If you are not familiar with the term, ecommerce can sound like a very ‘techy’ word that you’ve heard before but aren’t quite sure what it’s all about.
Ecommerce is simply a way to buy and sell products online. That’s it. If you have a product to sell, an ecommerce website will act as an online shop for your customers to browse through and make a purchase.
There are two main ecommerce options out there that we recommend: Shopify and Woocommerce. The nature of your business and what you want from a site will be the deciding factors in which of these is right for you.
This post compares the ecommerce benefits and features of both Shopify and Woocommerce.
With none of the restrictions of a physical store, ecommerce offers a whole host of features and benefits for the online shopper. Here are some of our favourites. They’ll help you answer the question, do I need an ecommerce website?
Unlike a physical store, ecommerce is open 24/7, meaning your customers can shop whenever is convenient to them. It also means they can spend as much time as they want browsing through all of the options you have available.
When you only have a physical store you are limited to the customers in that area, or who travel specifically to your shop. Online your reach can be country, nation or even world-wide! That is a huge amount of potential customers on your ecommerce doorstep.
It grows with your business
As your business grows, ecommerce can grow alongside it, allowing you to expand your product range and so much more.
In its own words ‘Shopify powers millions of businesses worldwide’, making it an excellent choice with a great reputation to boot. With so much flexibility, it’s no wonder Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce options around.
Easy to use
Shopify offers a great user experience and makes it easy for beginners to add, amend and remove products, offers and more.
Builds your Database
When customers sign up to shop with you, you can also offer the option to sign up to a newsletter or offers email. If you saw our post about email marketing you will know just how beneficial that can be to growing your income.
Read our post Did you know? Email Marketing
Not only can you keep track of your stock but you can keep track of almost anything else you might want to know about when it comes to your ecommerce site.
Offers & Discounts
Shopify makes promotions a doddle. You can set up multiple promotions in the Shopify dashboard, from BOGOF offers to whole basket or single product discounts, applied automatically or requiring a discount code. Activating a promotion is as simple as setting the date. You can then follow the success of any promotions and revive any expired promos that brought in the sales!
Woocommerce powers 3.4 million online stores with 27% of the top 1 million ecommerce stores using this platform. As a WordPress plugin it is easy to add WooCommerce to your existing WordPress website.
As an open-source platform Woocommerce has limitless customisation options. Using custom code or over 55,000 available plugins to seamlessly work with your WordPress website, your options are endless.
Made with SEO in mind
Woocommerce is code-optimised for SEO, and has so many great SEO plugins to make sure your site will be found.
Keep track of your stock
If you supply a high quantity of a wide range of product keeping track of stock levels is imperative. Not only does it help you with ordering, WooCommerce lets you keeps track of what is selling well and what you are struggling to shift.
Which is right for me?
To install the WooCommerce plugin you have to have a WordPress website. You’ll need to consider the cost of web hosting, domain name registration, and maybe even hiring a developer if you’re not familiar with WordPress. Whereas Shopify is a hosted platform, so you don’t need to worry about setting up and managing a separate website, everything you need is already integrated.
Though WooCommerce itself doesn’t charge transaction fees, the payment gateway you choose may have its own transaction fees. Popular payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe do charge fees for processing transactions. Shopify offers its own payment gateway (Shopify Payments) which doesn’t charge transaction fees on top of the regular payment processing fees.
Extensions & Pugins
Both WooCommerce and Shopify have a huge selection of extensions and plugins. WooCommerce has the advantage here in terms of the number of free plugins available as it benefits from the thousands of WordPress plugins out there. It is worth bearing in mind that some free plugins may not offer the same level of functionality and support as premium ones so that could be an extra cost. Shopify has a dedicated app store where you can find a variety of paid and free plugins.
Design & Customisation
WooCommerce offers more flexibility in terms of customisation since it’s built on the WordPress platform, which allows for extensive theme customisation and code-level modifications. Shopify also provides a good level of customisation through its theme editor and access to the underlying HTML and CSS code.
Support & Maintenance
With WooCommerce being a self-hosted solution you are in charge of managing updates, security, and backups for both the WooCommerce plugin and your WordPress website. With Shopify, this is all looked after by the platform, which can save you time and effort, and gives you peace of mind.