Setting Up an E-Commerce – But which CMS to Choose?
A lot of ecommerce stores are opening up online particularly due to Covid-19 which has made shopping online a digital need for all. Keeping this in view, many brick and mortar businesses are trying to set up their stores online but are unable to successfully do so? Why? Because they are confused as to what is best for their business – a WooCommerce setup or a Shopify setup.
Essentially in the world of online business, the two most popular platforms used for ecommerce are WordPress WooCommerce and Shopify. Why? We will get into that in the next section of the article. But as for selecting which is the best for you, well, this is what this article is focused on – educating you in the best and worst of both the content management systems and then making an educated decision for your online business.
But first, as always, let’s start with the basics.
A brief history about WooCommerce and Shopify
Since this world was struck hard by Covid-19: a global pandemic, ‘Stay-Home-and-Stay-Safe’ has given rise to a new normal — Online Shopping. Therefore, people sitting at home are looking for safe, professional and cost-effective ecommerce CMS where they can run their online businesses, sell products and make money.
That is why there is a high rise in the use of WooCommerce and Shopify. A trend at Built With shows that WooCommerce has the big market share (WooCommerce Checkout 28%) in the competition and Shopify has the second biggest market share (Shopify 19%.)
But where they come from and what is the reason for their popularity. Let’s check it out!!
WooCommerce – A Brief History
WooCommerce is a plugin which can be downloaded from the WordPress Plugin Directory or directly from the WooCommerce site. However, you must have hosting along with WordPress installation in order to utilize WooCommerce.
With a basic technical knowledge, anybody can start using WooCommerce with ease. In case, if you already have a WordPress site, and you want to transform it into an ecommerce store; WooCommerce (a plugin) will be the right fit for you.
Shopify – A Brief History
Shopify, a Ottawa, Ontario-based multinational ecommerce platform, was first created in 2006 and has led to US$2.93 billion online shopping only in 2020.(Isn’t it impressive?)
Shopify is widely popular as a dedicated ecommerce CMS with lots of features for its users worldwide. It enables users to build their ecommerce stores from the scratch with ease, which is hard-nut to crack with WooCommerce. Long story short, if you want a CMS purely dedicated for Ecommerce, then we would suggest you to use ‘Shopify’ and you will see the difference.
Concluding the history lesson, let’s get on with the comparisons so you can have a better and a clearer idea about the pros and cons of WooCommerce and Shopify!!
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WooCommerce VS Shopify — which one is the easy-to-use CMS for users?
Majority of the people who start off an ecommerce business are neither web developers nor tech geeks. So, since a big number of non-techies are heading towards the Ecommerce world to sell their products online, there are possibilities for them feeling uneasy when they try a new CMS. That’s why, how easy a given CMS is, does have a significant value in this regard. In fact, users equipped with the basic concepts even look for a platform in every way so that they could embark on their journey comfortably.
We have come up with a small list of comparisons that will help you in making a decision. Let’s evaluate both these CMSs to find out which one is the best fit for your business.
1. Ease of Use
WooCommerce isn’t a hosted platform. This means you’ll have to install WooCommerce, keep backups, manage updates and beef up the security of your eStore yourself. You can benefit from free & paid plugins (as per your requirements) to add automation in most of your tasks.
In technical terms, WooCommerce is adaptable, flexible with lots of customization options. You can add as many functionalities as you want because it has over 50K WordPress plugins.
WooCommerce might be a little turn-off for you because it does not have the drag and drop functionality that is currently popular with the non-tech users of the website. But you can count on WordPress page builders i.eBeaver Builder to avail the drag-and-drop functionalities which will cost you money.
On the flip side, you’ll have to invest hours and hours in understanding ‘how to manage WooCommerce for your online store’. Even though WooCommerce has well-rounded support documents and tutorials helping you at each step from starting out your first online shop to how to display your products, they still are not easy-to-use.
Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify is a fully-hosted platform where you don’t have to install, manage and/or update any software. Subsequently, you don’t have to fret much about security, backups, performance and compatibility of the ecommerce website. You’ll be able to use this Ecommerce CMS right out of the gate. Why? — because it is much easier; sign-up, customize, add products, and viola– you’re good to go.
Shopify comes with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface which makes this CMS easy-to-use as compared to WooCommerce. The former one is more favorable when it comes to managing products, sales, and inventory than the latter one.
However, we want to highlight a key shortcoming with Shopify. Although, you’re going to get a well-optimized user experience for your site, you can only use those tools for designing and developing that are provided by Shopify. This limitation can be off-putting but a large collection of Shopify-made extensions and themes will optimize your eStore and online sales.
2. Which CMS is Quick to Build?
WooCommerce is a time-taking website builder as compared to Shopify. So, if you want to enjoy creative freedom in less time then this might not be the CMS for you. Again, you’ll have to invest time to see your results working and generating results for you. (A Tip: We provide handy WooCommerce services at WP-Bridge from development and designs to 24/7 support of your online stores.
On the other hand, WooCommerce has set-up wizards to help its users build web stores but it needs professional know-how on customers’ end to make things work in a right-way.
b. Shopify – Easy-to-Build
Shopify can get your ecommerce store live quicker as compared to WooCommerce. Plus, if you’re beginning your ecommerce journey right from the scratch or you don’t have enough technical skills, you should try ‘Shopify’ as you are free-to-set your own store and you can choose amazing themes for yourself. Most importantly, with WooCommerce, the process is overwhelmingly manual, whereas with Shopify, you get one-stop solutions.
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3. Which CMS has the Best Themes and Designs?
Both, WooCommerce and Shopify, contain themes and designs with professional look-and-feel to give your eStore realistic and authentic touch. On both CMS, there are various themes and designs available as per your requirement.
How good you want your design and themes to look depends on your technical skill and investment of time. If a web store owner is a designer himself/herself or has access to a designer, then believe it or not — sky’s the limit. Use the WooCommerce Storefront (the official WooCommerce theme) for selecting and using the themes for your website. For instance, ThemeForest (a platform to buy-&-sell HTML templates and themes for popular CMS i.e. Joomla, WordPress, etc.) has more than 1000 ecommerce themes to not just help you sell products online but also to make you popular digitally across the Internet.
Shopify theme store has lots of themes (free and paid) which you can use for your ecommerce stores and websites. They are designed to fit in almost all industries, categories and businesses. Free themes are easy to use whereas premium or paid themes could cost you money (maybe $140, $180) but they are effective and well-designed to generate more revenue. In case, if you’re too tight on a budget, free themes can also help you to begin your ecommerce business.
Plus, Shopify themes are well-curated and more ecommerce-focused as compared to WooCommerce. That’s why Shopify is a true champion here.
4. Which CMS has Best Plugins and Integrations?
Plugins and app integrations add more functionalities into an online ecommerce shop. They uplift every core area of an eStore like shipping, analysis, and marketing, etc. So, which CMS has better options of app integration and plugins – is it Shopify or WooCommerce? Let’s find out:
WooCommerce is an open-source platform which depends upon plugins. WooCommerce provides around 50,000 plugins and integration options to its users to build money-making websites and online stores with zero difficulties.
b. Shopify – Plugins and Integration
Shopify has far fewer plugins and integration options available as compared to WooCommerce. As a result, Shopify – being a dedicated Ecommerce platform – seems to fail miserably in this section of ‘plugins & integration’.
5. Which CMS is scalable and most likely to grow your online business?
Growth and scalability are inevitable for all types of business which is also true for ecommerce business. That’s why scalability and growth are equally necessary in the comparison between WooCommerce and Shopify.
a. WooCommerce – Scalability and Growth
WooCommerce – being a self-hosted platform – is capable of maintaining updates & backups and keeping security intact. As a matter of fact: when an Ecommerce store starts to gain traction, a starter WooCommerce hosting plan runs out of resources necessary to keep your online business in good shape. The good thing with WooCommerce is that it has lots of options available for managing growth so that you could control your website. With WooCommerce, you can manage resources with Caching, upgrade hosting plans to better and powerful servers.
Well, despite full-control of ecommerce stores, the majority of users tend to look for more hassle-free solutions.
b. Shopify – Scalability and Growth
With Shopify, you’re going to enjoy full-fledged technical support with top-notch security, performance and scalability. When your online Shopify store starts making profit, you can manage it by upgrading to your Shopify plans. With an upgraded Shopify plan, you will enjoy improved infrastructure helping you to manage your Ecommerce site without any worries of downtimes, security, backups, and updates, etc.
And, no doubt, this growth part will add cost to your business but these expenses will boost your web store’s visibility and security to produce excellent results.
6. Which CMS has the Lowest Maintenance Cost?
Maintenance is an important feature that needs to be discussed. Once a website is ready, it is the maintenance that makes sure it is keeping up with the upgrades and the performance standards.
WooCommerce is a stable and feature-filled CMS to help users build and manage Ecommerce sites as easily as A-B-C. However, WooCommerce as a CMS does need full maintenance. If you’re planning to build ecommerce sites and stores through the use of WooCommerce, there are a few things you’ll have to keep in mind. It needs constant management, consistent updating of core software, plugins, and themes.
This maintenance requires cost and time whether you decide to do it yourself, or hire an in-house person, or hire a WordPress Maintenance Company.
Shopify is also a fantastic CMS to help simplify building and managing Ecommerce stores. It has limited options available for users to customize their ecommerce stores. This means that you are going to avail limited control over your website’s security, performance, and software updation, etc.
7. Which CMS is better for dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an online ecommerce business model in which a store doesn’t hold products in stock. Instead, dropshippers work as intermediaries where they purchase products from vendors and ship them to customers for fulfilling an order. Thanks to low overhead — dropshipping is most popular around the globe. Therefore, we are going to compare Shopify and WooCommerce to find which one is really helpful when it comes to ‘dropshipping’.
WooCommerce is widely known as a reliable CMS in communities of dropshippers and dropshipping businesses. This is because WooCommerce allows you to install extensions to make order fulfillment easy and quick. These extensions help in the process from importing products to fulfilling orders from websites. Extensions at WooCommerce can enable you to add other vendors on your site so that they can sell their products in your ecommerce store.
WooCommerce has minimum order requirements for supplier and vendor, low membership fees and so much more.
Building a dropshipping site or store on Shopify is the same. This means that you can use the same front-end design to help users browse the products easily, add their selected items to the cart and make payment easily.
However, in Shopify, a dropshipper has to pay membership fees, shipping and other charges separately according to the dropshipping marketplaces.
8. Which CMS one is more secure?
Regardless of the type and niche of your site, fail-proof security is always a priority.
WooCommerce is basically a self-hosted ecommerce platform. Therefore, any plugins that it offers doesn’t contain built-in security to fend off threats. So, you’ll have to handle everything on your own or you will have to take a hosting provider onboard to increase the security of your website. Since WooCommerce doesn’t have its own SSL, better you take the help of a good hosting provider which offers a free SSL certificate when you sign up for a hosting plan.
If you don’t want a breach in security to destroy your online reputation and want to enjoy full digital freedom while selling your products, then you should opt for Shopify. Shopify can handle all security breaches and keep hackers away from your site since it has a built-in SSL security which tells the user that the site is safe to browse and give the information to.
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9. Which is the best CMS with Reliable Payment Options?
The Internet has many payment gateways options that you could use for Shopify or WooCommerce stores. But you need to be careful, as some payment methods may not be a right-fit for you and your present-and-future customers.
PayPal and Stripe payments (the two most popular and trustworthy online payment solutions) come by default in WooCommerce. You can also incorporate other popular and reliable payment methods using add-ons.
Interestingly, WooCommerce has full support of regional payment networks. With WooCommerce, you can take any payment company onboard through the use of add-ons. Being a self-hosted CMS, you’ll only have to pay transaction fees by your bank or payment gateway. Happily, WooCommerce would never charge you any percent (%) of fee on transaction — which is a big achievement for WooCommerce users.
In addition, if you want to choose your merchant account along with a third-party gateway, you’re going to enjoy it incalculably with WooCommerce.
Shopify has several payment options available for ecommerce store owners to receive payments from buyers. Users can avail Shopify Payments ( Shopify’s own payment method powered by Stripe) or use 3rd-party gateways to ease up transactions.
The downside of Shopify payment gateway is that it charges extra 2% fees on every transaction made through third-party payment gateways.
WooCommerce VS Shopify: What are the Pros and Cons?
After all the above discussions, we have tried to summarize in this section some advantages and disadvantages of WooCommerce and Shopify for your ease of understanding.
- Unlimited customization options
- Scalability and functionality
- A user needs to have a technical background to benefit from WooCommerce: a platform for ecommerce.
- Hosted Ecommerce CMS with top-notch security features
- Round-the-clock live support
- Transaction fees and expensive apps
So, What is Your Choice? WooCommerce or Shopify?
When it comes to Shopify and WooCommerce, they both are dynamic and highly effective platforms where you can build your Ecommerce empire (if you’re willing to invest your skills and time).
Choosing either one depends entirely on your business needs and what is best for your business and clients. Through this article we have tried to provide you with as much information as we can about both the platforms – good and the bad. But if you are still unsure about what to choose, talk to our executive team and they will surely guide you in making the right decision.
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