Why Use WooCommerce And Not Shopify?

By Jamie McSloy / April 5, 2018
woocommerce vs shopify featured image

Why Use WooCommerce and not Shopify?

Yesterday I sent an email out to the mailing list about my process for creating a new ecommerce store.

I use WooCommerce to create ecommerce stores as opposed to going with Shopify.

A couple of people emailed back asking questions. The first one was, “Why don’t you use Shopify because this all sounds complicated?”

There’s no doubt that the set up for WooCommerce is more complicated than Shopify.

WooCommerce is an ecommerce plugin that’s designed to go on top of WordPress and needs all kinds of set up and maintenance and things like any other WordPress site.

On the other hand, Shopify is set up for E-Commerce sites through and through.

So why do I bother with WooCommerce?

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Let’s find out.

Why Would You Use WooCommerce Instead Of Shopify?

Firstly, let’s talk about control of your business.

With Shopify, Shopify host your store and provide the platform (i.e. software) to run your business. This isn’t open source: You can host a WordPress install anywhere – even on your own computer – and there’s nothing WordPress creators can do about it.

If you run a dodgy store on WooCommerce that sells counterfeit merchandise, you can host it on your own server and nobody can stop you. Well, except the police and a bunch of lawyers, so don’t sell counterfeit goods, kids.

But Shopify sometimes shut people down and cite the “terms and conditions” rule that allows them to do whatever they want and sometimes keep your money.

I’m not saying this will happen and if you play by the rules, you probably won’t have to worry about this.

I definitely don’t worry about this. I have WordPress. I have WooCommerce. I have all of my files and data backed up.

If I ever need to move host, then I will and I’ll take my store with me.

But control isn’t the major reason. At least, not control in the way I’ve discussed above.

What Can You Do With Your Site?

I like only having to work with WordPress. I can use all the plugins I have unlimited licenses for and this means I can use Thrive Leads for email marketing, the themes I’ve bought over the years for storefronts and  all of those things.

This is leverage because, for instance, I’ve already paid £200 or so for Thrive Membership and if I want to use Quiz Builder, Leads and Headline Optimiser on a store, then I can do that and it’s all advantages.

We’ll talk about plugins in a minute.

But let’s talk about walkthroughs and stuff.

With WordPress, if you have a problem there’s some guy on YouTube who has already fixed it. If you want something super-advanced, then you can get a developer to code it for you.

This brings me to a wider point that I’ve noticed for Shopify.

The Economy

Shopify and WordPress have two different economies.

For my latest ecommerce store, I bought a couple of new plugins for WooCommerce.

These plugins cost me about $70 or so.

These are one-time fees and for a lot of WordPress plugins, you can use them across multiple sites.

I bought these two specific plugins because they mimic things that Shopify stores do – specifically pulling products from AliExpress and creating urgency and social proof for extra sales.

Those costs are, like I say, one-time fees.

With Shopify, there’s a whole different economy. Most plugins are monthly fees and some have weird restrictions. For instance, you get a free plugin until you make 50 orders and then you have to start paying and things.

I don’t like recurring costs if I can help them, and especially with new sites.

In addition, Shopify costs $30 a month – although it is hosted.

WooCommerce works out cheaper in the long run if you have a ton of WordPress plugins already, which I do.

The plugins I bought yesterday, assuming I keep the ecommerce site running for a year, will work out to just over $5 a month. If I keep the site for a couple of years, then it’s even less.

Shopify sees the costs mount as you carry on.

Final Thoughts

The above puts a lot of emphasis on money, but it’s a combination of things.

  • Ownership
  • Control
  • Flexibility
  • Money

All of those things together are why I choose WooCommerce. There are also a few other reasons:

  • Cloning the site makes the whole set up process easier
  • You can experiment more with WooCommerce
  • It looks nicer (Shopify has limited themes)
  • I am too old and grouchy to learn to use a whole different CMS.

That said, you’re free to disagree, and if you don’t care about the above, then Shopify probably is better for you, because it’s no fuss and you can get started quicker.