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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.

The question arises about which of these eCommerce platforms is best for which type of business, WooCommerce, Magento, or 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

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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

Many are not aware that WooCommerce is actually a plugin, which means you need 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:

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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 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, this 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.

Disadvantages aspects of using WooCommerce

Not optimized for the European market

WooCommerce is not best optimized for sales in the European market since it was developed in the USA and adapted for that 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

One of the most serious problems when using the WooCommerce platform is that sometimes using plugins by different authors can cause issues. The reason for various technical issues is that most premium WordPress plugins use script libraries. When these plugins work side-by-side, they conflict with the script libraries of other plugins. The problems that can be caused by this can be various and potentially serious. The most common problems that occur are PHP warnings and broken page layouts.

Speed

WooCommerce is essentially a WordPress plugin, and due to its complexity and functionality, it’s code is quite large and has the potential to slow down your website. If you plan to use it with some other plugins, you need to know that there may be a decrease in site speed. Of course, this all depends on how your shop was coded and how the codes are implemented, but not only that. One of the primary reasons is the poor coding of the plugins themselves that you have installed.

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 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, and even when you find one, do expect that his prices will be sky-high.

Expensive Plans

When people consider the Magento platform, one of the biggest concerns is that Magento could be really expensive. There are few options, and if you are starting your business, the first step is Community Edition (Open-Source version), a free version, but as a downside, it requires a considerable time investment.

After a while, as your business grows, you will need more options, which comes with a cost. Upgrade to the Enterprise version will cost you about $14,000 per year. There is also Premium Enterprise that is mostly used by large businesses, and the cost of Premium Enterprise goes up to $50,000 per year.

It is Time Consuming

When we talk about the negative aspects of using the Magento platform, it is necessary to mention that this platform needs stronger servers, and experienced personnel to configure and maintain them so that the website can run fast and smoothly. This can be one of the drawback factors when the Magento platform compares with competitors. It is difficult to change from another business stage to Magento because of the exceptionally moderate rate of importing the information.

The flexibility and complexity of Magento can be an advantage, but it can also really be a downside. The complexities of Magento expect engineers to invest more time and energy to execute a certain task.

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 are 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.

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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. Without them, doing business within this platform is not possible, and that can be a big problem because some of the most basic applications, such as integrating Shopify with social networks, can cost around $10. Of course, there are free apps, but it all comes at a price in terms of poor functionality. Shopify tends to be gradually more expensive than a self-hosted store.

Customization Limitations

The Shopify platform uses its own templating engine and a language called “Liquid” specifically made for this platform. All themes on Shopify are coded in this programming language, which makes customizing themes difficult unless you know how to encode them in Liquid PHP.

Product Search and Filtering

Shopify isn’t the best and not efficient as it should be when it comes to search and filtering. The vast majority of users operating on Shopify aren’t content with the search solution.

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.

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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.

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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