We are a full-service website design,
development and digital marketing agency
based in Christchurch, New Zealand.
We are a full-service website design, development and digital marketing agency based in Christchurch, New Zealand.
If you have ever looked into building an eCommerce website to sell products online, you will have found two platforms – WooCommerce and Shopify showing up regularly in your online searches. There is so much information out there about both of these platforms that it makes deciding which one to choose a difficult decision, especially when choosing the right one could be crucial for your business success.
At Happy Monday we develop websites on both of these platforms, as well as on RocketSpark (for our smaller customers who just need a basic online store without all the bells and whistles) so we’re all about helping our customers choose what best suits their needs – current and future.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify are feature-rich platforms, so it can be tough to choose one over the other. WooCommerce is fully customisable, but if you’re not tech savvy you’ll need the help of a developer to set it up properly. Shopify easy to get started with, but is way less customisable on the base platform, which means monthly fees can start to skyrocket if you are wanting to adding functionality using apps.
In this article, we’ll compare WooCommerce and Shopify and talk about how to pick the one that works best for your needs.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that gives you the essentials of an eCommerce site, right out of the box. You can turn any WordPress site into an eCommerce store with this plugin. It is interesting to note that over 40% of the world’s sites are developed in WordPress so there is a big pool of support.
Generally, eCommerce stores require specialist coding for store-specific features, like products, customers, inventory management, and so on. WooCommerce comes bundled with all of that and enables you to add other features as well as you need them.
It is preferable to know some coding or have a webdeveloper to help out, however there’s a huge range of plugins, themes, and support available to help you.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that helps you set up an online store for your products easily. You can sell in a variety of places, like social media, marketplaces, web, mobile, and more using just this one platform.
The key differentiator of Shopify is that it requires no technical knowledge. You can create a good looking basic site quickly, right out of the box. You can customise it with the marketplace of widgets and apps but many of these have monthly fees that are often based on the number of transactions through the site. So the bigger you get and the more sales you make, the more your monthly overhead will be.
Control – WooCommerce provides full control of the eCommerce platform which allows companies like Happy Monday to problem solve issues with greater control over the entire codebase. WooCommerce Plugins are more fully featured due to the number of downloads and support is more responsive from a technical point of view. We have used a range of WooCommerce plugins over time that satisfy 95% of our clients’ eCommerce needs.
Support – Though Shopify help is 24/7, it is very much first level support which mainly covers set-up and a basic help desk. They do not support any additional apps which makes conflicts and issues hard to resolve.
Staging and Testing – Shopify doesn’t allow replication of sites which makes it hard to test new apps without doing it directly on your live site. With WordPress and WooCommerce you are able to maintain a development site that can also be used as a backup should it be required, along with nightly backups through our hosting provider.
Customisation – Customers can get frustrated with time to resolve issues with Shopify and having to deal with multiple parties. We have not worked with a client yet that just uses the features of both platforms out of the box and Shopify sites usually require additional apps and functionality for best results.
Charges – Shopify charges for apps on a monthly basis and the use of multiple apps to achieve the functionality you want on your site can all add up quickly. You also pay Shopify a small commission for every sale put through your site. Shopify Partners clip the ticket on monthly fees which the client also pays for in their charges.
WooCommerce developers usually charge an annual fee/lifetime licence for plugins and multi-site discounts are usually available, whereas Shopify is on a per site basis. Some Apps on Shopify can also take a percentage of sales in addition to Shopify’s commission. An example of this is some of the Gift card apps. So the more you sell, the more commission you pay which erodes your profit margins.
When considering which platform to choose from WooCommerce vs Shopify, the deciding factor is you and your business!
WooCommerce is an excellent solution, with boundless scope for a growing business, but it requires a greater initial investment and effort.
Shopify is a great option for anyone who wants to hit the ground running and get a store up quickly, but the price you pay is lack of customisation and higher running costs with fees.
At Happy Monday we work with both Shopify and WordPress/WooCommerce as platform solutions for our clients’ eCommerce requirements.
We have worked with both platforms extensively and understand the benefits and limitations of each. There are a lot of feature comparison sites online and it can be hard for business owners to make a business decision on what path to take based on website reviews.
At the end of the day they are both just toolsets but our team can help guide you through the process of making a decision on what is the best fit for your business.
As a starting point, make a note of ecommerce websites with functionality or design features that you like and send them through to us. We can identify for you which platform they are built on, to help you make your decision.
An excellent choice if you value customisation over all else and don’t mind putting in the extra work to get the online store of your dreams. You need to have some degree of technical know-how (or a developer to work with) but if you want to build a large-scale online store then WooCommerce is your ticket!
If you are anyone who prefers 24/7 support and likes things such as security taken care of for you, as well as all the features you could ever need is provided by Shopify. If you need a website up live in a short space of time with limited technical know-how and want sleek templates Shopify is a good choice.
They are equally scalable. With WooCommerce, it’s dependent on the host. With Shopify, it’s dependent on the plan you choose. But as you scale with Shopify it can cost a lot more in monthly fees.
Shopify is built to make managing an eCommerce site easy for non-developers. With WooCommerce, you might need to use third-party plugins or extensions to make managing your site easier. We do recommend a maintenance plan.
WooCommerce can be better than Shopify if you have the technical skills. You don’t need coding expertise but you do need some knowledge of the WordPress or use the services of a web development company like Happy Monday.
You can integrate your Shopify store with a WordPress site using if you are already using WordPress, but you will be doubling up on running costs.
Shopify hosts your sites on its own server. You don’t have to pay additionally for it. WooCommerce doesn’t have a host so you’ll need to pay for monthly hosting. You need to pay annual fees for domain names with both.