If you’re a business owner looking to sell products online, chances are you have already heard of WooCommerce, Shopify, and Squarespace. These are among the most popular eCommerce options for online entrepreneurs. All three platforms will give you the ability to transform your business and scale over time. But which one should you choose for your business? In today’s post, we will explore each platform’s unique features and price points to determine which eCommerce option is best for most businesses.
WooCommerce is a free, eCommerce plugin for WordPress, the most popular website CMS in the world. In fact, WooCommerce powers over 55% of all eCommerce sites on the web—about 2.3 million online stores. It is an open-source platform, making it a free eCommerce option for budget-conscious users. That being said, since it’s run on WordPress, you will still need to pay for things like security and hosting.
The main thing that sets WooCommerce apart is its freedom and customizability. Since it’s an open-source platform, thousands of developers have created extensions to run on WooCommerce. If you’re looking to create an online store that is online any other, WooCommerce will give you the most freedom and flexibility to create it.
Shopify is easy to use eCommerce platform built for merchants. It is powerful, reliable, and was built specifically for eCommerce. Shopify has created a solid platform to start, grow, and manage a business. You can create an online store on Shopify and sell in various places—think social media, Amazon, and other marketplaces.
Shopify is an all-in-one solution for eCommerce management. This means that it is completely cloud-based and self-hosted. You don’t have to worry about paying for hosting or dealing with security on your website if you build it on Shopify. Currently, Shopify runs over 800,000 businesses worldwide.
Squarespace is first and foremost an easy content management tool. It has made creating a website easy for those who do not have the coding skills to create a website from scratch. It is a hosting platform as well, making it easy to maintain a website—no need to worry about hosting or security with Squarespace.
Squarespace Commerce was developed to simplify selling products online. There are 2 eCommerce tiers, which offer different forms of functionality. As of 2016, Squarespace powers over 1 million websites.
Key Features for WooCommerce, Shopify & Squarespace
Determining which features are important to you is the key to determining which eCommerce solution is going to work best for your business. Below we will outline the key features for each platform so you can understand the differences between each eCommerce platform.
One of the key features that sets WooCommerce apart is the fact that it’s open-source. WooCommerce features over 400 extensions built by various developers. This means that customizability is built into the WooCommerce platform. Generally, customizing a WooCommerce website is not extremely expensive either, coming in at half the cost of a hosted option like Shopify or Squarespace. Creating a website that is specific to your needs is most feasible on WooCommerce.
Since WooCommerce is built on WordPress, it maintains all the features native to that platform. Want to have a blog on your shop as well? WordPress is built with blogging in mind, making it one of the easiest options to do this. WordPress also has a ton of flexibility with categorizing and tagging. Overall, if you want to create a shop that offers a variety of different experiences, WooCommerce will allow you to do this on WordPress.
WooCommerce was made with global commerce in mind. With its wide array of extensions, it is able to use a variety of different payment processors from all over the world. If you’re looking to expand your business worldwide, WooCommerce makes it easiest to do so.
Furthermore, WooCommerce offers robust documentation of its platform making troubleshooting easy. If support is needed, there are options to submit a support request to the main developers. Plus, since WooCommerce runs more than half of all eCommerce sites, there is a robust community of developers available to help you solve your most obscure website problems.
Shopify was built with the merchant in mind. Since Shopify is an all in one platform using it is relatively easy. This means that a regular person should be able to go on Shopify, build out a professional eCommerce store, and start using it. Shopify comes built-in with over 70 professional themes. Plus, it is built for a mobile-first world—meaning users will be able to shop on their phone and their computers and have a similar experience.
Customization is relatively easy on Shopify. It offers access to HTML and CSS for front-end edits. It also has a variety of plugins that can be added for additional website functionality. These plugins can be relatively pricey though and make them less accessible to business owners just starting out online. Furthermore, Shopify is mostly built to support online stores. If you’d like to have a blog or more informational content on your site, it is not as straightforward to create these features on Shopify.
Shopify does offer great support. You can easily contact a representative via email or phone. You can also find extensive documentation about support requests in their help center.
For business owners looking to save time, Squarespace is a good option. Squarespace eCommerce offers the basics needed to run a successful online store. It offers flexible product variants, organization and custom forms for particular products. Squarespace has 2 eCommerce tiers in their hosting plans, both offering different levels of eCommerce functionality.
Squarespace was built as a content management system first, eCommerce platform second. This means that their eCommerce features aren’t as robust as Shopify or WooCommerce. Nevertheless, they provide everything a small business owner would need to run a successful online shop. That being said, the ease of use on Squarespace caps out at around 20 products.
Squarespace does offer tagging and categorizing on their eCommerce plans, but it’s not as robust as Shopify or WooCommerce. If you’re looking to build and maintain a large online shop, Squarespace is not the right option for you.
Squarespace offers limited payment processors, including Stripe, Apple Pay, PayPal, and Square. This limits the reach of a Squarespace eCommerce site to the US and supporting countries. Squarespace is not recommended for businesses looking to expand their reach to a global audience.
Since Squarespace is an all-in-one platform, it does make hosting and maintaining the security of your website pretty easy. Squarespace also offers great customer support, making it easy for an average user to maintain without having to contact a developer.
Conclusion: WooCommerce is the Best eCommerce Solution
When choosing an eCommerce platform for your business, WooCommerce is the most comprehensive option. It offers the most customizability and flexibility without breaking the bank; plus, it has the ability to reach a large, global audience. If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, WooCommerce will help you achieve that with ease.
WooCommerce does come with its own sets of challenges, such as using an expert Developer, setup and integrations, and routine website maintenance. That being said, with a trusted developer at your side these challenges should not be a problem. At Click Collective, we specialize in using WooCommerce and customizing it to meet specific client needs, making us a trusted source for eCommerce development. If you’re looking to build your own online store, reach out to us today so we can assist you with your project.