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Shopify vs WooCommerce: which one is right for you?

So you want to build an online shop for your business, but you don’t know where to even start. We heard you!

You’ve been searching and it looks like “Shopify vs WooCommerce” keeps popping up as potential options. 

So, today we will talk about these two very popular services: WooCommerce Vs Shopify 

WooCommerce: https://www.woocommerce.com/

Shopify: https://www.shopify.com/

The answer to the question “Shopify vs WooCommerce, which one is right for you?” is that it really depends on your unique needs as an online shop. 

Read on below, and we’ll cover this quick list of considerations to make when you are ready to start this project! 

  • Cost to Start
  • Set up time
  • Ownership of content
  • Coding and Customizations

Image Source: Unsplash.com

“So where do we even start with all of this?” you ask. Let’s start with: 

Do you have an existing site?

First, do you already have a website? If so, where is it right now? What platform is it on? Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, or another web service? This is an important factor to consider when starting your site because if you already have some sort of traffic, you’ll want to think about how you can leverage that website traffic to your new online shop. 

An example: let’s say you have a website on WordPress and you’ve been blogging somewhat regularly, so there is some form of traffic there, you will want to consider adding a E-Commerce component to your website for your online shop. This does two things: One, it means that you don’t have to completely set up a new website to house the online shop, and Two, you can use the content on your existing site to link to your store items. 

Let’s go deeper into this example, if you have a WordPress blog about Zero-Waste practices, and you want to start selling products that you can’t live without, well, you can’t just add WooCommerce to your existing WordPress site.

Cost to start

Next, consider the upfront costs. Both platforms will end up costing you about the same but it’s important to note that they have slightly different business models in which they operate. 

Shopify will provide you with most of the items you need, or rather the core functionalities you need to get set up with your shop, for an annual fee of a few hundred dollars. Then, if you want to have more “apps” or functionalities, specific to your online shop experience, you’ll have to buy those with additional subscription plans. 

WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a plug-in that you add to a WordPress site.  WooCommerce turns your site into an online shop or rather provides the website with the basic pages for building an e-commerce store. So think: product pages, archive pages, search results pages, etc. 

With WooCommerce, it’s completely free to set up, but the cost really starts adding up when you add, again, functionality to your shop. For example, if you want to use a payment gateway or delivery, you need to buy their add-on for $99/year. A quick pro-tip here is to keep an eye on the WooCommerce add-on subscriptions, some are monthly subscriptions while others are yearly.

Set up time: WordPress vs Shopify

Then, we need to think about the time it takes to set up the shop. Both WooCommerce and Shopify will require you to spend time customizing the shop experience with your brand colors and typography. But in my experience, WooCommerce will be easier to customize if you’re well-versed in the WordPress Core ecosystem and are using a WooCommerce compatible theme, (think: Divi, Elementor, etc.) 

Shopify customizations also require knowledge of html and css coding, as well as another coding language called Liquid. 

Next, you’ll want to consider how many products you will be selling and how to import your products. For both WooCommerce and Shopify, there is a way to import a .CSV file which will allow you to upload ALL your products in bulk. 

Here is WooCommerce’s link: 


And Here is Shopify’s documentation: 


Whichever one you choose to go with, you’ll need to read the directions very carefully!

Coding frameworks

Without getting too nerdy, err – technical, here, any detailed customizations will require html and css coding on the site; and while most sites on the front-end use css and html, Shopify uses liquid framework and WC uses the php framework for functionalities; this is the part that turns your website from a static website to a more dynamic one, we’ll put another blog post up for this next time. But for now, just know that if you’re building an e-commerce/online shop, you’re building what we call a “dynamic” site. Liquid is a coding language that allows dynamic content to populate the webpages. It’s actually quite an interesting coding language once you get the hang of it. (Okay end nerding out).

(Note, there’s a lot more technical stuff that will take more time and blog posts to explain, but this is the gist of it from a very very basic point of view.)


Finally, we’ll need to consider the ownership of the platform. One particular thing to note is that WooCommerce is an open-source plugin, meaning that you own your shop and content on your site. Shopify, as a company hosting your e-commerce store, can take your site down when they want to, I’m sure they only take down sites if you’re doing something evil but know that you don’t own your site with Shopify as you do with WordPress+WooCommerce.

Well, here it is a quick rundown of some things to start considering when you are thinking about creating an online shop for your business. Hopefully this blog post helps get your creative juices flowing. We know that this is only beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to E-Commerce so if you have any questions, feel free to send us a quick message or comment below.