If you are planning a new webshop, you may be unsure about which e-commerce platform to choose. Shopify vs. Woocommerce? Who's the winner?
To approach anything resembling a truth, you need to delve into the pros and cons of both systems.
In this post, I compare the two platforms in terms of price, ease of use, security and many other relevant factors that can help you make a good decision.
It's a fast and highly functional solution for everything from very small start-ups to large international companies.
Their basic idea is to offer a solution that users, without technical skills and coding experience, can set up and run without any hassle.
When you choose Shopify, you get a hosted solution - so you don't need web hosting from elsewhere or software installation to get started.
Shopify is a paid cloud-based solution, a so-called "SaaS" - (Software as a service) solution.
For you, this means that you are not the owner of the software you use, but instead pay a monthly fee to have access to it.
If you want to tailor your solution beyond what the theme and system offer, you have the option to code directly in Shopify. Shopify also offers a host of apps through their appstore.
WordPress is an open source software that you install on your own server.
If you have your shop built externally, your web agency will in many cases offer you hosting. You can also install it on your server through a hosting provider.
WordPress is the world's most widely used CMS (content management system), it's a lot older than Shopify and was originally a tool for blogs.
Since its inception, a huge number of extensions and add-ons have been created that make it possible to use WordPress for many other things.
For example, there is a wide range of plugins for running a webshop in WordPress. The most common is Woocommerce, which accounts for about 30% of web shops on the Internet.
I've gained a lot of experience with both platforms, and now know - what you can get the most bang for the buck for, what works most intuitively, which platform is most secure - and much more.
Let me take it step by step.
Both Shopify and WordPress have a relatively simple control panel and the setup of both panels is quite similar.
They both have a primary menu on the left side where you can access reporting, orders, page setup and a lot more.
The WordPress control panel
The page setup panel is also relatively similar in both systems.
For WordPress, there are a number of different plugins for page setup (called a pagebuilder).
Here you will find some of the most used page builders.
WordPress comes with a page builder by default, however most themes offer a page builder with greater functionality and ease of use.
Here it is important that you research the market and what others recommend.
Some page builders work as visual "drag and drop" solutions and are very simple to navigate. However, it's important to be aware that they can affect the loading speed of the page, which spoils both the user experience and the search engine optimisation of your webshop.
Shopify's control panel
Shopify has a standard page builder which does not differ in its look and feel across themes, but functionality and options may vary from theme to theme.
Shopify's control panel is very intuitive and simple, so you can quickly get started changing your products, viewing your orders and more.
The WordPress control panel allows for greater flexibility in changing the look and feel of the panel, and basically has more options. However, it also makes the expression a bit more cluttered and confusing.
When it comes to creating and managing pages and blog posts, WordPress is the winner.
WordPress is built to do just that, offering a wide range of options for organising blog posts with categories and tags.
WordPress also offers versioning, which means that every time you save a blog post or a page, WordPress saves a "backup".
This is where Shopify comes in short, as Shopify unfortunately does not offer the same.
In terms of managing collections and products, Shopify is a simpler and more intuitive system, no doubt due to the fact that Shopify is a dedicated shop system from end to end.
Shopify also offers automated collection sorting. This allows Shopify to automatically sort your collections based on prices, names and tags.
If you need to create a page with a large number of products, it can save you a lot of time.
Of course, price matters too. So what do Shopify and Woocommerce cost respectively?
You can see all their prices here.
Shopify offers five different solutions.
Please note that Shopify's apps are often subscription solutions and are therefore included in the monthly cost.
You also need to add a fee to your payment system - and that goes for Woocommerce too.
WordPress, as mentioned earlier, is a free piece of software. However, this does not mean that it is completely free to run a webshop through the system.
Here are some of the things you can experience costs of:
You need to have your webshop on a server, where you pay for the space your webshop uses. The price can vary greatly depending on the solution and provider.
Examples of hosting providers:
If you choose Webamp to create your webshop, we offer a support and hosting package.
You can always call one of our geeks on tel. 70 60 50 28 and let us help you choose the right webshop solution.
There are a lot of free themes out there, but it's rarely the free themes that work.
It's important to build a webshop on a good foundation, just like a house. The theme should be user-friendly and suitable for Woocommerce.
In many cases, you will need to purchase plugins to add necessary functionality to your webshop.
The possibility of integrations is often a "nice to have" more than a "need to have". However, some integrations can save you both time and money.
Shopify offers 10 free themes and about 60 paid ones. All themes are mobile-friendly and stylish.
In addition, Shopify offers one hour of free development from one of their developers. You can use this to tailor your theme to your needs.
It is also possible to use third-party themes in Shopify, but it is important to remember that Shopify does not provide support for these themes.
You can find third-party themes on Themeforrest, among others.
WordPress offers a huge variety of themes that can be found across the vast world wide web. Here, Themeforrest is again a good platform to find your theme on. Otherwise, a Google search will get you very far.
All Shopify's official themes are responsive, which means they scale up and down according to screen size and device.
The most popular Woocommerce themes are also responsive, but that's not a guarantee. However, in most cases, you can find out whether the theme is responsive or not.
Shopify and Woocommerce both offer you to access their control panel from your mobile. Here you can edit, delete and add products and collections.
So which of these platforms performs best in terms of e-commerce?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question.
WordPress has far more options, but it requires a lot more setup and maintenance. In most cases, both systems will be able to cover your needs with plugins or custom code.
So unless you have invented the deep dish for webshop plugins, there is most likely someone who has created a plugin that is both compatible and works well for both systems.
As of 12 May 2019, Shopify has terminated their partnership with Mailchimp, due to a disagreement over the data management of their users.
You can see Shopify's statement on the case here.
However, there are very good alternatives to Mailchimp.
For example, Klaviyo claims that their users who have switched from Mailchimp have experienced a 46% increase in total revenue.
You can easily and conveniently set up both Facebook Messenger, Instagram Shopping and Facebook shopping in Shopify. These are located as default sales channels and therefore do not need to be installed as apps. Unlike WordPress where they need to be installed separately.
In addition, Amazon and E-bay are also an option in Shopify, however this is not yet an option in Denmark.
If your webshop has many product variations, Shopify may not be the best solution, as it only offers up to 100 product variants.
It should be said, however, that there are a number of apps that can bypass this, but in some cases it can affect load time.
Shopify is an all-in-one solution that allows you to quickly create a beautiful and user-friendly webshop.
WordPress with Woocommerce, on the other hand, requires a bit more immersion or basic knowledge to get started. On the other hand, it gives you the option of more extensions.
Your webshop needs to be search engine optimised to make it visible on Google and other search engines.
There are a lot of factors that determine where you rank on Google. But there are a few differences between the search engine optimization options available through Woocommerce and the options available through Shopify.
In WordPress, you have more control over your URL paths, which can be an advantage over getting a shorter and simpler URL.
In addition, WordPress allows you to use Yoast SEO, which is one of the most recognized SEO plugins on the market. Yoast analyses your SEO page and then gives you a step-by-step guide on how to optimise your page.
With Yoast SEO , you can also edit how your page appears in search results.
Shopify has a built-in version of this snippet preview, but unfortunately does not generate a list of steps to optimize your pages.
Shopify has a number of apps that offer a service very similar to Yoast.
The platform is generally sharp at SEO and it has an SSL certificate installed by default, which is a must to rank well in search results.
A few other cool features are that Shopify itself generates XML sitemaps and even automatically suggests 301 redirects when the name of a page changes.
Shopify is the clear winner here, as it is a dedicated web shop system, hosted and maintained by Shopify.
This means that Shopify ensures that the system is always updated to the latest version.
In WordPress, however, you are responsible for keeping the system updated and secure.
It is important to keep an eye on:
In the worst case, non-compliance could mean that your site is hacked.
What often happens when plugins or themes are updated is that hackers can see, through the new updated code, what bugs/gaps there are in the non-updated code. The updated code thus acts as a manual of what bugs the previous code contains.
Then they set up a computer to check all pages that use that specific plugin or theme. If the computer finds a WordPress page without the update, it forces access to the page using the bug and inserts malware on the page.
Some WordPress plugins may contain malware when you download them. As they (unlike Shopify) are not in a closed and tested environment. This means that anyone could have made the plugin you install.
Therefore, be aware of how many users are using the plugin you want to install and when the plugin was last updated.
Of course, it's important that you also protect your site by using a strong password.
For example, you can use your email as your username and then it's a good idea to have a password that is pure gibberish, with both upper and lower case letters, punctuation and numbers.
Shopify is additionally committed to helping you resolve any malware attacks.
Shopify webshops are always SSL certified, which means your customers visit the site on a secure connection. The SSL certificate should definitely be installed on a WordPress site as well, but it is not installed by default.
If your website or webshop is not SSL certified, call us today on tel 70 60 50 28 to learn more about why it's important to get certified.
Shopify offers in all their packages except Shopify Lite a 24-hour chat support.
Here you can get help choosing apps, guides to changing your settings and much more.
The service you get in the chat is top notch and there is an option to insert screenshots to show any issues.
You will then receive a follow-up email with the full interview, which you can reply to later if you have more questions.
Shopify also has a very comprehensive help centre with video guides, support forums, blogs and a very well-documented developer portal (support forum for developers).
Unfortunately, WordPress doesn't offer support, but there are plenty of forums and video guides produced by users - and they also have a support page with documentation, support forums, blogs and so on.
WordPress is generally much more well-documented than Shopify because the number of users is so huge. The downside is that it can also get messy finding answers to your questions.
In general, I can always recommend that you immerse yourself in your platform, your theme and your plugins. This is where video guides can be an easy-to-follow way to learn. It makes you more aware of why things possibly go wrong.
There are many integrations for both Shopify and WordPress (Woocommerce).
Bookkeeping and freight integrations are particularly smart - and they can save you hours AKA money.
For bookkeeping, we always recommend that you set up IEX integration with your accounting software. IEX offers integrations for most accounting programs, and they work for both Shopify and Woocommerce.
The integration ensures that your orders are automatically posted in your accounting program, so you or your accountant can easily prepare annual accounts or just get a quick overview.
In Webamp we recommend in most cases to make an integration to a freight module. You just choose the solution based on the freight company you prefer.
For example, if you have an agreement with UPS, you will not be able to use the Danish modules such as Pakkelabels or Smartsend. You can, however, use Webshipper.
Shopify offers in their "advanced solution" free setup with own shipping agreement if your shipping provider is one of these: USPS, UPS, FedEx or Canada Post.
It is also possible in a Shopify and a Shopify Basic solution if the solution is paid quarterly, however, this must be arranged with Shopify via their support chat.
WordPress offers various plugins for the same, it can obviously be a cheaper solution than for example package labels.
However, you should be aware that if any problems arise with the plugin, you will not be able to get support. You may end up having to pay for professional help (which can quickly become expensive).
Both platforms allow most payment systems, such as Quickpay, Klarna, ePay and Stripe.
It is the payment system that defines which card types your webshop supports. Please note that not all systems support mobile payments such as Mobilepay.
In Denmark, online security is very important for the user, so we always recommend that you use the payment system's 3D secure checkout and not Shopify's or WordPress' built-in checkout.
The user will be sent to an external link, on the payment system's domain. Finally, you will need to verify your identity with an SMS code sent to your mobile.
So which of these heavyweights takes the gold, the fame and half the kingdom?
Unfortunately, the answer is not so clear-cut.
The reality is that we are dealing with two very competent duellists who have very many interfaces and relatively few detours. Your choice depends on what is most important for your business.
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
Learn more about SEO in Webamp Academy.