Are you planning to launch an ecommerce store and struggling to decide whether you should use Shopify or WooCommerce?
Both come with their own strengths, which can create a fantastic online shop for you and your customers. But deciding which option to go for can be difficult, considering both are hugely popular platforms and everyone’s business objectives are different.
Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce platform and provides more than 170+ professional, mobile-ready website design schemes that enable businesses to quickly begin selling online, without having to worry about the more technical aspects of creating a website such as coding, hosting and server management.
WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce plugin built for WordPress and therefore is customisable, with easy to build extensions. It seems like fighting talk between the two contenders, right?
Well, it’s not really a question of which one is better as they are both very powerful, providing assurance to sellers in their own way. But determining which one is right for you will depend on your circumstances.
A few things that are worth considering first:
- Budget – The cost of starting a fully functional ecommerce store
- Ease of use – It should be easy to use even for absolute beginners
- Payment Methods – It needs to support multiple payment methods (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, etc)
- Integrations – Number of services and third-party tools you can integrate to grow your business
- Scalability – The platform should be able to scale as your business grows
First things first, let’s look at the benefits of Shopify
We all know how important the design of a website is, if people don’t like the look of your website they won’t buy from you – it’s as simple as that. We are constantly competing in the modern world to get our customers’ attention, so your website needs to be clean, slick and smart.
Shopify offers many different design themes that allow you to easily customise the look and feel of your online store. It also makes it easier to change most design options on your site, including colour and style. This means you can create your own personalised online shop which fits perfectly with your brand identity. Though, if you find that your chosen theme doesn’t quite offer everything you need in terms of design and functionality, our in-house team of Shopify developers are on hand to add those extra special flourishes.
Shopify also allows you to manage your store on the go, straight from your mobile, and its app market offers you a wide range of possibilities to add new functions onto your store. This includes, customer wishlists, loyalty programmes and review sections, to name a few. However, it’s worth noting although there’s a lot to choose from and many apps are free, over half are chargeable.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
With 69% of online carts being abandoned by users, it’s vital that you find a way of enticing your customers back to the checkout page so they can complete their purchase. Shopify’s nifty inbuilt abandoned cart recovery feature allows you to send automatic emails to remind customers of any items they have left in their cart so you can gently nudge them back to checkout and pay.
Quick and easy to use
You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy your goods and this is where Shopify really comes into its own. You can quickly upload products, images and descriptions and start selling right away!
Shopify provides great beginner guides, free online training and extensive documentation. Plus, its dashboard makes it simpler than ever to track and monitor your store performance as well as adjust settings like shipping, taxes, refunds etc.
Safe and secure payment gateways
Shopify (and WooCommerce) offer multiple ways for your customers to pay from many leading payment gateways such as Paypal, Amazon Pay and one step checkout options such as Apple Pay. Often, on some Shopify account plans, a small transaction fee is levied each time a sale is made, but that can be eliminated if a user installs Shopify’s new payments feature, Stripe, which handles all payment methods from the site’s dashboard.
One important factor when considering an online store is making sure your customers’ transactions are safe and secure, and we can bet this is your customer’s top priority too. Shopify system runs on Level 1 PCI compliant servers – which can handle all aspects of sensitive data that is to be expected with managing an ecommerce store such as customer information, credit card payments and bank details, so you can just concentrate on selling your products.
It’s all well and good having a great looking site, but if no-one is visiting it then you’ll be pulling down those virtual shutters in no time! This is because once your store is set up it needs to be search engine friendly. The key ingredient for this is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which ensures your ecommerce site can be easily found by your potential customers.
Shopify covers all the basics of SEO practices and parameters such as automatically generating an XML sitemap, which you can submit to Google as well as being able to easily edit metadata – encouraging your potential customers to make that all-important click.
Shopify also boasts mobile-friendly page loading speeds, vitally important in a mobile-first indexing world and will go a long way towards helping with your overall SEO efforts!
Don’t have much time to study up on SEO? Shopify offers a huge range of SEO apps that are designed to help you get higher rankings and improved visibility for your store. Just take your pick from the range of free and paid options that are on offer.
WooCommerce doesn’t disappoint when it comes to improving functionality, and there are hundreds of extensions available.
As we mentioned above, WooCommerce has been designed to work with the majority of WordPress themes, which makes for an infinite number of design possibilities. With so many free and premium themes to choose from, you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice both in terms of site design and features.
If you’re looking for something more unique then our in-house developers are able to code custom functions and design features, making your online store that extra special.
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce integrates seamlessly with the WordPress content management system allowing for more focused content marketing outside of a traditional online store layout.
Simple to use
When it comes to managing your online store WooCommerce makes things simple. Its easy-to-use admin system lets you access important data so you can see how well your store is performing. What’s more, you can easily adjust settings like shipping, refund, new orders, etc.
And like Shopify, WooCommerce makes adding new products straightforward. It can be done in just a few clicks meaning you don’t have to spend hours trying to upload your products onto your ecommerce site.
A key benefit of WooCommerce is that it’s regularly updated, so you don’t have to worry about security issues and bugs. Additionally, all aspects of code and releases are documented in detail so you have the information you need to make the changes you want. However, it’s worth mentioning that unlike Shopify, you will need to purchase and install the SSL certificate separately.
When it comes to payment security, WooCommerce is perfectly complemented with secure payment gateways such as PayPal, WePay and Stripe.
The fact that WooCommerce runs on WordPress is another benefit in itself because it’s one of the best platforms for creating SEO-friendly sites due to its HTML markup and SEO-friendly URLs. However, it also comes with some fantastic SEO plugin options for your eCommerce site such as Yoast.
Known as being one of the most comprehensive SEO plugins for implementing SEO best practice for on-page optimisation, key features of Yoast include: being able to input your focus keyword for a specific page, generating XML sitemaps and the ability to easily update metadata.
WooCommerce also allows you to send follow up emails to your customers, after their purchase. This is a great way to get repeat custom and reviews. Additionally, your customers can submit questions to your site which can display as FAQs on each product page. This helps build brand credibility and strengthen customer relationships.
Both Shopify and WooCommerce have their strong points, but it’s really important to consider your business objectives before deciding which platform is best for you. Our team of experts are on hand to help you make the best decision.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you!