WooCommerce and Shopify are locked in a battle for dominance in the eCommerce market with a share of 22% and 17% respectively. In such a close race, it can be difficult to choose between the two, so we decided to put them head to head.

Before delving into the details, though, you might want to check out our full guide on WooCommerce Hosting alongside a list of its best extensions and add-ons.

Shopify is pulling out all of the stops too, in order to offer the most user-friendly, all-in-one eCommerce and analytics tool, but can it take the crown from the market leader?

Common Features


Both platforms are eCommerce tools, so you’ll get a ready-made store to sell your products and services online. In addition, you’ll find a range of plug-ins and extras across the two which will provide analytics tools, improve sales and generally enhance your site.

Core Differences


The biggest difference comes in the pricing structure.

On paper, WooCommerce is much cheaper (even offering a free version) while Shopify comes with a monthly pricing structure. However, WooCommerce is more customizable and the costs will mount up the more extensions and features you add.

Shopify prices are static.

The other main difference comes down to ease of use.

Shopify has a much more out-of-the-box feel to it and is easier to get to grips with.

WooCommerce on the other hand offers a wide range of ways to tinker with your store and it supports multiple third-party extensions.

Both meet different needs, which is why it’s difficult to assign an overall winner.

Point By Point Comparison


woocommerce vs shopify core difference

Ease of Use

  • Shopify From your dashboard, you can easily set the store up and add products. You don’t need any web development skills or previous experience to operate the platform at all.
  • WooCommerce While WooCommerce is still relatively user-friendly, it’ll still take longer to get to grips with the application. To build your store you’ll need a range of third-party extensions, each one with its own quirks to learn.

Verdict
Shopify wins this round due to its incredibly simple user interface. All you need to do is sign up via the website, choose your subscription and you’re done.

Build Time

  • Shopify Each subscription level offers a different full-stack approach. Meaning everything has been pre-built for you. You can use the platform to host your website, set up an instant store across multiple platforms and has hundreds of features built-in.
  • WooCommerce As WooCommerce is a plug-in for WordPress, you’ll first need to find a host for your website, which can be a time-consuming search. Plus, you’ll need to pick and choose from multiple extensions before you get started.

Verdict
You can have a functioning store up and running just hours after download with Shopify, making it our winner.

Design and Themes

ecommerce design
  • Shopify Shopify has around 100 or so free and paid themes on its store. Some premium versions can reach a hefty $140 so you’ll need to choose carefully.
  • WooCommerce This is where WooCommerce’s customizability really comes into its own. On top of the templates in the core package, you can install dozens of template extensions adding thousands of storefront themes and possibilities.

Verdict
Both have polished, modern and clean-looking templates, but WooCommerce definitely has the wider choice.

Sales Features

  • Shopify Both platforms are very good at what they do and have very similar sales tools. Shopify is more convenient in that these features are all ready to go out of the box. Plus, it includes tools such as abandoned cart recovery, email marketing launchers and customer follow-up options.
  • WooCommerce WooCommerce has just as many sales features as Shopify, but you’ll need to hunt around the thousands of different plug-ins to find the right ones.

Verdict
This really is too close to call as both platforms offer very similar features

Plug-ins and Integrations

  • Shopify Shopify already has an impressive number of features built-in to the platform, roughly 1,200 both free and paid in total. Each comes with customer reviews so you know which ones are the best too.
  • WooCommerce The customizable nature of WooCommerce means there are now more than 50,000 plug-ins and integrations you can add to your site. This is more than enough to create an excellent eCommerce store.

Verdict
For the sheer scale of the extensions, WooCommerce easily takes the prize this time.

Marketing Tools

ecommerce tools
  • Shopify Both platforms have a very impressive range of marketing tools covering a similar range of services. Shopify covers impressive automated email campaigns, integration with MailChimp and multi-channel selling across Amazon, Facebook and eBay.
  • WooCommerce WooCommerce shares a lot of the same approach as Shopfy; the only downside is you’ll need to download and install a separate extension for each of them which can get quite complicated to manage.

Verdict
All of Shopify’s marketing tools are ready to go out of the box. It’s this convenience that wins it for us.

Payment Options and Transaction Fees

  • Shopify Shopify comes ready with more than 100 payment gateways ready to go, including Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay and all major credit and debit cards. Transaction fees will be a little different for each method, and Shopify will always charge a 2% processing fee.
  • WooCommerce WooCommerce has just as many payment options as Shopify with the added benefit of not charging any of its own fees, making it a good choice for bulk sellers. However, you’ll need to download separate plug-ins for most payment options.

Verdict
While it’s a little more inconvenient to set up different payment options, WooCommerce wins for charging no additional fees.

Search Engine Optomization

ecommerce seo
  • Shopify Shopify has an impressive range of SEO add-ons and has a good track record of promoting its stores in search engines. You can customize URLs, has SEO boosters, and scans your website for the best ways to optimize your content.
  • WooCommerce WooCommerce has the added benefit of being coded specifically to trigger search engine results. It’s a WordPress plug-in, which is the most popular content management system in the world, so it comes with an extra level of trust.

Verdict
With Woocommerce’s enhanced place in Google searches, it takes its place as our favorite.

Security

  • Shopify Since Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform, your security is taken care of, including an SSL certificate bundled into your plan. Plus, it’s compatible with the latest data protection regulations and is set up to accept personal data and payment information.
  • WooCommerce WooCommerce itself doesn’t come with any built-in security measures. You’ll instead be reliant on cyber controls offered by your chosen data host.

Verdict
With built-in security, Shopify wins this round and is an especially good choice for newbies.

Customer Support

  • Shopify Since Shopify is your data host as well as an eCommerce provider, you can expect excellent 24/7 customer support via live chat, email or over the phone.
  • WooCommerce Not only can you contact WooComemrce directly with an incident ticket, you can also raise any performance issues directly with your hosting provider. Plus, many service agents are experts in WooCommerce plug-ins.

Verdict
With several support avenues to take, WooCommerce is a great choice for your eCommerce store.

Pricing

ecommerce budget
  • Shopify Shopify is priced in three tiers:
    • Basic - $29 per month
    • Shopify - $79 per month
    • Advanced Shopify - $299 per month

While this looks expensive you have to remember just about everything you need is included in the price, along with high-speed hosting.

  • WooCommerce The WooCommerce platform is completely free of charge, but you’ll need to pay between $3 - $20 per month to your data host, and an average of $39 per plug-in.

Verdict
Depending on how complex your website is, WoocOmmerce could end up as more expensive than Shopify. However, the free version is more than enough to get started which nets Woocommerce this round.

Customization

  • Shopify Shopify is all about simplifying the eCommerce setup process. For the most part, what you see is what you get, and you’ll only have very *limited customization options**. It’s aimed at users looking for a smooth ride.
  • WooCommerce With thousands of plug-ins and templates to choose from, you really are starting out with a blank canvas with Woocommerce. It’s an incredibly flexible platform that lets you create some truly unique websites and is the clear customization winner.

Verdict
With near endless opportunities to tweak and customize your site, WooCommerce is our choice.

Business Size

  • Shopify The out of the box nature of Shopify makes it the perfect choice for small businesses. New entrepreneurs with little to no web knowledge can have a good-looking and functional store set up in no time at all.
  • WooCommerce WooCommerce is better placed to scale up to help big businesses, plus it’s a great option for new businesses too. It just might take total newbies a little longer to get to grips with the interface.

Verdict
WooCommerce strikes a nice balance between helping both large and small businesses. It’s super flexible too making it our winner.

When to Migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce and Vice Versa


ecommerce builders move
  • You’ve outgrown Shopify If your business has grown to the point Shopify’s features are no longer enough, you might want to consider scaling up to WooCommerce

  • Cost comparisons Some users can easily overspend on WooCommerce plugins and find switching to the more consistent subscription model of Shopify helps them budget more easily

  • You’re looking for simplicity If WooCommerce is too much to handle, switching over to Shopify can really help simplify your business

What Other Ecommerce Builders Are There?


WooCommerce Vs. Magento

Magento represents the ultimate in eCommerce store customization and is a go-to choice for enterprise clients and large organizations. You'll need tip-top web development skills to get the most out of the platform. Why not take a peek at our full comparison of Magento and WooCommerce to learn more.

Summary


It’s really tough to pick an overall winner as both WooCommerce and Shopify fill two different market niches, whilst also having a lot of crossover functionality. Shopify is easy to use, simple and highly functional and takes the stress out of finding a host, but it loses out when it comes to flexibility and customization.

WooCommerce on the other hand is entirely self-hosted, offers much more flexibility and has a much wider range of extensions to play with.

With Verpex managed hosting you can be assured your eCommerce store is in good hands as our agents will be on hand to make sure your store is running smoothly. At the end of the day though, you’ll need to weigh up which platform is right for your business needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need Web Developer Skills to Use Shopify or WooCommerce?

No. Both platforms welcome beginners, but you might get more out of WooCommerce’s extensions if you’ve got some previous experience.

Are Both Platforms Mobile Friendly?

Yes, both options have been optimized to work well on mobile devices.

Is Hosting a WooCommerce Site Complicated?

Not at all. We can arrange managed hosting here at Verpex and can provide advice and guidance on getting the most out of the platform.

Which Platform is Right for My Business?

Generally, Shopify is good for entrepreneurs looking for a simple, easy-to-use platform. WooCommerce is better for those looking for a fully customizable web store.

Julia
Julia Raznik