WooCommerce vs Shopify: Popular Advantages & Disadvantages

Why you should consider the key differences between WooCommerce and Shopify when creating an e-commerce shop for your business.

Ben Selkirk

November 18, 2021

In This Topic: Web Design

It is incredibly important to understand the key differences between WooCommerce and Shopify.
It is incredibly important to understand the key differences between WooCommerce and Shopify.

In today’s article post we will discuss the key differences between WooCommerce vs Shopify. This is a topic we often get asked about when working with clients. We wanted to make an updated article on the many advantages and disadvantages of these websites.

Opinions on both websites differ widely, depending on the size of your business, and what your business does. Both WooCommerce and Shopify have their advantages and disadvantages, but choosing which site to use can be difficult.

As a general rule exploring online reviews can be helpful in making a decision, but when you are comparing WooCommerce vs. Shopify there are a few main differences you should consider.

The Big Difference Between WooCommerce vs Shopify

When comparing WooCommerce vs Shopify there is a key difference that should play an essential role in your choice for a commerce website. The key difference between the two sites is how much control you have over your website, and the customization you are able to do.

The Shopify homepage is easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing
The Shopify homepage is easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing.

Shopify is known as a simple cost-effective way to get an e-commerce website up and running quickly. When using Shopify you can create an e-commerce website in less than an hour. This may seem like a great option if you are in desperate need of an online shop. It’s important to understand the limitations this places on your company website.

Shopify is an all-in-one commerce creation option so the personalization and customization of your website is severely limited. This is fine if you are looking for a simple e-commerce shop. However, it can severely limit the potential your website has for growth and improvement.

On the other hand if you want complete control over your website and the ability to customize your e-commerce shop then consider WooCommerce. WooCommerce gives your e-commerce shop the ability to grow and expand with your company. It does not provide rigid guidelines you must follow when creating your online shop.

The WooCommerce homepage is easy to follow, and lays out the sites function nicely.
The WooCommerce homepage is easy to follow, and lays out the sites function nicely.

Many online reviews will explicitly state that the ability to take control of and customize your website is an exceptional resource. However, it is important to understand how to use WordPress. This difficulty becomes obsolete when hiring a third party company like Imperium. They will work with you every step of the way in order to provide complete control and customization without the technical hassle.

Advantages vs Disadvantages

Any e-commerce website you use will have pros and cons, this is just an inevitable fact when utilizing technology and online services. What’s important however is the amount of pros vs cons, as well as if the pros are able to outweigh the cons. Also, when discussing WooCommerce vs Shopify it is important to understand is if the pros and cons are suitable to your business.

Shopify has many pros when you want to choose a cheaper, do it at home method. If you are looking for an e-commerce website to create and manage yourself then Shopify is the route you should take. You pay an upfront fee every month to create your website.

There are a number of apps you can use to extend your store. There are many themes to choose from, and you can get your shop up and running quickly.

However, it is important to note that the cons associated with creating your own commerce shop can be frustrating. Although the monthly fee may seem cost-effective, the rates will only continue to increase.

This can be frustrating because over time the price you are paying month to month can have a significant impact on your yearly costs. When creating an e-commerce shop on your own you are in charge of keeping the site up to date and running smoothly. This can take a considerable amount of time.

The customization aspect of Shopify also leaves much to be desired, since you won’t have much control over the personalization of your shop.

Different payment plan methods for Shopify services and monthly payments
Different payment plan methods for Shopify services and monthly payments.

WooCommerce offers a longer list of pros then Shopify, and is a better option if you don’t want to manage the e-commerce shop yourself. Unlike Shopify WooCommerce enables you to have complete customization and control.

The WordPress community is much larger, and more involved. The themes as well as plugins are limitless and provide complete control over customization. Through WordPress, it is simple to create, and the plugin is free.

The best part of the cons associated with WooCommerce is that when hiring a third party they become irrelevant. Although WordPress has a learning curve if a company like Imperium is hired, who specializes in utilizing WordPress, this won’t be a problem.

Although WooCommerce is more expensive upfront, a company like Imperium will offer an e-commerce package, with everything included.

How User Friendly Are The Websites?

WooCommerce vs Shopify both have user-friendly websites, but each are tailored to a different type of business. When discussing Shopify many online reviews don’t agree with its easy-to-use interface. Since it is a subscription based service, all you need to do is sign up. As a result many business owners believe this will be an easy-to-use site. This is not, however, the case, as although the sign-up for Shopify is easy to do, the troubles you will encounter arise afterwards.

Many small businesses that utilize Shopify are looking for a way to create an e-commerce website themselves. They do not want to use third party methods. Although this can be cost-effective, it causes the business owners to manage the site on their own. As a result they will have to take time out of their work week to keep the site updated and running properly.

More importantly if the website stops working properly you will have to take the time to fix it yourself which can be difficult. If you are experiencing a busy work week, or have a holiday related boom this can be a huge problem.

Shopify offers an easy to follow process in order to begin your e-commerce shop
Shopify offers an easy to follow process in order to begin your e-commerce shop.

If your website was to go down during Christmas, when you are busy in store it is difficult to fix. The 24/7 customer support Shopify operates will likely be busy, and the traffic will go to competitor websites.

WooCommerce on the other hand is easier to use due to its association with WordPress. When creating a WooCommerce website it is highly recommended you go for the third party method.

This is important for a number of reasons. When hiring a website like Imperium to create your e-commerce shop you first need to justify the price.

Although the price may seem expensive, it is important to understand the e-commerce website will be developed for you.

WooCommerce offers an easy to follow process in order to get clients started
WooCommerce offers an easy to follow process in order to get clients started.

You won’t be wasting time updating and keeping the website up to date. If there is ever any problems with the website you won’t have the headache of trying to deal with it yourself. The third party company you have hired to create the site will manage it, and keep everything up to date.

Comparing Design Options

When comparing WooCommerce vs Shopify it is incredibly important to consider the design of the e-commerce stores they produce. When clients are utilizing an e-commerce website the overall design is important, and cannot be overlooked. The debate over WooCommerce vs Shopify when it comes it design is fairly easy.

The visual quality of Shopify’s themes are aesthetically pleasing. They offer a limited variety to chose from when creating your e-commerce website. Shopify has around 54 various store templates, but only 10 of those are free with your monthly subscription. This is a huge obstacle when using Shopify, as various templates can cost up to $180, or 6 months worth of subscriptions. A good bonus is these templates are compatible with mobile, and won’t require extra work to convert them over.

Shopify themes and how wide the prices vary from free to $250 USD
Shopify themes and how wide the prices vary from free to $250 USD.

Another downfall to using Shopify templates is the majority of your competitors will likely be using the same templates as you. Various Shopify users have complained about their e-commerce site looking to similar when compared against a competitors site. This is a direct result of the lack of customization offered by Shopify, as well as the severely limited amount of affordable templates provided.

WooCommerce provides much more flexibility when creating your online e-commerce shop. The amount of options available are limitless, and there are multiple features to pick and choose from. WooCommerce was built in a way that is able to not only follow any WordPress theme, but also any other themes on the market.

You can start the process in the WooCommerce online store. It will show you all the important elements of an e-commerce store, and how to utilize them effectively.

WooCommerce offers a plethora of seemingly limitless and unique themes
WooCommerce offers a plethora of seemingly limitless and unique themes.

The drawback of WooCommerce however is the fact that it’s open source. Various creators sell or giveaway WooCommerce compatible templates which gives you an incredibly wide range of options. However, when utilizing a third party e-commerce package like the one Imperium offers, these themes are readily available, and full customization is an option.

The Difference In Customer Support

Technical support is an important aspect of operating an e-commerce website. Oftentimes when operating an e-commerce store it can be difficult to understand what to do. It is important to know how to keep your site safe, and how to fix things when they stop working.

A severe downside to using Shopify is that many users still face complications when trying to operate their website. Many business owners do not have a tech oriented background and are extremely busy trying to run their business.

Shopify has a streamlined contact us page to help struggling users
Shopify has a streamlined contact us page to help struggling users.

Although Shopify offers 24/7 tech support it can be difficult to get on the phone with someone right away. This may result in an extended phone call which takes away from your business operations.

On the other hand WooCommerce technical support can be utilized through WordPress, as well as the WooCommerce website. Aside from direct support the online community for WordPress and WooCommerce is unrivaled. Any trouble you experience has likely been extensively discussed online by someone else with the solution they found. Therefore, any complications you may have are a Google search away from solving.

WooCommerce offers more specialized customer service in order to keep clients informed
WooCommerce offers more specialized customer service in order to keep clients informed.

If you have chosen a third party company like Imperium they will handle any difficulties you may experience. They are creating the e-commerce store for you, so there won’t be many difficulties for you to overcome.

Which Website Should You Choose?

The choice is ultimately yours, and you must decide which site is best for you based on your business.

Let’s say you are planning to go with Shopify, there are a few key takeaways to consider. If you want an e-commerce site set up quickly, and plan on running and managing it yourself then Shopify is the choice.

If you don’t want to deal with setting up the website, and don’t mind paying monthly fees, then consider using Shopify. The monthly fee is frustrating, and the lack of customization is unappealing. However, it is the easiest way to set up you own e-commerce shop.

As a business owner if you don’t care about customization, or the small details of your e-commerce platform you should consider Shopify. You can make an e-commerce website quickly, and have it up and running in no time.

Shopify offers a wide variety  of services for their customers to utilize
Shopify offers a wide variety of services for their customers to utilize.

If you are planning to go with WooCommerce the expectations you will have for the e-commerce shop should be completely different. With WooCommerce, you will have complete control of the website as well as the complete customization of it.

It is worth hiring a company well versed with WooCommerce to set up the e-commerce shop. They will manage it for you, as this is the most time efficient and cost-efficient way to run the site. When choosing WooCommerce you will have access to an unlimited amount of theme and template customization. You will be able to create a website that is completely unique.

As a business owner, when you can analyze which website will work best for your company you can make an informed decision. This decision is important, and should not be taken lightly, as it will have direct impact on how effect your online shop is. You must consider how important your own time is, and if you have the time to dedicate to running and operating your own website.

WooCommerce also offers a wide variety of services to enable there customers an easy experience
WooCommerce also offers a wide variety of services to enable there customers an easy experience.

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