July 07, 2021
  • E-commerce

Shopify vs Woocommerce?

Shopify and WooCommerce are the two most popular eCommerce platforms in the world. If you’re planning to start an online shop then it’s likely you’ll be choosing between them.

Shopify is currently the most used platform, while WooCommerce is the fastest growing. Neither is better or worse, rather they each have pros and cons and by understanding them you can make the best choice for your business.

At Rock, we have specialist developers working with both platforms to give clients choice. We’d prefer to assess a clients’ needs first, then look at which platform provides a better fit instead of forcing every eCommerce opportunity into a similar frame or model. Our goal is to create unique, user-friendly and memorable eCommerce experiences and that means having the full range of tools at our fingertips.

This decision of where to start is important – it determines how a business will move forward digitally. When we’re helping clients make the decision between Shopify or WooCommerce we’re not just thinking about their eCommerce business now, we’re taking into account its trajectory. Getting it right from the outset will save time and money in the future.

What are the key differences between Shopify and WooCommerce?

In a nutshell, Shopify is simpler and more convenient, whereas WooCommerce is more flexible and scalable.

  • Shopify is an ‘all-in-one’ solution’ – a cloud-based and hosted platform. This means your online store lives on Shopify’s servers, with security, hosting, and even technical assistance all inclusive in their monthly subscription cost. However, there’s harder limits when it comes to design customisation.

 

  • WooCommerce is an open-source, eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. It’s self-hosted, but if you’re working with Rock we can host for you. The open-source aspect means that the source code can be freely modified. This makes WooCommerce significantly more technical than Shopify but also endlessly flexible and scalable.

 

Here’s one of our eCommerce specialists, Naeim’s, take:

“Shopify is good because of its security. Also there’s no need to deal with the server side as it’s hosted by Shopify. With a simple monthly fee you can launch as many as products as you like, and the site still loads quickly. It’s perfect for the simple shop, but the main issue is when you want to take a shop to the next level – then you need to pay more for add-on apps and that increases the monthly fee. Woocommerce is the better option for more intricate, complex or unique shops that require greater customisation.”

Jake, another of our eCommerce experts, says: 

“WooCommerce is also great in regards to integration. It can easily plugin into a range of other CMS’s (content management systems) like WordPress. I do personally think Shopify can be really powerful for customisation and design, once you dig a bit deeper and start messing with the actual code.”

Both Jake and Naeim’s comments reflect the point of view that neither platform is better or worse, they’re simply different. 

How do Shopify and WooCommerce differ in cost?

With Shopify you do pay for the convenience of the “all-in-one” model, so generally WooCommerce will come out as the cheaper option. 

That said, Rock Agency’s Founder, Cam, suggests that although the dollar amount might be greater with Shopify, the value of the product is worth it – “It’s a more robust eComm tool with better reporting.” 

The cost of a customer’s transaction through your eCommerce shop is another factor to consider. Shopify has their own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, that costs 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. But, one of Shopify’s biggest criticisms is that if you want to use a third-party payment gateway, like Paypal for instance, you’re charged another 2% on top of the transaction fees, which is steep. 

With WooCommerce you’ll still need your payment gateway as an add-on, and the gateway will charge a transaction fee. However, WooCoommerce doesn’t charge you a percentage on your store transactions on top of the gateway fee, which is a big plus.

Adding it all up

Shopify and WooCommerce do very similar things, very differently. 

If you were wanting to set up an online shop alone and didn’t have a whole lot of technical nous, then Shopify would come out the hands-down winner. But, working with an agency like Rock gives you that advantage of choice and of creating an eCommerce site that gets noticed.

Whichever platform you end up choosing there’s huge advantage to working with professionals who know what they’re doing in digital – who can master the breadth of opportunity in WooCommerce, or get deeper into the customisation possibilities in Shopify. 

When you consider that 75 percent of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design; and that this judgement is formed in the space of 0.05 seconds, then you can’t underestimate the importance of the choices made in establishing your eCommerce site. 

To learn more about Rock Agency’s ethos on eCommerce visit our eCommerce Design & Development page.

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