to do is add products, then choose and customize your theme with a drag-and-drop editor.

Shopify’s modern and clean admin dashboard

The platform’s streamlined features make navigating easy, from designing your store to adding products and configuring payment gateways.

With Shopify, you can focus on what matters most: delivering a remarkable shopping experience to your customers while the platform takes care of the technical complexities behind the scenes.

Verdict: Shopify wins in this round with its straightforward interface.

3. Theme options & customizations

Since your storefront is the first thing your customers look at and form their impression of your brand, it can be a deal maker or breaker. That makes theme options and customizations the next part we will explore between WooCommerce vs. Shopify.

WooCommerce theme options & customizations

Note that the WordPress theme store is super extensive, with over 5,000 themes. However, a lot of them are not built for eCommerce purposes.

WooCommerce Theme Store has 67 themes that cater to every taste and business niche. From sleek and modern designs to elegant and minimalist layouts, there’s something for everyone.

WooCommerce theme store

WooCommerce themes are diverse, with modern and spacious designs

Even better, WooCommerce themes are flexible, allowing you to personalize and tailor your online store to match your brand style. However, tweak the HTML code or install an add-on to your WordPress site if you need further customizations.

You can also explore Themeforest for a wide range of WooCommerce themes. With over 1,400 templates, you’ll have a diverse selection of options.

Shopify theme options & customizations

Regarding the number of themes, Shopify Theme Store beats WooCommerce Theme Store with more than 140 themes.

From modern designs to elegant and minimalist layouts, there’s a theme to suit every style and business niche. You can easily tailor your chosen theme to reflect your brand’s unique identity, making it truly yours.

Shopify theme store, where you can easily find the theme that best suits you

It should be noted that though Shopify is easy to use, you can code or add a Shopify page builder app if you want more features or visual designs than the chosen theme offers.

What is great about Shopify is that, though it’s a hosted solution, it has its own template language – Shopify Liquid for you to further and freely customize your Shopify theme!

🏆 Verdict: WooCommerce truly outweighs Shopify with a larger number of eCommerce themes via WordPress and Themeforest.

4. Apps & plugins

From our experience, running an online store without installing apps is like paying $999 for your iPhone 14 Pro Max without installing any app on the Apple App Store.

So, up next, the variety and quality of eCommerce apps and plugins will be another factor we analyze in this WooCommerce vs. Shopify battle.

WooCommerce plugins

As we’ve mentioned a lot, WooCommerce is a self-hosted eCommerce platform. This means your store functionalities depend heavily on plugins and third-party integrations.

With 800+ extensions offering various features like inventory management, analytics, SEO, and more, the WooCommerce extension store has everything you need to power up your store.

WooCommerce Extension Store

What is more, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, meaning that you can enjoy more than 60,000 free plugins!

Shopify apps

If WooCommerce has the WooCommerce Extension Store, Shopify has the Shopify App Store, a home for over 8,000 apps spanning all possible features. To name a few, you can find product feed management, upselling, analytics apps, and more.

So with such a wide range of third-party apps at your fingertips, you can easily add advanced features to your web store.

Shopify Theme Store

Verdict: Between Shopify versus WooCommerce, WooCommerce triumphs over Shopify with extensive apps & extensions.

5. Payment gateway

If you want to profit from your online store, you have to ensure it can accept customer payments. Hence, a perfect platform should provide as many payment gateways as possible with minimum transaction fees.  

That makes payment gateway a key factor in today’s WooCommerce vs. Shopify comparison. WooCommerce or Shopify would win this round? Let’s find out!

WooCommerce payment gateway

WooCommerce offers you 79 payment gateways. Chief among them are:

  1. WooCommerce Payment
  2. Stripe Payments
  3. PayPal
  4. Credit and debit cards
  5. Apple Pay
  6. Samsung Pay
  7. Square

Notably, each payment gateway would come with its own transaction fees. So make sure you do careful research before picking one.

WooCommerce payment gateway setting dashboard

Navigate to Settings > Payments to set up your WooCommerce payment gateway

●       Shopify payment gateway

Similar to WooCommerce, Shopify also offers merchants over 100 payment gateways. However, a big minus is that Shopify has its own gateway called Shopify Payments.

And if you use another third-party payment gateway instead of Shopify Payments, you’ll be charged additional transaction fees of around 2%.

Go to Settings > Payments and select Shopify Payments (if you’re valid)

The thing is, Shopify Payments are available in certain countries only. So, you have no other options if you live in a country where Shopify Payments is not supported. 

🏆 Verdict: It’s a draw since both charge transaction fees if you’re not using the platform’s gateway.

6. Inventory management

Managing inventory is a crucial aspect of running a successful eCommerce business. It involves keeping track of available stock, monitoring product quantities, and ensuring timely restocking to meet customer demands.

Proper inventory management helps you avoid stockouts, minimize overstocking, and maintain optimal levels to provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers. So, let’s compare the inventory management capabilities of WooCommerce vs Shopify.

WooCommerce inventory management

WooCommerce offers a range of inventory management features. You can set stock quantities, track inventory levels, and receive low-stock notifications. Plus, the plug-in allows you to manage inventory for both physical and digital products, making it suitable for various business types.

WooCommerce inventory management dashboard

You can also easily import and export inventory data using CSV files, simplifying the process of updating and maintaining stock information.

Shopify inventory management

Shopify provides a robust inventory management system. It allows you to track and manage inventory levels across multiple sales channels, including online stores, marketplaces (through third-party app integration), and physical locations via its point-of-sale (POS) system.

Shopify inventory management dashboard

With Shopify, you can set up automatic inventory updates, set stock alerts, and even enable backorder management. The platform seamlessly integrates with various third-party inventory management apps, providing advanced features such as barcode scanning and order synchronization.

🏆 Verdict: It’s a tie. Both platforms have robust inventory management functionalities, which can be upgraded through third-party apps and plugins.

7. SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plays a vital role in the success of any eCommerce website. It’s like laying a strong foundation for your online store, ensuring it is easily discoverable by search engines like Google.

By optimizing your website’s SEO, you increase its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), drive organic traffic, and potentially attract more customers. So if you’re wondering between Shopify or WooCommerce, SEO is a crucial factor to consider.

WooCommerce SEO

WooCommerce will give you powerful SEO features right out of the box. With its extensive range of SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, you can access advanced tools for optimizing your website’s on-page elements, such as meta tags, headings, and URL structure.

WooCommerce’s powerful SEO features

These plugins provide valuable insights and recommendations to help you create search engine-friendly content and improve your overall SEO strategy.

Additionally, since WooCommerce is built on WordPress, it benefits from WordPress’s reputation as a search engine-friendly platform.

Shopify SEO

While Shopify may not have the same built-in SEO capabilities as WooCommerce, the platform still offers essential SEO features.

Shopify’s efficient SEO features

Shopify provides customizable meta tags, alt tags for images, and clean URL structures by default, allowing you to optimize your website for search engines. However, it should be noted that, unlike WooCommerce, Shopify URL structures are fixed, giving you no room for URL customizations.

🏆 Verdict: With more advanced and complex SEO capabilities and configurations, WooCommerce beats Shopify when SEO is key.

8. Marketing Features

Having a visual-appealing storefront is not enough for eCommerce efforts. You must also run marketing campaigns to promote your store to a wider audience. Thus, we will have a WooCommerce vs. Shopify marketing battle here.

WooCommerce marketing features

When mentioning the WooCommerce marketing features, content marketing is the first to mention. You can leverage WordPress’s blogging capabilities to create engaging content, share industry insights, and drive traffic to your store.

By integrating with email marketing services like MailChimp or Constant Contact, you can create and send targeted email campaigns to your customers.

WooCommerce marketing dashboard

WooCommerce marketing dashboard

Next to mention is social media integration.

WooCommerce provides integrations with popular social media platforms to showcase your products and drive traffic from social media channels. You can easily add social sharing buttons to your product pages, run advertising campaigns, and connect with your audience through social media marketing strategies.

Shopify marketing features

Discounts & Gift Cards are among the most robust marketing features of Shopify.

Create Shopify Discounts

You can create various discounts, such as percentage-based or fixed amounts, and apply them to specific products or collections. Gift cards that allow customers to purchase credit to use on your store, encouraging repeat purchases and increasing customer loyalty.

Next, Shopify’s abandoned cart recovery feature automatically sends reminder emails to customers who have added items to their cart but haven’t completed the purchase. This helps you recover potentially lost sales by reminding customers to return to your store and complete their orders.

Shopify Email further enhances the store’s capabilities

Last but not least, Shopify seamlessly integrates with popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can connect your store to your social media accounts, sync your product catalog, and run social media advertising campaigns directly from the Shopify platform.

🏆 Verdict: Shopify outweighs WooCommerce with powerful built-in marketing features.

9. Dropshipping

WooCommerce dropshipping

WooCommerce doesn’t have native dropshipping functionality, but you can integrate it with various third-party plugins like AliDropship, WooDropship, or Dropified.

“dropshipping” search result on WooCommerce Extensions

These plugins enable you to import products from dropshipping platforms like AliExpress, manage inventory, and automate order fulfillment. They provide features such as one-click product importing, automatic price synchronization, and order tracking.

Shopify dropshipping

On the other hand, Shopify has built-in support for dropshipping, making it easier to set up and manage a dropshipping business.

Shopify Dropshipping

Besides the built-in feature, Shopify also has a variety of dropshipping apps available on the Shopify App Store. One of the most popular dropshipping app on Shopify is Dsers, which allows you to import products from platforms like AliExpress and automatically fulfill orders. This automation saves time and simplifies the management of your dropshipping business!

🏆 Verdict: Unquestionably, Shopify emerges victorious in this competition.

10. Security

WooCommerce security

WooCommerce provides built-in support for SSL encryption, allowing you to secure the transmission of sensitive information, such as customer details and payment data.

However, the security of your WooCommerce store depends on multiple factors. While WooCommerce is secure, vulnerabilities can arise from insecure hosting environments or outdated WordPress installations.

Shopify security

As a hosted solution, Shopify takes care of most security aspects for you. It provides a secure environment with a robust infrastructure and handles security updates and backups. Shopify’s checkout process is PCI compliant, ensuring the security of customer payment information.

The platform offers SSL encryption for secure communication between the customer’s browser and the store. It also protects against DDoS attacks and offers a fraud analysis system to help identify and prevent fraudulent orders.

🏆 Verdict: Given the inherent nature of hosted eCommerce platforms, Shopify undoubtedly triumphs over WooCommerce with its superior security measures.

11. Support

WooCommerce support

As a WordPress plugin, WooCommerce support primarily comes from the WordPress community. Additionally, numerous third-party agencies and developers specializing in WooCommerce offer professional support services if you require more personalized assistance. 

WooCommerce support on the WordPress community

Besides, WooCommerce also has a help doc that includes all frequently asked questions from other WooCommerce merchants. Simply hit on the question you may be concerned about, and the answer will be right to your needs.

WooCommerce help docs

Or, you can’t find an answer? Let’s contact WooCommerce directly by leaving your name, email address, and message to the WooCommerce team.

Shopify support

Shopify support is 24/7-support through various channels, including community forums, help centers, and live support. Their support team is known for being responsive and knowledgeable, helping users resolve issues and answer questions.

Shopify offers expensive support

Shopify also provides extensive documentation and tutorials that cover a wide range of topics, from getting started to advanced customization via Shopify Learn.

Shopify’s Learning Centre

The platform has a large community forum where users can seek help, exchange ideas, and find solutions to common issues.

🏆 Verdict: It’s a draw since both WooCommerce and Shopify provide full-fledged support!

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: FAQs

Is Shopify better than WooCommerce?

If you want an easy-to-use platform built for scalability and packed with great sales & inventory features, Shopify is a better choice than WooCommerce.

Why use WooCommerce instead of Shopify?

If you want complete control over your eCommerce store and are comfortable with technical stuff, WooCommerce would make perfect sense. The platform is also a brilliant choice for those strongly emphasizing blogging functionalities.

What is the difference between Shopify and WooCommerce?

The main difference between WooCommerce vs. Shopify is that:

  • WooCommerce is a free open-source eCommerce plug-in explicitly built for WordPress websites.
  • Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform. You pay Shopify a monthly subscription fee ($39-$399/month) to use it. 

What is WooCommerce best for?

WooCommerce is best known for its unlimited customization options, making it an ideal choice for businesses that want to create highly tailored online stores.

With WooCommerce, you can customize every aspect of your store, including design, layout, and functionality, to match your unique business requirements.

Is WooCommerce good?

Yes, WooCommerce is widely regarded as a good eCommerce platform. It is a popular choice among businesses of all sizes due to its flexibility, extensive plugin ecosystem, and integration with WordPress.

WooCommerce provides a robust foundation for building and managing online stores, offering a range of features and customization options to meet diverse business needs.

Wrapping Up

Putting everything together, between WooCommerce vs. Shopify, Shopify emerges as the victor for beginners. So, if you’re looking for a platform that combines simplicity, scalability, and reliability, Shopify should be your go-to choice.

If you want integration with WordPress and extensive customization options, WooCommerce will definitely be your right choice!