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WooCommerce vs Magento vs Shopify? Three Best Online eCommerce Solutions Explained

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One of the most obvious signs that indicate a positive growth trend of eCommerce is that in 2020 13.7% of all global retail happened on the Internet. It is predicted that by 2040, 95% of all consumer purchases will be made online. These are really impressive data that need much attention, especially if you are thinking of starting an online business.

More and more consumers are benefiting from eCommerce every year! To keep up with this incredible growth, more and more brands, both smaller and larger, are launching online stores.

These three platforms are the current world leaders in developing eCommerce solutions that will help online stores start their online business efficiently, provide secure transactions, and help brands achieve desirable results.

Table of content:

WooCommerce – Strengths and weaknesses

Magento – Strengths and weaknesses

Shopify- Strengths and Weaknesses

When launching an online store, the first question arises which platform is the best, and comparisons are almost always made between the three most popular eCommerce platforms: WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify.

In this article, we will present all the advantages and disadvantages and make a detailed comparison.

Shopify of all three eCommerce solutions offers the easiest way to start online sales, however, the flexibility of the platform can be challenging. The Magento platform is a top enterprise platform whose flexibility is its strong point, however, at the cost of use. WooCommerce is somewhere between offering flexibility and providing a relatively simple user interface.

Now that we have briefly explained some of the basics between Woocommerce, the Magento, and the Shopify platform, we need to make a clear distinction and bring you closer to all the functionalities that these eCommerce platforms offer. To help you decide which platform to choose to create your online store, we will compare WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify.

We will present all the weaknesses and strengths of these platforms and discuss what type of store each platform is best suited to.

E-commerce share of total global retail sales from 2015 to 2023

ecommerce share - statista - guaranteed software
Source: Statista

WooCommerce – Strengths and weaknesses

an example of woocommerce theme - guaranteed software
Theme Details

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that adds e-commerce functionality to a WordPress website to have an online store, and it is most likely an online platform that everyone has heard of due to its wide representation accessibility. It is designed for small and large online merchants. WordPress theme developer WooThemes first developed WooCommerce. In January 2020, it was estimated that around 3.9 million websites use WooCommerce. When it comes to numbers, WooCommerce is absolutely the most popular way to create an online store with a share of over 23%, which puts it just ahead of Shopify.

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Theme Details

WooCommerce is a plugin that needs a website powered by WordPress to run it. WooCommerce is a free plugin as well as the WordPress platform, and this is one of the reasons why many choose to use this online eCommerce platform.

After installation, you will be able to upload products, insert images, write descriptions, set prices, variable attributes, add specifications, and at the very end, customers will be able to add it all to the cart and then do a checkout. WooCommerce has really tried to make the whole process of setting up an online store as easy as possible for its users. It all ends in a few clicks. To help you further, WooCoomerce also has a setup wizard to help you connect payment processors such as PayPal or Stripe and set up shipping zones and much more.

The whole process of placing products, filling orders, and shipping takes place in the well-known WordPress backend, so it will not be difficult for you to cope.

One of the most important factors when starting your online store is the choice of design. The online store’s design is of great importance, and it is necessary to adapt it to the niche you have chosen. There are many free and premium themes from which you can choose the one you like best and best suits your business. You can find themes at WordPress.org and marketplaces like ThemeForest:

woocommerce theme example - guaranteed software
Theme Details

Benefits of using the WooCommerce platform:

A large community of users

Considering that WooCommerce is an open-source, fully customizable eCommerce platform for entrepreneurs worldwide, people contribute to its development daily. This has led to WooCommerce being perhaps the most popular eCommerce platform, which is essentially a plugin. There are communities around the world that provide answers to many questions about WooCommerce, so you can find a solution to your problem at any time or hire someone to help you. Sharing information has always been essential for progress, so we believe this is one of the biggest benefits of using the WooCommerce platform.

3rd Party Integrations

When it comes to applications and extensions, WooCommerce has a leading role in the market here. Countless different WooCommerce plugins can help you improve your business. Integrations with 3rd party software for things like payments, shipping, cross-product listings, inventory management, marketing, bookkeeping, and much more. Another advantage is that all these plugins can be adapted to your needs, i.e., the code itself can be adjusted to suit your needs.

100% Customizable

When you start your eCommerce business, one of the most important things you need to take care of is your online shop’s design. WooCommerce allows you to choose from thousands of themes and customize your online shop’s look to your liking. Not only that, this platform allows us to customize all its sections: header, footer, product sheets, checkouts, etc. This is possible thanks to the free access to CSS, HTML, and PHP style code. For this reason, WooCommerce is suitable for beginners as well as for professionals.

Easy to use

WordPress did an outstanding job and made using WooCommerce extremely easy. Anyone who has ever encountered the WordPress backend will quickly master the use of WooCommerce. Everything is made in such a way as to make it as easy as possible for the end-user to use. It also comes with various extensions that you can easily install and use with ease. Within the plugin itself, there are various settings with which you can customize WooCommerce to your online store, track and fill orders, and much more.

Developer documentation

While you personally will not need Developer Docs Archives, it is good to know that such extensive documentation exists to be available to your developers. Quality documentation is always more than desirable because it makes reviewing, customization, troubleshooting, and development easier to manage and implement.

Are there any disadvantages of using WooCommerce?

Not optimized for the European market

If you want to sell your products on the European market, you need to install additional plug-ins to make your shop legally secure in Europe. These additional plug-ins are required in order to provide additional features such as an invoice PDF, delivery note, VAT output, strike price, legally compliant checkout, etc.

Potential coding conflicts

​​When we talk about the downside of using WooCommerce, we must mention its potential incompatibility with some plugins. The reason for various technical issues is that most premium WordPress plugins use script libraries. It is essential to know that some of the most common issues with WooCommerce compatibilities are PHP warnings and broken page layouts.

Speed

WooCommerce is essentially a WordPress plugin, and due to its complexity and functionality, its code is quite large and has the potential to slow down your website. Website speed is a valid ranking factor, and you need to consider that when using WooCommerce with other plugins that can decrease website loading speed. Of course, this all depends on how your shop was coded and how the codes are implemented.

Magento – Strengths and weaknesses

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Source Magento

Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform that provides merchants with complete flexibility, with a focus on the shopping cart. The software was originally developed by Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner from Varien Inc. in 2007. More than 250,000 online stores run on Magento. The Magento Source code has over 13 million lines of code and is written in over 11 programming languages.

Magento is also one of the best solutions for online eCommerce platforms, but its use is mostly tied to large companies. The reason for this is that the Magento platform can be costly, when we say expensive, then we mean thousands of dollars a year up to tens of thousands of dollars a year. Despite that, the Magento platform also offers a free plan (Magento open source) that is good for startup companies. The Magento platform is extremely suitable to scale up and turn a few products into an online shop of tens of thousands of products. Magento also offers a variety of different plug-ins and themes, all in order to improve the user experience.

When it comes to flexibility, Magento is perhaps the most flexible platform on the market.

Magento was created with the goal that non-developers can use it, but the average person can customize Magento only up to a certain point despite its ease of use.

Benefits of using Magento

Flexible

Magento is an open-source platform, which means that we can extend the source code to our liking and design and adapt the theme to our needs. This allows us to create extensions according to our will or correct existing ones according to our needs. Magento can achieve more complicated requirements such as custom product types, heavy product customization/personalization, complex subscriptions, marketplaces, complex customer management, native PWA, etc.

It’s scalable

When developing eCommerce, one of the most critical aspects of business is that the platform on which sales are made can withstand an increased number of orders and products. Magento is ahead of its competitors in this field because it ensures the smooth development of the eCommerce business. Magento can host tens of thousands of products and support thousands of transactions in an hour.

It has many features

Another advantage of Magento over its competitors is that it has a wide range of features. Magento’s features allow us to manage multiple stores, it supports multiple languages, pricing, currencies, and supports multiple locations. With Magento, for example, you can define different prices for the same products, and so you can have a different price for your staff and a different price for VIPs.

Disadvantages aspects of using Magento

It has few experienced developers

Magento is extremely complex to understand, and the vast experience one should possess with the core software is only adding up to its complexity.

Magento has a large system that possesses over twenty thousand files and two hundred database tables, and one needs considerable time to master it. As a result of its complexity, finding a good Magento developer is not an easy task.

Expensive Plans

If you consider the Magento platform for your eCommerce shop, you should be aware that it can get costly.

In its offer, Magento has few different plans, and if you are starting your business, Community Edition (Open-Source version) could be a good starting point for you.

As your business grows, you will need additional options that come with a cost. Upgrade to the Enterprise version will cost you about $14,000 per year.

You can also choose the Premium Enterprise option that is mostly used by large businesses.

Magento’s Premium Enterprise option goes up to $50.000 per year, and is best suited to large businesses.

It is Time Consuming

Magento platform needs strong servers, and experienced personnel to configure and maintain them so your website can run fast and smoothly. This can be one of the drawback factors when the Magento platform compares with competitors.

The flexibility and complexity of Magento can be an advantage, but it can also really be a downside. Magento is a complex platform requiring engineers to invest more time and energy to complete certain tasks successfully.

Shopify- Strengths and Weaknesses

Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms for small businesses and startups, but there are also some really big corporations using Shopify ( Tesla, Red Bull, etc. ). It gained its popularity primarily due to the ease of use of the platform itself. Shopify is customized to be easily used by anyone, even people without any knowledge in coding.

Shopify has over 1000 different applications that make it even easier to use. Applications for shipping or upsell, apps for social media integrations, and much more.

When starting your online business, especially if you are not someone from the IT world, then Shopify is perhaps the best solution due to its ease of use. There is also a lot of good quality and beautifully designed themes available to you. Still, there is another essential thing when using the Shopify platform, and that is that you don’t have to worry about the price of the server because Shopify took care of this as well. Unlike other eCommerce platforms where you have to lease a server, this is not the case with the Shopify platform. The backend is also done with a lot of attention, showing you a realistic picture of sales, customer interactions with your site and products.

shopify theme example - guaranteed software
Theme Details

Benefits of using Shopify

Easy to use

Shopify is extremely easy to use. This platform allows its users to set up a webshop without knowing any programming language, and this is one of the most important factors that make Shopify such a popular platform. There are many applications that help users set up, run, and maintain their webshop. Product import is done automatically, and with certain applications, filling orders, and even sending orders.

Premium Support

Shopify support is one of the best and most professional on the market. You can get an answer to any question at any time, no matter how demanding and complicated it may be. Shopify pays a lot of attention to its customers, and that is also one more important reason people trust them. Shopify has a 24-hour support team.

App Store

Shopify platform’s simplicity is possible precisely because of the existence of a large number of premium applications that help its users improve their online business. Shopify App Store is full of free and premium apps for your store. Applications are divided into many branches, and some of them are SEO optimization, product import, upsell, reviews, and many others.

Many free apps are of great importance, especially to anyone just starting their online business. For those who have already made their first steps, there are premium applications that will help you turn your webshop into a top user experience in a short time and thus increase the chances of successful sales.

Disadvantages aspects of using Shopify

Price

Shopify heavily relies on add-on apps offered by this platform.

Running your store on Shopify is dependent on add-on apps.

Since Shopify is heavily reliant on using apps, monthly costs can quickly add up, and even basic apps like social network integrations can cost around $10.

You can learn more about Shopify pricing plans here: https://www.shopify.com/pricing

Customization Limitations

The Shopify platform uses its own templating engine and a language called “Liquid” specifically made for this platform. Shopify is using Liquid PHP programming language to develop all of its themes. If you want to customize them, it can be challenging unless you are unfamiliar with this programming language.

Product Search and Filtering

When it comes to search and filtering functions, Shopify could use some upgrades.

Shopify search version provides only basic search functionalities. For example, if you mistype a product’s name, there are no results and no corrections.

This is why poor user experience is often the main reason for the lower conversion rate because potential customers leave Shopify when they cannot find the product they are looking for.

an example of shopify theme - guaranteed software
Theme Details

We hope that we have managed to draw your attention to some of the most important differences between WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify platforms in this blog post. Each of these eCommerce platforms has its advantages and disadvantages, as you could read in this blog, so at the end of the day, it is still up to you to decide which one you think is best for your business.

Finally, we would like to invite you to explore our website and look at our services. Guaranteed Software is a web development company that can help you choose your business’s best eCommerce platform. A team of our senior developers and eCommerce experts will bring your business to the very top ahead of your competition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which eCommerce platform is best for small businesses?

If your startup is in the eCommerce business and does not plan to scale the business in the near future, Shopify may be the best platform for you.

Shopify is an all-in-one solution that offers you a free subdomain, custom domains can also be added, and a CDN service is also included. It has easy store management and easy item setup. Suppose you have any difficulties in using the Shopify platform or encounter any technical problems. In that case, you can always contact Shopify technical support, which is considered to be one of the best in the eCommerce industry. When enabling your eCommerce shop, you will need 3rd-party eCommerce-related processors and integration with various plugins for scaling business (up-sell, down-sell, sticky cart, etc.)

Guaranteed Software offers you our Shopify online store design, development, and technical maintenance service. With our team of senior developer experts, you will be ready to start your business journey safely with security.

Which eCommerce platform is best for medium businesses?

For all businesses that plan to have between a few hundred and a few thousand products on offer, WooCommerce is a perfect choice. WooCommerce is free; however, you will need a web domain, 3rd-party eCommerce-related processors, and a hosting service. The WooCommerce platform also has an easy item setup and many plugins available for store customization. It is SEO-friendly; however, prior coding knowledge is needed. WooCommerce allows you to integrate various plugins into your online store to successfully improve your business and provide your customers with a pleasant stay on the website and secure shopping.

If you need design, web design, or hiring a WooCommerce developer expert, Guaranteed Software is the right choice. You can visit our WooCommerce Development page and learn more about our WooCommerce service.

Which eCommerce platform is best for large businesses?

For all businesses that want to raise the eCommerce business to a higher level and to have several thousand or tens of thousands of products on the online store, we recommend Magento. This platform was created to support a large number of products; the functionality of the Magento platform meets the highest market standards. Out of all three platforms, Magento is the most flexible one. Every part of the store can be customized to best suit growing business needs.

Since advanced coding is needed to have a functional online store, Guaranteed Software is at your disposal with our team of senior Magento experts. Visit our Magento Development page and learn more:

https://guaranteed.software/custom-magento-development-services

Do WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify have any hidden costs?

Whichever of these three platforms you choose, you need to know that there are additional costs. Here is some basic information that will be important for you when deciding which eCommerce platform to use for your business:

WooCommerce is free; however, you will need:

  • A web domain
  • 3rd-party eCommerce related processor
  • Hosting service

Magento:

  • Magento Open source has a free plan
  • Magento Commerce Premium plan can be quite expensive, going up to $ 50,000 and more
  • Both plans require a hosting service and 3rd-party integrations

Shopify:

  • Has a free trial period and scalable monthly pricing, starting at $ 29
  • There are hidden shipping and payment processing costs that can be quickly build-up

When it comes to store management, which platform would you recommend?

All three platforms have their advantages when it comes to store management. As we have already mentioned, more important than store management is that you first have a clear definition of business. The conclusion is that you won’t go wrong if you choose WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento.

Are there any differences in SEO implementation between WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify?

When it comes to technical implementations of various SEO strategies WooCommerce and Magento are ahead of Shopify. This does not mean that the Shopify platform will not bring you positive results after the proper implementation of SEO strategies, but simply WooCommerce and Magento are a shade better suited to applying different types of SEO strategies than Shopify.

If you want to improve your business and provide a large number of organic visits to your webshop, Guaranteed Software is the right choice. Our team of senior SEO experts will make sure you are ahead of your competitors on search engines.

Are plugins supported in WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify?

Yes. Various plugin integration is possible with all three eCommerce platforms.

When it comes to security which platform is the most secure; WooCommerce, Magento, or Shopify?

WooCommerce

  • Basic security features to protect your store
  • A large number of security plugins are available

Magento

  • Advanced security features are available, as well as dedicated patches, to close any vulnerabilities

Shopify

  • Is a certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant
  • Shopify’s compliance covers all six PCI standard categories

Can you migrate stores from one eCommerce platform to another?

Yes, you can. With the help of the Guaranteed Software development team, migration is possible from all mentioned platforms. So if you have an online store on the Shopify platform and want to scale your business, our experts will allow you to migrate the store to WooCommerce or Magento. The same goes for other eCommerce platforms.

Nenad

Nenad

Nenad is a Full Stack Digital Marketer with over 5 years of experience in various fields of digital marketing, data analysis, and SEO optimization.
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