Tag - Shopify

How Much Do Ecommerce Websites Cost in 2019? (Real Numbers)


After our articles on how much does a WordPress website cost, and how much does it cost for a custom WordPress theme, many of you asked us to write about how much does an eCommerce website cost?

Knowing the cost of building an eCommerce website is important because it helps you calculate the investment you will need to start your new online business idea.

The challenge is that there are many factors involved in making an eCommerce website, and all of them will affect the overall cost of your business.

If you don’t have a clear action plan, then you can easily end up overspending. But don’t worry, we are here to help.

In this article, we will break down all the information to give you a clear idea of how much does an eCommerce website cost. We will also show you different ways to avoid overspending and maximize profits.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Cost of building an eCommerce website

How to Calculate the Cost of Building an Ecommerce Website?

The best way to calculate the cost of building an eCommerce website is to compare different eCommerce platforms, tools, add-ons, and additional services that you will need based on your business requirements.

This is the only way that will give you an accurate cost of an eCommerce website.

Since there are multiple ways to create an online store, most online eCommerce website cost calculators end up being completely inaccurate (so its best that you avoid them).

To keep this article focused, we will break down our eCommerce cost analysis into the following major expenses:

There are many different eCommerce software and platforms that you can use to make an online store. For the sake of this article, we will use the following top eCommerce platforms:

That being said, let’s start calculating the cost of making an eCommerce website, and how to save money with smart choices along the way.

1. Hosting Costs

Ecommerce hosting costs

Every website on the internet needs web hosting. This is where your website’s files are stored. You’ll also need a domain name which is your website’s address on the internet, e.g. wpbeginner.com.

When it comes to eCommerce hosting, there are two routes that you can take for your eCommerce projects. Each of them have different costs and technical requirements.

Let’s take a look at both of them.

1. Hosting Costs for Self-Hosted eCommerce Website

WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform in the world powering millions of small and large online stores.

WooCommerce itself is available as a free software which means you can download and use it for free to create as many eCommerce websites as you like.

However, you’ll need a WooCommerce web hosting account to install it. You’ll also need a domain name and an SSL certificate.

A starter website hosting plan normally starts at $7.99 / month, domain name $14.99 / year, and SSL Certificate starts from $69 / year.

All of these costs add up to a small but still significant investment to make a starter eCommerce store.

Luckily, Bluehost has agreed to offer WPBeginner users a generous discount on hosting with a free domain name and SSL certificate.

Basically, you can get started for just $2.75 per month.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

As your business starts growing, you will eventually need to upgrade your hosting plan to handle more traffic.

This means your hosting costs will start increasing as more customers visit your website. Hopefully, by that time you’ll be making enough money (sales) to justify the increasing costs of hosting.

You can switch your hosting plan to a managed WordPress hosting company like WP Engine. Their Starter plan is $35 per month and scale plan is $290 per month, but you can use our WP Engine coupon to get an additional discount.

Here are the advantages of a self-hosted eCommerce site:

  • You get complete freedom to build your eCommerce site the way you like.
  • You can save a ton of money by only paying for what you need.
  • You can make unlimited sales, add unlimited products, use any payment gateway platform that you like.

With that said, some non-techy users don’t want to learn how to install their own eCommerce software and prefer a done for you solution instead. That’s where the SaaS eCommerce platforms come in.

2. Hosting Costs for SaaS eCommerce Platforms

Ecommerce platforms available as SaaS (Software as a Service) do not require you to install software, manage it, or host it yourself.

Your website hosting price is included with the software. You don’t need to worry about managing website hosting.

The two of the most popular SaaS eCommerce platforms are Shopify and BigCommerce.

They both offer incredibly easy and highly scalable eCommerce platforms to sell your products online. Both platforms include SSL, but you’ll need to purchase a domain name separately. See our guide on how to register a domain name for instructions.

Here is the cost of Shopify eCommerce plans:

  • Basic Shopify: $29 / month
  • Shopify: $79 / month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 / month

Shopify pricing
Now, let’s compare it with the BigCommerce plans:

  • Standard: $29.95 / month
  • Plus: $71.95 / month
  • Pro: $224.95 / month

BigCommerce pricing

For both platforms, each plan comes with a different set of features that you need to review, so you can choose the right plan for your needs.

There are some major differences between Shopify and BigCommerce, and we will discuss them throughout the article.

For example, BigCommerce Standard plan limits you to $50,000 in online sales per year. After that, you will need to upgrade your account.

Shopify on the other hand forces you to use Shopify payments. If you want to use another payment gateway, then you will be charged an additional 2% fee for each transaction made on your eCommerce store using third-party payment gateway. The fee drops to 1% and then 0.5% for their higher paid plans.

Estimated Ecommerce Hosting Costs:

Self-hosted eCommerce website: $2.75 – $241.67 / month

SaaS eCommerce hosting costs $29 – $299 / month

Please keep in mind that this cost estimate is for starter to medium sized online stores. For high-volume stores, you will likely have to upgrade to Shopify Plus or BigCommerce Enterprise which costs in the thousands per month.

On the self-hosted site, you will have to upgrade your hosting plans with WP Engine, Liquid Web, or whichever hosting provider you are using.

Based on the hosting cost analysis above, self-hosted eCommerce site with WooCommerce comes out as a winner. See our guide on: how to start an online store.

2. Payment Processing

Payment processing

Many beginners don’t look at payment processing fees when choosing an eCommerce platform. This can have a serious impact on your business because it will significantly increase your costs and lower your profits.

Let’s see how different eCommerce platforms handle payments, and how much it would cost you to accept payments from your customers.

Payment Costs in WooCommerce

WooCommerce payments

WooCommerce is an open-source software, so it has many payment platform integrations. This means self-hosted eCommerce websites using WooCommerce are free to use any payment gateway they want.

By default, WooCommerce supports PayPal and Stripe payment gateways to accept credit card payments. You can also choose from dozens of other payment services which are available as extensions.

You will only be paying the processing fees to the payment gateway service you choose. Each one of them has different rates for different regions, currencies, services.

Another advantage is that WooCommerce has extensions and integrations available even for some lesser-known regional payment services. This is a big advantage for eCommerce websites catering to customers in specific countries.

Using WooCommerce, you can compare the rates for different payment services and choose the best option for your business.

WooCommerce also does not put a cap on how many sales you can make on your website. This gives eCommerce websites freedom to choose their payment service and not pay any overage fees.

WooCommerce payment processing costs:

Payment processing fees vary depending on the payment gateway, currency, and region. Here is a quick overview of popular payment gateways in US dollars.

  • PayPal: 2.9% + $0.30 for transactions over $10
  • Stripe: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Authorize.net – 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction + $25 monthly fee.

Payment Costs in Shopify

Shopify payment costs

Shopify offers its own payment solutions called Shopify Payments which lets you accept credit card payments on your website. It also offers many third-party payment gateways including regional and cryptocurrency payment services.

Shopify Payments is available only in 13 countries at the time of writing this article. You will need to carefully read payments terms for your country as you are not allowed to sell certain items in some countries.

If you choose to use a third-party payment service, then you will pay that particular payment gateway’s fees + 2.0% additional fee to Shopify. This might not seem a lot at first, but it can become a significant amount in the long term.

Considering that most payment services charge 2.9% of the transaction amount on average, this means you could end up paying up to 5% of total transaction as payment processing charges.

Now if you are in one of the 13 countries supported by Shopify, then you get almost the same rate as PayPal.

However, if you are not in those select countries, then you will pay 2% additional charges to Shopify for each transaction which could significantly reduce your profit margins.

Shopify Payment processing costs

  • Shopify Payments: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction
  • Third-party payment services: The payment gateway fees + 2% additional fees paid to Shopify for each transaction.

Payment Costs in BigCommerce

BigCommerce payment gateway

BigCommerce allows you to choose from over 65+ third-party payment gateways. These payment platforms provide a wider global reach than Shopify, but it is not as large as WooCommerce.

The biggest advantage of using BigCommerce is that it does not charge additional transaction fees. This means you only pay for each transaction to the payment service provider you choose (similar to WooCommerce).

The charges for each transaction will depend on payment service, currency, and country. You can choose from all popular payment services like PayPal, Square, Stripe, Authorize.net, and many more.

BigCommerce Payment processing costs

  • PayPal: 2.9% + $0.30 for transactions over $10
  • Stripe: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
  • Authorize.net – 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction + $25 monthly fee.

Estimated Costs for Payment Processing on an Ecommerce Website

Your payment processing costs will depend on your eCommerce platform, and the payment services you choose. Here is an average estimate of the payment costs.

  • WooCommerce: PayPal or Stripe – 2.9% + $0.30 for transaction
  • Shopify : Shopify Payments – 2.9% + 30¢ | Additional 2% per transaction for third-party payment gateways
  • BigCommerce: PayPal or Stripe – 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

Note: These costs do not include any fees that may be charged by your bank.

When looking at payment processing costs, both WooCommerce and BigCommerce are tied for the lowest costs.

3. Ecommerce Website Design Costs

eCommerce design

The eCommerce industry is growing at an incredible rate. Each day new online stores are popping up and chances are that there will already be significant competition in your area of business.

This is where design comes in.

Giving your website a professional and customer-centric design helps you get ahead of competition.

Now you might be thinking, well I’m not a professional web designer, how do I come up with a design that helps my store stand out and make more sales?

Well, most eCommerce platforms realize this problem, so they offer ready-made website templates. Store owners can customize the layouts using simple drag and drop tools.

Store owners can also purchase premium designs that come with additional features, priority support, and unique layouts. Of course, you can also hire a developer to design a completely custom template from scratch with custom features.

Let’s see how much it costs to design an eCommerce website on different platforms.

WooCommerce Design Costs

WooCommerce themes

WooCommerce is the most flexible option in terms of design and appearance. It is built on top of WordPress, the most popular website builder, which means you can choose any WordPress theme to use with WooCommerce.

However, you would want to select a WooCommerce specific theme for best results.

Luckily there are thousands of WooCommerce themes that you can choose from. Many of them are completely free and some are available for a small fee, starting from $30.

Here are the top WooCommerce themes with tons of customization options.

  • Astra – A popular WooCommerce theme with dozens of ready-made sites that you can install with 1-click.
  • Divi – A powerful WooCommerce theme with dozens of templates, a built-in page builder, and beginner friendly customization options
  • Ocean WP – One of the top all-purpose WooCommerce themes on the market with tons of customization options

For the complete list see our article on the best WooCommerce themes

WooCommerce also gives you access to amazing WordPress page builder plugins. These drag and drop tools allow you to create custom product pages and custom landing page layouts within minutes.

If you don’t want to use a free or paid WooCommerce theme, then you can hire a WordPress developer for custom WooCommerce development.

Custom themes are unique and made specifically for your business. They allow you to incorporate custom features and turn your ideas into reality.

A custom theme can become very expensive depending on the features you need, and the expertise of your developer. The overall cost of a custom website development could start from $1500 to $6000 for an average-sized eCommerce business.

An enterprise-level custom theme with its own companion plugins can cost from $10,000 to $30,000.

Shopify Design Costs

Shopify themes

Shopify offers ready-made templates that you can use as a starting point for your eCommerce store. It also offers built-in tools to customize the layout, colors, and other settings.

There are currently 10 free and 65 paid themes available on the Shopify website. This is a very small number, especially when compared to thousands of themes available for WooCommerce.

On average, a paid theme for Shopify starts from $160. You may find cheaper themes on third-party theme marketplaces where Shopify themes may be available for as low as $59.

You can also hire a developer to make you a custom Shopify theme. However, Shopify is not as popular among developers as WooCommerce, which means your hiring pool will be quite small and rates will be higher.

Depending on the developer you choose and their rates, a custom design development for Shopify can cost between $5,000 to $30,000 USD.

BigCommerce Design Costs

BigCommerce themes

BigCommerce also offers paid and free themes. There are currently 12 free themes in multiple styles and more than a 100+ paid themes in the store.

Each of these themes is fully customizable using an intuitive user interface. You can add your own business logo, custom colors, and choose different layout styles for your store.

All themes are mobile responsive and designed for higher conversion rates. They strictly adhere to BigCommerce platform guidelines and coding standards, so you get the same user experience regardless of which theme you choose.

You can also find BigCommerce themes from third-party marketplace websites. However, these themes may not be as good in quality as those available in the official store.

BigCommerce also allows developers to upload custom made themes. You can find a developer for hire on BigCommerce’s official partner’s directory or freelance marketplaces like UpWork.

Pricing for paid BigCommerce themes start from $160+. A custom BigCommerce theme can cost you somewhere between $3,000 to $30,000, depending on the developer or agency you hire for the job.

Estimated Design Costs for an Ecommerce Website

WooCommerce – Free, $99 for premium, and $5,000 for custom

Shopify – Free, $160 for premium, and $5,000 for custom

BigCommerce – Free, $160 for premium, and $5,000 for custom

Note: Both BigCommerce and Shopify have limited themes both free and paid. WooCommerce gives you access to thousands of free and paid themes, large pool of developers, and a lot more flexibility in design.

4. Cost of Add-ons and Extensions

Addons and extensions

It is simply not possible for an eCommerce platform to bake all the features you’ll need into one software. Even if they tried, things would get messy and the software would become difficult to use.

To fix this problem, most eCommerce software are made with a modular approach. This allows the core software to be extended using add-ons and apps.

These add-on or extensions allow you to add new features to your eCommerce website and extend its functionality. Many of them are paid and buying them will increase your cost of making an eCommerce website.

Let’s compare the costs of add-ons and extensions on popular eCommerce platforms.

WooCommerce Extensions and Add-ons

WooCommerce Extensions

When it comes to add-ons and extensions, no other eCommerce platform comes even close to WooCommerce. There are thousands of both free and paid add-ons available for WooCommerce that you can use.

You also need to keep in mind that WooCommerce runs on top of WordPress, which gives you access to 55,000+ free plugins as well.

There is a plugin or add-on available for any feature that you can think of.

Want to see some examples? See our expert-pick of essential WooCommerce plugins showcasing the most popular WooCommerce add-ons (most of them are free).

Pricing for paid WooCommerce addons start from $19 and can go as high $299 (depending on licensing plans and features of a plugin).

If that’s not enough, and you want a custom feature, then you can hire a developer to make a plugin for you. It could cost you anywhere from $500 to $10,000 USD depending on how much work is required or the rates of the developer you hire for the job.

WooCommerce Addon Costs: Free – $299 and custom plugins cost $500 – $10,000 USD

Cost of Shopify Addons

Shopify app store

Shopify is a SaaS platform and the core software is tightly integrated to provide maximum security and stability to all users.

However, they do offer APIs for developers to integrate their own services and solutions into Shopify. These addons are available as third-party apps on the Shopify app store.

There are hundreds of apps available both free and paid. The prices for paid apps vary and most of them are available on a monthly subscription basis.

Shopify also allows you to add private apps made specifically for your store. The app needs to be stored and run elsewhere, and you can generate Shopify API keys to manage the app’s access permissions.

Shopify Addon Costs: Free – Varied monthly subscription apps. Custom app: $5,000+ depending on developer rates and skills.

BigCommerce Addons Cost

BigCommerce apps

Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce also allows you to install both free and paid apps. Many of these third-party apps are available on a monthly subscription basis.

You can also hire developers to create custom apps for a single store. These apps are stored as a draft app and you can only use it on that particular store.

BigCommerce Addon Costs: Free – Varied monthly subscription apps. Custom app: $1000+ depending on developer rates and skills.

Estimated Cost of Addons on an Ecommerce Website

This one is hard to calculate because each online store will use different apps for their own needs.

Ofcourse using more paid add-ons will cost more and increase your total costs significantly. Add-ons with recurring billing will be an ongoing expense for your business.

We are assuming that you will be careful with paid add-ons to give a very conservative estimate of the costs.

Add-on costs: Free – $1,000 USD

WooCommerce addons and WordPress plugins overall are cheaper since they’re billed on annual basis whereas Shopify and BigCommerce apps are billed on monthly basis.

5. Total Cost of Building an Ecommerce Website

Calculating total cost of an eCommerce website

Now that we have covered different spending areas for an eCommerce website, let’s take a look at how much would be the total cost of building an eCommerce website.

As mentioned earlier that each eCommerce platform gives you the flexibility to choose how much money you would spend. This would obviously affect your overall costs.

Following are the estimated total costs of building an eCommerce website.

WooCommerce Starter – $500 – $3000 (Shared hosting, paid design, fewer paid plugins and services).

WooCommerce Custom – $5000 – $10,000 (Managed WordPress hosting, custom eCommerce design, paid plugins and services).

WooCommerce Enterprise – $10,000+ (Dedicated hosting servers, custom design and features, paid plugins and services).

Shopify – $1,000 – $10,000+ (Your costs would increase dramatically when you make more sales and if you are using a third-party payment service).

BigCommerce $1,000 – $10,000+ (Your costs will increase when you make more sales as you will be asked to upgrade your plan).

A WooCommerce / WordPress eCommerce site costs between $500 and $3000 USD for a starter eCommerce business. This gives you the best value for your money as it is the most robust, flexible, and easy to use platform.

  • You wouldn’t have to pay additional transaction fees
  • WooCommerce doesn’t cap your sales or number of products you add
  • You can use it with any third-party service
  • It has the best design options to improve conversions and make more sales

If you would rather not maintain hosting by yourself, then BigCommerce saves you money by not charging you a transaction fee for using your preferred payment services.

You can also use BigCommerce with WordPress, allowing BigCommerce to handle your store and WordPress to manage marketing content.

Lastly, Shopify could be a cheap option for making an eCommerce website but only if you use Shopify Payments to accept credit card payments on your website.

For more details see our comparisons: WooCommerce vs BigCommerce and WooCommerce vs Shopify.

6. Bonus: Costs of Growing Ecommerce Business

Cost of growing your eCommerce business

Now that you have made your eCommerce site. What’s next?

The real fun part comes when you start growing your eCommerce business. This part is painful and overwhelming for most beginners, but it is also the most rewarding.

It is painful because it can be excruciatingly slow if you are not using the right tools. By using proper tools to grow your business you can boost your sales and skyrocket conversions.

While these tools will also add up to your overall costs, their ROI is so high that it automatically justifies the expense.

Following are our top picks for the best marketing tools to grow your eCommerce business with their costs.

Marketing Tools

1. OptinMonster

OptinMonster

As your eCommerce site starts getting visitors, you’ll learn that most visitors leave without making a purchase. Wouldn’t it be great if you could stay in touch with them so that you can convince them to buy?

This is what OptinMonster does.

It is the best lead generation software in the world because it helps you convert abandoning website visitors into leads and customers. OptinMonster works with any kind of website and all eCommerce platforms.

For instructions and practical examples, see our article on how to convert visitors into customers.

Cost: We would recommend you to start with their Plus plan at least. It costs $19 / month with annual billing.

2. Constant Contact

Constant Contact

The best way to stay in touch with website visitors is by email, which is still the preferred mode of communication by customers.

You need to start building an email list on your eCommerce store from day 1. Basically, you are losing money each day you are not collecting emails.

The easiest way to start with email marketing is by using Constant Contact. It is the best email marketing software on the market allowing you to send targeted messages to subscribers and increase your sales.

For details and step by step instructions, see our tutorial on how to start an email newsletter.

Cost: Starting from $20 per month.

Alternatives: We also recommend SendinBlue and Drip depending on the use-cases.

3. SEMRush

SEMRush

The best source to get free traffic to your website is search engines. To utilize them, you will need to keep learning eCommerce SEO.

SEMRush is the best SEO tool on the market. It allows you to see the keywords your competitors are ranking for and how you can beat them by ranking higher.

In just a few clicks, it provides you a ton of optimization ideas that you can implement with minimal effort.

For instructions and details, see our guide on how to properly do keyword research.

Cost: Starting from $99.95 per month.

4. Nextiva

Nextiva

Normally you can just add your landline or mobile number to your eCommerce website. However, it doesn’t look very professional and can end up hurting your business.

Nextiva is the best business phone service on the market. It allows you to use one number on multiple devices, phonesets, mobile phones, and even computers.

It runs on voice over internet protocol technology also known as business VoIP. Compared to traditional landline phones, it is way cheaper and allows you to efficiently handle calls for your business.

Cost: Starting from $20 / month / user.

Alternative: RingCentral is a another popular virtual phone number app.

5. PPC Marketing

Starting an eCommerce website will not instantly start making money for your business. It will take some time before you can get search traffic to your website. Meanwhile, you’ll still be paying for hosting and other services.

This is where PPC marketing can help.

PPC or pay-per-click marketing allows you to display ads for targeted keywords in search results. You can use SEMRush to find the PPC keywords your clients are targeting and plan an effective strategy within minutes.

The best place to start with your first PPC campaign is Google Ads. It is super-easy to use and even absolute beginners can get started without any help.

PPC campaigns don’t need to cost a lot of money. You can set a small budget, run a very targeted campaign, and then increase the budget to get more leads and sales.

PPC is not just for eCommerce startups, you can continue using PPC marketing alongside your SEO efforts to get targeted traffic to your store.

Cost: You can start as low as $100 and increase budget as you need.

How much would it cost to properly grow an eCommerce business?

Basically, it depends on you. Your goal should be to find the right balance of tools start building upon it. Keep trying new tools as your business grows and you have more budget to expand.

Estimated Cost of Growth Hacking: $1000 to Unlimited

We hope this article gave you a good idea of how much does an eCommerce website cost in real numbers. We recommend being thrifty and only spending when it is essential for your business.

You may also want to see our guide on how to grow your business on a very small budget and the best live chat software for eCommerce websites.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which is the Better Platform? (Comparison)


Are you thinking of starting an online store? Not sure whether you should use Shopify or WooCommerce?

Shopify and WooCommerce are the two top eCommerce platforms in the world each with their own pros and cons.

As a business owner, choosing the right eCommerce platform that fits your business needs is crucial for your success.

In this guide, we will show you a detailed comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce. The goal is to break down their advantages and disadvantages to help you choose the best option for your eCommerce store.

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Since this is a detailed comparison of Shopify vs WooCommerce, here’s a quick table of content:

Overview: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Before we start with our in-depth comparison of the two most popular eCommerce platforms on the web, it’s important that we cover the basics and highlight what makes these platform stand out.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it easy for you to create an online store, accept payments, and manage your inventory all from a single platform without ever worrying about the technical aspects of managing a website such as web hosting, security, caching, etc.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. It allows you to leverage the most powerful content management system (CMS) and use it to run an online store. Because of the open-source nature, you can customize every aspect of your store and easily build custom extensions.

The decision to choose between the two platforms depend entirely on your needs and skill level.

What to Look for in Your eCommerce Platform?

There are few things that you absolutely need to keep in mind when starting an online store. These key factors will help you decide which platform is better suited for your needs.

  • Budget – The initial cost of starting a fully functional ecommerce store.
  • Ease of use – It should be easy to use even for absolute beginners.
  • Payment Methods – It should have support for multiple payment methods (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, other merchant processors).
  • Integrations – Number of services and third party tools you can integrate to grow your business.
  • Scalability – The platform should be able to scale as your business grows.

These are the very basic requirements that all online store owners must consider. However, depending on your needs, you may also want to look at other options like shipping, inventory management, invoicing, taxes, dropshipping, etc.

Our goal with this article is to take an in-depth look at how Shopify and WooCommerce stand on these basic requirements, and which one of them is best suited for your needs.

Cost: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Cost is often the most important consideration for eCommerce website owners. You need to evaluate the cost of getting started while also keeping in mind the variable costs for add-on services and software.

The true cost of using Shopify

Shopify makes it super easy to start your online store. Their basic plan starts at $29 per month, and you can upgrade to the Shopify plan for $79 or the Advanced Shopify plan for $299 per month.

Shopify pricing

Each of these plans includes domain name, SSL certificate, and web hosting.

The basic plan comes with enough features to set up a new online store. You can add unlimited products, 2 user accounts, unlimited file storage, and more.

However, this pricing doesn’t include third-party tools and add-ons that you will need to take your Shopify store to the next level. As your business grows, these costs will start adding up, and you’ll soon be paying a lot more than the basic plan.

Payments are another factor that affects your costs. Shopify offers their own Shopify Payments solution which costs 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

If you want to use third-party payment gateways or your own merchant account, then you will be charged a flat fee of 2.0% for all transactions. You can reduce this fee to 0.5% by using the Shopify Advanced plan which costs $299 per month.

These payment processing fees are fairly steep when using external payment gateways. However, if you’re just starting out and want to use the Shopify payment solution, then the fees are fairly comparable to popular platforms like Stripe and Braintree.

The true cost of using WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress.org (also known as self-hosted WordPress). It is open source and freely available as a WordPress plugin.

However, you’ll need a domain name, SSL Certificate, and a WordPress hosting account to start a WooCommerce store.

Typically, a domain name costs $14.99, SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and web hosting around $7.99 / month. This is not cheap, particularly when you are just starting out.

Thankfully, there are several hosting companies who are now offering specialized WooCommerce hosting plans which significantly reduces the cost.

Getting started with WooCommerce

Bluehost, an official WordPress and WooCommerce recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a discount on web hosting.

This will help you start your online store for as low as $6.95 / month.

→ Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer ←

As you can see, the cost of starting a basic WooCommerce store is significantly lower than Shopify. WooCommerce also doesn’t charge you a percentage fee of your transactions which is a very nice perk.

But the WooCommerce costs start adding up as you purchase paid extensions. Your hosting costs will also increase as your online store grows.

However, one clear advantage of using WooCommerce is that you can often find free alternatives to the paid extensions. You can also keep your costs in control by only purchasing the tools and plugins as you need them.

With the number of free themes and free add-ons available for WooCommerce, it’s definitely the winner when it comes to cost.

Winner: WooCommerce

Ease of Use: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Most users starting an online store are not web designers or developers. Even users who are familiar with basic concepts need a platform that is easy to use and gets out of their way.

Let’s see how Shopify and WooCommerce stack up in terms of user-friendliness.

Shopify – Ease of Use

Shopify is a fully hosted platform which means you don’t need to install, manage, or update any software. You also don’t need to worry about security, performance, backups, and compatibility issues.

As soon as you sign up, it helps you pick a design for your website. After that, they walk you through customization and then help you add products.

Shopify customization

Shopify comes with an intuitive drag and drop interface. Managing your products, sales, and inventory inside Shopify is a breeze.

One downside of this guided, polished, and highly optimized user experience is that it limits your control. You can only use the design and development tools provided by Shopify or add-ons available in their marketplace.

However, this is not as bad as it sounds. For most users, the large selection of extensions and themes available in Shopify, is more than enough to get started and grow your online store.

WooCommerce – Ease of Use

WooCommerce is not a hosted platform like Shopify. This means you will need to install WooCommerce, manage updates, keep backups, and make sure that your website is secure. There are plenty of free and paid plugins that can automate most of these tasks for you.

WooCommerce setup wizard

WooCommerce is super flexible when it comes to customizations. You have full control of the whole platform. You can add any functionality imaginable to your website with the help of more than 55,000+ WordPress plugins.

However, there is no built-in drag & drop design builder. You can use one of the WordPress page builders like Beaver Builder, but it adds to your cost.

The biggest downside of the flexibility is that it comes with a learning curve and requires a more hands-on management of your website. You also have to signup for a merchant account or similar service like Stripe / PayPal.

While the WooCommerce guided setup wizard is helpful, it does not come close to the onboarding and ease of use of Shopify.

Winner: Shopify

Payment Methods: Shopify vs WooCommerce

There are many payment gateways that you can use to accept payments online. Some payment methods may not be suitable for you, and others may not be available to your customers.

This is why it’s important that the platform you choose offers multiple payment options. Let’s take a look at how Shopify and WooCommerce compare when it comes to payment integrations.

Payment Options in Shopify

Shopify offers plenty of payment options that you can use to receive payments from customers. It has its own payments solution called Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe) as well as all popular third-party payment gateways.

Shopify Payments

The problem is that Shopify charges an extra 2% fees on each transaction made through third party payment gateways. This is on top of the transaction fees charged by the payment gateway. You can reduce the fee to 0.5% by paying $299 per month for Advanced Shopify plan.

Shopify Payments has flat credit card fees, but no other transaction fees. Credit card rates start from 2.9% + 30¢ for the basic plan and get lower for other plans.

Payment Options in WooCommerce

WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments by default. It also supports all other popular payment service providers through add-ons.

WooCommerce payment methods

For payment gateways, WooCommerce even has support for many regional and less popular payment services. Since there is no barrier to entry, any payments company can create add-ons for WooCommerce and provide support for it.

As a self-hosted platform, you are only charged transaction fees by your payment gateway or your bank. WooCommerce never charges you a % fee on your store transactions which is a major plus.

If choosing your own merchant account and using a third-party gateway is important for you, then you will save A LOT of money by using WooCommerce. But if you’re a small store and willing to use Shopify Payments which has the same credit card rates as Stripe / Paypal, then it makes no difference.

Winner: Tie

Integrations and Add-ons: Shopify vs WooCommerce

No matter how robust an e-commerce platform is, you’ll always need third-party tools and services to grow your store. For example, an email marketing software, lead generation tool, analytics tools, outreach services, etc.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a massive extensions directory, and they integrate with many third-party services.

Shopify Add-ons and Integrations

Shopify comes with a powerful API and an App Store where you can buy third-party add-ons for your Shopify store. They have hundreds of apps in the store covering every feature you’ll want to add to your store.

Shopify App Store

For lead generation, they have integrations with software like OptinMonster which helps you grow your email list and reduce cart abandonment. They have apps for SEO, product reviews, discounts, countdowns, and more.

Shopify’s app store contains both free and paid apps. Free apps are usually created by third-party services that have their own pricing, and the app only integrates your store to their APIs. Pricing for paid add-ons varies and most apps offer monthly subscriptions.

WooCommerce Add-ons and Integrations

WooCommerce extensions

WooCommerce is open source and built on top of WordPress. This gives you access to more than 55,000 free WordPress plugins and many more paid plugins.

You can use these add-ons to add payment gateways, lead generation, SEO, performance optimization, and almost any feature you can think of.

Due to the low barrier of entry, there are a lot more integrations and add-ons available for WooCommerce than Shopify. Almost all third-party tools and service providers have their own plugins to seamlessly integrate with your WooCommerce store.

You can also hire a developer to create an integration or plugin just for your own website. However it’s important to keep in mind that WooCommerce is a lot easier to customize. Having personally gone through the process of submitting a plugin for WordPress and submitting an app to the Shopify store, we can say that the process is extremely harder on Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Winner: WooCommerce

Shopify vs WooCommerce Dropshipping

Shopify vs WooCommerce dropshipping

Dropshipping is an online business where an eCommerce store doesn’t keep the products in stock. Instead, it fullfills order by purchasing products from vendors and then shipping them directly to the customers.

Due to its low overhead, dropshipping has become popular around the world. Many of our users asked us to compare WooCommerce vs Shopify for dropshipping and which one of them is better for a dropshipping business.

Dropshipping with Shopify

When building a dropshipping business, the front-end of your website will look just like any online store. Your users will be able to browse the products, add them to cart, and make payment, just like they would do on any other eCommerce store.

Depending on the vendors you choose, you will then have to place user’s order for shipping.

Shopify also has integration apps for several popular dropshipping marketplaces like AliExpress, Oberlo, Printify, and more. However, each of these product marketplaces has their own membership fees, shipping, and other charges that you need to keep in mind when building your dropshipping website with Shopify.

Dropshipping with WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a popular choice among dropshipping businesses. Mainly because WooCommerce allows you to install extensions that make order fulfillment a breeze.

You can easily find extensions that allow you to instantly import products, fulfill orders from your website, and more. You can even create your own eCommerce marketplace allowing other vendors to sell on your website.

Keep in mind, that your supplier and vendor may have minimum order requirements, membership fees, and other charges. You need to keep those in mind when adding products to your WooCommerce dropshipping store.

Winner: WooCommerce

Scalability and Growth: Shopify vs WooCommerce

You have probably heard the term “growth-pains” from various CEOs. As your business grows, you will need more resources to handle new challenges and goals.

Shopify and WooCommerce can both be scaled to handle large amount of traffic and orders, but they’re not created equal. Let’s take a look at how these two eCommerce platform compare when it comes to scalability.

Scalability on Shopify

Shopify enterprise

Shopify handles the technical parts of your store which means you don’t ever have to worry about performance, security, and scalability. Once your business starts growing, you can simply upgrade your Shopify plans.

Their infrastructure can easily handle your growing business without you having to worry about downtimes, backups, updates, or security. They also offer enterprise services as part of the Shopify Plus plan.

This takes out the painful part of the growth, but it also adds to your cost of business. Your expenses will grow, and you’ll have to plan accordingly.

The good part is that your costs will be offset by you not having to hire / manage a technical team in-house.

Scalability on WooCommerce

WooCommerce Scalability

WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform which makes you responsible for maintaining updates, backups, and security of your website.

Your starter WooCommerce hosting plan would run out of resources as your store starts getting more traffic.

The good part is that you have plenty of options to manage growth as you are in full control of your website. Starting with better management of resources with caching to upgrading your hosting plan to more powerful servers.

Your WooCommerce hosting costs will increase, but you will have better control on resources, and you can make sure that you are not paying for resources that you don’t need. You can use a managed WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine or LiquidWeb to help scale your WooCommerce store.

Despite the control that WooCommerce offers, some business owners simply prefer a hassle-free solution.

Winner: Shopify

Support Options for WooCommerce vs Shopify

Both WooCommerce and Shopify are quite easy to use. However, sometimes you may need help to learn how to do something new on your store.

Let’s see how WooCommerce and Shopify handle support and what are your options to get help when needed.

Support Options on Shopify

Shopify is a fully hosted platform, which means they control the software and they are the ones who know their platform the best.

Shopify provides 24/7 support via live chat, phone, email, and Twitter. For users who want to fix things on their own, Shopify offers extensive documentation, how-to guides, knowledge base, video tutorials, and forums.

Shopify support options

It also maintains a directory of Shopify Experts that you can hire if you need extra help or if you want to integrate a third-party solution.

Shopify doesn’t provide support for any third-party apps or themes that you are using.

Support Options for WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce platform, which means there are tons of support options that you can utilize when needed.

The official website has extensive documentation, tutorials, and guides that allow you to help yourself. They also have support forums where you can get help from other WooCommerce users and experts.

WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, which means your hosting provider is responsible for providing support for issues with your server.

For your WooCommerce theme and extensions, those developers are responsible for answering support questions regarding their products.

Due to its immense popularity, it is quite easier and often cheaper to find developers to help you fix issues with your WooCommerce store. You can find developers on freelancing websites to fix WooCommerce issues.

Winner: Shopify

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Which is the Best eCommerce Platform?

Shopify and WooCommerce are both powerful platforms to start your eCommerce store. It truly comes down to your personal skills and preferences.

Shopify is a lot easier to use. It doesn’t require you to install anything, and you can get started quickly. Setting up payments is easier, and they have easy to understand pricing plans.

The disadvantage of Shopify is that you don’t have full control over everything. Your costs can go high with transaction fees, add-ons, and integrations. Your upgrade options are limited to select plans, and you cannot manage costs on a pay-as-you-grow basis.

WooCommerce is open source and gives you full control of your website. It costs a lot lower to start an online store with WooCommerce specially with these WooCommerce hosting companies.

The disadvantage is that you’ll have to maintain the software. It comes with a bit of learning curve. However, millions of beginners are already using it, and they get over the learning phase quite quickly.

If you are looking for a cost-effective solution, and you want to have full control of your online store, then WooCommerce is the best platform for you.

If you want something that’s completely hassle-free that has infinite scalability, then Shopify is the better platform for you.

We hope this article helped you compare pros and cons of Shopify vs WooCommerce. You may also want to see our guide on how to choose the best website builder.

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The post Shopify vs WooCommerce – Which is the Better Platform? (Comparison) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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