So you’re starting a new ecommerce website, or maybe you’re upgrading an older site with a new look. It’s time to decide on a platform.
I have used both Shopify and WooCommerce and while I think both are great options, there are clear advantages to one or the other based on the type of site you are building.
First let’s look at functionality.
1) Apps or Plugins?
I had a potential client the other day come to me saying that she wanted an ecommerce store that allowed her to set a minimum order quantity on certain products. She already had a store setup but wanted more features than her current solution offered. Right away it came down to the question on WooCoommerce vs Shopify.
Quick note – I know there are other options out there that offer a similar result but these are the two I primarily work with and the ones many of my clients request.
At first glance, I assumed Shopify might be the preferred solution for her but after looking into different shopify apps, it became clear that the options for setting a minimum order quantity weren’t as readily available as I would have liked.
I came across two shopify apps that offered this feature but both had mediocre reviews and it wasn’t obvious how specific I would be able to get by setting minimums for products or categories.
The app reviews also stated that some users were having issues depending on what theme they were working with. All red flags.
WooCommerce on the other hand, had one solution that seemed to fit the bill perfectly and it gave me the confidence that this project could be completed without any issues. The plugin was even offered through the woothemes website which gave it added credibility and support.
Decision made. Bottom line… Don’t choose one solution over another without taking the time to make sure that each option can handle the functionality you’re looking for.
Building out your site first only to realize that you now need to hire another developer to build something custom later because you thought it was a standard feature when it wasn’t. Not fun.
2) Your Support System
Are you a one man show or a team of 20? And what skills does your team bring to the table?
If you’re already comfortable with WordPress and you know your way around the dashboard, maybe WooCommerce is a good place to start. Don’t waste time learning new technology if you know the solution and it’s working well for you.
If you are a solopreneur lacking technical expertise when it comes to building an online store, who in your network can you rely on for help.
Have your friends or business mentors made recommendations? Could you call on them if you got stuck in a tight spot and need help fixing an issue with a product?
3) Other Things to Consider
Ease of Use
From start to finish Shopify, in my opinion is a simpler solution right out of the box. Everything from start to finish is laid out for you and it’s pretty easy to get up and running quickly.
I wouldn’t say WooCommerce is that much harder, but it’s definitely more difficult than Shopify especially if you have no previous Wordpress experience.
Technically WooCommerce is a free plugin to sell online and Shopify is paid but there’s a little more to it than that. WooCommerce likely won’t include all the features you want in an online store out of the box. You’ll want to buy (or find a free version of) at least a few plugins to add some extra functionality.
For example, one of my WooCommerce clients uses a product search plugin that costs $50 a month. These types of extra costs don’t typically get considered in the initial budgeting phase so it’s important to make your best educated guess.
While Shopify comes with a lot of features, they have an entire store full of free and paid apps. For both WooCommerce and Shopify it’s important to reach reviews before you make purchases and make sure that whatever extra services you buy have good support.
I’ve found it very true that you get what you pay for.
Do you have a design in mind for your store? Check out the different themes available for both Shopify and WooCommerce. There are paid and free options for both but check to make sure the developer is reputable and again, read reviews from other customers.
Do you have experience with either WooCommerce or Shopify? If so, which do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments below and help out any future readers of this post. Thanks!