WooCommerce Vs. Shopify: Insights From a Web Design Agency

Published: February 16, 2021

Torey Azure


Web design agencies that create websites to sell products and/or services must become familiar with e-commerce platforms that are powerful enough to serve their customers. You are in business to grow your business. A web design agency has the skills to help you decide the best e-commerce platform that fits both your business needs and your customers’ profiles. The following paragraphs take a look at two of those e-commerce platforms:  WooCommerce Vs. Shopify.  Learn a few differences and similarities between the two platforms, both of whom are giants in the e-commerce universe. 

Which platform do web design agencies favor?

Like most things in life, each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Which platform is the best for any particular client depends on the needs of the business. That may be especially true for small businesses where finances and limited technical skills often come into play.


Shopify is the muscle behind about 800,000 online stores. That’s not an insignificant number. You also want an e-commerce platform that is easy for your customers to use. Shopify is not only easy to use, it also has popular templates that make your website design pop and entice consumers to buy your product.

Shopify does all the above while it provides incomparable 24/7 customer support. That is an important consideration for a web design agency because, after the design launches, managing website changes and customizations will be the website owner’s responsibility, many of whom have limited to no technical expertise on board. 


This is a free, open-source e-commerce platform built on WordPress. Given the popularity of WordPress for non-profits and small businesses, it’s not a surprise that WooCommerce is a popular e-commerce platform in that milieu. Interestingly, WooCommerce’s flexibility also makes it popular with some enterprise clients who would have no problem investing in a more expensive product. 

In January 2020, industry observers estimated that WooCommerce serviced at least 3.9 million online stores. As a percentage of the top million sites using e-commerce technologies, WooCommerce boasts a healthy 26%.  Shopify’s 21% share means that WooCommerce leads Shopify in market share. 

How to choose an E-commerce platform with the best services

The fundamental issue for a web design agency always is which platform performs best for the specific client. Follow the comparison below. 

Shopify charges website owners for services monthly. That monthly fee includes hosting services, and they handle the technical side of the store for you (for example, domain name and SSL certificates).

Shopify also handles software updates, security patches, and website backups. That’s a lot of hand-holding for the dollars you spend, and that is an especially good selling point for website owners with limited technical expertise.

Shopify permits integration with other channel partners, too, such as Amazon and eBay, and that allows website owners to sell on those channels, too.

One downside is that the apps available on Shopify can be expensive and have the tendency to significantly increase the yearly bill. 

In comparison, WooCommerce’s services are free to download. That’s great but users of WooCommerce’s platform still have to pay for hosting, website security, and the technical side of running the store. On the plus side, the extensions needed to increase function are reasonably priced.

Which platform is easier to use?

Shopify requires no coding knowledge to build a beautiful site. That’s a big plus (no specialized code to learn) for the web design agency that’s building your website as well as for you. No coding means that you will be able to modify your website throughout the years after your web designer finishes the build-out — even though you and your staff may have limited skills.

One of WooCommerce’s strengths is that businesses can customize their WooCommerce site as much as they like. On the downside, the platform requires that the customer either knows code or doesn’t mind hiring web designers with coding expertise to customize the site. In most cases, the coding issue makes this platform not a good match for website design agencies whose customers are not comfortable learning how to code when it comes to making additional changes after the website launches.

How do web design agencies know what payment options to include?

Today’s customers demand options and flexibility. That’s especially true when it comes to methods of payment. Web design agencies consult with clients to see which platform supports their customers and business best.

For example, Shopify has a payment solution called Shopify Payments, but it also has many other third-party payment options. Third-party payment options include Paypal and Amazon Payments and more. One thing to note, however, is that Shopify charges an additional 2% transaction fee for customers using third-party payment options in addition to whatever the bank or gateway charges for using the third-party’s service. The platform charges no transaction fee if customers use Shopify Payments (powered by Stripe). 

WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe as default payment options. Clients may select other payment options as an add-on. Any third-party payment gateway can create an add-on for WooCommerce’s e-commerce platform and provide support for the add-on.

WooCommerce does not charge additional transaction fees on top of the transaction fee charged by banks or payment gateways.

How easy is it to add-on services to each platform?

WooCommerce has a huge network of experts, themes, plugins, and hosting services available, some paid and some free with WordPress. The built-in network provides an immediate boost to customers using WooCommerce’s e-commerce platform. There are also many tutorials on getting up to speed on the platform.

Shopify has an app store that has free and paid apps. The paid apps are from third-party service providers who determine the fee for downloading their products.  Shopify only integrates with its own Application Protocol Interfaces (APIs).

Moving forward

The most important thing to remember is that determining which platform is the best depends on understanding the specific needs of your small business. Knowing what kind of services you need is pivotal to the success of your business. This article from Elementor has a more comprehensive comparison of WooCommerce Vs. Shopify.

If interested in more information on reducing the customer decision fatigue on your site, you may enjoy the February 2021 article from business2community.com entitled “Reduce Decision Fatigue on Your E-Commerce Site.”

Are you in need of a an e-commerce website? We’re listed as one of the top Spokane Web Design Companies on DesignRush. If you would like to speak with someone about how an e-commerce platform could help you make money on your site, please schedule a consultation with one of our builders at our website design agency. We look forward to helping you grow your business.

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