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WooCommerce or Shopify Which is the Best Ecommerce Platform in 2023?

Taking business online has been a game-changer for several businesses with sales from e-commerce websites having reached 5.7 trillion globally in 2023, it is believed that this is the high time to sell online.

With the festive season around the corner and shoppers globally gearing up to purchase for their loved ones, you as a professional don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to grab a fair share of the pie. The best approach to establishing your online business is to choose the best e-commerce platform that will not only represent your products but boost your sales tenfold gradually.

Needless to say, several other factors such as creating the best online store design, adopting an integrated online marketing strategy, developing offers for the target audience, and so on will play a crucial role.

However, the core of an online business depends on choosing the best e-commerce platform to develop your online store. In this regard Woocommerce and Shopify could be convenient options for you; with WooCommerce being the most popular e-commerce platform in the world. With 6.5 million plus websites run by WooCommerce and the WooCommerce plugin has been downloaded more than 211 million times so far.

On the other hand, Shopify is one of the most usable e-commerce platforms in the world with 2.1 million active users, it also offers an inbuilt website hosting service enabling website owners to host the website without relying on a third-party hosting provider making their life easier.

Apart from that, there are several other parameters that you need to take into account before choosing between WooCommerce and Shopify. Some of the major parameters are as follows –

1. Design and Development WooCommerce vs Shopify –

WooCommerce Pros and Cons Related to Design and Development:

Pros: Designing is always easy with WooCommerce compared to Shopify. Woocommerce is the free e-commerce store development plugin of the WordPress content management system, which is an open-source or free CMS.

The biggest advantage of WooCommerce is that it is completely editable. You can customize anything as per your requirements and desires with WooCommerce. You can even use integrated web page plugins such as Elementor or Divi to get customized designs.

Moreover, WooCommerce offers a huge number of free themes and plugins that you can avail of to customize your online store design and enhance the functionality of your online store. Woocommece has over 55,000 themes to choose from.

Cons: WooCommerce is not believed to be conducive for new users lacking technical know-how. Its theme customization requires a bit of technical knowledge. You also need to pay for a third-party web hosting service to make the Woocommerce store live. Apart from that, WooCommerce despite offering more flexibility concerning customization. The process of executing those customizations is complex and tedious.

Shopify Pros and Cons related to design and development:

Pros:  Shopify is a complete e-commerce solution developed by Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake when they were not happy with their e-commerce store for snowboarding equipment. Shopify has been developed solely for creating e-commerce stores with 125 paid themes and 12 free themes.

Shopify is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for e-commerce store creation, which offers complementary tools and features for multichannel selling and dropshipping, allowing you to sell directly from your website, without relying on multi-vendor sites like Amazon or eBay at your retail store. Moreover, you can also extend the scope of selling your products on social media and third-party marketplaces with Shopify.

Cons: Shopify is not free, rather it is way too expensive, it comes with a cost of almost $24 per month. Most of the apps and add-ons of Shopify for functionality enhancement are very costly and come with recurring expenses. Although Shopify allows the user to have a free trial of most of the apps for a week later one has to purchase the apps to integrate into the store.

Moreover, Shopify charges fees for using a third-party payment system. It also restricts the designer from customizing some of the areas to avoid unwanted manipulation, which limits the control of Store design with Shopify.

 Apart from that, Shopify offers a limited number of themes compared to WooCommerce, and Shopify premium themes are almost 10 times costlier than WooCommerce premium themes.

2. Website Security WooCommerce vs Shopify –

WooCommerce Pros and Cons Related to Website Security:

Pros: WooCommerce offers several security plugins. Moreover, since it allows hosting on a third-party hosting provider you can also avail of a good hosting plan with high-end security features. Needless to say, you can further get third-party security plugins and integrate with WooCommerce with ease.

Cons: WooCommerce’s general security features are fragile and since it allows customization through several free plugins, it may further put your online store at risk. You need developers to get the security features installed on WooCommerce further adding to your overall budget.

Shopify Pros and Cons Related to Website Security:

Pros: Shopify comes with a strong security system, which comes with some built-in security features including an SSL certificate. Moreover, with PCI DSS Level 1 certification, Shopify ensures reduced threats of fraud and stolen credit card information by meeting the security guidelines as a company while accepting, storing, processing, or transmitting sensitive information related to transactions through credit cards, without being influenced by the size of the transactions.

Cons: There are no such drawbacks as regards security with Shopify, however, Shopify could become vulnerable to cyber threats if the old plugins were not updated regularly.

3. Website Management WooCommerce vs Shopify –

WooCommerce Pros and Cons Related to Website Management:

Pros: With a flexible backend system and editing tools WooCommerce enables you to upload new products and edit the existing products, this complete control over your inventory is a plus for WooCommerce.

Moreover, WooCommerce supports plenty of payment gateway including Square, PayPal, Stripe, and so on, in addition to that, it also allows a slew of regional payment systems to function smoothly making life easier for you if you are targeting local customers.

Cons: Some payment gateway can only run on WooCommerce only after you purchase an additional WooCommerce extension. WooCommerce doesn’t have an in-house customer support team, so, if anything goes wrong you need to rely on available forums and groups of WooCommerce developers.

Shopify Pros and Cons Related to Website Management:

Pros: Through Shopify, you can manage your inventory by uploading and editing products similar to WooCommerce, it also allows you to prepare reports, track products, enable alerts for the stocks, and so on.

Shopify has a 24/7 hours of customer support team to help online store owners. It has its inbuilt payment gateway which is completely user-friendly and requires no further configuration before using.

Shopify also supports a slew of third-party payment systems. Shopify also has a mobile app version where you can manage the website and business through your mobile device.

Cons: If you want to use a third-party payment system with Shopify you need to pay additional fees for the same, which usually amounts to 2 percent, 1 percent, or 0.5 percent for the Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify plans, respectively.

As regards product upload, unlike WooCommerce Shopify has a restriction of adding attributes to each product Shopify allows only 100 variants or attributes (like color, size, etc.) and three total options per product. If you need to use more variations you can do it by using a third-party Shopify app. Shopify has no email hosting of its own.

4. More Search Engine Friendly WooCommerce vs Shopify –

WooCommerce Pros and Cons Related to Search Engine-Friendly Behaviour:

Pros: WooCommerce offers multiple plugins to support SEO and its codes are optimized for SEO. You can add a meta description and meta title, you can even customize the URLs of each page, which offers additional benefits to positive SEO factors.

Moreover, the inbuilt SEO plugins of WooCommerce such as Yoast or Rank Math can offer you tips to improve your website’s chances of appearing on search engines.

Cons: WooCommerce page loading speed is not that great which may affect the user experience.

Shopify Pros and Cons Related to Search Engine-Friendly Behaviour:

Pros: Shopify also provides options to add SEO-friendly information to your store such as meta title and description. It possesses some apps for performing SEO, which you can purchase from the Shopify app store.

Above all, the page loading speed of Shopify is much higher, which plays a vital role when a client navigates the store. A good page loading speed always inspires the client to spend a longer time in the store through a better user experience, thus increasing the prospect of product purchase by the client.

Cons: SEO plugins of Shopify are not free, unlike WooCommerce you need to subscribe to the plugin by paying a good amount. Due to its restrictions to customize certain sections, website owners find it difficult to operate the backend to add SEO values.

5. Website Maintenance WooCommerce vs Shopify –

WooCommerce Pros and Cons Related to Website Maintenance:

Pros: WooCommerce is cost-efficient, and the free plugins are easy to update and straightforward. The smaller stores require a monthly effort of 2-3 hours to maintain.

Cons: The free plugins and themes are fragile and can break down in no time if the store owners fail to update them on time. Weak security systems can make the store vulnerable, which requires additional effort.

There are some complex tasks involved in updating a WooCommerce store that call for technical know-how. You need to employ additional effort to renew the domain and hosting subscription for WooCommerce.

Shopify Pros and Cons Related to Website Maintenance:

Pros: Shopify is easy to maintain with all the powerful apps, which offers updated versions on time. No additional effort is required to renew the domain and hosting account. Shopify comes with a 24×7 hours of support team. Requires little or no technical knowledge for site maintenance.

Cons: Most of the apps and tools are way too expensive. Almost all apps come with a recurring cost. It also becomes challenging for the store owner to juggle between importing orders, updating inventory, updating order status, including other repetitive tasks regularly. Options for design customizations are limited which hinders the further scope of proving the user’s experience.

Which one is the Winner WooCommerce or Shopify?

There are always some high points or some challenges with either of the e-commerce platforms. If you are tight on budget WooCommerce will be the best platform for you. However, if you have concerns over website security and want more control over the design part then Shopify will be a more viable option to go for. However, it is always better to hire a professional team with a developer and consultant in both cases to reap maximum benefit from either of the online store development platforms.