It’s an age old question, at least going back as far as around 2010/2012 when both Shopify and Woo-commerce were fledgling e-commerce solutions, neither of which at that time offered anything like they do today.

In just a few short years both have advanced to a point where they provide amazing functionality for anyone selling online and are relatively low cost and easy to get started with.

But which is better? Well it’s not so straightforward to answer this question because the answer is they are both great at what they are designed to do, and the question you should be asking is ‘is e-commerce the driving force of your business or is it an ‘add on’ to another service you provide?’

Both Shopify and woo-commerce allow you to display products for sale online, make sales, take payment and handle all of the various email communication that this entails. So in this respect they pretty much do the same thing.

However, woo-commerce is a plug-in that requires the WordPress website platform to work, so you need to have a WordPress website to use it. WordPress was originally built as a blogging platform, but now powers millions of websites around the world and has become the go to website building framework of choice for many. Woo-commerce is and has always been something that sits on top of what is really a more powerful website building and blogging tool. Woo-commerce is free, at least the core component is, but it’s likely you will need a few additional components to get it to work the way you want, and these come in at variable costs depending on what you need, and most are sold on a recurring subscription basis.

Shopify however, was built from the ground up as a shop and the focus of this platform is to make it as easy as possible for you as the shop owner to manage your online store, for customers to be able to buy from you, and for you to be able to easily communicate with your audience. You can also create blog posts on Shopify but this is kind of an ‘add on’ to e-commerce. Shopify also provides an inbuilt email marketing tool, a powerful POS system, meaning you can sell your products at markets and shows for instance using a tablet or phone to process transactions and this is automatically integrated with stock control on the website. Shopify also has its own payment gateway making the checkout process as easy as it could possibly be for the customer. This payment system known as ‘Shop’ also works for the customer across any other site using Shopify, so if they have shopped before on any other Shopify site and have saved their details there’s not need to enter them again. The ‘Shop’ system allows the customer to manage all their orders from a single app across all Shopify sites. For these things you might otherwise need and host of additional plugins on any another platform.

So that really is the difference; woo-commerce is a shopping platform built to work on top of a blogging platform, Shopify is a shopping platform which you can as use for blogging, but also comes with an amazing range of essential components as well as exclusive functionality as standard.

Which is better for your business comes down to whether your main focus is selling online. If so then it’s likely Shopify is going to be better for you since it’s an all encompassing integrated platform that pretty much works straight out of the box and provides everything you are going to need for a low monthly fee, and on the whole no additional components are required to get going. Add-ons are available but they are ‘nice to haves’ rather than essential. Whereas with woo-commerce a lot of the additional components you are going to need you could argue are essential.

If your business requires functionality from a website beyond simply being able to sell products online then WordPress is probably a much better solution for you, and if you need to sell a few things from your website then you can use woo-commerce to facilitate this.

Pulse Projects work with both the WordPress / Woo-commerce and Shopify platforms and we also specialise in migrating shops already working on woo-commerce over to Shopify should the business case require it.

Get in touch to discuss the best way forward for your business.