Because there are so many different online marketplaces you can choose from, and they all offer different features, pricing plans and integrations, we’ve put together some comparisons to help you make a decision.
We are going to start with two of the biggest and most popular marketplaces: Shopify and WooCommerce. Now, they’re both popular for good reasons, but which is best for you?
We are going to give an overview of the benefits of using each platform, and then compare their benefits and drawbacks.
This is a popular and powerful ecommerce marketplace which gives you a lot of freedom to customise your store and inject your brand’s personality into it. You don’t need to be a design wizard to create a great-looking store, and there’s a huge amount of support available. There’s also an extensive catalog of apps and addons you can choose from to add more features and functionality to your site, or to help with other elements of running your business.
Key features and benefits of Shopify:
- Lots of professional themes to choose from. You also have full access to the HTML and CSS of your store, so you can customise it however you want.
- Get a Shopify blog with SEO capabilities,
- Secure shopping cart with automatic carrier shipping rates. Abandoned checkout recovery automatically emails prospective customers with a link to their abandoned shopping carts, encouraging them to complete their purchase.
- Customer profiles so you can learn more about your customers and their shopping habits.
- Customers can create an account at checkout, which encourages repeat custom. Your customers can also check out as a guest without creating an account, so there’s less chance of abandoned carts.
- Search engine optimized shops, product reviews, email marketing and integrations with all the leading social media sites.
- Plenty of integrations such as Shopify Amazon, plus software available to help with your Shopify Amazon integration.
- Digital products available.
- Analytics on sales, orders, and traffic helps gain insight into your store’s growth. See which products are selling — and which ones aren’t.
- Shopify Mobile – Capture payments and fulfil orders right from your phone. Send shipping notifications from the post office.
There is a 14 day free trial available, then you can choose from the following options:
Starter – $14/£9.45 a month. 2.4% plus 20p credit card rate, up to 25 products, 1GB storage, no transaction fees, unlimited bandwidth and no transaction fees.
Basic – $29/£19.58 a month. Credit card rate – Online: 2.4% + 20p. Includes Shopify PO, 1 GB file storage, unlimited products, 24/7 support, discount code engine, no transaction fees, fraud analysis tools.
Professional: $79/£53.34 a month. Credit card rate – Online: 2.1% + 20p. Includes Shopify POS, 5 GB file storage, unlimited products, 24/7 support, discount code engine, no transaction fees, fraud analysis tools, gift cards, professional reports, abandoned cart recovery
Unlimited: $179/£120.86 a month. Credit card rate – Online: 1.8% + 20p. Includes Shopify POS, unlimited file storage, unlimited products, 24/7 Support, Discount code engine, no transaction fees, fraud analysis tools, gift cards, professional reports, abandoned cart recovery, advanced report builder, real-time carrier shipping
WooCommerce is WordPress’s free ecommerce toolkit for turning your site into an fully functional ecommerce store, and and is the most popular WordPress plugin. You can sell anything on there, including digital downloads, and it’s easily customisable, like Shopify, with loads of templates to choose from, so you can let your branding shine though. It also has hundreds of free and commercial extensions, so you can optimise your shop however you want.
Key features and benefits of using WooCommerce
- The default storefront design is clean and simple, but also highly customisable with hundreds of themes available, and plenty of addons which allow you to optimise your store in whatever way you want.
- WooCommerce supports PayPal for accepting credit card & PayPal account payments, BACS, and Cash on Delivery. They’ve also got a variety of specific payment gateway extensions.
- Cater for specific distribution logistics, like table rate shipping, through a variety of shipping extensions.
- Easily manage your digital or physical products with the intuitive and WP centric UI. You can assign store managers to handle the day to day inventory management.
- Keep on top of incoming sales & reviews, stock levels and general store performance, all from your WordPress backend, with the reporting tool.
- Marketing options including campaigns offering a range of discount options, usage limits & product / user restrictions as well as free shipping.
- Option to have a WooCommerce eBay integration, plus others such as connecting WooCommerce to Amazon
- Responsive design, so your shop will look good on any screen
- Simple to use interface
- No limit to the number of products and categories
- Very SEO friendly (something WordPress is known for), so easier to get your shop to the top of search engines. Also, excellent blogging capabilities thanks to WordPress
Drawbacks of using WooCommerce:
- Lack of high-end features to support very large stores
- More paid extensions required, so costs could add up
- No free support option
- You need to stay on top of updates
- It’s very popular which makes it a prime target for hackers, so you will probably want to take extra security measures
Shopify Vs. WooCommerce
The two platforms offer pretty different features, so it should probably be an easy decision.
The biggest difference is probably the price: WooCommerce is free, while Shopify starts at $14/£9.45 a month, and that doesn’t get you an awful lot. The advantage here is obvious – you get a solid ecommerce store for absolutely nothing.
WooCommerce might be free, but there are tons of addons you can get, and they cost. Your standard shop and features package is quite basic, so you may end up spending the same amount adding features to WooCommerce you would on a Shopify account with those features already included. It’s worth evaluating what you want from a shop and checking out the features and addons available. Shopify also has plenty of addons, but has more built in features.
WooCommerce is more customisable than Shopify, with more themes and freedom to add features to the shop (sliders, product displays). Shopify, however, might be better for those not as clued up on coding as they offer gurus to help customise your own storefront designs.
Both have a blog built in – Shopify’s blog, and WordPress. WooCommerce has the edge here as it’s backed by WordPress’s powerful, SEO friendly platform. That’s not to say that Shopify’s isn’t SEO friendly, because it is – WordPress is just better.
Shopify also gets the edge on WooCommerce for support – they offer 24/7 support, while WooCommerce has no free support option.
Ultimately, WooCommerce is probably better for those who want to customise because of its abundance of plugins and addons, while Shopify is best for a ready-made, read-to-use shop.
Written by Jodie Pride
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