The world of shopping has changed in the past decade. A lot.
Online stores have evolved from selling books in mid 2010 to today selling anything from washing powder to a brand new washing machine, all delivered to your doorstep in three days or less!
Taking your business online is the logical conclusion, failing which, you are bound to be left in the dust of new businesses who are waiting to take your spot.
So which eCommerce platform do you choose? There are a plethora of options available, if you are serious about growing your business online. In this blog post, we talk about one such platform, called Shopify.
We will tell you everything that you need to learn about Shopify and its alternatives, and about migrating from WooCommerce to Shopify, if you need to take your business to the next level.
Already think it’s time to migrate from WooCommerce to Shopify. Contact our Shopify experts!
WooCommerce vs. Shopify - Which one to choose when
Both WooCommerce and Shopify have their own strengths and weaknesses. It is easier to get your online store up and running using Shopify, whereas WooCommerce is easier on the pocket if you are starting out.
Which one to choose when? We take a deep dive and look at five of the most important features you need to look at when you are building your own eCommerce store, so that you can focus on the one thing that truly matters: running your own online store!
The five factors we are going to be looking at are:
- Scalability and Growth
- Ease of use
- Support options
Let us take a look at these factors one by one.
1. Scalability and Growth
Ask any entrepreneur about the one thing that keeps them awake at night, staring at numbers and spreadsheets and pulling their hair out in despair, and the answer will stare you straight in the face - Uncontrolled growth.
If your eCommerce store is going to grow at an unprecedented rate, you better have a plan in place that will ensure that your precious customers are not facing the dreaded Error 404: Page not found!
With Shopify, you don’t have to bother about the technical aspects of keeping your eCommerce store running. Scalability, security and performance issues staring at you like a dragon? Worry not, Shopify has got you covered. All you need to do is upgrade your Shopify plan to account for the increased users, and you are good to go.
And lastly, you don’t need to hire or train an in-house technical team, which can be a hassle, especially in this era of distributed teams.
We now move to the contender to Shopify in our little exercise, WooCommerce. Being a self-hosted platform, WooCommerce keeps the onus of the site’s security, updates and backup on the individual user.
There are flexible plans and WooCommerce does offer managed Wordpress hosting, but being a small business owner, it is much better if you invest your time in something else, instead of getting into all the technical hassles that come with choosing an open-source platform like WooCommerce.
So the winner ? Definitely Shopify!
2. Ease of use
The average small business owner does not want to learn how to code! Simple as that. For instance, if you are selling printed T shirts with a holiday theme, you don’t want to stare at a black screen and deal with complex code to see where your website is failing.
With Shopify, there is not a steep learning curve for the average small business- owner. This is because Shopify is a hosted eCommerce solution. This means Shopify takes care of all the nitty gritty details of operating an online store. Domain name, security certification (SSL), Domain hosting, everything is taken care of by Shopify. It also comes with a drag and drop builder that can be used for store set up, without having to get into any aspect of coding.
WooCommerce falls short of Shopify when it comes to ease of use of the platform, simply because it is an open-source solution and the end users (small business owners in this case) are expected to know a bit of web hosting and security.
Shopify is the winner in this department too, since the learning curve involved when using Shopify is definitely lower. WooCommerce users are expected to be a bit more tech savvy than the average small business owner.
When building a business online, you are faced with a lot of security challenges. Not only are you handling the security of your customer’s money, there is also another critical factor which needs to be safeguarded from any malicious users - customer information.
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform and comes with an inbuilt Security Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. It is also PCI- DSS compliant. SSL means that your clients’ confidential information cannot be stolen by hackers. SSL certification is indicated by the padlock on the top left of your http address and comes as part of the package when buying Shopify.
SSL also helps in SEO efforts, since Google ranks pages with an SSL certificate higher, and more customers are likely to buy when they see an SSL certificate.
WooCommerce on the other hand doesn’t come with an inbuilt SSL certificate, since it is a part of WordPress. Being an open-source platform, the onus is on the user to provide an SSL certificate, and most people do it through their hosting provider. This means the average business owner has to take the responsibility of safeguarding their website against any hackers, and this can get tiring after a while.
Our verdict? Shopify wins easily when it comes to Security for your business website.
In the end, it all comes down to money you’re spending to run a business. If cost is the primary concern for you as a small business owner and you are looking for a pocket-friendly solution, then WooCommerce would be your ideal choice.
This is because WooCommerce is open-source, and is free to use as a platform. There are useful extensions which come at an average cost of $39, but then, the costs are manageable if your business is picking up.
When it comes to price, Shopify starts at $29/month, with the advance plan going up all the way to $299/month. While this seems like a lot of money when compared to WooCommerce, one must also remember the fact that Shopify is a hosted platform, which does most of the dirty work of keeping your website up and running.
Our verdict? Go with WooCommerce if you are a bit tight on the budget and wouldn’t mind managing other expenses from third party providers.
5. Support options
Taking your business online means you need to be available to solve customer issues 24/7, and this is only possible if you have a hosted platform. Shopify offers 24/7 Customer support, over chat, phone and email. For the business owners addicted to social media, Shopify offers support over Twitter too.
In addition to all these support options, Shopify offers extensive documentation and how-to guides, along with instructional videos and forums. They also have verified Shopify experts that can help you with every aspect of the business - design, development, marketing and more!
WooCommerce being a self-hosting platform, places the onus on the hosting provider to give you technical support. If you are the kind of entrepreneur who likes to help himself/herself, then WooCommerce also provides extensive documentation and knowledge guides.
Our verdict? Since most small businesses like to speak to actual people and are not really tech savvy, Shopify is the clear winner in this segment.
Shopify vs. WooCommerce : Which one should you choose?
We have looked at all the important factors when it comes to choosing an eCommerce platform for your online business. So are you a Shopify kind of person or a WooCommerce kind of person?
Go with Shopify if you:
- Are a small business that is planning to scale up rapidly
- Don’t want to learn the details of the backend and just want to see your online store up and running
- Want your website to look and feel great
- Want a secure hosting solution that protects both your online transactions and your customer’s data
- Want a range of payment gateways for the convenience of your customer
Go with WooCommerce if you:
- Like to start small, with the least amount of investment possible
- Have technical know how and can code a bit, taking care of security and scalability issues when they arise
- Would like to have a tonne of plugins and integrations to your eCommerce website
Ready to migrate from WooCommerce to Shopify? Contact us today.
How to migrate from WooCommerce to Shopify
We can now look at a step by step process on migrating your WooCommerce website to Shopify.
Step 1: Create a Shopify account
- Sign up to Shopify: Create a Shopify account and explore everything that the platform has to offer.
- Customize Home Page and add new pages: Select a theme from the Shopify theme library or build your own custom theme from scratch. Once the homepage is done, insert your content, add media (images and video) and also don’t forget to add relevant links to different pages.
- Import your WooCommerce data to your new Shopify website: If your product range is small, all you have to do is manually upload all the product details, content, SEO parameters etc. If you are selling a larger number of products, this process can be done by downloading all your product details into a CSV format.
- Preview the result, check if all the fields have been filled properly, and if the site is huge, purchase a random product just to check if everything is working like it is supposed to be.
Step 2: Transfer and connect your domain to Shopify
- Login to your WooCommerce account and unlock the domain name you want to move from the ‘Settings’ section.
- On the Shopify admin panel, go to “Online Stores” and then click on the “Domains” tab.
- Click on “Connect Existing Domain” and navigate to “Transfer in your domain” option. Click on “Next” and then click on “Verify Domain”. Once you get the “Domain Unlocked” message, click on “Next” to complete the procedure.
- If you wish to connect your own domain name to Shopify, you can also do so with a few simple steps. Go to the Shopify admin panel and navigate to “Connect existing Domain” from the “Domains” tab.
- Follow a few simple steps and make a few changes to the DNS settings, and you are good to go.
Step 3: Export your store data and import it to Shopify
- Go to WooCommerce admin, and click “Tools > Export.” Select “All Content” and click “Download Export file.”
- On the Shopify Admin tab, click “Apps” and then “Store Importer.” Choose “WooCommerce” from the “Import your Data into Shopify” page.
- Go to “Upload Files” select “Add Files” and select your Exported files.
- Click on “Continue import” and select ‘Import”.
Step 4: Review and Update your Imported Data
Once your data import was successful, your product and customer data is available on your Shopify admin tab.
Shopify has collated some of the major behaviours that happen when importing your Shopify data into WooCommerce, which you can find here.
As you can clearly see in this article, Shopify is a much better solution when you decide to take your small business online. But this data migration can be tough, and the security risks are too high, especially when it comes to your precious customer information.
This is why you need to tread these migration waters carefully, and agencies like XgenTech will help you migrate all your data from WooCommerce to Shopify.
Still evaluating WooCommerce and Shopify? Reach out to us for a consultation.