Whether you’ve been in business for 2 minutes or 2 years, you’ll know that selling online is the next step up for any online entrepreneur.
Selling physical goods, services, e-books and even drop shipping is a great way of elevating your business but choosing the right E-Commerce platform could easily trip you up and stall your online selling success!
BUT before we begin, I have to say that like with most online platform software, the short answer to which is right for you is that it depends…
SHOPIFY VS WOOCOMMERCE
What is Shopify?
Is a hosted e-commerce platform that allows you to easily get online and get selling.
The whole setup of Shopify is a bit like a store in a shopping mall, you ‘rent/own’ space and are free to customise the inside of the building to your liking and sell whatever you fancy. But the property comes pre-packaged with plumbing electricity, security, and Property Management.
The Property Management (aka Shopify) take care of all the non-business related aspects of your business so that you can focus on selling more stuff to your customers.
What is Woocommerce?
Woocommerce is a free e-commerce plugin that can extend your current/new WordPress website to offer shopping functionalities.
WordPress & Woocommerce is like building your own store on your own land (aka hosting). You can do anything you want with the property and if you want to extend the store then you can go right ahead.
However, the Property management tasks are ALL up to you, so if you have a plumbing issue you’ll be the one who has to fix it.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER…
What is your budget?
Your budget will be one of your top priorities when making your decision so below I’ve gone into a little more detail on what each of the platforms cost, these were, of course, correct at the time of writing this blog post.
How much does Shopify cost?
Depending on your business needs, Shopify offers three different tiers which start from $29 and go up to $299 per month. In addition to this, you will need to purchase a domain name which you can either purchase from a third party or straight from Shopify.
Shopify’s domain names start from $8 and range up to $46 depending on the extension.
How much does Woocommerce cost?
Sort of FREE however in order to run Woocommerce you will need a WordPress website which requires you to purchase a domain name and pay for monthly hosting. A domain name will be an investment of about $12.99 a year and host packages range from $5 – $35 a month.
What do you want your site to look like?
This point is a minor one that will influence your choice however it’s worth noting that Shopify themes are a lot pricier than Woocommerce themes. The former’s themes start at $150 and the later range from free to about $75.
WordPress and Woocommerce offer a wider variety of themes and are much easier to customise, that is if you know a little bit of CSS, HTML and PHP.
How much time are you willing to spend on developing your store + maintaining it?
Before you make your choice you’ll want to get honest with your skill level and decide who is going to maintain the site. Shopify is really easy to get up and running and the maintenance of the site is a lot easier than WordPress.
Shopify is really easy to get up and running and the maintenance of the site is a lot easier than Woocommerce.
WordPress and Woocommerce take more time to learn and you need to regularly be on top of your updates to avoid getting hacked.
THE POSITIVES & NEGATIVES OF SHOPIFY & WOOCOMMERCE
Positives of Shopify
- No need to purchase hosting and worry about monthly maintenance etc.
- You can setup a Shopify store in minutes and get selling as soon as you’ve chosen a theme, uploaded some products and paid for your monthly package.
- They give you a free 14 day trial.
- According to Shopify ‘No design skills’ are required as you have the choice of over 100 of themes and you have complete control over the look and feel of your site.
- Over 70 international payment gateways are accepted. https://www.shopify.co.za/payment-gateways
- 24/7 customer support – phone and chat facilities
- Shopify is built for E-commerce so there are a wide variety of apps and add ons for the platform. Everything is geared around selling online.
- There are several great apps that can integrate with your shipping company of choice.
- Shopify is easy to learn
Negatives of Shopify
- Their blogging platform can be quite clunky and harder to layout nicely. So if this is going to be part of your marketing plan I highly recommend considering WordPress and Woocommerce.
- Their themes are a bit more expensive. Shopify have less to choose from and harder to customise if you don’t know the Shopify platform.
Positives of Woocommerce
- You can make the theme layout to however you want
- You get further plugins that can extend the functionality to make it a membership/course site, set up international payments etc.
- Very well optimised for SEO. If you are planning to use SEO as part of your marketing strategy then I would recommend going with Woocommerce.
- If blogging is going to be part of your marketing strategy then choose Woocommerce as WordPress is built for blogging.
Negatives of Woocommerce
- The initial setup can be tricky.
- The backend requires constant monthly maintenance.
- Steep learning curve.
Whether you decide to choose Shopify or Woocommerce I highly recommend considering a few of these points before you start setting your shop and if you are ready to go the Woocommerce route you might find my Woocommerce guide super handy!