WooCommerce or Shopify for Dropshipping – A Comparison

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Two of the most popular eCommerce platforms online include WooCommerce and Shopify. Both can be used to open a dropshipping store.

However, which one is the ideal choice? There are many things to consider to include software, pricing, expenses, and store ownership.

I’ll explain what the major differences are between the two platforms as well as their pros and cons.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a free WordPress eCommerce plugin that you can install that will transform any WordPress website into an online store.

The plugin is very easy to install and to begin using. However, it is not a dropshipping store right out of the box.

You will need to install a WordPress dropshipping plugin in order to make it work.

The dropshipping plugin I recommend is AliDropship Woo. This particular plugin turns any WooCommerce website into an AliExpress dropshipping business.

Why Use AliExpress for Sourcing Products?

aliexpress home page

In order to open a dropshipping store, you will need to have a resource for sourcing products in your store.

These resources are what is referred to as your dropshipping suppliers. You could do a search for dropshipping suppliers on your own.

However, it is a very long and tedious process. When you do come across suppliers, you’ll find that many of them may have special requirements.

For instance, some suppliers require that you already have an existing store up and running. Others may even charge fees to be able to dropship with them.

AliExpress doesn’t have such requirements, nor does it charge any fees. AliExpress is one of the largest online retailers in the world.

They are made up of merchants primarily based out of China. Many of the merchants sell products both in bulk as well as individually.

Many merchants also offer free shipping on their products which you can pass along to your customers. Free shipping is an awesome incentive for anyone to buy from your store.

Here are some other great benefits of using AliExpress as your dropshipping supplier:

  • 200,000 exporters
  • Over 100 million items
  • No entry or participation fees
  • No limits on your profit margins
  • No limits on the amount of products you sell
  • Works with individuals and registered companies
  • Free shipping on most items
  • Ships to over 200 countries worldwide
  • Online shipping tracking
  • Wide range of shipping methods
  • Buyer protection system with full money back guarantee

What is Shopify?


Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms being used today.

Shopify is a software-as-a-service platform. What that means is that you do not download and install anything to use it.

You must create an account with their service and use their software on their web servers. You’re essentially leasing their software on a monthly basis.

This also means that you must abide by their terms of use. If you plan on selling items that go against their terms, they will notify you and likely close your store.

Similar to WooCommerce, Shopify is not a dropshipping store. You must install a Shopify dropshipping app in order to dropship.

Their most popular dropshipping app is the Oberlo app. Like the AliDropship plugin, Oberlo turns your Shopify store into an AliExpress dropshipping business.

One thing that makes Oberlo stand out is that it also has its own products that you can dropship as well. However, using it with AliExpress is the most popular option.

WooCommerce or Shopify? Why Use One Over the Other?


Alright, here is my favorite part of this post and that is breaking down some key elements of why to choose one platform over the other.

First, I’ll say that both platforms are truly awesome in their own way and what it will really come down to in the end is what your needs are and your preference.

Lease Your Store or Own It Outright?

This is a serious question that you should ask yourself before building your dropshipping store.

Remember earlier when I talked about Shopify and how it is a software-as-a-service platform? What that means is you must use their software on their web servers.

You do not have the ability to download your store and move it to another web hosting provider.

It also means that this type of service has the power to close your store for any reason at any time.

As an online business owner, I personally do not like giving any company the power to do that. While it likely doesn’t happen often, the risk is always there.

I have read stories of people’s accounts being closed on various third-party platforms for various different reasons.

This is what you risk when using a third-party service. This isn’t the case with WooCommerce. The reason is that WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin.

WordPress is free to download and install. Getting your own WordPress website is super easy. Most web hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installation.

You don’t have to have any technical experience at all to install WordPress. Most importantly, when using WordPress, you retain 100% ownership of your store from the start.

Pay Monthly Store Fees or Zero Monthly Fees?

Both Shopify and the Oberlo app have monthly fees to use them. The basic plan for each service runs about $29 per month.

You will be paying a minimum of $60 per month to operate a dropshipping store on Shopify’s platform. This isn’t to mention other apps that you may want to install that may also have fees.

Take a look at the screenshot below of a Shopify dropshipping store that was posted for sale on Shopify Exchange:

store expenses

This particular store was paying $120 worth of Shopify apps on top of their monthly Shopify store plan. That is $150 per month in expenses.

Compare this to using WooCommerce and WordPress:

  • WordPress = $0
  • WooCommerce = $0
  • AliDropship Woo = $89 (one-time fee)

There are no ongoing monthly store fees to use WooCommerce and with the AliDropship Woo plugin, you get all of the same dropshipping store features that you would if you were using Shopify and Oberlo together.

Another awesome feature that AliDropship provides is their custom dropshipping store creation service.

Let’s say you don’t want or have the time to build your store yourself. You can order a custom store and have it delivered to you within a matter of days.

Regardless of the package you choose, you will be assigned a personal manager that will be in touch with you during your store’s creation.

They will handle everything for you to include choosing an in-demand niche that will be profitable for the long-term.

The AliDropship team has tons of experience in building dropshipping stores. They will do niche market research as well as research your competitors and do keyword analysis.

These are all key elements of opening a dropshipping store that many people (especially beginners) do not have the time or knowledge to complete.

In Conclusion

Now that you know some of the main differences between WooCommerce versus Shopify, it really comes down to your needs and preferences.

If you prefer to use a third-party eCommerce platform such as Shopify for specific features, then definitely go that route.

There are many Shopify store owners that love the service and are doing very well as dropshippers.

However, if you prefer to lower your monthly expenses as well as retain 100% ownership of your store, then WooCommerce with the AliDropship plugin is an ideal choice.

There are many successful AliDropship store owners that you can read about as well.