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Shopify vs. WooCommerce 2021

Updated: Mar 18



Where Shopify is well known to be the easy step into eCommerce, WooCommerce is making inroads as well. Let’s explore how the two platforms compete since they do eCommerce from two very different angles.


New Shopify Store vs. WooCommerce


With a 14-day trial, where just creating an account gives you access to a sandbox to create your store, this by far blows away WooCommerce even if the Cloud Host can spin up a WordPress site in 10minutes, since beyond that step, you still have to install WooCommerce, and a bunch of plugins to get you to the same point Shopify has you past your credentials.


Shopify Terms vs. WooCommerce


Shopify Apps offer pretty much all the best practices in eCommerce in the industry, and are available for a low monthly cost, at times they can be free or for trial purposes once your Shopify theme has been picked out and installed. The Shopify terms of your store reside in the fact that you will not own your store, its tools, or its processes. Whereas WooCommerce is a plugin within WordPress and the code is free, with some Plugins being free or are purchased by various terms. However, if you decide to just pay for the hosting costs, what remains is your store, processes, and Intellectual Property.


Is Intellectual Property (IP) important?


When it comes to your business, there is a point where the importance becomes critical as you may require more control over your sales infrastructure. If you are just reselling or drop-shipping, Shopify would be a simple and effective solution since you lease the space to have an online store. Your IP is nothing more than a competitive product that has demand. The moment that customer handling due to product/services being unique and differentiated, your business will start feeling that the IP requires protection. Within Shopify, Private Shopify Apps, or Custom Shopify Apps can deliver custom processes and reports, however, your investment into these Shopify Apps still is tied to the Shopify Store.


WooCommerce Relevance


New businesses startup with a website, most times it is a WordPress site, which can then evolve to a Website and a Marketplace addition such as Etsy or Amazon. Further down the road, an eCommerce site emerges, adding WooCommerce to your WordPress site. Many WooCommerce eCommerce sites are “evolutionary” in nature, while Shopify Stores are usually taking more of a commercial jump by being eCommerce from the get-go.


WordPress is one of the most powerful content management platforms in the world. When hosted in some speedy environments, it will score highly for SEO and will deliver a top-tier experience. WooCommerce Themes are as rich and diverse as Shopify Themes are. However, in delivering a unique experience, WordPress with WooCommerce can be tweaked by your very own WordPress Plugin just like it is done in Shopify with your own Shopify App. The difference is that your ownership of the code is a lot more detached from the Shopify Cloud since you can spin up a new server, install WordPress with WooCommerce and add back in your WordPress plugin. This level of control and independence is a key differentiator between the two platforms.


Shopify vs. WooCommerce Business Focus

Where WooCommerce shines is in being able to call your store your very own property since it is a free source code base, to which you can work within the WordPress architecture to tailor to your needs, without monthly plans and a cloud infrastructure that can hold you back if you don’t pay into the higher Shopify Pricing Plans. One could say that’s more appealing than being tied down by Shopify’s approach to eCommerce, but then some store owners don’t want the headaches and technical responsibilities in maintaining a WordPress site. Much like Homeownership vs. Leasing – you can “own” your WordPress with WooCommerce eCommerce site, or you can “lease” your Shopify Store – and leave the technical updates/PCI Compliance behind to focus on the business.


Conclusion


While Shopify is by far the easiest platform to work with if you have no technical background, the price you pay is that their infrastructure is on their terms. Your ability to control and customize is limited by the cloud, their payment gateway terms, and ultimately restricted by their API. Business automation’s goal is to automate the business processes, enhance reporting and transparency and help the business prosper. Shopify helps you do this by sharing your profits, WooCommerce helps you do this by you taking control over your technical responsibilities.

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