One of the most successful e-commerce platforms, Shopify has taken the online retail world by storm.
With great functionality, a legion of themes, efficient fiscal management and a user-friendly interface, setting up shop was never this easy! The only glitch in this otherwise well-oiled machine is that it is a purely e-commerce platform with a rather limited scope for content management.
On the other hand, given that WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems, hosting over 25% of the websites around the globe. WooCommerce– the e-commerce plugin for WordPress- has also grown from strength to strength. Speaking statistically, WooCommerce has a greater number of online sellers than Shopify, although the percentage of small-scale retailers here is much higher than that of large-scale companies.
Making a bid for this market is the ‘Shopify eCommerce Plugin – Shopping Cart’ plugin for WordPress. It incorporates the best of both platforms into a single, multi-functional entity.
Is this plugin the WooCommerce challenger? Will it be able to successfully convert WordPress e-commerce users to Shopify?
Let’s find out!
Features of the Shopify Plugin for WordPress
Besides the main purpose of integrating your WordPress website with your Shopify store, the plugin has loads of other features that successfully allow you to run a store on your site, without cramping your blogging style. Some of these are:
- Embedding your entire shop or individual products on WordPress- Embedding a Shop gives the customer a distraction-free shopping experience, without even having to move to the Shopify store.
- The option to add the ‘Buy Now’ button for products directly to posts and pages.
- Access to Shopify’s integration with over 70 payment gateways.
- Flexible shipping rates can be set based on different criteria like weight, location or variable quantity.
- Customizable currency and checkout language options.
- Automatic calculation of country and state taxes based on the currency selected for transaction.
- In-built SSL Certificates and PCI compliance ensure secure shopping.
Users looking to integrate the two platforms, needn’t search for any other option. The plugin handles the task completely. But the introduction of this plugin, provides WordPress users looking to branch out to the e-commerce space- an alternate option.
The question is, is the integration worthwhile? Wouldn’t it be simpler to go with a plugin like WooCommerce instead?
Why Integrate Shopify and WordPress?
Considering both Shopify and WordPress+WooCommerce are all-round e-commerce platforms, there are some distinct advantages that each has over the other, as well as some drawbacks.
Here is a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of each:
- Great number of fully customizable themes and design templates.
- Easy tracking of orders, via e-mail, RSS feeds and mobile phones.
- Systematic and organized interface makes managing the shop very easy.
- Integrated e-mail marketing options like MailChimp and AWeber available.
- Strong customer support and loads of documentation available online for any queries that may arise.
- Although a paid platform, Shopify includes automatic hosting and domain registration.
- Creating blogs or promotional pages not as easy as WordPress.
- Apps are available for e-commerce related functionality only.
- Number of apps is significantly less than the number of plugins available on WordPress.
- Theme and template customization becomes cumbersome beyond a point.
- A host of plugins available for every functionality imaginable.
- Seamless integration with WordPress which allows the use of all extensions, add-ons and themes, all of which are completely customizable.
- WordPress+WooCommerce is a completely free platform and excellent for online retailers who have an existing WordPress site.
- Creation of blogs, posts, pages and newsletters is extremely easy and straightforward.
- SSL Certificates, payment gateways and PCI compliances are not integrated but have to be added separately via plugin extensions.
- WooCommerce is itself a plugin for WordPress as opposed to Shopify which is a standalone, native e-commerce platform.
- 9 times out of 10, an exact plugin that matches your requirements can be found in the plugin directory, but if not, one needs to develop it separately or modify an existing one which requires an intimate knowledge of coding or professional help.
- Often, the sheer number of plugins available for the same functionality can be daunting and choosing an appropriate one from the melee even more so.
- Although WooCommerce is free, domain registration is not. Besides, many of the plugins required for the basic e-commerce functions are paid, as are many of the advanced themes.
Looking at these, it is obvious that there is no single option that is a perfect fit satisfying every e-commerce requirement. However, integrating WordPress and Shopify would provide a complete solution and hence the need for a plugin that bridges the two.
Comparing Shopify and WordPress+WooCommerce is like comparing, if not apples and oranges, at least apples and green apples. Of the same family, yet each a different color.
Strictly speaking from the content development, cost and customization point of view, WordPress wins hands down. So much so that people opt for WooCommerce solely because WordPress has such plentiful add-ons for every necessity.
However, building and managing your mega-store would no doubt be easier with Shopify; a robust analytics system, technical soundness, excellent security and ease-of-operation being some of the main reasons.
In conclusion an e-commerce tyro would do well to build his website on WordPress and WooCommerce; but hosting his shop on Shopify and integrating it with WordPress using the Shopify eCommerce Plugin – Shopping Cart would help him get the best of both worlds!