WooCommerce and Shopify are two of the most popular ecommerce solutions for running your business online. Online stores powered by both WooCommerce and Shopify have grown to 61% of total online stores in Australia. The remaining online stores built with Wix, Squarespace & Magento trail behind with 11%,10% and 5% respectively.  Therefore, in this blog we will look have a closer look at these top 2 ecommerce sites.

While both WooCommerce and Shopify solutions are good in their own right; they also differ in features, flexibility, pricing etc. Below we will look into key differences between WooCommerce and shopify and which one is right for your business.

Table of Contents

  1. Design
  2. Pricing
  3. Payments and fees
  4. Security
  5. SEO
  6. Performance
  7. Support


1. Design

If you already have a WordPress website for your business and you are looking to extend it by adding products on top of website then going with WooCommerce makes a perfect sense. On other hand if you are designing a completely new store than you will have to a lot of work cut out for you with WooCommerce while Shopify makes it easy.

WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress website owned by WordPress own company Automattic. It doesn’t come with any design instead it is meant to extend functionality of existing website and its theme. Which means not all themes are going to look good from CRO (conversion rate optimisation) perspective or even be viable to work like online store out of the box. So, if you are someone who has experience with WordPress websites and setting up themes than WooCommerce can be a good choice but if you are new the platform than you might just want to make your life simpler and look at Shopify.

For the self tech-savvy & DIY people, WooCommerce plugin works really well with WordPress, you can purchase a good-looking theme which is optimized for WooCommerce and don’t have to worry about anything as long as theme is built by credible company. All than left for you to do is configure and setup your online store.

Shopify is for you If you want a complete ecommerce solution to be able to quickly start selling online and do it while looking professional then choosing Shopify is no brainer. Not only Shopify comes with stunning visually developed themes out of the gate, it also takes cares of every element that goes into making your online store complete and functional.

Things like multiple payment options, adding products to cart and shopping is all well-crafted into store’s theme. All the Shopify themes are mobile/screen size responsive and have incredibly fast load times.


2. Pricing

Pricing is where most of the major decisions are made and therefore it paves to understand the differences. One thing can be said about Shopify is that their pricing is straight-forward and addresses everything needed to run a store but with WooCommerce pricing of putting together a store can vary greatly.

While WooCommerce itself is free, but cost of hosting a domain into a webserver or cloud server is something to consider. Aside from that as your website will accept payments using SSL certificate using secure protocol which may incur additional cost. Comparatively all these costs are mostly yearly cost and are still much lower than overall cost of running  a shopify store.

Shopfiy stores comes with 3 plans, basic costs around A$41/mo while shopify and advanced shopify cost A$112/mo and A$420/mo respectively. Keep in mind the original prices are stated in US Dollars so conversion rate for Australian online store retailers varies with currency exchange difference.


3. Payment Handing

Payment processing is one of the essential elements of ecommerce website. The ability to accept payments and process order from online inventory is a must-have function. 

Thankfully, both WooCommerce and Shopify have covered these functions greatly but still they aren’t anything alike.

WooCommerce comes out of gate with options of multiple payment processing gateways. Integration with Stripe, amazon pay, square, PayPal etc is very straight-forward and fees depends on the gateway processor.

The most popular gateway stripe charges its own rates within Australia which is  1.75% + 30c for processing local cards whereas International cards are slightly more with 2.9% + 30c per transactions. And for PayPal the charges are 2.6% + 30 c for domestic cards and international cards 3.6% along with undisclosed fixed fee.

Similarly, Shopify has its own method of processing payments but underneath it is powered through Stripe to process payments and PayPal. Both of these processers have their pricing but with Shopify the pricing depends on which plan you have signed up with. For Shopify Basic plan the cost is 2.9% + 30c per transaction. Shopify Plan cost is 2.6% + 30c per transaction and finally the Advanced Shopify cost is 2.4% + 30c. 


4. Security

High level of security should always be a priority for any good business owner. Remember, you’re going to be handling transactions with crucial customer details and money.

Shopify handles all security within its platform and has responsibility for keeping your store up at all costs whereas WooCommerce doesn’t necessarily owe you that kind of look after.

For WooCommerce website as it runs on WordPress, most of the security is handled manually. For example, you would have to get your own SSL certificate make sure hosting companies are compliant and have added security and encryption. Any spam control and other bits falls under your hand. Advanced features like two-factor authentication and user membership needs to be setup and handled by you.

For Shopify most of the security issues are handled by its platform. You get SSL powered store, and higher compliant PCI store with Shopify handling all your payments safely and securely with a breeze.


5. SEO

Since we know SEO is now changed so much more in recent times, thanks to our friends over at Google. SEO ranks are results of keywords, quality of information, meta tags, the load time of website etc.

WooCommerce Yoast: While WooCommerce itself is a stand-alone plugin it does pay to update all information about your products with right-keywords and optimize the website as much as possible. Yoast SEO, another plugin works alongside WooCommerce can come in handy where you can mention keyword phrase to be focused on and it calculates how well and effectively you have used the keywords in your pages and products within your store.

The website speed, load times and theme optimization may not always be good specially who and how your hosting your website. The combination of these elements makes ranking WooCommerce site with SEO bit difficult unless done right.

Shopify: With Shopify it is much easier to write meta-tags for images and resources and any outbound links you want to link from within. Also, with cleaner code used in writing themes you can be sure that it will do favourably well to rank on Google.


6. Performance

Performance is one of the major factor for your online store. Let’s face it if your website takes even 6 seconds to load, your bounce rate will increase, meaning customers will exit your website or look for products they desire elsewhere.

Shopify stores most of its resource content within CDN network. Which means loading times of such content and resources are much faster as CDN utilizes geographic centric copies of resources. So if your customer is coming from America they’d load resources based on local mirrored repository closer to that location and if they are in Australia than resources will be loaded based on repository hosted here.

WooCommerce, Unfortunately, such advanced features are missing but it doesn’t mean end of the road. You will have to rely on your hosting and therefore it becomes really important to check with your hosting provider if it offers such CDN and cache features to decrease load times. Most often you have to pay extra to retain cdn services and link them with your website.


7. Support

Support can also be a factor when it comes to woocommerce and shopify. Imagine receiving multiple customer orders in the evening but for some reason not able to process their orders online e.g sending shipping notification etc can result in very bad customer service.  

Shopify: With shopify you can 24/7 customer support for any technical issues you may face. You can lodge tickets through email,phone or chat portal and team is available to look after you.

You can also find a rich knowledge base medium to cover some of the most common user questions and issues they face.

WooCommerce:things can get little tricky, as it is a free plugin so there isn’t team available to support you 24/7 for any issues that may arise. Also as it is a plugin the support is limited to plugin which means all the bits and pieces that fall outside of plugin but are integrated into your website mechanics and somehow don’t work together fall outside the scope of WooCommerce support.

For the tech savvy who prefer to investigate and spend time understanding the problem and finding a solution, there is extensive information found in forums that they can get their hands on.


So there you have it, these are key difference between two amazing ecommerce solutions. There is no one size fits all, both WooCommerce and Shopify are amazing solutions for the right business owners. 

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