Jan 20, 2021

about 7 min read

WooComerce vs Shopify: Which is Best for eCommerce?

WooCommerce vs Shopify - How to make your best choice in 2021

WooCommerce vs Shopify is the battle of the world’s top two E-commerce platforms currently on the market. While Shopify powers over 1 million sites, WooCommerce claims to be the most frequently used tool for online stores. But what are their actual market positions? Which one is strategically the best for your E-commerce site? Let’s deep dive into the details and fully educate ourselves on this matter. Heads-up, we fell in love with Shopify during the analysis process and this article will eventually point out why Shopify is a much more preferable tool.

Taking a look at BuildWith’s statistics, you can see that both of them are stating trustable facts about their market positions. But of course, from a more unbiased perspective, we can always look at the market share with more transparency in the chart below.

E-commerce usage distribution in the top 1 million sites

We’re no fortune teller but since Shopify is leading the Google Trends board, it is safe to say we can expect Shopify to attract more interest from users in the future. There is an obvious upward trend in user preference over the past 5 years and the gap between them seems to be enlarging further. It looks like Shopify is getting the attention and securing its place as a top-trending tool.

WooCommerce vs Shopify on Google Trends

A short definition

Shopify is powerful and trustable with beautiful templates you can drag and drop to decorate your website, while the customer support is always at your service. In return, you will pay from 29$ to 299$ monthly after the 14-day trial. And Shopify is so confident you are willing to pay, they are not offering any discounts for the Black Friday season of 2020 

WooCommerce on the other hand, is in the form of another popular plug-in for Wordpress, which will turn your site into a fully functional online E-commerce store. It’s free to use as an open-source platform. You will only have to pay for hosting & security, plug-ins, and themes. But you will need to hire a coder to set it up if you don’t already know how to do it yourself.


Charlie Carmichael conducted thorough research on over 50 platforms, that so let’s take a look at how they are rating Shopify & WooCommerce against each other on fundamental pillars:

WooCommerce and Shopify ratings

This article will help you determine which one is better for your business: WooCommerce or Shopify. It’s a tough decision, since each website has their own merits, but you can actually look at the payment plan, sales features, customer support, ease of use, … to pick the one that better suits your needs.

Table of contents

  1. WooCommerce vs Shopify: Pros and Cons
  2. Design Matters
  3. Time and Effort to Launch
  4. Payment Terms
  5. Sales, Marketing & Operation Functions
  6. Customers Support
  7. WooCommerce vs Shopify: When to use which
  8. WooCommerce vs Shopify: FAQs

Shopify admin / staff’s overall view

1. WooCommerce vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

Shopify Pros and cons

Shopify Pros
Plentiful beautiful themes

No heavy code needed

Easy to use even for beginners

Thousands of apps to extend your store

Hosting & security included - You don’t have to pay extra for these

24/7 Customer Support- It only takes a few minutes to launch your store

Shopify Cons

The cost is high and on the rise

Transaction fees - only Shopify practice its own transaction fee, unless you use its own gateway, Shopify Payments

Design is not highly customizable

WooCommerce Pros and cons

WooCommerce Pros
A totally free tool for everyone

Fully personalizable -  it’s an open-source platform so you can code your heart out on the design

Wordpress’ online community is lively and very helpful

WooCommerce Cons

Has a learning curve  - You will need sometime to fully understand how to use it.

You are to code on your own - with hosting, security, maintenance and backups.

Additional costs - add-ons, themes & hosting… can add up to an amount that is just as much as Shopify.

2. Design matters

A functional & professional look in the online world is an absolute necessity. And your job to design is much lighter with both Shopify & Woocommerce, but of course there’s still some significant differences:

Shopify’s theme store offers over 70 themes, about 10 of which are free, but with their variations, you will have approximately 100 designs to choose from. They are all polished, modern, trendy, mobile responsive and start from 140$ - which is a one-off payment that you should consider as an investment for your company.

WooCommerce StoreFront allows users to create and sell their own themes, which is why they can offer more than 1000 designs for your store. Designs are also mobile friendly but you’re gonna need to spend time & effort on technical coding to make it shine.


A Shopify store - Easy to use with various themes & features

3. Time & Effort to Launch

Using Shopify will be an ease for all humans on the planet while WooCommerce will entice a slightly more advanced crowd of people. That said, you can set up a store in Shopify in 30mins on average and it’s 3 hours with WooCommerce.

  • Steps to set up a store in Shopify includes: Sign up - Pick a theme - Customize - Add your products. This takes minimally 15 minutes and up to an hour if you want to take time to customize
  • Steps to set up a store in WooCommerce: Install Wordpress & WooCommerce Plug-in - Theme choosing & personalization - Product Upload. The whole process takes about an evening.

WooCommerce - A platform for technical aholics


4. Payment Terms

Both Wordpress and WooCommerce are free, aren’t they? But then you will have to pay for hosting, a theme, a domain name, a few extra extensions and an SSL certificate. Cost can add up and since they’re not so clear upfront, you may end up overspend in comparison to Shopify.

Shopify is all about a one-stop payment plan with clarity on what you pay and the features you get. After 14 free trial days, you will pay at least 29$ monthly for a basic account (still with unlimited products, multiple payment methods) and up to 299$ monthly for advanced features like integrating your own shipping account and an advanced report builder.

Save precious time in planning, coding with a e-commerce platform

5. Sales, Marketing & Operations Functions

In a nutshell, Shopify offers a range of functions to push your sales which are already included in the package, while WooCommerce sells to you each function as a paid plug-in. They both have stunning features for all stages in the customer journey that should soothe all your concerns as owners of an E-commerce site.

They both come with: Unlimited Products, Mobile friendly sites

Shopify functions: You can find all the functions an E-commerce site should have already built in:  A fully-featured mobile app, SEO-ready site structure, site stats and product reports, discount codes, shipping rates calculation, social media integration, product review, credit card payment and many more

WooCommerce functions: Stock levels control, Payments via PayPal, a free Facebook ads & Facebook store extension, and hundreds of plug-ins from developers.

 6. Customer Support

Shopify is renowned for their customer support services, with 24/7 connection to a specialist via email/ online chat/ phone calls who will assist you with any of your issues. They also have an online database of knowledge to search from. 

Meanwhile as an open-source platform, WooCommerce barely has any support person to contact. Nonetheless, there is an in-depth WordPress community with forums where you can ask questions and trillions of internet articles. This should be a better option if you are a technical-headed person who prefers to learn everything yourself. 

 7. WooCommerce vs Shopify: when to use which

 |  Use Shopify if you: 

Want to have 24/7 customer support taking care of your technical concerns

Need to have a website fast with little technical knowledge

Beautiful templates that are easy to drag & drop to personalize

 | Use WooCommerce if you:

Want to build a project of your own desired customization via coding

Build a large-scale E-commerce site that functions for numerous regions

You are an actual tech expert who wants deeper control of your site’s hosting & design


 8. WooCommerce vs Shopify: FAQs

Whose app is a better option?

Answer: Shopify has a ready-made fully functional app feature that comes with the package. While WooCommerce owns a high volume of plug-ins made by developers which makes many exciting features possible.

Can you move your store from Shopify to WooCommerce?

Answer: Absolutely! It’s not really ideal but not impossible either. You can even automate the process to avoid manual work if you really need to do so.

Which platform is more scalable in the long run?

Answer: WooCommerce is more scalable because you have thorough control over your site. While Shopify is quite fixed with its functions.

Can we use WooCommerce or Shopify for free?

Answer: Shopify is free for the first 14 days and then there’s a subscription plan. WooCommerce is free at first but eventually you will have to purchase a myriad of plug-ins, themes, hosting, and domains... so you should really calculate your budgeting plan well before opting for either platform. 

Hope this article has answered most of your queries in an easy-to-digest way. If you still have questions or want to get help with building an e-commerce site, feel free to contact our IT experts and we will offer you top-notch IT support.

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