What is eCommerce?
In a nutshell, eCommerce is the ability to sell goods on your website. Whether you sell goods or services, a well-structured eCommerce store can provide additional income to your business.
There are many choices with eCommerce software platforms. One o the first decisions to make is to whether to use a hosted option or an online version of the software. For this article, I will discuss the two most commonly used eCommerce applications, WooCommerce and Shopify.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin currently installed on over three million WordPress sites. Its strengths are that it is free software and highly customisable. As it is open source software, you can do with it what you will. There are premium plugins to buy. However, you can run a basic eCommerce site for little cost.
Security updates and software updates have to be managed by the store owner.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a fully hosted software application that runs on a subscription-based system. Shopify handles all the updates and security on their hosted servers. Although customisable and with many templates available, it is much harder to change the nuts and bolts of the software. Extra plugins are subscription based, and monthly costs can quickly escalate if you have a large eCommerce store.
The table below breaks down the basic differences between the two platforms
|WooCommerce is open-source, free software and runs on the WordPress platform.||Shopify is a subscription-based eCommerce platform.|
|To run WooCommerce, you need WordPress installed on a web server. Your yearly costs will include a hosting plan provided by a web host.||Shopify comes installed on their hosting platform. The vendor handles all the installation tasks.|
|With WooCommerce you have complete control over all aspects of your eCommerce store. You can easily modify and extend their capabilities.||Shopify controls all of your data, and you can only modify as much as they allow you to.|
|The website space depends on your hosting plan.||You will get unlimited website space with Shopify.|
|You have to look up to the hosting company for an SSL certificate or manually get it.||Shopify includes an SSL certificate as part of the package.|
|You will have to register a domain to point to the web server||Shopify provides a free subdomain in every plan (Eg: mystore.shopify.com). You can also buy a new domain from Shopify. If you have an existing domain, you can connect it to Shopify.|
|Storefront is the official WooCommerce theme. The same developers of WooCommerce have created the theme, and it is a free download. There are many themes available from developers, free and professional||There are over 100 professional Shopify templates. About ten are free. Additionally, there are more custom Shopify Themes available on the Intenet|
|Minimum cost to start a WooCommerce store: $23.94 for the first month||Minimum cost to start a Shopify store: $29 US for the first month, billed monthly.|
Support forum, support tickets from WooCommerce and also from the theme providers. The Woocommerce community can also provide assistance
|Customer support: 24/7 support from the expert team via live chat, emails, and phone call.|
What option is better for me?
For those that need to maintain their store and webpage, Shopify is by far the easiest option. The vendor handles all the updates and the many templates available a cross-platform compatible, SEO friendly and fast to load. For a low monthly subscription, you will have a basic store and the ability to sell your products online.
For those that want further customisation and control over their eCommerce site, then WooCommerce is the preferred option. However, you will need a web developer with experience in customising the platform and configuring shipping and payment options. There can be a significant cost, but if you want your store to be individual, this is the best way to go.
Webcom Solutions can develop in both platforms and can provide unbiased advice on what is best for your business. Contact us for more information.