Shopify vs. WooCommerce – 3 Pros & 3 Cons

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In this tutorial, I’m going to answer one of the questions that we get asked the most here:

Which is better: Shopify or WooCommerce?

Here we teach you that the best thing to do is to open a dropshipping store. So, I’m going to answer this question in relation to dropshipping.

If you’re new around here and you don’t know what dropshipping is, then be sure to read our article on what dropshipping is and how it works.

Now, the short answer to this question is that neither is better than the other. These both have pros and cons.

To help you figure out which one is right for you, I’m going to be breaking this tutorial down into three questions that you need to ask yourself:

  • What is your budget?
  • How much time you’re willing to spend creating and running your store?
  • What is your marketing strategy?

So let’s jump straight into it.

Question #1: What is your budget?

Question number one doesn’t take a genius to figure out that opening a store with Shopify is going to cost you more money than opening a store with WooCommerce.

Shopify has three plans:

Shopify Plans Overview - Shopify vs. WooCommerce - 3 Pros & 3 Cons

The Basic Shopify plan costs $29 per month. Shopify costs $79 a month and an Advanced Shopify account cost $299 per month.

For the vast majority of dropshippers a $29 per month plan is perfect. It lets you sell unlimited items and has all of the features that you need.

In addition, you’re going to need to purchase a private domain name. I personally like to use Namecheap for me, but you can purchase one through Shopify for just $13.

So, in comparison, WooCommerce is a free plugin that you use with the free open source software called WordPress. Free, free, free! Everybody loves free!

Well, it’s not quite free because you still need to buy a domain name and you still need to buy web hosting. And if you plan to handle payments on your own domain name, then you’re going to need an SSL certificate. If you’re using something like PayPal though then you’re not going to need this.

Now if you are web savvy, you may already have some web hosting that you can take advantage of. Which makes using WooCommerce an attractive option budget-wise.

But even if you don’t have web hosting already, it’s still going to be cheaper with purchasing web hosting than paying the monthly fees of Shopify.

And in my free WooCommerce tutorial, I show you how to take advantage of cheap reliable web hosting from a provider called Bluehost.

Bluehost Plans Comparison - Shopify vs. WooCommerce - 3 Pros & 3 Cons

At the time of creating this article, the web hosting costs about $3 and per month.

Here’s the important thing – that isn’t $42 a month. It’s better $42 a year.

I know I’ve got a lot of readers that have small budgets which is why I’ve recommended WooCommerce in the past. If this is you and every dollar counts, then obviously WooCommerce is the right option for you.

One store or multiple stores?

Another thing to take into consideration when you’re thinking about your budget is whether you want to open multiple stores.

For instance, in my article on how to create an Aliexpress store with no startup budget, I highlight my friend Garry who has multiple stores. To him, because he’s got a portfolio of multiple stores, there is no contest. He would choose WooCommerce over Shopify any day.

You need to think about this:

With your Bluehost web hosting you can host as many domains and stores as you like. However, your Basic $3 per month subscription with Bluehost will only let you host one domain and one store.

So my friend has a portfolio of ten stores that means then that it’s going to cost some three dollars a month on average to host stores with Bluehost.

Whereas if he was hosting them with Shopify it would be costing him $299 a month and about $3,500 for the entire year!

Well you might be thinking at this point why would I even consider Shopify?

Well let me explain to you why by answering to question number two.

Question #2: How much time do you have to spend?

The next question you need to ask yourself is how much time do you have to spend setting up your store and then running it?

Now it’s a fact it’s going to cost you more money to set up a store with Shopify than it is with WooCommerce.

But it’s also a fact that it’s going to take you less time to set up a store with Shopify than it is with WooCommerce.

For reference, my tutorial where I teach you how to create a dropshipping store with Shopify took less than 40 minutes.

Whereas my tutorial where I teach you how to create a WooCommerce store is more than 70 minutes long.

Also, your customers and you are going to find it much easier to navigate Shopify if they get stuck, because of the fact that the interface of Shopify is much more beginner friendly.

Shopify has a simplified menu system. It makes it less flexible for advanced developers, but this means that it’s more suitable for beginners.

You’re going to need to seek less help and support. And if you’re going to run into this problem and even if you do manage to get yourself stuck, Shopify includes free 24/7 support with their $29 plan. This includes phone and live chat, so that you can get help as soon as possible.

Plus, Shopify has Oberlo which lets you semi-automate the dropshipping process, saving you a lot of time. Oberlo also streamlines the process of adding indifferent items, again saving you more time.

I said it before in other tutorials and I’ll say it again:

While WooCommerce saves you money, Shopify saves you time

When it comes to business, time is money in business. The right decision is always to exchange your capital for time because time is the most scarce resource that we have.

But sometimes you’re simply not in the financial situation to do so. And that’s absolutely okay.

So even though WooCommerce will take longer to set up and get used to, if you don’t have the budget for Shopify, then you should definitely create a store with WooCommerce.

Shopify will save you a lot of time and the faster your store is up online, the faster you start making sales.

Now let’s lead me to my next question, question number 3.

Question #3: What is your marketing strategy?

When choosing between these two platforms, you need to ask yourself:

    1. How you plan to generate traffic and thus buyers?

Do you plan on using paid traffic like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads to get your buyers and traffic.

Or do you plan on using free social traffic like Facebook fan pages and Instagram accounts?

Or do you plan on taking advantage of free search engine optimization traffic and driving buyers that way?

If you plan on either using paid traffic or social traffic and it doesn’t matter which platform that you use, then you should use the other two questions to help you figure out which one is right for you.

But if you plan on using search engine traffic like I often teach here, then it’s worthwhile noting that WooCommerce has a noticeable edge over Shopify for this.

WordPress, the free open-source software that runs WooCommerce is very well optimized for the Google search engine.

So if you’re planning on using SEO as your main traffic strategy, then it’s important to note that even though Shopify will save you time, you’re going to have a faster time and an easier time getting ranked with the Google search engines if you use WooCommerce.

Those are the three big questions you need to ask yourself when choosing between WooCommerce or Shopify.

I hope I’ve been able to help you make your decision. You can let me know about what your decision is in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers!

Anu Jones

Content creator at wpbackend.com

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