When it comes to picking an e-commerce platform, one question that we all ask is: Is it easy to use?
Ease of use is an important factor to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform. Even if you have some basic coding knowledge, having a user friendly platform is an advantage as you can focus on the more important aspects of your business instead of spending time trying to work around a cumbersome platform.
Here is a detailed comparison of WooCommerce vs Shopify in terms of ease of use.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify - Ease Of Use
|A subscription based online tool you need to sign up for.||Self hosted open source software that you need to install yourself.|
|Initial set up is a breeze||Initial set up requires some level of comfort with web-related things|
|It comes with an intuitive drag and drop builder to help design the store||WooCommerce doesn’t have an actual design but it works with mostly all WordPress themes. However, not all themes have drag and drop builders. And so, customizing the theme can range from quite simple to quite complex.|
|After the initial set up, the store is managed through an easy to use dashboard.||After the initial set up, the store is managed through an easy to use dashboard.|
The Initial Set Up
Since Shopify is available as a subscription based online tool, it only requires you to click on the sign up button and go through a basic set up wizard before you can start using it. The initial wizard guides you through everything from setting up the most important components of your store like shipping and taxes to designing the frontend of your online shop. When you are done with the initial wizard, you get access to the dashboard from where you can manage and run the store.
The initial set up of WooCommerce on the other hand, involves some level of complexity. You first need to find a domain, sign up for a hosting account, install WordPress, and install a WordPress theme before you can install the WooCommerce plugin. Basically, you need to learn the basics of domain registration and hosting before you get to use WordPress and WooCommerce at all. Though you can easily find tutorials that can help you through, it does involve a learning curve and requires some technical knowledge.
The initial set up of Shopify is obviously a lot simpler than WooCommerce. In Shopify, you only need to click on the sign up button after which the initial wizard can get you started with a basic online store within a few minutes. On WooCommerce, on the other hand, getting started with a basic store is a lot more work than that.
Designing the Store
Shopify has an intuitive drag and drop builder and even gives you tips along the way when you are customizing the design. You can see its signature theme here:
Everything can be customized here. If you click on the ‘Add Section’, it opens a list of sections you can add, which are good enough for a basic online store. All these sections can be rearranged through drag and drop functionality. However, as easy as it may seem, it does involve a learning curve for a complete beginner. If it’s your first time working with this kind of an interface, it might take some time before you get the hang of it.
And that was about designing a basic online shop. If you talk about designing something more advanced that involves app integrations as well, you might even need to hire a developer or an expert to do it.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, works with a WordPress theme and it depends which theme you choose and how easy it is to customize. Some themes include a drag and drop builder, somewhat similar to the one in Shopify, while others require some coding knowledge. There is also some skill involved in picking a good theme after considering its features and making sure it is compatible with WooCommerce.
If you do pick a WordPress theme with a good drag and drop builder, the ease of designing and customizing the store will almost be at the same level in both platforms.
All Shopify themes include a drag and drop builder and are quite easy to customize and design. In WooCommerce, it depends on the WordPress theme you use and so, it can range from quite simple to quite complex.
User-friendliness of the Dashboard
When you are done with the initial set up and design of the store, you will then need to manage and run the store through the Dashboard from where you can add products, view orders and a lot more. If you take a look at both dashboards of Shopify and WooCommerce, you will see that they both look quite similar. For example, if you need to add a new product in your store, the process is almost similar and quite straight forward in both platforms.
Here, you can see the Add Product interface on Shopify:
And here is how WooCommerce compares to it:
Daily management of the store through the dashboard is quite simple and straightforward in both platforms.
Running into errors and problems is an inevitable part of running a website. Since Shopify is a subscription based tool, chances of running into errors are minimal. But even if they do occur, Shopify offers 24/7 customer support to its users – and so, troubleshooting errors only requires you to contact support. Basically, if there is any problem with the infrastructure, it’s their headache to solve it.
In WooCommerce however, troubleshooting errors is not that simple. Although there is a big community of WooCommerce users and you can find answers to most of your problems in forums, it’s not the same as individual customer support. Basically if you run into problems in WooCommerce, it’s your headache to solve it.
For example, one of our clients recently ran into a problem where his emails would not get through the website, which was built on WooCommerce. Now, if the site had been built on Shopify, the problem would not have occurred in the first place. But even if it did, we only had to contact customer support. But since it was built on WooCommerce with many moving parts, it took a few hours of the developer’s time to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.
When you run into any kind of errors or problems with the website, it’s a lot easier to get support in Shopify than in WooCommerce.
Now, let’s consider the ease of extending and scaling up your store. What if you need to add more functionality to the site and need to build custom apps? How easy is that?
Although we can build custom apps for both Shopify and WooCommerce, it’s a lot easier to work with WooCommerce than Shopify. Since WooCommerce is open source, there are no limitations as to what can be done.
Even if you hire a developer to build a custom app, it’s far easier for the developer to do that in WooCommerce than Shopify.
When it comes to extendibility and building custom apps/plugins, WooCommerce is easier to work with.
As seen from the analysis above, Shopify is a clear winner when it comes to ease of use. In Shopify, it is simple to set up a basic store, easier to design the site, run the store on a daily basis, and troubleshoot any errors that you face in the process.
So, if your most important consideration is ease of use, you should go for Shopify.
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