Here at Syzmic, we’ve built a ton of E-Commerce websites. It never fails that we get asked, “Should we use WooCommerce or Shopify?” At this point, we almost always recommend Shopify, with a few exceptions that we’ll get to later.
For full disclosure, we are actually big fans of WordPress. I’d go as far as to say it’s our preferred platform for non-E-Commerce websites. But when it DOES come to E-Commerce, Shopify has WooCommerce beat.
Why do we prefer Shopify?
It comes down to 4 reasons:
- Smoother user experience
- Better admin dashboard
- No weekly updates required
- High-quality CDN and page speeds
Reason #1: Smoother user experience
This is by far the most important reason we recommend Shopify. The process by which a customer finds the product they want, adds it to their cart, then checks out is EXTREMELY important. If the customer has a bad experience with any of those three of those steps, there’s a high chance they’ll bounce.
Every Shopify store comes out-of-the-box with a super smooth cart -> checkout process. Shopify understands how important this is and they won’t even allow you to edit this process (with your typical accounts).
Conversely, WooCommerce cart -> checkout process is pretty clunky and requires a lot of customization to dial it in. If you aren’t familiar with CSS, it can be difficult to get the styling just right.
Reason #2: Better admin dashboard
This is a very underrated aspect of E-Commerce. After the website is built, the real work starts with order fulfillment and shipping. If this process isn’t smooth, it can cause your clients a ton of headaches.
Shopify is great because the dashboard was built with the small business owner in mind. They knew that the dashboard had to be easy enough so that a non-techy could navigate it with no problem.
This includes everything from viewing the new orders to printing shipping labels to checking website analytics.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, wasn’t built for E-Commerce, therefore, WordPress is much less intuitive. In our experience, clients call with A LOT more questions/issues with simple tasks like process orders and printing shipping labels.
Reason #3: No weekly updates required
This is all you need to know: don’t worry about the website crashing because of a rouge update. Shopify does an excellent job of automatically updating in the background.
In WooCommerce, there are constant updates that need attention. Again, since WordPress wasn’t built for E-Commerce, you have to pay a lot more attention to the various updates. Clients are always approaching our partnering agencies with comments like, “I swear we didn’t do anything, it just stopped working!” The truth is they’re not lying (usually). WordPress likely ran an update in the background and caused WooCommerce to stop working.
Reason #4: High-quality CDN and page speeds
This is a topic that’s not discussed as much. I mentioned how important a smooth cart -> checkout process is above, but you also have to keep you page speed in mind.
Everyone has been on an E-Commerce website that takes FOREVER to load. Chances are you didn’t buy anything from that website. You probably never went back to that site.
Part of the higher monthly fee you pay to Shopify every month (starting around $30/month) goes to high-quality servers and a CDN. Note: if you want to learn more about CDNs work, here’s a great article from Cloudflare.
Now I should point out that high page speeds can be achieved with WooCommerce. You can choose solid WordPress servers (we recommend CloudWays) and setup a CDN for the site, but in terms of out-of-the-box speed, Shopify is going to be vastly superior.
As I mentioned earlier, there are times when we recommend WooCommerce. For instance, if your client is running a big news/blog site and they decide to sell a couple of products, it would probably be better to stick with WordPress.
The reason for this is that WordPress is vastly superior to Shopify when it comes to websites outside of E-Commerce.
If E-Commerce is NOT the primary function of the website, then it’s worth considering WooCommerce.
I know it sounds like we’re bashing WooCommerce pretty hard, but it’s actually a compliment to the software that Shopify created.
WordPress is actually our preferred CMS when we aren’t talking about E-Commerce. But until there are some major upgrades to the WooCommerce plugin, Shopify will remain the gold standard.