Why Serious eCommerce Brands Prefer WooCommerce Over Shopify

Coke vs. Pepsi.
Tom vs. Jerry.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify.

This last rivalry between eCommerce platforms may not be as well-known, but it’s no less fierce a competition.

But, from our point of view, the winner is clearly WooCommerce. At least for serious eCommerce brands.

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That’s not to say Shopify is a bad product. It’s actually quite good. Shopify is price-efficient, easy to use, and saves time. It takes a lot of the conventional hassles out of building an online store so you can go from nothing to something overnight.

What we’re saying is that WooCommerce is better suited for bigger and more ambitious eCommcerce brands. Shopify can only get you so far, but WooCommerce is a platform that you can ride all the way to the top. Shopify is great if you want to operate an online store in your spare time, but if you have big dreams in eCommerce, WooCommerce is the way to go.

Here’s why…

1. Complete Ownership

With Shopify, you don’t own your site. You get your own URL, and you’re spared the fee of hosting, but you’re restricted only to what Shopify allows you to do. This straightforward approach works well for eCommerce beginners (and lazy entrepreneurs), but not for those that prefer a hands-on approach.

By contrast, WordPress and its WooCommerce plugin are tools to facilitate building your own site. You have much more options, vast libraries of plugins to customize your site, and more control in general — especially when it comes to site design, which we’ll discuss below.

Think of it like this: You’re building a house and you have to choose between two construction crews. One lets you design the plans however you want, but the other comes with a rigid architect who tells you what you can and can’t do.

2. More Intricate Design Options

While Shopify has an impressive range of themes, WooCommerce can be incorporated into any WordPress theme, in addition to its own library. That gives it far more variety, not just in template design, but in site features.

Think about it. With WooCommerce, you can integrate any WordPress plugin into your eCommerce site. This creates a nearly infinite selection of possibilities.

Just to give you an example, Shopify only offers three default product attributes: size, color, and material. With WooCommerce, you can choose from virtually any product variations, allowing a level of specialization that’s unobtainable with Shopify.

Of course, this means you have to put more time into designing your site, and not all plugins are free. But that’s why we say WooCommerce is better for serious eCommerce brands. Better results require more work.

3. SEO

Hands down, WordPress is the best platform for blogging, which gives it a significant advantage for SEO. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Shopify sites to host their blogs externally on WordPress. Using a WooCommerce site on WordPress means consolidating these two crucial segments of the same brand.

WordPress’s blogging capabilities encapsulate both a comprehensive CMS for content management and specific SEO concerns like meta data. Again, good SEO requires effort, but with WooCommerce on WordPress, the option is there for those that don’t mind the legwork.

On top of that, the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress does wonders for SEO. This acclaimed, universally-loved content tool simplifies SEO by listing, point for point and in real time while you write, what your current content is doing right and where it can be improved.

4. Small Budget Goes Farther

Make no mistake about it: WooCommerce is a money-saving alternative. Companies flush with cash can afford more personalized services and outsource their site design to high-end professionals. WooCommerce is a DIY solution for small and mid-sized companies and upstarts.

That said, it is the best option of its kind for aspiring eCommerce brands. Consider WooCommerce the happy medium between products priced for companies with limited resources and products capable of advanced, big-business eCommerce.

Technically speaking, WooCommerce is free. However, with all the plugins and advanced themes, it’s very rarely that case that companies won’t spend anything. Right away, there’s the hosting and domain name fees.

But in the long run, you pay only as much as you want to expand and customize. In that sense, basic WooCommerce sites are often cheaper than Shopify sites.


Shopify’s great. It really is. It’s a nice platform, well-thought out, and helpful under the right circumstances. But it is limited. It’s best to think about it as an eCommerce platform lite. It’s more attuned to selling homemade jewelry than starting an international fashion brand.

WooCommerce is better for serious eCommerce brands because it takes into account more of the considerations that bigger businesses face. Yes, it involves more effort and elbow grease, but that’s not a bad thing. You put more work into it because you get more out of it.

Quick tip: if you go the WordPress route, be sure to choose a reliable WooCommerce host. Security and availability are key.

What are your experiences with WooCommerce? Do you prefer Shopify? Feel free to share your personal opinions in the comments below.

This post belongs to our WooCommerce Guide content hub with other posts, pages, and case studies.

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  1. John Naismith
    John Naismith

    Matt, I agree with much of what you have written in this post.

    What I have found though is that the Shopify support is much quicker than WooCommerce.

    My need for support dates back to 2015, so maybe WooCommerce support has improved.


    1. Matt Ellis
      Matt Ellis

      Hi John, thanks for reading.

      You’re right, Shopify is more involved with customer service, fitting into the idea that Shopify is for beginners and those putting in minimal effort to site design.

      WooCommerce does offer support if you register at their main site, but most users prefer to search the forums for answers. As an open-source plugin, WooCommerce allows users to go in an change the code themselves. There are plenty of channels to find solutions to whatever problems arise.

      But, yeah, you have to put the effort into finding those answers. Again, WooCommerce is about more investment for better, more customized results.

  2. Hanna go
    Hanna go

    Matt, I agree with much of what you have written in this post.

    Why did I choose Woocommerce for my Branded Products? COMPLETE OWNERSHIP. Now my business is going strong, and I have full control of my website.


  3. Dav

    I totally agree with the title of the post as I also think that Woocommerce is more preferable and reliable when it comes to big e-commerce site. Shopify is good but I think woocommerce is the way to go if you want flexibility with your store


  4. Dom

    I have used both Shopify & WordPress ( but not Woo Commerce). I remember WordPress involving more of my time with numerous updates. As for Shopify I owned my own domain so not sure what you meant about that. The only real issue I saw with Shopify is 2% transaction fee they charge you if you dont use their shopify payment gateway.


  5. digiwolves

    The biggest difference between Shopify and WooCommerce lies in the number of design options available. Shopify offers a lot of excellent themes, but WooCommerce, along with its own library, can be integrated in any WordPress theme.


  6. Dima

    Hey Matt, love this breakdown of the pros/cons of Shopify vs. WooCommerce!

    I prefer WooCommerce myself because most clients are already (somewhat?) familiar with WordPress’s admin, so even newbies get a lot of customization power without too much of a learning curve.

    I referenced your post while I was making my “Shopify vs. WooCommerce” recommendation engine. I’d love to get your feedback on it: https://dimavolo.ca/wc-vs-shopify