This is an interesting debate that people considering an online store constantly ask on forums. WooCommerce or Shopify, which one is better, which one should I go with.
As ecommerce specialists, we develop both WooCommerce and Shopify websites along with other popular ones. But lets look at this questions of WooCommerce or Shopify.
While we don’t have a definite answer, we do have a couple of theories about the choices people make. Let’s first look at the difference between the two from a technical point of view.
It’s Open Source, that means the basic code for WooCommerce comes free as a plugin for WordPress. WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS (content management system) and WooCommerce the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress. A lot of people are familiar with the WordPress interface and they adapt to WooCommerce very easily.
Pre-packaged third party plugins for both WordPress and WooCommerce abound and you can get a plugin for almost anything you want to do. And if there is something that you can’t find a plugin for, you can easily hire a developer like InterloperInc.com to develop a unique and custom plugin for you.
Shopify on the other hand is a SaaS product, that means, it runs on Shopify servers and you cannot download and install on your own hosting account. It’s not free. Shopify tries to anticipate the kind of add-ons their users may require and try to provide them as part of their package, sometimes for an additional charge. It’s easy for ecommerce merchants to setup a Shopify website themselves and get up and running in a couple of weeks or so.
Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify is not open source. That means, you can modify / tailor some features of it on the front end but you don’t have the free reign that you have with WooCommerce. That is not necessarily a drawback if your objectives are limited at this time.
To summarize the technical difference, WooCommerce is Open Source, it’s free and you can modify it to your heart’s content if you so desire. It’s easy to setup and you can find a ton of plugins to enhance your user’s experience, some free and some paid. Shopify on the other hand is a very well put together packaged solution that can help you get up and running quickly and provides a whole bunch of features pre-packaged for your administrative use as well as for front end enhancements.
Now let’s look at who our WooCommerce clients are and who our Shopify clients are:
Who are our WooCommerce clients:
These are normally ambitious entrepreneurs with an idea or a product line they are coming up with. They are focused on developing their products, their internal systems, hiring employees, establishing relationships with distributors etc. and hire us as part of their team albeit on an as-needed basis. Generally they don’t insist on WooCommerce. They simply ask for our advice and if they don’t have too many products, we advise them to go with WooCommerce. If they have an ambitious agenda, then we may recommend Open Cart or Magento and similar but if not, we advise them to go with WooCommerce. We not only build their online store, we also integrate a CRM, set up auto responders, get newsletters started, do SEO, start promotional campaigns etc. and continue providing support and enhancements as their business grows.
Who are our Shopify clients?
They are generally very enterprising people and are comfortable with technology. They think they can save some money by building their ecommerce website themselves. They are right. They can and some do by using Shopify. However; soon they realize that they end up spending most of their time learning Shopify and all it’s nuances instead of building their business. They start out with an idea or a product they think they can sell online. Then they get bogged down into the mechanics of ecommerce. Time passes by and they eventually realize they are learning to become Shopify experts rather than trying to improve their product and solicit business for their products. You can easily get distracted and lose your focus and that’s what happens to them. When this realization happens, they reach out to us, give us a list of what they want to get done and we get busy. We enjoy working with such people because they are knowledgeable and don’t mind rolling their sleeves when we need to test some ideas with them.
Where do you fit? Are you looking to save money or are you looking to save time and focus on doing what you do best. We are here to help no matter which group you fall in.
Our mantra is “Do what you do best and outsource the rest – to us of course”