Many independent pet stores and apparel stores struggle to answer the question of which ecommerce platform is right for their business. In this article, we explore some of the essential ways that Shopify and Woocommerce differ so that you can make an informed decision about the best way to build your ecommerce website.
Here at Liquid, we think both systems are great! With that said, we view Shopify as the right choice for most small to medium sized retailers in the independent pet care retail space. Shopify provides big advantages for small to medium sized businesses in terms of lower development costs, ease of use and time saving features.
- Open Source vs. Licensed Software
Woocommerce is an open source software that can be added to platforms like WordPress for free. This means that you can take advantage of the ecommerce functionality of Woocommerce without having to pay for the software. Shopify is not free. In order to use Shopify you’ll need to license their software for a monthly fee in order to use it on your site.
The biggest advantage of using open source software is that it’s free! The downside to an open source platform is that you will incur expenses to host, maintain and trouble shoot issues you experience with the software. For example, Woocommerce will require you to update aspects of the software’s files from time to time as updates happen to their system.
Either you or your developer will need to make these updates to your platform on an ongoing basis.
Woocommerce will also require that you download their software and upload it to your own server. This means you’ll need to pay for hosting and a domain through a hosting company like Go Daddy.
Shopify will automatically update your system as well as provide hosting at a domain such as your-store-myshopify.com.
- WordPress + Woocommerce vs. Shopify Websites
Woocommerce is designed to be used with WordPress. That means that to use the ecommerce portion of Woocommerce in the most effective manner it will need to be built as a portion of a WordPress website. Building a website on WordPress will mean that you’ll need to license a theme or have a developer build you a new custom website on WordPress in order to take advantage of the Woocommerce plugin.
Shopify can be used to build your entire website. Unlike Woocommerce, you can use Shopify as your entire store website. The Shopify platform allows you to control a blog, homepage and custom pages.
You can build web pages about your store right through the Shopify back end content management system.
- Site Customization
Each Woocommerce & WordPress customization is unique. The way that the platform is built, hosted, organized and developed is different for each unique Woocommerce website. Therefore, a programmer must familiarize themselves with your unique site to make updates, layout changes and build additional pages. This can be advantageous for stores that require an extremely unique online store. However, managing the process of updates and changes can prove to incur hefty development costs on an ongoing basis.
Shopify sites are all built on Shopify. Therefore, the same programming language and content management system is used every time. This means that most Shopify Partners or Shopify Experts should be able to easily understand how your site is built and operates.
The Shopify Expert and Partner network will provide your store with a bigger network of programmers who can work on your standardized system.