So I’ve compiled a bunch of answers to questions I’ve been getting about WooCommerce vs Shopp. This article is long, but hopefully it will help answer questions many have about the differences between WooCommerce and Shopp. Feel free to ask more in the comments section and I’ll try to add to this article as time permits.
I have to give myself a disclaimer though, I am still discovering WooCommerce and its abilities, and Shopp is continually working on improving their own system, so a lot of this may become outdated or incorrect information shortly after publishing. I also can’t make any guarantees about any third party software. This is just what I’m discovering as I go along.
What is the cost to using WooCommerce vs Shopp?
Development set up fees aside, a single-site Shopp license is $50 but you won’t need this if your developer has a developer license (as I do). WooCommerce is free for its base version BUT there are likely going to be functionality add-ons you will want that don’t come freely. For example, if you wanted additional shipping modules or any extension from WooCommerce then you would need to set up an account, pay for those modules and if it is a module outside the scope of your developer charges, they will probably need to charge for set up time. Shopp does have built-in table rates, but Canada Post, FedEx, etc. modules cost extra with them anyway, and the prices are very similar, if not exactly the same.
So for example, if you wanted to do shipping with Canada Post, as a WordPress e-commerce developer myself, I wouldn’t charge you for that because of course an e-commerce set up includes shipping set up. But you would need to buy the Canada Post shipping add-on, send me your account and activation key, etc. for me to set it up. If you wanted however, to then integrate FedEx and a bunch of other shipping modules, or get QuickBooks connected with your e-commerce system, or a QR code generator, or extras like that, I would need to charge for that set up.
The only extra thing I foresee possibly costing extra on top of WooCommerce’s base plugin, for most simple e-commerce sites are:
A shipping add-on from WooCommerce (but you should discuss with your developer how your shipping rates work to find out which is best for you).
A Paypal Payments Pro add-on if you want the entire transaction to be completed on your site, and not lead to Paypal’s site for completion. This is also an add-on extra for sales with Shopp, so not much difference here either.
Can users filter down category products?
Someone clicked on a product to view its details.
Is it possible to feature the matching earrings to this particular product?
Is that possible with Shopp or only possible with WooCommerce?
You can customize this manually on your products one-by-one, or have it be automatically generated, at the bottom of a product page with WooCommerce, as an out-of-the-box, ready-to-go feature. Shopp might be able to do this, but it would not be a user-side setting that you could control and it would take quite a bit of coding to customize (in other words, let’s just say ‘no’ to this feature for Shopp for basic users). Shopp can have related products controlled by tags in widget areas, but no counts will appear showing how many products are tagged with that tag.
On either system, having this appear to that level of accuracy and customization on the sidebar is a lot work. But I would say if you wanted to put in the work to do this for your site (though it would be tedious to do because you’d need to create a custom sidebar for every product page), WooCommerce would provide the user-friendliest way to do it.
So with WooCommerce, on a product editing page, you have a tab that will say “Related Products” where you can chose to show specific “Upsells” on the product page, and “cross sells” when a person is at the cart. This is what the settings area looks like:
In this example, I entered the “Luminous Duo” as a “cross sell,” which appears when a person is looking at what is in their cart already, like this:
And I entered “Platinum Package” as an “up sell” which appears at the bottom of the product page I am editing, like here:
It goes before the “Related products” which are at the bottom:
You can’t really do this type of thing with non-coding ease in Shopp.
Can I select to have sidebars only on some product pages, or have my products contain no sidebars?
A lot of this depends on the way your designer designs your site. However, on the development side of things, it’s good to know this:
With WooCommerce the system works inside of the existing WordPress and Genesis Framework settings more easily. So your theme already has the option for pages to use left sidebar or right sidebar (for regular, non-shopping pages). Shopp doesn’t integrate with this – it brings in stand-alone pages that are not seen in your list of “Pages” in WordPress. To customize the way Shopp displays sidebars, one has to dig into php code and add things to site files to force the layout. It is not a user-side setting option.
To explain it more, when using WooCommerce and the Genesis Framework (as would be the case for my own clients), if you want no sidebar on the single product pages, you would need to click a button that says “full-width” on every product entry you add to the cart, then hit “Save” to have that page appear with no sidebar – it will not automatically have no sidebar unless your entire site was set up that way. Just like you would add tags for every product, and add photos, this would be an additional setting you’d have to set up for every product, if you don’t want a sidebar to appear on those pages. If you do not click that button that says “Full width,” the product page will have a sidebar, just like the rest of your site.
With WooCommerce, the product pages work just like the rest of the site’s pages. So if your theme has a setting to choose “left sidebar” on a regular page, you will have that option on a product page too. This makes it easier for a developer to give you a left sidebar on some pages of your site, and a right sidebar on other parts of your site, because it’s a user side setting, where anyone can click a button and hit save, and the site layout can change based on hitting a button and clicking save, rather than a developer getting custom code made for the site.
I guess the question should be whether you want the sidebar to be on the left for shopping pages and on the right for the rest of your site pages, and no sidebar at all on single product pages, etc.? If you don’t mind the sidebar being in the same spot for all pages site-wide, then this shouldn’t be a deciding factor to get confused about when choosing which system to go with. Being confused takes a lot of energy! :)
Can I show related products at the bottom of my product pages with WooCommerce and Shopp?
If you want to use “related products” with Shopp, that area has to be coded in manually, and it will be controlled by product tags; there is little customization over what shows up under “related products” at the bottom of pages. But with WooCommerce there are more user-side options in that regard that come with the base plugin ‘out of the box.’
What do the product archive pages look like by default with Shopp and WooCommerce?
With Shopp there are two options, list view and grid view. These pages use the grid view by default:
whereas these pages built with Shopp use the list view by default:
http://cainursing.ca/membership/ – scroll down to see
With WooCommerce, the main shopping page shows category boxes or products, depending on how you set it up under “Settings” in the WordPress dashboard. Here is an example showing categories and forcing users to drill down to the type of product they want: http://oxylift.ca/shop/
Product category pages are always grid view (unless you customize the theme templates), like so:
The single product page layout is as follows:
Note the optional “related products” are below the product content – this has a built in customization feature where you can chose which related products to go below the page. In Shopp you can not control this easily.
What shopping related widgets are available with WooCommerce and Shopp?
WooCommerce has more widgets available than with Shopp. Both have the sidebar cart widget.
Here are examples of WooCommerce widgets:
Price filter, looks something like this:
Recently viewed, looks like this (again, styling would depend on your site’s own CSS):
“Layered Nav” – this is a customized option to show product variations you set up.
On sale products
Top rated products
-Note that if there is no content in say, “top rated” products (i.e. you have no ratings) then nothing will show up for those widgets.
Here are examples of Shopp widgets:
Product tag cloud
Product feature highlight
Recent shoppers (why you would ever need this I have no idea)
Shopp faceted menu (this is so hard to set up, or maybe I’m just stupid, but to this day I have not figured out how to use it)
Can WooCommerce and Shopp connect with Paypal? What about other payment gateways?
Both can handle the Paypal Standard gateway (i.e. checkout is complete on the Paypal site) and flat rate shipping by default. Table rate shipping is included with Shopp but not with WooCommerce (that is a purchased add-on). WooCommerce has shipping classes you can set up and apply to single products one at a time, to differentiate shipping calculations on those products.
Both e-commerce systems can connect to other payment gateways, though it seems WooCommerce is taking the lead in this area since their marketplace allows for payment gateway providers to develop plugins that integrate with WooCommerce. For example, in Canada, you can use Moneris with WooCommerce but not with Shopp.
What would I lose with WooCommerce vs. going with Shopp?
Shopp other things you should know:
Shopp offers export options that may be useful for accounting, as an out-of-the-box feature. You can export your customers and orders as files that can be read by QuickBooks. You can also export as Excel or CSV and other formats. This is useful if you want to export all your customers into a database for an e-mail newsletter, for example. With WooCommerce you have to buy all these extra features.
Shopp does not yet have the ability to add two tax rates to invoices. If you live in British Columbia or a province in Canada (or elsewhere) that requires this by law, you will have a problem with Shopp. That being said, I wrote to the Shopp developers and they have informed me they are working on this as part of their next release. I tried letting them know about it earlier, but by the time it caught their attention the laws had changed in B.C. which became a huge inconvenience for some of my clients. Meanwhile WooCommerce had its release ready to handle this issue well in advance of the law changes in British Columbia related to our new tax calculations.
Shopp does not yet use Schema.org markup for SEO. I think they are planning on adding it soon, but they are VERY late to jump on the bandwagon with this, especially as an e-commerce provider that has been around longer than WooCommerce.
Shopp support is great and gets back to you within a few days, but they can delay on some items when it is not a priority for them and they have other more pressing issues to fix, which is probably reasonable for any company. They have been around longer to my knowledge.
Buying a license to use their product is not necessary if your developer owns a developer license, especially since their support does not answer how-to related questions at all, so support for an end-user client would not be useful anyway. They will answer support queries about technical issues, which a novice user would need a developer for anyway. Nonetheless, if you want to buy your own license for Shopp, you can do so and if you need technical help, as your developer to log in to your account and ask questions on your behalf when needed.
WooCommerce other things you should know:
WooCommerce can support multiple tax rates. This is awesome for stores based in B.C. Canada or provinces that legally must show two tax rates in invoices.
WooCommerce has user-side settings to customize the look of e-mails your users get from the shop. With Shopp this has to be coded to customize.
WooCommerce uses Schema.org markup for great SEO qualities.
WooCommerce integrates well with the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. Shopp requires an additional plugin to allow WordPress SEO options on the product editing page.
WooCommerce support is through the WordPress forums for users who have not paid for any extensions, and are just using the base version. However, they do provide FAST and great support from staff at their company if you buy one of their products (as my understanding goes). So let’s say you want to hook into FedEx or Canada Post to get automated rates from your account on those systems, into your e-commerce site. You would pay about $50 for an extension of that kind, and would then have an account with WooCommerce. Having that account would get you support if needed in the future, and there are always going to be reasons to need support. E-commerce programs are complicated, and things like payments being wrong, confirmation pages not showing properly, promo codes not being accepted, error messages, etc. etc. – all of that can happen with e-commerce sites.
In either case, this article cannot guarantee support from either company, and if either company cannot help with a technical issue, there may be no choice but to hire a developer, at their hourly rate, to come in and help with whatever the issue may be. In most cases, if you hire a developer to develop a Shopp or WooCommerce or any other type of e-commerce software site for you, they can never guarantee that software will not fail, and can’t make any claims or guarantees on behalf of any third-party software provider.
How long have Shopp and WooCommerce been around?
It is unknown to me how long Shopp has been around, but at the time they started they were a LIFESAVER to all of us who were completely frustrated with WP E-Commerce (a terrible, terrible system) and needed something for WordPress that just worked – no hassles, and no more bad support experiences. They really solved an industry need at the time. Having an e-commerce plugin that actually worked was satisfactory enough, but since then, there has been a desire for a more upscale ‘do-more’ version of an e-commerce plugin for WordPress, as more of the Web is moving on to this open source platform.
Because of that industry desire, WooCommerce’s e-commerce platform is getting very popular in the industry. So far, to me, it seems solid, and very feature rich and user friendly for a non-coder. Plus their extensions marketplace runs kind of like the App Store, where developers can contribute more to make the entire system better and more customizable to a company’s needs. Their parent company, WooThemes, has been around for a very long time, and is a well-established company in the WordPress community. They are one of the major players of theme providers in the industry (“the industry” meaning software to provide themes that work with WordPress sites). You can read more about them online: http://www.woothemes.com.
WooCommerce is a rising star in the WordPress community as far as e-commerce goes, though there has been debate that in fact they merely copied JigoShop at their outset, which created a divide between the two companies, even though WooCommerce did not do anything technically wrong or illegal. Rumour has it JigoShop was released under GPL, and WooCommerce took that and made their own system (sort of), which they had the right to do, because it was released under GPL. But before that they made an offer to buy JigoShop which JigoShop refused. So they hired two JigoShop developers and made WooCommerce. Crazy…and it created controversy, but nothing illegal.
Then the e-commerce program got really popular because WooThemes is a huge brand in the WordPress world. I think that’s how people starting learning what JigoShop is!
So now they are saying outright in forums, blog comments and so on that they are going to try to be different from one another. Right now they are pretty much the same, but we can expect them to start differentiating soon.