If you’re running a WordPress site and you want to add an e-commerce store, chances are you’ve probably come across both WooCommerce and Shopify. They’re both widely used, mature, e-commerce solutions, but which is best for you? Both have their own strengths and weaknesses that will be important to consider before launch.
Choosing the right solution
It’s important to take time to plan out and understand which e-commerce solution you intend to use. Although converters exist, it’s very hard to move from one e-commerce solution to another once you have got going, especially without losing any data in the process. Both WooCommerce and Shopify are perfectly functional e-commerce solutions, so it largely comes down to how you wish to tie your store into your WordPress site.
On-site or offloaded
The biggest difference is that WooCommerce is built from the ground up as a WordPress plugin, whereas Shopify is a separate service with WordPress integration solutions. This means that customers will stay on your site from landing page to checkout with WooCommerce, whereas they will be taken away to a separate site for at least the checkout with Shopify.
This can be a good or bad thing as you will effectively end up running two closely connected sites if you choose Shopify. If your WordPress hosting solution is using a shared server, then any slow down on your WordPress site will slow down your WooCommerce store. Online shoppers hate slow sites, so you will be paying to host two sites with Shopify, but it helps split traffic and alleviate delays.
With WooCommerce, all your products are stored in the WordPress admin panel and work just like custom post types. If you’re familiar with administering WordPress sites, you’ll feel right at home. However, sometimes you feel the hackiness of making WordPress posts fit into products.
Shopify uses its own inventory management system that is purpose-built for products. It’s much easier to manage and its options are more natural for products, but you and your staff will have to learn another system for creating and managing products.
The right solution will very much depend on your specific needs and what you expect from your e-commerce solution. Both options are widely used in the industry by sites both big and small and are very mature, capable solutions. Plan ahead, because it is much easier to pivot early than when you have got your e-commerce site up and running.