As the eCommerce landscape continues to evolve, many online businesses are finding that their DTC platform is no longer meeting their complex needs. If you’re running a WooCommerce store and considering switching to Shopify, you’ll need to weigh your options and make a plan before starting the transition.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify: Advantages of Switching
First, before deciding to make the switch, let’s compare Shopify and WooCommerce. While they’re both DTC platforms, each is tailored to suit different kinds of eCommerce businesses.
WooCommerce promotes itself around its flexibility and customizability. As an open-source platform, WooCommerce gives your development team complete ownership. But the key here is having a development team, as WooCommerce is not beginner-friendly and relies on your team to handle many technical aspects of running your site.
Shopify is much more user-friendly. As a SaaS (software as a service) platform, Shopify handles a lot of the technical heavy lifting in the background—which lets you focus on running your business. Shopify can handle small businesses, large corporations, and everything in between.
Here’s how WooCommerce and Shopify stand up compared across different categories.
|Ease of Use||X|
- Shopify is a hosted platform. That means all the security risks associated with running an eCommerce store are handled by Shopify on Shopify’s partnership with Google Cloud. This is a major advantage over WooCommerce, which is a self-hosted platform that leaves site security entirely up to you.
- Shopify’s servers are designed to handle high traffic volumes, so you can be confident that your store will be up and running even during peak times. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is much more susceptible to unplanned downtimes if your hosting provider can’t handle a surge in traffic.
- As your business grows, Shopify can scale with you because they have the technical resources to support companies of all sizes. If you use WooCommerce, which requires companies to self-host, you may need to spend time and money searching for a more powerful hosting plan when you outgrow your current plan’s capabilities.
- SEO Friendliness. Both platforms allow users to implement in-depth search engine optimization campaigns and integrate with tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. But here’s the rub: search engine ranking algorithms heavily rely on technical quality indicators, like site speed and security. Shopify handles the details like SSL certificates and maximizing your site speed using their high-powered servers. But to achieve the same results on WooCommerce, you’ll need to manually implement these technical optimizations.
- Payment Options. Shopify offers many payment options, including support for major credit cards, PayPal, and Apple Pay. WooCommerce only supports credit cards and PayPal out of the box, although plugins are available to support other payment methods.
- Ease of Use. Shopify is specifically designed to be easy to use for those who don’t have any technical expertise. The wide-open nature of WooCommerce can be more difficult to use, especially if you’re not familiar with WordPress or don’t have a large development team dedicated to your eCommerce site.
- WooCommerce is an open-source platform with one of the largest plugin markets in the industry, so developers can fully tailor sites in any way they want. While Shopify also has a plugin marketplace, it’s not as robust as WooCommerce’s.
- Customer Support. Shopify offers 24/7 customer support, so you can always get help when you need it. WooCommerce only offers limited customer support, and it can be hard to get timely assistance if you’re not familiar with the platform.
- Shopify offers tiers of plans according to the size and needs of your business. As of 2022, their plans range from $29.99 up to $299.99. On the other hand, WooCommerce is free to install. While that sounds like a benefit, WooCommerce’s lack of security and hosting features mean you’ll be footing the bill for your eCommerce business in other ways. Both platforms offer free and paid plugins through their add-on marketplaces.
Making the Switch from WooCommerce to Shopify
Making the switch is a relatively headache-free process. After signing up for a Shopify account, here’s the step-by-step of how to migrate your data from WooCommerce:
- Export your data from WooCommerce as an XML file on your computer. (You can find exporting options by clicking on ‘Tools’ from the Admin panel in WooCommerce. Be sure to select ‘All content.’)
- Use Shopify’s built-in migration tool to import your products, customers, and orders from your WooCommerce data. Here are more detailed instructions if you need help.
- Once your data is imported, it’s time to set up your Shopify storefront. This step includes choosing a theme, configuring your payment and shipping settings, and adding your domain name.
- Once your store is operational, it’s time to attract customers. Shopify offers a number of marketing tools to help you drive traffic to your store, such as social media integration, email marketing, and Google Shopping ads. Plus, Shopify is geared towards using SEO best practices, which we’ll cover next.
If you encounter any difficulties making the switch, check out Shopify’s online help center or contact their 24/7 customer support team. It’s essential to ensure your Shopify store is fully configured and active before ending your service with WooCommerce.
Shopify SEO Tips & Best Practices
Business owners and SEO managers both choose Shopify for one simple reason: it’s easier to use.
Implementing campaigns and configuring integrations don’t require back-and-forth with a development team like they might with other DTC platforms. Additionally, because Shopify handles security and is less likely to crash, SEO managers don’t have to worry as much about technical issues that can impede campaigns.
With 68% of online experiences starting with a search engine, optimizing your eCommerce site is more important than ever. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when setting up your new Shopify site:
- Have SEO in mind from day one. Effective, long-lasting SEO takes time. Taking an SEO-focused approach from the very beginning gives your campaign more time to generate results—and saves you time having to retrofit your site for SEO in the future.
- Keep up with Shopify news and plugin developments. You don’t have to know a lot about tech and web dev to stay on the cutting edge. Staying up-to-date with the latest Shopify developments can get you ahead of the competition. (Hint: the eCommerce Fastlane blog is one great place to start!)
- Work with an expert if you’re new to the game. A digital marketing agency can help you develop an SEO campaign and find ways to optimize your site to match current best practices. Working with an agency is an investment, but one that can save you hundreds of hours of work.
Switching eCommerce platforms is a big decision, but it’s also a decision that can provide a better experience for your customers—and save you time and frustration.
As your business grows, you need a DTC platform that grows with you to accommodate more products, traffic, and orders. Shopify makes that entire process a breeze while giving you space to focus on your products and optimize your site to fit customers’ needs.