This is an interesting debate that people considering an online store constantly ask on forums. WooCommerce or Shopify, which one is better, which one should I go with.
As ecommerce specialists, we develop both WooCommerce and Shopify websites along with other popular ones. But lets look at this questions of WooCommerce or Shopify.
While we don't have a definite answer, we do have a couple of theories about the choices people make. Let's first look at the difference between the two from a technical point of view.
It's Open Source, that means the basic code for WooCommerce comes free as a plugin for WordPress. WordPress is the world's most popular CMS (content management system) and WooCommerce the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress. A lot of people are familiar with the WordPress interface and they adapt to WooCommerce very easily.
Shopify on the other hand is a SaaS product, that means, it runs on Shopify servers and you cannot download and install on your own hosting account. It's not free. Shopify tries to anticipate the kind of add-ons their users may require and try to provide them as part of their package, sometimes for an additional charge. It's easy for ecommerce merchants to setup a Shopify website themselves and get up and running in a couple of weeks or so.
Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify is not open source. That means, you can modify / tailor some features of it on the front end but you don't have the free reign that you have with WooCommerce. That is not necessarily a drawback if your objectives are limited at this time.
To summarize the technical difference, WooCommerce is Open Source, it's free and you can modify it to your heart's content if you so desire. It's easy to setup and you can find a ton of plugins to enhance your user's experience, some free and some paid. Shopify on the other hand is a very well put together packaged solution that can help you get up and running quickly and provides a whole bunch of features pre-packaged for your administrative use as well as for front end enhancements.
This is an abbreviated version of the original article. The originalarticle also examines the type of entrepreneurs that prefer to go with Shopify and the type that goes with WooCommerce. Very interesting read at http://bit.ly/woocommerce-shopify1