As your ecommerce business grows and expands, you will likely need to update and reconsider your store platform of choice. From eBay to Etsy, there is a virtual flood of host options which cater to the unique and varied needs of web-based businesses.
WooCommerce, an open-source plugin for WordPress, is one of the top ranked free ecommerce platforms on the market today, making it extraordinarily popular among greener online retailers. Shopify, the world’s leading subscription-based ecommerce solution, represents the next step store owners might take during the expansion of their business.
In this article, we detail the pros and cons of each of these popular platforms, as well as why and how to migrate from WooCommerce to Shopify.
The Breakdown: WooCommerce vs. Shopify
The needs and financial capabilities of your business will ultimately determine which platform is right for you. Understanding the benefits and pitfalls of either WooCommerce or Shopify can help you to make the best decision.
WooCommerce Pros and Cons
- Pro: WC is highly customizable. The initial free software provides basic functionality to turn your website into an online store. And paid upgrades and additions, including email, domain, support, etc., can create a more powerful platform for larger businesses.
- Con: The platform’s support systems are not unified. Additional plugins, themes, and hosting mechanisms have distinct sources, meaning that WooCommerce doesn’t provide centralized support for all aspects of the solution. Troubleshooting and customer support is made extremely complicated, and can be very frustrating.
- Pro: WC offers a huge selection of both free and paid store themes. Free options are better used by skilled developers, while novices are better off purchasing one of the more user-friendly and comprehensive professional themes. Adjacent companies producing WooCommerce compatible themes include ThemeForest, among others.
- Con: This platform is not user friendly. Beginners on WooCommerce can begin with a preinstalled version, however the setup process, troubleshooting, and customization are difficult to work with for less experienced end-users.
Shopify Pros and Cons
- Pro: Shopify is highly accessible as a paid platform. Their starter plan, called ‘Shopify Lite,’ starts at just $9 per month, allowing unlimited sales for retailers. Advanced Shopify, the company’s highest tier solution, costs $300 a month, and includes all features available, designed for scaling your business. Basic is $29 a month, and their standard is $79 a month.
- Con: The platform sets a hard limit of 3 product options, limiting customizability on individual items. For example, a retailer selling rugs using Shopify can only offer 3 points of adjustment for each design — they might allow the customer to select size, shape, and color, but at the expense of material, shag vs. knit, etc. Retailers wishing to offer more variants can download third-party apps which lift these limits, although they will likely be paid.
- Pro: Shopify’s product category handling is highly intelligent and easy to use. Smaller retailers have the option to manually add products to a collection or category, while larger ecommerce businesses can use automated collections to categorize items quickly and efficiently. You can implement rules within the platform which automatically categorize your products based on things like titles, tags, etc.
- Con: A pro and a con, depending on who you are, really — Shopify allows users to write HTML customization into their site, allowing for high degrees of customization. However some features not specifically included in the unmodified Shopify packages, including things like line items, or customer file uploads, must be written in by code-savvy users.If you can write HTML, the world of Shopify is yours, but for non-programmers, this can be an access barrier to certain features.
- Pro: Shopify functions for both brick-and-mortar retailers, and well as online businesses. The platform has included a number of recent safety features in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers can use a ‘local pickup’ option that allows customers to avoid expensive shipping rates, while also avoiding unsafe contact with others.
Why and How: Migrating from WooCommerce to Shopify
While WooCommerce offers a veritable ocean of add-ons, third party apps, and optional features designed to address scalability and other business needs, the modular nature of this platform creates some pretty serious limits. The limited in-built features, nonnative apps, and low cost make WooCommerce ideal for passion projects, very new businesses, or tech-savvy proprietors wanting a lot of control over the look and function of their site. But as businesses grow, the ever-expanding puzzle that is WooCommerce becomes unsustainable.
Shopify is designed for ease-of-use and scalability. Their multi-tiered package options are inclusive of businesses of any size, and all feature the same internal and solution-wide support. From new, boutique ecommerce retailers to enterprise businesses, Shopify offers a comprehensive solution which will accommodate and grow with businesses of all types.
Shopify makes it easy to migrate from WooCommerce to their platform. Here’s how:
Step 1: Export data from WooCommerce. In WC, click Tools > Export. Select all content, and then Download Export File.
Step 2: Import data to Shopify. In the platform, click Apps > Import Store. Next, choose WooCommerce on the drop-down menu. Click Add File, and select the file you just downloaded from WooCommerce. Click Continue Import > Import.
Step 3: Evaluate and update data. Look over your Shopify to make sure everything was imported successfully. If anything is missing, you can add products or customers manually.
Last Word: Migrating from WooCommerce to Shopify
You get to choose the ecommerce solution that’s best for you. If you’re a growing business that needs a new platform which allows you to stretch your retail wings, it might be time to migrate to Shopify.