WooCommerce vs Shopify Comparison: Which Is Better For You?

If you landed on this page, then it surely means that you have made your mind to sell your products online using an eCommerce store. But there is a major confusion now – WooCommerce or Shopify?

Before diving into the operating details, it is important to understand the basic difference first.

WooCommerce is a free and open-source plugin for WordPress that allows you to build an eCommerce store on your WordPress website.

Meanwhile, Shopify is an online website-based company that gives you admin access to list your products, manage and sell them using their platform.

According to the official stats of Shopify, 1.2 million websites are actively working on Shopify. On the other hand, WooCommerce is actively working on 3 million websites right now as per the figures from Wikipedia.

Now comes the major question – which is the right choice for you?

The answer lies in your requirements and business. To help with your decision making, I am listing some key points to consider.

Choosing Between WooCommerce and Shopify

1] Difficulty Level For Seller

A) Shopify

Shopify is a dedicated company that manages everything for its users. As a seller, you need to make an account, customize your store, and start selling your products.

If you are not a geek or unable to hire someone to look after your store, Shopify can be a great option. It allows building a store using the drag-and-drop technique.

As an owner, you don’t need to manage the updates or look after the security issues. The Shopify company operates that.

Image Source: kyliecosmetics.com

The cosmetic queen Kylie Kardashian’s eCommerce store is a great example of a Shopify store.

B) WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a plugin on WordPress that allows you to build an eCommerce store. That implies you need to look after everything that you would manage for a normal WordPress website.

Once you install WordPress, it is the webmaster’s responsibility to keep the website updated and running. Even security and backups need your attention.

It’s the same way how you manage a WordPress website.

Winner: Shopify

2] Customizations

A) Shopify

The easier the things get, the fewer customizations and power you hold. That’s the case with Shopify.

It has some fixed themes and templates that you need to use. You cannot explore or develop anything out of the box.

At times, there are some features that you exclusively need for your store because they would enhance the user experience. Guess what? You cannot implement them on your Shopify website.

B) WooCommerce

WordPress is famous for the customizations it allows on its platform. Being an open-source platform, you don’t need to count extra bucks just because you need some specific feature.

Just ask your developer to develop a feature, and it will be done for free. If not, use a third-party plugin. You can even do by yourself provided that you understand the backend technicalities.

Of course, there are some readymade themes and templates that you can use. But you are not restricted to use them. Choose one of them or build your theme.

Not just themes but a website need several other addons and tools like analytics, email marketing tools, automation, lead generation tools, and several other things. You can choose any addon based on your requirements from thousands of options.

Image Source: ClickBank

ClickBank is one of the largest Internet companies is using WooCommerce to sell its products.

Winner: WooCommerce

3] Payments

A) Shopify

Shopify charges 2% per transaction if you use a third-party gateway. You can reduce this by upgrading your Shopify plan. Or you can use their Shopify payments for free, but that’s not available in India. 

If you are selling in bulk, then Shopify charges might not appeal to you.

B) WooCommerce

The WooCommerce platform does not charge a single dollar for implementing the payment gateway. Whatever charges you might face, can come from the bank or the payment gateway that you might be using on WooCommerce.

You are given the freedom to choose a payment gateway with the lowest fees that fulfills your requirements.

Winner: WooCommerce

4] Pricing

Pricing will be the decision-making point for almost every online seller. Here’s your spoiler: comfort always costs more.

A) Shopify

The monthly fees of Shopify start from $29 where you will get everything that includes hosting, domain, and an SSL certificate for your website. You even get admin access which will help you to manage your store.

To get more features, you need to upgrade your plan. Also, your bill will increase as you keep adding the extra plugins for your website. Scaling the store is tough due to skyrocketing costs.

As mentioned above, Shopify charges you 2% of every transaction on your eCommerce store. This commission gets reduced on every upgrade.

You can check the pricing list of Shopify from its official website.

B) WooCommerce

Being open-source, WooCommerce is technically free, and you don’t get charged for any additional services. The only cost you need to bear is for a hosting service and a domain. If you already own one, nothing is better than that.

You are technically self-hosting an eCommerce store when you start using WordPress and WooCommerce combination. Scaling becomes easier on WooCommerce.

Winner: WooCommerce


Both the platform have their pros and cons. The decision of WooCommerce vs Shopify must not be a confusing deal now.

In both cases, you need to market your eCommerce store and compete directly with Amazon.

We have a guide for that: 6 Ways Your eCommerce Website Can Compete With Amazon.

If you are ready to pay more for the peace of mind, then Shopify is the best option for your online business. It has a strong support system, and there is no requirement of even the slightest of technical knowledge.

However, there are some downfalls to using Shopify websites. They all look almost the same because of the lack of customization. Moreover, they charge you heavily for every additional feature you use.

This is where WooCommerce can save you. There is a reason why WooCommerce websites are almost double in number as compared to Shopify websites.

You can customize the whole website as you want at an almost nominal price. Sure, your cost might count if you hire a developer or use some premium elements on your website. But that’s not a recurring cost.

In case you need a fully customized eCommerce store based on WooCommerce, we can help you out. Let’s brainstorm on your idea.

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Guide For Starting An ECommerce Business From Scratch

Starting an eCommerce business is a continuously growing trend. Since everything is going online, so are the stores. People no longer love to go out and shop for their needs. When everything can be done within a few clicks for the same price, then why waste time and fuel?

According to the stats of Shopify, the eCommerce industry is expected to double by 2023 to more than $6.5 billion nearly.

Image Source: Shopify / eMarketer

So why not jump and grab this opportunity for your products? With the rise in eCommerce players, it is getting easier to manage an online store.

However, there some points to take care of before starting your eCommerce business. Being prepared makes the journey easier.

3 Things To Know Before Starting an ECommerce Business

  1. Category – the kind of products will you be selling
  2. Product Catalogue with high-quality images of the products – this will serve as the first impression of your products
  3. Platform – the marketplace where your target customers are present to buy your products

The category is the industry that you want your products to list. You can even go narrower with your niche depending upon various factors.

In case you are not clear with your niche, choose your eCommerce niche using four easy steps. Since we have already covered that in a dedicated article, let’s know about the next stage of deciding an eCommerce marketplace.

There are two types of platforms to sell your products – pre-established marketplaces and self-hosted eCommerce websites.

Pre-established Marketplaces

Several marketplaces are selling a large range of products from multiple vendors of every category.

If you are confused about the market place for your product, then we are listing a few.

You can sell your artistic work and handicrafts on marketplaces like Craftsvilla, Afday, Etsy, Saffronart, and the India craft house.

If you have apparels as your products then marketplaces like Myntra, Shopclues, LimeRoad, and Koovs are open for you.

For electronic items, we have great options like Amazon, Flipkart, Croma, HomeShop18, Naaptol, and IndiaMart.

Want to sell food online? Zomato, Swiggy, Deliveroo, Faasos, and other food delivery partners will warmly welcome you.

Not just products but you can even deal with real estates. For selling or renting properties, you can use platforms like 99Acres, Magicbricks, Rent Mantra, Gumtree, Flatmates, and others.

Similarly, if you want to rent your property for hospitality, then you have partners like Oyo, Yatra, Airbnb, MMT, GoIbibio, TripAdvisor, and others.

Challenges with pre-established marketplaces:

No doubt it is convenient to list your products and sell on these large eCommerce websites with their branding.

After all, they are managing all the technical aspects for you. These websites don’t easily get hacked, and their security is really strong. You don’t have to work the backend hassle, and you can completely focus on your products and business.

Also, people easily trust when your products are listed on these big websites like Amazon or Flipkart. These tech-giants even handle the marketing for you.

However, there are some challenges.

1] High commissions

At present, Amazon charges a commission of anywhere between 3% and 25% for listing and selling your products. Flipkart has similar rates. eBay charges around 10% of the commission.

Multiple eCommerce platforms have their rates of commission which they charge.

Before even entering any eCommerce platform, it is important to calculate your Returns on Investments (ROI), margins, fees, cancellation charges, shipping charges, and even policies.

We will talk about the policies in the next point but calculate your finances beforehand – research about all the hidden costs and taxes that you would need to pay later.

It’s wrong to blame them as they are making things easier by handling server costs, shipping, and even providing you with an easy dashboard. It depends if these market places are sustainable for your business.

2] Policies

Always check the refund and return policies because sellers often ignore this factor before registering. How a particular platform responds to returns and refunds matters a lot. Who will be bearing the double logistic costs? Will the platform bear some part or will the seller has to take the losses?

Some marketplaces deduct the charges from returned products.

Look for the disputes as well. There are always some unsatisfied customers, so it is important to know how these platforms co-operate with sellers to solve them. These are trivial things to start, but they matter once the business starts growing.

3] Restrictions

According to the availability of resources, several marketplaces don’t allow you to sell your products in specific areas. Generally, logistics and shipping cause such issues.

Check beforehand if you are allowed to sell your products in your targeted locations to avoid any further inconveniences.

Also, you are not given the data of your customers in almost every marketplace. The reason is that their users are their customers, and sellers are just vendors for them.

These steps are also useful for Amazon and others to avoid stealing consumers from them to your eCommerce store. After all, marketplaces are just acting as middlemen. It’s possible to operate without them.

You even have restrictions on analytics. You cannot track your consumers to retarget or spot them later. If you have a self-hosted eCommerce business, then these controls are with you. You are the owner of your marketplace.

What are self-hosted eCommerce stores? Let’s find out.

Image Source: Unsplash

Self-hosted eCommerce Store

Building an eCommerce store from scratch can get slightly technical. You need to manage shipping, marketing, and even inventories. 

But you hold all the control. You don’t have to rely on someone else’s marketing and data.

There are multiple platforms where you can build your eCommerce store and sell it from there. WooCommerce and Shopify are good examples. We will be covering them in our upcoming blog.

You can market your products on your own and create a strong brand for your own business. If you are doubtful about growing your self-hosted store against giants like Amazon, then check out the six ways how your eCommerce website can compete with Amazon.

If you need help with developing and growing your eCommerce business, then we might help you out!

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