The Right eCommerce Platform – Shopify vs WooCommerce
We used to say that you could shop till you drop, picturing ourselves stumbling along with shopping bags, being on our feet for hours. With online shopping, you basically shop till your computer or mobile phone runs out of battery.
Even then, it would probably take the devices a far shorter time to recharge than it would take you to recuperate from an entire day out.
So shopping, as a concept, has evolved together with the rollout of digital platforms to do so. This means you can now shop anywhere, anytime, with significantly less effort. That’s good news for retailers, whose digital stores can remain open around the clock with access to a global network.
For this reason alone, we can’t blame you for wanting to set up your own digital store. Once you have finalized your product offerings, the next big question to ask yourself – Which eCommerce platform should you use?
There is a variety in the market today, but we’re here to make your decision making a lot easier. Let’s have a look at the key features of two popular platforms.
A Canadian company, Shopify is user-friendly and provides new users a great headstart in setting up their commercial platforms. Shopify allows you to avoid the technical challenges you might face by providing step-by-step tutorials, guides, and even videos.
Even as your business grows, Shopify remains user-friendly to support the higher demands of your users. With access to new codes, designers can add on new functions to the platform quickly and easily. This keeps your business nimble, responsive and adaptable.
Given that you will not need much technical expertise to kick-start commercial transactions on Shopify, this means you can get your site up and running with minimal hassle. You can then focus your attention on other parts of launching your company!
Well, nothing is perfect – and Shopify is no exception. One of the downsides of Shopify is the costs. On top of the monthly plan payments that users subscribe to, there is also a transaction or commission fee (1%-2% of the monthly sale) that users need to pay to the platform.
Intuitively, as your sales revenue increases, you will also be forking out more money to the platform itself for hosting your eCommerce function.
Some users have also shared that Shopify isn’t the quickest to the game when it comes to the release of new features. This leaves users trying to find their own workarounds while Shopify comes up with its latest updates to address market expectations.
Let’s turn our attention to a fierce competitor – WooCommerce. This platform, in comparison, allows more room for exploration, building, and customization. This is primarily due to the huge library of plugins in which experienced designers can submerge themselves in. Although this evidently complicates the design process, it can bring more joy and reward to those who prefer freedom in tailoring the eCommerce platform to their specific needs.
Another major win for WooCommerce lies in three magic words – Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With the WordPress editor integrated into WooCommerce, you have full control over content, URLs, meta descriptors, alt tags and other elements that can boost your SEO.
Using WooCommerce means you own the site, are able to customise it and determine how well your site might pop up in search engines.
Without dampening the mood too much, we also have a list of some of the setbacks of the platform. To start off, the number of free templates available on the site is limited and while easy to install on your WordPress site, there is a chance that WooCommerce is incompatible with your site theme.
We did say there is an extensive library of features, however most of them are paid options. Accepting credit card payment on your site, for example, will require you to purchase an extension as the default payment option on WooCommerce is PayPal. Thus, while the option to add features is available, you might have to unload some cash to do so.
Lack of features such as multiple languages can also deter users for choosing WooCommerce as a platform if they intend to reach a vast network of consumers across continents.
It could be that the easy setup of Shopify appeals to you more than the customisation that Woocommerce offers. Or perhaps the commission that Shopify demands is more of a deterrent to you compared to the lack of languages on WooCommerce. Both platforms have tradeoffs in various areas, and we hope we have given you enough food for thought before you come to a conclusion on which eCommerce platform is the best for your requirements.