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Shopify vs WooCommerce (2021): Which Is the Better Platform For Your Business?

Business owners who are looking to start selling online have most likely encountered Shopify and WooCommerce in their search. This comes as no surprise as these e-commerce giants offer top-notch platforms with features that help you run your e-commerce business smoothly. Shopify made the complex task of building an online store drastically easier while WooCommerce is an open-source platform that can turn your existing WordPress site into an e-commerce store. So between Shopify and WooCommerce, which e-commerce platform better fits you, your business needs, and budget? Our in-depth comparison below will help you make the right call.

Shopify vs WooCommerce Comparison Chart

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PriceTry Shopify for freeTry WooCommerce hosted by Bluehost
Special Feature/sIntuitive and straightforward interface and pricing plansOpen-source, more customizable platform
Pricing Plans (USD/month)Shopify Lite: $9, Basic: $29, Shopify: $79, Advanced Shopify: $299, Shopify Plus: starting at $2,000

Get 10% discount for a one-year plan and 20%  for a two-year plan

SSL CertificateYesNo
Domain Name NoNo
Online Credit Card Rates per Transaction2.4 to 2.9% + 30¢2.9% + 30¢ (US credit cards)
+1% for non-US credit cards
$15 USD/disputed transactions
In-Person Credit Card Rates per transaction2.4 to 2.7% + 0¢No
Third-party Payment Provider Transaction Fee.5% to 2.0%No
Third-Party Plugins Yes, 2,200+ reliable appsYes, some are not as secure as Shopify’s plugins
DropshippingYesYes (WooCommerce Dropshipping costs $49/month)
Required WordPress Account NoYes

Pricing & Monthly Cost

Shopify’s rates are straightforward while with WooCommerce, your monthly cost depends on your providers 

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With Shopify, your e-commerce store will be hosted on its platform, while with WooCommerce, you’ll need to get a separate WordPress host

It’s easy to assume that WooCommerce is cheaper than Shopify. It is a free plugin for WordPress, after all. However, it’s not as straightforward as it seems. Bear in mind that with WooCommerce, you need to source a website hosting platform, SSL certificate, a WordPress account, and domain name, among others, as they don’t come packaged with WooCommerce. If you’re not a developer, you may have to hire someone to do these tasks for you, too. These fees can easily rack up and you’ll find yourself paying almost the same monthly fees, if not more, as when you’re subscribed to a Basic Shopify plan.

There have been some web hosting platforms, such as Bluehost, that make it easier to start your online store through WooCommerce. Some offer bundled plans and lower starting rates to get your foot in the door. As for Shopify, it has a clear monthly pricing plan so you know right away how much to budget for your e-commerce store. New businesses can easily set-up and run an online store at $29/month through the Basic Shopify plan, for instance. This low-tier plan already includes unlimited bandwidth, SSL certificate, and extensive e-commerce features to get your store up and running.

What gives Shopify the edge over WooCommerce is how easily you can create a store even if you’ve never done it before. As they say, time is gold, and Shopify helps you save time through its intuitive interface so you can focus on other aspects of your business such as marketing. The only thing you need to get is a domain name for your Shopify-powered store. Another factor you need to consider on top of the regular monthly costs of Shopify and WooCommerce is their transaction fees, which we discuss in more detail in the Security and Payments section below.

E-Commerce and Dropshipping Features

Both Shopify and WooCommerce are impressive e-commerce platforms, but Shopify wins by a slim margin in this category

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Shopify’s free integrated tools alone will help you get your e-commerce store up and running 

You can’t go wrong with either Shopify or WooCommerce whether you’re only starting a business or want an e-commerce store for your brick-and-mortar shop. While WooCommerce is an excellent option for its customizability, it lacks key e-commerce features that are integrated with the Shopify plans. These include abandoned cart recovery, unlimited items, gift cards, discount codes, and discounted shipping rates, to name a few. If you have experience with running an e-commerce store, you know how crucial it is to have abandoned cart recovery features that help convert them to sales.

The abovementioned features don’t come built-in with WooCommerce, but there are third-party apps that you can download. As WooCommerce is an open-source platform, it has a few more plug-ins available, but whether they are as reliable and safe as the ones on Shopify is a different story.

As for dropshipping, many new dropshippers start with Shopify as its apps such as Oberlo or Printify make it a breeze to start a dropshipping business, even for beginners. Meanwhile, WooCommerce also offers great dropshipping features, but it requires a higher learning curve. In addition, extensions like WooCommerce Dropshipping require an additional fee. For instance, WooCommerce Dropshipping alone costs $49/month, which is not exactly cheap, especially if you’re still trying to get traction for your online business.

Design and Interface

Shopify has limited free and paid themes while WooCommerce’s open-source platform allows better customization 

WooCommerce offers endless customization possibilities for those with the skill to do so

Both Shopify and WooCommerce deliver beautiful, well-designed themes that will make your e-commerce store look polished. However, where they differ is in their customization and flexibility. Shopify may not have as many options as WooCommerce, but its available themes are curated specifically for e-commerce purposes. Even Shopify’s free themes look professional and require minimal changes.

If you’re the kind who suffers from decision paralysis when given endless customization options, perhaps stick to Shopify. On the other hand, if you know exactly what you want to see in your shop and are willing to invest the time and money to make your store vision come to life, WooCommerce is for you. Unlike with WooCommerce, Shopify’s themes cannot be easily customized unless you know how to code in Liquid.

Security & Payments

If you’re eligible to use Shopify Payments, then Shopify is the better choice for you. However, if you want to use a third-party payment provider, WooCommerce is the one that doesn’t charge transaction fees.

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It is imperative that you compare Shopify and WooCommerce’s transaction fees before committing to one

Making sure you get the best transaction rates can help you set the best price for your products to maximize profits. Shopify and WooCommerce have their own free payment gateways called Shopify Payments and WooCommerce Payments, respectively. Their online credit card transaction rates look similar, but when you consider the number of transactions you process every month, the difference will start to become noticeable.

Shopify’s online credit card rate per transaction starts at 2.4% (Advanced Shopify plan) to 2.9% (Basic Shopify plan) plus 30¢ for every transaction. As for WooCommerce Payments, the credit card fee is 2.9% plus 30¢ per transaction for US-based credit cards. Once your customer uses a non-US credit card, you’ll be charged an additional 1% for every transaction. If you have your preferred third-party payment provider, Shopify charges  .5% (Advanced plan) to 2% (Basic plan) for every transaction made. This is on top of the rate you’re paying to your own payment provider. Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce doesn’t charge fees for third-party payment transactions.

In terms of security, Shopify makes it easier to ensure your site is secure. With WooCommerce, you’ll have to keep an eye on your e-commerce store’s security. One breach from an insecure plug-in and you’ll find yourself spending hours, if not days, fixing the security issues on your WooCommerce. This can consequently end up being more expensive to fix than simply having to pay Shopify’s transaction fees.

Reddit Reviews

Still torn whether Shopify or WooCommerce is right for you? Perhaps these Reddit reviews will help you better decide: 

This Reddit comment echoes what we have said earlier in this article: Shopify is more intuitive and beginner-friendly while WooCommerce is for those who have web development know-how.

shopify vs woocommerce reddit

Between Shopify and WooCommerce, you’ll have better peace of mind that your site is secure with Shopify. As this Reddit review shares:

shopify vs woocommerce reddit (1)

Here’s another Reddit review that agrees with the comment above:

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Shopify is overall the better e-commerce platform, but if you require extensive customization or don’t want to pay transaction fees, then WooCommerce is the better choice for you

Shopify is the easiest way to set-up and run an e-commerce shop, bar none. With Shopify, you won’t have to worry about factors like bandwidth and security, as dealing with these can easily eat up a chunk of your time and money. Although Shopify has limited themes to choose from, the ones it offers are still stylish and sophisticated. Its e-commerce features and exclusive dropshipping apps further make Shopify the go-to e-commerce platform for many dropshippers and online retailers. Shopify offers a free 14-day trial that you can take advantage of before committing to a monthly plan.

What some may find as a deal-breaker for Shopify is its limited customization capabilities. In addition, some merchants don’t want to pay transaction fees for using third-party payment providers as well. These reasons make some business owners gravitate towards WooCommerce despite its more complicated set-up. If you decide to take the WooCommerce route, Bluehost offers a convenient and budget-friendly way to start your e-commerce store.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps