If you’re in the process of figuring out how to sell your products online, you’ve probably come across these two eCommerce behemoths: WooCommerce and Shopify. Deciding between the two is a real head-scratcher, and researching the pros and cons of each can send you in circles.

So today we thought we’d do the heavy lifting for you. We’re sending WooCommerce and Shopify head-to-head in key areas that are of high importance to busy, busy business owners.

Cue Rocky music!

Round 1: Ease of Use

If you want to get up and running, choose an out-of-the-box theme, and you have limited to no technical experience, Shopify is your guy.

Shopify plans include hosting, and they take care of the technical maintenance and running of your store. It’s also completely scalable. You won’t need to worry about your website crashing because of sudden increased demand.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, can be quite daunting for a first-time store builder. You’ll need to do a fair bit of legwork to get to grips with the platform and learn how to take full advantage of its features and customization.

Winner: Shopify

Round 2: Design & Customization

Want a pretty website? Who doesn’t? there are plenty of attractive, mobile-responsive themes to choose from in both Shopify and WooCommerce.

 HOWEVER, (yes, this ‘however’ warrants bold and ALL CAPS) working within a set template is restrictive. You might not realize how much of a problem that can be until you’re already waist-deep in setting up your website.

This is where WooCommerce and Shopify are completely different animals.Without getting too ‘techie’ here, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. It’s written in a language that most coders are familiar with, PHP.

Shopify, on the other hand, is written in its very own coding language: Liquid. For most programmers, it might as well be written in hieroglyphics. It pretty much renders any customization impossible, or at the very least highly inaccessible.

In this round, it’s a clear win for WooCommerce.

Winner: WooCommerce

Round 3: Customer Support

Shopify offers 24/7 support for their paying customers. You can either call them or initiate a live chat to talk directly to a customer support agent.

In order to resolve an issue with WooCommerce, your only option is to raise a ticket. It’s definitely not a hands-on approach to customer care, which is why Shopify wins big in this category.

Winner: Shopify

Round 4: SEO 

We could wax lyrical about the importance of Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, SEO is vital to getting your virtual business seen online.

Since WooCommerce runs in WordPress, there are a ton of ways to boost SEO on your website. SEO by Yoast is a WordPress plugin that helps you to optimize each page of your website with keywords, meta links, and more.

Shopify has it’s own app store with similar plugins to SEO by Yoast, for example, SEO Booster.

Both WordPress and Shopify allow you to run a blog on your site. Websites that have fresh content, rank higher in Google because it signals that your website is still active: the lights are on and the music is pumping!

It’s too close to call on this one.

Winner: Tie

Round 5: Fees & Pricing

Ok, the big showdown. The final round, and it’s a big one. How much $$$ are we talking?

Well, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin. But that’s not the end of the story. You’ll need to pay for hosting, technical maintenance, and if you need any customization done you might need the assistance of a programmer. You’ll also need plugins for security and to back up your website in case it crashes. While this can be done inexpensively, it requires a lot more input on your part.

Shopify, on the other hand, has an uncomplicated, fixed pricing system starting at $29, all the way to $299/mo.

Then there are transaction fees. Both WooCommerce and Shopify allow for your choice of up to 100 payment gateways including Stripe, PayPal, credit and debit card and Apple Pay. They each come with their own transaction fees, so look into that before you choose.

If you choose to use a third party gateway through Shopify, you’ll have to fork out an extra 2% per transaction. This can be avoided by upgrading your plan or using Shopify Payments.

This is where WooCommerce clinches this round – WooCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees for using their service.

Shopify is still pretty good value, so it’s a close call. Given the flexibility of WordPress, WooCommerce can be cheaper if you do your research, and if you’re shifting a lot of units, that 2% you’re saving will really add up over time.

Winner: WooCommerce (probably)

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: 

Ding ding! That’s the final bell and it’s a close call.

If you want a standard website that runs itself, minimal fuss, then Shopify is a good option. Everything comes tied up in a neat little package, and if you run into any troubles, there’s great customer service.

If you want a custom web design, or you need to include specific features, running a WooCommerce plugin in your WordPress website is the only way to go. What’s more, you’re not committed to any hefty payment plan, so how you scale up is much more under your control.

Still, need tips on how to sell your product online? Want advice on making a final decision between WooCommerce and Shopify? Get in touch. We’re experts in eCommerce websites and always happy to help out.