Maybe someone like my friend and I, we hesitated in choosing WooCommerce and Shopify when we were planning to build a online shop to sell our T-Shirts. Which one is better? It’s a hard question that any general comparison is partial, although finally we have built our online shop by WooCommerce, I still want to talk about my opinion after I compared these two E-Commerce solutions, you will know which is better for you.
WooCommerce is a powerful and open source WordPress plugin platform that you can use it for free. After you installed it on your WordPress website, it will easily convert your website to a simple online shop, and of course if you have high expectations for web design and user experience, you have to specifically customize a WooCommerce-friendly theme, or purchase a suitable WooCommerce Themes in some marketplaces, like Themeforest or Mojo Marketplace.
The most noteworthy is that there are many very useful WooCommerce extensions can help you to promote your products and enhance the practicality. For example, if you want to create a hotel reservation website, WooCommerce Bookings is a amazing extensions that allows you to sell your time or date based bookings, adding a new product type(bookable product) to your WooCommerce site. Perfect for those wanting to offer appointments, services or rentals, and of course you need to pay $249.00–$449.00 for the license. There are plenty of extenssions on WooThemes and Codecanyon with a variety of features and prices that you can choose.
Compare to the free WooCommerce plugin, Shopify is a paid SAAS service, as you can see in their prices page, the cheapest plan is $9/month, it’s only for get the Shopify buy button and create shop on Facebook, but no the standard online store ready. So, if you want to build a online shop just like WooCommerce does, at least you need to choose the basic plan with $29/month, or the other plans for your business.
So why not use WooCommerce for free? You may ask. In my opinion, the biggest difference is that shopify is focus on the service, it’s not only a store builder like WooCommerce. Let’s say the basic 24/7 support, file storage and Shopify Plus for Enterprise-grade. Especially, the Shopify POS is absolutely awesome for the retail shop keeper, just like they said “Accept payments in person with Shopify POS and keep your inventory in sync with your online store.”, sounds cool!
Additionally, Shopify hosted their own theme store and app store. They also provides many high quality free or premium themes and apps, so the development resources are not lost to WooCommerce platform, although WooCommerce rely on a very large WordPress community, Shopify is also growing fast, and their biggest advantage is ONE-SITE SERVICE! (BTW, is it possible to build a E-Commerce SAAS like Shopify by WooCommerce? Just imagine.)
What to consider before you choose?
Please starting from your budget, the level of development or marketing skill and the product profit margins, find a balance between them.
1. Comparing the cost
If you create a self-hosted online shop by WooCommerce, the only one cost is buy a webhosting, let’s say bluehost, if you buy 1 year, the charge is $5.95 x 12 = $71.4 Domain name is free.
For the basic plan of Shopify, the charge is $348 per year, and you have to register a domain name on godaddy, the general price is about $12/year, if you use coupon code, the price may be very low. So the total charge is less than $370.
2. Good at development or not?
If you are good at PHP and WordPress development, no doubt that there are more imagination space and degrees of freedom if you host the online shop based on WordPress and WooCommerce. If not, or you don’t want to spend too much time on hacking code and just want to focus on marketing, well, Shopify is best if you’ve enough budget. Like I mentioned in the above paragraph, Shopify POS is a practical service especially if you are a retail shop keeper.
3. Seriously think about your marketing skills and product profit margins
The marketing senior can ignore this section. But for the marketing beginners like me, I suppose that I can earn the $10 per sell, it means I have to get 3 sales per month at least, then I can save the cost. Sounds pessimistic, but in a fiercely competitive occupation, it would not be surprising. That’s why I think product profit margins is a important consideration.
We are planning to buy a lite plan on shopify only for the facebook shop in order to extend to the mobile shopping field, you know the mobile internet is more and more popular, and we host the standard online shop based on WooCommcerce, we are not sure how the effect is, but like anything, practice makes perfect.
What do you think of it? I’m so pleased to hear your opinions below and dicuss with each other.