When considering an e-commerce business, it is important to choose the right platform that will offer a functional e-shop to the customers. While there are at least a few dozen commercial platforms, according to Statista data, WooCommerce and Shopify have made significant breakouts in 2021. WooCommerce is used by 27% of worldwide electronic stores, Shopify — by 20%.
So, what should an owner of a new e-commerce business choose when creating his own electronic shop? Tomas Laurutėnas, a CEO of Verslo planeta, a partner of Venipak‚ and a provider of software solutions for e-commerce, shares knowledge about the main differences and similarities of WooCommerce and Shopify, which will help you to choose the platform that best fits the needs of your e-shop.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that enables you to easily become a merchant without any programming knowledge. It allows you to create an e-shop in just a few clicks and adapt it to your business needs with the help of plugins. Shopify offers a choice of template designs, manages products, their balances, payments, accounting and delivery, and much more than this. This is a good choice for those just starting their business and looking to sell their product online. Shopify offers a wide range of plugins that expand the capabilities of your e-shop, allowing you to implement live chat, visitor tracking, automatic emailing, and more functions.
“Basically, the main uniqueness of the Shopify platform is that it acts as a rental. The staff is helpful at providing any assistance needed and your e-commerce site would be fully supervised by Shopify. Businesses usually choose this type of e-shop rental as a cheaper alternative because it is possible to start selling online quickly and independently, without any programming knowledge. The rental price can vary greatly. In Shopify’s case, it can range from around € 25 to € 1700 per month,” the e-commerce expert Tomas says.
WooCommerce is a free, downloadable plugin, built for the website development and content management system WordPress, that turns an existing website into a functional e-shop. Although this platform can be used for free, more technical knowledge is needed to create an e-shop that meets your needs and is supervised. This platform is more suitable for those who want exclusive solutions, as it provides access to a wider selection of features.
“This platform is the most popular among Venipak customers. It is a great solution, offering unlimited customization options. However, WooCommerce may not be suitable for those who do not have any technical knowledge and the possibility to hire an expert. That is because, unlike Shopify, WooCommerce does not offer 24-hour customer service, hence the shop owner is responsible for maintaining and updating the site. Also, if you choose WooCommerce, you would need to rent a server. It should be noted that the speed of an e-shop and many other factors depend on this choice. In addition, there may be some extra charges related to this platform: for some extensions and developer services, for software changes or upgrades,” explains Tomas.
SO WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE?
There is no single right answer to which platform — WooCommerce or Shopify — is better for your online business. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages: WooCommerce requires the help of programmers to maximise its potential while choosing Shopify will not require this. WooCommerce has a large community that discusses online how to solve certain problems and shares all the necessary information about usage of the platform. Meanwhile, when choosing Shopify, the 24-hour customer service will cover all your needs, whatever they might be.
It is worth choosing Shopify, if:
- A fast solution is needed;
- An easy-to-adapt design template is enough for you;
- You wish to outsource everything related to security and support of the site;
- You do not have much technical knowledge.
It is worth choosing WooCommerce, if:
- You already have a WordPress-based website;
- You would like a personalized solution;
- Your business is growing rapidly and requires a high volume e-shop;
- You have the technical knowledge or the possibility to hire an IT specialist to take care of your site support.
“Objectively speaking, e-shop platforms are constantly being improved and they all perform their main function — they provide an opportunity to develop online trading. I think in many cases, the decision depends on the experience and priorities of each business. My main advice is to choose a solution that would be popular among as many professionals as possible. This would reduce the cost of workforce and it would also be easier to find good specialists for your team,” says Tomas.
LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT MODULES
Many rapidly expanding businesses, seeking to save time, choose to entrust the management of parcels to a parcel service. In such cases, the logistics management modules for e-commerce platforms are of great use. These modules automate data transfer and logistics management processes, ensuring that the process of shipment preparation, dispatch and delivery is smooth.
“The main function of such extensions is an automatic data export to the logistics company’s system. In the absence of such integration, the shop administrator would have to manually enter all the details of an order received at his e-shop, including information about the sender and recipient of the goods, and to transmit this information to the parcel service. It takes a lot of time, especially if the volume of sales is high, and is often a source of mistakes,” says Tomas.
To simplify the e-shop logistics management processes, Venipak offers special extensions for the most popular e-commerce platforms: WooCommerce, Shopify, OpenCart, Magento, Prestashop, Verskis, Eshoprent. These extensions automate the transfer of the order information directly to the systems of a parcel service in a quick and easy way.
“The e-shop administrator can upload new orders to the Venipak system with a click of one button and download a PDF document with the formed stickers with a click of another. After affixing the sticker on the parcel, you just need to wait for the courier to arrive and pick it up. Of course, plugins can also provide additional functions: they allow you to add post machines to the billing page, inform the customer about the generated tracking code, etc.,” tells Tomas.
To sum up
Choosing an e-commerce platform is a rather individual decision, therefore, it is important to analyse your business, evaluate the scope and volume of products, and think about what business goals should be achieved in the future. The most important thing to note is that an e-shop should have all the features you need that are relevant to the customers, which in many cases are enabled by additional extensions.