Shopify vs WooCommerce: Choosing the Right Platform for Your NZ Store

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June 5, 2024

At Mantis Digital, we know you are serious about your online store. After all, e-commerce is a booming business in New Zealand. Perhaps you’ve browsed a few website design platforms, tested WordPress and its plugins, and investigated big names like Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace—which brings us to the big question: How do you choose the right platform for your digital business?

There are two big players on the market, Shopify and WooCommerce. They are regularly said to be the best e-commerce platforms out there, and for a good reason.

Now, let’s delve into what these powerhouses bring to the table…

Why Use Shopify vs. WordPress

  • Ease of Use: Shopify was created solely for e-commerce. Its user-friendly interface allows users to set up a store seamlessly and without any coding knowledge.
  • All-in-one Solution: Shopify encompasses everything you need for an online store, including hosting, security and built-in sales features.
  • Dedicated E-commerce Features: The platform has a heap of built-in features for online selling, such as payment processing, discount codes, shipping options, and inventory management. Users won’t need to look elsewhere to get their digital storefront up and running.
  • 24/7 Support: With 24/7 customer support, you’ll get the help you need when you need it.
  • Scalability: Many new avid online sellers overlook the ability to grow with their business. Shopify provides the bandwidth needed as sales volumes increase.

Why Use WordPress vs. Shopify

  • Cost-effective: Free to use, and you’ll only need to pay for hosting and your domain name.
  • Flexibility: You can customise your store how you want to, and with thousands of plugins and themes to choose from, the options are limitless.
  • Ownership: With WordPress, you own your website and all your data. This means you can move your shop to a different web host if you ever decide to, whereas with Shopify, you are locked into their platform, and your data is stored on their servers.
  • SEO-friendly: WordPress is known for being SEO-friendly, meaning getting your site ranked higher on search engine result pages (SERPs) is easier.
  • Open Source: WordPress is an open-source platform. A team of community developers oversees improvements and development, so you’ll always have access to the latest features and security updates.

Example of a Shopify website.

Shopify vs. WordPress: A Feature-by-Feature Analysis

Let’s break it down, Mantis-style…


Shopify: Shopify is a fully hosted platform that handles everything from server maintenance to security updates.

WooCommerce: In addition to WordPress, you’ll need separate web hosting. While this provides flexibility and control, it does mean that you will be responsible for server uptime, backups, and security.

E-commerce Functionality

Shopify: With many e-commerce features, Shopify users can access a user-friendly interface that is perfect for managing orders and products.

WooCommerce: With essential features like product listings and shopping carts, you may need additional plugins for advanced functionality like abandoned cart recovery and handling subscriptions. The good news is that users can hyper-customise their website features with the sheer number of plugins available.

Multi-Channel Commerce

Shopify: With seamless integrations with other sales channels like Facebook, eBay, and Amazon, digital stores can reach a wider audience with subscription features readily available for recurring revenue models.

WooCommerce: If you want to integrate your site with other channels, additional plugins may be required, but with a host of creative multi-channel strategies, users have the ultimate flexibility.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance

Shopify: Built-in tools help you comply with GDPR, including customer data management and consent-gathering options.

WooCommerce: As you are self-hosted on WooCommerce, GDPR compliance falls on you. This means you’ll need to ensure that your hosting provider provides GDPR-compliant solutions and implements the plugins needed for data management.

Multilingual Sites & Multiple Stores

Shopify: Multi-language built-in support makes connecting with an international audience easy, and the ability to manage multiple stores from a single dashboard makes it easy to grow your brand. Note that additional fees can be incurred with these functionalities.

WooCommerce: A multilingual function will need a plugin, but with a network of options, you’ll have complete control over customising your store. If you want to run multiple stores, you will need to set up separate WordPress installations.

Mobile Apps for Shop Owners & Mobile Shopping Experience

Shopify: With a native app to manage your online business on the go, Shopify is inherently mobile-friendly, giving shoppers a seamless shopping experience.

WooCommerce: There is no native app for WooCommerce store management, but third-party options are available. Your site’s ability to provide an excellent user experience relies on the theme.

Responsive Design & Load Time

Shopify: All the themes on Shopify are responsive by default, meaning your site will look fantastic on any device, from a mobile phone to a tablet, laptop, or desktop. With a priority on fast-loading times, your customers will be kept happy!

WooCommerce: The WooCommerce theme you choose will determine the quality of your site’s responsiveness. Load times can be affected by your hosting provider and the number of plugins used.

Setting Up and User Experience (UX)

Shopify: Its friendly interface makes building a site easy, even for those with limited knowledge. The drag-and-drop features ensure that you’ll have a functional store up and running in no time.

WooCommerce: WooCommerce does require technical know-how. But for those who want complete customisation, it’s perfect!

Mobile Payments

Shopify: Integrates with various popular mobile payment gateways like Google Pay and Apple Pay.

WooCommerce: You’ll need compatible plugins to access mobile payment gateways.

Design and Themes

Shopify: Users will be excited by the sheer number of beautiful, pre-built themes that align with various industries. While some are free, premium themes do come at an additional cost.

WooCommerce: With thousands of themes to choose from, both paid and free, there is no shortage of choices and customisation, meaning you’ll have a unique website unlike any other. However, it may mean that you need design experience.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Shopify: Shopify is generally SEO-friendly and provides several basic tools to optimise product descriptions, titles, and meta tags.

WooCommerce: You can install powerful SEO plugins like Yoast SEO to optimise product pages, titles, meta descriptions, and image alt tags for search engines. These plugins also give you more control over technical SEO aspects like sitemap generation and structured data.

Want to know more about marketing your online business? Read: E-commerce SEO in New Zealand-Winning the Online Retail Game


Shopify: Integration with dropshipping suppliers and the app store will allow you to automate inventory management and fulfil orders quickly and smoothly.

WooCommerce: No built-in dropshipping features are available, but a selection of plugins can connect you with suppliers and automate your business.


Shopify: Shopify provides users with a free trial period, after which you pay $1 for the first month and then shift to the payment plan you chose. A basic plan starts at USD 39 per month and goes through to an advanced plan costing USD 2300 monthly. If you choose to pay yearly, you can save 25%. Plans are reasonably affordable for beginners, but sales volumes and add-ons can increase costs.

WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a free plugin, but ongoing costs include website hosting, themes, plugins and possibly developer fees. The initial setup may be cheaper, but ongoing costs can add up quickly.

Young woman sitting with laptop on her lap and holding a notebook.

The Verdict? It Depends

Shopify delivers for business owners who prefer ease of use, stunning pre-built themes, a seamless online experience, and little technical knowledge. However, for those who crave design control, advanced SEO capabilities and optimisation, and comfort with technical aspects, WooCommerce excels by offering greater flexibility.

Digital illustration of three online shopping icons set.

FAQ: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Q. Does Shopify work in NZ?

A. Yes, Shopify offers its full suite of services for businesses based in New Zealand.

Q. Can I sell anything on Shopify?

A. You can sell various products on Shopify, including physical goods, digital downloads, services, and even memberships.

Q. Which platform has more payment gateway options?

A. Shopify offers a wider range of built-in payment gateways.

Q. Can you sell on WordPress without WooCommerce?

A. WooCommerce is a great option for building online stores on WordPress, but there are other plugins and approaches you can explore. If you’re selling digital products or just want to accept payments for services, consider using a form builder plugin like WPForms.

Q. Can I integrate payment gateways with WooCommerce?

A. Yes, WooCommerce offers a wide range of payment gateway integrations.

Q. Does Shopify have a built-in blog compared to WooCommerce?

A. Yes, Shopify includes a basic blog, while WooCommerce relies on WordPress for blogging.

Owners of small flower shop discuss their online business over a laptop on the counter.

Take the Guesswork Out of Your Decision

Choosing the right e-commerce platform is essential for your online business success.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have their strengths, but which best suits your needs?

Mantis Digital is a leading e-commerce website design agency in New Zealand. We have helped countless businesses like yours choose the right platform and build a thriving online store.

Don’t wait!

Contact Mantis Digital today and discover the full potential of online selling!

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