Shopify vs WooCommerce - Which eCommerce Platform Meets Your Needs
Friday, November 27, 2020Eric Zegarski
Shopify vs WooCommerce - Which eCommerce Platform is Right for You?
Merchants are faced with numerous choices when it comes to picking an eCommerce platform. Two major platforms in the eCommerce Wars are Shopify
. At a glance, both platforms essentially offer the same solution. Whether you choose WooCommerce or Shopify, a proper eCommerce go-to market strategy will allow you to succeed. Each platform has its own set of pros and cons. Your deciding factor should be which platform fits the needs of your business vs its share price index on the stock market. Join us as we dive deep into what makes Shopify and WooCommerce unique and what type of merchant is better suited for each platform.
Shopify is the market leader when it comes to eCommerce platforms. They always have the eCommerce community’s attention whenever they roll out a new feature. Shopify makes it easy for eCommerce newbies to get started with an introductory solution starting at $29. Shopify’s library of themes makes it easy to get started without having to rely on extensive tech knowledge.
Shopify has a nifty feature that auto generates sitemap.xml and robo.txt files for you. In addition, the platform supports canonical URL tags. Extra SEO tools like ALT Tags, meta descriptions, and title tags are also native to Shopify. Recently Shopify has updated URL structure options.
For content creators, Shopify does offer a native blog feature too. Similar to functionalities you might expect in WordPress, merchants can change author info, categorize posts, and adjust meta descriptions. This feature is great for helping your site rank for keywords and topics related to your products. If you have an extensive blog on WordPress right now, migration might be challenging, as it will require you to ha a subdomain.
Product Search Capabilities
Your customers what to find what they are looking for FAST! Shopify’s native search feature is a little lackluster. Great search engines take things like spelling mistakes into account, which is something Shopify struggles with. In you have an extensive catalogue, then this might become a problem. There are several apps you can find in the Shopify App Store that can help improve your search capabilities.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Online retailers lose a lot of revenue from abandoned carts. Bringing these potential customers back in an effective manner can allow you to recoup a lot of potential lost revenue.
The most cost-effective version of Shopify does not support native cart recovery emails from Shopify. Even with the advanced plans, you can only send one follow-up email. This email is also sent based on time triggers that Shopify has pre-determined. If you want to enroll these abandoned cart users into a nurture stream, you’ll need help from an email marketing solution.
Discounts & Customer Loyalty
Shopify has a lot of versatile options when it comes to running discount-based promotions. Shopify allows you to add basic coupons directly in the platform and use them to create targeted campaigns. Merchants can use either monetary or percentage-based discounts. Shopify’s easy to use UX allows you to set up a discount in under 5 minutes!
When it comes to loyalty points, Shopify merchants need assistance from apps. Just like Shopify many of these apps have a tiered pricing structure. Leading loyalty points solution providers also have native integrations with other major lead gen or marketing apps.
Offering Product Variants
No matter which tier you start with, Shopify has all the necessary tools needed to get started with selling online. The platform allows you to have product variants (colours, sizes, styles). These variants can exist without having to build additional product pages. Creating a variant is easy and usually takes under 2 minutes. In addition, you can have different pricing based on SKUs and variants. Offering popular bespoke customizations like monograms requires additional help from apps.
With the Advanced Shopify plan, you can manage a multi-channel strategy directly from your Shopify store. Shopify has native integrations with social media platforms like Facebook
and marketplaces like Amazon. However integrating with Google Trusted Stores
has been historically a challenge for Shopify merchants.
Shopify x Amazon
Despite some choice words Shopify’s had about Amazon’s practices, they make working with Amazon
a breeze. Shopify allows merchants to set up Amazon Pay in a 3 step process. Merchants just must open an Amazon Pay account, complete the tax interview, activate the feature in Shopify.
Upselling and Cross-Selling Features
Upselling and cross-selling are a great way to increase your average order value. Unfortunately, with Shopify, you will need assistance from apps that cost extra.
Real Time Shipping and Tracking
Customers love getting updates as to where their order is post purchase. Offering real time tracking updates allows customers to get excited about their purchase arriving. In order to offer this feature, Shopify merchants need to invest in the top tier of Shopify.
Shopify Themes and App Market Place
Shopify has a plethora of different themes you can choose from to make your shop feel truly yours. You can find these in the Shopify marketplace
. They have a mix of free and paid themes merchants can choose from. All of these themes are optimized to perform well on both desktop and mobile.
As discussed before, a lot of functionality merchants need can only be achieved through apps. Shopify has a marketplace loaded with different apps. More often than not, you’ll find multiple app solutions for the same function. As merchant, this gives you the freedom to pick the solutions provider that meets you needs. A major downside of these apps is that they can quickly increase your total cost of ownership drastically, since a lot of them have tiered pricing.
In recent years, governments have been cracking down on eCommerce businesses not collecting tax on eCommerce purchases. Just in the USA alone the billions of dollars in taxes were not being collected annually. Shopify has an automatic tax calculator for international countries. However, if you’re looking to be complaint with state taxes in the USA, you’ll need help from apps like Avalara
Shopify has a low cost of entry. With their entry-level price plan, and a slightly nicer theme, you can run your online business with and initial investment of around $550 USD in the first year. For someone looking to get started with eCommerce, Shopify is a great start.
In the eCommerce world, WooCommerce is often glanced over in favor of the big 3 (Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento). WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform that’s built for WordPress. It lets you sell physical and digital products as well as affiliated products from certain marketplaces. WooCommerce also integrates with hundreds of solutions, including Facebook, Sage, Zapier, MailChimp, ShipStation, Square, Stripe, Fulfilment by Amazon, and more.
WooCommerce has a lot of nifty features to allow you to supercharge your store’s SEO. WooCommerce piggybacks on a lot of great SEO features that WordPress sites get to enjoy. You have complete control over SEO data for each of your products, including essentials like page titles, meta descriptions and URLs.
WooCommerce also has blogging capabilities due to piggybacking on WordPress. It also allows for the use of fantastic WordPress SEO tools like Yoast SEO.
Among its features, you will find a powerful Search Engine that powers front and back end searches, live search and filters, automated indexing, search reports based on real-time data that supply priceless business insights and invaluable statistics. This essential extension also helps to control and improve the relevance of search results and so much more.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Out of the box, WooCommerce has very limited options for cart recovery. You can enable the abandoned cart emails to be triggered for:
- All products – any product that is added to the cart will trigger this specific email
- Specific category – any product from that specific that is added to the cart will trigger this email
- Specific product – the email will only trigger is this specific product is added to the cart
These options allow you to create a diverse set of follow-up emails across all products you sell. However, any additional functionally will require assistance from plug-ins that are available for WooCommerce.
Product Variants in WooCommerce
Variable products are a product type in WooCommerce that lets you offer a set of variations on a product, with control over prices, stock, image and more for each variation. They can be used for a product like a shirt, where you can offer a large, medium and small and in different colours. Adding variants in WooCommerce is easy:
- Step 1. Set the Product Type
- Step 2. Add Attributes to Use for Variations
- Step 3. Add Variations
Step by step instructions can be found here
. In addition, WooCommerce supports many plug-ins that aid with adding product variants
Out of the box, WooCommerce does not have native multi-channel functionality. With the help of plug-ins, WooCommerce can connect to other online marketplaces. Adding multiple sales channels can increase your reach and help you service customers better. Be sure to use inventory management software to minimize manual data entry and you’ll enjoy a more diversified, broad-reaching revenue stream.
Amazon x WooCommerce
WooCommerce does not have a native integration with Amazon. However, through one of their tech partners they do offer a free plug-in that offers this feature. Not only is setup straightforward, this free extension:
- Lists all of the products on your WooCommerce store on Amazon and eBay in minutes
- Creates new Amazon and eBay listings individually or in bulk
- Links existing Amazon and eBay products to items on your WooCommerce store
- Sets pricing rules, fulfillment rules, and product details for Amazon and eBay listings based on existing WooCommerce products
- Syncs inventory, orders, pricing, and product details in real-time
WooCommerce Payment Processors
WooCommerce gives you the freedom to choose from a collection of over 100 different payment gateways to use as your payment processor. Therefore, if you have a negotiated premium rate with your gateway, you can take advantage of using popular gateways like:
Upselling and Cross-Selling Features
Good news!! For this feature, WooCommerce does have a native out of the box solution. This feature allows for the display of products you wish to either cross-sell or up-sell to based on what product a customer views or adds to their cart. There are plug-ins that offer more advanced cross-sell and up-sell functionalities too.
Real Time Shipping and Tracking
Customers love getting updates as to where thier order is post purchase. Offering real time tracking updates allows customers to get excited about thier purchase arriving. Merchants can have real-time shipping rates by using applications like ShipperHQ
WooCommerce Themes and App Market Place
WooCommerce has a collection of different themes you can choose from to make your store feel truly yours. You can find these in the WooCommerce theme marketplace. They have a mix of free and paid themes merchants can choose from. All of these themes are optimized to perform well on both desktop and mobile. WooCommerce’s theme shop has themes designed for specific industries like pharmaceutical and fashion companies
As discussed before, a lot of extra functionality that merchants need can only be achieved through apps. WooCommerce has a marketplace loaded with different apps. You’ll find multiple app solutions for the same function. As merchant, this gives you the freedom to pick the solutions provider that meets you needs. One of the major downsides of these apps is that they can quickly increase your total cost of ownership.
WooCommerce has features that allow you to set up which items are tax free and which ones are not. In recent years, governments have been cracking down on eCommerce businesses not collecting tax on eCommerce purchases. Just in the USA alone the billions of dollars in taxes were not being collected annually. WooCommerce has an automatic tax calculator for international countries. However, if you’re looking to be complaint with state taxes in the USA, you’ll need help from apps like Avalara
WooCommerce is a great eCommerce platform for those already on WordPress. It’s a free extension that allows you to easily monetize any WordPress site. WooCommerce offers an extremely customizable front end with tools like Elementor. It’s simplified UX makes it easy to manage your shop. With its low cost of entry, it’s a great solution for eCommerce newbies. However, it’s not just for emerging brands looking to get online with eCommerce. Large multi-national organizations use WooCommerce to power their eCommerce stores, both Singer
use WooCommerce for their Australian websites. In addition, Orange
whose amplifiers have been used by artists like Jimmy Page, Geddy Lee and Steve Harris (Led Zepplin, Rush, Iron Maiden) power their global eCommerce site with WooCommerce.
However, every single function that is not native to WooCommerce requires aid from plug-ins. WooCommerce develops some plug-ins in house and other are from trusted third-party parties. Reliance on these plug-ins can increase your total cost of ownership, as some of them are not free. Furthermore, an overabundance of plug-ins adds a lot of extra code to your site. As a result, this might have an impact on your page load times.
What Merchants Are Saying About Shopify and WooCommerce
“Shopify changed our business. We switched from Magento to Shopify in 2014. The money we used to spend on developers, hosting, and payment gateways could now be spent on marketing and new hires. Our business became profitable shortly after switching to Shopify and we can do most of the UX and site design in house. It's affordable and their customer service is incredible. Very helpful and hands on. I recommend Shopify to anyone starting or growing their e-commerce business.”
“I love that WooCommerce allows the owner full control over the functionality and DESIGN of their online store. It's fully integratable with other services including Printful, Facebook's shopping feature and more.”
The Final Verdict on Shopify and WooCommerce
Both platforms are a reliable eCommerce solution. Whether you choose Shopify or WooCommerce, you will succeed online. However, Shopify is the clear choice for anyone who wants to scale their business fast. They make it easy to set up payment, products, and your UX. They have an extensive app library that allows you to add functionality with ease. In addition, for those that are novices to eCommerce, Shopify has a great 24/7 guru hotline that can point you in the right direction. They also have a dedicated user group in their forum section too.
WooCommerce is better suited for existing brands who already have an existing site on WordPress or those getting started with eCommerce. In addition, WooCommerce allows you to bring your own payment processor. Therefore, if you’re already using Sqaure or Amazon Pay, you can continue to use those. Furthermore, WooCommerce has more front-end customization options than Shopify that don’t require you to know code. Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce has a free version merchants can use and a premium PRO for those experiencing high volumes.
Whether You Choose Shopify or WooCommerce, eBridge’s iPaaS Can Help
Our iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) is universal, meaning there are pre-built connectors for leading eCommerce platforms
, ERP solutions
, and major EDI trading partners
Integration also allows you to focus on running your business. With your commerce systems connected, your team won’t be bogged down with manual data entry. You’ll avoid the costly errors that come from manual data entry. In addition, you’ll have a better snapshot of your business, be able to fulfill orders faster, and save money.
eBridge is hosted on Microsoft Azure, therefore ensuring an almost 99.9% uptime and industry leading security. With an integration solution from eBridge, you can ensure that your commerce network is connected and communicating data bi-directionally.