In running a drop shipping business, there are four crucial elements that need to work perfectly – niche selection, choice of suppliers, strategic marketing, and the eCommerce storefront itself. These are the key ingredients to ensure the success of every eCommerce business and most importantly in dropshipping business.
In terms of niche selection, there are a number of factors that need to be considered including its marketability and margins. For suppliers, drop shippers must only work with suppliers who can deliver items on time and in perfect condition. With marketing, it must be strategic enough to continuously lure in customers. And finally, in terms of the eCommerce storefront itself, it must be user-friendly and functional.
Today, we’ll focus on the two eCommerce platforms for dropshipping business – WooCommerce and Shopify. In this blog, we’ll highlight the differences between the two and see how it compares to one another.
But first, let’s cover the basics…
What is Drop Shipping?
Drop Shipping is a form of eCommerce business, which does not require the sellers to have a physical inventory of the items they sell. It’s a form of business wherein the seller functions as the middleman between the customer and the manufacturer. To illustrate it, when a customer submits an order to your store, you’ll only need to forward the order and your customer’s details to your supplier. In turn, your supplier will take care of the fulfillment and actual delivery directly to the customer. Simply put it, once you lure in customers to buy – you can just move on to closing the next sale and not worry about fulfillment.
Because of this distinctive method of eCommerce, it’s essential that you only choose a platform that can provide you with the functionalities designed specifically for drop shipping.
When choosing an eCommerce platform, one of the things that you need to consider is the time it takes for setting up. You’d want to choose an eCommerce platform that allows you to get started in no time. Building your eCommerce storefront should not be difficult given the right solution. Let’s see how WooCommerce and Shopify compares.
Shopify is extremely easy to set up. It won’t take you more than an hour to get a store up and running provided that you already have the necessary elements for your store. Since Shopify is well-known for its user-friendly control panel and out-of-the-box solutions, you certainly won’t have any difficulties in navigating within the platform. Moreover, Shopify allows you to easily duplicate your stores so you won’t have to start from scratch all over again in cases wherein you’ll put up additional stores. You also have the option to buy a Shopify dropshipping store and request for it to be made in accordance with your requirements.
WooCommerce is also easy to set up and likewise allows you to launch your store in less than an hour. In fact, you even have the option to build your dropshipping business’ storefront in less than 15 minutes when you sign up for the WooCommerce hosting. Like Shopify, WooCommerce allows you to duplicate your store so you don’t have to start again from scratch for additional stores through its plugin Duplicator – allowing you to duplicate everything in a matter of minutes.
Ease of Use
In building your eCommerce site, you should only pick a platform with the easiest navigation and control panel. This will ensure that you don’t waste time in building and managing your storefront.
Shopify comes with an out-of-the-box solution that is easy to use even for beginners, making it a good option for startup entrepreneurs. The UI is easy to follow and will not bombard you with technicalities, making it easy for you to familiarize yourself with using the platform.
As for WooCommerce, since it’s a plug-in of WordPress, you can, in turn, expect a user-friendly interface – perfect for both beginners and technical individuals. This platform is so easy to use that once you activate this plug-in, you automatically get pages for Shop, Cart, Payment, and other relevant pages.
Every eCommerce needs to have a pleasing and well-thought-of design. This is the main purpose of store themes. The ideal store theme is one that makes it easy for the customers to scroll through your website and easily submit an order. Moreover, it must be something that you can customize according to your preferences and responsiveness that works perfectly on any device.
With Shopify, you get tons of choices for store themes. The catch here though is that there are only 10 Shopify themes that are offered for free. The rest costs between $100 and $180. Furthermore, you might need coding skills to modify the themes and achieve your preferred design.
As for WooCommerce, it hosts a bigger pool of free themes, most of which are modern, so you won’t have issues finding the right design for your website. In terms of modifications, you can simply install a plug-in that lets you modify every bit of the design element to achieve your target design – no coding skills required. Hence, making it the wiser choice. Plus, you don’t want to fiddle with the code of your store theme and end up ruining it, right? While there are tons of free themes offered in WooCommerce, you can buy a more advanced theme for $20 up to $100.
One of the essential elements in generating bigger sales is having a web store, which ranks on search results. Meaning, having an effective SEO strategy. While this aspect mainly depends on your content creation strategies, your choice of eCommerce platform can lift your SEO gaming with the right tools.
Shopify prides itself with tons of SEO tools to help boost your search ranking. Shopify makes it easy to add content and meta information, which allows for better chances in ranking for specific keywords. On top of that, since Shopify is a hosted platform, you also get faster page loading – giving you better website speeds. Thus, you can be sure that so long as you produce high-quality content, you’ll enjoy great results and higher audience engagement.
WooCommerce falls behind Shopify in terms of loading speed since its site speed depends on the hosting platform, which somewhat affects the website’s ranking. However, the best part about WooCommerce is that it offers tons of effective tools to help optimize your website including the most popular SEO tool for WordPress sites – Yoast SEO.
Drop Shipping Features
To make your life easier in managing your dropshipping business, you must ensure that you only use an eCommerce platform with drop shipping functionalities and plug-ins. Some helpful features for your dropshipping business include plug-ins that allow you to improve the design of your store, enable affiliate marketing, send orders directly to suppliers, follow-up emails, abandonment cart recovery, and more. Without all these features, you’ll find yourself doing a lot of manual labor.
Shopify hosts over 1200 plugins in its App marketplace to enhance your Shopify store. The good thing about Shopify is that the eCommerce platform itself is already feature-rich, so you won’t need many plug-ins to improve your store. It’s important to note also that while there are several apps that are offered for free, the majority of the plug-ins in Shopify are paid and only come with a free trial.
The best part about WooCommerce is that it’s an open-source website – meaning, finding a plug-in that works with this platform is easy. In fact, for any feature that you want, chances are high that you can find a plug-in or extension in WooCommerce. WooCommerce boasts over 7500 available plug-ins, most of which are free – giving you utmost flexibility and affordability.
Since you run your eCommerce business 24/7, it’s also important to sign up with a platform that offers 24/7 support. This is crucial especially when your customers cannot access your website or are having a hard time in submitting an order. The ultimate consideration here is that you don’t want to lose potential sales because of unexpected technical issues.
Shopify offers great customer service with its 24/7 support through phone and live chat, so you can be sure to be attended to in times of urgency. In fact, most of its users attest to the effectiveness of Shopify’s customer support team since their issues get resolved in a matter of minutes – ensuring its customers with ultimate reliability
WooCommerce on the other hand does not offer direct customer support but rather leverages forums on WordPress and WooCommerce sites since it’s an open-source and free WordPress plugin. The good news here is that since so many users run WooCommerce, you’ll be sure to find a solution through these forums from other users who experienced the same issues that you’re experiencing.
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform. It gears you up with the essential tools to build your store, gives you room for growth, provides you with the flexibility to customize your store and the support you need to run a business 24/7. Basically, it has everything you need in a single solution. This is in contrast with WooCommerce, which is simply a plug-in. Thus, you can already expect to pay more with Shopify.
Shopify offers the following plans:
- Shopify Basic costs $29 monthly (and 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction)
- Shopify Plan costs $79 monthly (and 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction)
- Advanced Shopify costs $299 monthly (and 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction)
- Shopify Plus pricing starts at $2000 monthly
The best part about WooCommerce is that it’s a free plug-in for WordPress websites – this is exactly why the eCommerce space is widely dominated by WooCommerce users amounting to 28% of all eCommerce websites. Basically, anyone with a WordPress site can get a WooCommerce site without any cost. However, you only need to pay for a web hosting service, which typically costs between $3 and $100 per month.
Overall, WooCommerce and Shopify have their own fair share of highs and lows. While Shopify is more sophisticated and is more comprehensive, it’s limited in terms of modifying your web store. WooCommerce on the other hand gives you more flexibility to mold your eCommerce store without paying the hefty price tag.
With all these in mind, it’s important to note that both eCommerce platforms are best in their own ways and thus, the choice should heavily rely on the type of business and usage that you will need.
The only thing that we can ascertain is that both platforms will certainly offer you good value for money.