Close this search box.

< Back

Shopify vs Woocommerce: Which is better for your side hustle?

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our site!

Table of Contents


In today’s fast-paced world, side hustles have become a popular way to earn extra income and pursue passions beyond the 9-to-5 grind. For aspiring entrepreneurs, choosing the right e-commerce platform is a critical step in this journey. Among the myriad of options available, Shopify and WooCommerce stand out as leading contenders. This article aims to dissect and compare these platforms, helping you decide which is best suited for your side hustle.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a comprehensive e-commerce platform that enables individuals and businesses to create online stores. Founded in 2006, it has evolved into a user-friendly, fully hosted solution, offering a range of customizable templates, integrated payment processing, and a robust app marketplace. Its ease of use and scalable infrastructure make it a go-to choice for entrepreneurs looking to quickly set up a professional online store.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It transforms a WordPress website into a fully functional e-commerce store. Launched in 2011, WooCommerce is known for its flexibility and customizability, catering to users with specific and varied needs. Being a self-hosted platform, it offers extensive control over your store’s design and functionality, making it a favored choice for those who prefer a hands-on approach and have some technical know-how.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is a crucial factor when choosing an e-commerce platform. Shopify is renowned for its intuitive interface. Setting up a store is straightforward, with no technical skills required. The platform guides you through each step, from designing your storefront to adding products and setting up payment methods. In contrast, WooCommerce, while offering greater customization, demands a steeper learning curve. Users need a basic understanding of WordPress to navigate and make the most of the platform’s capabilities. This can be a hurdle for beginners, but a boon for those with WordPress experience.

Customisation and Flexibility

Shopify and WooCommerce offer varying degrees of customization and flexibility. Shopify’s theme store provides a range of professionally designed templates, ensuring your store looks polished with minimal effort. However, customization is somewhat limited unless you’re familiar with Shopify’s coding language, Liquid. On the other hand, WooCommerce, with its open-source nature, offers limitless customization possibilities. You can tweak almost every aspect of your store, provided you have the coding expertise or the budget to hire a developer. This makes WooCommerce a more appealing option for those with specific requirements or a desire for a unique storefront.

Pricing and Expenses

Budget considerations are vital when starting a side hustle. Shopify operates on a subscription model with several tiers, starting from a basic plan to advanced options. Each tier offers more features but at a higher cost. Additionally, transaction fees and the cost of paid apps can add up. WooCommerce, in contrast, is free to install. However, costs can accrue for hosting, themes, plugins, and potential development work. It’s worth noting that while WooCommerce might seem cheaper initially, its total cost can increase significantly depending on the customizations and extensions you choose.

Scalability for Growth

The ability to scale your business is an important consideration. Shopify is known for its scalability, handling everything from small businesses to large enterprises. Its infrastructure is designed to support high traffic and sales volume without compromising performance. WooCommerce can also scale, but it requires more hands-on management. As your store grows, you’ll need to ensure your hosting can handle increased traffic and that your site remains optimized for performance.

Support and Community

Support and community ecosystems can be a lifeline for side hustlers. Shopify offers 24/7 customer support and has a vast community of users and developers. There’s also a wealth of resources, from forums to webinars and guides. WooCommerce, being a free plugin, doesn’t offer dedicated support. However, it benefits from the extensive WordPress community. There are numerous forums, blogs, and resources available for troubleshooting and advice. The choice here depends on whether you prefer direct support or are comfortable seeking answers from community-driven platforms.

Pros and Cons Summary

Shopify Pros: User-friendly, excellent customer support, scalable, secure.
Shopify Cons: Monthly fees can add up, less customization flexibility.

WooCommerce Pros: Highly customizable, control over data and hosting, initial lower costs. WooCommerce Cons: Requires technical knowledge, no direct support, scalability depends on hosting.

Success Stories and Case Studies

Success stories can offer valuable insights. Shopify boasts success stories like Gymshark, which grew from a garage-based business to a global brand. WooCommerce’s flexibility has enabled businesses like Airstream to create a unique and tailored online presence. These examples illustrate how each platform can support different types of business goals and visions.

Conclusion and our thoughts

Choosing between Shopify and WooCommerce for your side hustle depends on your specific needs, technical skills, and growth aspirations. Shopify is ideal for those seeking ease of use and robust support. WooCommerce is better suited for those desiring deep customization and control over their store. Consider your long-term goals and technical comfort level before making a decision.

We’d love to hear about your experiences and choices. Which platform did you choose for your side hustle and why? Share your stories in the comments below and join the conversation!

Side Hustles NZ

Hey, I’m Rachel! I started Side Hustles NZ in 2021 with the goal of helping Kiwi’s start and grow small businesses in New Zealand. During the week you’ll find me discussing side hustle ideas in our Facebook group, working in my website design business, or riding my horses.

Table of Contents

Become a member

Accelerator is an online platform for Kiwi's who are building businesses.

Sell in our Marketplace

We're making it easy for small businesses to sell their products online

More reading

Latest articles...