Shopify vs WordPress WooCommerce – Who Wins in 2021?

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Introduction: Why even consider Shopify and WordPress for your next eCommerce Solution?

Which is the better eCommerce platform – Shopify vs WordPress?

We’re taking the guesswork out of choosing the right eCommerce builder for you by taking a deep dive into two popular brands – WordPress vs Shopify.

In this article, we're comparing WordPress with Shopify based on their merits (and faults) to come to a concrete conclusion as to which one works better.

For your benefit, we're placing a winner verdict at the end of each section to indicate who's stronger on that particular criterion.

Wait – what's the difference between WordPress and Shopify?

For this particular comparison, we’ll look at the tale of the tape between industry leaders Shopify and WordPress. It has to be clarified that WordPress does not provide an eCommerce platform. It's able to make eCommerce possible with the use of the WooCommerce plugin. As this is a comparison between eCommerce solutions, we will be looking at WordPress WooCommerce specifically to evaluate eCommerce capability.

Also, to avoid confusion, in evaluating WordPress vs Shopify on the rest of the categories, there are two WordPress versions. For this Shopify or WordPress showdown, we're focusing on the Self-Hosting WordPress.org platform.


Pros and Cons for Shopify vs WordPress:

As an overview, relevant details are shown below. For a more in-depth backgrounder and pros and cons, you can click the links below for our more comprehensive reviews on each of these two platforms.


Overview:

To start this Shopify vs WordPress platform comparison, let's get to know each of them better:

Shopify:

Shopify was specifically created for eCommerce. It is a dedicated eCommerce builder which boasts of the following:

  • Hosted and built over one million web stores
  • Generates over $55 Billion in revenue annually.

The platform also has the reputation of being one of the easiest eCommerce builders to use, and online stores built with the platform rank among the fastest-loading sites online.

WordPress & WooCommerce:

Everybody knows what WordPress is. Therefore, if you ask which is more popular – Shopify or WordPress – it has to be WordPress.

The platform so well-known that it's become synonymous with the word “blogging.” As an open-source and free site building platform, WordPress has the uncanny ability to integrate just about every plugin and 3rd party app to make its websites highly functional. Since it's not specifically built for eCommerce – WordPress relies on the WooCommerce plugin to set up an online store.

While it’s essentially free (as with a WordPress.org account), it doesn’t offer dedicated hosting, so you will need to spend a bit more on site hosting, security, business email, and even technical support.

Visit Shopify.com

Visit WooCommerce.com


Ease of use:

When considering whether to use WordPress vs Shopify as your online selling platform, ease of use is a key factor.

Here’s our take on which is easier to use – Shopify or WordPress?

Shopify:

From the moment you log on, Shopify practically hands everything to you on a silver platter. Of course, this depends on what pricing plan you’re subscribed to.  Specifically, certain features are only available for top-tier subscribers.

Nevertheless, there is no guesswork involved in starting work on your Shopify store, as everything is at your fingertips, and help is just a click or a call away.

WordPress WooCommerce:

There’s a bit of a learning curve involved in getting WooCommerce to work with your WordPress site. It may be a plugin, but it isn’t exactly the plug-and-play sort – it takes time to install, and you will need to learn how to use some of the features. It may take you a bit of time, but it gets easier as you go along.

Also, it would be best if you got the site hosting issue threshed out; fortunately, there are many reliable web hosting options that offer support to WordPress and WooCommerce sites.

Winner – Shopify! within this ‘Ease of Use' WordPress vs Shopify comparison.

Features and Flexibility:

After ease of use, we need to look at WordPress vs Shopify in terms of their features and flexibility.

Out-of-the-box:

Does Shopify or WordPress offer more built-in features in their standard offering?

Shopify:

Shopify delivers when it comes to functionality thanks to a winning combo of a drag-and-drop interface paired with a well-designed toolset, ready-made templates that anyone (regardless of how much HTML or CSS know-how they have) can use, as well as its own hosting platform. As it’s a SaaS tool, users won’t have any trouble with installation, system upgrades, and online security.

WordPress WooCommerce:

Got experience with a WordPress.org blog or site? Then navigating through the WooCommerce UI ought to be a cinch. However, there’s a pretty steep learning curve that comes with the package, so you will need to spend an hour or so figuring things out before getting into the nitty-gritty of actual site-building

Themes and Templates:

Which between WordPress or Shopify has more exquisite template choices?

Shopify:

With over a hundred expertly-designed themes, there is no doubt that Shopify gives online shop owners the freedom to choose templates that are perfect for their storefronts in terms of business category, aesthetics, and even functionality. Users can choose from ten free templates, and a variety of premium [paid] templates starting from $99.00.

WordPress WooCommerce:

Both Shopify and WordPress have impressive templates database. However, WooCommerce has an actual dedicated theme separate from those normally offered by WordPress: Storefront.

It is free and flexible, built on a nested grid system, SEO-ready, and can easily be customised. Nevertheless, we can’t help but feel limited in the choices of variant [child] themes: there are only 14, of which two are free, and the rest cost $39.00 a pop.

Customisation Tools:

Both Shopify and WordPress can make your online store reflect your brand vision and identity. However, which is better at customisation – Shopify or WordPress?

Shopify:

Shopify may be keen on the aesthetic customisation category, but it tends to fall flat when it comes to customising your web stores working features and functions. There are limits as to how much you can do, particularly where merchandising and marketing are concerned.

WordPress WooCommerce:

WordPress actually offers several extensions that enable users to create custom user experiences (UXs) within their stores. These include product page customisations for add-ons, variants, 360° image display, sizing charts, and promotional videos.

3rd Party Integrations:

Shopify:

With almost 5,758 third-party apps and integrations currently available through the Shopify App Store, this platform offers numerous solutions that range from productivity via the Google Suite and online marketing tools covering all the bases from social media to customer retention to SEO optimisation tools by reputable developers like Avada.

WordPress WooCommerce:

As with most WordPress sites, WooCommerce users are spoilt for choice when it comes to third-party applications to enhance the user experience (UX) in their online stores. Also, the fact that it’s an open-source platform enables users with lots of technical know-how to craft their own widgets, plugins, and extensions specific to their WooCommerce sites.

In fact, you can even integrate a WordPress Shopify Plugin to your WordPress site to enable shopping!

Hosting:

Shopify and WordPress have different approaches to hosting.

Since Shopify is fully-hosted, hosting services via a content delivery network (CDN) are included across all subscription plans.

Meanwhile, because WooCommerce is part of WordPress, you will need to get a third-party web host for your site.

Backups:

Shopify and WordPress perform different backup processes to protect your site from unforeseen attacks.

With Shopify, backing up data is a breeze as automated backups are built into the Shopify UI and are done on a daily basis.

With WordPress, regular data backup and general backup policies will depend on the hosting provider you choose for your WooCommerce store.

Migration:

Either Shopify or WordPress enables site migration – albeit using different routes.

Previously, migrating sites to Shopify from other platforms was an impossibility. Now, Shopify has a built-in facility called Store Importer which can be used to move whole web stores from one on-platform account to another or – more relevantly – move sites from different platforms to one’s Shopify account. To make things even easier, instructions for migrating from specific platforms are given.

Meanwhile, there are three ways by which you can migrate an online store to a WooCommerce-powered site: manually, paying for a WooExpert service, or through the Cart2Cart extension built into WooCommerce.

Winner – WordPress! within this ‘Feature and Flexibility' WordPress vs Shopify comparison. You can gun for either Shopify or WordPress – they have close features. However, WordPress gives your site greater flexibility.

eCommerce Tools:

Below are the key features in WordPress vs Shopify eCommerce that you should consider.

Shopify:

Because it's a dedicated eCommerce builder, you certainly can't turn your nose up at what Shopify has to offer users. Some of its biggest draws include:

  • Easy insertion of product images, details, and descriptions;
  • Highly efficient and effective inventory management system;
  • Personal customer account management to allow users to take care of their personal details, thus enhancing the purchase completion process;
  • Organise products by category to facilitate an easier customer search;
  • Abandoned cart feature;
  • Increase brand awareness and impact by adding more pages and blogs to your online store;
  • Over 70 different payment gateways as well as multi-currency support;
  • More efficient customer and order tracking;
  • Multiple staff accounts that will allow you to delegate responsibilities among team members

WordPress WooCommerce:

In our Shopify vs WordPress eCommerce highlights, WordPress also offers a host of eCommerce tools through a WooCommerce Shop. You have the ability to achieve such things as:

  • Ability to sell physical products, as well as digital items like tickets, vouchers, and ebooks;
  • Built-in inventory management system to track stock levels, hide products that are out of stock, or to put stocks on hold upon the cancellation of an order;
  • Coupon and discount generation either for individual customers or storewide;
  • Extensive analytics.
  • Geolocation tool to automatically detect customer location, allowing for accuracy in terms of taxation and shipping costs;
  • Clear and flexible product segmentation that allows you to categorise products and add variations for individual items;
  • Customer account creation to simplify the checkout process for registered customers but also allows for guest checkout;
  • Ability to offer various shipping mode options for customers;
  • Automated email templates to keep customers informed throughout the shipping and delivery processes.
  • Product review facility;
Winner – Draw! within our ‘eCommerce Tools' Shopify and WordPress comparison. You can root for either Shopify or WordPress for eCommerce functionality.

SEO and Mobility:

Which is better for SEO and Mobility – Shopify vs WordPress?

Well, both Shopify and WordPress create mobile-responsive pages that look great on any device. But do both platforms have SEO-friendly tools?

Here are SEO highlights of what the WordPress vs Shopify platforms have to offer.

Shopify:

Shopify offers an SEO-friendly CMS approach that includes:

  • Customisable H1s, titles, and metatags;
  • Automatic generation of sitemaps.xml to ensure that your site content will appear immediately on search engines;
  • Built-in eCommerce analytics to accurately monitor how your site performs.

WordPress WooCommerce:

Unfortunately, you need to get a third-party app to get the full benefit of any SEO initiatives. The WordPress platforms offer both free and paid options, but we’ve noted that you are better off paying rather than making do with a free app. When it comes to SEO features, WordPress has the upper hand.

It allows users to add titles, meta descriptions, and meta keywords to all pages and posts; create custom titles for the homepage, as well as category and tag pages; and make use of tools such as Open Graph metadata, Twitter cards, sitemaps, and ping search engines to improve searchability.

Winner – WordPress! within our ‘SEO and Mobility' WordPress vs Shopify comparison. While either Shopify or WordPress supports SEO, WordPress has more sophisticated features.

Support and Resources:

Right at the onset in this Shopify vs WordPress comparison, it's clear that Shopify offers a better range of support options and online resources for its users. You can easily get in touch with their technical support team via live chat, phone, email, and even social media. Likewise, you can get information through its well-curated knowledge base as well as its active community forum.

Getting support for WordPress or WooCommerce, on the other hand, is more ad hoc in nature. Actual support from the platform itself is scarce, but there is an extensive community-driven knowledge base. Even then, this only covers concerns for items sold via official WordPress channels; issues with third-party apps need to be taken up with the developers.

Winner – Shopify! within our ‘Support and Resources' WordPress vs Shopify comparison.

Pricing:

Which between Shopify vs WordPress offer better value for your money?

Since it's difficult to make a tit for tat Shopify and WordPress comparison on pricing, we recommend further reading on this one.

Please click through our WordPress.org Review and Shopify Store Reviews to do a better evaluation.

WordPress WooCommerce:

All right: so WooCommerce (by virtue of WordPress) is free, but it may not be so cost-effective in the long run. Remember what we said about needing a third-party web host? You may also require support from a WooCommerce development agency which will also bring increased costs.

That’s going to cost you, as will premium widgets and plugins, and even technical assistance.

Shopify:

The thing about Shopify’s pricing is that it’s very clear cut: prices range between $29.00 to $299.00 monthly, through discounts between 10 to 20% are offered to those paying an annual subscription. While all of Shopify’s plans give users access to the intuitive builder, all-hours tech support, SEO tools, and sales channels, advanced analytics may only be used by those in the top subscription tier.

shopify-pricing

Also, Shopify offers two special plans: Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus:

Shopify Lite is cheap at only $9 per month. However, it doesn't come with a site builder, only a “Buy button” add-on for your existing website.

Meanwhile, Shopify Plus is an enterprise solution at custom pricing.

Considering the above, which has better pricing options – Shopify or WordPress?

Winner – Shopify! within our ‘Pricing' category for Shopify vs WordPress comparison. 

Comparison Winner:

eCommerce SolutionBattle ScoreFull eCommerce ReviewVisit Official Website
Shopify 4 / 6 Shopify reviews UK www.shopify.com
Wordpress / WooCommerce 3 / 6 WooCommerce reviews www.woocommerce.com

We’re giving the overall win to Shopify here. If you need a truly dedicated eCommerce site builder to grow your business, it offers all the tools you will need.

Shopify may seem costly at first, but at least you know that there are no hidden expenses and you are assured of secure hosting, excellent loading speeds, and expert support.


Conclusion and Recommendation:

So, which is better between WordPress vs Shopify? It is clear that both Shopify and WordPress, combined with WooCommerce, are major considerations for any business looking to sell online.

There are certainly pros and cons when looking at a Shopify vs WordPress online presence.

What is Shopify best used for?

Shopify is an excellent choice for companies that are scaling up in terms of their market base, scope, and product offerings. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is great for those who are keen to monetise their existing WordPress sites.

What is WordPress/WooCommerce best used for?

Based on our exhaustive research and testing of Shopify vs WordPress, we conclude that WordPress works best for personal bloggers and individuals not keen on getting eCommerce anytime soon. You can use any reliable hosting company to help you set up a great-looking and functional blog at an inexpensive cost.

However, those with existing WordPress sites will benefit more if they sell via WooCommerce versus Shopify.

Final Word:

Wrapping up, we encourage you to do personal research before you commit to either Shopify or WordPress. However, we sincerely hope we've helped you achieve some clarity about the platforms compared.

While Shopify wins this Shopify vs WordPress round, we’d like to remind you about the dynamic nature of software and SaaS: eCommerce builders and solutions are evolving every day, so it’s best to stay posted to see which ones are appropriate for your business.

If you're still in a bind over which to choose, it's always best to try both platforms out. Luckily, both Shopify and WordPress hosted version offer a trial period.  Shopify lets you take the platform for a 14-day trial. Meanwhile, WordPress.com's hosted version offers a 14-day trial as well.

Fourteen days is more than enough time to help you reach a decision.

>> Try Shopify for Free <<

>> Try WordPress.com for Free <<


That’s all for now:

If you've read our Shopify vs WordPress comparison up to here, we are grateful. Remember to always keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other WooCommerce vs Shopify alternative comparison articles, such as the ones below;

Please share any comments below!


 

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