For those who have known us for a while, and even from casually browsing our website, it is plainly clear that we are big advocates of WordPress. However, it is on this front that we have made a significant change in mindset. As we specialise in small business we often discuss budgets and options with owners, and the up-front costs associated with WordPress are sometimes baulked at. As time passes, we are increasingly being contacted by business owners to support their marketing efforts on Shopify, and we are more than happy to assist. Let’s discuss Shopify vs WooCommerce a little further, and explain why our mindset has shifted in recent months.
The Benefits of Shopify
Quite simply, Shopify provides a great “out of the box” eCommerce solution that is easy to understand and manage. There are a myriad of tools that come with the platform, and the monthly subscription cost is very reasonable. When Get Online Australia first started, Shopify was completely different with higher monthly premiums, high transaction fees, and a more complex pricing structure. Over the years, Shopify’s offering – and affordability – has improved drastically. Shopify is perfect for those wanting to market test a new product, business idea or to even “have a dabble” with drop-shipping. Their in-store POS solution is also very robust and great for many small retail businesses.
The Benefits of WooCommerce
WordPress and WooCommerce are the perfect marriage, allowing any size business to build and publish a website of any style, shape and form. One of the primary benefits of the platform is the ability to maintain your website with ease and the pure flexibility and scalability of the software. Unlike Shopify, there is no monthly subscription fee associated with WooCommerce. The only necessity is that you maintain a hosting plan, that is, a place where your website files are stored such as SiteGround, BlueHost, GoDaddy, etc. This means that you own your site, not simply rent the space as you do on platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce. You can move your website between hosts as you choose, allowing you to control costs as necessary.
Shopify Apps vs WordPress Plugins
Shopify Apps and WordPress Plugins are basically the same thing – additional software that can be added to your website to bolster your offering. In both instances, there are free and paid versions, and most commonly the paid versions are more robust and feature-rich. Interestingly, Shopify Apps commonly come with “free installation” by the app developer, which again suits small business owners perfectly. The flip side of this is that the developers need to offer this option as often their apps require custom coding to be added to the theme files within Shopify – obviously not something that most small business owners are up for! By comparison, WordPress plugins are designed and developed with a one-click install process with custom coding a rarity.
One of the greatest problems with Shopify Apps is that they are purchased on a subscription basis – so again, a monthly (or annual) commitment needs to be made to keep the software active. The more apps you add, the higher your monthly overhead. By comparison, many WordPress plugins can be purchased once with updates included.
Why we like Shopify
Shopify is an incredibly effective online shopping platform with intelligent features available immediately. Retargeting is simplified with their inbuilt tools, as is Facebook marketing, campaigns and more. An abandoned cart email is natively built into the system, but you can also expand this by leveraging external tools such as Klaviyo email marketing. There is a steady stream of new and improved apps released for Shopify including wishlists, gift registries, loyalty apps and much more.
Why we don’t like Shopify
As we have mentioned, there are many reasons why we like Shopify. However, the platform significantly lacks flexibility to the extent that you must rely on external apps to make some elements of your site user-friendly. Whilst some Shopify themes provide some enhanced flexibility, there are still limited options available. Key case in point 1: mega menu. This is not a native option to Shopify. Whilst some themes include this functionality, they too have their limitations. Instead, you need to rely on an app to provide the outcome that you want. Key case in point 2: Header. One client of ours is using the Warehouse theme which is a beautiful and minimalist design with many features and customisation options. However, there are only two options available for the header, and to “move” things within the header requires custom coding which can become a costly exercise.
Whilst WordPress is referred to as a blogging platform, Shopify is a shopping platform. That is, it is designed specifically to help you “sell stuff”. Adding blogs within Shopify is no problem, but again your ability to customise the display of these is highly restricted. The in-built page builder is almost ridiculously simple, with no in-built options to add specific related products and/or blogs. By contract, WordPress’s extensive Widget and Shortcode collections make this a breeze.
Get Online Australia Now Supporting Shopify
The nuts and bolts of it is that whilst there are drawbacks to Shopify, we recognise that Shopify is a fantastic online shopping platform. If you are looking to start a new online business, or test a new product idea and sell it online, Get Online Australia can now support your efforts with Shopify. Whilst we still have a passion for WooCommerce, we understand that it does not suit everyone’s needs or budgets. Over the past 12 months we have been training ourselves extensively in Shopify to be able to assist our customers in all their online marketing endeavours.