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

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

Shopify vs WooCommerce - the shop system on the basis of WordPress. So which one is better? It's impossible to answer this question definitively. The reasons people have for wanting to run an online shop as well as their needs and situations are simply too varied to give one simple answer.

A mail order company, for example, has completely different needs than, say, an artisan advertising their services online. Or an artist who sells fully customizable products and would like to use a product configurator for this function.

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

You want to know how to set up an online shop with WooCommerce and WordPress? Then take a look at our e-book WooCommerce for professionals now. it contains all the information you need to get started with your webshop.

The differences

The biggest difference between WooCommerce and Shopify: Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce solution while WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. So in order to run WooCommerce you need a WordPress installation and WooCommerce hosting as a basis. We show you what you should consider when choosing hosting in our article Four Factors for WooCommerce Hosting.

Shopify is your one-stop shop for everything you need to get started quickly. You can set up a simple shop for shipping products with Shopify in record time. But there's a price to pay for such simplicity, as we'll see in a moment.

In contrast, WooCommerce is a free plugin for your self-hosted WordPress website. Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce gives you a lot of freedom and possibilities, allowing you plenty of scope in terms of functions and design. But there are also a few more hurdles to take care of with WooCommerce. For example, the matter of hosting and Security.

Grouped products
You can allow products to be customized in WooCommerce, for example with additonal 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 sample 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.

In contrast, it isn't as smooth starting with WooCommerce. The initial effort required is larger because you need to take care of your hosting and your WordPress site, if you don't have one already. The learning curve is therefore much steeper as you'll be dealing with topics like WordPress, hosting, plugins, security, legal compliance and many more. But even here you can get a simple shop up and running within a day if you want to.

The WooCommerce wizard guides you through the installation

The good thing about WooCommerce: You can freely expand the functionality of the plugin and adapt it to fulfill all kinds of purposes. So you can establish a members area or create a shop with extra B2B functions for resellers or work with product configurators to offer individual solutions or designs.

Flexibility and adaptability

How flexible are changes to the design and functions of the two systems? With WooCommerce you are completely free to make as many changes as you like. When it comes to adaptation in WooCommerce, everything is possible. Using WooCommerce themes you can completely customize your shop. There are virtually no limits to the flexibility and functionality.

With WooCommerce you don't just have the opportunity to sell products in your shop, you can also create a members area for video courses, or use a product designer to sell customized handicrafts. You're also in charge of your search engine optimization (SEO) so your site can be found easier on Google. For many functions, there are often ready-made extensions (Plugins) available, many of which are free.

WooCommerce Memberships
Managing subscriptions with WooCommerce Memberships

If you don't find what you're looking for in the ready-made plugins, you can develop one yourself or have a WordPress Agency develop one for you. The adaptability of Shopify, on the other hand, is somewhat limited. While there's also a variety of free and paid plugins and themes you can use for your shop, the possibilities with Shopify are narrower. The focus here is rather on selling simple standard products to be shipped.

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

With WooCommerce you are 100% the owner of your data and the data of your customers. Only you decide what happens to it and where it is stored. But this also means that you shoulder the whole responsibility for keeping it safe. For example, you must ensure that your WordPress installation is secured. A good webhoster like RAIDBOXES helps take care of this and eases your workload.

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 are not immediately obvious. The initial costs for setting up your shop depend very much on your requirements. Depending on your needs, both systems offer premium plugins that incur one-time or monthly costs. Both points were not considered in the following calculation, here we're only looking at the running costs.

Below are a few sample calculations to directly compare the costs of the most important shop variants. With Shopify we have included the different Price plans and Shopify Payments. Depending on the payment method used by your customers (other than credit cards), the associated fees may be higher or lower for WooCommerce or Shopify. With Shopify, for example, additional fees are charged for all payments outside of Shopify Payments indicates that 54% of disabled adults in the U.S. use the internet on a regular basis.

Example 1: Mini shop

One product. 10 orders / 500 euro turnover per month

Item of expenseShopifyWooCommerce
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

Item of expenseShopifyWooCommerce
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

Item of expenseShopifyWooCommerce
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

Item of expenseShopifyWooCommerce
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? Please use the comment function. Do you want to keep informed about new WordPress and WooCommerce posts? Then follow us on Twitteror Facebook , or subscribe to our newsletter.

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