Online stores are great way to expand your business and reach new markets. Choosing the correct online sales platform requires a thorough consideration of available resources, especially budget and man-power. Two popular online store platforms are Shopify and WooCommerce.
In this post, I have reviewed both platforms with a breakdown of cost, resources and other key considerations.
Pros: WooCommerce is an open-source, completely customisable e-commerce platform built on WordPress, the most popular CMS that runs 26% of the web. If you already run your website on WordPress and are looking to add an online store, WooCommerce is an excellent choice as this platform seamlessly integrates commerce with content. WooCommerce can be used to sell anything from physical products to digital downloads and subscriptions and even appointments, making it suitable for all businesses. Being open source, WooCommerce can be modified and customised. Users can add unlimited products, users and take unlimited orders.
Cons: WooCommerce can be run only on WordPress. Users need at least a basic understanding of WordPress before being able to effectively use WooCommerce. Although WooCommerce can be modified and customised, all modifications cannot be achieved through use of plugins. Custom coding may be required to achieve the required features. Any new functionalities than need to be introduced require expert knowledge. The maintenance of the site is solely the user’s responsibility. For example, if there is a plugin conflict that breaks your site, you (or your developer) will have to be able to troubleshoot and fix it.
Cost: WooCommerce is free. However, you will need to consider hosting costs and plugin costs. Additionally factor in any costs for human resources such as hiring a web developer for site maintenance.
Pros: Shopify provides everything you need from end to end to set up and start selling your products, in contrast to you putting all the pieces together yourself on a platform like WooCommerce. For someone with limited knowledge of web technologies, Shopify offers the simple solution. You can set up shop with a few clicks and if you do get stuck, there are excellent beginner guides and comprehensive documentation. You can choose from a wide responsive theme gallery for your store design or create your own or buy one. It comes with SEO features making it easier for your products to be found by potential customers. All Shopify plans allow unlimited products.
Cons: Shopify is expensive. Plans start from $29 a month. Shopify prioritises e-commerce over content. The blogging platform is basic and is a road block for effective content marketing. Moving your store from Shopify to a different platform may not be a smooth journey. If you (or your developer) would like to customise your theme, it should be noted that Shopify does not use PHP for their templates.
Cost: The basic Shopify plan costs $29 a month, the average plan is $79 a month, and advanced Shopify costs $299 a month. Consider costs for any additional apps that you may want to add to your Shopify Store.
Looking for other e-commerce options? Check out this post on 6 platforms to consider when setting up your online store