WooCommerce vs Shopify: What eCommerce Platform to Choose and Why?
11 min.

Did you know that in 2023, worldwide retail eCommerce sales almost hit US$6 trillion? More so, experts expect a 39% growth, forecasting US$8 trillion in sales by 2027.

worldwide retail eCommerce sales

Something tells us you already know that if you’re reading this article. The choice of an eCommerce platform to house your store is essential, as it impacts the initial and long-term investments, as well as the level of hassle coming along with eStore customization, management, and updates.

The two most popular platforms we at ProCoders get asked about are WooCommerce and Shopify. So, it’s time for a comparison guide that will help our potential and existing partners make up their minds.

7 criteria, honest opinions backed by 10 years of experience.

The Criteria ProCoders Uses and Why They Are Important

When it comes to selecting an eCommerce platform, you need criteria and priorities. We’ve chosen the former, and you can choose the latter depending on your eStore expectations.

  1. Pricing: The overall cost of operating an online store on the platform, including initial setup, monthly fees, transaction fees, and any additional costs for plugins or themes. 

Pricing plays a crucial role for small businesses and startups with tight budgets, making it pivotal to choose a platform that offers the best value for money.

  1. Ease of Use: The platform’s user-friendliness, especially for non-technical users. 

A platform with an intuitive interface and straightforward setup process can save time and reduce the learning curve, allowing business owners to focus more on growing their company rather than grappling with technical complexities.

  1. Payments: The variety and flexibility of payment gateways available. 

Being able to offer customers a wide range of payment options can improve the checkout experience and potentially increase conversion rates. It’s also important to consider the transaction fees associated with these payment gateways.

  1. Add-ons and Integrations: The availability and quality of third-party add-ons and integrations. 

These enhance the functionality of your online store, allowing for customization and scalability. Whether it’s email marketing, SEO, or inventory management, having access to a wide array of tools is vital for optimizing and expanding your business.

  1. Scalability: The platform’s ability to grow with your business. 

An ideal eCommerce platform should be able to handle increasing traffic and sales without compromising performance. This means looking into the platform’s infrastructure, such as hosting capabilities and technical support, to ensure it can accommodate your business’s growth.

  1. Platform Support: The level and quality of user support and resources available. 

Excellent customer service, including 24/7 support, extensive documentation, and active community forums, can significantly ease troubleshooting and mastering the platform.

  1. Customization: The degree to which you can customize the look, feel, and functionality of your online store. 

A platform that offers high customization capabilities allows for a unique store that matches your brand identity and meets your specific business needs.

By carefully evaluating WooCommerce and Shopify against these criteria, businesses can make an informed choice that best fits their operational requirements, budget, and long-term growth plans.

Let’s evaluate!

Shopify vs WooCommerce Pricing

Shopify Real Price

Shopify Real Price

Shopify’s pricing structure starts with its Basic plan at $32 per month, with the first month being only $1. As you scale up, the price does the same, with the Shopify and Advanced plans charging $92 and $399, respectively. Besides, you don’t know when those prices are going to go up. 

We remember the basic being $29 and the Advanced being $299.

Besides, these rates don’t include the cost of additional apps and themes that can significantly increase the monthly expenditure.

Payment fees will add even more to the cost of maintaining your Shopify store, with the highest commission being 2% in the Basic plan when using third-party payment methods, which is often more convenient.

WooCommerce Real Price

WooCommerce emerges as a notably more affordable option compared to Shopify, primarily due to its open-source nature and the operational model it employs.

WooCommerce itself is a free plugin for WordPress, which means the initial cost is essentially $0. However, to get a WooCommerce site up and running, you’ll have to account for the costs of hosting, domain registration, and any additional paid plugins or themes that might be needed to extend the functionality and aesthetic of the store. 

Hosting for a basic WooCommerce store can start as low as $3.99 or as high as $5,000 per month, with an average of $120 per year if you use a special offer, paying for 1-2 years on the spot (this is according to the official Woo site). 

Premium themes and plugins can add anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars to the startup costs. Domain registration will cost you an average of $15.

As you invest in the creation of your WooCommerce store, your website and data are totally under your control and ownership. It won’t be blocked if you don’t pay some standard monthly fee, which we find a huge advantage.

WooCommerce wins.

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Make the Smart Choice! Contact Us for Details and Let’s Build Your WooCommerce Experience Together!

WooCommerce and Shopify’s Ease of Use

Shopify’s Ease of Use

Shopify’s Basic plan at $32/month offers an all-inclusive package that allows business owners to set up their online store without much technical knowledge. The platform’s simplicity is a double-edged sword, though; while it’s excellent for getting started quickly, it may limit customization options and incur additional costs for advanced features through apps.

WooCommerce Ease of Use

WooCommerce, per se, requires some technical knowledge to connect all the dots and launch an online store. However, when you partner with a web development company like ProCoders, all you experience is a highly customizable platform without the steep learning curve typically associated with such flexibility. 

First of all, we design and build websites from scratch. Besides, we then create easy-to-follow guides on how to manage the products, add and remove information, etc. And finally, as to the updates, upgrades, plugins, themes, etc., our team is responsible for the maintenance if you choose to collaborate post-launch and take the weight off your shoulders.

Shopify wins if you need only ease of use. 

Payments: Shopify vs WooCommerce Store

Payments with Shopify

Shopify (Basic plan) charges a 2% transaction fee on each sale made through external payment gateways on top of the payment processor’s fees. This means for every $100 you earn, Shopify takes an additional $2 if you’re not using Shopify Payments.

Shopify Payments

Shopify Payments, Shopify’s own payment processor, is designed to integrate with your store. One of its main advantages is that it waives the Shopify transaction fees that would normally apply when using other payment gateways. 

However, while Shopify Payments does not charge the additional transaction fees that Shopify imposes for using external payment gateways, it does have its own set of standard credit card processing fees, which vary by country and the Shopify plan you are on.


WooCommerce doesn’t charge any additional transaction fees, regardless of the payment gateway you choose. This could mean considerable savings, especially as your sales volume grows. Simply put, with WooCommerce, more of your profit stays in your pocket (and less money goes for investment).

WooCommerce wins here.

WooCommerce versus Shopify Add-ons & Integrations

Shopify’s Apps

Shopify offers a variety of apps through its App Store to extend the functionality of your store. You can power any feature with an add-on, making your online shop unique. For example, you could use:

  • Oberlo – Ideal for dropshipping, Oberlo allows for easy import of products from suppliers into your Shopify store and direct shipping to customers. It streamlines finding products, adding them to your shop, and order management, perfect for handling inventory and shipping logistics.
  • Klaviyo – A powerful email marketing integration, Klaviyo enables personalized, targeted email campaigns based on customer behavior. It offers automation, audience segmentation, and detailed analytics, crucial for enhancing engagement and increasing sales through email marketing.
  • Yotpo – Yotpo focuses on user-generated content like reviews and ratings, boosting trust and sales through social proof. It facilitates collecting, managing, and showcasing customer reviews, photos, and videos, complete with moderation tools and social media integration, to enhance store credibility and customer interaction.

WooCommerce Plugins

WooCommerce provides access to over 59,000 free WordPress plugins, as well as many paid ones. The platform is well-known for its customizability through various add-ons. The platform smoothly integrates with payment processors, email marketing tools, and accounting software, among other useful add-ons.

Here are some options you might prefer:

  • WooCommerce Subscriptions – Allows you to create and manage subscription-based products or services, offering a range of billing schedules and automatic payment options. It’s perfect for ensuring consistent revenue through repeat customers.
  • Yoast SEO for WooCommerce – Optimizes your WooCommerce store for search engines, helping to improve visibility and rankings. It provides tailored SEO tips, content analysis, and technical SEO improvements to attract more traffic.
  • WooCommerce Product Add-OnsThis plugin allows customers to personalize their purchases with additional options and customizations, from gift wrapping to special messages or unique features of a product. It’s ideal for enhancing the shopping experience in an online retail store by offering more personalized choices, directly increasing customer satisfaction and average order value.

Plus, you can hire a developer to create a custom plugin for you in case the existing ones don’t meet your expectations.

WooCommerce wins with dozens of thousands of options available, many of which are free.

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Scalability: With WooCommerce or Shopify?

Shopify Scalability

Shopify offers a straightforward yet costly path to scaling through its Shopify and Advanced plans, designed for high-volume merchants and businesses looking to scale up quickly. These plans include advanced features and are quite convenient for those who prefer to manage their website independently without deep technical involvement and have enough budgeting to pay $97 to $399 and more monthly.

WooCommerce Scalability

WooCommerce provides a different approach to scalability. There are no plans, but no limits as well. You can scale up and down as your business needs. While the process inherently requires more hands-on management for aspects like hosting and backups, this is where a partnership with a development team like ProCoders changes the game. 

With us, businesses can scale their WooCommerce stores without worrying about the technical complexities that typically come with growth. The team manages hosting, ensures site performance is optimized, and scales resources as needed, making WooCommerce a highly scalable option for those who need individual tech support.

It’s a tie. WooCommerce requires tech backup but is highly scalable, while Shopify makes the process seem easier, yet you pay for the new steps on the staircase.

Platform Support for WooCommerce and Shopify Stores

Shopify’s Support

Shopify is known for its support system, offering 24/7 access to help via live chat, email, and phone. This level of support is invaluable for store owners who may not have a dedicated development team, as Shopify’s team can troubleshoot issues, create tickets, and coordinate with developers to resolve problems.

WooCommerce Support

As a part of the enormous WordPress ecosystem, WooCommerce relies on a vast community for troubleshooting, insights, and solutions. Direct support primarily comes from hosting providers or third-party developers.

In case you opt for this platform and require technical support, we can become your team. The team you don’t have to explain a lot about the specifics of the project as we already know your store inside and out. 

We offer personalized, responsive assistance, usually addressing and resolving issues by the next day. This setup not only streamlines problem resolution but also provides a level of personalized service that can be hard to match with standard platform support channels.

Shopify wins with its 24/7 support.

Customization in WooCommerce vs. Shopify

Customization with Shopify

Shopify provides a contained environment for customization. While it’s user-friendly and offers a variety of themes and apps for extending functionality, Shopify’s proprietary platform imposes stricter limitations on customization. 

Entrepreneurs often find that making specific, deeper customizations on Shopify can lead to complications, potentially slowing down the site and affecting the user experience. This heavy-weight effect, where every change necessitates careful consideration of its impact on the entire site, can be a significant drawback for businesses aiming for a highly customized eCommerce solution.

Alex Khryplyvyi

“I have seen many entrepreneurs come to ProCoders with a pain in the neck because they wanted to customize their Shopify sites. As a result, the website becomes a heavy-weight Frankenstein, where any changes affect the customer experience.”

Alex Khryplyvyi

Head of the Web Development Department at ProCoders

WooCommerce Customization

When you hear ‘WordPress’, you hear ‘customization’. WooCommerce, with its open-source nature, offers almost limitless flexibility for customization. This is one of the reasons many potential partners come to us with a request to migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce.

Entrepreneurs who choose WooCommerce can virtually modify every aspect of their store, from the checkout process to the product display pages, without facing significant limitations. 

This level of customization allows for the creation of a truly bespoke online presence that aligns perfectly with brand identity and customer needs. The vast ecosystem of WordPress plugins further enhances WooCommerce’s adaptability, enabling store owners to add complex functionalities easily without compromising site performance.

WooCommerce wins, 100%.

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Innovate with Confidence! WooCommerce and ProCoders, a combination that ensures your store stands out. Let’s innovate together.

So, What Is Better – WooCommerce or Shopify?

We hate to reply “It depends” to such questions, but…

Let’s just say you have to decide based on your priorities.

If you’re looking for a more straightforward, out-of-the-box solution with less technical involvement, Shopify might be the way to go. Its ease of use, combined with reliable support and a controlled environment, makes Shopify an excellent choice.

And if a high level of customization, control, and flexibility are at the top of your list, and you have access to or can partner with a skilled development team like ProCoders, WooCommerce is likely your best bet. It offers the freedom to build and grow your online store exactly the way you envision it, supported by a large ecosystem of plugins and themes.

At first, WooCommerce might seem costlier, but over time, it proves to be more cost-effective since it doesn’t have monthly fees and other recurring charges. If you’re planning for the long haul, we suggest going with WooCommerce.

Our Developers’ Recommendation

After careful consideration of the key factors that impact the success and operation of an online store, WooCommerce stands out as the preferred choice for ProCoders. 

Our experience developing WordPress projects allows us to create unique, customized eCommerce solutions. We understand the intricacies of WooCommerce inside out, which makes us qualified to tackle challenges efficiently and use the platform’s capabilities to your advantage.

a man

“At ProCoders, we take all the hassle out of building and managing a WooCommerce store, leaving you to enjoy all the benefits without any of the potential drawbacks. Our team handles the complexities, ensuring your store is optimized, scalable, and perfectly equipped to cover your business needs. With ProCoders, you get the freedom and flexibility of WooCommerce, minus the headaches.”

Oleh Kopachovets

ProCoders’ CEO

How to Start Your Project from Scratch with ProCoders?

Starting your eCommerce project with ProCoders is a straightforward and efficient process designed to get your online store up and running with minimal fuss. Here’s how to kick off the development:

  1. Contact Us: Reach out to our team to get the ball rolling. We’re here to listen to your ideas and understand your business needs.
  2. Discovery Workshop: Join our experts for a free, 1.5-hour workshop designed to explore your eStore requirements, goals, and expectations.
  3. Discovery Phase: We conduct an in-depth analysis to outline the project scope, identify technical specifications, and prepare a roadmap for development.
  4. Developer Matching and Team Assembly: Based on the results of the research, we carefully select and assemble a team of skilled developers with the perfect mix of expertise to bring your vision to life.
  5. Ready to Work: With everything in place, your dedicated team is ready to start working on your online shop. Throughout the development process, we ensure transparent communication, timely updates, and adherence to the highest quality standards.
Expand Your Online Horizon! With WooCommerce, the sky’s the limit. Reach out to explore your possibilities.
How is WooCommerce different than Shopify?

WooCommerce offers a higher level of customization and control as an open-source platform built on WordPress, requiring self-hosting and management, while Shopify is a hosted, all-in-one solution that prioritizes ease of use and simplicity.

How to move my website from Shopify to WooCommerce?

To migrate from Shopify to WooCommerce, start by setting up a WordPress site and installing WooCommerce. Then, use a migration tool or service to transfer your product data, customer information, and order history. Finally, customize your new WooCommerce store and redirect your domain once everything is tested and functioning.

You can also choose to hire ProCoders to do the migration professionally.

Is Shopify Good for SEO?

Yes, Shopify is good for SEO, offering built-in tools and features designed to help optimize your site, such as customizable headlines, titles, and meta tags, along with automatic sitemaps and reliable hosting that ensures fast loading times.

Which one is more popular, Shopify or WooCommerce?

Both Shopify and WooCommerce are immensely popular, with WooCommerce often leading in terms of the number of active installations due to its flexibility and no cost for the base plugin, while Shopify is widely recognized for its ease of use and all-in-one hosting solution.

What are some alternatives to Shopify and WooCommerce?

Alternatives to Shopify and WooCommerce include Magento, for those looking for an enterprise-level solution; BigCommerce, which offers a similar hosted experience to Shopify; and Squarespace and Wix, which are more suited for smaller stores or those emphasizing design and simplicity.

Which eCommerce platform is more flexible?

WooCommerce is more flexible than Shopify due to its open-source nature, allowing for extensive customization, access to a vast library of plugins, and the ability to modify the code directly to fulfill your specific requests.

Which is faster: Shopify or WooCommerce?

Shopify tends to be faster out-of-the-box, as it’s a hosted solution optimized for speed and performance; WooCommerce’s speed can vary significantly based on hosting quality, the optimization of the WordPress theme, and the number and type of plugins used.

Can I use Shopify with WooCommerce?

While Shopify and WooCommerce are separate platforms designed to function independently, it’s possible to integrate certain elements of Shopify into a WooCommerce store, such as using Shopify’s Buy Button to sell on a WordPress site managed by WooCommerce.

What are other eCommerce plugins for WordPress, except WooCommerce?

Other notable eCommerce plugins for WordPress include Easy Digital Downloads (ideal for selling digital products), WP eCommerce, Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart, and BigCommerce WordPress Plugin (for integrating BigCommerce with a WordPress site).

Can I dropship with WooCommerce?

Yes, you can easily set up a dropshipping business with WooCommerce by using plugins designed for dropshipping, such as AliDropship, Dropified, and WooCommerce Dropshipping, which automate many of the processes involved in running a dropshipping store.

Which is cheaper, Shopify or WooCommerce in development and maintenance?

WooCommerce generally comes out cheaper in terms of development and maintenance for those willing to manage hosting and perform some of the technical work themselves or through a developer partnership. Shopify’s monthly fees, while covering hosting and maintenance, can add up, especially with additional app costs.

Is it possible to use one WordPress site for multiple domains?

Yes, it’s possible to use one WordPress site for multiple domains by utilizing WordPress Multisite or domain mapping techniques. These methods allow you to run multiple websites from a single WordPress installation, each with its own domain.

What is more effective for the marketplace – Shopify or WooCommerce?

WooCommerce, with plugins like Dokan or WC Vendors, offers more flexibility and control over customization, making it highly effective for building a marketplace platform. Shopify can also support marketplace functionalities, but often with more limitations and the need for specialized apps.

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