6 March 2021 | 5 Minute(s) to read
Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the biggest e-commerce platforms available on the market. Shopify now powers over 1 million businesses while WooCommerce claims to be the web’s “most popular e-commerce platform” with about three times as many. Wondering which is better for you? Here’s what we think.
Shopify is a hosted shopping cart which means it is not a plugin or extension of a website, it is a website itself! Shopify makes launching and managing an online store smooth and effortless. It is known as one of the most dynamically developed e-commerce solutions around.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress e-commerce plugin, ideal for online retailers who are willing to build their online store on the basis of their current WordPress blog or website.
Here at Smokeylemon, Shopify is the one we recommend to our clients and for many good reasons:
The biggest enemy: updates
According to our clients’ testimonials, the most annoying thing about WooCommerce and WordPress in general, is the fact that these platforms update frequently. Sometimes your WordPress is up to date but WooCommerce doesn't meet with updates, which generates problems for the front end and back end user.
This is true for all plugins on Wordpress sites. If your website framework is not compatible with the updates - it could even crash your site.
Remember every little issue that the user experiences will mean risking your credibility and therefore losing sales.
With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about updates being incompatible or any technical aspects as Shopify updates as a single unit, every facet of the website updates all at the same time. All you have to do is concentrate on managing your business, and that's the way it should be.
For websites (particularly e-commerce stores) design is almost everything. Customers simply don't trust a site that doesn't have the right aesthetic or doesn't function as well as it should.
Shopify has (in our view) the most clean, modern and user friendly designs. It comes with more than 70 different store templates, of which 6 are free. Each theme has unique variations so you can customise your site and make it your own. All of them are mobile responsive and have a variety of different colouring options.
The best of all is that Shopify themes are easy to change. You can quickly adjust colours and styles, and if you need, our developers can utilise the platform's specialised code language to make more substantial changes and really make your brand stand out.
Extensions vs no complications
Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce platform. Everything you need to sell online is ready to go, from SEO features to payment and reporting tools. However, if you want to enhance the site, there are many secure extensions to choose from.
WooCommerce and some of the other common ecommerce plugins lack basic tools that are integrated by default in Shopify. To have access to these features, you need to add more plugins/extensions; there are thousands of extensions available both paid and free. Remember, the more extensions you add, the more updates you will have to take care of.
In other words, if you don’t want to worry about the technical running of your store, Shopify is right for you. And it’s the same answer if you want e-commerce tools that are ready to use straight awayand in a very intuitive platform.
To use WooCommerce you need an account with WordPress. So if you already have a site with WordPress, WooCommerce is worth a try. However, in this blog we explain why we don’t recommend WordPress as a CMS.
Shopify pricing is very clear and straightforward with a few pricing packages:
The software, hosting and subdomain are included in the basic $29/month plan, and it also includes the SSL certificate which makes your website secure. A great Shopify advantage - regardless of what plan you choose you will be able to sell unlimited amounts of products and enjoy advanced e-commerce functionality - Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter Buy Button, for example.
WooCommerce isn’t that clear. It is a free opensource solution. Yes, they are actually free, but then you have to consider the additional costs that go along with making an online store. You have to consider hosting, the cost of a theme, a domain name, any additional extensions that you will need to pay for and an SSL certificate.
Shopify provides 24/7 support over the phone, LiveChat and email. You’re never left on your own and whatever your problem, someone will be available to help. WooCommerce takes a much more hands-off approach to support. The focus is on DIY help sections. These include WordPress-related forums and the WooCommerce community. You may have your own WooCommerce account, but support is targeted to the technically proficient. If you’re aware of technical aspects of website building, this will suit you just fine.
When you’re trying to sell products, the longer a problem exists the more sales you risk losing. Plus, time spent trying to solve issues is time you could be spending marketing your store.
Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most important factors on every website. Having the possibility to manage all the SEO elements easily on the platform is the key to have your e-commerce fully optimised and have more changes to reach the high positions in Google.
Shopify has built-in SEO features to help you optimise your content. Some SEO is taken care of automatically: auto-generated canonical tags are added to pages to prevent duplicate content from appearing in search results, and themes automatically generate title tags that include your store name. You can edit the title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs for blog posts, webpages, products, and collections manually, and you can edit the alt text for images.
In conclusion, Shopify has proven to be the best e-commerce platform in terms of usability, security, SEO and design. We can build your Shopify site or migrate your existing one easily. Contact us for a free quote!
Check out some of the Shopify e-commerce websites we created for our clients: