The two eCommerce services and software that I work with most often are WordPress WooCommerce and Shopify. Clients often state that they are adverse to the monthly cost associated with Shopify and therefore choose WooCommerce because it is free to install and use. This is usually a false rationale however as Automattic (the parent company of WordPress and WooCommerce) need to make money somehow and they do this with WooCommerce through charging for many plugins that one would expect would be free (or included with WooCommerce as standard).
Where WooCommerce charges and Shopify doesn’t
As an example, if you have an online shop in Australia you likely advertise using Google Adwords. The simplest and most effective way of advertising your products is through shopping ads which are created through uploading your products to Google Merchant Center. Google Merchant Center requires that products are added with specific data such as a title, description and price. The product data may be manually uploaded to Google Merchant Center or Google will fetch your data on a schedule if your eCommerce software creates a feed that meets Google Merchant Center criteria.
Shopify provide a free app (developed by Shopify themselves) that creates a feed that can be setup to automatically synchronize with Google Merchant Center. With WooCommerce there are a few free to use plugins that will create a Google Merchant Feed however most are difficult to setup or are very basic. There is also a paid feed creator which is very good (US $79 p.a.) but, as noted this is an additional cost.
Comparing WooCommerce and Shopify pricing for a small online store
Of course the above is just one example of costs associated with WooCommerce where Shopify doesn’t charge additional fees. The most obvious additional cost associated with WooCommerce is hosting which can quickly become expensive once you need more than basic shared hosting. Let’s do a very quick calculation of a basic Australian small online store setup comparing WooCommerce and Shopify monthly pricing:
|2x Paid Apps/Plugins2 (2x $79 p.a.)||13.17||0|
|$33.15 p.m.||$29 p.m.|
All prices in U.S. $. and assume a small eCommerce website with minimal visitors.
1 Shopify provide hosting as part of all subscriptions. WooCommerce requires hosting; the cheapest Siteground plan price is shown here.
2 Apps/Plugins such as a Google Merchant Center feed and Stripe payment gateway.
3 Shopify provide CDN use with every subscription. For WooCommerce CDN use MaxCDN pricing is shown.
Shopify is cheaper than WooCommerce but should you choose it?
Choosing eCommerce software or a service shouldn’t however be just about cost. Both WooCommerce and Shopify are very good but they do differ in their functionality and pricing. In my experience, Shopify is usually less expensive than WooCommerce in the long run. They are both the best eCommerce software and services available to small and medium size online sellers.