Shopify vs Woocommerce

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: The 2024 Comparison

In this comprehensive study, we look at the major differences between Shopify and WooCommerce to help you decide which is right for your business.

With a range of eCommerce platforms to choose from in 2024, it can be challenging to know where to start. Making the right call for your business right now will save you time, money, and effort further down the line.

Two of the leading contenders in the 2024 ecommerce platform arena are Shopify and WooCommerce. Our clients often ask which is better for them, and the answer (as you might expect) is that it entirely depends on your business and future objectives.

If you’re looking to make an informed decision, here’s what you need to know about Shopify and WooCommerce.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Overview 

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a hosted all-in-one eCommerce platform (known as SaaS or Software as a Service). In other words, you don’t need to worry about sorting out your hosting, website security, or updating the software – this is all taken care of for you within your pricing.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin built specifically for WordPress. It allows brand owners to use one of the most powerful content management systems and use it to run an online store as well. As WooCommerce/Wordpress is open-source, you’re able to customise every single aspect of your store.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Key questions to answer when choosing your eCommerce Platform

When deciding between platforms, you’ll want to consider your website strategy (in essence: how your digital presence relates to your business goals). By answering these questions, you can start to feel for what platform might best suit your business and your customers.

1. Is this your first eCommerce website?

If your business is new to e-commerce, regardless of your technical expertise you’re likely to enjoy choosing a platform that is easy-to-use.

2. Will you be building the site yourself?

If your answer is yes and you have limited technical expertise or resources, you may prefer a platform that comes with a streamlined, user-friendly interface for building an online store. Alternatively, individuals or businesses with more technical expertise or resources can consider e-commerce platforms that require more technical knowledge to set up.

3. After set-up, are you looking to make changes yourself?

If you're going to be managing ongoing maintenance and updates in-house, choose a platform that is easy to maintain and comes with great customer support. If your business has an in-house team with web development expertise, you can be more open to platforms that are more technical. 

4. Are you happy with a pre-made store theme?

A pre-made store theme can help save you time and resources on design and development while you focus on other aspects of building the store. Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a range of pre-made store themes to choose from (these can be customised to suit the specific needs and branding of the store) 

5. Is cost or time a primary concern?

Investing in a platform which requires time and resources to set up and manage might not be an option for everyone. Instead, look for a platform that has pricing plans to suit different budgets, as well as a range of built-in features and tools that can save time and resources.

6. Do you need to start selling immediately?

If your business needs to get up and running quickly and easily, you’re going to want to be looking for a platform like Shopify that offers a turnkey solution for launching an online store and selling immediately. If you have more time to invest in building and launching your online store, you can also consider platforms like WooCommerce.

7. How important is digital scalability to your business?

It’s likely you’re after a platform that will be able to scale as your business grows. If a business's digital infrastructure is not able to keep up with growing demand or changing market conditions, it can result in a range of issues, such as slow page load times, system crashes, and difficulty fulfilling orders.

Comparing Shopify and WooCommerce: The Pros and Cons

We’ll start by looking at what are the primary benefits and drawbacks of each platform. This is the perfect time to give your answers to the above questions a work-out. For example, if your web development skills aren’t too shabby, WooCommerce might work for you. But if you need someone to check for bugs every so often, that can get expensive.

Shopify Pros:

  • Range of responsive store themes
  • A comprehensive eCommerce builder
  • Quicker set up, easy to add pages
  • Great app store for extending the functionality of your website
  • Supportive customer service
  • High Security: PCI Level 1 Compliance
  • Lots of checkout and payment options
  • Excellent automation (e.g., shipping services)
  • A large community of supportive users

Shopify Cons:

  • Most themes have a price attached to them
  • Apps can become expensive if not utilised correctly
  • Some apps can require developer knowledge
  • Complexities of integrating apps into stores
  • There’s a fee for every transaction (unless using Shopify payments - a built-in payment processing service that allows merchants to accept credit card payments directly through their online store)

WooCommerce Pros:

  • Open source and free to use
  • Great range of themes to choose from
  • Excellent community with support for users
  • Flexible platform with lots of customisation
  • Relatively easy to use

WooCommerce Cons:

  • Hidden costs for plugins and themes
  • WordPress knowledge is a must
  • WooCommerce doesn’t include hosting
  • UI/UX can feel dated
  • Can be quite slow
  • Doesn’t provide everything out of the box

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: 10 Major Features Compared

1. Site creation & maintenance

Whatever you choose, you’ll be glad to know that both platforms provide powerful store functionalities (themes, fonts, shopping carts, etc.).

Where Shopify is often easier to set up due to simplified in-house personalization features, WooCommerce features high customization capabilities due to the open-source code. This can also prove a drawback, as plugin and theme costs can start to add up and slow your store down.

2. Product management

When it comes to inventory management, you want to have something in place to help you do more in less time. Shopify offers unlimited products in your store and provides the standard features you’d expect.

WooCommerce can cope with the large product bases and, if properly set up, can work with the bases of 50K, 100K or more products.

3. Performance & Scalability

With eCommerce becoming the increasingly popular method of shopping, a common issue is sites experiencing sudden surges in traffic. WordPress generally isn’t a slow CMS, it’s everything you build on top of it that can slow it down, including plugins such as WooCommerce that can often result in sluggish load speeds.

As you start to scale and add more products to your store, it can become quite a challenge to maintain high performance. You’d have to use a hosting provider with high-quality servers and CDNs, this would require further configuration and maintenance to optimise your WooCommerce store.

While there are a number of free WordPress optimization plugins, the rest that’s needed will definitely bump up the cost of building your WooCommerce store.

 4. Security

One of the major concerns our clients have is site security. WooCommerce works with WordPress and is therefore self-hosted.

The actual WooCommerce plugin doesn’t come with built-in security, so any security will need to be handled either by yourself or your host.

5. Integrations, plugins and apps


Both platforms offer a wide range of integrations, plugins, and apps to help merchants add valuable functionality to their stores. 

Since Wordpress largely relies on plugins (let’s not forget that WooCommerce is a plugin for Wordpress), there are over 50,000 WordPress plugins available on WooCommerce. As tempting as it might be to get a plugin for absolutely everything, we caution against this. It’s important to be mindful of how many plugins you install, as too many plugins can slow down your website, cause conflicts between plugins, and potentially introduce security vulnerabilities.

In comparison, Shopify has its own app store which offers a smaller 7,000 apps that can be used to add functionality such as marketing and sales tools, accounting software, shipping and fulfilment services, and more. Many of these apps are designed specifically for Shopify, ensuring seamless integration and compatibility with the platform. However, as with WooCommerce, we suggest keeping the number of Shopify apps to a minimum to ensure optimal performance (you can always get in touch with the Shopify support team whenever you are looking for recommendations for reputable apps). 

 6. Customer Support

Shopify provides 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat. They also have an extensive help centre and community forum where users can find answers to frequently asked questions and connect with other users for advice and support.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, does not offer direct customer support. What they have instead is a vast knowledge base and documentation, as well as an active user community forum, where users can ask for help and advice from other users.

7. SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is an important aspect of any eCommerce platform, as it can help drive traffic and sales to your online store.

Overall, both Shopify and WooCommerce provide a range of SEO features and integrations to help optimise your eCommerce store for search engines. However, WooCommerce may offer more flexibility and customisation options for advanced SEO users. This is because WooCommerce is built on top of WordPress, which is known for its robust SEO capabilities and flexibility.

That’s not to discount Shopify however, which provides a range of built-in SEO features, including customisable title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs, as well as automated sitemaps and canonical tags. Shopify also offers built-in support for Google Analytics and integrates with several popular SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO.

8. Reporting

Reporting is an essential feature of any eCommerce platform, as it helps you track and analyse your store's performance.

Shopify provides a range of built-in reporting features, including detailed sales reports, customer reports, and inventory reports. Shopify also integrates with several popular reporting apps, such as Google Analytics, Klaviyo, and Mixpanel.

As a plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce inherits many of WordPress's built-in reporting capabilities. This includes customisable reports for sales, inventory, and customer data, as well as several reporting plugins, such as WooCommerce Analytics and WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration. 

9. Payment methods

Shopify has its own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, which is available in several countries. Shopify Payments allows you to accept credit card payments directly from your store, with transaction fees ranging from 1.6% to 2.7% depending on your plan. In addition to Shopify Payments, Shopify integrates with over 100 third-party payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Amazon Pay.

WooCommerce does not have its own payment gateway, but it integrates with over 100 payment gateways through plugins, including popular options like PayPal, Stripe, Square, and Amazon Pay.

In terms of transaction fees, WooCommerce's fees will vary depending on the payment gateway you choose to use. Some payment gateways charge a flat fee per transaction, while others charge a percentage of the transaction amount.

Overall, both Shopify and WooCommerce offer a wide range of payment options, but Shopify Payments may be a more convenient option if you want to avoid using third-party payment gateways.

10. Ease of use & Dashboard

When it comes to ease of use and the dashboard, Shopify and WooCommerce offer very different experiences.

Shopify's interface is widely considered to be more user-friendly and intuitive. The dashboard is organised into different sections, including orders, products, customers, analytics, and more, making it easy to navigate and find what you're looking for.

WooCommerce, on the other hand, can be a bit more complex. The dashboard is similar to WordPress's dashboard, which can be overwhelming for some users and may even look a bit dated (especially if you're not familiar with WordPress).

Shopify vs WooCommerce: How Much Does Each Platform Cost?

Both Shopify and WooCommerce attract additional costs if you decide to add extra apps or services beyond their core offerings.

At its core, it’s easy to work out how much Shopify will cost you since the pricing plans are available on Shopify (note: prices may vary depending on your shop location).

You can either pay monthly or take advantage of yearly plans which save you 25%.

Shopify pricing plan

Shopify Lite (£7) : for small businesses that want to start selling online but do not need a standalone online store (this plan allows you to sell products through your existing website, blog or social media accounts with the Shopify Buy button).

Basic (£25 / £19 per month): good for merchants with a standalone online store, starting to grow their business and need a basic store with standard features. 

Shopify (£65 / £49 per month): this is the standard plan, recommended for small and medium-size eCommerce businesses. It includes additional features such as gift cards and abandoned cart recovery. 

Advanced Shopify (£344 / £259 per month): great for online stores that have started growing and getting high-volume sales. Includes advanced features such a report builder and third-party calculated shipping rates. 

There is also Shopify Plus which starts at around £1660 / $2000 per month and is an incredibly powerful option for larger businesses (read our full comparison of Shopify vs Shopify Plus here). 

Shopify Payments Processing Fees:

Shopify Payments processing fees will also attract additional costs to Shopify. These vary depending on the merchant's Shopify subscription plan and the country in which their store is based.

In general, credit and debit card payment processing costs are calculated as a percentage of the transaction value along with a nominal fixed amount, and as you move up the licensing tiers of Shopify, the percentage decreases. For instance, with the most basic Shopify Lite plan, you will be charged 2.7% of each transaction. On the other hand, with the top tier Shopify Plus plan, the fee is only 1.6%

Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce does not have a set subscription.

In fact, It’s much harder to calculate the cost of WooCommerce since there are a number of variables that can influence the total cost. While the actual WooCommerce plugin is free, you’ll need to purchase hosting and a domain name if you don’t already have a Wordpress website. Plus WooCommerce doesn’t include integration or security as a standard so it’s important to weigh up what’s included for each.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: The Winner?

If you’re looking to get your hands dirty and set up a project that requires a lot of personalisation then WooCommerce might be the one for you. Despite its limitations with security and other areas, it’s a great platform and when used and set up correctly can work for you.

If you’re looking to scale, take your brand to the next level and manage your eCommerce store easily without too much hassle then Shopify is a clear winner for you.

Ready to switch from WooCommerce to Shopify? Or scale your Shopify store? Book a quick chat with us below.

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James McManus

James McManus

Shopify Growth Consultant

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