There are a few simple things that you MUST keep in mind when starting an online business. These key factors will help make your decision between platforms that much more simplified.
- Budget – The initial cost of starting a fully functional eCommerce site
- Usability – Easy to use even for absolute beginners
- Payment Methods – Support for multiple payment methods
- Integrations – A number of services, third-party tools, and resources that you can integrate to grow your business
- Scalability – The platform should be able to adapt as your business grows
These are just the basics, however, depending on your needs… you may also want to look at other options like shipping, inventory management, invoicing, taxes, etc.
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it easy for you to create an online business, accept payments, and manage your inventory all from a single platform without ever having to worry about the technical aspects of managing a website such as a web hosting, security, caching, etc. The cost for Shopify ranges based on the monthly plan you choose to use for your business. Cost can range anywhere from $29 per month for a very basic, stripped down plan to the advanced Shopify plan for $299 per month. Shopify is a fully hosted platform, which means that you don’t need to install, manage, or update any software. You also won’t have to worry about security, performance, backups, and compatibility issues. Shopify comes with a powerful API and an App Store where you can buy third-party add-ons for your online business. When it comes to handling the technical parts of your online business, Shopify has you covered… you don’t have to worry about performance, security, or scalability. Once your business starts growing you can just simply upgrade your Shopify plan.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. It allows you to leverage the most powerful CMS and use it to run an online store. Because of the open-source nature, you can customize every single aspect of your store and build custom extensions. The starting cost will vary, depending on a lot of factors… domain name purchase, SSL Certificate, hosting services, etc., however, it is an open source and freely available as a WordPress plugin. WooCommerce is not a hosted platform like Shopify, which means you will have some work to do. There are plenty of free and paid plugins that can automate most of these tasks for you. WooCommerce is super flexible when it comes to customizations, in other words… you have full control. WooCommerce is open-source and built on top of WordPress, giving you access to more than 50,000 FREE WordPress plugins and even more paid plugins. Even though you are responsible for maintaining updates, backups, and the security of your website using WooCommerce… you do have a plethora of options when it comes to managing your growth and scalability due to the simple fact that you have total control of your website.
The decision to choose between the two platforms will depend entirely on your business needs and personal skill level. Both are very powerful platforms from which to start your eCommerce business. It is simply another decision that must be made.