WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which one is better for you?

Find out here which shop system fits your needs best. WooCommerce or Shopify? The answer will surprise you.

Someone zooming in on a tablet showing a web shop

Patrick Mitter /

13.09.2023


It is similar to a question of faith. Almost like the debates between Apple and Microsoft users, opinions diverge on the topic of “WooCommerce vs Shopify”. Since we at GREYD work with many agencies and web designers, the two store systems naturally do not pass us by.

A reason for us to take a deeper look into the matter. In this article, we provide you with our findings and try to answer for whom Shopify or WooCommerce makes the most sense.

The comparison between Shopify and WooCommerce

Of course, there are several other well-known store systems besides WordPress WooCommerce and Shopify.

MagentoPrestaShopShopwareOpenCart
These are also names that are often mentioned in eCommerce.

However, according to builtwith.com, WooCommerce and Shopify alone account for the majority of all web stores.

Diagram

For this reason – and because our own product is built on WordPress – we want to deal exclusively with these two systems in this article.

Where is the trend heading?

A quick look at Google Trends quickly shows what people have become more interested in within the last 5 years.

Screenshot analytics

The picture clearly shows that the trend is moving in the direction of Shopify. Especially the jump in spring 2020 immediately catches the eye.

Since there have been many lockdowns globally due to the Corona pandemic, many companies have turned to online store systems. After all, sales have to be made somehow.

Most of all, these were small businesses that had never dealt with the issue of online commerce before. Since Shopify is somewhat easier to set up (more on that shortly), the rush to this store system is not surprising.

Having said that, it still needs to be mentioned that WooCommerce still has more market share overall. How long it can hold the first place ahead of Shopify remains to be seen.

Let’s take a closer look at the two rivals, including their advantages and disadvantages.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the store system from WordPress. And that is also one of the biggest advantages. Because similar to WP, WooCommerce is also free in the basic version.

At the same time you have full access to all the features and possibilities that WordPress offers you. You only have to take care of your hosting. On the one hand, this costs some money, but on the other hand, everything is in your own hands and on your servers.

With WooCommerce you have absolute design freedom and you are limited only to the extent that is always the case with WordPress. If you want to change your design using custom code, that’s no problem.

Even as a non-programmer, it is now possible to design an irresistible online store thanks to many themes and software solutions.

The disadvantages of WordPress WooCommerce

As a rank beginner, WooCommerce, and especially WordPress itself, can quickly turn out to be a nightmare. The platform requires at least a little basic technical understanding.

If you are dealing with web design, plugins, themes, security or online payments for the first time, you will quickly reach your limits.

If you as a user don’t want to (or can’t) deal with these things, you’ll have to hire an agency or web service provider to do it for you. Thus, it costs you less time, but more money.

In addition, a WooCommerce-based webshop needs to be constantly updated to stay up to date. Although this is not a huge effort, it is often neglected.

For agencies and experienced web designers, WooCommerce clearly has fewer disadvantages, because they have to deal with WordPress in their daily business anyway.
The main advantages and disadvantages of WooCommerce at a glance:

AdvantageDisadvantage
free basic versionbasic technical understanding necessary
many plugins & themesongoing updates necessary
more design freedommore expensive with agencies

Shopify

When it comes to simplicity, no other store system can keep up with Shopify. This is precisely why the Canadian store provider is so popular with beginners.

With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about hosting or regular updates. This is all on the side of the store system and is done automatically for you.

While you should have a solid base of technical know-how for WordPress, that’s not necessary at all with Shopify. The backend of the store system is designed to navigate you through the construction of your online store. Without any programming knowledge at all.

Another plus point for Shopify is the uncomplicated connection to payment providers. You have access to providers like…

  • Stripe

  • Paypal

  • Klarna

automatically. With WooCommerce, these must first be integrated with the help of plugins.

Don’t have the time or inclination to build your Shopify store yourself?

Then you can have an agency do it for you. Since the setup is faster than with WooCommerce, the agency costs for Shopify are also somewhat lower in most cases.

The disadvantages of Shopify

By far the biggest disadvantage of Shopify is the limitations that you experience as a web designer or professional web service provider.

In terms of simplicity, no other shop system can match Shopify. This is why the Canadian shop provider is so popular with newcomers.

Because let’s be honest: Small Shopify stores all look damn similar.

At a certain point, when branding becomes more important in the company, you want to stand out from the competition and become incomparable for your target group. This is hardly feasible with the rigid templates.

If you now want to hire an agency to redesign and personalize your Shopify online store, it gets even more expensive. Then you have to hire an expert who knows the programming language of Shopify.
By the way, this is also the reason why agencies prefer to build larger online shops with WordPress WooCommerce. Here it is easier to make changes afterwards and the whole development is cheaper with WordPress, the bigger the shop becomes.

Another, rather small disadvantage with Shopify, is the pricing. The shop system is not a non-profit organisation (especially not since it went public) and wants to make a profit.

For you as a user, this means you have to pay at least $29 per month for the basic version. Since you then ideally achieve enough turnover with your web shop, these costs are manageable.

The main advantages and disadvantages of Shopify at a glance:

AdvantageDisadvantage
easy to set upfew technical freedoms
Integrated payment providerno free basic version
automatic updatesVery expensive for changes

Which shop system is best for you?

After all that has been said, the only correct answer is: “It depends!”

How large should the online shop be?How individual should the shop be designed?How fast do you want everything set up?How likely is it that you’ll want to change a lot later?How much technical understanding do you have?
All these are important questions that need to be answered BEFORE setting up a webshop.

Maybe you don’t have time to do all this yourself. Then we recommend that you seek advice from specialized agencies. They can tell you what makes the most sense for your company.

When should you change the shop system?

If you are dissatisfied with your current solution!

Are you currently opting for Shopify and would like to be able to intervene more in the technical background? Then WooCommerce is the better alternative for you.

Are you getting annoyed by the ongoing updates of WordPress? Then take a closer look at Shopify.

There are felt a thousand reasons to switch and a thousand reasons not to. Please be aware that switching from one shop system to another is not an easy task (if you have never done it before).

If things don’t go smoothly, you’ll have to expect your Google rankings – and with it, your sales – to plummet. It may take some time for these to be recaptured.

The better shop system for web designers and agencies

As a professional web designer or online marketing agency, you will, in our opinion, go better with WooCommerce. Shopify may have its benefits for the do-it-yourselfer, but as a service provider it limits you too much.

As long as a customer does not have too tight a budget or wants to have their system created within a few days, too much speaks against using Shopify.

From our experience, we know that it is difficult to convince your customers of the benefits of WordPress – Shopify looks more attractive thanks to its simplicity!

But that changes very quickly again, as soon as the shop operators want to start with comprehensive SEO measures or detailed content marketing. Unfortunately, Shopify is still lagging behind in these disciplines.

In other words, it is much more laborious to maintain a respectable article in Shopify than it is with WordPress.

Therefore, with large webshop projects prefer to immediately put on WordPress WooCommerce, then your agency customers will save themselves a lot of trouble later.

Conclusion

Für Neulinge, die schnell ihren eFor newcomers who want to quickly launch their first online store, Shopify is the slightly better solution. If only because you don’t have to deal with hosting and other technical intricacies.

Only design freedom Shopify undoubtedly offers less than it is the case with WooCommerce.

WordPress offers with WooCommerce significantly more scope, as far as the personalization of your own webshop is concerned. In combination with the GREYD.SUITE you can set up your WordPress online store yourself without any problems.

If you regularly build larger stores for yourself or your agency’s clients, you’re better off with WooCommerce.


By Patrick Mitter

Patrick loves good texts. Preferably about topics concerning online marketing and WordPress. Having built websites by using well-known page builders on his own and being very experienced in the SEO industry, he is very familiar with any kind of problems regarding those plugins. This is the reason why he adopted Greyd’s mission to simplify work for web designers as well as agencies.

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