WooCommerce vs Shopify vs OpenCart — Which One Suits Your Business?

Posted by admin on February 20, 2019

If you’re looking for a great ecommerce CMS, you’re not lacking for options, because the standard has gone up enormously since the early days of online retail. There’s currently a rock-solid set of popular choices that are all capable of supporting thriving businesses — so how do you choose one in particular?

Well, we’re going to take a look at three leading contenders — WooCommerce, Shopify, and OpenCart — to give you some context and help you figure out which one is the best fit for your business in particular. Let’s get started.

WooCommerce pros and cons

WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS, which ensures that it gets a lot of attention. That’s not to say that the attention is undeserved, though, because it’s matured into a formidable ecommerce platform.

Firstly, the pros: because WordPress is so widely used, there’s a massive community around it, so there’s always development going on. You can always count on there being new plugins to try and new features to use. And while it wasn’t really designed for enterprise-level traffic, it will scale effectively if you have the right hosting. It’s a simple and intuitive catch-all option.

Now, the cons: not everyone is a fan of WordPress (for various reasons, including how vulnerable it is to attack as the most common CMS), but you have to use WordPress to run WooCommerce. Additionally, there are a lot of plugins, but they’re not necessary tested very thoroughly, so you may encounter security issues.

Overall, WooCommerce is an excellent ecommerce platform, and if you’re already running a WordPress site that you’d like to use for ecommerce, you should have no reservations about committing to WooCommerce. In other circumstances, though, you should consider all options.

Shopify pros and cons

Shopify has established itself as one of the most prominent ecommerce platforms through offering unparalleled convenience and ease of use for SMEs. As such, it has become perceived as the default option for anyone who just wants a hosted solution that reliably works.

Firstly, the pros: Shopify’s store-creation software is highly intuitive and requires no technical expertise to use, making it great if you’re lacking in digital skills. The excellent 24/7 support service included is a superb addition (and something the company cites when making the WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison), and there’s a huge range of curated apps to extend the already-formidable default range of features.

Now, the cons: it’s a closed-source solution, meaning you aren’t allowed to modify the basic code, and there’s no self-hosted option. You either use the provided Shopify hosting or do you don’t use Shopify at all — so if you’re determined to keep everything in-house, you’ll need to find a different platform.

Overall, Shopify is a fantastic all-purpose choice that works excellently whether you’re just starting out or trying to grow your business as much as possible. If you’re going to get a hosted solution, this is probably the way to go.

OpenCart pros and cons

OpenCart is an open-source ecommerce CMS that has been consistently updated since first being developed way back in 1998. It’s free, configurable, and extremely reliable, making it a fine alternative to the more widely-promoted platforms.

Firstly, the pros: as with WooCommerce, there’s a large community around OpenCart, but it’s far more knowledgeable since OpenCart attracts more tech-savvy people. There’s official OpenCart support available through various channels, and you can choose to host your site yourself or use the official hosted option called OpenCart Cloud. It’s also a very low-cost system in general.

Now, the cons: if you’re not comfortable with technology, you’ll have a hard time with OpenCart. While it isn’t unintuitive, it lacks the polish of the other platforms. The OpenCart marketplace has a lot of themes and extensions, but not all are suitable for the latest version, so you need to be careful when choosing what to try.

Overall, OpenCart is an often-overlooked choice with a lot to offer. It isn’t as slick as WooCommerce or Shopify, but it’s powerful, flexible, well-supported, and entirely scalable, so you can absolutely feel confident in making it your main system.

Which one should you choose?

So, now that we’ve looked at what makes these three platforms distinct, which one should you choose for your business? It isn’t as simple as picking the best one, since each has its advantages and disadvantages in different situations. Consequently, it really depends on who you are and what you’re looking to achieve:

  • If you want something cheap and easy, go with WooCommerce. It’s simple to create a WordPress site, then you only need to install the plugin to get started. There are plenty of guides out there, so you should have no issues finding the information you need.

  • If you want as much as possible taken care for you, go with Shopify. Few ecommerce services take as much work off your plate as Shopify. If you have a busy schedule and you want to sell between other pursuits, Shopify is a smart choice.

  • If you want full control to make the best possible store, go with OpenCart. OpenCart is what you make of it, which makes it tricky to begin with but also packed with opportunity. With OpenCart, you retain total control over development, and the features are all there — work hard enough, and you can turn your store into an industry leader.
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