You are determined to create your ecommerce store within a limited budget, but you do not know which platform to choose? Rest assured, you are not alone in this case. ecommerce solutions have multiplied in recent years, making a choice sometimes difficult for non-specialists, but in my opinion, two solutions stand out: WooCommerce and Shopify. It should be noted that these are two solutions of quite different natures: WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin while Shopify is proprietary software that offers several subscriptions.
WooCommerce — A Powerful ecommerce Solution
Remember that WordPress, as the name suggests, is originally an open-source software designed for creating blogs. WooCommerce, launched in 2011, is a WordPress plugin, that adds new features to WordPress and transforms WordPress into a powerful ecommerce store. WooCommerce is the benchmark plugin used by 30% of ecommerce sites in the World. By 2016, 700,000 WordPress sites have installed WooCommerce, making it the world's first ecommerce solution with most active installs.
As with all plugins, the installation of WooCommerce is done within a few seconds directly from the WordPress dashboard. Once WooCommerce is installed, two new menus are displayed: the “WooCommerce” menu, which allows you to configure your store and manage your business, and the “Product” menu, which allows you to create your product sheets and organize them into categories.
All essential ecommerce functionalities are present, i.e., management of orders means of payment, delivery, and coupons. The statistics related to your ecommerce activity are very well presented and reasonably comprehensive, although we recommend you once again link your store to Google Analytics.
The interface for editing product sheets will not disadvantage those who are already familiar with WordPress. The only difference is the presence of the “Product Data” block, which allows configuring all the parameters of the data sheet, from the sale price to the variants, through color, size, weight, stock and calculation of the shipping cost—everything is there! WooCommerce is already very complete in native, but its functions can be augmented due to multiple extensions of WooCommerce.
WooThemes, the publisher of WooCommerce, offers several hundred extensions, some of which are free. These extensions will enable you to meet very specific business needs: configuration of flash sales, adding a countdown, management of customer questionnaires, administration of the subscriptions, etc.
Note: Be careful to choose a WordPress theme that is compatible with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a free plugin. On the other hand, some extensions are paid for, and some plugins are for a fee. The price of plugins and extensions varies between a few tens of dollars to several hundred dollars. Also consider the cost of WooCommerce hosting, the cost of the domain name and the cost of maintaining your site.
Your WooCommerce site can be enriched due to WooCommerce plugins, some of which are for a fee:
Pros & Cons
Here are the main advantages of WooCommerce:
- It is a plugin that runs on WordPress, one of the most powerful open-source CMS in the world.
- Unlimited personalization possibilities.
- It's functional richness, which can be increased to infinity (or almost) due to add-ons.
- It is free.
Here are the main cons of WooCommerce:
- The plugin is not compatible with all WordPress themes.
- The high price of some extensions.
- WooCommerce is less suitable for very large ecommerce sites.
- The customization of your WooCommerce site, if it is potentially infinite, requires coding knowledge.
Shopify – An Easy to Use eCommerce Platform
Shopify is a little older than WooCommerce since it was launched in 2004. The software, which is of Canadian origin, now has just over 100,000 users and has been the subject of numerous important updates since its launch. Shopify, unlike WooCommerce, is a proprietary paid solution (monthly subscription + sales commission). Shopify is both very complete and easy-to-use, making it a reference in ecommerce today. It's functional richness is one of the reasons for its success.
Indeed, the two ecommerce solutions that we propose to you have for one common point, i.e., easy-to-use. Shopify does not have this sophisticated software image that sticks to the skin of open-source solutions. The templates shop is very rich and has more than 100 free themes, and as many paid themes. The quality of the themes is bluffing overall. Themes can be customized and exist in different colors.
The editor of pages and product sheets is very simple and may seem even too simple for some regulars of Weebly and Jimdo. The interface, unlike most proprietary solutions, does not drag and drop but looks like the interface of WordPress. The possibilities in terms of content creation are quite limited. If you want to mix on your site an ecommerce part and a blog part, we recommend you to opt for another software.
Shopify focuses on the essentials, namely the creation of product sheets, the organization of the catalog, the management of the means of payment, orders, delivery, and customers. And on all these points, there is not much to complain about.
All the great ecommerce features are there: Automatic catalog updating, inventory management, article variation, the creation of a customer area, discount codes, the possibility to create a newsletter. Shopify offers a wide variety of payment methods and allows to manage effectively all the delivery process. In addition, Shopify enables you to customize the templates and contents of your automatic emails (confirmation emails for example). In order to install new features on your store, Shopify provides you with a fairly impressive App Store with more than 500 applications including many free apps.
Plans & Pricing
Shopify offers three subscription packages. A Basic Shopify at $29 per month that meets all basic needs. Opting for $79 per month, you can access more advanced features, such as gift card management, advanced analytics reports, or reruns of abandoned baskets. The Advanced Shopify at $299 per month provides access to advanced management and tracking capabilities including the ability to track real-time shipments by a carrier.
In addition to the price of the subscription, Shopify levies a commission on your sales. This commission is degressive. It is equal to 2% of your turnover in the basic formula, 1% of turnover in the intermediate formula and is now only 0.5% in the advanced version.
Pros & Cons
Here are the main pros of Shopify:
- A great simplicity in the creation of the pages and the management of the shop.
- The quality of the templates.
- ecommerce features that are globally top-notch in terms of payment methods, delivery, discount codes or automatic email configuration.
- A very reactive support.
Here are the main disadvantages of Shopify:
- Its price rather high (subscriptions, commissions, applications).
- The rather disappointing quality of the tree (the articulation of the pages between them).
- Possibilities in terms of content creation (other than ecommerce content).
- Shopify plugin for WordPress has been discontinued.
And the Winner Is?
To sum up, WooCommerce is a very good ecommerce solution, full of native features and fast enough to take charge. The add-ons make it possible to meet almost all needs and come to enrich the functionality of WooCommerce. On the other hand, if you are not familiar with WordPress and open-source software in general, the grip will be slightly longer than for a paid solution like Shopify.