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There are a lot of comparisons of these platforms through the Internet. But let’s cut to the chase, today we’re going to analyze which platform is better for a clothing store: Shopify themes or WooCommerce themes. We’ve interviewed web developers who work with both platforms to tell the whole story about pros, cons, and pitfalls. So if you are in the clothing business, here you will find an answer what is better right for you.
First of all, let’s make it clear: both platforms are good for the clothing store and can bring good money on selling clothes online. But there is a difference in ways how you can present your business online. You should ask yourself the next questions before you find your point in this platforms battle.
Here we go to the insights of web developers and experienced business owners. Just look through it and you will understand what is the right way for your clothing store.
It will depend on the business – from the person in charge’s technical skill level, to the desired level of complexity the site should have.
Shopify is the easiest to get started with – low monthly rate, attractive themes to make a polished site, and enough configuration and payment options to make it accessible. Shopify handles all the updates and patches which is nice.
WooCommerce will likely require a large one-time investment to have a developer create and style a website, configure payment and shipping options, and generally maintain the software with updates, patches, etc. The tradeoff is WooCommerce is extremely configurable with unique designs and the ability to make ecommerce stand out from competitors.
Shopify – better for a first store, lower cost to enter, easier updates – but simpler designs and options.
WooCommerce – better for established stores, more of a long term investment, nearly limitless designs and options – but requires a developer to support and maintain.
Greg Cruce, Venn Marketing
In my opinion, the type of business is not as relevant to deciding upon a platform so much as the priorities and budget of the business. Shopify is a proprietary, do-it-yourself platform which is great for businesses who have limited website design budget and are willing to sacrifice some control in order to save some money. It is important to know that you do not own a Shopify website, you are simply leasing space on their platform. So the website, once built, is not transferable and is technically not an asset of the business since it is not owned.
WooCommerce is an open-source solution that integrates nicely with the WordPress web development platform. Businesses that can afford to invest a little more upfront in their online store can benefit from true ownership and claim the website as an asset. This option also offers more design flexibility since you are not beholden to the Shopify black box.
The question of which is better for an online clothing store, Shopify vs WooCommerce, requires three primary considerations.
Overview: Shopify – Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that makes it easy to create an online store. Managing inventory, accepting payments, among other features, are easy to integrate without the need for a developer or any plugins/add-ons. Shopify, makes things simple and even takes care of hosting, website security, SSL certificates and CDNs.
WooCommerce – WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that sits on top of the WordPress CMS as a plugin. Just like any other WordPress website, you can customize every aspect of your store. There are also tens of thousands of plugins available for you to choose from providing a more feature rich experience with minimal development work.
Customizability: Shopify – Shopify has a strong feature set out of the box. This is fantastic for startups, but limitations can be met quickly for a growing business.
WooCommerce – WooCommerce is essentially a limitless platform.
Effort: Shopify – You can have a Shopify store up and running within a very short time period; very little design and development work is required.
WooCommerce – Today, WordPress has thousands of WooCommerce themes for people to choose from. It’s never been easier to work with WordPress (and consequently WooCommerce). Many of these themes feature visual builders so that users can quickly launch a website and without the need for designers and developers.
As your business grows, you may require ещ decide to switch to a full custom WooCommerce website. In this case, all your WooCommerce data can be moved over with minimal effort because this is all taking place on WordPress.
Development Cost: WooCommerce: I’m going to start with WooCommerce this time. While many WooCommerce themes for WordPress allow users to bypass the need for a web developer, it is common to involve a developer when you want to implement custom functionality, a new feature, change the design, or update the WordPress and WooCommerce for security reasons. In any case, because WordPress is such an easy platform to work with you can easily find a highly skilled and affordable web developer.
Shopify: The power of Shopify is seen when you stay inside the box (i.e. no deep customization is required). Once you start thinking about a developer, you quickly understand where the limitations of Shopify are and how expensive a good Shopify developer is.
Since fewer developers are familiar with Shopify, developer time tends to be more expensive. Moreover, because it’s more difficult to work within Shopify when customizing, it requires more time to make those changes. That’s if the changes are possible in the first place. Developing custom functionality becomes far more complex.
Note: If you are looking for a developer, Shopify tries to help its users connect to experts here.
Adding Features: Shopify – Shopify does have a rapidly growing app store. Today, Shopify has over 3,000 apps available to enhance the capabilities of your website. Everything from QuickBooks integrations to promotional tools. Most of these apps are paid and WooCommerce equivalents can be free or often less expensive when paid.
WooCommerce – Since WooCommerce is built on WordPress, users have access to 55,922 free plugins for download. Thousands of additionaly paid plugins are available and even more if you consider customized plugins that are not for sale. Beyond plugins, it’s easy to add features and customize WordPress/WooCommerce.
Maintenance: Shopify – The amazing thing about Shopify is that there is ZERO maintenance required as long as you avoid changing the code under the hood. If you do move towards customization you will miss out on much of the auto-keep Shopify does on your behalf, automatically.
WooCommerce – Maintenance is minimal in your first year (if any). As your website ages, you need to look at certain updates and upgrades. These costs generally average out to $350/year in the first 3 years.
Note: Companies with substantial website traffic might need to make updates and upgrades more frequently to maintain optimal security, speed, and feature sets. By substantial, I mean making an online sale every few minutes.
Example Sites: As you can see from the examples below, Shopify websites tend to be simpler.
WooCommerce is capable of achieving far more advanced features.
CMS Platform Shopify WooCommerce Who can use it? Ideal for small business. Anyone; startups and enterprises. Price of Platform $29/month to $299/month Free Anticipated Operating Costs None $350/year to $500/year Ease of Use Very easy. Templates can make it almost as easy as Shopify. Ability to Meet Long-Term Business Needs Limited; as you grow you might require additional customization and this becomes very challenging. WooCommerce has nearly unlimited potential to grow with your business. Features Shopify will serve most businesses very well out of the box. It comes with a strong feature set and has a high-quality app store (although it tends to be pricey). WordPress and WooCommerce have tens of thousands of plugins available. Several templates have features built into them. Additional plugins are available to download (free and paid). Even beyond plugins adding further customization is relatively affordable.
Shopify is better suited to a new store that will let you stay focused on your business instead of worrying about things like web hosting providers, databases, or security. Shopify also makes it easy to create collections of products, so you can create a look that includes a top, bottom, and accessories and links your customers directly to it. The plugins Shopify has are more user-friendly compared to WooCommerce so you can set up integrations with other platforms like MailChimp and Instagram.
Austin Hutchison, E-Commerce and Shopify Consultant
Both WooCommerce and Shopify provide e-commerce solutions. Things that can be done in WooCommerce can be done in Shopify and vice-versa. But due to the following reasons, WooCommerce is more favorable for e-commerce.
- Currently for SEO/ digital marketing is a necessity for any successful business. WooCommerce favors SEO better than Shopify.
- WooCommerce is a budget-friendly platform whereas in Shopify you will have to pay for every facility or every action.
- In WooCommerce, a non-technical person can easily manage the store whereas this is not the case in Shopify. Because WooCommerce backend provide options for easy management but this is not in Shopify. You need to be technically strong to manage Shopify.
Some more key features to prove that WooCommerce is better than Shopify:
WooCommerce Shopify Open source – you can modify your store freely. There are no limitations. You can add any functionality through third party plugin. Closed platform – you can only modify your store in limitations. You have complete control over your data because it requires a web host. So you can control all the files and data. In Shopify, it (shopify) controls all your data. In WooCommerce, you will get the Multilanguage support from third party plugin and you will have to buy the SSL and file storage. Shopify itself provides SSL, Multi Language support, and unlimited file storage. In WooCommerce, most of the themes and plugins are free. In Shopify, most of the themes are paid. It is better for SEO (search Engine Optimization). Not as good as compared to WooCommerce for SEO.
WooCommerce is superior to Shopify, it helps customers to enhance the user experience to another level with robust features adding capacity.
Having had experience with both Shopify and WooCommerce in the past, I think they make for an interesting face-off.
Shopify is a great all in one e-commerce store which has really taken over the internet in the past few years. With hundreds of built-in integrations and easy to use settings, it is starting to become the go-to store manager for lots of new businesses. Not only can it be used for any type of e-commerce store, but its visual edit and a self-hosted platform is great for new users who have less tech experience.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a lot more complicated than Shopify. Not only do you need to be a WordPress pro, but you’ll most likely have to host the platform on your own server. This can obviously be very tricky for some users. However, the benefits of doing this give you much more control over your store such as the ability to customize every detail and improve your SEO.
If you want to make a shopping store then personally I think WooCommerce is better. It has all the same integrations as Shopify for any dropship or print on demand service, but it’s the ability to be able to completely customize everything that stands out. With Shopify, you’re stuck with the /collections/ URL which can’t be removed no matter what. From an SEO perspective, it doesn’t help, and it basically tells everyone you’re using Shopify. Instead with WooCommerce, you can customize this to whatever you want, giving you better rankings over your Shopify competition and a more professional store image.
First of all, the best platform for an online store was always Magento. But if we talk about Shopify & WooCommerce then I would suggest WooCommerce
- With Shopify, it is mainly like a web builder which doesn’t allow to set up the code in our local server whereas with WooCommerce you can manage complete code at your own.
- With Shopify, no one can easily manage it whereas WooCommerce provide a user-friendly interface so that any non-technical person can manage his own store.
- Cost effective – WooCommerce
- And many more advantages.
Vidhi, WDP Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
I think both platforms have their merits. Shopify wins in my book because it’s a fully managed platform built specifically for e-commerce. That reflects in every part of the system.
Performance-wise, while WooCommerce can handle larger shops with precise tweaks and optimizations, with Shopify, you get that out of the box.
WooCommerce/WordPress is attractive with its vast ecosystem, but on Shopify, you never have to worry about constant updates and compatibility breaks, it’s all handled for you.
I worked with Shopify but I don’t like it. Because it like a WordPress.com Blog, we can’t access to file manager to modify the file. It’s possible to modify some files in the dashboard, but it’s not enough.
I like WordPress CMS and you should use the WooCommerce plugin for eCommerce website. Because we can do everything on the website (Modify theme, add a new feature, modify the plugin, etc…)
If you build site by WordPress CMS and WooCommerce, you need to have the hosting.
Also, WordPress is good with SEO.
Calvin Nguyen, WordPress expert
Here is my perspective on the benefits of both, but why shopify is a better choice for an online ecommerce store.
The Benefits of Woocommerce over Shopify: Woocommerce can be a good choice for technically savvy storeowners for the following:
- Access to thousands of store themes
- Many Developers are more familiar with Woocommerce, so it can be easier to find help, and new plugins.
- You do not have to pay a monthly fee for having the online store.
- You can easily make your store just one part of a bigger website.
The Benefits of using Shopify:
- A curated list of Premium themes
- Making changes to your store is simple and intuitive
- Payment Processing, Advertisement, Email Follow Up, are handled by the platform without the need for plugins/apps
- Customizing your theme yourself is easier, thanks to easy to follow guides that Shopify puts out
- You do not need to worry about “Updating Shopify” or the security issues that wordpress/WooCommerce suffers from.
- Changing your store theme is seamless and requires no setup. You can also have several themes or versions of your store saved.
- Shopify also alerts you of logins from unrecognized sources.
- Shopify Automatically Optimizes Image sizes and optimizes product and categories for good on page SEO.
- Adding apps to your Shopify store is easy, and you do not have to worry about them being incompatible.
- If you do need help with your store, there are a curated list of shopify partners & experts that can help you make the changes that you need.
- Shopify Also has a support forum that answers questions related to theme issues or troubleshooting.
In Summary: Woocommerce is suitable for people who are technically savvy and want more customization of their websites. If a shop is mostly an addon to another website, woocommerce may be the way to go. It also has fewer costs overall but may require more time/effort to get the store to look professional and trustworthy.
Shopify is storeowners who want a quality ecommerce store without the hassles of the technical side.
Shopify provides users with an intuitive experience, that is matched by their customer service, and network of Expert Developers who can help troubleshoot any issues or requests.
Quality > Quantity
WordPress marketplaces are chock full of amazing (and, above all, cheap) WooCommerce themes that are designed specifically for online clothing stores. Shopify, on the other hand, offers extremely exorbitantly expensive themes, almost all of which cost above $130!
Most online shop owners are just lazy and want someone to do the heavy lifting for them and that’s why they settle for Shopify, Why pay $29 a month for Shopify when you can use a WooCommerce setup for free with a decent $10/month hosting and a $49 theme?
All in all, WooCommerce (WordPress) is without a doubt the superior solution if you are looking to start an online clothing store.
Luca Romano, Yalu Jailbreak
When it comes to selling clothing online, I personally like Shopify a lot better.
There are many factors that are taken into consideration but overall the most important one for me is the Ease of Use. Shopify is a fully hosted platform. You won’t need to install, manage, or update software. Also, you also don’t need to worry about security, and backups. With WooCommerce you need to install WooCommerce, manage updates, keep backups, and make sure your plugins are working fine.
Shopify is better for online clothing stores primarily because they have numerous “out of box” themes specifically designed for fashion. In addition, Shopify has more 3rd party apps to improve a store and better support.
For example, we recently completed a clothing store at bloodytoe.co that we were able to implement must faster and less costly in Shopify that had we chosen WooCommerce, and with the store owner feeling comfortable they can manage the store going forward.
Having said that, for technical store owners that don’t mind getting into the nuts and bolts of WordPress and technology in general, WooCommerce is also a good option.
But note that while the WooCommerce plugin itself is free, store owners will end up with monthly cost necessary to run a store, so thinking “Woocommerce is free” and “Shopify is not free” does not tell the whole story.
Shopify is more intuitive and user-friendly, ie anyone can use it easily, even if they don’t have web-development experience. WooCommerce, on the other hand, takes more time to learn the ropes, and is time-consuming to add new products.
Shopify has a more expensive monthly fee, while WooCommerce is free other than taking a small percentage of transactions.
Stacy Caprio, Accelerated Growth Marketing
It doesn’t matter what kind of online store you are setting up – one that sells clothing, tools, appliances, whatever – Shopify will always be a far better platform than WooCommerce due to website security and ease of use.
The problem with WooCommerce is that it is a plug-in that runs on WordPress – an open source platform that constantly needs security updates. Those security updates to the core WordPress platform often break plugins, so you often have to wait for each plug-in (including WooCommerce) to come out with their own patches to the WordPress patch. This not only can cause your website to not function properly for periods of time, but it is time-consuming having to constantly update software to keep hackers from exploiting your website. You also have to host Woo Commerce on your own server (or a rented one) and getting it to stay PCI compliant after the non-stop WordPress updates is a challenge that only a true programmer can endure. A website that is not PCI compliant can cost you extra non-compliance fees and can also cause your payment processor to drop you altogether.
Shopify is hosted on its own servers. Any security updates needed to the platform are done automatically and seamlessly in the background – you don’t even know they are happening. Because Shopify hosts their platform on their own servers, it is always secure and credit card industry compliant.
There is enough to do, managing and marketing a business. Your time is best spent growing your business and profits, not figuring out how to fix problems with a website or hiring someone to do it every month. While it is true that running a website on Shopify may cost slightly more than WooCommerce, in the end, you need to determine what your time and sanity are worth. I know that my time is better spent making money!
Design: Shopify’s front-running selling point is the visual delight, with 54 store templates each having its own unique variations thus giving more than 100 designs for your websites. Whereas WooCommerce provides open source templates from WordPress to choose from. Yet, for an online clothing store, Shopify has much more to offer for visual quality.
Cost: Shopify pricing is quite clear and straightforward while WooCommerce’s isn’t. Shopify is a simple package based costing while WooCommerce offers different extensions for different pricing. WooCommerce software is free, yet an actual eCommerce store costs basically the same as basic Shopify. What it all comes down to is that although WooCommerce is technically the cheaper solution, it will require much more work to set it up, and you’ll need to be more careful not to go over your budget, as every additional extension comes with a price tag.
Features: Though both the platforms seem to offer almost the same features overall, there are major differences in the details. While the features on Shopify are specific and simple to navigate around, WooCommerce is rather complex and confusing to handle. And for an online clothing shop, where customers would want simplicity Shopify scores one additional point here.
Ease of Usage: While Shopify is easy to set up and handle, WooCommerce is rather complicated to set up yet an equally easy to handle. As in, WooCommerce is a WordPress based plugin and thus one need to set up a WordPress account in order to have a WooCommerce domain.
Search Engine Optimization: Well, WooCommerce takes a clear win here. As WordPress based, which is basically a content creation and management platform renowned as one of the best SEO service provider, WooCommerce has a better SEO than Shopify.
Conclusion: If you are an already established Fashion brand and your aim to increase your sales and revenues, Shopify seems the best option for its visual delight and lower operating costs. While if your aim is for SEO and building up your name in Fashion industry, you can opt for WooCommerce as it provides the best SEO and various options to opt from.
Our site is built on Shopify, and I’d love to share some of the benefits Shopify has provided us as we have grown.
Support for Wild Traffic Spikes: Our brand has a long history of “going viral” whether we are featured on the Today Show with Al Roker, our product is worn by the entire Cubs baseball team, etc. On these days, we experience huge spikes in traffic and sales. Shopify has never had a problem supporting the extra load of visits and orders. This has been critical to our ability to continue normal operations even under extraordinary circumstances. In today’s world of Pinterest and Instagram making fashion trends more instantly shared than ever before, this flexibility is essential for an eCommerce platform.
Instagram Integration with StoryBox: Like all clothing companies, ours is highly visual. We really rely on social media like Instagram to help excite customers about our products. One of my favorite Shopify integrations we have implemented lately is StoryBox to connect Instagram photos of products to a related category page. Check out the carousel of images from Instagram at the bottom of this page. This has improved our bounce rates and time on page, ultimately selling more product.
Integrated SEO functionality: As a young company, we are always looking for ways to reduce our dependency on paid media channels and grow sustainable, low-cost traffic through SEO. Shopify has awesome features for this. In just a few minutes my team can create a custom category page with optimized titles, descriptions, and on-page text and the page will automatically go into my sitemap. This also helps us to capitalize on clothing trends related to our products quickly and without a lot of custom engineering or additional plugins required.
Chris White, Co-founder and CEO of Shinesty.com
I sell custom candy online so it’s not clothing but I can tell you I’ve used both platforms and Shopify wins hands down.
It is soooo much easier to use on the backend, the order fulfillment, shipping labels, inventory are incredible. The SEO is also great and effortless.
Sarah Hannington, MyCustomCandy