Comparing WooCommerce and Shopify is not easy. But do you know the trickiest part? Its the WooCommerce vs Shopify cost comparison!
Well, its because their costs are not really as transparent as they seem to be. Shopify displays a ‘clear’ pricing table on its website but if you dig into the reality of running an eCommerce store, you’ll find that cost to be only a starting point.
The same is true for WooCommerce. WooCommerce says the platform is free to use. But is it really free? Well, we have dug the answer out for you. Stay tuned.
Why is this the most accurate WooCommerce vs Shopify cost comparison?
It’s because we have considered different factors that incur costs in an eCommerce store. We know it’s not just the starting cost that matters. A successful eCommerce store needs a lot of things tied together.
We also recommend that you download and read our report on the 8 Key Factors To Consider Before Taking a Dive In eCommerce.
Here is a detailed WooCommerce vs. Shopify comparison keeping the cost factor in focus.
The Cost Of Starting Up
Shopify has a straightforward pricing structure. Its plans include:
[mk_table title=”Shopify pricing table” style=”style1″]
|Lite||Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|You don’t get a fully functional website; it’s for integrating Buy buttons on a website you already own.
|You get hosting, SSL certificate, unlimited products, discount code engine, and fraud analysis tools.||You get everything in Basic Shopify PLUS gift cards, professional reports, and abandoned cart recovery.||Everything in Shopify PLUS advanced report builder and third party calculated rates.|
|Transaction fees is 2.9% + 30c||Transaction fees is 2.9% + 30c||Transaction fees is 2.6% + 30c||Transaction fees is 2.4% + 30c|
|$9/ month||$29/ month||$79/ month||$299/ month|
Shopify sells top level domains for a mere $9/ year but you can also look elsewhere to find better prices.
So, the cost of getting started in Shopify with a basic store is around $29 / month.
On the other hand, WooCommerce and WordPress are both open source software, which means they are free to use. However, to get started with WooCommerce, you first need to do the following: purchase hosting account, get domain name, and purchase SSL certificate. A SSL certificate is not a hard requirement but highly recommended; many payment processing options don’t work without one.
Hosting can start as cheap as a couple dollars to around $30 per month on premium, managed hosting services like Pantheon. Domain name can cost around $7 – 12 per year while SSL certificates can cost around $70. Hence, the starting costs of WooCommerce can be pretty much the same as the Basic Shopify plan.
Bottom-line: The cost of getting started with a basic level store in both Shopify and WooCommerce is about the same.
The Cost Of Designing The Store
Even when just starting up, you still want to make a good impression on the customer by having an attractive and impressive design of the store. Although both WooCommerce and Shopify offer free themes but if good design matters to you, you’ll need to look for premium themes.
Let’s take a look at the cost of premium themes in WooCommerce vs. Shopify.
In Shopify, we searched for premium themes in the health and beauty category, and then sorted the results by price – from low to high. The lowest priced theme was tagged at $140.
On ThemeForest, on the other hand, we searched for WooCommerce themes in the Fashion category and then sorted the results by price. The lowest priced theme was tagged at $13.
So, the difference in price here is quite obvious.
This is just one example and it could be argued that no comparison was made about the quality of the design, etc. However, any detailed analysis will not yield a very different result. When it comes to WordPress, there are a large number of theme developers and themes fall in a very wide spectrum in terms of design and capability. Even so, all of the most popular themes in the WordPress/WooCommerce market today cost less than $100.
Bottom-line: Premium themes in WooCommerce are much cheaper than in Shopify.
The Cost Of Adding Plugins or Apps
Now let’s take into account the scenario when you need to take your store up by a notch and need to add extensions and apps to add more functionality.
Pricing Structure Of Apps and Plugins
Most apps on Shopify are available as subscription based tools, which means they charge you on a monthly basis. You need to keep paying the subscription fees if you want to continue availing the functionality of the App. That means if you stop paying the subscription anytime, the app will stop working.
On WooCommerce, on the other hand, most extensions are available for a onetime fee with an option of renewal and extended updates and support. For example, on The Envato Marketplace most extensions come with 6 months of support, extendable to one year for an additional charge. If after that support period, you decide not to renew, the functionality of the plugin doesn’t go away – you will only cease to receive updates and support. This means you can buy an extension for a onetime fee and use it without having to pay on a recurring basis.
Plugins are however, updated by developers on a regular basis so you may need to buy the updated version later for better compatibility and improved features.
Prices Of Plugins and Apps
Now, let’s take a look at the cost of premium plugins in WooCommerce vs. Shopify.
We searched for an App in Shopify which could add wholesaling functionality to an online store. Wholesale by Lion Apps – a premium app that provides some common wholesale features showed up in the results with a price tag of $55 / month.
When we searched for similar functionality in WooCommerce, we found the plugin WooCommerce Wholesale Pricing on ThemeForest with similar features to the one in Shopify but with a price tag of $30 – onetime fee.
Keep in mind that when you are scaling up a store, you will need to add many such apps and plugins and so, the costs can quickly add up – especially in Shopify with their monthly subscription pricing structure.
When you are scaling up your store and need to add more functionality, the costs get much higher in Shopify than in WooCommerce.
The Cost of Customizations
We pointed out here in this article that it is more difficult to create custom apps for Shopify than it is in WooCommerce. This difficulty also translates to dollars – which means it is much costlier to create custom apps in Shopify than it is to create custom plugins in WooCommerce.
When it comes to those specific needs of your business for which you need custom apps, Shopify is much more expensive to work with than WooCommerce.
Although the cost of getting started with a basic online store may be about the same in both platforms, Shopify becomes much more expensive in the long run than WooCommerce.
What has your experience been with WooCommerce and/ or Shopify? Did you find Shopify to be more expensive in the long run? Share your experiences in the comments below.