Both Shopify and WordPress are popular options when it comes to building your very own online, ecommerce store.
While both are tried and tested platforms for a successful online store, both have their own sets of pros and cons.
In short, the main difference between both is that Shopify is an online paid service, popularly known as SaaS (Software as a Service), whereas WordPress is a stand-alone, open source software that anyone can download and install for free.
First, to set up an online, ecommerce WordPress store visible to customers, you need to get the following things done:
– Buy a domain and get web hosting which is needed to install wordpress.
– Choose a website theme, pagebuilder, essential plugins for SEO, social media integration, etc.
– For ecommerce features and functionality, you need a plugin like WooCommerce.
– Finally, complete the configuration process for your store such as setting up store details, payment gateway integrations, products, and so on.
– Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce solution that allows you to build a fully functional eCommerce store from the ground up. No need for professional designers and developers.
– Shopify plans start from Basic $29 to Advanced $299 with a 14-day free trial.
– You can use it to sell goods, services, products (digital and physical) and even dropship products.
– Every new Shopify site gets a custom subdomain for free eg. YOUR-STORE-NAME.shopify.com.
Great for startups and small businesses to create online selling platforms.
WooCommerce integrates well with WordPress and there is a large community of users, designers and programmers from whom you can be inspired to redesign, recode your website.
Freedom to choose from a wide range of high-quality, professional themes.
Knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP can help customize various sections like header, footer, checkout, product pages, so on.
WordPress is known for its diverse range of plugins that help customise your site.
WooCommerce itself is a plugin that makes WordPress an ecommerce platform. Others popular plugins include:-
1. Yoast SEO for website and content optimization
2. WooCommerce MailChimp for email marketing
3. WooCommerce Google Analytics to track store performance.
4. Elementor for making and designing pages.
WooCommerce is a fantastic platform to sell both physical and digital products.
You have options to add products regularly and set different product types.
Inventory has a simple WordPress centric interface to keep track of stock levels and day-to-day inventory.
Benefits from WordPress’s responsive and mobile-friendly designs and themes without the need of having to create new websites from scratch.
Wide variety of paid and free extensions to add extra functionality to your web store to boost customer experience without writing code.
These include extensions for store management, product page, checkout, shopping cart, better search, payments, shipping, and reporting.
For SEO, you have several WordPress plugins and extensions you can choose based on your precise needs to optimize your site.
Some popular ones include Yoast SEO, All In One SEO, Rank Math.
These plugins and extensions undergo regular updates which makes them secure and efficient.
WooCommerce prioritizes privacy and protection during transactions to create a trustworthy and secure environment for its users.
Frequent updates for security issues make sure your store is aligned with the newer versions of WordPress.
With geolocation support, you can accept multiple currencies from people across the globe.
Having multiple payment gateways and shipping options is very attractive for customers living in various locations and countries.
From a customer’s point of view, this is very convenient and can help boost sales and revenue.
Although WooCommerce helps people build web stores, the platform is not a robust ecommerce content management system or CMS.
It lacks some essential features that make store management easier.
Most of the themes and features to improve customer experience cost money, which will increase your project overheads.
Although regular updates are great for optimal security, it can sometimes cause headaches to users.
Having too many updates can make WordPress time consuming for ecommerce.
Setting up auto-updates may seem to do the trick but may cause clashes with your themes and plugins if they don’t support it.
Having outdated plugins can also interfere with the healthy functioning of your site.
For people with no prior web development experience, WordPress web design, development, and maintenance can be challenging.
Since WooCommerce offers minimal maintenance support you’ll have to rely on online forums for solutions and have a fair level of web coding knowledge to customize your site.
WooCommerce users often have to install many plugins to add functionalities.
Several plugins take up a lot of memory, slow down website loading speed and give average performance.
Some incompatible or outdated plugins can interfere with your website code and can even crash it.
Make sure you evaluate the pros and cons of a plugin before downloading it.
Shopify has 10 free themes and 64 premium themes, starting from $140.
These themes are mobile responsive, professionally-designed and are available in different styles to match your brand best.
It is said that one in ten customers will wait for only three seconds for a page to load before they abandon it.
This is why Shopify keeps their website load speeds blazing fast.
Shopify updates are automatic so there is no need to worry about outdated features.
In terms of security, Shopify provides an SSL certificate and hires experts to keep the store hack-proof.
This is needed for multiple payment providers to keep checkouts fast and secure for customers.
Shopify is level-1 PCI compliant, which is needed for the security of your customers’ credit card data.
One of Shopify’s biggest USPs is its app store which contains over 1900 plugins and apps for Marketing, Conversion, Store Design, Store Management, Shipping & Delivery, etc.
These include mostly paid ones with free trials but with a little digging you can find free ones too.
Shopify also provides a mobile app for Android and iOS which has all your data synced with Shopify.
Through the mobile dashboard you can fulfill orders, manage inventory, keep track of the store analytics and email or call customers.
One of Shopify’s most overwhelming but advantageous features is its built-in analytics to keep track of your store, including customer behavior, stock levels, and conversion tracking.
The detailed analytics also lets you keep track of online store sessions, products, total sales, returning customer rate, and average order value.
You get reports features that include product reports, traffic/referral reports, export reports.
Shopify’s efficient customer service is also one of the main reasons why customers love the platform.
You get direct access to:
Massive database of FAQs
Phone support with a knowledgeable rep on the other side.
Shopify can accommodate store owners’ expanding needs by being efficient enough to handle sudden traffic spurts or steadily increasing traffic over time.
No need to worry about changing or redesigning your store due to this.
Shopify gives you several subscription plans to choose from based on your needs.
The basic plan starts from $29/month with limited features, which is not cheap for an ecommerce platform.
With regards to payment gateways, Shopify does support multiple platforms but if you don’t use Shopify Payments, you’ll have to pay an additional transaction fee on top of the payment processor fee (PayPal or Stripe).
Even Though Shopify is customizable, it has some limitations.
You’ll have to learn how to do Shopify Liquid coding which is not something everyone might be up for.
Shopify users don’t get an email hosting feature, which is why you can’t host a domain-based email address like [email protected].
An alternative to this is email forwarding which will forward all emails sent to your domain-based address (in this case [email protected]) to your regular email account.
Shopify’s search feature is not as efficient as you would like it to be.
For example, when you go search for jeans, you’ll see a listing for jeans. However, you won’t be able to narrow down your search to view “light wash jeans.”
Although WordPress is mainly a blogging platform, you can obtain ecommerce features with plugins such as WooCommerce.
– If you already have a wordpress site and are familiar with its interface and working, you’ll have no problem working with WooCommerce as it uses the same admin panel. Overall, there won’t be much of a learning curve.
– If you already have a wordpress site and want to keep costs to a minimum by not investing more funds in a new ecommerce platform.
-You consider yourself a tech savvy person who is okay with experimenting with source code and won’t need customer support most times.
Shopify is a tailor-made, out-of-the box ecommerce solution for anyone building an online store.
You don’t need to be entirely familiar with the eCommerce business aspects such as inventory, taxes, shipping settings, and so on. Shopify handles all these aspects for you!
– You have no prior experience with building websites and want to launch a high quality eCommerce store quickly.
– You don’t have the necessary design, coding, web development skills and don’t want to hire professionals for your store.
– Want to use it to integrate your online store with your offline on-location store.
– Want to rely on customer support for technical issues.