The truth is that there has never been a better time to launch an eCommerce business. With the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, more and more businesses are moving online, and this trend will only get bigger in 2021. With so many opportunities for business models, eCommerce platforms, marketing tools, and product niches to help your business thrive, selling online makes a lot more sense.
But the big question is, how do you do it? With a lot of information readily available in one click, you can easily get lost along the way. Keep in mind that everyone has their own opinion on the costs involved, online marketing strategies, and the best practices to succeed.
In this article, we have picked the two most popular and powerful eCommerce platforms to help you sort out your thoughts and get started as soon as possible. We discuss Woocommerce vs.Shopify, highlighting each platform’s pros and cons to make it easy for you to decide on your best option.
Read on to find out everything you need to know.
WordPress with Woocommerce
WordPress remains the most preferred content management system in the world. In fact, at least 27% of all websites on the internet run on WordPress. It means that a significant number of web developers prefer using WordPress, thanks to its flexibility.
Luckily, the leading CMS in the world is also capable of running an eCommerce website. So, if you are looking to launch an eCommerce business in 2021, you will be glad to learn that you can still run it on WordPress. The latest statistics show that at least 42% of all eCommerce sites run on WordPress.
Understanding the WooCommerce Plugin
To launch and successfully run an eCommerce site on WordPress, you will need to install the WooCommerce plugin. This plugin has the standard functionality of a hosted/self-hosted online store, including payment getaway support, marketing campaigns, taxes, and comprehensive reporting.
The plugin is 100% free, meaning that the only thing you have to pay for is your WordPress hosting. The plugin has its own extensions designed to make your work easier. The extensions are just like plugins. You can think of them as plugins for a plugin. Some of the plugins are paid while others are free.
Currently, WooCommerce supports up to 24 payment gateways via different extensions, but it is usually bundled with PayPal as the default payment gateway.
If you are looking for a WordPress theme that supports Woocommerce, you will be glad to learn that there are over 39 of them.
WooCommerce is an excellent option for anyone familiar with WordPress and is looking to launch an eCommerce business. The plugin’s menu and other options are highly intuitive, and the system is easy to understand, even for beginners.
It is also a good option for anyone who desires a simple out of the box solution. However, it may not be a good option for someone who is not familiar with WordPress or desire full control of their online store.
Some of the top benefits of using WooCommerce as your eCommerce business platform include:
- You enjoy a huge diversity of plugins and extensions that allow you to add all kinds of functions to your online store.
- Access to a helpful community of WooCommerce developers, experts, and users.
- You can set different user roles quite easily.
- Access to a huge diversity of great design themes. Some of them are free, while others are paid.
- If you are a programmer, you can easily customize themes by modifying the source code.
The only downside of using WooCommerce to launch your online store is that there is no central support. Being open-source software just like WordPress, WooCommerce doesn’t provide customer support services.
For each issue you encounter, you will be forced to seek assistance from the community or search for a solution yourself.
Shopify is a well-managed and funded public SaaS eCommerce platform provider. The platform is popular with hobbyists, starter stores, and brands with SKU counts of less than 100. Just like WooCommerce, Shopify doesn’t require you to have coding skills to use it.
The platform comes with slightly over 170 ready-made templates for your online store, so you don’t have to worry about hiring an experienced designer to help you out. The platform has a significant number of powerful features that are well organized to help you get started without spending a lot of money and time.
One thing that makes Shopify quite popular is its built-in credit card system. It means that the platform takes credit cards right out of the box. You don’t have to sign up for a payment gateway. You will also have approximately 100 themes to choose from powered by an easy-to-understand administration system.
However, you will have to incur monthly subscription charges and a transaction fee for each purchase. This can add up to significant figures, especially if you record a lot of sales. You also have to part with $79 every month for built-in functionality that most CMSs support freely. This can be a big disadvantage for anyone who wants to keep an eye on their data without accessing their Google Analytics account every few minutes.
Another disadvantage of Shopify is that it uses its own non-standard terms for almost everything. For instance, categories are referred to as ‘collections,” and there is the “tag” system that can confuse anyone, including the most experienced eCommerce experts.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify: Which One Is the Right One for You?
If you are torn between WooComnmerce and Shopify, there is no doubt that WooCommerce is the clear winner. While Woocommerce is a free plugin that integrates with WordPress, Shopify is a paid monthly subscription platform.
Shopify is also complicated and might take you a lot of time to fully understand how it operates and the meaning of their non-standard terms. So, if you are just looking to launch your first eCommerce business, WooCommerce can help you save a lot of money.