WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which Shop System is the Right One for You?

Christian Zimpel Last updated 20.10.2020
6 Min.
WooCommerce vs Shopify
Last updated 20.10.2020

Shopify vs. WooCommerce - the shop system based on WordPress - which is better? This question cannot be answered in a general way. Because there are too many different factors as well as possibilities and requirements, why someone wants to run an online shop. Learn more about the most important comparison criteria.

A mail order company, for example, has completely different needs than a craftsman who offers his services. Or than an artist who sells very individual products according to customer wishes and wants to use a product configurator for this.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have their own strengths and weaknesses. In this comparison, I'll show you which of the two tools could potentially be the perfect solution for you and your business.

Getting started with WooCommerce

Want to know how to build an online store with WooCommerce and WordPress ? Then check out our e-book WooCommerce for professionals. It contains all the information you need to get your webshop off to a flying start.

The differences

The biggest difference between WooCommerce and Shopify: Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce solution, WooCommerce is a Plugin for WordPress . So you need a WordPress installation and a WooCommerce hosting as a base. What you should take into account, we show you in our article 4 factors for the WooCommerce-Hosting.

Shopify is your one-stop shop for everything you need to get started fast. You can get a simple store for shipping products up and running in record time with Shopify. However, this also comes at a price, as we will see in a moment.

WooCommerce on the other hand is a free Plugin for your self-hosted WordPress website. Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce gives you a lot of freedom and options in terms of functionality and design. But in return, there are a few more hurdles to take care of. For example, the topic of hosting and security.

Grouped products
You can allow products to be customized in WooCommerce, for example with additional details

As you can see, making a general comparison of the two shop systems isn't easy. In order to give you a better overview of both systems, I'll divide the comparison into the following categories:

  • Handling and getting started
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Payment methods
  • Data control
  • Cost comparison with some example calculations
  • Final thoughts

Handling and getting started

Getting started with Shopify could hardly be any easier. The handling is intuitive and the setup is very straightforward. With Shopify you can create a simple shop to start selling your first products in record time.

On the other hand, the start with WooCommerce is a bit bumpier. The first effort is a bit bigger, because you have to take care of the hosting as well as a WordPress site if you don't already have one. The learning curve is much steeper, because you have to deal with topics like WordPress , hosting, Plugins, security, legal security and so on. But even here you can get a simple shop up and running within a day if you want to.

assistant
The WooCommerce wizard guides you through the installation

The good thing about WooCommerce: You can extend Plugin as you like and use and adapt it for all kinds of purposes. So you can create a member area, set up a shop with extra B2B functions for resellers or even work with product configurators to offer individual solutions or designs.

Flexibility and adaptability

How flexible are adjustments to the design and functions possible? At WooCommerce , you are 100 percent free when it comes to customization. There is simply no such thing as "can't" at WooCommerce . So the shop can be designed WooCommerce Themes can be designed completely individually. There are virtually no limits to the flexibility and functionality.

With WooCommerce you can not only sell simple products, you can also set up a member area for video courses, or sell individual handicrafts with a product designer on site . Even optimizations for search engine optimization (SEO) - to be found better on Google, you make yourself. For many things there are already ready-made extensions (Plugins), which are often free of charge.

WooCommerce Memberships
Managing subscriptions with WooCommerce Memberships

If you don't find what you're looking for, you can develop a Plugin yourself, or commission it from a WordPress agency. Shopify, on the other hand, is rather limited in customizability. There are also a variety of Plugins and Themes (some of which are also paid) that you can use for your shop. But the possibilities of Shopify are rather limited - the focus is on selling simple standard and shipping products.

Payment methods

Shopify offers the most common payment methods such as credit card and PayPal. A fee is charged by Spotify that is a percentage of the sales, as is the case with nearly all other providers. Credit card payments, for example, are currently charged at 2.4 percent of sales and 0.25€ per transaction.

Shopify Payments
Shopify Payments

As WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, it doesn't only support the most common payment methods like credit cards via the payment service provider Stripe (1.4 percent of sales and 0.25€ per transaction) or PayPal. Pretty much any payment service and provider you can imagine is supported. Also international payments. Even Bitcoin and other currencies can be integrated. Here you have unrestricted choice.

Data control and security

At WooCommerce you are 100% the owner of your data and your customers' data. Only you decide what happens to them and where they are stored. Therefore, the entire responsibility lies with you. For example, you have to make sure that your WordPress installation is secure. A good web host like RAIDBOXES takes a lot of work off your shoulders.

Shopify gives you the ability to export your customer data. However, the service always keeps its own copy of all data on its servers. In return, Shopify says it will take care of all issues surrounding security.

Cost comparison

Here too, there are significant differences, which are not immediately apparent at first glance. The initial costs for the shop creation depend very much on your requirements. Depending on your needs, there are premiumPlugins systems that cause one-time or monthly costs. Both points were not considered in the following calculation, it is only about the running costs.

Here are a few sample calculations to directly compare the costs of the most important shop variants. For Shopify, we've taken into account the different pricing plans and Shopify Payments. Depending on the payment option your customers use (outside of credit cards), the associated fees can be lower or higher for both Shopify and WooCommerce . For example, Shopify has additional fees for all payment providers outside of Shopify Payments.

Example 1: Mini shop

One product. 10 orders / 500 euro turnover per month

Cost itemShopifyWooCommerce
Hosting/fees per month26,00€30,00€ (FULLY MANAGED)
Credit card fees2.4% / 12.00€1.4% / 7.00€ (Stripe)
Cost per order0.25€ / 2.50€0.25€ / 2.50€
Cost per month40,50€39,50€

Example 2: Growing shop

10 products. 30 orders / 1000 euro turnover per month

Cost itemShopifyWooCommerce
Hosting/fees per month26,00€€30.00 (FULLY MANAGED)
Credit card fees2.4% / 24.00€1.4% / 14.00€ (Stripe)
Cost per order0.25€ / 7.50€0.25€ / 7.50€
Cost per month57,50€51,50€

Example 3: Medium shop

50 products. 150 orders / 3000 euro turnover per month

Cost itemShopifyWooCommerce
Hosting/fees per month67,00€50,00€ (PRO plan )
Credit card fees2.1% / 63.00€1.4% / 42.00€ (Stripe)
Cost per order0.25€ / 37.50€0.25€ / 37.50€
Cost per month167,50€129,50€

Example 4: Larger shop

500 products. 1500 orders / 90,000 euro turnover per month

Cost itemShopifyWooCommerce
Hosting/fees per month254,00€200,00€ (BUSINESS XL plan )
Credit card fees1.8% / 1,620.00€1.4% / 1,260.00€ (Stripe)
Cost per order0.25€ / 375.00€0.25€ / 375.00€
Cost per month2.249,00€1.835,00€

Final thoughts

Shopify is made for people who want to have a shop set up as quickly and easily as possible without needing great technical understanding. And where they are able to sell simple standard products for shipping. With Shopify, you don't have to worry about anything else and you can get started in record time. The development of the platform and the hosting for Shopify is paid for via the fees. More sales and revenue means higher fees, which you can see clearly in the cost comparison above. 

WooCommerce is for the movers and shakers! From the cost comparison, it's the system for all scenarios where you need more than a small shop. WooCommerce is perfect for those people who want to have their very own individualized shop. And who are not afraid to lend a hand themselves, or to engage a service provider.

With WooCommerce you shouldn't be averse to technology. At the same time you need to be open to acquiring new knowledge. An interest in web technology is essential here, as is the willingness to take responsibility for the security your shop.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Your Questions

What questions do you have about our comparison? Feel free to use the comment function. You want to be informed about new articles on WordPress and WooCommerce ? Then follow us on Twitter, Facebook or via our newsletter.

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