In this article, we are going to be doing an updated look at what platform is best to use when building your e-commerce store. Is it Shopify or WooCommerce?
For most people, there are 5 key questions that they want answers to before deciding which platform is best for them
- Which one requires the least startup money?
- Which will cost you the most money in the long-term?
- Which is cheaper if you plan on building multiple stores?
- Which is the easiest for beginners to use?
- What has the best dropshipping plugin?
If you guessed that I’m going to be answering these five questions on this article, you have guessed right. All right, so let’s jump straight into it.
1. Which Requires the Least Startup Money?
Now, this is kind of debatable. You could argue that WooCommerce does, but for most people, they’re going to find that Shopify will cost them the least amount of money to get started.
Firstly you can try Shopify free for 14-days. Then, with Shopify, you have two options. You can pay for your plan every month, or you can pay for a whole year with a discount. For most users, the Shopify basic plan is perfect, and they don’t need to purchase a bigger subscription plan. If you select the monthly basic plan, that means that you can get started for just $29.
You’ll still need to purchase a domain name of course, and the easiest solution for most people is to purchase it with Shopify. If you do that a domain name is going to cost you $14. So in total, you could get started with a Shopify store today for just $43.
Now let’s compare that to WooCommerce. Now on the surface, WooCommerce should be the cheapest because it’s free. Right?
After all, WooCommerce is just a free WordPress plugin, and that always attracts a lot of people, because well free. Everybody loves free, but it’s not actually free, because you still need to purchase web hosting for your store, and that costs money.
Now in the past, you could get away with using super cheap web hosting from places like iPage. The reason for that was that an SSL certificate was not necessary, and super cheap web hosting like iPage did not include it. However, some recent changes in 2017 made having an SSL certificate basically necessary. If you don’t include it, then Google and Chrome will now flag your site as not secure. So now more than ever, it is no longer an optional expense.
The web hosting that I use for my website is SiteGround. The startup plan from SiteGround is perfect for most people, and it includes an SSL certificate. Now while you can choose to get a month trial for $3.95, they make you pay an additional hefty fee of $14.95. After the first month, they will re-bill you for a one-year subscription plan anyway.
You can’t pay monthly ongoing. So most people won’t want to select this and will just skip to the one-year subscription plan of $47.40. Which of course, is more money than Shopify’s $29.
I also find that a lot of beginners prefer to purchase their domain names through their web hosts, and the reason for this is because if you do that, it will automatically connect your domain name to your web host. Which makes it a lot easier during the setup process.
With SiteGround, this is also more expensive than Shopify. Costing $15.95. That means for most people getting started with SiteGround, they’re going to be spending $63.35. Which is more expensive than getting started with Shopify.
However, I recommend that most beginners just spend the extra few dollars and purchase their domain names through either Shopify or SiteGround to make it easier.
2. What Will Cost You the Most Money in the Long-Term?
There is absolutely no contest here. You are going to save far more money in the long-term with a WooCommerce store. Now up front, you’re going to have to spend $47.40 to get your web hosting going, but keep in mind that lasts for 12 whole months.
Whereas if you do the math, a basic Shopify plan over 12 months is going to cost you $348. Now you can save money by purchasing a 12-month subscription in advance, but the savings are only 10% and it’s still going to be costing you $313. $47 or $313? WooCommerce definitely wins here.
3. Which is Cheaper if You Plan on Opening Multiple Stores?
A question that I get asked occasionally is, whether you can open more than one store on a Shopify account? The answer is, no, you can’t. If you open a store called Brewer Treats on Shopify selling coffee accessories, you can’t also go and create a new store called Perfect Goodies selling cat trinkets.
You would have to open one Shopify plan for $29 a month Brewer Treats, and then you would have to open an additional $29 a month account for Perfect Goodies. All in all, you would be paying $58 a month for both of these stores.
Now let’s compare that to WooCommerce. Most people are usually only looking to start a single store. Which is why I recommend the startup plan with SiteGround as it’s the cheapest, but a limitation with it is that it only lets you host a single website.
What you could instead choose to do is purchase the GrowBig plan, which lets you host as many websites as you like on a single account.
This will cost you $5.95 billed annually. Which means you’ll be paying upfront $71.40, and you will get hosting for as many sites as you like for 12 months.
Now, the true fact here, price is not everything. Which is what I’m about to get into, but if you are very price sensitive then there is no contest. WooCommerce is definitely cheaper than Shopify.
4. Which is the Easiest for Beginners to Use?
Just like there was no contest for the last question, there is no contest for this one here. Shopify is by far the easiest for beginners. Shopify has genuinely revolutionized the world of e-commerce. It has never been so simple and easy for beginners to create stores.
Now there are many reasons why Shopify is a lot nicer and easy to use, but a very major point here is that Shopify was only created for the sole purpose of making e-commerce stores. That is it. That is all Shopify does. If you want to turn your store into a completely different website, then you are just out of luck, because the only thing that Shopify does is build beautiful stores.
Now let’s compare that to WooCommerce. Now the thing about WooCommerce is that it is simply a plugin that plugs into WordPress, which was initially built to build blog sites, and then it turns that into an e-commerce store. So before you can install WooCommerce, you actually have to install WordPress on your site and turn it into a blog site. You then install the WooCommerce plugin into your WordPress blog, which adds functionality that turns it into an e-commerce store. Now if this is already confusing you, then you should just stick to Shopify.
So because of the facts that you are taking what was initially supposed to be blog software, and now turning it into an e-commerce store, the interface and the menus are quite awkward and difficult for beginners to navigate to use. There will be still lots of blog options, settings and features installed and available to them that are not relevant to them. Which makes it confusing and distracting. The interface is not intuitive. Plus it is a lot more glitchy, and I can not emphasize that enough. That’s because of the fact that WordPress is not well optimized for WooCommerce. Whereas Shopify is incredibly streamlined, incredibly optimized, and has basically no glitches at all.
Plus even if you do run into problems, you get access to 24/7 support. You can contact Shopify directly through either phone or live chat, and get someone to help you right then and there. Shopify support is incredible. They will literally hold your hand and walk you through the process step by step, but if you go with WooCommerce, you are on your own. After all, it is a free plugin. There is no one there to hold your hand.
5. Which One Has the Best Aliexpress Dropshipping Plugin?
Now most of people are interested in creating e-commerce stores because they want to run Aliexpress dropshipping stores on them. So this is a very relevant question for them.
For Shopify, the best dropshipping plugin is Spocket. With Spocket you can find products and suppliers from US, EU and China. Spocket can be integrated with WordPress too. But mostly WooCommerce users prefer AliDropship. The honest truth is that Spocket is the best of the two. First of all, it requires no startup investment with Spocket, unlike AliDropship which costs $89 to purchase.
On Spocket you have forever free plan in the beginning. And, you can upgrade your plan when your store grew up.
And AliDropship definitely has more glitches than Spocket. Now, don’t get me wrong. What the AliDropship team created was quite remarkable, but like how WordPress was not build to be optimized with the WooCommerce plugin, WooCommerce was not built to be optimized with the AliDropship plugin.
So there guys go. There are definitely some advantages to using WooCommerce money wisely. I also understand that some people are always going to choose it anyway because they like using WordPress in general, but ultimately I do think that Shopify is going to be the right platform for most of you because of the fact that it is cheaper and easier to get set up initially and get selling.
Muammer is a Marketing Analytics Manager at Turkcell. His mission is to empower entrepreneurs and to help them achieve their goals. He also has a passion for illustration.