Building a new e-commerce website can be overwhelming, whether it be starting from scratch or migrating your current website to a new platform. WooCommerce and Shopify are the leading platforms for businesses who want to sell products online without breaking the bank. As a web designer and developer, I have found that working with both has its advantages and disadvantages. In order to pick the right one, you have to establish what the current and future goals of your website are. Here are a few things to consider while making your decision.
A Clean and Simple Interface
It’s important for those updating your website to have a clear understanding of how to navigate the administrative side of the platform. Luckily, WooCommerce and Shopify both have fairly straightforward ways of editing content. Shopify certainly has a leg up in this category. Its clean interface allows you access to orders, products, and customer information making e-commerce its primary focus. WooCommerce is a free plugin that gets installed on your WordPress.org site. WordPress is not primarily an e-commerce platform; in fact, it is a blogging platform. With WooCommerce, you give your site the capability of selling products online. However, unlike Shopify, your WordPress site can get bogged down with plugins, making it more challenging to navigate.
Plugins, Plugins, and More Plugins
Speaking of plugins, WooCommerce sites are known for having many plugins on the site. This can be great for those who want a more customized experience in WordPress and may be necessary for those who don’t want to dig into the code to make customizations. Shopify also has apps that can be installed to customize the site. Most times, plugins and apps are made by third parties, which rely on these third parties to be updated and maintained. When a plugin is neglected on the third party’s end, it is more apt to be out of date and not compatible with your chosen theme, WordPress version, or other plugins. This can cause a whack-a-mole like issue on your site, making it difficult to troubleshoot issues.
Simplicity Comes with Restrictions
Now you may be leaning more towards Shopify, but WooCommerce far exceeds Shopify in its capabilities. When you start a Shopify site, you are given a choice between three different plans; these can be pricey depending on your needs. Also, Shopify has restrictive features, with no regard to what plan you choose. It restricts your ability to customize your checkout page, and it has a hard cap on how many variations and options you have within a product. There is also a huge difference in how page templates are created between WordPress and Shopify. Unfortunately, Shopify only gives you the capability of fully customizing the homepage template. Whereas interior pages and templates have to be coded in Liquid and then set up in a way where content editors can edit interior pages. This shows that Shopify does not have the same level of flexibility that WordPress is capable of.
More than just an E-Commerce site
Your WordPress site and Shopify site will be hosted and managed in different ways. Shopify is a fully-hosted e-commerce solution. This means that Shopify is self-hosted. Your website will be hosted on Shopify servers, canceling out any worries of needing to find a hosting provider. If your business is solely focused on selling products online, without many other features, I suggest you try out Shopify’s 14-day free trial to see if it fits your needs. If down the road, you know you are going to need more than just e-commerce solutions, I would recommend WooCommerce. WooCommerce has the ability to integrate anything that a WordPress site can offer. It is highly customizable and comes with minimal restrictions.
If you are still undecided or need help with a new web project, contact GGMM, and we will help you get started with your business goals in mind.