Shopify and WooCommerce are excellent e-commerce platforms with unique features and capabilities. Many e-commerce practitioners consider each the perfect alternative for the other, but Shopify has clear strengths over WooCommerce in certain areas. And vice versa.
Every online merchant with growth ambitions will choose one of these platforms. BuiltWith, a leading global website tech analysis website, found that 25.5% of the top one million websites by traffic in June 2022 were e-commerce websites. Of these, WooCommerce was the most popular platform at 27%, with Shopify coming second at 20%.
But have you wondered which e-commerce platform is better for Canadian e-commerce websites? We did and compared them based on four criteria: ease of setting up, user experience and support, platform security, and financial considerations of an e-commerce store. Here are the aspects being reviewed below
- Ease of Setting Up and Development
- User Experience and Support
- Platform Capabilities
- Platform Security
- Financial Considerations
Shopify vs. WooCommerce For Canadian E-Commerce
Here are our findings.
1. Ease of Setting Up and Development
Shopify and WooCommerce make it easy to set up your store and start selling. However, Shopify is the clear winner insofar as getting started is concerned, offering a wholesome platform that guides new users through the setup process. This way, new users find essential features at the ready, allowing your store to go live much faster than WooCommerce.
By contrast, WooCommerce is more of a built project than a plug-and-play platform, meaning the new user must decide every detail of their new online store. As such, WooCommerce supports more customization but can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
This difference in the setup process means that WooCommerce requires more build time. However, it also provides more website extensions in the form of plugins. These support more integrations with essential third-party services that extend the operability of your Canadian online store. Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce has also attracted a highly dedicated development community to support its ecosystem, making the world’s leading e-commerce platform more varied and flexible to suit different user needs.
Even then, however, the ease of getting started on Shopify makes it the preferred e-commerce platform for low-tech users.
2. User Experience and Support
You expect the world’s leading online store builders to invest heavily in user experience and customer support, which both Shopify and WooCommerce have. We evaluated the platform’s user experience based on customer support, ease of use, and difficulty in resolving unforeseen issues.
Both platforms have excellent customer support systems. Shopify and WooCommerce provide 24/7 support, with Shopify staff available to resolve your issues around the clock and optimize your sales. While there is no dedicated WooCommerce support staff, its availability through established third parties such as hosting companies like BlueHost means users receive superior customer support services compared to Shopify.
A typical WooCommerce store operator has unfettered access to support staff through live chat, email, support ticket system, and phone. Furthermore, WooCommerce is backed by an expansive knowledge center, including the WordPress developer ecosystem.
Once set up, Shopify is the more straightforward platform to use, with WooCommerce plagued by a steeper learning curve. Being a hosted e-commerce platform, Shopify handles most of the technical requirements of running an online store, allowing the merchant to focus on promoting the business and fulfilling customer orders.
3. Platform Capabilities
Shopify has more features than WooCommerce. Well, this is both true and inaccurate. While Shopify has more e-commerce features than WooCommerce, the latter’s vast library of plugins and third-party extensions make up for this disparity. The difference, however, is that these added plugins cost more and can also impact how customers experience your store.
For example, Shopify has more online store base capabilities included as standard offerings that WooCommerce users must add as plugins. These features are built-in abandoned cart recovery, product discount codes, unlimited store products, and multiple payment options.
While WooCommerce websites can obtain similar capabilities, they require the merchant to add plugins that extend the base functionality of the WooCommerce engine. The downsides to this are plenty, including clunky websites, security threats, and in some occasions, cases of feature incompatibility. These in-built and ready features make Shopify better suited to small and big online stores.
While both platforms support multichannel selling on Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and Facebook, this functionality costs an extra $79 on WooCommerce but is a free integration on Shopify. Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify also supports brick-and-mortar and pop-up stores, giving merchants more options to move their inventory.
4. Platform Security
Shopify is a more secure e-commerce platform than WooCommerce. As a hosted e-commerce website builder, Shopify automatically incorporates several security features into all of its stores. At the same time, individual WooCommerce merchants must ensure security in their respective online stores.
For instance, a new Shopify store comes with an SSL certificate and various Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance. By contrast, a WooCommerce store operator should comply with these requirements or suffer the business losses of noncompliance. As such, users need to source quality SSL providers and set up their store’s PCI-DSS compliance independently.
This difference can be telling. In global e-commerce, high-level platform security encourages customer trust and can therefore be as crucial as the quality of products one sells. Security is a priority for all websites, with global website security and threat monitoring leader Sitelock noting that search engines often block traffic to or warn visitors from insecure websites to protect them from malicious actors on the web. This reduces your pool of potential customers, hurting eventual sales, so availing such a crucial service in-house is a clear win for Shopify.
5. Financial Considerations
A critical factor in the choice between Shopify and WooCommerce is the annual cost of each platform. A WooCommerce merchant incurs lower costs over a year than an operator of a similar-sized Shopify store. WooCommerce is an open-source platform that’s free to use, with its extensions costing just $39 each on average.
WooCommerce pricing is friendlier and more flexible, allowing merchants to unlock more features later on as their stores grow. This makes WooCommerce more affordable than Shopify, even considering the extra cost of plugin upgrades.
Unlike Shopify, the most significant WooCommerce cost items include the domain name, web hosting, security, and some extensions, all of which cost a fraction of the Shopify fees. However, the advantage over Shopify is that most of these costs are scalable, with most essential plugins having free plans to get you started.
By comparison, the hosted Shopify e-commerce platform comes with fixed-priced plans, and more expensive apps are needed to extend its functionality. The basic Shopify plan costs $24 per month and includes basic store reports, 2 staff accounts, and four inventory locations. Users must upgrade to a higher plan to get more capabilities and, in some cases, will still have to buy costly extensions and integrations to access the specific capabilities they need. Such high costs make Shopify restrictive for new store owners with limited financial resources.
Which One Is Right For You?
Ultimately, our team here are BeProSoftware offers Shopify development and WooCoomerce development services. We also offer video tutorials on a monthly subscription basis for DIY scenarios. If you are still confused which platform is right for you, consider scheduling a consultation or contacting us directly.
Each platform has its pros and cons; however, they definitely have different customers. One provides the server hosting for you and a network of support. The other provides a standalone system, which you can customize as needed to fit your specific needs. Our expert developers can help you to navigate the options and get started today.