Choosing the Best Ecommerce Platform (Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy)

Best Ecommerce Platforms – Comparison Video from our friend Travis

Eager to get going and make sales, small businesses and startups often jump headfirst into a platform without considering the long-term costs and benefits. Choosing the best ecommerce platform can be tough. Which is better? Shopify vs WooCommerce vs Etsy?

This ultimate guide to choosing the best ecommerce platform will help you make that decision that’s right for your business.

Starting an online store in 2024 is rather simple. But easy access doesn’t equal success. It takes more than writing great product descriptions or capturing perfect product photos.

A successful online store needs to be built on the right ecommerce platform. Most of my clients use WooCommerce, which I agree is best for many businesses. However, Shopify and Etsy are also great choices.

If you’re jumping on the growth trajectory of ecommerce stores, please know there are many ecommerce trends that can help you succeed.

But, first, choose the best ecommerce platform for your business goals.

Let’s compare the Pros and Cons of Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy.

Shopify Pros and Cons


  • Easy to Use: Shopify boasts a user-friendly interface, making it great for beginners with no coding experience.
  • Great Features: It offers a robust set of features for running an online store, including inventory management, secure payments, and marketing tools.
  • Scalable: Shopify can grow with your business, with plans suitable for both small startups and high-volume stores.
  • App Store: A vast app store provides additional functionalities and integrations for your store.
  • Reliable Hosting: Shopify takes care of web hosting, ensuring uptime and security.


  • Transaction Fees: Shopify charges transaction fees on top of their monthly plan fees, which can eat into profits.
  • Limited Customization: While themes offer design flexibility, extensive customization might require coding knowledge or paid apps.
  • Costly for Large Stores: Higher-tier plans can become expensive for businesses with very high sales volume.
  • Not Ideal for Blogging: Content management features are not as robust as dedicated blogging platforms like WordPress.
  • No Email Hosting: Shopify doesn’t offer email hosting, so you’ll need a separate provider for business emails.

Is Shopify best for you?

Shopify is a user-friendly platform with a strong feature set, ideal for businesses who want a hassle-free ecommerce solution. However, transaction fees and potentially high costs for large stores can be drawbacks.

WooCommerce Pros and Cons


  • Cost-Effective: WooCommerce itself is free to download and use as a WordPress plugin. You only pay for web hosting and potentially for additional plugins or themes.
  • Highly Customizable: Built on WordPress, WooCommerce offers immense flexibility for design and functionality through themes and plugins.
  • SEO Friendly: Leverages the SEO strengths of WordPress, making it easier for your store to rank well in search engines.
  • Open-Source: Benefits from a large and active developer community offering support, tutorials, and custom development options.
  • Integrations: Integrates seamlessly with other WordPress plugins and popular business tools.


  • Steeper Learning Curve: Requires some technical knowledge to set up and manage compared to Shopify’s user-friendly interface.
  • Security Concerns: As a self-hosted platform, the onus of security updates and maintenance falls on the user.
  • Limited Support: WooCommerce itself doesn’t offer dedicated customer support, although there are community resources and paid support options.
  • Scalability Concerns: While technically scalable, managing a high-traffic store on WooCommerce might require significant technical expertise or expensive hosting solutions.
  • Potentially Higher Costs: While the core platform is free, additional plugins, themes, and developer resources can add up over time.

Is WooCommerce best for you?

WooCommerce is a powerful and cost-effective option for users comfortable with some technical aspects. Its flexibility and SEO advantages are great, but security and potential costs for managing a large store require consideration.

Consider WooCommerce if you want to outpace the competition with ecommerce SEO strategies – that is, earning search traffic to your site. It’s an excellent long-term strategy but takes skill and likely you’ll need to hire a pro.

Etsy Pros and Cons


  • Established Marketplace: Etsy has a large built-in audience actively searching for unique, handmade items.
  • Easy to Set Up: Opening an Etsy shop is relatively straightforward and requires minimal technical knowledge.
  • Focus on Handmade: Perfect for crafters and artists selling unique, handcrafted goods.
  • Global Reach: Etsy connects you with buyers worldwide, expanding your potential customer base.
  • Community Support: A supportive community of sellers offers encouragement and resources.


  • High Competition: The sheer number of sellers on Etsy can make it challenging to stand out, especially for common items.
  • Limited Customization: Etsy’s shop design options are limited compared to dedicated ecommerce platforms.
  • Fees: Etsy charges listing fees, transaction fees, and a new offsite ads fee, which can reduce your profit margins.
  • Limited Control: You’re subject to Etsy’s policies and algorithms, which can impact your shop visibility.
  • Not Ideal for Mass-Produced Goods: Etsy caters more towards handmade items, so reselling manufactured goods might not be a good fit.

Is Etsy the best for you?

Etsy is a great platform for established crafters and artists to showcase and sell their handmade creations. However, the high competition, limited control, and fees can be drawbacks for some sellers.

Best Ecommerce Platform for your Online Store

While each platform will claim to be the best ecommerce platform, the key is “best for you”.

I’d like to wrap up this guide with a handful of concluding questions that I use with clients when making this decision.

  • Short-Term Goals. What do you want to achieve in your online store in the next 30 and 90 days? What does success look like in the next 3 years?
  • Long-Term Goals. Do you have an exit plan? For example, sell the store to a bigger company, hand over management and become a passive owner, etc. Do you want to develop an affiliate strategy? Would you like to sell ad space?
  • Traffic and Growth Strategy. What’s you’re traffic strategy? Do you have a competitive ad budget (see average PPC costs per industry)? Will you prioritize earned media over paid media?