WooCommerce vs Shopify: How Did We Choose?

As a website development company, Ali2Woo chose WooCommerce platform. Our founders have experience of work both with Shopify and WordPress, and our choice is obvious. We observed both platforms to give you an opportunity to compare them and see advantages and disadvantages.

The most popular e-commerce platforms are WooCommerce (30% of e-commerce sites) and Shopify (8%)  Both are popular, easy to start, rich featured and well supported.

Launching your first dropshipping business, in the most cases you decide which one to use. Is it easy to manage? How much will it cost to you? Will you be able to customise the home page? What if you will need support? Read the observation below.

History of the Platforms

history-of-the-platforms

Shopify was started in 2004, its founders tried to open an online store for snowboarding equipment and decided to create their own software. They launch the platform for small entrepreneurs in 2006. Shopify is known for ready to go solutions and easy, almost playing launching process.

WooCommerce plugin for WordPress was launched in 2011. It is used for small to large-sized online stores. The plugin quickly became popular for its simplicity, ease to customize and free of charge basis. WooCommerce is known for flexibility and stability.

Set Up Process

set-up-process

At Shopify, after choosing Start Your Business in menu, you are guided step by step from the store name and products to sell. There are many steps.

WooCommerce describes the installation process in 5 steps. They are a bit more complicated:

  • to choose the hosting (3 variants are offered),
  • install WordPress (5 minutes),
  • pick a theme (it can take some time — to choose from hundreds of them)
  • install WooCommerce
  • add extensions.

By the way, there are plugin Duplicator for WooCommerce, that copy your store if you’d like to launch another AliExpress dropshipping store.

Ease of Use

Shopify is the most beginner friendly platform, as if provides many out of the box settings and solutions we mentioned before. The store launching looks like a playing with Lego blocks.

Historically WordPress is a more serious software for building any website, from personal blog to huge online shop. To make the start and managing easier for beginners who are far from IT, now it provides drag and drop instrument Visual Composer and intuitive menus. So everybody is able to launch a website with no special knowledge. WooCommerce automatically creates Shop, Cart, Payment and other essential pages.

Themes

themes

Shopify offers 10 free and 60 paid themes. The paid ones cost from $140 to $180. Usually themes have 3-4 styles to choose. But opportunities to change the design are limited: you can adjust some content sections on the home page. So you get ready to go store that has some options to modify.

Today about 900 free themes plus 118 providers of commercially supported themes are available for WordPress. Woocommerce has its own free theme Storefront. You may also purchase Storefront child theme for free or $39. The settings are flexible, so you can style your new store the way you like. It is truly important to have control over your WooCommerce dropshipping website, because you find out what elements are needed and where they do by the way you run your business. And it is good to have freedom to change everything.

And if you buy a custom store from Ali2Woo, there are 544 themes priced from $13 to $119, and the theme cost is included in the package.

Plugins and Extensions

plugins-and-extension

WooCommerce offers 287 Extensions from $0 to $299 in many categories: store management, marketing, payments, product type, shipping. There are also third party plugins like Ali2Woo as the WordPress is open source software. So you can find a solution for any task:

  • users’ behavior analysis,
  • shopping cart recovery,
  • follow-up emails,
  • Facebook integration,
  • various payment and shipping options,
  • smart coupons
  • and so on.

Certainly there is an instrument for your needs and often you can find a free version of it.

Shopify offers about 1251 Apps today, from $0 to $299 per month. It is a plenty of solutions, even for small tasks, and half of them are free while others need monthly payments.

Both platforms offer wide variety of extensions, free and paid. The difference is that WooCommerce plugins you usually pay once while for Shopify apps you pay every month. And if at first it gives an advantage to Shopify — only $3 a month, for example in a long distance WooCommerce wins as a more saving solution.

Support

support

There are a lot of tutorials and reference materials for Shopify: encyclopedia, blog, academy, guides and forums. Also – customer support service, at hand 24/7.

For WooCommerce, an open source product, the main force is forums. It also provide FAQs, documentation and support service in 58 countries, but for the most questions the best way is to google — there is a wide variety of articles, blog posts, videos and forum discussions. As thousands of people use it, there are already some enthusiasts who have studied the case.

SEO

seo

SEO is an important instrument for an AliExpress dropshipping business. The opportunity to be displayed on the search results page is so essential that any platform provides many solutions for it. Search is one of the main channels to attract visitors and make them clients.

The difference between platforms roots in their specificity. Shopify as an out of the box solution is ready to use but do not pay much attention to the store metadata. WordPress as an open source project was formerly run by IT specialists and gives full control over the website SEO optimisation. Now it is more friendly and easy to use.

Shopify App Store offers 218 apps for SEO and WooCommerce — 980 extensions. The most popular is Yoast SEO for WooCommerce. It forms advanced XML sitemaps, sets canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content, analyze texts to make them SEO-friendly, integrates with Google Search Console. We use the plugin for the website you are reading, it’s efficient and simple.

Pricing

Shopify: pricing plans from basic to advanced for $29, $79 and $299 per month.

WooCommerce: free, but needs paid hosting, usually $21 per year.

Overview

As we saw, while Shopify gives more ease at the start, WooCommerce offers the best price, best managing opportunities, as for the store operating so for the design improvement, the best SEO and more themes. Its popularity demonstrates its excellence.

Some our clients started with Shopify and then migrated to WooCommerce with Ali2Woo. As they became more experienced in dropshipping, they felt narrow bounds of Shopify and chose to control and improve their business with the more advanced WooCommerce.

If you are ready to launch your AliExpress dropshipping store with WooCommerce, be welcome to use our products:

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