A Developer’s Guide to Building a WooCommerce Site in the New Year

December 22, 2022

A Developer’s Guide to Building a WooCommerce Site in the New Year

E-commerce accounts for about 22 percent of retail sales globally, according to Morgan Stanley. One of the firm’s equity analysts believes that the popularity of e-commerce will continue to grow, accounting for about 27 percent of retail sales by 2026.

If you’ve ever considered launching an online retail business, the growth of e-commerce adoption makes now the perfect time. A significant factor in the success of your e-commerce business is your site. You can choose to build your e-commerce site on one of several platforms. The most popular are WooCommerce and Shopify.

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WooCommerce vs Shopify

Both Shopify and WooCommerce are e-commerce giants. They are both powerful platforms. Here are some facts to help you compare WooCommerce vs Shopify.

WooCommerce Overview

WooCommerce turns a WordPress site into an online store. It is also open-source software, which means it is free to use. Of course, you’ll have to have a WordPress site first. WordPress is also free to use, but you’ll have domain charges, paid software add-ons, hosting and potentially maintenance costs if you aren’t going to keep it updated yourself.  WooCommerce also is free of third-party gateway fees. 

Building a store on WooCommerce requires some coding knowledge, however. If this is your first time building a website, you’ll have a steep learning curve using WooCommerce unless you have the budget to hire a web developer. 

WooCommerce also allows you to make decisions about almost every aspect of your website. The flexibility makes it an excellent choice for those who want a lot of customization but also makes creating the site a bigger project than if the platform made many decisions for you. WooCommerce depends upon plug-ins for most of its sales and marketing features. It can also accommodate more than 55,000 plug-ins, such as MailChimp and Google Analytics, which track performance.

WooCommerce is mobile-friendly because its themes load quickly and are responsive. It offers tools for dropshipping stores.

WooCommerce offers guidance on search engine optimization, which is essential for helping people find your site. It also works well with several SEO plug-ins, which are regularly updated as search engine algorithms change.

WooCommerce has good customer service support via live chat and a support resource library. It prioritizes privacy and data security and regular updates to protect against new security threats. It can accept multiple currencies.

Benefits of WooCommerce

WooCommerce offers several benefits.

  • It is open-source and integrates with a wide variety of plug-ins for marketing, sales, and SEO for the ultimate flexibility and tweaking.
  • It has a wide array of themes and allows for complete customization.
  • The company provides solid customer service support.
  • The company prioritizes cybersecurity.
  • It is a free platform and charges no transaction fees.
  • It allows you to create mobile-friendly sites.
  • It can be a scalable solution if properly designed.

Challenges of WooCommerce

WooCommerce also has some disadvantages, however. 

  • It lacks some advanced features out of the box.
  • Sometimes the updates are too frequent, and you’ll have to develop a plan to update many of the plug-ins regularly.
  • It requires coding training and some web development skills or a professional web developer.
  • You’ll still have to pay someone to host and potentially your site.


Shopify charges fees that range from $5 per month to more than $2,000, depending upon the features you need. However, the price includes hosting, and a 14-day trial is available. The $5 starter plan has some e-commerce features, but you’ll have to go to a more advanced (and expensive) plan to have a fully functioning e-commerce site. You also only get phone support on plans that cost $29 a month or more. If you do business internationally, you’ll need to spend $299 on an advanced plan to price items differently in each country. Credit card transaction fees also decrease as you move to higher-priced plans. 

Shopify is easy to set up, even for someone without coding knowledge. It offers several free themes to choose from and some premium themes at a cost of about $200 to $350. These themes are professionally designed and will adjust themselves depending on whether the user is on a laptop, tablet, or phone. You can also hire a web developer to create your Shopify theme.

Shopify easily integrates with other channels such as Amazon, Facebook, and eBay. It integrates with more than 3,000 apps. Advanced features such as cart recovery, discount codes, and unlimited products are built into the platform. 

Shopify sites load very quickly, and the platform is highly security conscious, hiring hackers to ensure the site is hack-proof. It also integrates with various payment providers to speed up checkouts. The platform also has robust built-in analytics, such as customer behavior data and conversion tracking. It is also easily scalable.

Benefits of Shopify

Shopify has several benefits.

  • It is easy to use. Businesses can quickly go from having no website to a full-featured e-commerce site without coding knowledge and without steep upfront costs.
  • It employs multichannel integration.
  • Its sites are quick loading, and customer checkout is also fast.
  • It provides excellent cybersecurity.
  • It offers robust analytics as part of the platform.
  • It is easily scalable, especially during high-traffic events.

Challenges of Shopify

Shopify also has some weaknesses, however.

  • It has a monthly fee. If you need a lot of features, you could pay a significant amount which can make it more expensive.
  • It offers a smaller number of themes than its major competitors. It also allows for less customization.
  • It charges its own transaction fees in addition to the monthly fees on all but the highest plans.
  • It owns and controls the business’ e-commerce data.
  • It is harder to customize and has limits due to being closed source.
  • Because it is a hosted platform, you rely on the reliability of its servers and it isn’t quite as flexible due to limited code access.
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Should I use WooCommerce or Shopify?

The answer depends on your priorities and your budget.

Shopify vs WooCommerce SEO

WooCommerce makes SEO a little easier than Shopify because of the number of SEO plug-ins it will support and the full code control. WooCommerce is also code-optimized for SEO and offers SEO guides.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Drop Shipping

Dropshipping allows businesses to sell products manufactured, warehoused, and shipped by third-party drop shippers from their online store. It avoids the financial risks of holding inventory..

Both platforms provide features for drop shippers, but they do so in different ways. WooCommerce Dropshipping offers various management tools for drop shippers, including AliExpress integration and Amazon Affiliate Support. It also allows for quick inventory assignment to suppliers, custom emails, and packing slips for suppliers and customers. Shopify’s apps directly connect to specific vendors, but it has no inventory management tools.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Pricing

WooCommerce is an open-source platform, so it is free to use. It also has no transaction fees. However, you must find and pay for someone to host and likely maintain your site. You will also need a web developer unless you know how to code. 

Shopify has a monthly fee that varies depending on the number of features and users you require. However, the fee includes hosting. It does also have additional transaction fees on all but the most expensive plans. Although Shopify is easy for novices, you’ll still need a web developer if you want anything other than the standard templates.

If you expect to do much volume, WooCommerce will be less expensive because it doesn’t have Shopify’s transaction fees. WooCommerce also has better payment options. Generally speaking, WooCommerce is more budget-friendly long-term, but more ongoing maintenance.

WooCommerce vs Shopify Marketing

Shopify has more marketing tools than WooCommerce out of the box, especially if you’re interested in multichannel selling. However, by paying a fee, WooCommerce users can access additional channels, such as Pinterest and Amazon. 

Both platforms require the use of plug-ins for more than the most basic email campaigns. 

WooCommerce vs Shopify Customer Service

Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer 24/7 customer service. Shopify has a slight edge here due to its centralized support network where they manage your site.

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Is WooCommerce Better than Shopify?

If you value customization and want a budget-friendly SEO option, then WooCommerce is a better choice. However, you’ll need a web developer to gain the full value from your WooCommerce site. Inspry is an Atlanta, GA-based WooCommerce developer. We can customize your WooCommerce site based on your needs and budget. We can also provide the training you need to maintain your site or check out our WooCommerce maintenance services

Need more information about web development? We’ve got you covered.

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Matt Schwartz is an accomplished entrepreneur and technology expert based in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder and CEO of Inspry, a WordPress and WooCommerce web development and maintenance web agency that has been providing cutting-edge technology solutions to clients since 2011. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Matt has become a respected figure in the web development community and has helped numerous businesses achieve their digital goals.