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Before you go comparing the two platforms, you should first know what your business needs are and how much resources you are working with.
WooCommerce is free, offers unlimited customizations but is a bit harder to set up. On the other hand, Shopify is more expensive, easier to set up, but does not have as many customizable options. Migrating from one platform to the other is not difficult. If you do choose Shopify you can still migrate to WooCommerce later if you find that you need more customizability.
If you need more functionality from the get go, you can get this from WooCommerce. WooCommerce can be a bit harder to set up and requires working knowledge of website development. But the customizability of WooCommerce is almost endless if you have the resources to get it done.
Between WooCommerce and Shopify, which one is priced better?
WooCommerce is free for everyone to use. Shopify requires a subscription fee. Both platforms rely on plugins for added functionality. Woocommerce has a lot of free plugins, but you may need features that require paid versions. Paid plugins are subscription based which means the costs can really stack up in the long run.
For the non-technical entrepreneur, Shopify may seem like the better choice. You can easily set it up without needing a professional website developer. Instead of focusing your resources on website development, you can just buy a subscription on Shopify and focus on doing business.
Ease of Use and Customizability
When it comes to ease of use, Shopify rates highly. Shopify is easy to use even for non-technical people. WooCommerce is still considered user-friendly but it just has more options to customize. You just need to learn what these options are and how to use them.
Out of the box, Shopify comes with 11 free responsive themes. And they look good too. If none of the free themes are to your liking, you can buy a new theme which costs around $150. Even if you are a new user, you can easily change colors and styles in Shopify. Also, more advanced users are not limited as they can do some more complex design tweaks in the code.
On the other hand, WooCommerce needs to be installed on the WordPress platform. The design will then depend on your chosen WordPress theme. There are thousands of free and premium themes to choose from. Since WooThemes created WooCommerce, their themes will work well with the platform. Their Storefront theme is made especially for WooCommerce so you can be sure that it is compatible with all releases of WooCommerce.
When it comes to customizability, WooCommerce wins. And if you have a developer available, it gets better. Your developer can do wonders with WooCommerce. You can have him create plugins and just about any functionality that you can think of. This is all because WooCommerce is open source. Anyone is free to alter the code for their own use.
Shopify is a complete ecommerce solution which includes hosting for your website. And while Shopify’s hosting service is not always rated that highly, it is certainly one less thing to worry about when setting up your ecommerce store. Shopify will provide you everything that you need to keep your ecommerce store up and running. For WooCommerce, if you have no experience with websites, you have to rely on a developer to get things done.
When it comes to support, Shopify offers premium support. You need only contact Shopify and they’ll help you out with whatever problem you have with your e-commerce store.
Because WooCommerce is free, Woothemes does not provide free support but a developer or support team like Wooassist can assist you. You first need to identify what is causing the problem. Is it a problem with your host? Is it a problem with a certain plugin? After you identify the root of the problem, you need to contact the specific service provider or plugin developer about the problem.
If you are using a free plugin or any other free service, you have no assurance that the developers or the service provider will address your concern. But since WooCommerce is powered by WordPress, you can ask for help from the WordPress community through the forum. A lot of website owners, including those that use WooCommerce, post problems they encounter in the forums. Most of these problems are resolved with the help of the ever-reliable community. If you’re lucky, someone should have already encountered the same problem that you have and posted in the forums with a resolution already documented.
Which one should you choose?
If you will be creating your own website and you already have a technical background, then WooCommerce will serve you better. And if you have a developer, it gets even better. If you do not have the time and the technical know-how to create a fully functional WooCommerce store, look at Shopify’s all in one e-commerce solution.
Shopify may provide everything that you need so you have less to worry about and spend more time doing actual business. It might be more expensive initially since you have to pay for subscriptions and plugins, but it is easier to set up. Albeit, with less customizability. There is no clear cut answer on which platform is better. It all depends on your needs and what is sustainable for your business.